Cosmology, ID and Special People

One of my problems with ID and it’s attendant philosophies is that it assumes that we are special somehow. What folks fail to realize is that there are billions of earth like planets out there – and possibly billions of universes. We think that the universe was specially created for us because the cosmological constants are pretty much tailored for us. However, that’s simply not the case.

The constants are ‘tailored’ for us simply because we evolved under their rules. So we are in fact tailored to the environment that we evolved in, not the other way around.

I think that some folks are bent on Humanity being ‘special’ somehow. Here is a news flash: We are not special. We are not the center of the universe. The universe was not designed for us, rather we were designed by the universe. If some of the constants had been different, we would have evolved differently – or not at all. To claim humanities specialness because the universe is so suited for us is to have it backwards. We are suited for the universe.

11 thoughts on “Cosmology, ID and Special People”

  1. I think that's a really good point. As we mature, we see more and more that we are pretty insignificant. It's probably a pretty good test of spiritual maturity.

  2. I think that’s a really good point. As we mature, we see more and more that we are pretty insignificant. It’s probably a pretty good test of spiritual maturity.

  3. <i>We are not special. We are not the center of the universe. </i>

    I don’t know about your son, but mine would beg to differ, at least on his own account. =)

  4. <strong>Roundup for Dec 5 – 11, 2005</strong>

    Greg of The Roost also posts on ID, taking interest in ID’s proponents who think "in all the billions of earth-like planets out there – and possibly billions of universes" we are somehow special. Writes Greg, "To claim humanity’s specialness becau…

  5. <blockquote>Does ‘knowable’ = provable’? </blockquote>

    I would hope so!

    If you know something that cannot be proven, then it can probally be disproven, which makes it false in a universal sense.

    In your rainbow thought – You might belive that a rainbow is beautful – but that is your subjective truth. Each person, from their own point of view, will hold their own opinion about it.

    Things’s subjective value does not exist.

    In other words – you do not know that a rainbow is ugly nor beautful – you belive it to be one or the other.

    Knowing something is knowing it to be true. Belief is subjective, knowledge is objective.

    :)

  6. <blockquote>I ask – if it was so evident that there was a ‘first mover’ why does religion have to codify that we can prove it? Why not just prove it?</blockquote>Does ‘knowable’ = ‘provable’?

    I don’t think so. I can know that a rainbow is beautiful, but I am probably not able to prove it.

    Does that mean rainbows must be ugly?

    While is it a logical falacy to argue from consequentialism, I think it can be useful in a few limited cases where the subject is truely unknowable. For example, I choose to believe in free will because it is better to believe in free will and be wrong than it is to believe we have no free will and be wrong. (of course if we don’t have free will, I don’t have a choice about believing in it anyway.)

    Along those lines, I choose to believe that their is a qualitative difference between man and other animals. That morality and goodness means something for us, while it means nothing for them.

    Logic and science and materialism are wonderful things, and very useful tools. They do not represent the sum of all wisdom thoug.

  7. <blockquote>However, you are mistating or misunderstanding the concept of a tailored universe. It is not that there we happen to fit the universe so much as we have a universe that things like this can happen. From what I understand, as far as quantum physics can tell, things like gravity and the nuclear forces and eclectromagnatism are arbitrary. If any were even slightly different starts, planets, galaxies and chemical compounds could not form. It is hard to imagine anything ‘evolving’ to take advantage of such an environment, so the ‘miracle’ for lack of a better term that our universe works as it does is amazing.</blockquote>

    That’s what I said – if any of the physical constants were different, we would not have formed. We cannot have a conception of what would have formed, just <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWAG&quot; rel="nofollow">WAG</a>’s.

    The reason that we are here to ask these questions is because the universe has these constants. If we think that the universe created it’s self or was created just for us cannot be proven, nor disproven. We are what we are, and we are where we are.

    I think what folks in the Religious communities are so up in arms about is <a href="http://www.iheu.org/node/695&quot; rel="nofollow">Humanism</a>

    <blockquote>The frontiers of astronomy are extending our knowledge in a dramatic way. Our planet and solar system are part of a vast expanding universe of billions and billions of galaxies. The human species exists within the biosphere and is continuous with nature. It has not been created by divine fiat, but is a result of a long process of evolution, in which adaptation, survival of the finest, chance genetic mutations, differential reproduction, and other factors play a role. The Darwinian revolution has thus dethroned man from the centre of an anthropomorphic universe. Contrary to religious doctrine, there is no dualism between mind and body, and no evidence for a separable immortal soul.</blockquote>

    At first they recoiled in a purely religious manner – the Scopes trial was the end of that phase. Now, they are trying a more subtle approach – ID.

    I do not think that there is some conspiracy out there; rather I feel that it’s just people’s way of coping. Many people need to belive in something larger then themselves. They need to feel that there is a reason, or reward at the end of the race.

    The problem occurs when their deeply held beliefs come up against facts, and loose the battle. There is no concrete evidence for God, however you have statements like this from the <a href="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06608b.htm&quot; rel="nofollow">church</a>:

    <blockquote>Catholic position is once more reaffirmed and theological Agnosticism condemned. In its bearing on our subject, this act of Church authority is merely a restatement of the teaching of St. Paul and of the Vatican Council, and a reassertion of the principle which has been always maintained, <b>that God must be naturally knowable if faith in Him and His revelation is to be reasonable</b>; and if a concrete example be needed to show how, of logical necessity, the substance of Christianity vanishes into thin air once the agnostic principle is adopted, one has only to point the finger at Modernism. Rational theism is a necessary logical basis for revealed religion; and that the natural knowledge of God and natural religion, which Catholic teaching holds to be possible, are not necessarily the result of grace, i.e. of a supernatural aid given directly by God Himself</blockquote>

    Emphasis mine.

    I ask – if it was so evident that there was a ‘first mover’ why does religion have to codify that we can prove it? Why not just prove it?

    To try and bring this back around – people have always had a need to feel special. Our conscious it’s self is keyed in on the fact that we are self aware, but not aware of others except via external stimuli. For each of us, the universe rotates around us and our perceptions of the outside world. We are, in fact, alone in our own universe.

    What we perceive is not fact. It is old data and processes through a huge computer bank. It takes time for the light or sound to reach us, and then more time for the receptors to fire, and more for the brain to receive and process the information into a usable state.

    With that aloneness – which we understand at a unconscious level – we need to feel some connection. We invent higher purposes, and reasons for existing that would be laughable in any other conversation.

    We feel alone, so we must be special. We can sense these other beings around us – but we are do not share <em>awareness</em> with them. From that font comes the "humanity is the center of the universe", and "the universe was created for us" thoughts.

    Are we in a self-creating loop like universe? That is outside of our comprehension. That is like asking an ant what the moon is. It’s fun to play what if’s but when the rubber hits the road what is really important is trying to get it right here and now.

  8. I hold the origins of the universe to be outside the scope of ID. I understand that some have tried to include this, but I don’t think it very useful. Origins of the universe are pretty much outside of all science, and at this time the best we can do is philosophy on that. ID and evolutionary science are both pretty weak on the origins of life as well.

    I don’t necessarily agree with you that ID implies or requires human exceptionalism. Indeed the reverse seems to me to be true. If something is causing the development of life and intelligence, I would expect life and intelligence to be much more common than if it is simply caused by random chance. Even if one assumes ID to equal creationism, I don’t know anything in creationist belief that demands Earth and Humanity be God’s sole creation.

    However, you are mistating or misunderstanding the concept of a tailored universe. It is not that there we happen to fit the universe so much as we have a universe that things like this can happen. From what I understand, as far as quantum physics can tell, things like gravity and the nuclear forces and eclectromagnatism are arbitrary. If any were even slightly different starts, planets, galaxies and chemical compounds could not form. It is hard to imagine anything ‘evolving’ to take advantage of such an environment, so the ‘miracle’ for lack of a better term that our universe works as it does is amazing.

    Perhaps there are infinte universes and some that would work as ours does is therefore a certainty. It still seems to me to be properly a source of wonder and awe.

    One thing that is interesting to contemplate, is that IF we ever are able to understand the processes that created our universe, we may very well be able to create a universe ourselves. Assuming we control it to have similar constants, Intelligence might very well occur and the process could repeat, presumably infinately. Turtles all the way up if you will. Given that quantum physics can’t tell a difference between direction of time (from the math that we have, the present is just as likely to be caused by the future as the past) it seems that the ‘turtles all the way down’ might be possible as well.

    Interesting stuff to think about.

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