A few days ago I put up a video by Keith “Mr. Deity” Dalton, decrying a really insane piece by Jewish apologist Dennis Prager explaining why the story of Noah’s Ark was “one of the most moral stories ever told.” (There was also a funny video of Bill Maher’s take on The Great Flood.)
Prager’s piece included this gem:
Q: Why did God destroy animals as well?
A: In the biblical worldview, the purpose of all creation is to benefit man. This anthropocentric view of nature, and indeed of the whole universe, is completely at odds with the current secular idealization of nature. This secular view posits that nature has its own intrinsic meaning and purpose, independent of man.
All of creation, in the biblical view, was to ultimately prepare the way for the creation of man. But one does not need the Bible alone to hold this view. A purely scientific reading of the universe is in keeping with this view. Everything — every natural and physical law — is exquisitely tuned to produce life, and ultimately man, on earth.
What struck me was the argument for “fine-tuning” has now been turned from the production of life to the production of “man.” Yet the physical constants supposedly necessary to produce life are sufficient to produce humans as well: God clearly required no additional “fine-tuning”—even if you accept that fallacious argument—to allow for humans than to allow for, say, fungi and squirrels.
Over at the creationist website Evolution News and Views (where they don’t allow any comments), the equally batty David Klinghoffer, another Jewish apologist, lauds Prager’s ridiculous piece, and denigrates me at the same time (that’s usual for Klinghoffer, who, bereft of arguments for Intelligent Design, spends his time obsessing over my character and my criticisms of ID). Here’s a screenshot of part of his comment:
Exactly right???? Really? Even if the universe were fine-tuned for life (and I don’t think for a minute it was), how, my dear Mr. Klinghoffer, can you distinguish God’s fine-tuning the universe for life versus fine-tuning it for human life? After all, the physical constants required for both kinds of tuning are identical!
The fact that he and others make this argument is a clear sign that their arguments are based not on science but on religion. For it is only scripture and not science that argues that humans are special creatures on this planet. The phrase “the fine-tuning of the cosmos specifically for human life” gives away the religious roots of intelligent design—roots that people like Klinghoffer repeatedly deny.
And, as I’ve argued before, you can’t sensibly make the argument that the evolution of humans or human-like creatures was inevitable. Even given determinism, if mutations are inherently nondeterministic phenomena, and evolution depends, as it does, on what mutations appear, then we can’t say that the appearance of any specific species or morphology was inevitable.
Have a look at the trailer given below for the upcoming creationist movie “Privileged Species” touted by Klinghoffer. Notice that there is not one bit of evidence in this goddamned trailer that humans, as opposed to any other oxygen-using species, are “privileged.” The trailer emphasizes oxygen, which is of course a requirement for animal life. But that oxygen was produced by the photosynthesis of plants, not by God. And since hummingbirds have a higher per gram requirement for oxygen than humans, I conclude that if the Earth was was fine-tuned for life, the ultimate aim of God’s machinations was hummingbirds, the apotheosis of creation.
The trailer is narrated by Michael Denton, described as “geneticist and senior fellow, Discovery Institute.”