The gods must be crazy if they call this intelligence , Sydney Morning Herald, August 5, 2006, Deborah Smith. [Review of "Unintelligent Design: Why God isn't as smart as she thinks she is," by Robyn Williams, Allen & Unwin: Sydney, 2006] Continued from part #6.
[Graphic: "The Atheist Syndrome" by J.P. Koster (1989)]
"In many ways the book is a personal statement, a mini-polemic. What has ID done personally to Williams? Nothing! He shows by his comments about ID that he barely knows what it is, and probably has never read any ID primary literature.
I feel passionate about the subject," says Williams, who reveals much about his formative years, including the episode when he stopped his "self-righteous pugilist" father, a staunch Communist Party believer, from beating his younger brother. So what has Williams' (presumably atheist like him) "father, a staunch Communist Party believer" got to do with ID?
Williams seems to be self-describing what Koster calls "the atheist syndrome," i.e. "The hurt son of the abusive father all too often organized a subconscious plan of attack. ... he decided to make his life's work the destruction of his father and the destruction of the God who had come to symbolize his father: angry, cruel, hostile, or at very best totally indifferent to suffering. .... The subtle manipulation of `scientific facts' into an attack on God as a symbolic father is the core of the atheist syndrome":
"There are children, however, who had other ways of dealing with chronic child abuse systematized as `discipline' and supposedly backed by Scripture. These sons of feared and hated fathers did not act out their rebellion in a visible way. Their wounds were too deep and their fear too great. Perhaps their high intelligence and greater sensitivity encouraged a deeper, much more subtle form of rebellion against a hostile father they identified with a hostile God. The hurt son of the abusive father all too often organized a subconscious plan of attack. Direct confrontation with the hostile father, or his God, was too dangerous. The son knuckled under, temporarily, but nurtured a deep resentment both against his father and against God. Subconsciously, he decided to make his life's work the destruction of his father and the destruction of the God who had come to symbolize his father: angry, cruel, hostile, or at very best totally indifferent to suffering. The son tried to do this in a subtle way. He could not attack his father or God openly, because Victorian familial piety forbade him to say to his father, `You're a brute and I hate you for it!' Instead, he struck at his father by denying God. The emerging `science' of the mid-nineteenth century provided a good avenue of attack because many of the old truths and assumed facts were being questioned. If the `facts' could be reinterpreted to shut God out, the victimized son would have acted out an attack without a direct confrontation against the father he feared. The subtle manipulation of `scientific facts' into an attack on God as a symbolic father is the core of the atheist syndrome. It should be emphasized that this all took place on a subconscious level. The son-victim didn't hop out of bed one fine Victorian morning and say to himself, Well then, today I'm going to get back at the old man at home by blasting the Old Man upstairs out of the sky! His subconscious urge for revenge on God took the conscious form of denying the existence of God. The best way to neutralize a powerful (assumed) enemy is to will or wish Him out of existence. It's also much safer to deny that a Person one fears actually exists than it is to risk a confrontation which experience has shown to be painful and dangerous. This then was the Victorian legacy: a stern, -and in some cases brutally, loveless culture, producing a reactionary and genuinely mad generation of psychotic God-haters." (Koster, J.P., "The Atheist Syndrome," Wolgemuth & Hyatt: Brentwood TN, 1989, p.16)
The universe is a spooky place. If the force of gravity, or any of a number of other factors in the cosmos, were slightly different, humankind would not be here. Indeed! Here is a quote by none other than anti-ID biologist Ken Miller, making a design argument that an IDist would be proud of, based on "The value of the gravitational constant" being "just right for the existence of life. A little bigger, and the universe would have collapsed before we could evolve; a little smaller, and the planet upon which we stand would never have formed" (my emphasis):
"Does g have to be 6.67 x 10-11? What if g were a little larger or a little smaller? It turns but that the consequences of even very small changes in the gravitational constant would be profound. If the constant were even slightly larger, it would have increased the force of gravity just enough to slow expansion after the big bang. And, according to Hawking, `If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million it would have recollapsed before it reached its present size.' [Hawking, S.W., "A Brief History of Time," Bantam: New York NY, 1988, p.121] Conversely, if g were smaller, the dust from the big bang would just have continued to expand, never coalescing into galaxies, stars, planets, or us. The value of the gravitational constant is just right for the existence of life. A little bigger, and the universe would have collapsed before we could evolve; a little smaller, and the planet upon which we stand would never have formed. The gravitational constant has just the right value to permit the evolution of life" (Miller, K.R., "Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution," , HarperCollins: New York NY, 2000, reprint, pp.227-228. Emphasis original)
No doubt to an atheist like Williams that seems "spooky" but to a Christian (like me) the discovery of the exquisite degree of fine-tuning of the Universe for life is to be expected.
Here is another psychologically interesting reaction ("It was an intense revulsion, and at times it was almost physical in nature. I would positively squirm with discomfort. .... I found it difficult to entertain the notion without grimacing in disgust ... Nor has this reaction faded over the years ... an intense antagonism...") by another atheist, astronomer George Greenstein, to "the idea ... that we owe our existence to a stupendous series of coincidences" which "is far too close for comfort to notions such as: We are the center of the universe. God loves mankind ... The universe has a plan; we are essential to that plan." (emphasis original):
"But as this conviction grew, something else grew as well. Even now it is difficult to express this `something' in words. It was an intense revulsion, and at times it was almost physical in nature. I would positively squirm with discomfort. The very thought that the fitness of the cosmos for life might be a mystery requiring solution struck me as ludicrous, absurd. I found it difficult to entertain the notion without grimacing in disgust, and well-nigh impossible to mention it to friends without apology. To admit to fellow scientists that I was interested in the problem felt like admitting to some shameful personal inadequacy. Nor has this reaction faded over the years: I have had to struggle against it incessantly during the writing of this book. I am sure that the same reaction is at work within every other scientist, and that it is this which accounts for the widespread indifference accorded the idea at present. And more than that: I now believe that what appears as indifference in fact masks an intense antagonism. It was not for some time that I was able to place my finger on the source of my discomfort. It arises, I understand now, because the contention that we owe our existence to a stupendous series of coincidences strikes a responsive chord. That contention is far too close for comfort to notions such as: We are the center of the universe. God loves mankind more than all other creatures. The cosmos is watching over us. The universe has a plan; we are essential to that plan." (Greenstein, G., "The Symbiotic Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos," William Morrow & Co: New York NY, 1988, pp.25-26. Emphasis original)
"With all these happy circumstances, it's little wonder that a few conclude that someone's been setting up a Wendy House for us and our friends," he says. Indeed again! In fact Williams' fellow atheists the late John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmáry admitted in Nature that "the physical constants have just the values required to ensure that the Universe contains stars with planets capable of supporting intelligent life" and "The simplest interpretation is that the Universe was designed by a creator who intended that intelligent life should evolve" (my emphasis):
"The idea that the world is peculiarly adapted to the appearance of life is not a new one. In 1913, the biochemist L.J. Henderson pointed out that many substances such as water have precisely those properties required if life is to exist. Most biologists rejected his views, arguing that organisms are adapted to their environments by natural selection, not the other way around. But the questions he raised have surfaced again recently in a new form. It turns out that the physical constants have just the values required to ensure that the Universe contains stars with planets capable of supporting intelligent life. The 'cosmological anthropic principle' has been suggested as an explanation for this puzzling fact. The principle takes several forms. The weak anthropic principle merely states that certain universes, with unfortunate lists of physical constants, would not be observable by us, simply because we would not be there. The weak principle is not a theory: it merely acknowledges a peculiar situation. The strong principle, proposed by Brandon Carter, is more radical. It states that the Universe must have those properties that allow life to develop in it at some stage of its life history. How can this curious claim be understood? The simplest interpretation is that the Universe was designed by a creator who intended that intelligent life should evolve. This interpretation lies outside science." (Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmáry, E., "On the likelihood of habitable worlds," Nature, Vol. 384, 14 November 1996, p.107)
but dismissed it as "outside science", i.e. outside their personal atheistic philosophy!
But if that was the case, that someone must have been very keen on astronomy. "Why wait 10 billion years before getting the whole Genesis yarn going?" Again Williams parades his ignorance of design literature! As physicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler pointed out 20 years ago in 1986, "The size of the observable universe ... is inextricably bound-up with its age ... If our Universe were to contain just a single galaxy like the Milky Way ... we might regard this a sensible cosmic economy with little consequence for life" but such a "universe ... would ... have expanded for only about a month. ... A minimum time is necessary ... and stars require billions of years ... to transform primordial hydrogen and helium into the heavier elements ... a universe that is sufficiently mature, and hence sufficiently large ... is necessary for" man's "existence on Earth" (my emphasis):
"The Size of The Universe ... In several other places we have used the fact of the Universe's size as a striking example of how the Weak Anthropic Principle connects aspects of the Universe that appear, at first sight, totally unrelated. The meaning of the Universe's large size has provided a focus of attention for philosophers over the centuries. We find a typical discussion in Paradise Lost where Milton evokes Adam's dilemma: why should the Universe serve the Earth with such a vast number of stars ... if life and mind are important, or unique, why does their appearance on a single minor planet require a further 1022 stars as a supporting cast? ... However, the modern picture of the expanding universe that we have just introduced renders such a line of argument, at best, irrelevant to the question of Design. ... The size of the observable universe ... is inextricably bound-up with its age ... These relations display explicitly the connection between the size, mass and age of an expanding universe. If our Universe were to contain just a single galaxy like the Milky Way, containing 1011 stars, instead of 1012 such galaxies, we might regard this a sensible cosmic economy with little consequence for life. But, a universe of mass 1011 Mo [solar masses] ... would ... have expanded for only about a month. No observers could have evolved to witness such an economy-sized universe. ... A minimum time is necessary to evolve astronomers by natural evolutionary pathways and stars require billions of years ... to transform primordial hydrogen and helium into the heavier elements of which astronomers are principally constructed. Thus, only in a universe that is sufficiently mature, and hence sufficiently large, can `observers' evolve. In answer to Adam's question we would have to respond that the vastness of `Heaven's wide circuit' is necessary for his existence on Earth." (Barrow, J.D. & Tipler, F.J., "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, reprint, pp.384-385. Emphasis original).
Continued in part #8.
Stephen E. Jones , BSc (Biol)
Genesis 3:13-15. 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 14So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."