Archive for the ‘atheism’ Category

Not only is this the title for a rather entertaining yarn by Mike Resnick it is a direct reference to one of the CampQuest‘s activities, well at least as part of the UK’s camp experience…

The idea is that the leaders talk about unicorns that live in the nearby forest and there’s a prize to be won for being able to prove that the unicorns do exist. There are various ideas behind this whole thing – the one that is given is that it is to show how the onus is on the propegator of a positive idea to prove their point to the sceptic.

The idea that the unicorns stand in for God at the atheist camp is neglected to be mentioned by those little atheists; the children are merely trained in critical thinking whilst having a fun time in a secular camp…

Part of the idea is from how did we ever get ourselves to the folly of belief  in supernatural things/spooks? Note that this activity is dreamed up by atheists for atheists and their children… amongst other fun and frolics…

So why single this one out as the activity to be blogged about?

Because, dear reader, this is the one with quite a few assumptions behind it. Even perhaps dogmatic assumptions -the ones that are accepted but still open to be contested, if only philosophically. Take Occam’s Razor – the rule here is that between two explanations for the same phenomena the simplest should be accepted because that is a. easier to test and b. more elegant. However more complicated explanations could have a firmer grasp of the various factors that are played out… Occam’s Razor or, as it’s also known The Rule of Parsimony is undoubtedly useful and has its place but I doubt that it is infallible…

The simplest explanation for the unicorns is that they don’t exist – and they don’t. No-one is arguing that the unicorns drawn out of the atheists hat are real. The issue I have is that they are obviously meant to stand in for God. According to atheists there is the same level of chance of existence for God as their precious unicorns…

This is obviously contentious.

Take a historical view. If anybody looks back through time to the documents prepared for the camp they would find that the whole activity was a sceptical study – we have historical documents [ie manuscripts that go back through centuries] that speak about historical events and who some call and called God. The role of this ‘Super Being’ is supposed to have done various things – one of which is to have created us and the world and universe around us…

Kant managed to disprove that Creation was Proof of a Creator back when he wrote Critique of Pure Reason but did not then say that disproved the presence of a creator… which is what some would have argued. The problem is that we are losing the ability to balance evidence – only being able to take a ‘proof’ rather than think things through. There are what we theists sometimes call ‘footprints’ of our Creator. Whilst a contentious being some beings have been completely assumed and recreated from one impression in the ground from millenia ago… and accepted by the scientific community.

If you follow the link at the CampQuest site to the clip from this  radio 4 programme then you’ll hear camp followers argue that we have a universal moral code and that we do not need any divine laws to make us ‘behave’… This is sloppy thinking – at the moment I’m reading a terribly engaging book on hunger – Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell and the ninth chapter is ‘The anthropology of hunger’ where diferent cultures who suffer from near starvation, notably two of interest here are the Ik who lived near the northern border of Uganda and Kenya and the ‘People of the Alto’ in Brazil. Both of these populations are or were, used to a near starvation diet and if the humanists are correct we should be able to see similar values and cultural norms between the two peoples. This is not the case.

Both societies are also a great deal diferent to the modern western norms. These norms come from a history of a common faith. They are not universal norms that all humans share but becuase there is a great deal that we like about ‘our’ norms we assume that these are universal and correct.

I can argue for my values and norms but I find it interesting when I challenge atheists and humanists about why they think something is ‘right’ about how we should behave; we move onto the shifting sands of debate. There is nothing wrong with debate – I like a good debate as much as the next person and quite possibly moreso… but it shows that there is not this ‘universal’ view of right and wrong.

Perhaps rather than sending kids off to stalk a fictional unicorn they should think things through more and go in search of what is the universal code of behaviour…. Maybe that would be more ellusive than they assume.

Could it be a worthy quest to be undertaken and at the end of the search they might discover something as valuable and as precious as a unicorn would be.


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I recently went to a Mark Thomas gig.

And to be unfair – here’s the email I sent off today

Dear Mark Thomas or whoever gets to check this mail box…

I must say that I enjoyed, laughed and applauded during your stand-up routine. I even signed a petition and got a couple of badges for the wife.

Perhaps this bit goes under the general heading of ‘Never Meet Your Heroes…’ – I was near enough to the front to note that you had a bunch of ideas [including mine I admit] that you did not even bother to reject. I understand that my suggestion could have seen to be coming from an industrial interest due to the facts and figures I used – this is not the case. My point would be that you would seek to champion a minority point of view – atheism at around 20% of UK population and feel happy enough to prosecute smokers who also make up around 20%… Where does one group become righteous and another guilty? Or to put it another way – How many lives would you save if you banned smoking tomorrow?

On a more positive note, as I was talking to some of the chaps in red jackets – they mentioned that there was a ‘group’ up in ——–. If you’d be so good as to pass on a contact number, or forward them my email address (no spam, please) I’d like to see what I could get involved in [no to ID and other such issues].

I look forward to hearing from you.

I will post whatever reply I get in either this post or in another as I deem best practice or whatever. [Bearing in mind as I’ve covered up my personal info – I’ll do likewise for reply.]

So why pick on Bakunin and Marx?

Well, I’m no Bakunin but then again Mark – though he has written good books on topics we should know about and actually manned the barricades more than Marx, he has not writted something along the lines of Das Kapitol… But perhaps Mark has spent too much time with radical Marxists and no longer would champion Liberty but rather The Way…

Of course everybody has their own view of The Way – mine includes long afternoons sipping gin, writing thousands of words and smoking my pipe to some interesting music with a mug of cooling coffee by my side… and I reckon if more folk spent their time doing that we’d have less people doing bad things if for no other reason then they are already preoccupied.

I also don’t think that the whole atheists are winning is an appealing concept, not least because I’m an old fashioned diest and believe in a ‘higher being’ – when I look back at the history of ideas and ideals it is when one (any one – atheism included) is feeling the boldness of ascendancy that they do the most harm (atheism included). So to think of ideological battles to be ‘won’ invites ‘losers’ to be devalued. I think I’m right and Mark thinks he’s right (even though he’s an atheist)  we cannot both be right but – and here’s the thing – neither can prove the other wrong.

Learning that our ‘opponents’ are not thick clods who just need to be enlightened but are our equal despite our differences would be a positive way forward – though it might not make for a good joke…

And Mark knows how to deliver a good joke…
Oh, and sorry for being away for so long.

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No doubt when I’ve re-watched all three episodes together of the ‘The Genius of Charles Darwin‘ I’ll write a ‘Whackos’ post about them as a whole but for this piece I’ll try to keep to The Final Installment of Dawkins propaganda… And make no mistake – that’s what it is. Either he doesn’t have enough time to give folk an open debate or he merely wishes to poke around to find teachers, or indeed preachers, who disagree with him and then narrate over any argument that they know is substantive to their basis. Of course those who do not rest on any scientific rational are allowed to be foolish on this programme targeted at the rationalists.

“Another inoculation against Deism, sir?” Is what this installment amounts to.

One of the main problems I have with this is Dawkins use of the word ‘fact‘ as opposed to ‘belief‘… If you want to read something dedicated to this issue then go here, dear reader. But as a brief jab at this – let’s take Napoleon: Dawkins uses Napoleon to demonstrate his grasp of the word ‘fact’ only to show those who know more about the divide between faith and fact that he does not know what he is saying. I am willing to accept that Napoleon walked the land and was eventually defeated by a coalition of various countries and one of those crucial leaders was Wellington… but I have not seen ‘the evidence’ I accept most of the story as if it were ‘fact’ because it’s a whole series of ‘truths of history’ – which makes it belief. This, more than anything else, is Dawkins blind spot and for those who see it it’s like a wide open maw. Napoleon’s story may well be made of a series of facts – but we also get historians views, the idea that Napoleon thought like this because he was short… and other such inferences some, or even most may be correct – which is which and what I believe is thus a tangled mess of historical facts [ie those bits of information that could be verified] and historians views of Napoleon. Why do I continue to use the word ‘believe’ when I refer to ‘facts’? It is because I have not checked them, personally.

Dawkins is famous for targeting those who are superstitious and the reason why so many believe in superstitions is that we seek patterns in the world around us and some of them are not true and can be argued to either be entirely random or have a logical rationale. Take mirrors – break a mirror and suffer seven years bad luck. Studies have been widely accepted that say that our appearance makes a crucial impact on how we are evaluated in the world at large and at one time it could take up to seven years to save the money to replace a broken mirror… Nowadays it could take a week, or less, and we in the west are likely to have more than one mirror so we can forget the whole reason but still the phrase survives…

At one point Dawkins announces that he will show us the ‘proof’ and then takes a stroll down a fossil lined corridor – what I was expecting was a demonstration of how the bones of the reptile jaw changed to the mammalian one piece jaw and the other bones migrating up to the ear. Or even a few skulls which show the ear migrate from around the jaw to the side of the skull… but alas we do not see this evidence – what we see is a series of jawbones that look similar to each other. As pattern seeking beings we will draw conclusions that could be right or wrong. Some take the line that this maw came before this maw and that the difference shows evolution others take a more skeptical view – do we know that the owners of both jaws did not walk the earth at the same time? Dating, when it goes so far back has huge +/- numbers ie the actual range of these ancient artifacts mean that instead of saying 25 million years ago we actually have the possibility of 25 million years with 5 million years before or after that date to play with… Ok, so I made the five million up at the top of my head. But when I was studying the archeology of the Old Testament this was a real problem and that was only thousands of years ago… and the further back we go the greater the problem.

One of my problems with Dawkins installment was the white washing. At one point we have a science teacher who was willing to argue, on a scientific basis, why he believed the Earth has only been around for ten thousand years (+/- a couple of thousand I’d presume) but instead of letting us hear this argument Dawkins narrates that we have six ways that agree with each other and say that we are on a really old planet… this is of course a free exchange of views… From my psychology studies I know that once you have a Standard other standards must be calibrated to agree with the first Standard – and that’s how a lot of these things do work… Let me hear the debate and I’ll be less sceptical, of course you run the risk that I might for my own strange and perverse views disagree with you but at least we’d know the parameters of the whole problem.

And as with the science teacher so with others including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams – he who’s mind is extraordinarily good but suffers from still believing in something (anything else bar science is enough for Dawkins to think you are a weirdo who needs saving).

At the end we are told that we should be proud that we have got to where we are – following on from generations of winners but as a still childless man in a land where success is measured by passing on my peculiar genetic variations, this gives me no consolation. In fact I am letting my genes down – I, by this measure, am a rank failure. They have gotten me this far but no further as of the time of writing this post.

Going back to another piece [which I posted about here] of Dawkins propaganda he argued that because you couldn’t verify some superstitions despite the fact that it brought some folk comfort it could not be ‘valid for the rest of us’ as it could not be independently verified- then he argued that it was alright, however grudgingly that some found comfort from their strange beliefs and that was ok… but problematic. Here at the end of his series on The Genius of Charles Darwin Dawkins asserts the comfort we can all have from the theory/fact of evolution and our place in the whole chain – but what if we don’t care about our ancestors and would rather find comfort in how we live now – how then can evolution as a comfort be ‘valid’ for us?

This, more than anything he has said before, shows how much of a belief system Dawkins has constructed on the back of the theory of evolution. What it doesn’t do is show any real moral values or a way to value  different ways to live. At the end Dawkins becomes one of those figures from the conference of folk he so readily derides in his earlier programmes.

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The Blind Atheist

As I watched ‘The Genius of Charles Darwin‘ last night I could not but think that it was a rather revealing quest about Richard Dawkins as he started the programme with ‘Why should I love my brother?’ and from then on the programme was about him.

One of the problems with Dawkins is that he is so narrowly centred on humans and our ancestors that he misses a lot of other stuff that would disagree with his view of nature – red in tooth and claw… Our altruism, apparently, comes from having such a large brain that we can identify with strangers and want, or even – ‘lust’, to help or aid them – with no benefit to our genetic make-up at all. When he was making these statements I could not help myself – I laughed out loud and here’s the why – Squirrels.

It may seem like a joke but Dawkins hypothesis is that due to our big brains our behaviour  or selfish gene misfires and we’d agree that a squirrel’s brain is a few orders smaller – so why are they too altruistic? How come they too decide to have a society that can live together whether or not every squirrel in the area is related or not? Only we with our ‘big brains’ can choose that… Squirrels count the number of squirrels in the area and then breed to maintain a healthy population but not one that has to compete – so one squirrel may not breed altruistically maintaining a stable supply and demand for another squirrel’s baby – and if we want to talk about the selfish gene misfiring because we are so smart and thus help strangers – Red Squirrels will count all squirrels in the given area, including the Grey Squirrel which only counts fellow greys… so the smaller brained one out of these similar species is more altruistic than the larger brained one… So – squirrels too can try to make the society they want. Never mind mankind.

I keep finding Dawkins rhetoric rather laughable – at one point he’s talking about the ‘fact’ that if he where to hold his mother’s hand and then she were to hold her mother’s hand in the ‘surprisingly short’ distance of 300 miles we’d reach the mother of human and chimpanzee. Before you say how many generations you can fit into a mile the statement is meaningless. Or perhaps he knows exactly how many generations he expects but thinks that if he mentions that bit of information he may seem less convincing?

A brief clip before a break shows Dawkins talking to a bishop and the clip goes –

Dawkins: I’m an ape, what are you?

Bishop: I’m a human being.

Of course Dawkins does say we are human beings, or rather homo sapiens. So why the clip? Before the break we’ve been programmed to think of the bishop as an old stick in the mud and then we see Dawkins introduce himself after the break as just coming from over there in that part of Kenya and the bishop who has, so far only been friendly points in the other direction and says that’s where he’s from – at this point Dawkins narrates that he thus finds that he’s not going ‘to get along’ with the bishop But Why The Hell Not? all that transpired is that they’ve both exchanged the same information about their own origins. Perhaps it would have been more honest if he had said that he knew he would not get along with the bishop – even before he met him.

And the why of that is that the martyr of evolution – or is that Atheism – does not get along with those who do not speak his language, true he does speak to an ape specialist who disagrees with his theory and calls it the ‘veneer theory’ only to be able to agree that they both share the view that the work ‘The Selfish Gene’ has been misused to promote ‘The Dark Side of Darwinism’ [I could hardly hold my breath when he said that and waited with baited breath for the X-wing to fly past with Obi Wan Ken Obi to jump out and explain how the ‘dark side’ is ‘bad’…] – so in the end they could understand and be friendly… but with the bishop, well the bishop is part of the whole martyredom fight; Dawkins does not hold back to mention whenever he has been attacked relating how in the 70s he raised hackles with ‘The Selfish Gene‘ but that now the world of science has accepted the light of his work – he suffered and persevered for his faith and was not found wanting…

If Dawkins thinks that the case for evolution and the evidence of the skulls in Kenya is incontrovertible then why does he get so upset that the bishop is only campaigning to have the relics of evolution to be displayed with notes that stick to what the specimen is called and the date when it roamed the earth? Surely he could trust folk to make up their own minds or is he wanting, however unwittingly, to brainwash folk into believing evolution as he claimed that was NOT what he was about to the class of students in the earlier installment… We cannot be left to make up our minds for ourselves.

At the end of the first part he said he was going to tackle the origins of man – well I had hopes that he would. Perhaps he’d have an interesting and informed take on the ‘Aquatic Ape’ theory – but that was dismissed by being completely and utterly ignored. Now I don’t know if the aquatic ape will in the end hold ‘more water’ than the sub sahara ape – but I do know it wasn’t the work of an idiot. It is this blindness of Dawkins to not see what disagrees with his ideas that continues throughout this episode. He is campaigning for folk to see that genes aren’t really even ‘selfish’ despite his book and that we can be better than that… not about any problems with the fossil record or competing theories or any other behavioural study that would pose issues about his ‘large brain’ thesis which frees us from our ‘selfishness’ which we don’t suffer from anyway…

In the end it was like watching a super powered mind with self-imposed blinkers to blind him from anything else… than what he agrees with or those he’s decided to confront because of the ridiculousness of their ideas.

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As Dawkins the atheist that never sleeps is back on the ‘idiot lantern’ as my father-in-law calls the glowing box in the corner, I thought I’d try to clear up some ideas.

To believe something seems quite obvious to begin with but is rather fundamental to how we view the world. For example if we have a trustworthy friend who is normally well-informed we would, on the whole, believe what they are saying to be true. Then we here that someone disagrees with them – we may then doubt our friend and decide, on the balance of things to continue to believe what they were saying or we may than doubt what was said rather than the friend or both. Of course our faith/belief in our friend may be so strong that we dismiss the irksome bringer of contradiction without any thought whatsoever.

Most folk who believe in evolution have not seen the evidence or the claimed ‘proof’ – they believe in what the evolutionaries have said in their statements of evidence. Even if the evolutionaries have the complete truth of it then it still does not change that folk believe what they say because of cunning argument or well-reasoned assertion – or because, simply because, we’ve been brain washed in schools to believe what the ‘teacher’ says and that these folk are the ‘uber-teachers’ they’ve gone so far that they now appear on tv to spread their wisdom…

Belief underpins the very way we decide to live our lives. Some decide that they believe in God or not to believe in God – whilst I argued that ‘creation’ was not a ‘proof’ of a Creator – it is still something we cannot readily explain – sure we can go back to the weirdness of the speculations of before the Big Bang but we can only summarize our thoughts about prologue to the Big Bang on the whole question of ‘How then did the Big Bang happen?’ and we push the problem of our, and the planets revolving around the Sun, existence.

And so we can either say there’s some evidence for a ‘Creator’ or that in the end Science will figure it out – either way we are making a qualified statement of belief.

‘…beyond reasonable doubt…’ is the phrase used in trials as some folk in authority have decided that that is the [or should be] test to convict someone. It’s an interesting phrase – what it basically says it that you have to agree that to believe the ‘charged’ to be innocent you’d have to be mad or high… It doesn’t mean that he is innocent or guilty – that’s the level of proof a juror should ask for before declaring the ‘charged’ guilty.

Of course being a ‘level of proof’ it doesn’t mean ‘proof’ as in completely and utterly undeniable and it is this which I find problematic of Dawkins and his ilk – once at work I was ‘button-holed’ and asked, bluntly to supply ‘proof’ of God – to which I replied I could not, but if he wanted to ‘get into it’ then we could talk about ‘evidence’ but he was already walking away – Dawkins proffers the myth of ‘absolute proof’ of ‘Knowledge without question or doubt’ and if he ever gets his way he may be disappointed to learn that we just let computers do our thinking for us but before then we should recognize that that is the end of his search as a pilgrim of rationality and for his journey – I can only say I wish him well, it is when he would tear others up for not believing in his scriptures that I find him deluded and harmful and therein he is not the most rational activitist one can beleive in…

In the end we have to acknowledge that we set our standards of evidence to crank the handle and call it ‘proof’ and in doing so we may yet be more objective and rational and freer to say we believe in something.

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This may seem like a vain attempt at defending the indefensible – and depending on what is assumed it is.

Before I get into this I want to decouple some issues – which will no doubt be returned to.

Evolution does not mean ‘God’ or any other ‘Higher being/s’ do not exist. Evolution provides a description of how we got to be how we are without the necessity of such beings. That however is not new – Kant in his rambling writings – some time before Dawkins [and even Darwin] was a sparkle in his father’s eye, to coin a phrase – Kant, Immanuel examined the ‘proof’ that ‘creation’ proved the existence of God and found that while it was not a ‘proof’ – it was not enough for him to loose his faith, as a christian, over. Likewise the idea that ‘God is not necessary’ is also not proof of ‘God does not exist’!

So, where are we? Well, that philosopher Bertrand Russell [at least I think it was him… the memory… the memory… ] argued that if one were to suppose that the whole of creation as we know was created only yesterday – How would we know? and further to that if someone decided to adopt this point of view they could, entirely logically, dismiss any and all arguments we make and be completely rational in their skepticism. Like Bertrand (at least I hope so) I believe the world was created some time ago, quite a bit longer than that really – but the point remains.

But before we return to ‘sensible’ arguments – Radio 4 ran a two parter called ‘Weird Science’ some time ago – captured on a mini disc – and according to quantum theory, one of the strange things that have been theorized is that once we leave a room and shut the door – if there is no other viewer – the entire contents of the room [and this is the technical phrase] ‘collapse into a wave length probability’ or to put it another way the entire contents could ‘turn’ into gasses on the molecular level leaving the room bare of all furnishings or, even milder, you could open the door to find all the furniture stacked precariously (or even in a stable manner) in a way that is new and exciting – the largest probability is that the room will ‘appear’ as it was left and so far that’s been borne out of my experience… Of course being a christian I believe that God is everywhere and therefore there is a constant ‘viewer’ – so we can all rest safely.

But back to the point of the title – christians, and others of a Creationist bent believe in the universe being created by God or other ‘Higher Being’ and some tales would lead to the inclusion of ‘Strange Beings’ ie the cosmic cattle that lick the world out of the cosmic ice… and some would argue for different times of ‘creation’ – some creationists would entirely agree with Dawkins about the age of the universe and the means of how we are, well, ourselves. Dawkins must find these folk a little confused – Do you believe in Science and God?

But most associated with this idea are those pummeled for disagreeing with the dogma of our age – having the temerity to say that the world is only thousands of years old. Well, here’s an interesting aside – in the late eighties I knew a PhD student in Astrophysics and according to him (Hello, James, wherever you are!) folk were a little shocked when the first man got his feet on the moon as they thought there’d be a heck of a lot more dust from the moon being warmed by the Sun and then being cooled rapidly once turned round to the dark side but no doubt there’s a very rational explanation…

I have been thinking about this and according to my book – history, mankind’s story does seem to begin after the 10,000BC mark – which is not that far off from when the story of Genesis picks up. And cities spring up between the 6,000BC to 2,500BC before spreading ever wider. So, in essence we can say that history began roughly when the Creationists would say.

Now there are ‘Gap’ theories and other theories put under the whole ‘Creationist’ tag and whilst I would in some ways separate the first verse of Genesis off from the rest of the creation story which gets to a very deep sense of how the universe began which I have been informed the word ‘create’ used in that verse supposes created out of nothing – which is as good a description of the Big Bang as I’ve heard – but, needless to say, my sources may have been wrong. In a sense it doesn’t matter.

The Jews have always had it better than christians in that they never supposed that the creation story is nothing more than an explanation of our nature and place in creation. And as I write I’m aware that muslims are importing the problem of a literal idea of creation as well…

The fact that we all agree on is that we are now here, and that we’ve been here for some time. I hear Dawkins snort as the idea that we’ve been here for millions of years as part of ‘Life on Earth’ and he may be completely right [apart from the atheism bit]. The thing we don’t do is examine the problems with ‘The Theory of Evolution’ – and you may be surprised to hear this, dear reader, but there are problems…

One of the books I own told a tale of a tracked flock of birds which moved from the coast to inland and then back again – well, it could have been the other way around [the memory… the memory… ] but the point is the same – in one environment the nuts they ate were softer than the other and they found that the beak changed measurably between the two environments and that once they returned to their original starting place (much like returning to ‘GO’ on the monopoly board) the beaks returned to their original shape and form – given time and some death it is more than plausible that someone might say that the evidence left shows ‘evolution’ when what happened was ‘adaptation’ – the birds adapted to the nuts they had to eat – for ‘evolution’ to have happened it would be necessary to demonstrate that the birds of that flock could not breed with those of the original place – which was not demonstrated.

A somewhat wilder, and politically charged comment, would be the observation that the amount of protein someone consumes in their first seven years is the most influential factor for how big we humans grow – King Henry the eighth or VIII apparently was a giant among men at five foot something – now, well that’s fairly normal in the rather consumer driven west but if we take a pigmy’s child [let’s not talk about the ethics of that here] and gave them lots of meat [or other source of protein] and we’d probably get someone much larger than their parents. If we have fossils that differed in place and over grand time delay – we may find some who would argue that they’d found a short precursor to homo sapiens… which would be a false conclusion…

The other main problem evolution has is that some species have ‘anti-evolutionary’ practices – the ‘higher apes’ including chimpanzees kill their offspring if they notice anything different from the norm. This means that for evolution to work, from our ‘closest relatives’ is that a series of gradual changes that couldn’t be noticed must happen before anything comes from the random mutations that evolution needs to proceed – this does also mean that they either evolve so much they forget, as a troop or tribe, the whole different thing or they’ll evolve into something else without appearing any different…

Of course there is always the problem that Dawkins identified in his ‘Blind Watchmaker’ that the odds of life occurring on any one planet are 10 to the power 40 to 1 against…

In the end I’d say that I’m more comfortable with Robert Wright’s account in Non-zero but in the end I don’t have to believe in either a strict 10,000BC Creation or Evolution as I think that the important thing now is How Do We Deal WIth Each Other – and I think that’s a far more important matter than the rest of it…

As I noted somewhere in the middle of this post, I’ll close – we all agree that we’re here now, and that we’ve been here for some time…

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are the odds against life occurring anywhere by chance as given by Richard Dawkins in ‘The Blind Watchmaker’… [here – search for ‘odds of life’]

He then goes on a rather torturous account of how, in the end, it is an almost near certainty that life would happen somewhere. Including some rather terrible thinking – including the fact that if we toss a coin for long enough we would have a statistical anomaly on that grand size. This would only be true if the coin were being tossed in a closed system wherein all eventualities have to be born out. However, as we know if we toss a coin ten times there is no guarantee that there’ll be five heads and five tails and as with that so with the odds of life…

Yes, I’m afraid Richard Dawkins has been on the ‘box’ again making observations such as someone who believes in Creationist theories must be as mad as kite. Yet rarely does he turn his mind to his own beliefs except to reassure everybody else that he’s right.

Just to be sure though – 10 to the power of 40… hmm well, let’s see how big that is –

10 * 10 * 10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10 *10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10* 10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10 *10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10*10 and maybe one should be a 4 or a 40 but anyway – so the above sum to 1 are the odds against life as proposed by arch atheist Richard Dawkins – pretty slim chance then that life would occur anywhere then.

By chance, that is.

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