Sunday, May 18, 2014

In Praise of The Written Word

While reflecting on “Is Atheism Irrational?” I was struck at how reading Alvin Plantinga’s words allow me to really digest what he says and examine whether it makes sense - to an extent that I might never be able to if I were in direct verbal conversation. For example, Plantinga says

...fine-tuning is vastly more likely given theism than given atheism.

Although he spent a paragraph leading up to this conclusion, he fails to (or chooses to not to) unpack what the apparent fine tuning of the universe means. First, refer to Douglas Adam’s parable of the puddle:

This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'

Following Adams, we can say that we exist in a human-shaped puddle. we exist in a universe that supports our existence. We would thus expect any “tunable” parameters to be in the range in which our existence can be sustained, and we do. There’s nothing surprising about this, and absolutely nothing that implies a fine-tuner, or even a ((gasp)) god. Second, here is no reason to expect the “cause” to be a rational agent such as god is usually claimed to be. It may be a brute fact. It may be probability. The fact that we have insufficient information to say why it is this way is no reason to fabricate a cause.

It’s my freedom to read, hopefully digest and synthesize, and write down my conclusions on topics like this that makes me appreciate the written word.

Long live the written word!

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