Why do people laugh at creationists? (part 10)- Transcript


Many thanks to Linda for supplying this transcript!

[0:03] clip from “LEE STROBEL The Case for a Creator Full documentary”: “If the universe looks like it’s fine-tuned for complex life, maybe there’s a fine-tuner. Maybe it was fine-tuned for life.”
“If we didn’t have the electromagnetic force you would have no bonding between chemicals. You would have no light and the list goes on. So you need all these sorts of fundamental principles have to be in place in order for life to occur. Wipe out one of those principles, wipe out one of those laws—no life.”

[0:28] Thunderf00t: Okay, so he’s saying that there’s only one unique way for life to exist. This of course is purely speculative creationist tosh. To demonstrate this point I’m going to go to the microscopic level of molecular dynamics. Shown is a molecular dynamic simulation of the bee sting protein called melatin. These simulations that are routinely used are very useful for the interpretation of experimental results and the predictions of microscopic behaviors of such systems. It’s a well-established and mature field of chemistry. There’s just one thing: there is no gravity whatsoever in these calculations. Nor is there any gravity whatsoever in the more detailed quantum mechanical calculations.

[1:12] Gravity is about 1000 billion billion billion billion times weaker than the electromagnetic force. It’s an irrelevant factor in the molecular forces which determine molecular dynamics. Which is why you can leave it out of the equation altogether.

[1:28] It’s also notable that life is remarkably robust to the absence of gravitational fields, functioning almost as well on the earth as it does in microgravity. Put simply, there is no reason whatsoever why you couldn’t get life functioning perfectly happily in a universe with no gravity.

[1:48] There are just four forces that we are aware of. That’s gravity, the strong, the weak, and the electromagnetic force. Now I’ve just shown that gravity is not necessary for the functioning of life. Further, a recent paper has suggested that a universe without the weak force would look largely indistinguishable from our current universe (Harnik, Kribs, Perez, A Universe Without Weak Interactions).

[2:09] So half of the forces that we know about are not essential for the functioning of life. So much for the creationist statement that everything needs to be perfect for life to function.

[2:22] But now let’s move on to the simple deceit of creationists:

[2:26] clip from “LEE STROBEL The Case for a Creator Full documentary”: “One example of this fine-tuning is the force of gravity.”
“Imagine a ruler divided up into one inch increments, and then stretched across the entire universe, a distance of some 14 billion light years. For the purposes of illustration, the ruler represents the possible range for gravity.”

[2:51] Thunderf00t: Yep, you always need dramatic music if you’re gonna play god and choose a new gravitational force constant to the universe. However if you want to play god, as the creationist seems intent on doing, then the limits for the gravitational constant is zero and infinity.

[3:06] However you cannot put an infinite number of finite-sized inch strips together on a finite distance—it’s impossible by definition. Like say, for instance a square with five sides. What the guy’s describing is simply mathematically impossible.

[3:23] clip from “LEE STROBEL The Case for a Creator Full documentary”: “In other words, the setting for the strength of gravity could’ve been anywhere along the ruler, but it just happens to be situated in exactly the right place so that life is possible. Now if you were to change the force of gravity by moving the setting just one inch compared to the entire width of the universe, the effect on life would be catastrophic.”

[3:45] Thunderf00t: Weell, in fairness, the animation was neat and the music was fine. However it’s still pointlessly speculative mathematical nonsense. The creationist demonstrating that he doesn’t understand mathematics is Lee Strobel, author of such books as The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for a Creator. The title of these books and his gesturing are unsurprising given that Strobel’s highest degree was not in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics—or any other scientific discipline for that matter—but law.

[4:16] Yep, that’s right. The creationist fielding the case for creation is a lawyer. Now at this point an inquiring mind will be asking ‘what is a lawyer doing making predictions about diddling with the fundamental force constant to the universe when he has no real scientific understanding of the one he currently lives in?’ In this sense, Strobel’s mathematically impossible speculation on the gravitational constant has about as much academic credibility as a burger-flipper lecturing a brain surgeon on cerebral aneurysms.

[4:47] The principle difference between lawyers and scientists is that scientists gain their reputation on track record based on what they can establish from the physical evidence and logical deduction. However for lawyers, truth is an irrelevance as the criterion that determines a successful lawyer is their ability to present a successful case, not their ability to establish truth; although obviously it helps for those who harbor a conscience if the two coincide once in a while.

[5:17] clip from A Few Good Men

[5:26] Thunderf00t: But let’s take another look at this case for a fine-tuned universe. There’s about 75 cubic kilometers of life on earth, while the volume of the earth is approximately one trillion cubic kilometers. That means that by volume the earth is approximately one billionth of a percent life.

[5:48] For me, this device is an example of fine-tuning. For this object, each of the thousand billion billion billion billion atoms are arranged—sorry, fine-tuned—for the purpose of human transport. Now if you found a rock of comparable size and found a fleck of iron in it the size of a pinhead that’s approximately the equivalent volume fraction of life on earth, would you conclude that the rock was fine-tuned for the purpose of being a car? So why would you conclude that the earth is fine-tuned for the purpose of life?

[6:23] However, it’s better than that, as the creationists in this video go on to argue that we are the only life in the Milky Way. Fantastic. The volume between us and the nearest galaxy is about five times [Equation]cubic kilometers. That means that the creationists are happy to argue that something where you find one part in [Equation] that works, means that that object is fine-tuned for that purpose.

[6:51] Now for the creationist to call this a fine-tuned universe for the purpose of life is like taking a billion earths and finding a single iron atom on one of those earths and then concluding that these billion earths are fine-tuned for a purpose.

[7:08] In summary, it is deeply unconvincing to try and argue that a universe which has essentially no life in it is fine-tuned for the purpose of life.

[7:24] clip from “LEE STROBEL The Case for a Creator Full documentary”: “Wipe out one of those laws—no life.”
“Maybe there’s a fine-tuner. Maybe it was fine-tuned for life.”

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