Thursday, March 5, 2009


Book reviewing might be subtitled "the good, the bad and the ugly"

On the other side of the spectrum from the one that Mr. Crossley-Holland has set forth (below), comes Robert L. Park's...

I have just begun it and am not reading it exclusively but at the beginning of the book he discusses the current movement among religious sects to try and unite science with religion.

In the first few pages (after revealing the mounds of money available to scientists who support and argue for intelligent design) he goes on to address the "Anthropic Principle", the principle which claims that "The fundamental parameters of the universe are such as to permit the creation of observers within it." or as he paraphrases so well... "If things were different, things would not be the way things are."

He addresses more directly a 2001 analysis of the anthropic principle "Probabilities and the Fine-Tuning Argument: a Skeptical View" by Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew, and Eric Vestrup. They wrote, "The Principle of Indifference: it is unreasonable to suggest that any one range of values for the constants is more probable a priori than any other similar range." Taking the author's claim on from a slightly different angle than is generally heard, Park brilliantly responds, "If the universe is designed for life, it must be said that it is a shockingly inefficient design. There are vast reaches of the universe in which life as we know it is clearly impossible: gravitational forces would be crushing, or radiation levels are too high for complex molecules to exist, or temperatures would make the formation of stable chemical bonds impossible. Even in our own solar system it seems increasingly likely that Earth is the only outpost of life. The search for life to which we are not related-- exterrestrial life-- is perhaps the greatest quest of science, but so far it has been disappointing. Fine-tuned for life? It would make more sense to ask why God designed a universe so inhospitable to life."

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