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Unread December 8th, 2004, 06:14 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 174
Cool Are we here by chance? I think not.

Todd, forget about deity—wrong question, wrong test. The relevant question is what are the odds that the universe and we are here by chance?
For me that's a strenuously abstract question, but no I don't think our existence is the simple random outcome of cosmic dice.

I suspect that things could easily have been very different for us, or that our existence might never have occurred at all, based on different chance events happening, but I don't think we are here as some simple random outcome of cosmic dice. As the "anthropic principle"" suggests, an awful lot of things had to line up in particular ways to make us possible. "Random outcome" would be a very misleading way to think of it. More like one remarkable outcome of many possible ones, some of which are remarkable in other ways.

It suggests to me any of at least three broad implications: (1) an awful lot of universes and environments exist and that we are aware of being in one of the very few places that could support someone who can be aware of such a thing, (2) that there might more things similar to ourselves out there than we generally imagine, or (3) that there was some intention or plan to bring us about.

That step I can take with many theologians. Some of them, like the process theologians, who have no interest in theocratizing science, I can even walk with a little farther and understand their ideas in metaphorical and meaningful human terms. But eventually we part when my fascination with figuring things out in more or less mechanical terms runs up against their requirement of explaining the totality of human experience in a socially meaningful way.

At some point we have to decide whether spirit exists on its own or is a rather special way of looking at certain aspects of nature in its otherwise dreary looking physical form. I just find that leap to a literal existence of entirely independent spirit too far to jump. That's why a specific planning intelligence beyond our ken that guides evolution or intervenes in quantum mechanics or plays games with our microtubules just doesn't seem to work for me intellectually, even though those are tempting reconciliations of our intuitions and any of them would certainly provide a lot more comforting picture overall than a universe of nothing but cold, dark partcles and forces.

kind regards,

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