The Atheist Experience - Hopefully They're Not All This Ignorant!
by Rich Deem

Fine tuning

Welcome Atheistexperience Visitor

You may wonder why the atheistexperience blog would send you directly to a rebuttal of their pathetic critique of GodAndScience.org. We wonder why, too. Then again, maybe God sent you here!

Rich Deem

The atheistexperience first complaint is:

"WTF? What 'exquisite fine tuning'? And what evidence is presented by Deem to support this assumption?"

You will notice the use of expletives. WTF doesn't stand for "What The Fudge." Why the emotionalism? Do they want us to think that all atheists like to swear? Is this a positive trait for atheism? I'll let you be the judge of that.

Here they are critiquing "General Introduction for Non-Believers", and are looking for mountains of evidence. Did they ever bother to read the title of the page? What do they think "Introduction" means? There are links to very long pages that detail the evidence for design. Maybe they just haven't (or can't?) read that far?


There isn't much content on the critique. However, what content is there is quite telling. Let's take it apart one piece at a time.

"If the universe is "exquisitely fine tuned" for life, why the hell is almost all of it hard vacuum hovering around absolute zero?"

More "positive" atheist expletives. What can I say?

Although atheistexperience doesn't know the answer to these questions, scientists do know why the universe is nearly all vacuum at 2.7°K. The primary reason is because the universe is 13.8 billion years old. It wasn't always this way. In fact, initially, it was nearly infinitely hot and dense. Too much heat is not a good thing for living organisms. At temperatures above a few thousand degrees, molecules do not exist. You can't have life without complex molecules. So, temperatures near the lower end of the thermometer are required for life. Unstated, but implied is the common atheist complaint that the universe is too large to have been created for mankind. Unknown to most atheists is the fact that the universe must be this large for life to exist in it. If the universe were smaller than what it is, then not enough matter would have been present in the beginning to produce elements higher than hydrogen (through nuclear fusion, during the Big Bang nucleosynthesis phase). The result would have been a universe that was composed entirely of elemental hydrogen. You can't make life with just elemental hydrogen! If the universe were just one part in 1:1059 larger than what it is, the universe would have collapsed on itself before life could have begun. So the universe is exactly the size it needs to be for life to exist. Why is so much of the universe composed of empty space? When the first stars and galaxies formed, the universe was quite dense, so galaxy collisions were quite common. Disruption of stellar orbits through frequent galactic collisions is not conducive to life. In addition, the early universe consisted of hydrogen, helium, lithium, and small amounts of heavier elements. No rocky planet formation was possible at this time. It took billions of years to produce the heavy elements within the stellar furnaces and innumerable supernova events to disperse those elements throughout the galaxies. In fact, our Sun is known as a "metal-rich" star, which is necessary to get rocky planets. Most stars in our galaxy are not "metal-rich" and so would be expected to form few, if any rocky planets. If the author of atheistexperience were older, he would have remembered Carl Sagan's famous saying, "We are star stuff." So, the reason for the low density of matter throughout the universe is threefold:

  1. Too high a density and the universe would have collapsed on itself early in its history
  2. High density results in a high frequency of galactic collisions, which disrupt stellar and planetary orbits
  3. Billions of years of nuclear fusion were required to produce the elements necessary for the formation of rocky planets and life, resulting in further expansion of the universe (and less density)

Obviously, the author of atheistexperience needs to study cosmology a little more (or maybe check the links, first).


More claims for poor design:

"If it were so 'exquisitely fined tuned' for life, why isn't every planet and every asteroid we've ever explored literally teeming with life? Why is there only one planet in our solar system capable of sustaining life?"

If God's purpose were to create life throughout the universe, then the comment might have merit. However, the Bible says that God created life on earth to provide for mankind's needs.1 Obviously, mankind doesn't need food on other planets/asteroids to survive.


"And why is so little of this planet conducive to human life, supposedly made in Deem's god's image? (Nearly three-quarters of the Earth is salt water. We can't breathe the stuff, and we need fresh, not salt, water to survive.)"

There are over 6 billion human beings on this planet. I would say that those numbers would not be expected to result from a planet that was not suited to our species. I'm not sure I get the part about breathing salt water. Maybe atheists would be tempted to do that, but most the Christians prefer air. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but it would be really stupid to design a land species that required salt water. All land creatures require fresh water, because fresh water is what is found on land. Coincidentally, all marine species require salt water, because that is what is available where they live. The reason the water in the oceans is salty is because of erosion of salts from the land. Now, I guess one could have designed the land without salts - but then the plants wouldn't grow, which would be bad for land animals. Now, if atheistexperience is suggesting that we not have any oceans, then that would be a problem, since life requires water. If the earth were not covered with large oceans, the climate of earth would not be conducive to advanced life. This is because the oceans moderate the climate (basic climatology seems to have escaped their notice, also). If most of the earth were land, the oceans would freeze over in the winter hemisphere (especially if they were composed of fresh water, which freezes at a higher temperature than salt water). Likewise, the summer hemisphere would suffer from extremely high temperatures, probably making them uninhabitable by higher animals species. So much for atheistexperience ideas about "good" planetary design!

The fact that the earth has large amounts of water is not surprising. Virtually all of the planets probably had at least some water at some point in their histories. What is surprising is that earth has any dry land at all. The only reason why earth has any land is because of tectonic activity. Without tectonic activity, the water cycle would erode all the land and earth would be a waterworld. How many other rocky planets in our solar system have tectonic activity? None! Even Venus, which is almost exactly the same size as earth has no tectonic activity. Of course, that is just a lucky coincidence. According to Nick Hoffman:

"Around countless stars in our galaxy, and innumerable galaxies through space there will surely be Terrestrial planets, yet they will not be Earth-like. They will not have glistening Silver Moons orbiting silently through space around them, but only small dull rocks whizzing in orbit. The worlds will be, almost without exception, waterworlds." (Venus - What the Earth would have been like from spacedaily.com)


"Most of the universe is also full of extremely nasty radiation that would give you slightly more than a dark tan and a bad hair day, too."

Atheistexperience probably doesn't realize that we don't live in "most of the universe." The fact that the earth does not have all this "nasty radiation" is actually rather surprising. The main concern of NASA in considering whether to send humans to Mars is the risk that they will either die directly as the result of a solar storm, or may acquire cancer at some later date because they had received a dose of radiation beyond a lifetime recommended amount (and that is in a mere 2 1/2 years period of time). And Mars is further from the Sun, meaning that radiation is less there then it would be at earth's position in the Solar System. Why doesn't the earth receive this lethal amount of radiation? It turns out that much of the radiation is reflected by earth's magnetic field. Most of the rest is absorbed by the atmosphere. How many other rocky planets in the Solar System have a significant magnetic field? None! Of course, that is just a lucky coincidence.

Now, if atheistexperience is suggesting that the universe should have been designed without any of the "nasty radiation", then they have failed again at cosmology 101. Radiation is absolutely essential to the entire workings of the cosmos. Without radiation, stars would not be able to undergo fusion reactions, and the universe would be a very cold place, indeed. So much for atheistexperience ideas about "good" design of the universe!


So whence cometh this Christian claim of the "exquisite fine tuning" of the universe? If you answered, "He just pulled it out of his ass!", go to the head of the class.

More vulgarities. This is such a great example of a person who obviously hates all Christians. And they think we are intolerant!


"I have never met a single atheist—even, come to think of it, the ones who are scientists—express a belief in a "super universe" in order to explain the existence of this one."

We aren't really surprised that atheistexperience has never met anybody who believes in a super universe concept. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised is they had never met any scientists at all. However, virtually all the atheist cosmologist believe in some kind of multiverse theory. The most vocal example is Andrei Linde. Ever heard of Stephen Hawking? He's another one. The reason for this belief in a multiverse is because nobody in their right mind would believe that the universe we have just happened to be the way it is. First of all, the universe is not eternal, but began only 13.8 billion years ago, in what has been called the Big Bang. However, atheistexperience seems to believe that the universe arose out of nothing and just happened to have the right physical laws. Does this seem logical to you? Here is what Dyson has to say about the probability the universe exists the way it does.

"The vast majority of the space consists of states which are macroscopically "dead de Sitter;" that is, nearly empty de Sitter containing only some thermal radiation. A tiny subset of the states are anthropically acceptable, meaning that they contain complex structures such as stars and galaxies, and a very small subset of those are macroscopically indistinguishable from our universe (labeled MIFOU in the figure). Inflationary initial conditions occupy an even smaller fraction of the space. Trajectories which pass through the inflationary patch will almost always lead immediately to the MIFOU region, "mixing" into it in a "porous," phase-space-area-preserving manner. The vast majority of the points in the MIFOU region did not come from inflation, but rather from unstable trajectories originating in the dead region. Finally, any trajectory in the dead region will remain there almost all of the time, but will occasionally enter the anthropically acceptable region, and very much more rarely the MIFOU region, and almost never the inflationary region. Therefore, livable universes are almost always created by fluctuations into the "miraculous" states discussed above."2

The above quote comes from an article Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant. Why are the implications of the cosmological constant disturbing? Dyson is an atheist, and the cosmological constant implies a level of design that an atheist would not predict. Of course atheistexperience doesn't seem to be concerned about such mundane issues. They prefer to cover their eyes, claiming the evidence doesn't exist at all.


"Now, I am no physicist."

Yes, we can agree on that one!

Wow! That was fun!


These are the links to the pages atheistexperience failed to read. These pages include all the literature citations that were not included on this rush transcript.


References Top of page

  1. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; (Genesis 1:27-29)
  2. Dyson, L., M. Kleban, and L. Susskind. 2002. Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant. Reprint from arXiv.

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Last Modified September 2, 2006

 

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