Tag: Atheism

Is Earth ‘tuned’ for life?

Alot of people subscribe to a mild form of creationism, although they would not call it as such. They don’t believe in Adam and Eve and all that bulls**t, but I often hear the argument that our planet is somehow ‘tuned’ to permit our existence.

This is an argument from design, the circumstances of life on Earth seem to be an amazing coincidence, so therefore, it points to a designer who ‘tuned’ these conditions to allow life to evolve here. It is certainly true that conditions here on Earth are astoundingly fortunate, liquid water, energy from the sun, it all seems to be almost too perfect.

I totally reject this argument. It’s narrow minded and childish. If I take a guitar and drop it, the tuning gets knocked off and it sounds horrible, how horrible depends on the mechanics of the fall, how hard it hit the ground etc. If I drop it again, it will go to a different tuning, again, seemingly random.

What if (assuming my guitar is made out of adamatium or something similar) I was to drop my guitar millions of times? Is it not conceivable that on one of those millions of occasions, the bang knocks the guitar INTO tune perfectly? In fact, even with millions of possibilities, the odds of that happening become quite high.

How does this fit in with the ‘Earth is tuned’ argument? Well, estimates put the number of galaxies in the universe in the hundreds of billions. The number of stars in our own galaxy is estimated at roughly 100 billion. If you have 300 billion galaxies, all containing 100 billion stars that could potentially have a rocky planet orbiting at a favorable distance you get 1×10^22 (or I with 22 zeros following it) possible solar systems.

Thats a hell of a lot of chances for life. In fact, the more you think of it, the more likely it seems that there is life on other planets that happen to have the same favorable conditions as our own.

But theres more, all this revolves around the assumption that life as we know it is the only way that life can exist. What if there are other planets with conditions not conducive to carbon based life forms but perfect for other types of life?  Creatures and forms we cannot begin to imagine, living happily in seas of methane or rivers of mercury. Taking this into account, it seems almost probable that we are not alone in the universe.

There’s nothing special about the Earth in the context of all the other planets in the Universe, yes it can support life, but, it seems likely, so could millions of others. The Earths special features are not a miracle of God, but a miracle of coincidence.

I wonder have those other life forms created religion to explain things they don’t understand like we have done.

Open Letter To Dermot Ahern re: Blasphemy Bill

To try to raise awareness to this concern, here is a copy of an email sent by me, to Dermot Ahern, regarding the upcoming blasphemy legislation in Ireland http://blasphemy.ie for more details.

Mr Ahern,

I am emailing in relation to the proposed Defamation BIll and the parts of the bill regarding blasphemy.

A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.”

The definition given of “blasphemous matter” is matter “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

This is absolutely unbelievable. It is a direct affront to the fundamental human right of free speech. To protect people who have a particular set of beliefs is completely against equality. The definition of blasphemous matter contains the phrase “any religion”. I subscribe to no religion and as such am an atheist, this law would value the opinions of religious people above my own and discriminate against me and the thousands of atheists around the country.

Suppose a religion or denomination of a religion complains that the advertising of equal opportunity jobs is blasphemous, because this religion believes, as many do, that women are inferior to men. By this law, they would be perfectly entitled to complain and fine such a company €100,000.

The main problem with the law is that the definition of blasphemous material is loose and open to interpretation. Because everyone will have a different definition, religious groups will use this to suppress debate and healthy discourse on issues of religion.

People will become scared to voice their opinions because of the fear of a huge fine. I hope I don’t need to explain why that would be a terrifying situation.

The law opens a door to a slippery slope which at the end, results in a police state, where even speech is controlled.

I implore you to rethink this almost Orwellian legislation and be open to new debate and public opinion. I also would urge you to visit http://blasphemy.ie/ to see the opposition to this bill.

A concerned citizen,

Shane Tuohy
web – shanetuohy.com
twitter – shanetuohy