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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Argument from Personal Incredulity
The Infinite Improbability Drive

Two intellectual Titans to thank for the inspiration for this blog: Richard Dawkins and Douglas Adams. Dawkins doesn’t like the API but he must be credited with naming it. Adams invented the IID. As Will Smith says in Independence Day, “I’ve gotta get me one of these!” Another useful bit of kit is Bill Occam’s famous razor.

Imagine a ruler 19 billion light years in length, marked at one inch intervals. That’s a long ruler. Somewhere between 0 and the other end of the ruler is a number which describes the strength of Gravity. It has got to be where it is (not an inch each either way): otherwise Gravity will be too weak or too strong to permit a star forming universe to come into being. Physicists tell us that nothing in Science requires Gravity to have this value. It is the factory setting. Prof Dawkins and his ilk don’t believe that this setting was chosen intentionally. I apply the API: You have got to be kidding, right?

I understand that there are quite a lot more factory settings that precisely meet the requirements of a life-producing universe and would forbid a life-producing universe if they were greater or smaller by a hair’s breadth. Gravity alone will do. The Universe was designed.

The cell is the irreducible unit of life. It is packed with nano-machines and encyclopaedias’ worth of instructions on how to build them and operate them. The API tells me that cells didn't construct themselves without a deliberate plan. Materialists tell me that they did. Cells were designed.

I have kept this deliberately simple. For much more detail, I refer you to Michael Denton’s Nature’s Destiny and The Privileged Planet by Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez. Both books rely on the accumulation of data (much as The Origin of Species did).  My challenge is to those who would call me unscientific or antiscientific simply for applying the API. Plenty would. But their objection to my position is not scientific: it is metaphysical. All explanations, they say, must rely on physical causes only. Where they dredged up this rule is a mystery.

The IID, featured in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is a wondrous device. When Improbability is set to MAX, anything can happen. Dawkins must have one.

There may not be any way to resolve the conflict between the Infinite Improbability Drive and the Argument from Personal Incredulity. Unless it is this: one comes from a novel; the other comes from common sense.

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