“In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the collective name for several ways of asserting that physical and chemical theories, especially astrophysics and cosmology, need to take into account that there is life on Earth, and that one form of that life, Homo sapiens, has attained intelligence. The only kind of universe humans can occupy is one that is similar to the current one… The anthropic principle has given rise to some confusion and controversy, partly because the phrase has been applied to several distinct ideas. All versions of the principle have been accused of undermining the search for a deeper physical understanding of the universe. Those who invoke the anthropic principle often invoke multiple universes or an intelligent designer, both controversial and criticised for being untestable and therefore outside the purview of accepted science.”
Then, there is the bus advertisement row in London concerning the British atheist society (or humanist society, I don’t remember) that paid to have the advertisement, “There’s probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy life,” plastered on buses around Christmas.
Ruth Glendhill from the Times Online wrote an article about all that entitled, “D*** and b**** the atheist bus!” In it, is quoted “Clifford Longley, former Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Times and more recently of The Tablet and the BBC’s TFTD,” who writes:
”The statement ‘Thereâ€™s probably no God’, as currently seen on the side of London buses, is untrue and dishonest, in so far as the word ‘probably’ completely fails to reflect the true state of the scientific argument. In fact it would be honest and true to say the opposite – ‘There probably is a God.’ A fair reading of the material below could lead to no other conclusion… In fact, this ‘fine-tuning’ is so pronounced, and the ‘coincidences’ are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse ‘The Anthropic Principle,’ which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind. Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the ‘fine-tuning’ and conclude that the universe is ‘too contrived’ to be a chance event.
“Dr. Dennis Scania, head of Cambridge University Observatories, said in a BBC science documentary, The Anthropic Principle: ‘If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature – like the charge on the electron – then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.'”
The commentary by Longley goes on to quote numerous other scientists regarding the “Anthropic Principle.”
Yesterday, during Home Group evolution came up, for what reason I don’t remember. Despite the fact that the biological sciences are built upon the notion of some form of evolution (whether Darwinian or something else), if we honestly regard this issue of origins scientifically, we have to say, “We don’t know.” For science, what is observable and verifiable (repeatable) is of the utmost importance. We are still in the midst of observation and investigation and while some want to say that the conclusions can already be drawn, methinks conclusions are bit premature.
When asked what I think or believe about Creationism, Intelligent Design, or Evolution (perceived as being Darwinian for the most part), I simply say, “I don’t know.” That’s the truth. I don’t. I have a belief, but not the information to assert such a belief. Yet, I can say without reservation that I believe… God created. To me, my faith or understanding of Scripture is not one bit threatened if God created in six literal 24-hour days with all creatures in the present form or whether God created over billions of years through evolutionary processes.
For some people, I think the likelihood of admitting to themselves something like, “I don’t know,” is too difficult, so we get religious fundamentalists that assert that even if scientific evidence proves an old-earth and evolutionary processes, they will not believe it due to their specific interpretations of Genesis 1 & 2, and secular fundamentalists that assert that despite the lack of complete, repeatable, observable evidence for evolution-without-any-intelligent-involvement, that it must be asserted as fact.
We will have even more bus advertisements in a new form of the Culture Wars.
Update: Here is Wikipedia’s quick and dirty description of the Scientific Method