Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Against All Odds

Casey Luskin at Evolution News and Views has a video of Roger Penrose, one of the most accomplished theoretical physicists of our time giving a lecture on the initial conditions of the universe. Luskin notes that Penrose is not, as far as he knows, sympathetic to intelligent design, but when you hear what he says about the initial entropy of the universe you have to wonder why not.

Penrose says that the entropy just after the Big Bang was calibrated to a tolerance of 10000000000 to the 123rd power. Entropy is a measure of how ordered the initial explosion was, and if the value had deviated from the value it actually had by one part in 10000000000^123rd the universe would never have formed. This is, as Penrose notes, incredible precision.

To give you an idea of the size of that number consider that in the entire universe there are approximately 10^80 atoms.

I once read somewhere that scientists usually reject something as having occurred by chance if the odds of it happening randomly are 1 in 10^17. Evidently, though, if the alternative to believing in chance is the existence of an intelligent architect of the universe then it doesn't matter to a lot of people what the odds are against chance explanations, they'll be clung to with all the tenacity of a man gripping a cliff face with his fingertips lest he be plunged into the abyss.


Whatever Happened to Truth?

Some years ago a book about the post-modern subjectivization of truth titled Whatever Happened to Truth? was published. I thought of that title when I read an article at Breitbart recently about how opponents of the tea party hope to smear and discredit it, not by countering their arguments, not by offering a better way forward, but by infiltrating their rallies and shouting bigoted remarks that an otiose media can be depended upon to impute to conservative bigotry.

The Breitbart article notes that the group's website states that:

"whenever possible we will act on behalf of the tea-party in ways that exaggerate their least appealing qualities (Misspelled protest signs, wild claims in tv interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public's opinion of them. We will also use the inside information we have gained in order to disrupt and derail their plans."

The Breitbart piece adds this:

Opponents of the fiscally conservative tea party movement say they plan to infiltrate and dismantle the political group by trying to make its members appear to be racist, homophobic and moronic.

Jason Levin, creator of crashtheteaparty.org, said Monday the group has 65 leaders in major cities across the country who are trying to recruit members to infiltrate tea party events for April 15-tax filing day, when tea party groups across the country are planning to gather and protest high taxes.

"Do I think every member of the tea party is a homophobe, racist or a moron? No, absolutely not," Levin said. "Do I think most of them are homophobes, racists or morons? Absolutely."

Levin has quite artfully shot himself and his movement in the foot by inadvertently managing to cast suspicion on every allegation of tea-party misbehavior both past and future. Why, given the tactics that this group is embracing, should we believe that the insults and threats that congresspersons alleged they heard during the health care fracas actually came from opponents of the bill? Why should we think that any such excesses that occur in the future should be imputed to tea-partiers and not to lefty imposters? The left has Levin to thank for disarming them of one of their more potent propaganda weapons.

In any event, Levin's behavior is rather typical of the secular left. Sensing that they have no arguments with which to counter the tea-party's fiscal conservatism they plan to resort, essentially, to lying about it. Let's see who on the left is willing to condemn Levin and his group for their despicable contempt for the truth and their appalling willingness to defame and libel their opponents. Perhaps the condemnations will start rolling in shortly, but if they don't it'll imply that a lot of liberals don't see anything wrong with what Levin is proposing. If that's the case then we'll have learned (or confirmed) something very important about the character of people on the left, i.e. too many of them need more than what they have.