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New Scientist authors exhibit promiscuous teleology

May 21, 2009

I was reading a book review over at the New Scientist website. And I came across this paragraph:

Physics and cosmology alone may have the answers, says Calle. Combine eternal inflation, in which the primordial false vacuum continuously grows and decays, with string theory and you end up with a multiverse – a vast collection of universes, each of which has a different amount of dark energy. We find ourselves in one where it has just the right value for stars, planets and life because… well, we couldn’t find ourselves anywhere else.


Promiscuous teleology, anyone? This is precisely why I criticize scientists and journalists with that beat!

For the love of god’s blonde hair, guys; we’re not here because our universe has “just the right values”, we’re here because we’re a natural product of this universe’s values/cosmological constants! Saying it has “just the right values” gives it the connotation that it’s a perfect fit for our existence, which necessarily implies a view of ourselves as separate from the external world, that is to say, the fact of our existence is not literally the product of the external world… which is what cosmology establishes in the first place!

If we are the product of the universe, then it’s a bit silly to wonder agape at how the universe suits us! It’s like the banana marvelling at the banana tree’s branches and how well it seems to fit one of its cut off stems.


From → Essays

  1. anonymous coward permalink

    I’m no genius and I’m also not a promiscuous teleligioustical person but could life have evolved in any other conditions? the conditions needed for consciousness to develop, not talking about self awareness here, do we have any other conditions in which life can evolve? like say, if gravity constant was one bit less, then all stuff would just drift apart from each other and nothing solid would exist. no stars planets etc. nothing at all in space expect floating tiny bits of tiny stuff too small and not being attracted to any other tiny stuff so nothing ever forms. not beeing attracted to other attractive and sexy tiny stuff. did u catch that? that was me anthropolologylosing the tiny stuff by talking about attractive tiny stuff, thats such a common thing almost everyone does and its considered cute. i hate it! i hate humans thinking themselves to be something special in the universe or even on this planet. even most science and theories are fuled by emotional sentiments, bending the scientific model to fit their own world views instead of relying purely on observations and changing the models according to the observations.

    like einstein said (in a story) ***””””””!!@$#@#
    “Most systems set out to prove or rationalize something that they have made their minds up about already. But that’s a hopeless way to proceed if what you really want to know is the truth. science doesn’t do that. it’s goal is to understand what’s really out there-what the world is really like-and it accepts that whatever the reality is. it will be totally uninfluenced by what you or i might choose to think, or by how many others we might persuade to agree with us. the truth isn’t impressed and doesn’t care. that’s why scientists don’t pay much attention to debating skills. we leave those to lawmakers and theologians. the eloquence and emotional appeal of the way ideas are presented has nothing to do with whether they’re right or not.”
    “pretty obvious when you think about it.” Cassidy commented. “just plain common sense.”
    “but that’s all science is, cassidy.” Einstein said. “formalized common sense. and since the purpose is to understand the world as it really is, and not to persuade anybody of anything in particular, there is no place for deception, especially unconscious self deception. you can’t get away with fooling yourself. because all that will happen at the end of the process if you fail to detect your errors is that your aeroplane won’t fly. the laws of nature, you see, can’t be decieved. so there is a strong underlying ethical principle woven into the very fabric of the scientific process-something which is all too often overlooked. wouldn’t it be nice if the same were true in certain other fields of human activity?”
    einstein put down the mug and sat back to spread his hands on the table. “so instead of trying to prop up the things that it would like to be true, science does the opposite-it tries everything it can think of to bring ideas down. that’s what experiments are designed to do-to prove theories false. and if the theory survives, it comes out so much the stronger. hence like an evolutionary process, which indeed it is, science is all the time testing itself and correcting itself. it thrives on questions, dissent, and criticism. the most ruthless scrutiny that it is subjected to is its own. and so it stays healthy and grows sturdier.
    “but how pathetic and fragile are the systems of thought that daren’t expose their followers to any dissenting view or alternative explanation. such systems are forced to ban what they have no answers for, and to supress everything they can’t compete with. eventually they wither and they die. eventually the oppressors always end up being buried by their intended victims.”
    einstein took his pipe from his mouth and nodded solemnly. “so it will be with hitler and his ‘reich that will last a thousand years'” he assured his listeners. “and that gentlemen, is why i continue to have faith in people.”

  2. Salahudin al-Rawandi permalink

    Wow. Brilliant…!!!

    And Einstein’s hope for humanity is a very interesting perspective!!!! It’s refreshing for me because lately i’ve been extremely cynical about humanity.

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