[asa] An Intelligent Design Riddle

From: Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Oct 20 2009 - 19:33:25 EDT

This is a question I've been wondering about for quite a while now, and I'm
curious of how christians on this list (and on both sides of the ID debate)
would answer.

Popular science author John Gribbin recently wrote a book called "In Search
of the Multiverse". The multiverse aspect alone is not what interests me,
however. What's interesting is that Gribbin is using the multiverse theory
to suggest that our universe was created. From the book:

"The intelligence required to do the job may be superior to ours, but it is
a finite intelligence reasonably similar to our own, not an infinite and
incomprehensible God. The most likely reason for such an intelligence to
make universes is the same as the reason why people do things like climbing
mountains or studying the nature of subatomic particles using accelerators
like the LHC – because they can. A civilization that has the technology to
make baby universes might find the temptation irresistible, while at the
higher levels of universe design, if the superior intelligences are anything
at all like us there would be an overwhelming temptation to improve upon the
design of their own universes. This provides the best resolution yet to the
puzzle Albert Einstein used to raise, that ‘the most incomprehensible thing
about the Universe is that it is comprehensible.’ The Universe is
comprehensible to the human mind because it was designed, at least to some
extent, by intelligent beings with minds similar to our own. Fred Hoyle put
it slightly differently. ‘The Universe,’ he used to say, ‘is a put-up job.’
I believe that he was right. But in order for that ‘put-up job’ to be
understood, we need all the elements of this book."

Gribbin isn't the first person to make this observation. Paul Davies
suggested this sort of conclusion became very likely on multiverse views
(and he regarded it as a reductio ab absurdum of such views), Martin Rees
has apparently suggestly it may be possible or likely. There are others, and
variations on the theme (Nick Bostrom's simulation argument, and so on.)

But I have two questions for those on this list.

To ID proponents: Is John Gribbin making an ID claim here? If not, why not?
And if so, what are your thoughts on this?

To other christians on the list regardless of ID sympathies: If our universe
is, in fact, an intentional creation - even if we speculate that omnipotence
may not be strictly necessary to achieve this - isn't it the case that
deism, at the very least, is true?

And I want to play with a prediction here. A lot of time and attention has
been paid to the "New Atheists", though it's been petering out over the past
couple years in my estimation. To be frank, I don't think atheism in the
style of Dawkins and company has much of a future - too empty, too dogmatic.
What I suspect does have a future, however, are speculations like Gribbin's.
Personally, I don't think this is atheism. At the same time, it certainly
isn't (or is not necessarily, at least) Christianity.

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Received on Tue Oct 20 19:33:59 2009

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