Re: evolution archive list

Susan B (
Mon, 31 May 1999 12:23:45 -0500 (CDT)

Brian quoting Pagels quoted by Bertvan:
>>Let me give an interesting quote taken from one of the most
>>often cited papers in the Anthropic Principle literature.
>>It is taken from the closing paragraph. I'm giving it in the
>>hopes that you may have second thoughts about the stereotypes
>>that you seem to have developed. Here's the quote:
> >There does exist a line of thinking that _is_ in direct
> >competition with the anthropic principle. Edward Harrison,
> >in his textbook _Cosmology_, advises his readers early on:
> >"We shall occasionally refer to the anthropic principle,
> >and the reader may, if it is preferred, substitute the
> >alternative theistic principle." The theistic principle
> >is quite straightforward: the reason the universe seems
> >tailor-made for our existence is that it _was_ tailor-made
> >for our existence; some supreme being created it as a home
> >for intelligent life. Of course, some scientists, believing
> >science and religion mutually exclusive, find this idea
> >unattractive. Faced with questions that do not neatly fit
> >into the framework of science, they are loath to resort to
> >religious explanation; yet their curiosity will not let
> >them leave matters unaddressed.

faced with questions that do not neatly fit into the framework of science, a
true scientist will not say "some god or other did it" but will remodel
science. Scientists, by and large, love things that *don't* fit. Questions
are just more interesting than answers. If you have a one-size-fits-all
answer--some god did it--then all the questions magically disappear. And, of
course, so does science.

Life is short, but it is also very wide.