Tag Archives: creationism

Universe thrilled to find its purpose in life

“Optimism and pessimism, as cosmic philosophies, show the same naive humanism; the great world, so far as we know it from the philosophy of nature, is neither good nor bad, and is not concerned to make us happy or unhappy. All such philosophies spring from self-importance and are best corrected by a little astronomy.” – Bertrand Russell

Astronomy magazine published one of the coolest graphics ever this month:

Galaxies poster

The large center oval shows the distribution of 150 million or so galaxies in the local universe.  Every dot represents a galaxy of millions to billions of stars.  The smaller ovals are slices of the universe at various distances, and thus various times, from the Milky Way.  I love it because it takes the unimaginably large, unimaginably numerous, and displays it on a single page in a comprehensible way.  Sort of puts our smallness into perspective, no?

Well, apparently not if you’re Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life and recent Colbert Report guest.  Here’s what he had to say about our place in the universe.

In case you’re having trouble with the video, here’s what Warren said near the beginning of the interview:

Well, God is the creator, and He created the entire universe just so He could create this galaxy, just so He could create this planet, just so He could tilt it at the right axis so it wouldn’t burn up or freeze up, to sustain human life because he wanted to create human beings, he wanted to create you to love you.

That’s right — the entire universe, all those millions of galaxies pictured in Astronomy, were put here just so God could create humans.  Wow.  Just wow.

Let’s put the existence of humans in a little historical context.  Current estimates place the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years, plus or minus a couple hundred million years.  The Milky Way formed not long after (in astronomical terms), probably more than 13 billion years ago.  The earth formed around 4.55 billion years ago.  The first life arose somewhere between 4.4 billion and 2.7 billion years ago.  Modern homo sapiens, the species to which all existing humans belong, didn’t arise until approximtely 120,000 years ago.  (Rick Warren, incidentally, was born in 1954.)

Riddle me this, Pastor Rick.  If God created the universe so he could create this galaxy, so he could create this planet and tilt it at just the right axis, just so he could create human beings and love them, why did he wait 13,699,880,000 years to get down to the lovin’?

The simple and correct answer is that humans are a product of the universe’s natural processes, not its intended beneficiaries.  We are tiny, impotent creatures, crawling across a tiny planet (even for our own solar system), circling around a middling yellow star, revolving on an outer spiral arm of what must be admitted is a pretty cool galaxy (yea us!).  And that’s an extraordinary place to be and appreciate on its own merits, if only one is humble enough to accept the truth.

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I find stuff

Found stuck in the front of a newspaper box in downtown Philadelphia:

Darwin flyer

At least I agree with the title.

Christian Candidates Withhold the Juicy Details

In the past couple of weeks, both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have telegraphed an interesting tell — one that (I hope) bodes well for secular sanity in America.  When questioned about the specifics of their absurd religious beliefs — Huckabee is a creationistand Romney a Mormon — both refused to discuss details, instead preferring vague professions of faith and solidarity with other believers.  The political calculation behind this suggests that both Huckabee and Romney have realized that, to the average American that does not share their particular beliefs, they will sound batshit crazy if Huckleberry starts talking about Earth being 6,000 years old and Romney spinning out the details of Joseph Smith and his amazing golden plates.

This merely interesting conjecture becomes positively galling when one sees Mike’s and Mitt’s defensiveness about being questioned on their beliefs.   At one of the CNN debates, Huckabee characterized as an “unfair question”an inquiry as to whether he believed the creation story in Genesis (with the questioner noting that, at a previous debate, Huckabee indicated he does not accept the theory of evolution).  That didn’t stop the Huckster from repeating (6 times by my count), that he does believe God created the universe.  When Wolf Blitzer followed up to ask whether Huckabee believes in a literal 6 day creation story that happened 6,000 years ago, Rev. Mike fell back on “I don’t know” as a response.

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