There’s this guy, see, and he was talking to his friend who was a physicist, and he got A decent argument for God, so he published it in a newspaper. Where I read it. I hope he’s misrepresenting his physicist friend, because it turned out to be so stupid that he ought to be booted out of the science club if he actually made it.
It started out badly enough.
After reading that astronomers had updated the estimated number of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, to around 400 billion, Matt started thinking about the total number of stars in the known universe. The estimate now is about 70 sextillion stars. That’s 7 with 22 zeroes after it.
This is the boring old argument from complexity. It doesn’t work. Natural processes are really, really good at generating complexity: intelligence is good at honing and refining. We generally don’t regard piling up excess and superfluous complexity as a hallmark of intelligence in a design process.
But no, his argument is even worse. He babbles about the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox, and then makes his ultimate argument, which is what makes me hope this gomer isn’t actually a scientist.
He smiled and said that was why he had started to doubt his atheism.
“Either scenario,” he said, “leads me to believe that this isn’t all random. In the first case, you have a universe filled with amazing, varied species that all have somehow evolved to the common point where they can speculate, wonder and create. That is really a pretty decent argument for God.
“But in the second case, you have an even stronger case for God. If we are alone in the universe, then our solitude has so overwhelmingly defied statistics that you almost have to believe something supernatural has occurred to bring our very existence about.”
So if there are more than one intelligent species in the universe, god exists; if there is only one species, god exists. I think any semi-competent scientist or philosopher should be able to tell you that he has just shown that counting the number of intelligent species in the universe offers no power to distinguish between the the two alternative hypotheses presented, not that it demonstrates the truth of one hypothesis.
Maybe he meant that a “decent argument for god” is any argument that supports his prior belief, no matter what the observations.