1. Ref says


    The God Delusion? Part 3

    November 23, 2006
    Dear friends,

    I want to thank the responders who pointed out that Fred Hoyle, the British astronomer who invented the phrase Big Bang, nevertheless opposed the notion of an expanding universe. I remembered one fact and forgot the other. My apologies.

    Edited at HuffingtonPost:

    If the universe is self-aware, it would explain the formation of a self-replicating molecule like DNA far more elegantly than the clumsy, crude mechanism of random chance. As the astronomer Fred Hoyle declared the probability that random chance created life is roughly the same as the probability that a hurricane could blow through a junkyard and create a Boeing 707.

    Addition at HuffingtonPost by Deepak Chopra:

    The God Delusion? Part 4

    I realize that I’ve dropped a bomb into the discussion. The instant the word ‘intelligent’ comes up, skeptics rush in to shout that one is defending Intelligent Design, which is a stalking horse for creationism, which is a stalking horse for fundamentalist Christianity, which is a stalking horse for Jesus as the one and only son of God. Such is the heated climate of debate at the moment, and Dawkins takes full (unfair) advantage of it. Only Jesus freaks could possibly believe in an intelligent universe.

    However, if consciousness is innate in the universe, so is intelligence. That absolutely has nothing to do with God sitting on a throne in heaven creating Adam and Eve. If we remain sane and clear-headed, the reason to assume that consciousness exists is simple. There’s no other way to account for it. Without a doubt there is enormous design, complexity, organization, and interconnectedness everywhere in Nature. You can either say “I see it, let me explain it” or you can say “Ignore it, it’s just a byproduct of randomness.”

  2. Shawn S. says

    An intelligent or conscious universe, like God, doesn’t seem like it is within the bounds of science to prove or disprove. While the random formation of life is highly improbable, it isn’t impossible (or I wouldn’t be writing this). Chopra, like so many religious, argue from personal incredulity.

    PZ, are you aware of any specific papers where researchers shows spontaneous formation of nucleic acids on (clay? limestone?) some sort of substrate. The experiment basically shows that it was possible for nucleic acids to form in the environment of early earth. This was ‘proof of concept’, if you will, of the idea of an RNA world that was the predecessor to cellular life.

    Damn, or am I thinking of primitive cell membranes forming spontaneously, and that nucleic acids were already present?

    Someone should know. I recall the discussion in Environmental Microbiology class, but have forgotten the details!

    Anyway, Chopra may be an MD, but he has forgotten his chemistry!

  3. David Harmon says

    Typo alert for the Synapse link (Indeed, the word “synapse” has a transposition in the URL).

  4. quork says

    Peace equals Satanism

    Woman faces fines for wreath peace sign
    By ROBERT WELLER, Associated Press Writer
    Sun Nov 26, 11:13 PM ET
    DENVER – A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti- Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
    Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

    Wow, so peace equal Satanism, and parents with children in Iraq prefer the continuance of war. This is very odd.

  5. quork says

    Cartoons (seriously) can teach us about faith

    For some reason, many who might shun such serious topics when presented by religious and educational leaders will listen to debates about theology if they are presented in the context of a cartoon.

    I’m guessing the person who wrote that considers it to be ironic.

  6. says

    PZ, I’m interested in making charitable donations to celebrate Cephalodmas, and I was wondering if you (or another zeta-list blogger) would be interested in compiling a list of appropriately secular and humanist charities.