“We Shouldn’t be Surprised that it Could Happen Because, Well, it Happened Didn’t it.”
|April 3, 2014||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
A frequent materialist retort to the fine-tuning argument is “We shouldn’t be surprised that unlikely event X happened, because X in fact happened.” I hope my materialist friends will enlighten me, because this statement seems daft to me.
For example, in Why Earth Isn’t Fined Tuned for Life, UD’s News Desk quotes David Waltham:
we shouldn’t be surprised that Earth fits life because, in fact, life has adapted to fit Earth. Finally, perhaps planets suitable for complex organisms occur only rarely and purely by chance. But even then we shouldn’t be surprised that we inhabit one of the few lucky worlds.
ppolish responds in the combox:
Lucky is winning the Powerball Lottery. Winning it 5 times in a row goes beyond lucky.
To which JacobyShaddix responds:
It is guaranteed that somebody wins the lottery however unlikely it is. Even if the requirements for life were so extreme that on average it would only happen once in a universe containing 10^24 planets, it shouldn’t surprise you to find yourself in that one place where it can happen. This is because if the stuff from which you were made was located anywhere else in the universe, there wouldn’t be the conditions necessary to allow your stuff to contemplate this. This is what they mean by the anthropic selection effect.
I suspect that even Jacoby would make a design inference if the same person won the Powerball ten times in a row. Tell us Jacoby. Would you be satisfied if the winner said, “Even if the probability of me winning ten times in a row were less than 1 in 10^24, it shouldn’t surprise you that I won ten times in a row, because I in fact won ten times in a row.”
Be that as it may, I decided to try this reasoning out last night at my poker game. Every time it came my turn to deal I dealt myself a royal flush. After this happened 15 times in a row, my friend Doug said, “Barry, I am awfully surprised that you have dealt yourself a royal flush 15 times in a row.”
To which I responded, “Well, you’re no scientist then. Ph.D physicist David Waltham assures us that if a thing happens, then we should not be surprised that it could happen, because it happened after all didn’t it.”
“Well,” Doug said, “as long as its science.” And having settled that I proceeded to deal myself royal flushes every hand for the rest of the night. Ain’t science grand?