Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In a thread attached to a video of James Randi making Uri Geller look stupid (yes, again), KING777TUTT wrote:

"There is twenty known constants in the universe, the electon volt measured at something like 10 to the power of -34, the speed of light, gravity and so on. If even one of these constant's values were moved one decimal place to the left or right the whole universe wouldn't work. It's sooo finely tuned its incredible. So the scientific community have come up with the theory of an infinte number of universes to explain it."

Nonsense.

Imagine for a moment you're a penny. If a penny could think, you might marvel at your situation...

How many different ways -- most not condusive to copper accumulating -- might the earth have formed? What are the odds of the earth forming at all? What are the odds that you'd wind up on a planet that can host life, much less develops life, much less life capable and inclined to extract ore?

What are the odds that your copper bits would even wind up on terra firma? Realize that copper is created by supernovae so most of it exists in space until gravity (read; mass) tells it otherwise.

And what are the spectacularly unlikely chances of YOUR particular chunk of copper being at the top 1% of the surface that man can reach? What are the odds that your particular rock would be in the 0.001% of copper that humans would extract from that thin crust humans can reach at all?

In fact, think about how unlikely it is that the specific mining company exists at all! If the mining company founder's parents didn't meet, or their parents didn't meet, or THEIR parents didn't meet, or have kids, or not get killed in a duel or by some disease, through dozens of generations, the odds of you existing go down dramatically. How about the specific human that actually pulled you out of the earth and what had to happen for them to be at that spot at that time?

How about the happenstance for the person who wrote the schedule? Really, what are all the things that had to happen for everyone involved in your extraction to exist in the precise state necessary for you to become a penny? What if the foreman didn't have a cold ten years earlier, a cold that caused him to sneeze while waiting for the bus, a sneeze that caused him to meet his future wife three years later?

When you consider your existence as a penny you must also consider every little minor, insignificant action we make that winds up impacting out lives dramatically. It's known more coloquially as the so-called "Butterfly Effect."

But let's get more specific; how about the pocket you reside in right now? Since 1972 you've been passed from pocket to pocket, from person to person, from cornerstore tienda to 7/11 to McDonalds to Macy's, tens of thousands of transactions, ALL of which had to occur with ZERO deviation for you to be in the pocket you're in. If ANYONE in those 35 years decided to split a dollar bill instead of using change, or dropped you into the leave-a-penny cup to save pocketspace, or if ANYONE in those 35 years forgot to empty their pockets before washing their pants at the laundrymat or if ANYONE in those 35 years didn't remember to grab their change before leaving the house ...well ...you wouldn't be in the pocket you're in, would you?

The odds of all these things happening the way they did, with no deviation, are a trillion billion to one.

And despite all this, without any divine guidance, here you are. In this pocket.

KING777TUTT, you probably want to instinctively object and say "but if I wasn't passed from human to human in that exact sequence I'd just be in someone else's pocket." That's correct but now you'd be asking how unlikely it is that you were THERE which only demonstrates that your position isn't actually terribly unique.

On the other hand you might argue, "If I was never mined, or smelted, or formed into a penny, I wouldn't be around to ask the question at all."

And you'd be right!

When broken down your argument takes two forms:

    • If things were different then things would be different.

    • If we weren't here to ask the question, we wouldn't be here to ask the question.

...and both are tautologies.

1 comment:

Lotta said...

Keep up the good work.