Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Intelligent Design Talks

I want to thank my hosts from last week, the Community College of Baltimore County and Christopher Newport University. I gave a cosmological ID talk at CCBC on Wednesday and at CNU on Thursday. This was a new version of the talk, and I was happy to have the chance to see what works and what doesn't.

The folks at CCBC were kind enough to hold a book signing as well. Also, I was interviewed on station WRBS in Baltimore.

I will be giving the same talk on Wednesday, November 9, at Faith Baptist Church in Hollis, NH. There are some tentative plans for two other colleges. Alas, I think the days of speaking in public high schools are over.

At CNU, a physics professor pointed out something I've have known for some time: Cosmological ID struggles to overcome an image problem because it shares the term "Intelligent Design" with the more newsworthy biological counterpart. Not much that can be done about that. One of the primary thrusts of my talk is to point out that while "God in the gaps" may be a legitimate criticism of biological ID, cosmological ID is really "God in the details."

For me, the CNU talk reinforced that physicists generally accept fine-tuning as fact. Many, of course, do not attribute the fine-tuning to a designer, but nevertheless they enjoy listening to a talk that provides documented fine-tuning examples.

It also makes me think how ignorant the Panda's Thumb crowd is. While they often (and with some justification) complain about people with no background in biology discussing evolution, they will jump right in and argue that there is no fine-tuning in physics—without concern, it would appear, for the obvious: they are making the same mistake of arguing from ignorance.

You might think they would pause for a moment and say to themselves, if physicists do not deny fine-tuning in physics, should I?

But they don't. Pause to consider it, that is.

Instead they argue, asininely, that fine-tuning does not exist—or, in a slightly more sophisticated version, that most physicists only accept the appearance of fine-tuning. This is a distinction without a difference. When a scientist who is not an IDer uses the phrase "appearance of fine-tuning," he is not arguing that the fine-tuning doesn't exist in our present models—he is displaying his belief and hope that, in the future, new models devoid of fine-tuning will be forthcoming.

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