Obviously, our solar system is not arrow shaped: if it has a shape, it’s a slightly oval disc. It literally does not point to anything.
But, is there something remarkably unique about our solar system that would lead a sufficiently curious and rational mind to believe it counts as evidence in favour of the existence of God? I think not, and I think not on several levels. But, this short little rebel (SLR) is of the opposite mind.
This needs a caution. SLR confuses a lot of science and as her comment to me makes clear, she’d rather accuse someone of being condescending than to attempt to learn some of the nuance of scientific language. This means that when I try to delve into her reasoning ― which I shall ― I run the risk of coming across extraordinarily muddled.
As another flag in the ground, I want to open by playing Devil’s Advocate. Let us assume SLR can demonstrate there is something remarkably unique about our solar system. Then what? If there is something uniquely hospitably about our solar system, that’s where we’d expect to be. We wouldn’t expect to be somewhere wholly inhospitable looking at the hospitable place; if we were in that situation, we’d have to question our ability to define our terms. Equally, if one could demonstrate our solar system were unremarkably run-of-the-mill and life was generally possible around ‘oodles’ of stars on oodles of planets, then we could agree that life is not borne of remarkable processes (even if life itself is remarkable).
SLR’s argument is far too broad to address all of it: she also argues that the “tight, perfect harmony” of the universe points towards God. More specifically, she argues that it points towards a question we don’t have an answer to, therefore God. Again, playing Devil’s Advocate, if we grant there is some meaningful definition of “tight, perfect harmony” and a lack of an explanation for whatever that means, how do you get to God from there? Not without logical fallacies.
I play Devil’s Advocate to highlight two things about logical syllogisms. SLR insists her arguments are “perfectly logical”, whoever even if one were to accept her premises as true, the conclusions still don’t follow. This is an example of an argument that is invalid. I had to play Devil’s Advocate because, actually, the premises can’t be accepted as true; this is an example of an unsound argument. (If she lets my comment through moderation, it will appear here.)
With that introduction out of the way, let’s have a look at the argument put forward by SLR:
She is flummoxed by the blindness of scientists to understand what is staring them in the face; if life were some automatic and natural process, we should expect to see life happening everywhere, all the time. That, she asserts, is the definition of a natural law: “it happens all the time, everywhere”.
“Thus,” she believes, “if evolution- or the idea that life just ‘happens’ from the primordial ooze, is Natural, then every planet would be seething with its own version of Life. It would be Life that could live on that planet. Who made the rule that Life had to be adjusted to H2O, Carbon and Hydrogen? Why not the gases on Saturn? Why not the heat on Mercury? or the cold on Venus? After all, even here on earth, we find life in the most amazing places where toxic chemicals, astounding heat or extreme cold would kill most other life forms. Life on earth appears to ‘just happen’ according to the environment it finds itself in. It doesn’t appear to be very picky about that- it is a powerful force.”
And already, there’s a lot of low-level understanding to clean up. So, I’m going to try and address it in order:
Why don’t scientists see my easy to follow argument?
The Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the phenomenon of those with a lower ability in a subject being deluded into believing they are far superior in that same subject. The explanation most often given is that one lacks the familiarity with the discipline to even know what benchmarks they should be evaluating themselves against. Although it some across as hilariously arrogant, it may actually be a cognitive error. In that respect, I would like to give SLR the benefit of the doubt.
But here is the issue: cognitive error or sinful arrogance, SLR still believes that the entire community of scientists can’t follow her year-7 reasoning.
To put this in perspective, she is not introducing new evidence; she doesn’t have a new measurement or observation that overturns the establishment. She’s not contributing something new to the conversation.
If something is natural law, it happens all the time, everywhere
False. If something is a natural law, it is true everywhere. The language might be subtle, but the meaning is profoundly different. See, laws describe the relationships between things. The law of gravity describes the relationship between mass and spacetime; the germ theory of disease describes the relationship between biological systems and foreign microbes. In the absence of the things in that relationship, it is still true that they would behave that way together, but it’s not actually happening. Hoyle’s gas laws are true in the vacuum of space, even if there are no gasses to be behaving according to them.
Life is a natural law, and so should be everywhere
That’s wrong on all accounts. As described above, laws do not have to be actualised everywhere; it simply has to be the case that the behaviour laws describe would be actualised, in the presence of the entities those laws govern. That’s it.
But, also, I can’t fathom where she is getting the idea that life is a law. There is the argument that life is a natural consequence of entropy in an open system with high energy. But that still relies on the existence of compounds capable of endothermic reactions and a lot of other technicalities..
Why is life so hardy? (Or is it?)
SLR notices that life appears on Earth in a variety of extreme conditions: chemical and thermal. Given that, why isn’t life on Saturn? SLR relates to the answer to carbon and hydrogen; that seems very vulnerable, given how hardy life obviously is. Now what?
This is another confused concept. The core of Saturn is 11,700 degrees Celsius, but it’s surface is -173 degrees Celsius. And, it’s gas. So, it convects. Anything that forms in one extreme will be destroyed in the other extreme. Evolution has never been seen to adapt to either of those extremes, let alone a lifecycle that convects between the two. Not that evolution is even the point here.
“Life” is a good catch-all term for both abiogenesis and evolution. Yet, they are very different ideas. Abiogenesis is more chemically sensitive than evolved biological systems (members of a species). Life must form at some state (abiogenesis) and then is able to adapt to other states.
SLR goes on:
“The very fact that it [life] only exists on one planet should absolutely astound every scientist who claims there is no God and that evolution is a Natural Law. Their own logic demands it! This should bother them from morning till night. It should embarrass them from meeting to meeting. And yet, they don’t see the incredible fallacy. It astounds me.”
Does life only exist on one planet? How do you know that? I’m not saying life definitely exists on other planets (but given what we know about life and the universe, it’s looking increasingly likely that is the case). But I am asking how you can claim to know there is no other life out there.
SLR goes on to say, three times, Einstein believed in God ― and all smart people must; “the evidence is overwhelming”. But no evidence was provided.