P.Z. Myers Asserts The Mediocrity Principle

The “anthropic argument” which is used for creationism which includes the existence of God is based on the tight values taken on by certain constants in the world of physics thus making our own existence unique and implies intent produced by intelligence. Albert Einstein was the first to propose the cosmological constant.

Cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurement not only demonstrate the existence of the cosmological constant, but also the value of the constant which makes up the lack of matter in the universe. It’s alternative explanation to the invisible dark matter, many secular scientists have embraced. Now there are also various other constants, here are few examples…

1) An electromagnetic force constant, if this is greater, it would cause chemical bonding to be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission. Now if it was lesser: the chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry.

2) Ratio of electron to proton mass, regardless of greater or lesser, the results would be the same, chemical bonding would be not sufficient enough for life chemistry.

3) The sun, earth’s closest star. It’s made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. Surface temperature is an incredible 6,000 degrees Kelvin. The Bible talks about the sun being, “the greater light” which governs the day. All life on earth depends on the sun. If the sun would burn out one day, it would cause the earth to freeze, the atmosphere would condense, liquefy and freeze, rendering the earth’s temperature to deep space.  The sun is unique, the light and heat from most stars is very variable but the Sun is relatively constant.

PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Some regard him as a militant atheist who presents very anti-christian viewpoints in his blog. Recently, he wrote about how he teaches students at his University about the “Mediocrity Principle” which he regards it as a must for science. What is it?  He describes it this way…

1) “The mediocrity principle simply states that you aren’t special.”

2) “What the mediocrity principle tells us is that our state is not the product of intent, that the universe lacks both malice and benevolence, but that everything does follow rules — and that grasping those rules should be the goal of science.”

3) “Everything that you as a human being consider cosmically important is an accident.”

4) “Most of what happens in the world is just a consequence of natural, universal laws”

P.Z. Myers claims that “Opposition to the mediocrity principle is one of the major linchpins of religion and creationism and jingoism and failed social policies.” He fails directly to answer, why is that “essential” to science?  Why would accidents be compelled to follow any rules? ““Everything that you as a human being consider cosmically important is an accident.” How could your kids be considered nothing special but just an accident? Many people plan with their intelligence (not instincts) on having kids and many also accomplish those goals.

PZ is clearly advocating atheism while attacking Christianity and other religions by calling them a “cognitive ill” which can be done a way with if only people would have faith in the Mediocrity Principle which has no foundation on what is observed in the real world and attempts to tell us that this is required in science. We are special, we live in a special place, with tight constants that have been designed in such a way that allows us to live our lives in, kids are a blessing to us, not an accident!     

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13 thoughts on “P.Z. Myers Asserts The Mediocrity Principle

  1. Michael: “It’s alternative explanation to the invisible dark matter, many secular scientists have embraced.”

    Not at all. Again you demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge in basic cosmology …

    Dark energy and dark matter can happily coexist.

    Michael: “The “anthropic argument” which is used for creationism which includes the existence of God is based on the tight values taken on by certain constants in the world of physics ”

    Que ? Who what where ? Can you demonstrate this, or show a referenence where this is actually done ?

  2. @Michael” ”Recently, [P.Z. Myers] wrote about how he teaches students at his University about the ‘Mediocrity Principle’ which he regards it [sic] as a must for science.”

    Sorry, Michael, your abject ignorance is on display again. Some may call it the “mediocrity principle:” and define it in jocular terms.

    However, its real name is “the Copernican Principle.” Because—guess what—Nikolas Copernicus used it to argue against Ptolemaic geocentrism.. It is a linchpin of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which treats all inertial reference frames as equivalent. Measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation in the dynamics of distant astrophysical systems in 2000 demonstrated the Copernican principle on a cosmological scale.[1]

    And, yes, this principle, in several forms, is a philosophical basis for much of modern science. But apparently creationism will never get the word. That’s one reason why creationism is not and never will be science.

    Sorry, Michael, the joke is on you. Again. “Stupid is as stupid does,” as we say.

    ============

    [1] Eelco may enlighten us on this point, since a release from ESO explained it to the public. See arXiv astro-ph/0012222. Also, Caldwell, et al., “A Test of the Copernican Principle,” Phys. Rev. Ltrs. 100(19), 191-302..

  3. @Michael: “The anthropic argument which is used for creationism which [sic] includes the existence of God…”

    Wrong. The anthropic principle does not include the existence of God.

    Where do you get this stuff? Whom do you hope to impress with all these glib sciency words?

    QUICKIE QUIZ: Michael, briefly explain the difference between the weak and the strong anthropic principle.

    I thought not.

  4. The anthropic principle—at least the strong anthropic principle—is a matter of intense debate. Physicist Paul Davies argues that the Universe is “fine-tuned for life,” although he offers no deeper explanation for that view. Others, including Victor Stenger.[1] disagree just as strongly.

    Although creationists argue that a supernatural power would be necessary to tune the dials, scientists offer other hypotheses: basic physical laws, as yet undiscovered,[2] multiple universes, the existence of alternative life forms with different constants.

    There is another recent hypothesis tht Michael is surely not aware of. Some have recently proposed[3].that, although changing any one of the physical constants might be incompatible with life, it may be possible to change several of them at once and still retain a universe where life thrives. One physicist purports to have found “islands” of values that would produce universes similar to our own.

    Of course, a fundamental (excuse the term) problem here is that no one knows haw many fundamental constants there are. Are there constants that are less fundamental than others? The current standard model has 25 parameters that appear to be independently adjustable.[4]

    Many interesting questions turn up in science. Creationism never produces anything interesting, because the answer is always known beforehand.

    ============

    [1] “[L]ife as we know it would not exist if any one of several of the constants of physics were just slightly different, [we] cannot prove that some other form of life is feasible with a different set of constants. Anyone who insists that our form of life is the only one conceivable is making a claim based on no evidence and no theory.”

    [2] Remember we thought electric and magnetic constants were unrelated, until Maxwell’s equations made them both aspects of the same physical law.

    [3] Sorry, I can’t lay my hand on a source just now.

  5. The Anthropic Principle does not point towards God unless you use Anthropic reasoning only until you reach the point you like and then stop.

    http://pointofcontention.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/abusing-the-anthropicprinciple/

    Of course we have no real way of knowing what scale we are dealing with. We can consult physics in our own reality, but what about a multi or mega verse? It may turn out that we really aren’t special at all and Anthropic reasoning is unneccesary.

  6. @Michael,

    You say “The “anthropic argument” which is used for creationism which includes the existence of God is based on the tight values taken on by certain constants in the world of physics thus making our own existence unique and implies intent produced by intelligence.”

    The anthropic principle doesn’t say anything about the existence of God. It simply says that it is compatible with the conscious life in it.. This does not mean, however, that the universe was made with us in mind… Just that since our universe is habitable for carbon based life, then carbon based life can inhabit it… This does not mean, however, that other forms of life could exist if the universe were not suited for our kind of life.

    Then you say “Albert Einstein was the first to propose the cosmological constant.”

    Saying this in the context of the Anthropic Principle, it seems to imply that you think that Einstein was the one that proposed it in the way we now have it. He did not! It was proposed in 1973 by Brandon Carter [1]… Carter DID believe we have a special place in the universe, but he did not believe that it was with us in mind, nor that the universe is our playground.

    Certainly, Carter would laugh at you for suggesting that his principle said that God existed.

    Then you add, Cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurement not only demonstrate the existence of the cosmological constant, but also the value of the constant which makes up the lack of matter in the universe.

    You are off your rocker for claiming this. The CMB doesn’t help your position at all.. It simply proof that the Big Bang occurred. Even before the the CMB was discovered, the Big Bang model predicted it’s existence, and it’s discovery verified and important test of the Big Bang. [2]

    —-
    [1] The Anthropic Principle. http://www.physics.sfsu.edu/~lwilliam/sota/anth/anthropic_principle_index.html

    [2] Tests of the Big Bang: The CMB. http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/bb_tests_cmb.html

  7. Thanks for the reference to the ant5hropic principle, Phant. Two points, however.

    The ref deals mostly with the weak principle, which is almost a pushover, philosophically. The strong principle is more Panglossian—that there is an external compelling reason why things are as they are.

    Second, when the ref treats the Copernican principle as an opposite to the Anthropic principle, it broadens the former substantially. To me, the CP says only that the interior of the universe is generally uniform, with no preferred regions. The AP, on the other hand, deals with external characteristics of the universe—why it is as it is.

    It is entirely correct, however, that creationists misapply both of these principles.

  8. Yesterday, Fareed Zakaria interviewed Henry Kissinger on CNN. The subject was the current state of US relations with China.

    Kissinger made an interesting observation about how the two cultures view events differently. In the US, an activist group may push China’s poor human-rights record, while a labor group dents them for taking jobs, and a manufacturing group bashes them for not floating their currency.

    We in the US generally see these as unrelated complaints by independent people who wish to advance their own specific interests.

    The Chinese, on the other hand, always try to connect the dots, to see an overall pattern in all events. Their unstated assumption is that there is one force behind all of them, orchestrating them toward a single goal.

    This reminded me of creationists’ implicit assumption that all life is designed by a single entity with a coordinated plan. Whereas evolution sees life as the US sees global events—as a series of uncoordinated circumstances with no overall goal.

    The Chines view results from their history of a powerful centralized government with a planned economy. We in the US are more used to dispersed actions, with an economy based upon individual free choice.

    It seems wondrous strange that creationists posit a central plan for life, and yet prefer a decentralized economy that evolves over time.

  9. “P.Z. Myers Asserts The Mediocrity Principle”

    And Michael Asserts the Mendacity Principle

  10. @Lance Ponder: ““Stupid is as stupid does.” — Forest Gump”

    I believe it’s spelled “Forrest” — two ‘r’s. But then, stupid is as stupid does.

  11. Guys!! I’m disappointed! Just ‘coz we’re one of many (Hubble Ultra Deep Field, hello!) doesn’t mean Earth isn’t special! I mean, we’ve found a lot of planets in the Goldilocks Zone, and personally I think there’s a statistical likihood that there is extra-terrestrial life, (Drake Equation n’ all, neocatastrophismor no neocatastrophism :)) but, seriously, not a lot of aliens around at the moment, is there?! (That’s rhethoric there). Rare Earth Principle and all, I mean, how many different factors went into making Earth habitable … at the same time though, the Universe is so huge that life, through a series of these so-called accidents, was probably bound to turn up somewhere, and, as Stephen Hawking put it “obviously, beings looking around at the place they exist are unreproachable going to find that it is suitable for life”. However, yes, I believe in God, and in my humble opinion, that never has, nor never will, interfere with my pursuit of science. We can only trust the results. (except if they’re contradicting Einstein, cough, cough, super luminal neutrino people :D) xx PS yup, the anthropic principle never mentions God.

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