anthropic principle

Growing An Intellectual Conscience

Growing An Intellectual Conscience

anthropic principle, Atheism, Big Bang, Christianity, conflict, conservatism, Cosmology, Creation, Creator, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Education, epistemology, Ethics, Evangelicalism, Evidence, Evolution, faith, Fundamentalism, God, Ideology, Imagination, monotheism, Myth, Mythology, Nature, Pain and Suffering, Philosophy, Rationality, Religion, Science, Scripture, Secularity
Sometimes I am driven, against my more charitable instincts, to wonder just what it takes for advocates of creationism and intelligent design (ID) to grow an intellectual conscience.  I am referring, of course, to people who should know better, in fact, people who have no business not knowing better. The latest example is courtesy of Howard Smith, as cited in a recent issue of David Klinghoffer’s creationist / ID blog EvolutionNews.org.  In that blog, Smith – or perhaps Klinghoffer’s citation of Smith’s text – irresponsibly misquotes Prof. Stephen Hawking and misrepresents the Anthropic Principle so as to misinterpret both as lending support to Klinghoffer’s blatantly creationist agenda. Klinghoffer cites Smith as claiming that Hawking asserted on a TV documentary Reality on the
Tying Up Some Anthropic Loose Ends

Tying Up Some Anthropic Loose Ends

"Life" Issues, anthropic principle, autonomy, Change, community, culture, Enlightenment, Ethics, Human Condition, Rationality, Spirituality
In a recent “Skeptic’s Collection” column, I proposed deriving ethical principles, not from some religious or theological or generically “metaphysical” source, but instead from the very act of ethical reflection itself. I called this strategy “anthropic ethics” because it emphasizes that the very act of ethical reflection itself presupposes, purely as a matter of logic, certain ethical “first” principles”, e.g., “Life is good”, “Free inquiry is good”, “Rationality is good”, etc., etc. (The analogy was with the anthropic principle, which states that the existence of life in the Universe implies that certain antecedent physical constants must have certain values.) Denying any of these principles ultimately works against the health and survival of the human community as such, and if the human
Tying Up Some Anthropic Loose Ends

Tying Up Some Anthropic Loose Ends

"Life" Issues, anthropic principle, autonomy, Change, community, culture, Enlightenment, Ethics, Human Condition, Rationality, Spirituality
In a recent “Skeptic’s Collection” column, I proposed deriving ethical principles, not from some religious or theological or generically “metaphysical” source, but instead from the very act of ethical reflection itself. I called this strategy “anthropic ethics” because it emphasizes that the very act of ethical reflection itself presupposes, purely as a matter of logic, certain ethical “first” principles”, e.g., “Life is good”, “Free inquiry is good”, “Rationality is good”, etc., etc. (The analogy was with the anthropic principle, which states that the existence of life in the Universe implies that certain antecedent physical constants must have certain values.) Denying any of these principles ultimately works against the health and survival of the human community as such, and if the human