Drew Zahn is a former pastor and current Worldnutdaily “reporter” and columnist. In his latest bit of stupidity, he claims that the movie Men in Black III supports creationism. After discussing the plot of the movie, which involves time travel, he makes this silly argument:
J and the younger version of K (played well by Josh Brolin – unfortunately one of the few praiseworthy performances in the film), in turn, must rely for help upon an alien named Griffin who can peer into all the possible futures that branch out from any moment in time. Some of those futures are likely, others are so seemingly impossible – like the ’69 New York Mets’ World Series victory – that Griffin says the agents will need “a miracle” to defeat their foe.
“A miracle is what seems impossible,” Griffin says, “but happens anyway.”
Griffin’s favorite moment in time, he explains, is when an incredibly improbable string of events brings a World Series victory to the ’69 Mets: A woman in a baseball factory has an affair, which means she’s not overseeing an imperfect horsehide that is made into a ball that floats a few microns too high, causing a player to pop up a fly that is caught for the final out by a player who only became a baseball player because his father couldn’t find a football for a childhood Christmas gift, and so on and so on.
I mean, what are the odds? So small, even some of the most ardent spiritual skeptics still refer to that team as the “Miracle Mets.”
But calling such things “miracles” – and pointing to circumstances even astronomically less likely – is exactly the argument many creationists and advocates of intelligent design are making to describe the origins of life.
Mr. Zahn, please grab a dictionary and look up the word contingency. What you are describing here are contingent events. We experience them every day in a million ways. Our very existence is contingent upon millions of previous events that did — or did not — happen. If even one of our ancestors had died in childbirth, or been spontaneously aborted (as a huge percentage of all pregnancies are), or had decided not to go to some event where they met their wife, or had just been too tired to have sex the night at a given moment, “we” would not be here. That is contingency.
Creationists like to point to all of those coincidences, each of them staggeringly unlikely in the full context of all possible occurrences. But that misses the point. If any of those millions of contingent events had not happened, “we” would not be here, but someone would be here, and their existence would be just as unlikely as ours by the same standards. It’s like holding a coin-flipping competition with every person on earth, each one of them taking on one other person in picking the flip of a coin, with the winners moving on to the next round and repeating this exercise until we are down to only one winner, who would have correctly picked a coin flip a mind-blowing number of times in a row. But would this be a “miracle”? Would it prove that this person was created to win that competition, or designed to win that competition? No, of course not. Someone has to win the competition. This is evidence of nothing but the proper function of the laws of probability.
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