Is the Puddle Half Smart or Half Stupid?

Is the Puddle Half Smart or Half Stupid? May 1, 2012

Two posts commenting on the same image with a quote from Douglas Adams from very different perspectives seemed worth sharing and commenting on in turn. First, here’s the image:

On the one hand, the point about apparent fine-tuning (emphasized at Open Parachute) is a good one. Regarding the universe’s suitability to the existence of ourselves or other organisms as demonstration of purpose doesn’t work, since if the universe couldn’t sustain life like us, then we wouldn’t be here discussing supposed fine tuning!

But on the other hand (as The Deeps of Time highlights), we are here talking about it. Imagine encountering a thinking, talking, philosophizing puddle! The very fact that we can make the error the puddle does – and that some of us can in turn spot the faulty logic – is itself something that cries out not merely or even primarily for explanation (although it does that too) but for a response of awe and wonder at this mystery.

As I’ve said before, there seem to me to be two major approaches to religion. One sees it as answers to big questions, or actually one answer to all of them, namely “God.” The other doesn’t see the need to treat God as the answer to every question, like the proverbial child in Sunday school who was asked “What has pointy ears and a bushy tail?” and did not answer “A squirrel” because they had learned from experience that in Sunday school the answer is always “God” or “Jesus.” Rather, this approach sees in the very fact that science can explain things – that is, we human beings can explain things – a pointer not towards an “answer” but towards a mystery we refer to as God and that elicits our awe, wonder, reverence, and worship.

"Wasn't even aware of it."

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