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It's almost time for Atheists Talk radio!

This week, they are going to talk about secular wedding ceremonies. I have a personal interest; my own wedding was not at all secular, but was instead officiated by a full-of-himself Christian priest who felt such an arrogant sense of privilege that he ignored our request to keep it as non-sectarian as possible to instead preach at us a full-blast come-to-Jesus sermon.

It always seemed to me that if you enter a contract in which one of the parties is entirely imaginary, it would weaken the bond. Fortunately, we wrote our own vows that we said to each other in private, and that was our commitment — the old fool bellowing that our marriage was blessed by heaven and made in the eyes of a dead Jewish rabble rouser was entirely irrelevant, except as a delaying tactic interfering with our escape to our honeymoon.


Atheists Talk radio is streamed live online to listeners who can provide a Minnesota zip code (like 56267) at the following time:

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Don't miss this one! Today, Atheists Talk radiowill feature the physicist Lawrence Krauss for the whole hour, talking about the Origins initiative. Follow the link to get streaming audio from Air America, as long as you know a Minnesota zip code (like, say, 56267) and catch it in time — 9am Central…
This week on Atheists Talk radio, Hector Avalos is going to tell us how to fight ID and win, and Scott Lohman will be talking about secular humanism. Tune in at 9am Central, or if you're elsewhere… Honolulu Sun 4:00 AM     Sao Paulo Sun 11:00 AM     Addis Ababa Sun 5:00 PM Anchorage Sun 6:00 AM Rio…
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It's the physicists' turn on Atheists Talk radio today. Tune in at Honolulu Sun 4:00 AM     Sao Paulo Sun 11:00 AM     Addis Ababa Sun 5:00 PM Anchorage Sun 6:00 AM Rio de Janeiro Sun 11:00 AM Baghdad Sun 5:00 PM Vancouver Sun 7:00 AM St. John's Sun 11:30 AM Aden Sun 5:00 PM San Francisco Sun 7:00…

More confirmation that you atheists are just like the theist fundementalists you abhor.

I got married in the chapel at the North York Civic Centre, Toronto, as a compromise with my wife-to-be. I'd've rather just had the purely secular treatment at a registry office. We had minimal religious involvement, by an obviously gay priest who didn't seem to be at all bothered by my off-hand manner about the god-bothering stuff.

My unmarried daughter is engaged to a Mormon. One would never know that he's religious, because he never mentions it, but I'm under instructions to not knock religion in his presence. I don't know how this situation is going to be resolved when they get married. The other daughters got married in registry offices. Good for them.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Lluraa, you don't make any sense. We don't try to push stupid magic beliefs onto other people. We don't believe crazy stuff that is totally unsupported by evidence.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

But see Richard, you do push stupid beliefs onto other people. Only fools would say that this well ordered universe has come ino existance by chance. The beauty and the order in the universe is proof enough for us that there is a Supreme Being. Creation is proof enough. Creation speaks for itself. In my opinion. And I'm not preaching, nor am I trying to convert anyone. Just as you say you aren't.

Atheists don't do the exact opposite of those who are religious. We don't have unmarrying ceremonies just because religious people have weddings. Celebrating a commitment of two people with family and friends isn't some religious event, it's cultural.

I had the same problem at my "ceremony", and I had even taken the step of going to a justice of the peace instead of anyone affiliated or associated with anything even slightly religious!
I insisted that he not, at any time, ever, for any reason mention "god" or "blessings" or any of that stupid clap-trap...

So he recited not one, not two, but THREE prayers during my ceremony. Including some stupid "hawaiian blessing" shit that was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard.

Of course, I was young and paid the idiot anyway because I was afraid that I'd be in trouble if I didn't. Also quite thankfully that particular union was dissolved about years ago and my current love of 13 years and I have no plans to bother with a $10,000 party just to prove we love one another.

Hey, something like that happened to me. We asked for a JP; Grandma dragged in a "beloved family pastor" at the last minute. We gave him a script to read - - he edited out the parts he couldn't bring himself to say, and ended with ". . . I, a servant of the god of Abraham!"

I was kind of disgusted, but figured in the long run we were legally married even if there had been a weirdo present at the event.

Lluraa - Are you always this stupid or is it just too early in the morning for you to think straight? Who is pushing? A wedding invitation is a wedding invitation and it is not enforced with a machine gun. PZ and the Trophy Wife just wanted a secular wedding and a priest ignored their wishes. Bjorn and Jeannette wanted a secular wedding and they had one with a celebrant who respected their wishes.

I'm beginning to think you might be a troll.

ZIP CODE for listening if you are not in the Land of Pawlenty:

55112, 55401, 56761...

What time will it be on in Saskatoon?

BTW, why is anyone still bothering to read, let alone respond to, Lluraa's boring and predictable posts?

This week, they are going to talk about secular wedding ceremonies.

Ceremonies? Marriage is a bureaucratic act.

If you want to have a party afterwards, go ahead, but I wouldn't call that a ceremony.

Only fools would say that this well ordered universe has come ino existance by chance. The beauty and the order in the universe is proof enough for us that there is a Supreme Being. Creation is proof enough. Creation speaks for itself. In my opinion.

In your opinion, it does.

But does it also do that in fact?

Go ahead! Please tell us what is so well-ordered about this universe that the laws of physics are incompatible with it. Tell us where the miracle lies. Inquiring minds want to know!

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

I know this has nothing to do with weddings, but your story brought to mind something I witnessed last year. I live in a TINY midwestern town, and last year my neighbor gave birth to a stillborn child. Her family and mine are the only Jewish families in this town, and both of our families are probably the only not-particularly-religious (her family) and atheist (my husband and me) people around here. Still, she wanted a clergyman to do some readings at the burial, and they funeral home gave her the name of a non-denominational clergyman who could do the readings. This poor family, who, in their bereavement, was hardly in the position to shop around for an officiant, gave the guy a call and it ended up being complete disaster. The mom had selected a couple of readings and he read them, but then he read a few of his choosing, the ones he chose of course being from the NT, full of jebus shit. He then proceeded to proselytize to us (everyone at the funeral was Jewish and he knew it), and he made it clear that he believed only xtian babies made it to heaven.

Those xtian pricks will stoop to ANY level to get their hideous jebus message across.

gave her the name of a non-denominational clergyman who could do the readings.

"Nondenominational" my ass. That's the American word for "evangelical Protestant fundamentalist, and not belonging to any of the larger denominations".

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Abeja

That pretty sad and also pretty sickening to hear. I'm sure you managed to help these people through a hard time - much more than the crazy clergyman did. You seem like a person with a lot of empathy.

By Your mighty overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Lluraa,

You are full of crap. There are scientific explanations for pretty much everything we can observe, even if we are still working on them.

There remains absolutely no evidence whatsoever for any type of higher being.

If you have some, present it. If not, sit down.

By Your might overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Lluraa, But see Richard, you do push stupid beliefs onto other people. Only fools would say that this well ordered universe has come ino existance by chance. The beauty and the order in the universe is proof enough for us that there is a Supreme Being. Creation is proof enough. Creation speaks for itself. In my opinion.

If this is the one & only universe, then it's highly unlikely that it would happen to evolve such that it can support intelligent life. But why do you uppose that it is the only instance? Whatever the universe-creating process is, & it must be something fairly simple, it would seem to be more likely create an infinity of universes than just one. We would then be the inevitable result.

What you posit is an intelligent agency you call a god to create one universe. What created that god thing? Ockham's razor suggests that we should discard the more complex explanation, therefore deism is not favoured. Theism, such as Christianity, is just plain crazy.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Richard

If this is the one & only universe, then it's highly unlikely that it would happen to evolve such that it can support intelligent life.

Why would you say this? We have no way of knowing the probability of intelligent life evolving. The Drake equation simply has too many unknowns for us to determine the probability that life, and indeed intelligent life, exists elsewhere. Life Carl Sagan, I try not to think with my alimentary canal, but were I to hazard a guess, I would bet that other intelligent life exists out there, amongst the stars somewhere.

By Your Mighty Overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Richard

If this is the one & only universe, then it's highly unlikely that it would happen to evolve such that it can support intelligent life.

Why would you say this? We have no way of knowing the probability of intelligent life evolving. The Drake equation simply has too many unknowns for us to determine the probability that life, and indeed intelligent life, exists elsewhere. Like Carl Sagan, I try not to think with my alimentary canal, but were I to hazard a guess, I would bet that other intelligent life exists out there, amongst the stars somewhere.

By Your Mighty Overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

It's probably fun to make those giant time tables, especially after people complained you weren't thinking geographically enough, but really,

just give the time in UTC. Everybody should be reasonably expected to know their local offset from UTC, and figure it out from there on their own.

Good grief!

PZ, I assume that that priest was well paid. If so than you and your wife were the customers. His freedom of religion does not include the right to disregard the instructions from the people paying the bills. If he wants to preach, fine. Do it on his own dime (or collection of pictures of Franklin) or on his Church's dime.

I dare say that a plumber who is paid to replace to replace the plumbing of a sink and instead replaces the toilet would have to dish out a refund no matter how good of a job he did on the toilet.

I am fairly absolutist on freedom of religion. But when money exchanges hands, one gives up some of one's previous options. That priest when he took the money agreed to give them the ceremony the payer requested. (Obviously if parents paid for it, there is a complication.) If the request is unacceptable to the priest then he state so up front and not take the money. (Possible complication: if this wedding was booked before the church was informed of the request, he might have the right to point out that you did book in a religious institution.)

Frankly, the priest does sound like an ass. I really would not want his non-marriage sermon even if I was a believer. Most people expect the priest to talk about marriage at a marriage ceremony. And I dare say that priest would not dared give one of his flock what they did not want for a ceremony. After all they might take there weekly $offering elsewhere.

"Nondenominational" my ass. That's the American word for "evangelical Protestant fundamentalist, and not belonging to any of the larger denominations".

Yes, that definition fit him exactly. The family that lost the baby is slightly religious, but due to the fact that they are relatively new to this area, and that the nearest semi-large Jewish community is 40 miles from here, they didn't know who to contact. Ironically, even though I'm an atheist, if she would have asked me, I would have put her in touch with a Rabbi I know very well.

I'm sure you managed to help these people through a hard time - much more than the crazy clergyman did. You seem like a person with a lot of empathy.

I certainly did my best to provide REAL help, instead of useless prayers. My famly and I cooked, cleaned, entertained, lent our ears for listening and our shoulders for crying. The pastor just prayed to his sky-fairy that we nasty Jews would convert. I'm sure he thinks he's a better person for it though.

Richard asks, "What created that god thing?" That is just it Richard, it would be, according to those who believe in God, the Uncreated Creator, or God who created all things and any and all universes that exist.
As you say "theism, such as Christianity is just plain crazy" the theist would claim atheism is just plain crazy.

Hah, I win! My first wedding had no mention of any gods, even though it was officiated by a religious dude (Presbyterian, I think). But my second one (which I much prefer in many other ways as well) may have been the best wedding ever.

We did it at home, officiated by Cardinal Sinnius Vice, a character from the Maryland Renaissance Festival (aka Tony Guido). Cause when you're playing a religious official on a regular basis, what better deal for your career than getting officially ordained? Yay for mail-order ordainment places!! His tag-line is "Go, and sin some more," so no worries about god-talk there. And there's just something special about being legally married by a fictional character. Plus he brought his flask, and it was full (when we started).

Also we hired some friends to play their guitars for music, and had another friend (who was coming off a year performing at the American Shakespeare Center) read a nice poem about celebration and joy, to an original song by the guitarists.

Then we ate and drank a lot.

Llurra, do you have any physical proof for your god that keep delusionally alluding to? Something that can be examined by scientists, magicians, and professions debunkers? As a scientist, I don't believe anything without proof. Time to pony up the proof or go home.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Well Llurra,

If God can "just exist" and you find that intellectually satisfying enough, you'll have no problem accepting it when I say "the universe just sprang into existence". After all there is no epistemological difference between the two statements, except that mine squares with physics and yours doesn't.

By Your Mighty Overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Your Mighty Overload, ...We have no way of knowing the probability of intelligent life evolving.

I wasn't talking about that, within this particular universe. What I meant was that if the fundamental constants were slightly different, gravitational force might be insufficient for stars to form, or many other necessary conditions of matter and energy being suitable for chemical reactions to take place such that stars could evolve, planets form, & abiogenesis occur. The fundamental constants are very fine-tuned for life to evolve.

Then, what if the universe-creating process hadn't resulted in quarks, or hadrons & leptons? And so on. So there has to be an infinity of universes for the right ones for life to happen by chance. Deistic gods, if they have intelligence, are ruled out by Ockham's Razor, because they introduce another level of complexity.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

I've tried to listen to the programme.
I was linked to Real Player and was told that it needed another component to play the stream, went off to look for one then came back with the message that the looked-for component didn't exist.
I've probably missed something obvious. Can anyone help, please?

Llurra ... according to those who believe in God, the Uncreated Creator, or God who created all things and any and all universes that exist.
As you say "theism, such as Christianity is just plain crazy" the theist would claim atheism is just plain crazy.

The uncreated creator! What the heck is that? Gobbledygook is what that is. And why should I take any notice of what theists say? They are crazy, after all.

We don't know what what the universe-creating process is. Only the scientific process will enable us to find out, if such be possible.

Calling the universe-creating process a god is childish, or primitive. Hoping to find out about it by reading ancient texts written by semi-nomadic goat herders is bizarre, stupid, & naively optimistic.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Calling the universe-creating process a god is childish, or primitive. Hoping to find out about it by reading ancient texts written by semi-nomadic goat herders is bizarre, stupid, & naively optimistic. - Richard Harris

Don't forget Lllllllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaa has a text written by a nineteenth century conman to provide additional information to that written by the goat-herders! This must surely help.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Nick, does it matter which nineteenth century conman? And why discriminate againsat the 1800s? There were twentieth century conmen, such as L Ron Hubbard. There were plenty more in previous centuries, such as Muhammad. There probably will be more in this century. How very, very sad it is.

Mind you, Joe Smith was a very good, disarming sort of name for a conman.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

My wedding was the most unreligious religious wedding it was possible to have. I couldn't NOT get married in the church because my dad was the parish priest (Episcopalian), and it would have been extremely bad form. Besides, there were a couple perks: I had my choice of days to reserve, and I didn't have to pay the officiator. I also gave him instructions that the service was to be the absolute minimum possible and that there was to be no mention of the word "obey" anywhere in the vows. It clocked in at 12 minutes, including the walks down the aisle and back. I never did any of that "obey" stuff in any case. And the parish priest, in the end, turned out to be an atheist. Who knew?

By Lee Picton (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

LLLuuurrraaaaaa is a troll. It is tiresome and adds no value to any discussion. Why do we keep feeding it?

On topic: It's Sunday morning. I believe AR begins at ut-8 my time - which is 7 am. Just missed it. Normally I am up by then, but on any other Sunday I'm headed out the door to go hike or run trails in the rainforest.

The outdoors, that's my cathedral; nature is all the inspiration I need. Yesterday I was on a 7-hour hike on a fairly rugged coast trail. Upturned tree roots 2 metres wide, bearded moss hanging from arbutus and sitka spruce, huckleberries and salal berries galore (there was a big group of us or I would have been nervous about bears). We even saw three transient orcas hunting really close to shore (yay for high tide). I took about 100 pictures.

About the trees: the naturalists guiding us pointed out to us in the rainforest the root systems are shallow and spread out. Trees like Douglas fir share root systems so that if one tree is stressed (for instance, it bears the brunt of winter storms coming off the ocean) it can take sustenance from its neighbours. Look at a forest and in effect you are looking at one organism, not a series of discrete ones.

Had I not read books like The Selfish Gene I would have had no understanding of why this would be so. With an understanding of evolution, I have a deeper appreciation of life in all its abundance. This is better than "blind faith." I'll take knowledge and curiosity any time.

By Arbutus Bark (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Llurra is not necessarily a troll. I think Llurra is searching for the 'Truth', & realizes that religion isn't providing a satisfactory route towards it. Llurra is not a fool, & I think that, given time to explore a rationalistic worldview, Llurra may be saved from superstition.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Not only that but Llaarraa's mormon god is a child murderer and sponsor of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

It also demands to see the bride and groom naked as part of the temple wedding ceremony. During the naked part,as I understand the ritual, the bride and groom are instructed on permissible sexual practices.

In August I attended the wedding of my niece. She & he new husband wrote their own vows & had the ceremony performed by someone from the Humanist Society of Canada. It went very well.

By Jim Baerg (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Richard,

Ahh, I now see where you were going. However, modeling rather suggests that many of these "constraints" could be changed to quite a large degree with negligible effects on the development of the universe.

One of the best points that was ever made to me was about gravity - it takes all the earth's gravity to pull an apple from a tree, but it is really, really persistent.

By Your mighty overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Your mighty overload, I'm not a physicist, just a lowly engineer, but I understood that very small changes to some constants would have prevented atoms from forming, let alone a universe capable of evolving life.

Considering gravity, compared to the other forces within atoms, (strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force), it is many orders of magnitude less. That this should be so, & is necessary for star formation, is amazing.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Is this available anywhere as a podcast? I think I missed it, but could really use the information. I'm actually trying to plan a wedding right now with my lovely fiancee, and we want to have some sort of ritual-ish thing to mark the occasion and a party with friends and family, but having never been to a non-church wedding, we are both lost on how to construct such a "ceremony"... like who officiates for starters?

There's not a chance that we could keep a straight face at a church wedding (at a family member's wedding the homily was about how the highest goal of a marriage was to PRAY), and the two of us pointing and laughing in a priest's face would be far more insulting to our religious families than having a non-god-based ceremony, methinks.

By Leukocyte (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

17 years now of unwedded bliss. Didn't mean not to get married, it just sort of happened. Over time we just decided it wasn't worth the expense and being defacto has all the legal benefits of those who have exchanged vows so we thought why bother. Only my Catholic parents actually care. Mum still calls my better half her almost daughter-in-law.

I'm still amused that secular people feel the need of some sort of ceremony to exchange vows. Weirder still are the people that want to have a "naming" ceremony instead of a baptism. Seems rather pointless.

Leukocyte-
when my wife and I were married we sat down with the officiant (a close friend and fellow atheist) and wrote the entire ceremony ourselves. The majority of people who attended the ceremony were almost all fans of some type of woo. A fundamentalist and her children, a couple who are quite involved in their church and the husband is in divinity school, my Catholic family, etc.

The interesting part of this was that after the ceremony we had so many of those same people come up to us and tell us how beautiful the ceremony was. The teenage son of our fundamentalist attendee kept telling his mom afterwards that when he got married, he wanted to do it just like we did. I don't think some of them even realized that there was absolutely no mention of god, jebus, a great spirit, or anything else vaguely wooish. I'm also sure they injected some of those thoughts into it without realizing it was completely absent in the words and actions they witnessed.

We were married in Florida so we just went to the courthouse and got the license and held the secular ceremony for family and friends.

Richard

This is beginning to sound mightily "anthropic principle-y"! Well, from what I have read, several of the constraints much propogandized by the Christian propogandists could be altered by an order of magnitude or two and have little appreciable effect on the universe.

That said, this is the universe that we do live in - and we cannot make a posteriori assumptions. We do live in this universe because we can live here, no more, no less.

As a biologist I am probably in a worse position than you, as an engineer, who at least is good at maths!! However, I believe the Royal Societies motto is well worth a dusting off at the moment "Nullius in verba" - take no man's word for it.

By Your Mighty Overload (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

The fundamental constants are very fine-tuned for life to evolve.

Are they?

Or are the people who advance such a claim cherry-picking the constants which do affect the possibility of life as we know it, and ignoring the things which can be changed and still allow life? (Maybe the charge of the top quark, perhaps the exact composition of the dark matter sector. . . .) Bear in mind that we don't actually have the ultimate laws written down, and we certainly don't know the values of the numbers to be plugged into them. The quantities which are hoisted up as examples of "fine tuning" are themselves consequences of more fundamental relationships, contingent upon a deeper set of parameters.

I'm beginning to think that Llurra is a joker who is just trying to provoke everyone for amusement.

By Alan Chapman (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

When we got married, we did so in Golden Gate Park, on what is known as Hippie HIll. The officiant was a guy from the One MInd Temple of St. John Coltraine... "Damn the rules, it's the feeling that matters."
We went for pizza and beer both before and after, I got a ride up to the top of the hill on my buddy's motorcycle, wore guatemalan and India cotton, and no shoes. Hubby was in tails, top hat, ripped up jeans and tie-dye.
We wrote our own short vows, did our thing, and likely spent about $50. It was freakin' awesome. November will be 20 years.
Why did we get married? Eh, we wanted to. It was fun, and my mom the old hippie, just kept crying, and rhapsodizing about how 'traditional' we were.
I'm glad we got married. There are different rules about de facto, or common-law in different states, and we've lived in a few. The marriage license guarantees that should something happen to one of us, next-of-kin issues, who-gets-the-kids issues and other things are not called into question.
Someday we might even buy rings and take a honeymoon. Maybe.

By gramomster (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

(Blatant self-promotion follows)

This is one of the reasons I became an ordained minister, to perform rites and ceremonies for those who do not subscribe to the notion of a supernatural power.

Whatever the rite; marriage, hand-fasting, naming ceremonies, I gear them to the preferences of the participants. And if the state of Wisconsin ever gets its act together, I'll perform ceremonies for gays and lesbians, too. Just to irk the believers.

By The Reverend (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

When we got married, we did so in Golden Gate Park, on what is known as Hippie HIll. The officiant was a guy from the One MInd Temple of St. John Coltraine... "Damn the rules, it's the feeling that matters."
We went for pizza and beer both before and after, I got a ride up to the top of the hill on my buddy's motorcycle, wore guatemalan and India cotton, and no shoes. Hubby was in tails, top hat, ripped up jeans and tie-dye.
We wrote our own short vows, did our thing, and likely spent about $50. It was freakin' awesome. November will be 20 years.
Why did we get married? Eh, we wanted to. It was fun, and my mom the old hippie, just kept crying, and rhapsodizing about how 'traditional' we were.
I'm glad we got married. There are different rules about de facto, or common-law in different states, and we've lived in a few. The marriage license guarantees that should something happen to one of us, next-of-kin issues, who-gets-the-kids issues and other things are not called into question.
Someday we might even buy rings and take a honeymoon. Maybe.

By gramomster (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Sorry about the double post... battery died while posting, plugged in, thought it hadn't posted.
Should check first, eh?

By gramomster (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Thus defecated Lluraa,

The beauty and the order in the universe is proof enough for us that there is a Supreme Being.

... and He wants us all to wear magic underpants.

"The beauty and order in the universe. . ."

Beauty and order are relative measures. They don't mean anything without something else as comparison. With the universe being all there is, there isn't much out there to compare with, no?

It may well be that, within the multiverse, our universe is a butt-ugly, jumbled mess of the left-over defective hadrons that no other self-respecting universe wanted to have.

It may well be that, within the multiverse, our universe is a butt-ugly, jumbled mess of the left-over defective hadrons that no other self-respecting universe wanted to have. - amphiox

Not only that, there's some sort of mould growing on one of its planets.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

On the discussion on the fine-tuning of this universe for life. While this universe certainly allows for the evolution and development of life, I can't say with that much certainty that it is "fine-tuned" for it. Considering that if a living thing even remotely resembling anything considered alive on earth were randomly dropped anywhere within this universe, 99.9999999999% of the time or so it would very quickly become a non-living thing, I think it would be pretty easy to postulate potential universes more fine-tuned for life than this one.

A universe truly "fine-tuned" for life should readily produce life and allow it to easily spread. If we lived in such a universe, it should not have been that difficult for us to travel to the moon, and stay there as colonists, and we should be seeing fecund biospheres (and by this I mean equivalent in diversity to present-day earth) all around us, at the very least Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter and Saturn themselves, the asteroid belt, the comets, and abundant evidence of civilizations throughout the Milky Way.

Okay, fine-tuning implies a god-thing, so if our universe is the best fine-tuning that this feckin' god can manage, it ain't up to much. Omnipotent & omniscient it ain't.

If you look around you, it's all so fecked up with animals killing & eating other animals, parasites, infectious disease-causing micro-organisms, that you've got to conclude that this feckin' god is a nasty, callous, bloodthirsty shit, an asshole of the first order. Actually, that's just like it's portrayed in the feckin' bible.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Considering that if a living thing even remotely resembling anything considered alive on earth were randomly dropped anywhere within this universe, 99.9999999999% of the time or so it would very quickly become a non-living thing, I think it would be pretty easy to postulate potential universes more fine-tuned for life than this one.

Somehow I am reminded of a falling whale figuring out that he has a tail. The universe may have seemed beautiful to him for a short time, but hardly fine-tuned.

When I hear the fine-tuning theory being spouted yet again, I always think that "Yes, well it is nice too look at it after the fact and see that it all worked out for us, but who had a guarantee that it would? Did God send an asteroid to kill of the non-avian dinosaurs in order to make way for the mammals?"

I also think it odd that since we only know about life on one planet so far, with the vast expanse of the universe, that the fine-tuners say that the universe is fine-tuned for life. Why not leave it at the Earth so that their case is no so open to ridicule?

#55: Yeah, and if he sent the asteroid, why did he do the end-Permian thing that decimated the mammals' ancestors and put the dinos on top, suppressing mammal evolution (well, maybe not precisely, but certainly preventing them from developing large, bipedal, hairless, savannah stomping, rock smashing forms) from 140 million years?

Or maybe that was satan doing his obstructionist thing? Except the End-Permian was worse than the KT. Does that make satan more powerful, or god more merciful? (Relatively)

The podcast is available via iTunes as well.

By Benjamin Geiger (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

PZ, you selected a religious leader to do your wedding, and you thought it disrespectful and somehow surprising that he turned out to want to promote his religion? Um, OK.

Several people said things after our wedding like "The priest was great," and indeed our officiant was Catholic, though she was not a priest, and there was no mention of almighty Zeus or even the Invisible Pink Unicorn. (We were married prior to the prophet Bobby's revelation of the FSM.)

I can't imagine why you'd have the presider be a religious pastor/leader/whatever. Could you share with us why you chose to do that?

--JRM

I didn't give the full story, obviously. I didn't choose the dork: my wife's family did. As several people have recounted, it is quite common for religious families to throw hissy fits if their children decide independently to break away from the traditional dogma, and it can get quite ugly...and in our case, it did. We went along with it to keep peace with my prospective in-laws.

I was also mollified because, during the discussions before the wedding, the lying bastard seemed quite reasonable, and cheerfully agreed to my requests to keep it secular. I suspect he knew from long experience that when he got the happy couple up there, he could spout any proselytizing wackaloonery he wanted, and we'd abide peacefully, not wanting to make a scene at our own wedding. He wasn't getting married, after all, so he was free to be a sleazy shitbag lying pissant, trusting that we would not choose that venue to voice our objections.

Don't worry. I don't trust Christians any more.

My wife and I made an interesting compromise for our ceremony. We got married at a place that is a total mish-mash of religions. Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, you name it they got it!

I was comfortable with the ceremony since it was more about us than any particular set of beliefs, she was happy because she felt that it was a "spiritual" enough ceremony.

I was also amused when one of her aunts refused to come because she couldn't support a place that wasn't Christian enough.

I think it would be pretty easy to postulate potential universes more fine-tuned for life than this one.

Sure, a universe of nutritious goo rather than empty space.
If both we and the universe were designed by god in order that we thrive in it, as the theotards insist, he's manifestly incompetent and unimaginative.

My wife and I hired an officiant (for $150, ouch) and told her straight off that it was to be 100% secular without any mention of gods. The ceremony was short and sweet and was focused on our commitment to one another; not a load of bull crap about how marriage is between 3 people, the most important one being God.