Puddle Thinking
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05-07-2013, 09:44 AM
Puddle Thinking
I can't claim credit for this but I like it so much I wanted to share it with you all in case you hadn't heard it yet. Creationists often like to point out how our universe is so fine tuned to support life, or how earth is perfect for us, if we were just a bit closer to the sun or a bit further away we'd fry or freeze, if our magnetic field wasn't the way it was earth would be a sterile dust bowl like Mars, etc etc etc.

The next time a creationist uses this as an argument, just tell them this story:

There once was a puddle of water that gained sentience and began to look around at itself in its hole. To its amazement, it proclaimed that the hole in which it resides must have been perfectly designed for it, for not even a single atom could fit between its body and the borders of the hole. Obviously, the hole was built perfectly for the puddle to live right there, and obviously it must have been designed by some super intelligence to suit its needs.

This is the fallacy of puddle thinking, or front to back thinking as I often describe it to my students. Right this second, we humans may take a look around earth or the universe and think how perfect everything is just for us (while obviously ignoring all the terrible and violent ways people can be killed by nature). We're falling into the trap of seeing the current end product and failing to consider the innumerable steps that went into facilitating it. Much like the puddle, instead of the earth being perfect for us, we and all other extant life have been shaped by eons of evolution to be able to live here.

The challenge then is to try to get people to start thinking in a more back to front way. Don't look at now and be amazed at how it could all come to be. Look at all the processes from the beginning to now and be amazed at how it all did come to be.
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05-07-2013, 10:50 AM
RE: Puddle Thinking
(05-07-2013 09:44 AM)Chance Wrote:  I can't claim credit for this but I like it so much I wanted to share it with you all in case you hadn't heard it yet. Creationists often like to point out how our universe is so fine tuned to support life, or how earth is perfect for us, if we were just a bit closer to the sun or a bit further away we'd fry or freeze, if our magnetic field wasn't the way it was earth would be a sterile dust bowl like Mars, etc etc etc.

The next time a creationist uses this as an argument, just tell them this story:

There once was a puddle of water that gained sentience and began to look around at itself in its hole. To its amazement, it proclaimed that the hole in which it resides must have been perfectly designed for it, for not even a single atom could fit between its body and the borders of the hole. Obviously, the hole was built perfectly for the puddle to live right there, and obviously it must have been designed by some super intelligence to suit its needs.

This is the fallacy of puddle thinking, or front to back thinking as I often describe it to my students. Right this second, we humans may take a look around earth or the universe and think how perfect everything is just for us (while obviously ignoring all the terrible and violent ways people can be killed by nature). We're falling into the trap of seeing the current end product and failing to consider the innumerable steps that went into facilitating it. Much like the puddle, instead of the earth being perfect for us, we and all other extant life have been shaped by eons of evolution to be able to live here.

The challenge then is to try to get people to start thinking in a more back to front way. Don't look at now and be amazed at how it could all come to be. Look at all the processes from the beginning to now and be amazed at how it all did come to be.

I want to say this is from Dawkins (I know he's used it not sure if he was the inventor of this Meme) and I agree with his assessment of it. We are pattern seekers by nature, evolution saw to that as almost every living creator shares this trait. Seeing patterns is a great way to survive since once you learn that something means danger you know to avoid it. A rustle in the tall grass could be the wind or it might be a lion, those that treat it like a lion are more likely to survive than those that ignore it as wind since if it is a lion it is much worse than reacting to the wind.

So since we are predisposed to seek out patterns we can make patterns out of unrelated things. Superstition is full of such things, black cats the number 13 breaking a mirror are all unlucky finding a 4 leaf clover, a horseshoe, finding a penny heads up is all lucky. They have no meaning past themselves yet we assign a pattern to them. Take it out one more step and then you are at the Puddle, this makes sense for a species that not that long ago was being hunted on the african savannah and needed to treat every rustle in the grass as though a lion waited there.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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05-07-2013, 11:13 AM
RE: Puddle Thinking
(05-07-2013 09:44 AM)Chance Wrote:  I can't claim credit for this but I like it so much I wanted to share it with you all in case you hadn't heard it yet. Creationists often like to point out how our universe is so fine tuned to support life, or how earth is perfect for us, if we were just a bit closer to the sun or a bit further away we'd fry or freeze, if our magnetic field wasn't the way it was earth would be a sterile dust bowl like Mars, etc etc etc.

The next time a creationist uses this as an argument, just tell them this story:

There once was a puddle of water that gained sentience and began to look around at itself in its hole. To its amazement, it proclaimed that the hole in which it resides must have been perfectly designed for it, for not even a single atom could fit between its body and the borders of the hole. Obviously, the hole was built perfectly for the puddle to live right there, and obviously it must have been designed by some super intelligence to suit its needs.

This is the fallacy of puddle thinking, or front to back thinking as I often describe it to my students. Right this second, we humans may take a look around earth or the universe and think how perfect everything is just for us (while obviously ignoring all the terrible and violent ways people can be killed by nature). We're falling into the trap of seeing the current end product and failing to consider the innumerable steps that went into facilitating it. Much like the puddle, instead of the earth being perfect for us, we and all other extant life have been shaped by eons of evolution to be able to live here.

The challenge then is to try to get people to start thinking in a more back to front way. Don't look at now and be amazed at how it could all come to be. Look at all the processes from the beginning to now and be amazed at how it all did come to be.

Actually when viewed from a cosmic perspective, the universe is fined tuned to become a giant graveyard of dead galaxies and black holes. Life just happens to exist in this quiet corner of the cosmos.

"IN THRUST WE TRUST"

"We were conservative Jews and that meant we obeyed God's Commandments until His rules became a royal pain in the ass."

- Joel Chastnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade
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06-07-2013, 08:14 PM
RE: Puddle Thinking
I usually say something like
"
if god created the universe,he did a pretty sloppy job.
We are like a sandgrain on a beach to the observed universe,and earth is the only planet with live.
Seems like a lot of waste.
Its like building a house and you would only be save standing on a tile.


And if god fine-tuned the earth for life,why do we have so many natural dissasters? Why did he create inhabitable places like the sahara,the poles,ect?

And your asumption is wrong.
It is not that the earth was created for life, it is that living beings adapted to the earth's conditions."

I don't really like going outside.
It's too damn "peopley" out there....
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