Joined: Aug. 2007
My gosh... this is the chap who the DI moaned about being fired? (which apparently is the same as not getting tenure - hey, I don't make the rules).
He does some research that suggests that by a quirk of mathematics, habitable planets, because of their orbits, are more likely to have the setup for perfect eclipses than uninhabitable ones. This is interesting, and I like it. It's one of those weird mathematical tricks like two people sharing birthdays in a large group.
So he's shown that the fact we have nice eclipses IS NOT SURPRISING OR MAGICAL - in essence, score one for the godless atheist naturalist side.
But then he throws in this utter illogic about eclipses driving scientific discovery. Um, what does that have to do with anything? Archimedes was turned on by bathwater. War has been a highly effective way to advance science. But his whole argument hinges on the suggestion that some intelligence set up the universe and the moon in such an unlikely way as to make science all that much easier for us.
I'm pretty sure I can come up with many, many ways that scientific discovery could be made easier. For one, not having THE DARK AGES. For two, not having people who are trying to bring back THE DARK AGES. For three, how about not having clouds at all, or at least having them move in paths which run around our telescopes? Because I'm one of many people who didn't see the 1999 total solar eclipse BECAUSE OF HUGE CLOUDS. (I went to Cornwall to see it and all).
Like the Explanatory Filter, Gonzales idea relies on being able to go through an infinity of possibilities. In the EF, one has to rule out all natural laws, discovered or not; in the Privileged Planet, one cannot claim that our current position is the best without knowing all possible positions. What if we were in one of those little dwarf galaxies over the Milky Way? The whole Milky Way swirly would fill the sky*. We'd be able to watch stars orbit the central black hole. With an X-ray telescope perhaps we'd detect the streamers and deduce the existence of other quasars easily instead of all that difficult science they had to do.
I suspect Gonzales work is going to be just like Dembski's; sloppy in all the areas where the argument is, rejected by science, but fuel for creationists. Hey, I've already had a creationist give me the eclipse argument.
* Stargate Atlantis shows us what this might be like. Sorry, I just watched the episode with the midway station between the Milky Way and the Pegasus galaxy and it's jawdroppingly pretty.