Disclaimer: I have not read Hitchens’ book god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, and what follows is taken from a secondhand source. With that in mind, be prepared to laugh.
I ran into a series of posts by Doug Wilson on Hitchens’ book, and one post in particular caught my eye. Here is an excerpt that deserves reading:
Our self-centeredness makes us think that it is “all about us.” But, Hitchens argues, it is not all about us, because the planet where we live is just right for us. I know, but I am pretty sure that that is what he said.
“This vanity allows us to overlook the implacable fact that, of the other bodies in our own solar system alone, the rest are all either far too cold to support anything recognizable as life, or far too hot. The same, as it happens, is true of our own blue and rounded planetary home, where heat contends with cold to make large tracts of it into useless wasteland, and where we have come to learn that we live, and have always lived, on a climatic knife edge. Meanwhile, the sun is getting ready to explode and devour its dependent planets like some jealous chief or tribal deity. Some design!” (p. 80).
So then, we live in a place well suited for life, and this is an argument against God putting us here because other places (where He didn’t put us) are not well suited for us? I see. A housewife is taunted with incompetence because she keeps the toaster on the kitchen counter, where it works well, instead of in the toilet, where it wouldn’t? But of course, that whole family is on a knife edge, for one day she might go nuts and throw it in the toilet (where scientists tell us it will not work well), and then where will our toast be? Exactly.
Of course, Hitchens is mostly talking about the design of the universe, except for his mention of harsh conditions on Earth, but still, Wilson’s point is a good one: how does Hitchens think that talking about the habitability (even under slightly adverse conditions, but those conditions are only slightly adverse in relation to our neighbors and further out) of Earth constitutes any kind of evidence against divine design? It’s nonsensical, to say the least, but most of all, the way Wilson handles it is delightful in its wit. It’s just too bad that Hitchens didn’t need much help in being (unintentionally) funny.
(HT: Tom Gilson at Thinking Christian)