A lot of people suppose that there is evidence of design in nature, and that the design must have come from god. God must have designed all of these things for our benefit, since we, according to the traditional view in western and middle-eastern religions, are the purpose of the universe. But this hypothesis can be tested. First of all, how good is the design in nature, and where does it come from? Does it appear to be for our benefit?
Let us compare god’s design to man’s designs for a point of comparison. The incandescent light bulb has come under fire lately because it is very inefficient. It only converts about 1% of the energy it uses into light. Modern light bulbs are far more efficient, this light bulb produces the light of a 60 watt bulb with only 7.5 watts of electricity:
The above bulb uses 13% of it’s energy for light.
God allegedly created the sun, moon and stars to “give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness” (Genesis 1:16-18), but the sun (which also lights the moon) produces over a billion times as much energy as the earth receives, making even the original thomas edison lightbulb look insanely energy efficient. It would probably take the total efforts of a million generations of humans to design and build something less energy efficient and more wasteful than the sun. This is ignoring the even more preposterous notion that the stars were made to light the earth, which is exponentially more absurd, since we get far less light from distant stars, of which there are thousands of trillions in the observable universe.
Furthermore the earth is said to be designed for humans, but virtually all of it’s surface is desert, arctic or ocean.
The other planets were presumably built for our benefit, but of the 8 planets, 336 moons and countless dwarf planet candidates, only one body supports any form of life. So just counting planets and moons and ignoring the dwarf planets entirely (of which there are estimated to be as many as two thousand) and ignoring that the entire earth is not useful for human life, the solar system’s bodies support human life 0.3% of the time, and that’s rounding up.
So the solar system does not exhibit a tremendous amount of human-centered design. In fact the only thing that appears to really be designed in the solar system is life. Living things contain the sort of complex, inter-working machinery we associate with man-made things like computers and other artificial inventions. It is therefore often the conclusion of many bright people that life must have been similarly engineered. Setting aside that we have marvelous explanations for how this design not only came about, but how life is being continually re-designed (which I won’t go into, having already made many blogs about it), setting that aside even if I granted that life was designed by an extra-terrestrial intelligence – was it designed for our benefit? Yes, many aspects of our physiology do benefit us greatly, the eye, the immune system etc. But dangerous animals that kill humans have those things too. And the same brilliant cellular machinery that keeps us alive also keeps the bubonic plague alive – the last case of the bubonic plague in the U.S. was… last year in Oregon. The same persistence to live is found in all species, even those that are at odds with our own survival. There appears to be no benefit to humans.
Another important thing to point out is that our anatomy is inferior in pretty much every way to some other species. Bacteria can withstand over 100 times a lethal dose of radiation for humans, shrug off the vacuum of space like it was nothing, and withstand temperatures ranging from negative 456 degrees farenheit (the temperature of space) to around a thousand degrees (the temperature of boiling water), or a spectrum of about 1500 degrees. We start to die in temperatures within a range of less than 100 degrees.
[Edit: I assumed the temperature of water would be roughly that of the flame on the stove (around 1k degrees), the actual temp is 212 degrees since any water that goes higher than that vaporizes and leaves the pot, so the temperature range bacteria can survive in is around 6-700 degrees, not 1500. My bad. Still much more resilient than us though.]
And things like the eye which are exquisitely useful to us fall short of the eyes of other species. The eye of the llama for instance can see everything in a 330 degree angle:
Whereas humans only have a range of about 185 degrees, or around half that of llamas. Other species of reptiles have both eyes and heat pits which give them both normal and heat vision. Other species can see in the dark via echo location, an ability a few humans are actually capable of, though not to the same extent. Whales have hearing and voices so powerful they can communicate over hundreds of miles, other animals can communicate over mountain ranges. Etc, etc.
There appears to be no favoritism for humans.
People might cite the existence of fruits and vegetables that taste good as proof that they were put here for our benefit, but these were cultivated to taste and look good and have palatable textures by humans over thousands of years. Modern wheat, apples, oranges, bananas etc are human inventions, as is sugar, using spices to improve the flavor of food, cooking etc. Go eat a leaf off a tree and tell me it was put there for us, lol.
Now this does not mean that the universe was not created or that there is no god. But to me these and many other things do rule out the possibility of a god that created the universe with us in mind. I think that if there is a god, the universe was created for life, not for humanity. The universe is much bigger than us in every possible sense. That may depress some people, but only those who have humility deficits or insecurities.