Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quote of the Day: Cherish Is The Word I Use

John A. O’Keefe - NASA Scientist and "The Godfather of Astrogeology"

“We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures. If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.” (h/t

John O’Keefe was an astronomer with NASA.

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O’Keefe’s best-known scientific achievement was the 1959 discovery of the third harmonic of the Earth’s gravitational field, leading to the depiction of the Earth as "pear shaped". He was the first to propose the idea of a scanning microscope in 1956 and he is the co-discoverer of the YORP effect (short for Yarkovsky-O’Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddock effect), an effect resulting from sunlight which causes a small celestial body such as an asteroid or meteor to spin up or down. Source: Wikipedia and others.

Eugene Shoemaker called John O'Keefe “the godfather of astrogeology”.


Balbulican said...

Richard, if I might sum up the last few posts...

"Hi there. I'm a prominent scientist who believes in God, and I just find it really hard to believe that all this came about through the operation of physical laws. Thanks."

That seems a fair summary.

Now, as you no doubt know, argument from authority is one of the first logical fallacies one learns in PHI 100. Were than not the case, I would simply rebut each of your arguments with a quote from a difference prominent scientist whow says:

"Hi there. I'm a prominent scientist who may or may not believe in God, and I have no problem believing that all this came about through the operation of physical laws, without divine intervention. Thanks."

However, that would prove precisely nothing, as do your series of quotes.

When do you think you'll be changing rhetorical tacks? You're fun to debate with, but you're getting tedious - adding more and more of exactly the same doesn't strengthen your argument, it just makes it boring.

RkBall said...

An excellent post -- I agree with you, with the usual caveat, "more-or-less".

It's not really an argument from authority, because these authorities are not saying there MUST be a God, in the same way that the naturalists argue, with a stranglehold on science, that, the material universe is all there is and God cannot even be considered as a possibility.

What I'm aiming at here is simply to show that very prominent scientists, with bigger brains than most of the people posting here (with the possible exception of you and me, of course), find that the evidence points towards design and a designer. And a lot of these guys were previously very committed atheists. So that it is a respectable intellectual position to take.

And, I'm not trying to "prove" that God exists in the sense of scientific proof, I'm just trying to get people to accept that belief in some kind of God is a rational response to the evidence before us.

"When do you think you'll be changing rhetorical tacks?"

I've been thinking the same thing. But, I've got these quotes, and they must be used!

I would like to run these quotes for another week or two and then I'll move on.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"