This post is again inspired by Jesus & Mo. In this strip, Jesus is blathering on about how the banana is so perfectly suited (read designed) for human consumption that it could not possibly have happened by chance. In the comments under the strip I pointed out that the banana is a human invention. The original was inedible, and it was only when two varieties were crossbred to produce a sterile offspring that the modern banana was born. That sterile offspring can only reproduce by runners, so all the bananas we eat are from that stock.
One of the arguments I hear most frequently for the existence of God, and a world created specifically for human beings, is that so many things seem to be just so perfect for us. Like the fact that most liquids contract when they freeze, but water doesn’t. Water expands when it freezes. Isn’t that fortunate. If water did contract when it turned into ice, instead of expanding, then the oceans would be solid ice with a thin layer of water on the top and life as we know it would be impossible. Must be God putting his hand in. How else to explain it. How else to explain our incredible luck in finding ourself on a planet which seems so perfectly suited for our existence.
But as Daniel Dennett pointed out, this is a strange inversion of reasoning. The planet is not perfect because it was made for us. It’s perfect because we were made for it. And don’t go jumping on that word “made”. I only mean that we evolved in this world, so naturally we find the place salubrious. If we’d evolved in a different place, say in a deep ocean thermal vent, we’d probably marvel at how perfect that environment is for us too as we metabolized hydrogen sulphide.
The argument that the world is perfect for us, therefore it must have been created for us, gets everything backwards.
Update: thanks again to comments under Jesus & Mo I was directed to RationalWiki for a complete exposure to the banana and the banana as proof of God argument. Didn’t know that peanut butter got involved as well. YEC sure do get silly.