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DID SOMEONE THROW THE DART? On answering questions in print

Answering questions before a live audience can be tricky business. I wonder if it is easier or sometimes better in print.

Last night I listened to a recording of Eric Metaxis speaking on his book MIRACLES, at Rutgers University. The primary miracles Eric told about in his talk, outside of his own conversion, were on the fine tuning of the universe. Scientists say the chances of all the parameters of the universe coming about by chance approach 0%, and go beyond it. Eric condensed that part of his book into The Wallstreet Journal article, Science Increasingly Makes The Case for God. ( That article, by the way, had more than 600,000 shares and 10,000 comments on line.

After his talk, Eric took questions. And I want to respond to one of the questions raised. The questioner asked about slim chance of the fine tuning of the cosmos. "If you had a dart board and you divided it into a trillion squares, and you threw a dart that hit one of the one in a trillion squares, it doesn't show skill or intention, if you didn't call it in advance. How is that different from the fine tuning of the universe?"

Okay, I would like to to try to answer this question. Let's propose the trial of the millenia. Let me change the details a little. Suppose investigators come into a room and find a mouse with a dart pinning it to the floor. The question arises, "Who threw the dart?" You and I are called to be on the jury. During the trial Attorney #1 claims someone with incredible skill threw the dart. Attorney #2 says this could have happened without anyone throwing the dart. He brings a witness who says the mouse may have always been there with a dart in it. 

Attorney #1 brings a witness who shows by the blood on the floor, the mouse was alive when hit by the dart. 

Attorney # 2 says the mouse did not have to be a moving target.

Attorney #1 brings a witness who says the odds are exceedingly great that the mouse was moving when the dart hit him. And he goes on to ask how a dart came to be in the room. 

Attorney # 2 says it is possible that a million years ago there could have been a meteor shower. One of the meteorites could have had a metal shard in it. And as it fell it struck a tree. Eons passed, and all of the tree but the small part with the metal embedded in it was worn away by the weather and elements. 

Attorney # 1 claims the dart could not have moved with such precision without being thrown.

The other says a freak wind could have swept through the house picking up the dart and flinging it into the mouse.

At some point you might want to say, I wonder if there is not some reason other than the arguments presented that make the sides pose what they are presenting.

And if we want to believe arguments for or against the reality or intervention of God in the universe, what is our motivation? The man seemed to assume that God did not say in advance what the parameters of cosmology would be. How would he have known that? He could not have been there to hear. You could not have heard either. But we might ask God to speak to us now. Wouldn't that settle the issue for you?

Now, whether you think this is a good answer or not, I would like to present it to people who struggle with the issue. And writing seems to be a good forum for this. When I heard this question, I could not think of a good answer. I thought the question oversimplified the issue of the fine tuning of the universe. And I knew at Rutgers, like many universities, there would be great cultural pressure not to believe in God. But in writing I had time to formulate a situational apologetic.

But I don't have readers who would raise the question. I write in a symbolic echo chamber. I primarily read and write with those who basically agree with me. I do not have a good solution for this. I wonder if some of you have experience, or even theories about how to do this, I would appreciate your responses.



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Comment by Pray.Network Curator/Coordinator on September 3, 2019 at 9:35am

 Hello David, thanks for another good post.

I'm not sure if this will be helpful but one of the things I do to try to reach people that are Not in the prayer movement door involved in the Christian conversations, is to post content that invites their analysis and thinking and place that content on Twitter. Twitter allows me to tag people reading the New York Times or listening to ABC News or part of an atheist group, etc.

 When I post a tweet announcing one of your new posts on the network,  I would like to add your Twitter handle – do you have one?

Thanks again for all you do,


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