Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle: "A superintellect has monkeyed with physics."

I have updated my web page on eminent researchers who believed in the evidence for some type of paranormal phenomena with the following entry on Fred Hoyle. I also added an entry for Hoyle in a recent post about scientists who believed that the scientific evidence shows that the universe was designed.

Sir Fred Hoyle

The article for Sir Fred Hoyle in Wikipedia describes him as an English astronomer who is most remembered for his work on how chemical elements are synthesized in stars (nucleosynthesis). He received many honors during his life including: Fellow of the Royal Society, Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Royal Medal. He was Knighted in 1972. Hoyle did not win the Nobel Prize but many people thought he was unfairly excluded in 1983 when the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded for nucleosynthesis in which he "had been one of the key and original workers". Hoyle resisted the implications of the Big Bang theory, a name which he was first to use. He tried to find a theory that would describe a steady state universe that did not have a beginning.

However, Hoyle believed the evidence that the universe was fine tuned by an intelligence and that life arose and evolved through intelligent design. This is similar to the cosmological argument that the universe must have been designed by an intelligent creator. Hoyle also believed the universe was designed for a purpose.

The following quotes explain Hoyle's views in his own words:

On the fine tuning of the universe:

Would you not say to yourself, "Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question." (Wikipedia)

Life is the product of intelligent design:

If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design. (Wikipedia)

Higher life forms did not evolve naturally:

The chance that higher life forms might have emerged [naturally] in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.

- Hoyle on evolution, Nature, Vol. 294, No. 5837 (November 12, 1981), p. 105 (Wikiquote)

Life did not arise naturally:

The notion that not only the biopolymer but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.

- The Big Bang in Astronomy, New Scientist, Vol. 92, No. 1280 (November 19, 1981), p. 527 (Wikiquote)

The universe was designed for a purpose:

There is a coherent plan to the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for.

- Attributed in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999) edited by Elizabeth Knowles and Angela Partington (Wikiquote)

The blog "Uncommon Descent", quotes science historian Michael Flannery writing that Hoyle believed that the universe was designed by an intelligent creator.

I think it is a fair assessment to consider Hoyle a creationist in the broadest sense of the term. Yes, he rejected Darwinian evolution, and yes, he held to panspermia, but his book The Intelligent Universe: A New View of Creation and Evolution (1983) and other writings I think substantiate Theodore Walker’s assessment that Hoyle’s views accorded “with the religious idea of a supremely intelligent Creator-Provider-Sustainer of the universe” that was essentially panenthic and at least implicitly pro-theistic

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