An Indifferent Universe?

June 19, 2009

I had to learn a little about a software tool named DocBook.  I was reading DocBook 5.0: The Definitive Guide, by Norman Walsh, when I came across an example that used this quote:

The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

–Richard Dawkins

The irony was striking.  This book is available, for free, on-line.  Presumably then, Norman Walsh is a caring, generous fellow who is willing to make his work freely available to others.  That raises an obvious question: how is it that in this indifferent universe, a caring, concerned, generous benefactor such as Norman Walsh exists?  That is to say, how does an indifferent universe give rise to beings who are not at all indifferent?  Similarly, consider Dawkins himself.   He strenuously promotes atheism.  Doesn’t he believe it is true?  Doesn’t he desire for everyone to see it’s truth?  Doesn’t he care about the state of his fellow man?  I expect he does all of these things, and is therefore also hardly indifferent, nor lacking some sense of the difference between good and evil.

I can only conclude Dawkins is quite wrong.   From a universe that is indifferent and void of good or evil, we would expect to find only indifference, and no sense of right or wrong.  Yet, we find quite the opposite, even in those who claim we live in a Universe of pitiless indifference.

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