After eating, I was feeling pretty good. I swam down to the castle, where, as usual, Blackie and Angel were having their daily discussion, or argument (depending on their respective moods). Same topic of course, – science vs. religion. Blackie is a scientist and atheist, while Angel is an ardent believer. (Me, Im an agnostic. Meaning I don’t know and I don’t care.)
“There must be a God” Angel was saying, not for the first time, “A God that takes care of us, provides us with everything we need, a God that created the universe, and created it just right for us to live in”
Blackie shook his head “Nonsense. We live in a purely natural world. There are good scientific reasons for everything that exists, and everything that happens”
“Oh really?” Angel retorted “So where does our food come from?” Blackie almost snickered in triumph. “Ha, I have explained this to you. I have made careful and reproducible observations. The food arrives every day between 7 and 8 AM. It is a natural process clearly related to the appearance of light which occurs just before then.”
“And what about the great shadow from outside?” Angel asked
“The so called shadow is simply a recurring distortion in the light patterns from the natural effects of the regular cycle of light and dark. We don’t know what the shadow is yet, but I’m confident we will eventually discover its source. There is certainly no need for you to always go to the edge and worship the shadow, because I have found that even when you don’t, the food arrives anyway. See, how science can overcome superstition?”.
“Well, I remember one time that no food arrived after the light came. And the shadow didn’t arrive either”.
Blackie said, “Oh really, I remember no such time”. I actually remembered this happening twice, but I will say that our memory capacities are all different, and mine is the best.
Angel continued “So what is your explanation for how perfect the universe is. The temperature is always 80 F, we never get bothered by cloudy water or algae, we have all kinds of room to swim in, and no nasty predators who try to eat us. Don’t you think that God must have set this up and is continually maintaining the world for our comfort and safety?”
“Oh yeah, so what about Molly? If there is such a loving God, why did Molly die?”.
Molly died yesterday, and was floating on the surface all day, until just before darkness, when her body disappeared.
Angel said, “I don’t know, but Im sure God does. Anyway, where did Molly go after she died? I bet you cant answer that?” Blackie couldn’t, none of us could. But he did answer her earlier question.
“The universe appears to be perfect because but if it weren’t this way we wouldn’t be here to notice it, would we. It’s called the ichthyopic principle.”
“So you think its possible that the universe just happened to be the way it is, despite the very low probability of everything being just right?” I asked Blackie, truly curious.
“Its because this is only one of millions or billions of universes.” Blackie replied. “The others have all kinds of different conditions”. He swam over to the edge and bumped his nose against it. Angel and I joined him.
“There is something out there.” He said. “Probably many more universes”.
Angel said, “That might be, but if there are, then God created them and is helping them also.”
Blackie threw his fins in the air. “I give up”, he said. “You just want to believe in your imaginary sky daddy. What do you think Gouri?” he asked me. I shrugged (not a simple thing for me to do) and said “I have no idea. But I do know one thing. If that shadow is God, he should get a new tie.”