There’s an interesting pseudo-science argument that you hear in creationist circles that says humans must be a miracle from God because if the universe were ANY different, we wouldn’t be here. In other words, if molecules formed in a slightly different way, or if gravity was slightly weaker or stronger, then we couldn’t exist as we are today.
It’s ridiculous because it’s backwards.
Of course we’d be different—that’s because we exist as we are because we adapted to the universe as it is. And if the universe were different, then the life form that came into that world would be built for THAT environment.
A great analogy for this is the pothole. We are the water that woke up inside our uniquely shaped hole in the pavement of the universe. Creationists look around and say,
Can’t you see how amazing it is that this pothole was made to fit our exact shape!
Scientists, however, know that the opposite is true: we’re fitted to it, not the other way around. It’s obvious to everyone who gets it, and incomprehensible to everyone who doesn’t. Sad that so much basic scientific knowledge is in this category.
People as water
Anyway, as a materialist who doesn’t believe in free will, this analogy is fascinating to me. For individuals, what we believe and how we behave is the water. And the pothole is our genetics and our set of life experiences.
So the next time you’re angry at someone, remember that they’re ultimately the water, not the pothole.