April 18, 2004

The Anthropic Beachological Principle, or Intelligent Beach Design

The Panda's Thumb explores the mystery of the existence of beaches:

The Panda's Thumb: The Purpose of Life is a Beach Part 1: I am starting what I intend to be a regular contribution in which I will share some of my almost spiritual experiences and insights gained when I was on the beach. It was this unforgettable moment late summer, the first time that I realized how special the beach really is. I finally realized that the beach shows a remarkable CORRELATION between HABITABILITY and PLEASURABILITY.... Isn’t a beach well adapted for sun bathing, digging holes in the sand, beach volley ball and wading. Isn’t it miraculous that we go to beaches, which provide for easy access to the ocean, with sand allowing us to spend our sun bathing in relative comfort. In addition what better place to play beach games.... A slowly deepening bottom allows us to wade in the ocean without the immediate risk of drowning. As icing on the cake, the waves seem to approach the beach in perpendicular to the coast line adding to our enjoyment.... And in addition to all the beach, which by now must appear to the reader to be an almost miraculous environment, also provide us with protection from flooding (dunes).

One cannot escape the conclusion that these beaches were designed with a purpose in mind. A sceptic reader may object to the use of correlation to infer purpose but I intend to use a “cumulative case argument” to strengthen my case. By showing not only complexity but also a meaningful pattern I will show how design is an INEVITABLE conclusion.

The inevitable conclusion appears to be that at the Omega Point the entire universe will be one big beach, or that in the beginning the Breath of God hung ten in a righteous fashion...

Posted by DeLong at April 18, 2004 08:28 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

Or as Woodward quotes GW Bush,
"Who knows? We'll all be dead."

Posted by: Dolores Cantel on April 18, 2004 08:47 PM

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http://www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

In the final moment at the Omega Point the whole universe will cascade into one cosmic tidal wave bearing down on a pristine sand beach of immense proportions, and in the middle of that pure white beach, lying by the warm ebbing waters, the last white man on earth will writhe in utter agony, a burning tire necklace turning their sunburnt skin a delicious shade of toasted brown.

Falluja is a massacre just like Jenin, and just like Jenin, the white media totally obscures it, just as it hid the lynchings for 200 years.
America is as racist as apartheid South Africa, or as Zionist Israel. Only horribly unutterably more so, because America pretends not to be. America pretends to be the light in the darkness.

http://www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

Someone once told me that heaven was a place where you could do anything you wanted to in life, for as long as you wanted to, for all of eternity. Only there is no money, and no media, hence the concept of "hell" for those Mammons who have no other interest in life than self-aggrandizing wealth, and then seeking the lime light to show it off. In heaven, they'll be confined to wheelchairs and drip tubes.

Posted by: Edmond Carlyle on April 18, 2004 09:40 PM

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Reminds me of the quote on the back cover of most Terry Pratchett "Discworld" novels:

"Terry Pratchett lives in England, and island off the coast of France, where he spends his time writing Discworld novels in accordance with the Very Strong Anthropic Principle, which holds that the entire purpose of the Universe is to make possible a being that will live in England, an Island off the coast of France, and spend his time writing Discworld novels. Which is exactly what he does. Which proves the whole business true. Any questions?"

Posted by: Julian Elson on April 18, 2004 10:20 PM

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Um, Life's a Beach?

Posted by: Linkmeister on April 18, 2004 10:43 PM

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Thus, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is proven right again, a towel is the most massively useful thing you can carry.

Posted by: liberal japonicus on April 19, 2004 02:29 AM

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The truly intelligent part of the design is that beaches are always conveniently located next to an ocean. Someone was thinking ahead, eh?

As opposed to say, a beach in the middle of a desert which would lead us to suspect unintelligent design.

Posted by: undelay on April 19, 2004 02:42 AM

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I strongly suspect the Panda's Thumb has never been to a British "beach," nor, possibly, any "beach" that has not, in fact, been, indeed, designed. By man and woman.

Posted by: Gary Farber on April 19, 2004 02:51 AM

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Waves approaching PERPENDICULAR.

Posted by: big al on April 19, 2004 04:24 AM

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What about the beaches that do not have these enjoyable characteristics, for example, beaches that are rocky instead of sandy, extremely cold even when sunny, or too hot/humid for comfort, populated by thugs robbers and rapists rather than volleyballers, dunes too short to prevent flooding, sudden holes or changes in depth, etc. - who "designed" these beaches? The answer of course is the same for both beaches - there is no intelligent design here, just natural forces and chance.

Isn't it the height of arrogance to look at Natural beauty and declare that not only did God make it, but made it just for me? Life is a thin, sun-driven chemical reaction on the surface of a lonely planet, among billions of stars, between billions of years.

Posted by: tjallen on April 19, 2004 05:40 AM

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I hope the next posting is on intelligent ski slope design.

To paraphrase:

Isnít a mountain well adapted for skiing, shredding, making angels in the snow and snowball fights? Isnít it miraculous that we go to mountains, which provide for easy access to the vertical, with snow allowing us to spend our skiing in relative safety. In addition what better place to ski race.... A precipitous drop leveling out at the bottom allows us to zoom down the slope and come to a stop without the immediate risk of crashing into the lodge.

This series has potential!

Posted by: bakho on April 19, 2004 06:29 AM

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Linkmeister: "Um, Life's a Beach?"

No.

Life's a beach, and then you die.

Posted by: degustibus on April 19, 2004 07:53 AM

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This is written by a guy who clearly has not spent time picking his way through the feces and vendors on a Mexican beach during Semana Santa.

Posted by: degustibus on April 19, 2004 07:57 AM

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The beaches were here long before homo sapiens. Do you suppose it could be that the species evolved to use and appreciate things that were avaiable in the natural environment, such as, for example, beaches? I wonder how Inuit and Mongolians relate to the wonders of beaches.

Posted by: Ken on April 19, 2004 08:01 AM

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"A slowly deepening bottom allows us to wade in the ocean without the immediate risk of drowning."

Actually, the 'slowly deepening bottom' is what lures unwary humans to the point where the riptides and the undertow can drown them. There is obviously an intelligence behind the design of nature, and it is just as obviously malignant.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on April 19, 2004 08:12 AM

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Let's back up a step and give credit to that wonderful invention, gravity, which makes beaches and lying on them possible. (And is especially handy for skiing too, I might add.)

Posted by: Dubblblind on April 19, 2004 09:14 AM

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"Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go." --Blaise Pascal

Posted by: Theophylact on April 19, 2004 09:21 AM

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The universal maker (UM) had lots of chances to make boundaries between land and water. This was good because despite popular opinion the universal maker was an extraordinarily clumsy and barely competetent individual. Accounts vary on the number of tries UM actually had to fashion these "beaches". Nevertheless, in all these accounts, the number of available tries exceed numbers whose decimal representations are 1's followed by lots and lots of zeros. In fact some authors believe that in order to really understand the magnitude of chances UM had, one really has to take the view of a Goddess and consider counting as a transfinite activity. Yes, yes monkees and shakespeare and all that, you say. But given a hyperfinite number of monkeys typing a hyperfinite number of units, you'll get a lot of good stuff. Provably!

In any case some of UM's less succesful attempts at Land sea boundary making are also quite apparent.

Posted by: CSTAR on April 19, 2004 09:34 AM

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The intelligent sexual organ design surely needs doing.

Posted by: marky on April 19, 2004 09:47 AM

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"I strongly suspect the Panda's Thumb has never been to a British beach, nor, possibly, any beach that has not, in fact, been, indeed, designed. By man and woman."

And this goes very far; a great many "natural" environments have been designed or heavily influenced by humans. The "park-like" "natural character" of the Willamette Valley, noted by the early Euro-American settlers, was in fact the result of fires deliberately set by the Amerinds already living there, probably as part of low-intensity agriculture.

Posted by: Randolph Fritz on April 19, 2004 10:57 AM

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Just how long is the ultimate beach> does your dimension on it equal 5 at nirvanna- is your beach sufficient and complete?

Posted by: Allen M on April 19, 2004 11:58 AM

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What about the beaches that do not have these enjoyable characteristics, for example, beaches that are rocky instead of sandy, extremely cold even when sunny, or too hot/humid for comfort, populated by thugs robbers and rapists rather than volleyballers, dunes too short to prevent flooding, sudden holes or changes in depth, etc. - who "designed" these beaches?

All imperfect beaches exist so that they can be compared against the perfect beaches, that we can comprehend the perfection that God has given us, and walk around on the perfect beaches (provided we can find a public one that's empty or are exorbitantly wealthy enough to buy one) comprehending how completely and utterly miserable we could be but are not.

If all beaches were perfect, why, then we would... well, walk around on perfect beaches all the time just enjoying the hell out of things, and what good would that be?

Posted by: agrajag on April 19, 2004 02:12 PM

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But then sand will get in everything. What about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches full of sand. What about them? They're good too, you know.

Posted by: jml on April 19, 2004 02:22 PM

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The perfect beaches are on St. John in the Virgin Islands. There are also houses for rent with huge porches that look out over the water to St. Thomas so you can watch the cruise ships come into the harbor and send the merry shoppers on their way. You can watch the birds come to the porch to bite at the bits of sugar left over from your coffee. Fortunately, no one is aware of this kind of perfection, so no one goes there.

Posted by: masaccio on April 19, 2004 03:55 PM

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Sorry, I read Candide already, thanks.

Posted by: ploeg on April 19, 2004 05:37 PM

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