*I never understood why God received gender-based pronouns. God is neither male nor female, and it is certainly not a person—yet those who worship it subsequently brand It, denigrate it, with human character. You don’t do that for non-living entities, so why would a gender-neutral Creator need it?
Firstly, I credit Barr for his clear prose. Like Gould or Sakharov before him—or Bill Nye, for that matter—Barr has written quickly and cogently, explaining without condescending. And while, in the end, he falters, he does convincingly discredit (some of) those who would discredit him. For example, Barr saliently shows that the physicists who suspect God’s “hands were completely tied” in the creation of this life flub the basic understanding of God. As is inherent in its nature, God’s All Being would have simply worked another set of creation such that we would still be here, somehow, some way. God would have found a way.
As it is written with the scientific method in mind, I knew that the piece would follow a grand tradition of grating the line where scientists and deists have met since man first shouted “Eureka!”—the line Galileo trod, that Dawkins and his ilk now flout. It is the notion and the presence of the “God of the gaps,” the omnipresence that exists just beyond the grips of our scientific understanding. It began with weather: Rain, famine, drumming thunder all served as God’s communication, until we learned that they weren’t. God then moved on to and into geographic oddities, solar organization, material wealth, and, for some, America’s perceived providence. (In an odd nod to our ancestors, Bill O’Reilly recently claimed that we don’t know where the Moon came from, and thus that our “special place of being” was proven all the further.) These notions eventually—well, mostly—decomposed under the modes of science, and the God of the gap was pushed just a bit further into the ether.
In this piece, the suggestion of God—not proof, as Barr goes out of his way to illustrate—resides in the peculiarities and necessities of the sub-atomic world, which, extrapolated, end with your eyes, my feet, Ichiro’s swing, and Dubya’s smirk. Our existence, our recipe, requires very precise measurements—measurements with which we just so happened to have been endowed. The years are necessary. The deuterium is necessary. The proteins, and the Moon, and the troposphere were all necessary. Everything created us, says Barr. Everything was necessary. And it was, I suppose. Action, reaction, and all that—the slightest change, and this moment would be starkly different, if existent at all. Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is us. So it would seem.