"God, the ultimate source and ground of not just this universe but of untold, as-yet unknown, universes beyond, is not only “great” but greater by a zillion degrees than anything our limited minds or technologies can ever possibly conjure up."
A zillion degrees.
I've tried using my local Sun paper, the London Free Press, to pick up dog crap. The crap rejects it.
Let's view Tom's argument as it deserves to be seen, as interpretive dance.
Anyway, god is so totally more awesome than anyone could ever, or will ever, be able to imagine. At least Tom has set the groundwork for his argument in that he is going to make bald assertions that are not only unverifiable, but could never be verifiable, ever in the infinite history of the universe. This is what is know in religious conservatives circles as "debate".
"atheism is today a wholly untenable position"
Not having a belief in gods is untenable to Tom. He is saying that not believing in the supernatural (literally outside of nature as he outlined above) is not a logical position to take. That takes some balls and being a bear of very little brain. Of course it could be that Tom has evidence to bring forth to convince us.
"The most amazing thing about the universe as we now know it is the fine-tuning of the physical constants behind the structure and coherence of everything else."
There we go. Full fucking moron in 9 paragraphs. In case anyone is not familiar with the argument for fine tuning, I'll let Douglas Adams, by way of a real atronomer, explain this widely discredited argument for the existence of a god.
Tom says "blah blah blah" when what he means is that, thanks to his belief in the supernatural, he thinks that the universe was always meant to create human life. Such ego. Such hubris. Why, it's not christian, is it? Where's the humility?
Tom pops off with this resounding zinger:
"Frankly, when I consider the amount of confidence in sheer coincidence required by atheism in the face of the latest scientific findings about the origin and nature of the universe, I realize I simply don’t have and never will the amount of faith such a leap demands."
Tom packs a lot of straw into that little paragraph. It has intelligent design, atheism as a religion, knowledge of abiogenesis, and a sweet little "Bless your heart" to finish off on our faces. Do these guys wake up and go "Holy crap, there's a cock under this fat flap! I had no idea it was there." That is how he comes across; as someone who has just stumbled upon an idea, new to him, but that has been discussed to death, and widely discredited. It's like when Madonna discovered sex, we all had to hear about, about how awesome it was, and how she was the only one doing it right .
Let's graphically illustrate the universe, fine-tuned for human life.
Here a Venn diagram I made showing the intersection of the known universe, and the portion of the universe suitable for human life, as far as our current knowledge allows. The entire universe is black, and the portion containing us is in yellow. I know the yellow is too big, but I don't have the right kind of software to make it any smaller.
That is some fine, fine tuning there. According to Tom there has been billions of years of evolution, billions of years of infinite galaxies forming, billions of star systems that were born and died, untold astronomical events that have been happening since the beginning of time, and it was all for him. All so that we could end up with this picture:
Not worth it.
Yes, I know what you're thinking as you gaze upon that picture, so here you go.
It's nice to end on a positive note. Where do they get those facts anyway?