I’ve been reading a book by Chet Raymo called Skeptics and True Believers. As a scientist he tries to pull of a quasi religious sense of awe by invoking the vastness of outer space and the billions and billions of years that the world has been in existence.

This one has always baffled me. Who cares if the universe is vast if it’s empty? Nobody has found anything out there so far but rocks floating around. So what if it’s big? What if ours is the only inhabited planet? If so, it’s like an oasis in the Sahara. Who cares if there are thousands of square miles of empty sand. It’s the one little pool of water that matters. If this is so (and science hasn’t come up with anybody else out there yet) then we’re right to be anthropocentric and geocentric.
The same applies to the billions of years of evolution. These guys love telling us that, “The billions of years of evolution have gone before us and if all that time was condensed into the ten thousand years of human history we would be the last half a second”…or some such. So what? Who cares if it was trillions of years if nothing much happened except evolution of our species. Maybe the billions of years was just preparation for our time. It’s like waiting at the station for a train. You might wait three hours, but it’s the one minute when the train comes in that’s important.