Today we’ll start with one of my all time favorite youtube bits, one which offers a magisterial 2 minute journey through the comparative sizes of various celestial bodies. You must watch it before you continue: Star Size Comparison
Clearly size is the issue here. We start off with the moon and end up with a star so big that it would take 1100 years to circle it once in a jet going 900 kmph. And there are billions of stars and billions of galaxies. Wowie!
But the real shocker is the punchline to the video:
“No, you are not the center of the universe!”
Yes folks, you heard right:
YOU ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE. EXCLAMATION POINT!
I don’t get it. If this is supposed to be an argument it must be enthymemic (i.e. have unstated premises) because methinks some premises are embedded somewhere. Perhaps they’re in the gaseous depths of Aldebaran, or maybe in the same place as Saturn’s missing rings.
Without speculating anymore on hidden premises let me attempt to reconstruct the argument:
(1) X has property p (where x is a human being and p is a property like “being made in the image of God” or “being an entity which ought always to be treated as an end and never as a mere means” or something like that).
(2) But y is bigger than X (where y is a celestial body of your choosing: Aldebaran, the Milky Way, whatever).
(3) Therefore, X does not have property p.
Now I hope you can see why there must be some missing premises because (1) and (2) won’t get you to (3).
I’d sure like to know what those premises are because without them I’ll be worried that one of my favorite youtube videos commits the fatal PALE BLUE DOT FALLACY which was eloquently stated by Carl Sagan in book length. I summarize Sagan’s argument as follows:
(4) If you get far enough away from earth then it looks like a pale, blue dot.
(5) Therefore, there is no God.
I guess being a great cosmologist doesn’t automatically make you a great logician.