I thought the article was interesting, but there were definitely a couple parts of it I had issues with. First of all, he says that the structure of the universe (and therefore life) can only exist because certain physical constants are exactly the values they are. But he's looking at it backwards. BECAUSE we exist, the universe MUST be this way.
In A Short History of Nearly Everything
, Bill Bryson mentions something similar (although in a slightly different context). He that the chances of all the tiny little coincidences of reproduction and evolution coming together to form YOU (the individual reader) are practically infinitesimal. But of course, because you exist, the odds of all these things occurring is 100%.
So in a way, it is a cool thing that different aspects of the phsyical universe had to line up right for everything to exist....but on the other hand, the fact that we exist means that there's no way it could be otherwise.
The other thing I had a problem with was his discussion of the mind/brain question, where he basically acted like it was a settled matter that there's no extra consciousness of "self" that exists beyond the brain. Now, I'll admit I'm not an expert on this, but I'm pretty sure that there are still a lot of things waiting to be discovered about exactly how the mind works. I don't view the fact that people have out-of-body experiences as evidence that there's no additional SELF beyond the brain. (Sorry if I'm not being totally clear with this, but it's a bit difficult to articulate. Another way to think of it is this: If your body were destroyed, but at the exact instant it was destroyed an exact replica of you were created, with all your memories and characteristics and everything being identical, then would it still be you
? Or would you die when the other body is destroyed, and this would be a completely different person? If you think it's a different person, then that implies that there's some additional awareness or definition of self that exists beyond the purely physical....something roughly equivalent to a soul, though that's not necessarily a perfect way of thinking about it.)
Whew. I do love thinking about these sorts of things though...