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Fine tuning of the Universe

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26 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:55 pm

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47 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:57 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
How to defend the fine-tuning argument just like William Lane Craig

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/how-to-defend-the-fine-tuning-argument-just-like-william-lane-craig/

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from Colliding Universes! Thanks for the link Denyse!

First of all, if you’re not clear on the fine-tuning argument, click here and read Walter Bradley’s exposition of it. Dr. Walter L. Bradley (C.V. here) is the Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Baylor University. He was also a professor and department head at Texas A&M before going to Baylor. He had his Ph.D at age 24 from the University of Texas and was a tenured professor at 27.

The first argument presented by Bradley in that post is the same argument that Craig used against Hitchens in their debate. (It’s Craig’s second argument in the set of five). Bradley’s version of the argument has been presented live, in-person by Bradley at dozens of universities here and abroad, in front of students and faculty. The lecture I linked to in that post is an MP3.

The fine-tuning argument

The argument goes like this:

The fine-tuning of the universe to support life is either due to law, chance or design
It is not due to law or chance
Therefore, the fine-tuning is due to design
What does it meaning to be fine-tuned for life?

Here are the facts on the fine-tuning:

Life has certain minimal requirements; long-term stable source of energy, a large number of different chemical elements, an element that can serve as a hub for joining together other elements into compounds, etc.
In order to meet these minimal requirements, the physical constants, (such as the gravitational constant), and the ratios between physical constants, need to be withing a narrow range of values in order to support the minimal requirements for life of any kind.
Slight changes to any of the physical constants, or to the rations between the constants, will result in a universe inhospitable to life.
The range of possible ranges over 70 orders of magnitude.
The constants are selected by whoever creates the universe. They are not determined by physical laws. And the extreme probabilities involved required put the fine-tuning beyond the reach of chance.
Although each individual selection of constants and ratios is as unlikely as any other selection, the vast majority of these possibilities do not support the minimal requirements of life of any kind. (In the same way as any hand of 5 cards that is dealt is as likely as any other, but you are overwhelmingly likely NOT to get a royal flush. In our case, a royal flush is a life-permitting universe).
Examples of finely-tuned constants

Here are a couple of examples of the fine-tuning. Craig only gave one example in the debate and didn’t explain how changes to the constant would affect the minimal requirements for life. But Bradley does explain it, and he is a professional research scientist, so he is speaking about things he worked in his polymer research lab. (He was the director)

a) The strong force: (the force that binds nucleons (= protons and neutrons) together in nucleus, by means of meson exchange)

if the strong force constant were 2% stronger, there would be no stable hydrogen, no long-lived stars, no hydrogen containing compounds. This is because the single proton in hydrogen would want to stick to something else so badly that there would be no hydrogen left!
if the strong force constant were 5% weaker, there would be no stable stars, few (if any) elements besides hydrogen. This is because you would be able to build up the nuclei of the heavier elements, which contain more than 1 proton.
So, whether you adjust the strong force up or down, you lose stars than can serve as long-term sources of stable energy, or you lose chemical diversity, which is necessary to make beings that can perform the minimal requirements of living beings. (see below)
b) The conversion of beryllium to carbon, and carbon to oxygen

Life requires carbon in order to serve as the hub for complex molecules, but it also requires oxygen in order to create water.
Carbon is like the hub wheel in a tinker toy set: you can bind other elements together to more complicated molecules (e.g. – “carbon-based life), but the bonds are not so tight that they can’t be broken down again later to make something else.
The carbon resonance level is determined by two constants: the strong force and electromagnetic force.
If you mess with these forces even slightly, you either lose the carbon or the oxygen.
Either way, you’ve got no life of any conceivable kind.

Is the fine-tuning real?

Yes, it’s real and it is conceded by the top-rank of atheist physicists. Let me give you a citation from the best one of all, Martin Rees. Martin Rees is an atheist and a qualified astronomer. He wrote a book called “Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe”, (Basic Books: 2001). In it, he discusses 6 numbers that need to be fine-tuned in order to have a life-permitting universe.

Rees writes here:

These six numbers constitute a ‘recipe’ for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator?

There are some atheists who deny the fine-tuning, but these atheists are in firm opposition to the progress of science. The more science has progressed, the more constants, ratios and quantities we have discovered that need to be fine-tuned. Science is going in a theistic direction. Next, let’s see how atheists try to account for the fine-tuning, on atheism.

Atheistic responses to the fine-tuning argument

There are two common responses among atheists to this argument.

The first is to speculate that there are actually an infinite number of other universes that are not fine-tuned, (i.e. – the gambler’s fallacy). All these other universes don’t support life. We just happen to be in the one universe is fine-tuned for life. The problem is that there is no way of directly observing these other universes and no independent evidence that they exist.

Here is an excerpt from an article in Discover magazine, (which is hostile to theism and Christianity).

Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.

The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.

The second response by atheists is that the human observers that exist today, 14 billion years after the universe was created out of nothing, actually caused the fine-tuning. This solution would mean that although humans did not exist at the time the of the big bang, they are going to be able to reach back in time at some point in the future and manually fine-tune the universe.

Here is an excerpt from and article in the New Scientist, (which is hostile to theism and Christianity).

…maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation… observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is not surprising that the universe is well suited to us.

So, there are two choices for atheists. Either an infinite number of unobservable universes that are not fine-tuned, or humans go back in time at some future point and fine-tune the beginning of the universe, billions of years in the past.

Why the fine-tuning argument matters

We need to make a decision today about how we are going to live. The evidence available today supports the fine-tuning of the universe by a supernatural mind with immense power. The progress of science has strengthened this theory against determined opposition from rival naturalistic theories.

Those are the facts, and we must all choose what to do with them.

Further study

Here is a paper by Walter L. Bradley that contains many more examples of the fine-tuning, and explanations for what happens when you change the constants, quantities and rations even slightly.

In case you missed it, here is a similar post on Craig’s first argument.

48 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:00 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Recipe for the Universe - Just Six Numbers

http://www.firstscience.com/home/articles/big-theories/recipe-for-the-universe-just-six-numbers_1230.html

- 10 Aug 2004
By Sir Martin Rees,
Page 1 of 5
Our whole Universe is governed by just six numbers, set at the time of the Big Bang. Alter any one of them at your peril, for stars, planets and humans would then not exist.
Mathematical laws underpin the fabric of our Universe - not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people. The properties of atoms - their sizes and masses, how many different kinds there are, and the forces linking them together - determine the chemistry of our everyday world. The very existence of atoms depends on forces and particles deep inside them. The objects that astronomers study - planets, stars and galaxies - are controlled by the force of gravity. And everything takes place in the arena of an expanding Universe, whose properties were imprinted into it at the time of the initial Big Bang.


Science advances by discerning patterns and regularities in nature, so that more and more phenomena can be subsumed into general categories and laws. Theorists aim to encapsulate the essence of the physical laws in a unified set of equations and a few numbers. There is still some way to go, but progress is remarkable.
Six numbers
As the start of the twenty-first century, we have identified six numbers that seem especially significant. Two of them relate to the basic forces; two fix the size and overall 'texture' of our Universe and determine whether it will continue for ever; and two more fix the properties of space itself:
1

The cosmic number omega measures the amount of material in our Universe - galaxies, diffuse gas, and 'dark matter'. Omega tells us the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the Universe. A universe within which omega was too high would have collapsed long ago; had omega been too low, no galaxies would have formed. The inflationary theory of the Big Bang says omega should be one; astronomers have yet to measure its exact value.
These six numbers constitute a 'recipe' for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be 'untuned', there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator? I take the view that it is neither. An infinity of other universes may well exist where the numbers are different. Most would be stillborn or sterile. We could only have emerged (and therefore we naturally now find ourselves) in a universe with the 'right' combination. This realisation offers a radically new perspective on our Universe, on our place in it, and on the nature of physical laws.

49 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:16 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
An amazing array of scientists are bewildered by the design of the universe and admit a possibility of a designer.

http://www.sciencefindsgod.com/blog/2006/01/fine-tuning-of-universe.html

The August '97 issue of "Science" (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled "Science and God: A Warming Trend?" Here is an excerpt:

The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life -- such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars -- also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.

Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in high energy physics (a field of science that deals with the very early universe), writing in the journal "Scientific American", reflects on

how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.
Although Weinberg is a self-described agnostic, he cannot but be astounded by the extent of the fine-tuning. He goes on to describe how a beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. But this is not the end of Professor Weinberg's wonder at our well-tuned universe. He continues:

One constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning -- The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.
This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000,
but instead:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,

50 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:13 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
A Designer Universe?

http://www.physlink.com/Education/essay_weinberg.cfm

by Steven Weinberg
Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin
Winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics.

I have been asked to comment on whether the universe shows signs of having been designed.1 I don't see how it's possible to talk about this without having at least some vague idea of what a designer would be like. Any possible universe could be explained as the work of some sort of designer. Even a universe that is completely chaotic, without any laws or regularities at all, could be supposed to have been designed by an idiot.

The question that seems to me to be worth answering, and perhaps not impossible to answer, is whether the universe shows signs of having been designed by a deity more or less like those of traditional monotheistic religions—not necessarily a figure from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but at least some sort of personality, some intelligence, who created the universe and has some special concern with life, in particular with human life. I expect that this is not the idea of a designer held by many here. You may tell me that you are thinking of something much more abstract, some cosmic spirit of order and harmony, as Einstein did. You are certainly free to think that way, but then I don't know why you use words like 'designer' or 'God,' except perhaps as a form of protective coloration.

It used to be obvious that the world was designed by some sort of intelligence. What else could account for fire and rain and lightning and earthquakes? Above all, the wonderful abilities of living things seemed to point to a creator who had a special interest in life. Today we understand most of these things in terms of physical forces acting under impersonal laws. We don't yet know the most fundamental laws, and we can't work out all the consequences of the laws we do know. The human mind remains extraordinarily difficult to understand, but so is the weather. We can't predict whether it will rain one month from today, but we do know the rules that govern the rain, even though we can't always calculate their consequences. I see nothing about the human mind any more than about the weather that stands out as beyond the hope of understanding as a consequence of impersonal laws acting over billions of years.

There do not seem to be any exceptions to this natural order, any miracles. I have the impression that these days most theologians are embarrassed by talk of miracles, but the great monotheistic faiths are founded on miracle stories—the burning bush, the empty tomb, an angel dictating the Koran to Mohammed—and some of these faiths teach that miracles continue at the present day. The evidence for all these miracles seems to me to be considerably weaker than the evidence for cold fusion, and I don't believe in cold fusion. Above all, today we understand that even human beings are the result of natural selection acting over millions of years of breeding and eating.

I'd guess that if we were to see the hand of the designer anywhere, it would be in the fundamental principles, the final laws of nature, the book of rules that govern all natural phenomena. We don't know the final laws yet, but as far as we have been able to see, they are utterly impersonal and quite without any special role for life. There is no life force. As Richard Feynman has said, when you look at the universe and understand its laws, 'the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man's struggle for good and evil seems inadequate.'

True, when quantum mechanics was new, some physicists thought that it put humans back into the picture, because the principles of quantum mechanics tell us how to calculate the probabilities of various results that might be found by a human observer. But, starting with the work of Hugh Everett forty years ago, the tendency of physicists who think deeply about these things has been to reformulate quantum mechanics in an entirely objective way, with observers treated just like everything else. I don't know if this program has been completely successful yet, but I think it will be.

I have to admit that, even when physicists will have gone as far as they can go, when we have a final theory, we will not have a completely satisfying picture of the world, because we will still be left with the question 'why?' Why this theory, rather than some other theory? For example, why is the world described by quantum mechanics? Quantum mechanics is the one part of our present physics that is likely to survive intact in any future theory, but there is nothing logically inevitable about quantum mechanics; I can imagine a universe governed by Newtonian mechanics instead. So there seems to be an irreducible mystery that science will not eliminate.

But religious theories of design have the same problem. Either you mean something definite by a God, a designer, or you don't. If you don't, then what are we talking about? If you do mean something definite by 'God' or 'design,' if for instance you believe in a God who is jealous, or loving, or intelligent, or whimsical, then you still must confront the question 'why?' A religion may assert that the universe is governed by that sort of God, rather than some other sort of God, and it may offer evidence for this belief, but it cannot explain why this should be so.

In this respect, it seems to me that physics is in a better position to give us a partly satisfying explanation of the world than religion can ever be, because although physicists won't be able to explain why the laws of nature are what they are and not something completely different, at least we may be able to explain why they are not slightly different. For instance, no one has been able to think of a logically consistent alternative to quantum mechanics that is only slightly different. Once you start trying to make small changes in quantum mechanics, you get into theories with negative probabilities or other logical absurdities. When you combine quantum mechanics with relativity you increase its logical fragility. You find that unless you arrange the theory in just the right way you get nonsense, like effects preceding causes, or infinite probabilities. Religious theories, on the other hand, seem to be infinitely flexible, with nothing to prevent the invention of deities of any conceivable sort.

Now, it doesn't settle the matter for me to say that we cannot see the hand of a designer in what we know about the fundamental principles of science. It might be that, although these principles do not refer explicitly to life, much less human life, they are nevertheless craftily designed to bring it about.

Some physicists have argued that certain constants of nature have values that seem to have been mysteriously fine-tuned to just the values that allow for the possibility of life, in a way that could only be explained by the intervention of a designer with some special concern for life. I am not impressed with these supposed instances of fine-tuning. For instance, one of the most frequently quoted examples of fine-tuning has to do with a property of the nucleus of the carbon atom. The matter left over from the first few minutes of the universe was almost entirely hydrogen and helium, with virtually none of the heavier elements like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen that seem to be necessary for life. The heavy elements that we find on earth were built up hundreds of millions of years later in a first generation of stars, and then spewed out into the interstellar gas out of which our solar system eventually formed.

The first step in the sequence of nuclear reactions that created the heavy elements in early stars is usually the formation of a carbon nucleus out of three helium nuclei. There is a negligible chance of producing a carbon nucleus in its normal state (the state of lowest energy) in collisions of three helium nuclei, but it would be possible to produce appreciable amounts of carbon in stars if the carbon nucleus could exist in a radioactive state with an energy roughly 7 million electron volts (MeV) above the energy of the normal state, matching the energy of three helium nuclei, but (for reasons I'll come to presently) not more than 7.7 MeV above the normal state.

This radioactive state of a carbon nucleus could be easily formed in stars from three helium nuclei. After that, there would be no problem in producing ordinary carbon; the carbon nucleus in its radioactive state would spontaneously emit light and turn into carbon in its normal nonradioactive state, the state found on earth. The critical point in producing carbon is the existence of a radioactive state that can be produced in collisions of three helium nuclei.

In fact, the carbon nucleus is known experimentally to have just such a radioactive state, with an energy 7.65 MeV above the normal state. At first sight this may seem like a pretty close call; the energy of this radioactive state of carbon misses being too high to allow the formation of carbon (and hence of us) by only 0.05 MeV, which is less than one percent of 7.65 MeV. It may appear that the constants of nature on which the properties of all nuclei depend have been carefully fine-tuned to make life possible.

Looked at more closely, the fine-tuning of the constants of nature here does not seem so fine. We have to consider the reason why the formation of carbon in stars requires the existence of a radioactive state of carbon with an energy not more than 7.7 MeV above the energy of the normal state. The reason is that the carbon nuclei in this state are actually formed in a two-step process: first, two helium nuclei combine to form the unstable nucleus of a beryllium isotope, beryllium 8, which occasionally, before it falls apart, captures another helium nucleus, forming a carbon nucleus in its radioactive state, which then decays into normal carbon. The total energy of the beryllium 8 nucleus and a helium nucleus at rest is 7.4 MeV above the energy of the normal state of the carbon nucleus; so if the energy of the radioactive state of carbon were more than 7.7 MeV it could only be formed in a collision of a helium nucleus and a beryllium 8 nucleus if the energy of motion of these two nuclei were at least 0.3 MeV—an energy which is extremely unlikely at the temperatures found in stars.

Thus the crucial thing that affects the production of carbon in stars is not the 7.65 MeV energy of the radioactive state of carbon above its normal state, but the 0.25 MeV energy of the radioactive state, an unstable composite of a beryllium 8 nucleus and a helium nucleus, above the energy of those nuclei at rest.2 This energy misses being too high for the production of carbon by a fractional amount of 0.05 MeV/0.25 MeV, or 20 percent, which is not such a close call after all.

This conclusion about the lessons to be learned from carbon synthesis is somewhat controversial. In any case, there is one constant whose value does seem remarkably well adjusted in our favor. It is the energy density of empty space, also known as the cosmological constant. It could have any value, but from first principles one would guess that this constant should be very large, and could be positive or negative. If large and positive, the cosmological constant would act as a repulsive force that increases with distance, a force that would prevent matter from clumping together in the early universe, the process that was the first step in forming galaxies and stars and planets and people. If large and negative the cosmological constant would act as an attractive force increasing with distance, a force that would almost immediately reverse the expansion of the universe and cause it to recollapse, leaving no time for the evolution of life. In fact, astronomical observations show that the cosmological constant is quite small, very much smaller than would have been guessed from first principles.

It is still too early to tell whether there is some fundamental principle that can explain why the cosmological constant must be this small. But even if there is no such principle, recent developments in cosmology offer the possibility of an explanation of why the measured values of the cosmological constant and other physical constants are favorable for the appearance of intelligent life. According to the 'chaotic inflation' theories of André Linde and others, the expanding cloud of billions of galaxies that we call the big bang may be just one fragment of a much larger universe in which big bangs go off all the time, each one with different values for the fundamental constants.

In any such picture, in which the universe contains many parts with different values for what we call the constants of nature, there would be no difficulty in understanding why these constants take values favorable to intelligent life. There would be a vast number of big bangs in which the constants of nature take values unfavorable for life, and many fewer where life is possible. You don't have to invoke a benevolent designer to explain why we are in one of the parts of the universe where life is possible: in all the other parts of the universe there is no one to raise the question.3 If any theory of this general type turns out to be correct, then to conclude that the constants of nature have been fine-tuned by a benevolent designer would be like saying, 'Isn't it wonderful that God put us here on earth, where there's water and air and the surface gravity and temperature are so comfortable, rather than some horrid place, like Mercury or Pluto?' Where else in the solar system other than on earth could we have evolved?

Reasoning like this is called 'anthropic.' Sometimes it just amounts to an assertion that the laws of nature are what they are so that we can exist, without further explanation. This seems to me to be little more than mystical mumbo jumbo. On the other hand, if there really is a large number of worlds in which some constants take different values, then the anthropic explanation of why in our world they take values favorable for life is just common sense, like explaining why we live on the earth rather than Mercury or Pluto. The actual value of the cosmological constant, recently measured by observations of the motion of distant supernovas, is about what you would expect from this sort of argument: it is just about small enough so that it does not interfere much with the formation of galaxies. But we don't yet know enough about physics to tell whether there are different parts of the universe in which what are usually called the constants of physics really do take different values. This is not a hopeless question; we will be able to answer it when we know more about the quantum theory of gravitation than we do now.

It would be evidence for a benevolent designer if life were better than could be expected on other grounds. To judge this, we should keep in mind that a certain capacity for pleasure would readily have evolved through natural selection, as an incentive to animals who need to eat and breed in order to pass on their genes. It may not be likely that natural selection on any one planet would produce animals who are fortunate enough to have the leisure and the ability to do science and think abstractly, but our sample of what is produced by evolution is very biased, by the fact that it is only in these fortunate cases that there is anyone thinking about cosmic design. Astronomers call this a selection effect.

The universe is very large, and perhaps infinite, so it should be no surprise that, among the enormous number of planets that may support only unintelligent life and the still vaster number that cannot support life at all, there is some tiny fraction on which there are living beings who are capable of thinking about the universe, as we are doing here. A journalist who has been assigned to interview lottery winners may come to feel that some special providence has been at work on their behalf, but he should keep in mind the much larger number of lottery players whom he is not interviewing because they haven't won anything. Thus, to judge whether our lives show evidence for a benevolent designer, we have not only to ask whether life is better than would be expected in any case from what we know about natural selection, but we need also to take into account the bias introduced by the fact that it is we who are thinking about the problem.

This is a question that you all will have to answer for yourselves. Being a physicist is no help with questions like this, so I have to speak from my own experience. My life has been remarkably happy, perhaps in the upper 99.99 percentile of human happiness, but even so, I have seen a mother die painfully of cancer, a father's personality destroyed by Alzheimer's disease, and scores of second and third cousins murdered in the Holocaust. Signs of a benevolent designer are pretty well hidden.

The prevalence of evil and misery has always bothered those who believe in a benevolent and omnipotent God. Sometimes God is excused by pointing to the need for free will. Milton gives God this argument in Paradise Lost:

I formed them free, and free they must remain
Till they enthral themselves: I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained
Their freedom; they themselves ordained their fall.

It seems a bit unfair to my relatives to be murdered in order to provide an opportunity for free will for Germans, but even putting that aside, how does free will account for cancer? Is it an opportunity of free will for tumors?

I don't need to argue here that the evil in the world proves that the universe is not designed, but only that there are no signs of benevolence that might have shown the hand of a designer. But in fact the perception that God cannot be benevolent is very old. Plays by Aeschylus and Euripides make a quite explicit statement that the gods are selfish and cruel, though they expect better behavior from humans. God in the Old Testament tells us to bash the heads of infidels and demands of us that we be willing to sacrifice our children's lives at His orders, and the God of traditional Christianity and Islam damns us for eternity if we do not worship him in the right manner. Is this a nice way to behave? I know, I know, we are not supposed to judge God according to human standards, but you see the problem here: If we are not yet convinced of His existence, and are looking for signs of His benevolence, then what other standards can we use?

The issues that I have been asked to address here will seem to many to be terribly old-fashioned. The 'argument from design' made by the English theologian William Paley is not on most peoples' minds these days. The prestige of religion seems today to derive from what people take to be its moral influence, rather than from what they may think has been its success in accounting for what we see in nature. Conversely, I have to admit that, although I really don't believe in a cosmic designer, the reason that I am taking the trouble to argue about it is that I think that on balance the moral influence of religion has been awful.

This is much too big a question to be settled here. On one side, I could point out endless examples of the harm done by religious enthusiasm, through a long history of pogroms, crusades, and jihads. In our own century it was a Muslim zealot who killed Sadat, a Jewish zealot who killed Rabin, and a Hindu zealot who killed Gandhi. No one would say that Hitler was a Christian zealot, but it is hard to imagine Nazism taking the form it did without the foundation provided by centuries of Christian anti-Semitism. On the other side, many admirers of religion would set countless examples of the good done by religion. For instance, in his recent book Imagined Worlds, the distinguished physicist Freeman Dyson has emphasized the role of religious belief in the suppression of slavery. I'd like to comment briefly on this point, not to try to prove anything with one example but just to illustrate what I think about the moral influence of religion.

It is certainly true that the campaign against slavery and the slave trade was greatly strengthened by devout Christians, including the Evangelical layman William Wilberforce in England and the Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing in America. But Christianity, like other great world religions, lived comfortably with slavery for many centuries, and slavery was endorsed in the New Testament. So what was different for anti-slavery Christians like Wilberforce and Channing? There had been no discovery of new sacred scriptures, and neither Wilberforce nor Channing claimed to have received any supernatural revelations. Rather, the eighteenth century had seen a widespread increase in rationality and humanitarianism that led others—for instance, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan—also to oppose slavery, on grounds having nothing to do with religion. Lord Mansfield, the author of the decision in Somersett's Case, which ended slavery in England (though not its colonies), was no more than conventionally religious, and his decision did not mention religious arguments. Although Wilberforce was the instigator of the campaign against the slave trade in the 1790s, this movement had essential support from many in Parliament like Fox and Pitt, who were not known for their piety. As far as I can tell, the moral tone of religion benefited more from the spirit of the times than the spirit of the times benefited from religion.

Where religion did make a difference, it was more in support of slavery than in opposition to it. Arguments from scripture were used in Parliament to defend the slave trade. Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.

In an e-mail message from the American Association for the Advancement of Science I learned that the aim of this conference is to have a constructive dialogue between science and religion. I am all in favor of a dialogue between science and religion, but not a constructive dialogue. One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.

51 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:34 am
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THE FINE-TUNING DESIGN ARGUMENT:
A SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
By: Robin Collins
Reprinted from Reason for the Hope Within
September 1, 1998

http://www.discovery.org/a/91

I. INTRODUCTION

The Evidence of Fine-tuning(1)

Suppose we went on a mission to Mars, and found a domed structure in which everything was set up just right for life to exist. The temperature, for example, was set around 70o F and the humidity was at 50%; moreover, there was an oxygen recycling system, an energy gathering system, and a whole system for the production of food. Put simply, the domed structure appeared to be a fully functioning biosphere. What conclusion would we draw from finding this structure? Would we draw the conclusion that it just happened to form by chance? Certainly not. Instead, we would unanimously conclude that it was designed by some intelligent being. Why would we draw this conclusion? Because an intelligent designer appears to be the only plausible explanation for the existence of the structure. That is, the only alternative explanation we can think of--that the structure was formed by some natural process--seems extremely unlikely. Of course, it is possible that, for example, through some volcanic eruption various metals and other compounds could have formed, and then separated out in just the right way to produce the "biosphere," but such a scenario strikes us as extraordinarily unlikely, thus making this alternative explanation unbelievable.

The universe is analogous to such a "biosphere," according to recent findings in physics. Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe--for example, the fundamental laws and parameters of physics and the initial distribution of matter and energy--is balanced on a razor's edge for life to occur. As the eminent Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson notes, "There are many . . . lucky accidents in physics. Without such accidents, water could not exist as liquid, chains of carbon atoms could not form complex organic molecules, and hydrogen atoms could not form breakable bridges between molecules" (p. 251)--in short, life as we know it would be impossible.

Scientists call this extraordinary balancing of the parameters of physics and the initial conditions of the universe the "fine-tuning of the cosmos." It has been extensively discussed by philosophers, theologians, and scientists, especially since the early 1970s, with hundreds of articles and dozens of books written on the topic. Today, it is widely regarded as offering by far the most persuasive current argument for the existence of God. For example, theoretical physicist and popular science writer Paul Davies--whose early writings were not particularly sympathetic to theism--claims that with regard to basic structure of the universe, "the impression of design is overwhelming" (Davies, 1988, p. 203). Similarly, in response to the life-permitting fine-tuning of the nuclear resonances responsible for the oxygen and carbon synthesis in stars, the famous astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle declares that

I do not believe that any scientists who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents. [Fred Hoyle, in Religion and the Scientists, 1959; quoted in Barrow and Tipler, p. 22]

A few examples of this fine-tuning are listed below:

1. If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 1060, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible. [See Davies, 1982, pp. 90-91. (As John Jefferson Davis points out (p. 140), an accuracy of one part in 10^60 can be compared to firing a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away, and hitting the target.)

2. Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear force, the force that binds protons and neutrons together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would be impossible. (Leslie, 1989, pp. 4, 35; Barrow and Tipler, p. 322.)

3. Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Davies, 1984, p. 242.)

4. If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the mass of the proton, all protons would have decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and thus life would not be possible. (Leslie, 1989, pp. 39-40 )

5. If the electromagnetic force were slightly stronger or weaker, life would be impossible, for a variety of different reasons. (Leslie, 1988, p. 299.)

Imaginatively, one could think of each instance of fine-tuning as a radio dial: unless all the dials are set exactly right, life would be impossible. Or, one could think of the initial conditions of the universe and the fundamental parameters of physics as a dart board that fills the whole galaxy, and the conditions necessary for life to exist as a small one-foot wide target: unless the dart hits the target, life would be impossible. The fact that the dials are perfectly set, or the dart has hit the target, strongly suggests that someone set the dials or aimed the dart, for it seems enormously improbable that such a coincidence could have happened by chance.

Although individual calculations of fine-tuning are only approximate and could be in error, the fact that the universe is fine-tuned for life is almost beyond question because of the large number of independent instances of apparent fine-tuning. As philosopher John Leslie has pointed out, "clues heaped upon clues can constitute weighty evidence despite doubts about each element in the pile" (1988, p. 300). What is controversial, however, is the degree to which the fine-tuning provides evidence for the existence of God. As impressive as the argument from fine-tuning seems to be, atheists have raised several significant objections to it. Consequently, those who are aware of these objections, or have thought of them on their own, often will find the argument unconvincing. This is not only true of atheists, but also many theists. I have known, for instance, both a committed Christian Hollywood film-maker and a committed Christian biochemist who remained unconvinced because of certain atheist objections to the argument. This is unfortunate, particularly since the fine-tuning argument is probably the most powerful current argument for the existence of God. My goal in this chapter, therefore, is to make the fine-tuning argument as strong as possible. This will involve developing the argument in as objective and rigorous way as we can, and then answering the major atheist objections to it. Before launching into this, however, we will need to make a preliminary distinction.

A Preliminary Distinction

To rigorously develop the fine-tuning argument, we will find it useful to distinguish between what I shall call the atheistic single-universe hypothesis and the atheistic many-universes hypothesis. According to the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, there is only one universe, and it is ultimately an inexplicable, "brute" fact that the universe exists and is fine-tuned. Many atheists, however, advocate another hypothesis, one which attempts to explain how the seemingly improbable fine-tuning of the universe could be the result of chance. This hypothesis is known as the atheistic many-worlds hypothesis, or the atheistic many-universes hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, there exists what could be imaginatively thought of as a "universe generator" that produces a very large or infinite number of universes, with each universe having a randomly selected set of initial conditions and values for the parameters of physics. Because this generator produces so many-universes, just by chance it will eventually produce one that is fine-tuned for intelligent life to occur.

Plan of the Chapter

Below, we will use this distinction between the atheistic single-universe hypothesis and the atheistic many-universes hypothesis to present two separate arguments for theism based on the fine-tuning: one which argues that the fine-tuning provides strong reasons to prefer theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis and one which argues that we should prefer theism over the atheistic many-universes hypothesis. We will develop the argument against the atheistic single- universe hypothesis in Section II below, referring to it as the core argument. Then we will answer objections to this core argument in section III, and finally develop the argument for preferring theism to the atheistic many-universes hypothesis in section IV. An appendix is also included that further elaborates and justifies one of the key premises of the core argument presented in section III.

II. CORE ARGUMENT RIGOROUSLY FORMULATED

General Principle of Reasoning Used

The Principle Explained

We will formulate the fine-tuning argument against the atheistic single-universe hypothesis in terms of what I will call the prime principle of confirmation. The prime principle of confirmation is a general principle of reasoning which tells us when some observation counts as evidence in favor of one hypothesis over another. Simply put, the principle says that whenever we are considering two competing hypotheses, an observation counts as evidence in favor of the hypothesis under which the observation has the highest probability (or is the least improbable). (Or, put slightly differently, the principle says that whenever we are considering two competing hypotheses, H1 and H2, an observation, O, counts as evidence in favor of H1 over H2 if O is more probable under H1 than it is under H2.) Moreover, the degree to which the evidence counts in favor of one hypothesis over another is proportional to the degree to which the observation is more probable under the one hypothesis than the other.(2) For example, the fine-tuning is much, much more probable under theism than under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis , so it counts as strong evidence for theism over this atheistic hypothesis. In the next major subsection, we will present a more formal and elaborated rendition of the fine-tuning argument in terms of the prime principle. First, however, let's look at a couple of illustrations of the principle and then present some support for it.

Additional Illustrations of the Principle

For our first illustration, suppose that I went hiking in the mountains, and found underneath a certain cliff a group of rocks arranged in a formation that clearly formed the pattern "Welcome to the mountains Robin Collins." One hypothesis is that, by chance, the rocks just happened to be arranged in that pattern--ultimately, perhaps, because of certain initial conditions of the universe. Suppose the only viable alternative hypothesis is that my brother, who was in the mountains before me, arranged the rocks in this way. Most of us would immediately take the arrangements of rocks to be strong evidence in favor of the "brother" hypothesis over the "chance" hypothesis. Why? Because it strikes us as extremely improbable that the rocks would be arranged that way by chance, but not improbable at all that my brother would place them in that configuration. Thus, by the prime principle of confirmation we would conclude that the arrangement of rocks strongly supports the "brother" hypothesis over the chance hypothesis.

Or consider another case, that of finding the defendant's fingerprints on the murder weapon. Normally, we would take such a finding as strong evidence that the defendant was guilty. Why? Because we judge that it would be unlikely for these fingerprints to be on the murder weapon if the defendant was innocent, but not unlikely if the defendant was guilty. That is, we would go through the same sort of reasoning as in the above case.

Support for the Principle

Several things can be said in favor of the prime principle of confirmation. First, many philosophers think that this principle can be derived from what is known as the probability calculus, the set of mathematical rules that are typically assumed to govern probability. Second, there does not appear to be any case of recognizably good reasoning that violates this principle. Finally, the principle appears to have a wide range of applicability, undergirding much of our reasoning in science and everyday life, as the examples above illustrate. Indeed, some have even claimed that a slightly more general version of this principle undergirds all scientific reasoning. Because of all these reasons in favor of the principle, we can be very confident in it.

Further Development of Argument

To further develop the core version of the fine-tuning argument, we will summarize the argument by explicitly listing its two premises and its conclusion:

Premise 1. The existence of the fine-tuning is not improbable under theism.

Premise 2. The existence of the fine-tuning is very improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

Conclusion: From premises (1) and (2) and the prime principle of confirmation, it follows that the fine-tuning data provides strong evidence to favor of the design hypothesis over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

At this point, we should pause to note two features of this argument. First, the argument does not say that the fine-tuning evidence proves that the universe was designed, or even that it is likely that the universe was designed. In order to justify these sorts of claims, we would have to look at the full range of evidence both for and against the design hypothesis, something we are not doing in this chapter. Rather, the argument merely concludes that the fine-tuning strongly supports theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

In this way, the evidence of fine-tuning argument is much like fingerprints found on the gun: although they can provide strong evidence that the defendant committed the murder, one could not conclude merely from them alone that the defendant is guilty; one would also have to look at all the other evidence offered. Perhaps, for instance, ten reliable witnesses claimed to see the defendant at a party at the time of the shooting. In this case, the fingerprints would still count as significant evidence of guilt, but this evidence would be counterbalanced by the testimony of the witnesses. Similarly the evidence of fine-tuning strongly supports theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, though it does not itself show that everything considered theism is the most plausible explanation of the world. Nonetheless, as I argue in the conclusion of this chapter, the evidence of fine-tuning provides a much stronger and more objective argument for theism (over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis) than the strongest atheistic argument does against theism.

The second feature of the argument we should note is that, given the truth of the prime principle of confirmation, the conclusion of the argument follows from the premises. Specifically, if the premises of the argument are true, then we are guaranteed that the conclusion is true: that is, the argument is what philosophers call valid. Thus, insofar as we can show that the premises of the argument are true, we will have shown that the conclusion is true. Our next task, therefore, is to attempt to show that the premises are true, or at least that we have strong reasons to believe them.

Support for the Premises

Support for Premise (1).

Premise (1) is easy to support and fairly uncontroversial. The argument in support of it can be simply stated as follows: since God is an all good being, and it is good for intelligent, conscious beings to exist, it not surprising or improbable that God would create a world that could support intelligent life. Thus, the fine-tuning is not improbable under theism, as premise (1) asserts.

Support for Premise (2)

Upon looking at the data, many people find it very obvious that the fine-tuning is highly improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. And it is easy to see why when we think of the fine-tuning in terms of the analogies offered earlier. In the dart-board analogy, for example, the initial conditions of the universe and the fundamental parameters of physics are thought of as a dart- board that fills the whole galaxy, and the conditions necessary for life to exist as a small one-foot wide target. Accordingly, from this analogy it seems obvious that it would be highly improbable for the fine-tuning to occur under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis--that is, for the dart to hit the board by chance.

Typically, advocates the fine-tuning argument are satisfied with resting the justification of premise (2), or something like it, on this sort of analogy. Many atheists and theists, however, question the legitimacy of this sort of analogy, and thus find the argument unconvincing. For these people, the Appendix to this chapter offers a rigorous and objective justification of premise (2) using standard principles of probabilistic reasoning. Among other things, in the process of rigorously justifying premise (2), we effectively answer the common objection to the fine-tuning argument that because the universe is a unique, unrepeatable event, we cannot meaningfully assign a probability to its being fine-tuned.

III. SOME OBJECTIONS TO CORE VERSION

As powerful as the core version of the fine-tuning argument is, several major objections have been raised to it by both atheists and theists. In this section, we will consider these objections in turn.

Objection 1: More Fundamental Law Objection

One criticism of the fine-tuning argument is that, as far as we know, there could be a more fundamental law under which the parameters of physics must have the values they do. Thus, given such a law, it is not improbable that the known parameters of physics fall within the life-permitting range.

Besides being entirely speculative, the problem with postulating such a law is that it simply moves the improbability of the fine-tuning up one level, to that of the postulated physical law itself. Under this hypothesis, what is improbable is that all the conceivable fundamental physical laws there could be, the universe just happens to have the one that constrains the parameters of physics in a life-permitting way. Thus, trying to explain the fine-tuning by postulating this sort of fundamental law is like trying to explain why the pattern of rocks below a cliff spell "Welcome to the mountains Robin Collins" by postulating that an earthquake occurred and that all the rocks on the cliff face were arranged in just the right configuration to fall into the pattern in question. Clearly this explanation merely transfers the improbability up one level, since now it seems enormously improbable that of all the possible configurations the rocks could be in on the cliff face, they are in the one which results in the pattern "Welcome to the mountains Robin Collins."

A similar sort of response can be given to the claim that the fine-tuning is not improbable because it might be logically necessary for the parameters of physics to have life-permitting values. That is, according to this claim, the parameters of physics must have life-permitting values in the same way 2 + 2 must equal 4, or the interior angles of a triangle must add up to 180 degrees in Euclidian geometry. Like the "more fundamental law" proposal above, however, this postulate simply transfers the improbability up one level: of all the laws and parameters of physics that conceivably could have been logically necessary, it seems highly improbable that it would be those that are life-permitting.(3)

Objection 2: Other Forms of Life Objection

Another objection people commonly raise to the fine-tuning argument is that as far as we know, other forms of life could exist even if the parameters of physics were different. So, it is claimed, the fine-tuning argument ends up presupposing that all forms of intelligent life must be like us. The answer to this objection is that most cases of fine-tuning do not make this presupposition. Consider, for instance, the case of the fine-tuning of the strong nuclear force. If it were slightly larger or smaller, no atoms could exist other than hydrogen. Contrary to what one might see on Star Trek, an intelligent life form cannot be composed merely of hydrogen gas: there is simply not enough stable complexity. So, in general the fine-tuning argument merely presupposes that intelligent life requires some degree of stable, reproducible organized complexity. This is certainly a very reasonable assumption.

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27 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:55 pm

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Objection 3. Anthropic Principle Objection

According to the weak version of so-called anthropic principle, if the laws of nature were not fine-tuned, we would not be here to comment on the fact. Some have argued, therefore, that the fine-tuning is not really improbable or surprising at all under atheism, but simply follows from the fact that we exist. The response to this objection is to simply restate the argument in terms of our existence: our existence as embodied, intelligent beings is extremely unlikely under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis (since our existence requires fine-tuning), but not improbable under theism. Then, we simply apply the prime principle of confirmation to draw the conclusion that our existence strongly confirms theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

To further illustrate this response, consider the following "firing-squad" analogy. As John Leslie (1988, p. 304) points out, if fifty sharp shooters all miss me, the response "if they had not missed me I wouldn't be here to consider the fact" is not adequate. Instead, I would naturally conclude that there was some reason why they all missed, such as that they never really intended to kill me. Why would I conclude this? Because my continued existence would be very improbable under the hypothesis that they missed me by chance, but not improbable under the hypothesis that there was some reason why they missed me. Thus, by the prime principle of confirmation, my continued existence strongly confirms the latter hypothesis.

Objection 4: The "Who Designed God?" Objection

Perhaps the most common objection that atheists raise to the argument from design, of which the fine-tuning argument is one instance, is that postulating the existence of God does not solve the problem of design, but merely transfers it up one level. Atheist George Smith, for example, claims that

If the universe is wonderfully designed, surely God is even more wonderfully designed. He must, therefore, have had a designer even more wonderful than He is. If God did not require a designer, then there is no reason why such a relatively less wonderful thing as the universe needed one. (1980, p. 56.)

Or, as philosopher J. J. C. Smart states the objection:

If we postulate God in addition to the created universe we increase the complexity of our hypothesis. We have all the complexity of the universe itself, and we have in addition the at least equal complexity of God. (The designer of an artifact must be at least as complex as the designed artifact) . . . .If the theist can show the atheist that postulating God actually reduces the complexity of one's total world view, then the atheist should be a theist. (pp. 275-276; italics mine)

The first response to the above atheist objection is to point out that the atheist claim that the designer of an artifact must be as complex as the artifact designed is certainly not obvious. But I do believe that their claim has some intuitive plausibility: for example, in the world we experience, organized complexity seems only to be produced by systems that already possess it, such as the human brain/mind, a factory, or an organisms' biological parent.

The second, and better, response is to point out that, at most, the atheist objection only works against a version of the design argument that claims that all organized complexity needs an explanation, and that God is the best explanation of the organized complexity found in the world. The version of the argument I presented against the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, however, only required that the fine-tuning be more probable under theism than under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. But this requirement is still met even if God exhibits tremendous internal complexity, far exceeding that of the universe. Thus, even if we were to grant the atheist assumption that the designer of an artifact must be as complex as the artifact, the fine-tuning would still give us strong reasons to prefer theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

To illustrate, consider the example of the "biosphere" on Mars presented at the beginning of this paper. As mentioned above, the existence of the biosphere would be much more probable under the hypothesis that intelligent life once visited Mars than under the chance hypothesis. Thus, by the prime principle of confirmation, the existence of such a "biosphere" would constitute strong evidence that intelligent, extraterrestrial life had once been on Mars, even though this alien life would most likely have to be much more complex than the "biosphere" itself.

The final response theists can give to this objection is to show that a supermind such as God would not require a high degree of unexplained organized complexity to create the universe. Although I have presented this response elsewhere (unpublished manuscript), presenting it here is beyond the scope of this chapter.

IV. THE MANY-UNIVERSES HYPOTHESIS

The Many-Universes Hypothesis Explained

In response to theistic explanation of fine-tuning of the cosmos, many atheists have offered an alternative explanation, what I will call the atheistic many-universes hypothesis. (In the literature it is more commonly refereed to in the Many Worlds hypothesis, though I believe this name is somewhat misleading. ) According to this hypothesis, there are a very large--perhaps infinite--number of universes, with the fundamental parameters of physics varying from universe to universe.(4) Of course, in the vast majority of these universes the parameters of physics would not have life-permitting values. Nonetheless, in a small proportion of universes they would, and consequently it is no longer improbable that universes such as ours exist that are fine-tuned for life to occur.

Advocates of this hypothesis offer various types of models for where these universes came from. We will present what are probably the two most popular and plausible, the so-called vacuum fluctuation models and the oscillating Big Bang models. According to the vacuum fluctuation models, our universe, along with these other universes, were generated by quantum fluctuations in a pre-existing superspace (e.g., see Quentin Smith, 1986, p. 82). Imaginatively, one can think of this pre-existing superspace as a infinitely extending ocean full of soap, and each universe generated out of this superspace as a soap-bubble which spontaneously forms on the ocean.

The other model, the oscillating Big Bang model, is a version of the Big Bang theory. According to the Big Bang theory, the universe came into existence in an "explosion" (that is, a "bang") somewhere between 10 and 15 billion years ago. According to the oscillating Big Bang theory, our universe will eventually collapse back in on itself (what is called the "Big Crunch") and then from that "Big Crunch" will arise another "Big Bang", forming a new universe, which will in turn itself collapse, and so on. According to those who use this model to attempt explain the fine-tuning, during every cycle, the parameters of physics and the initial conditions of the universe are reset at random. Since this process of collapse, explosion, collapse, and explosion has been going on for all eternity, eventually a fine-tuned universe will occur, indeed infinitely many of them.

In the next section, we will list several reasons for rejecting atheistic many-universes hypothesis.

Reasons for Rejecting the Many-universes Hypothesis

First Reason

The first reason for rejecting the atheistic many-universes hypothesis, and preferring the theistic hypothesis, is the following general rule: everything else being equal, we should prefer hypotheses for which we have independent evidence or that are natural extrapolations from what we already know. Let's first illustrate and support this principle, and then apply it to the case of the fine-tuning.

Most of us take the existence of dinosaur bones to count as very strong evidence that dinosaurs existed in the past. But suppose a dinosaur skeptic claimed that she could explain the bones by postulating a "dinosaur-bone-producing-field" that simply materialized the bones out of thin air. Moreover, suppose further that, to avoid objections such as that there are no known physical laws that would allow for such a mechanism, the dinosaur skeptic simply postulated that we have not yet discovered these laws or detected these fields. Surely, none of us would let this skeptical hypothesis deter us from inferring to the existence of dinosaurs. Why? Because although no one has directly observed dinosaurs, we do have experience of other animals leaving behind fossilized remains, and thus the dinosaur explanation is a natural extrapolation from our common experience. In contrast, to explain the dinosaur bones, the dinosaur skeptic has invented a set of physical laws, and a set of mechanisms that are not a natural extrapolation from anything we know or experience.

In the case of the fine-tuning, we already know that minds often produce fine-tuned devices, such as Swiss watches. Postulating God--a supermind--as the explanation of the fine-tuning, therefore, is a natural extrapolation from of what we already observe minds to do. In contrast, it is difficult to see how the atheistic many-universes hypothesis could be considered a natural extrapolation from what we observe. Moreover, unlike the atheistic many-universes hypothesis, we have some experiential evidence for the existence of God, namely religious experience. Thus, by the above principle, we should prefer the theistic explanation of the fine-tuning over the atheistic many-universes explanation, everything else being equal.

Second Reason

A second reason for rejecting the atheistic many-universe hypothesis is that the "many-universes generator" seems like it would need to be designed. For instance, in all current worked-out proposals for what this "universe generator" could be--such as the oscillating big bang and the vacuum fluctuation models explained above--the "generator" itself is governed by a complex set of physical laws that allow it to produce the universes. It stands to reason, therefore, that if these laws were slightly different the generator probably would not be able to produce any universes that could sustain life. After all, even my bread machine has to be made just right in order to work properly, and it only produces loaves of bread, not universes! Or consider a device as simple as a mouse trap: it requires that all the parts, such as the spring and hammer, be arranged just right in order to function. It is doubtful, therefore, whether the atheistic many-universe theory can entirely eliminate the problem of design the atheist faces; rather, at least to some extent, it seems simply to move the problem of design up one level. (5)

Third Reason

A third reason for rejecting the atheistic many-universes hypothesis is that the universe generator must not only select the parameters of physics at random, but must actually randomly create or select the very laws of physics themselves. This makes this hypothesis seem even more far-fetched since it is difficult to see what possible physical mechanism could select or create laws.

The reason the "many-universes generator" must randomly select the laws of physics is that, just as the right values for the parameters of physics are needed for life to occur, the right set of laws is also needed. If, for instance, certain laws of physics were missing, life would be impossible. For example, without the law of inertia, which guarantees that particles do not shoot off at high speeds, life would probably not be possible (Leslie, Universes, p. 59). Another example is the law of gravity: if masses did not attract each other, there would be no planets or stars, and once again it seems that life would be impossible. Yet another example is the Pauli Exclusion Principle, the principle of quantum mechanics that says that no two fermions--such as electrons or protons--can share the same quantum state. As prominent Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson points out [Disturbing the Universe, p. 251], without this principle all electrons would collapse into the nucleus and thus atoms would be impossible.

Fourth Reason

The fourth reason for rejecting the atheistic many-universes hypothesis is that it cannot explain other features of the universe that seem to exhibit apparent design, whereas theism can. For example, many physicists, such as Albert Einstein, have observed that the basic laws of physics exhibit an extraordinary degree of beauty, elegance, harmony, and ingenuity. Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg, for instance, devotes a whole chapter of his book Dreams of a Final Theory (Chapter 6, "Beautiful Theories") explaining how the criteria of beauty and elegance are commonly used to guide physicists in formulating the right laws. Indeed, one of most prominent theoretical physicists of this century, Paul Dirac, went so far as to claim that "it is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment" (1963, p. ??).

Now such beauty, elegance, and ingenuity make sense if the universe was designed by God. Under the atheistic many-universes hypothesis, however, there is no reason to expect the fundamental laws to be elegant or beautiful. As theoretical physicist Paul Davies writes, "If nature is so 'clever' as to exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the universe? If the world's finest minds can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance?" (Superforce, pp. 235-36.)

Final Reason

This brings us to the final reason for rejecting the atheistic many-universes hypothesis, which may be the most difficult to grasp: namely, neither the atheistic many-universes hypothesis (nor the atheistic single-universe hypothesis) can at present adequately account for the improbable initial arrangement of matter in the universe required by the second law of thermodynamics. To see this, note that according to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy of the universe is constantly increasing. The standard way of understanding this entropy increase is to say that the universe is going from a state of order to disorder. We observe this entropy increase all the time around us: things, such as a child's bedroom, that start out highly organized tend to "decay" and become disorganized unless something or someone intervenes to stop it.

Now, for purposes of illustration, we could think of the universe as a scrabble-board that initially starts out in a highly ordered state in which all the letters are arranged to form words, but which keeps getting randomly shaken. Slowly, the board, like the universe, moves from a state of order to disorder. The problem for the atheist is to explain how the universe could have started out in a highly ordered state, since it is extraordinarily improbable for such states to occur by chance.(6) If, for example, one were to dump a bunch of letters at random on a scrabble-board, it would be very unlikely for most of them to form into words. At best, we would expect groups of letters to form into words in a few places on the board.

Now our question is, Could the atheistic many-universes hypothesis explain the high degree of initial order of our universe by claiming that given enough universes, eventually one will arise that is ordered and in which intelligent life occurs, and so it is no surprise that we find ourselves in an ordered universe? The problem with this explanation is that it is overwhelmingly more likely for local patches of order to form in one or two places than for the whole universe to be ordered, just as it is overwhelmingly more likely for a few words on the scrabble-board randomly to form words than for all the letters throughout the board randomly to form words. Thus, the overwhelming majority of universes in which intelligent life occurs will be ones in which the intelligent life will be surrounded by a small patch of order necessary for its existence, but in which the rest of the universe is disordered. Consequently, even under the atheistic many-universes hypothesis, it would still be enormously improbable for intelligent beings to find themselves in a universe such as ours which is highly ordered throughout. (See Sklar, chapter 8 for a review of the non-theistic explanations for the ordered arrangement of the universe and the severe difficulties they face.)

Conclusion

Even though the above criticisms do not definitively refute the atheistic many-universes hypothesis, they do show that it has some severe disadvantages relative to theism. This means that if atheists adopt the atheistic many-universes hypothesis to defend their position, then atheism has become much less plausible than it used to be. Modifying a turn of phrase coined by philosopher Fred Dretske: these are inflationary times, and the cost of atheism has just gone up.

V. OVERALL CONCLUSION

In the above sections we showed we have good, objective reasons for claiming that the fine-tuning provides strong evidence for theism. We first presented an argument for thinking that the fine-tuning provides strong evidence for preferring theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, and then presented a variety of different reasons for rejecting the atheistic many-universes hypothesis as an explanation of the fine-tuning. In order to help one appreciate the strength of the arguments we presented, I would like to end by comparing the strength of the core version of the argument from the fine-tuning to what is widely regarded as the strongest atheist argument against theism, the argument from evil. (7)

Typically, the atheist argument against God based on evil takes a similar form to the core version of the fine-tuning argument. Essentially, the atheist argues that the existence of the kind of evils we find in the world is very improbable under theism, but not improbable under atheism. Thus, by the prime principle of confirmation, they conclude that the existence of evil provides strong reasons for preferring atheism over theism.

52 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:34 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
What makes this argument weak in comparison to the core version of the fine-tuning argument is that, unlike in the case of the fine-tuning, the atheist does not have a significant objective basis for claiming that the existence of the kinds of evil we find in the world is highly improbable under theism. In fact, their judgment that it is improbable seems largely to rest on a mistake in reasoning. To see this, note that in order to show that it is improbable, atheists would have to show that it is unlikely that the types of evils we find in the world are necessary for any morally good, greater purpose, since if they are, then it is clearly not at all unlikely that an all good, all powerful being would create a world in which those evils are allowed to occur. But how could atheists show this without first surveying all possible morally good purposes such a being might have, something they have clearly not done? Consequently, it seems, at most the atheist could argue that since no one has come up with any adequate purpose yet, it is unlikely that there is such a purpose. This argument, however, is very weak, as I will now show.

The first problem with this atheist argument is that it assumes that the various explanations people have offered for why an all good God would create evil--such as the free will theodicy--ultimately fail. But even if we grant that these theodicies fail, the argument is still very weak. To see why, consider an analogy. Suppose someone tells me that there is a rattlesnake in my garden, and I examine a portion of the garden and do not find the snake. I would only be justified in concluding that there was probably no snake in the garden if either: i) I had searched at least half the garden; or ii) I had good reason to believe that if the snake were in the garden, it would likely be in the portion of the garden that I examined. If, for instance, I were to randomly pick some small segment of the garden to search and did not find the snake, I would be unjustified in concluding from my search that there was probably no snake in the garden. Similarly, if I were blindfolded and did not have any idea of how large the garden was (e.g., whether it was ten square feet or several square miles), I would be unjustified in concluding that it was unlikely that there was a rattlesnake in the garden, even if I had searched for hours with my rattlesnake detecting dogs. Why? Because I would not have any idea of what percentage of the garden I had searched.

As with the garden example, we have no idea of how large the realm is of possible greater purposes for evil that an all good, omnipotent being could have. Hence we do not know what proportion of this realm we have actually searched. Indeed, considering the finitude of our own minds, we have good reason to believe that we have so far only searched a small proportion, and we have little reason to believe that the purposes God might have for evil would be in the proportion we searched. Thus, we have little objective basis for saying that the existence of the types of evil we find in the world is highly improbable under theism.

From the above discussion, therefore, it is clear that the relevant probability estimates in the case of the fine-tuning are much more secure than those estimates in the atheist's argument from evil, since unlike the latter, we can provide a fairly rigorous, objective basis for them based on actual calculations of the relative range of life-permitting values for the parameters of physics. (See the Appendix to this chapter for a rigorous derivation of the probability of the fine-tuning under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.) Thus, I conclude, the core argument for preferring theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis is much stronger than the atheist argument from evil.

APPENDIX

In this Appendix, we offer a rigorous support for premise (2) of our main argument: that is, the claim that the fine-tuning is very improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. Our support for premise (2) will involve three major subsections. Our first subsection will be devoted to explicating the fine-tuning of gravity since we will often use this to illustrate our arguments. Then, in our second subsection, we will show how the improbability of the fine-tuning under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis can be derived from a standard, objective principle of probabilistic reasoning called the principle of indifference. Finally, in our third subsection, we will explicate what it could mean to say that the fine-tuning is improbable given that the universe is a unique, unrepeatable event as assumed by the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. The appendix will in effect answer the common atheist objection that theists can neither justify the claim that the fine-tuning is improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, nor can they provide an account of what it could possibly mean to say that the fine-tuning is improbable.

i. The Example of Gravity

The force of gravity is determined by Newton's law F = Gm1m2/r2. Here G is what is known as the gravitational constant, and is basically a number that determines the force of gravity in any given circumstance. For instance, the gravitational attraction between the moon and the earth is given by first multiplying the mass of the moon (m1) times the mass of the earth (m2), and then dividing by the distance between them squared (r2). Finally, one multiplies this result by the number G to obtain the total force. Clearly the force is directly proportional to G: for example, if G were to double, the force between the moon and the earth would double.

In the previous section, we reported that some calculations indicate that the force of gravity must be fine-tuned to one part in 10 to the 40th power in order for life to occur. What does such fine-tuning mean? To understand it, imagine a radio dial, going from 0 to 2G0, where G0 represents the current value of the gravitational constant. Moreover, imagine the dial being broken up into 10^40--that is, ten thousand, billion, billion, billion, billion--evenly spaced tick marks. To claim that the strength of gravity must be fine-tuned to one part in 10^40 is simply to claim that, in order for life to exist, the constant of gravity cannot vary by even one tick mark along the dial from its current value of G0.

ii. The Principle of Indifference

In the following subsections, we will use the principle of indifference to justify the assertion that the fine-tuning is highly improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

A. The Principle Stated

Applied to cases in which there is a finite number of alternatives, the principle of indifference can be formulated as the claim that we should assign the same probability to what are called equipossible alternatives, where two or more alternatives are said to be equipossible if we have no reason to prefer one of the alternatives over any of the others. (In another version of the principle, alternatives that are relevantly symmetrical are considered equipossible and hence the ones that should be assigned equal probability.) For instance, in the case of a standard two-sided coin, we have no more reason to think that the coin will land on heads than that it will land on tails, and so we assign them each an equal probability. Since the total probability must add up to one, this means that the coin has a 0.5 chance of landing on heads and an 0.5 chance of landing on tails. Similarly, in the case of a standard six-sided die, we have no more reason to think that it will land on one number, say a 6, than any of the other number, such as a 4. Thus, the principle of indifference tells us to assign each possible way of landing an equal probability--namely 1/6.

The above explication of the principle applies only when there are a finite number of alternatives, for example six sides on a die. In the case of the fine-tuning, however, the alternatives are not finite but form a continuous magnitude. The value of G, for instance, conceivably could have been any number between 0 and infinity. Now, continuous magnitudes are usually thought of in terms of ranges, areas, or volumes depending on whether or not we are considering one, two, three or more dimensions. For example, the amount of water in a 8oz glass could fall anywhere within the range 0oz to 8oz, such as 6.012345645oz. Or, the exact position that a dart hits a dart board can fall anywhere within the area of the dart board. With some qualifications to be discussed below, the principle of indifference becomes in the continuous case the principle that when we have no reason to prefer any one value of a parameter over other, we should assign equal probabilities to equal ranges, areas, or volumes. So, for instance, suppose one aimlessly throws a dart at a dart board. Assuming the dart hits the board, what is the probability it will hit within the bulls eye? Since the dart is thrown aimlessly, we have no more reason to believe it will hit one part of the dart board than any other part. The principle of indifference, therefore, tells us that the probability of its hitting the bulls eye is the same as the probability of hitting any other part of the dart board of equal area. This means that the probability of it hitting the bull's eye is simply the ratio of the area of the bulls eye to the rest of the dart board. So, for instance, if the bulls eye forms only 5% of the total area of the board, then the probability of its hitting the bulls eye will be 5%.

b. Application to Fine-Tuning

In the case of the fine-tuning, we have no more reason to think that the parameters of physics will fall within the life-permitting range than the any other range, given the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. Thus according to the principle of indifference, equal ranges of these parameters should be assigned equal probabilities. As in the case of the dart board mentioned in the last section, this means that the probability of the parameters of physics falling within the life-permitting range under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis is simply the ratio of the range of life-permitting values (the "area of the bulls eye") to the total relevant range of possible values (the "relevant area of the dart board").

Now physicists can make rough estimates of the range of life-permitting values for the parameters of physics, as discussed above in the case of gravity, for instance. But what is the "total relevant range of possible values"? At first one might think that this range is infinite, since the values of the parameters could conceivably be anything. This, however, is not correct, for although the possible range of values could be infinite, for most of these values we have no way of estimating whether they are life-permitting or not. We do not truly know, for example, what would happen if gravity were 1060 times stronger than its current value: as far as we know, a new form a matter might come into existence that could sustain life. Thus, as far as we know, there could be other life-permitting ranges far removed from the actual values that the parameters have. Consequently, all we can say is that the life-permitting range is very, very small relative to the limited range of values for which we can make estimates, a range that we will hereafter refer to as the "illuminated" range.

Fortunately, however, this limitation does not effect the overall argument. The reason is that, based on the principle of indifference, we can still say that it is very improbable for the values for the parameters of physics to have fallen in the life-permitting range instead of some other part of the "illuminated" range. ( And this improbability is all that is actually needed for our main argument to work. To see this, consider an analogy. Suppose a dart landed on the bulls eye at the center of a huge dart board. Further, suppose that this bulls eye is surrounded by a very large empty, bulls-eye-free, area. Even if there were many other bulls eyes on the dart board, we would still take the fact that the dart landed on the bulls eye instead of some other part of the large empty area surrounding the bulls eye as strong evidence that it was aimed. Why? Because we would reason that given that the dart landed in the empty area, it was very improbable for it to land in the bulls eye by chance but not improbable if it were aimed. Thus, by the prime principle of confirmation, we could conclude that the dart landing on the bulls eye strongly confirms the hypothesis that is was aimed over the chance hypothesis.

c. The Principle Qualified:

Those who are familiar with the principle of indifference, and mathematics, will recognize that one important qualification needs to be made to the above account of how to apply the principle of indifference. (Those who are not mathematically adept might want to skip this and perhaps the next paragraph.) To understand the qualification, note that the ratio of ranges used in calculating the probability is dependent on how one parameterizes, or writes, the physical laws. For example, suppose for the sake of illustration that the range of life-permitting values for the gravitational constant is 0 to G0, and the "illuminated" range of possible values for G is 0 to 2G0. Then, the ratio of life-permitting values to the range of "illuminated" possible values for the gravitational constant will be 1/2. Suppose, however, that one writes the law of gravity in the mathematically equivalent form of F = square root[U]m1m2/r2, instead of F=Gm1m2/r2 , where U=G2. (In this way of writing Newton's law, U becomes the new gravitational constant.) This means that Uo = G02, where Uo, like G0, represents the actual value of U in our universe. Then, the range of life-permitting values would be 0 to Uo, and the "illuminated" range of possible values would be 0 to 4Uo on the U scale (which is equivalent to 0 to 2G0 on the G scale). Hence, calculating the ratio of life-permitting values using the U scale instead of G scale yields a ratio of 1/4 instead of 1/2. Indeed, for almost any ratio one chooses--such as one in which the life-permitting range is about the same size as the "illuminated" range--there exist mathematically equivalent forms of Newton's law that will yield that ratio. So, why choose the standard way of writing Newton's law to calculate the ratio instead of one in which the fine-tuning is not improbable at all?

The answer to this question is to require that the proportion used in calculating the probability be between real physical ranges, areas, or volumes, not merely mathematical representations of them. That is, the proportion given by the scale used in one's representation must directly correspond to the proportions actually existing in physical reality. As an illustration, consider how we might calculate the probability that a meteorite will fall in New York state instead of somewhere else in the northern, contiguous United States. One way of doing this is to take a standard map of the northern, contiguous United States, measure the area covered by New York on the map (say 2 square inches) and divide it by the total area of the map (say 30 square inches). If we were to do this, we would get approximately the right answer because the proportions on a standard map directly correspond to the actual proportions of land areas in the United States.(9) On the other hand, suppose we had a map made by some lover of the East coast in which, because of the scale used, the East coast took up half the map. If we used the proportions of areas as represented by this map we would get the wrong answer since the scale used would not correspond to real proportions of land areas. Applied to the fine-tuning, this means that our calculations of these proportions must be done using parameters that directly correspond to physical quantities in order to yield valid probabilities. In the case of gravity, for instance, the gravitational constant G directly corresponds to the force between two unit masses a unit distance apart, whereas U does not. (Instead, U corresponds to the square of the force.) Thus, G is the correct parameter to use in calculating the probability.(10)

d. Support for Principle

Finally, although the principle of indifference has been criticized on various grounds, several powerful reasons can be offered for its soundness if it is restricted in the ways explained in the last subsection. First, it has an extraordinarily wide range of applicability. As Roy Weatherford notes in his book, Philosophical Foundations of Probability Theory, "an astonishing number of extremely complex problems in probability theory have been solved, and usefully so, by calculations based entirely on the assumption of equiprobable alternatives [that is, the principle of indifference]"(p. 35). Second, the principle can be given a strong theoretical grounding in information theory, being derivable from Shannon's important and well-known measure of information, or negative entropy (Sklar, p. 191; van Fraassen, p. 345.). Finally, in certain everyday cases the principle of indifference seems the only justification we have for assigning probability. To illustrate, suppose that in the last ten minutes a factory produced the first fifty-sided die ever produced. Further suppose that every side of the die is (macroscopically) perfectly symmetrical with every other side, except for there being different numbers printed on each side. (The die we are imagining is like a fair six-sided die except that it has fifty sides instead of six. ) Now, we all immediately know that upon being rolled the probability of the die coming up on any given side is one in fifty. Yet, we do not know this directly from experience with fifty-sided dies, since by hypothesis no one has yet rolled such dies to determine the relative frequency with which they come up on each side. Rather, it seems our only justification for assigning this probability is the principle of indifference: that is, given that every side of the die is macroscopically symmetrical with every other side, we have no reason to believe that the die will land on one side over any other side, and thus we assign them all an equal probability of one in fifty. (11)

iii. The Meaning of Probability

In the last section we used the principle of indifference to rigorously justify the claim that the fine-tuning is highly improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. We did not explain, however, what it could mean to say that it is improbable, especially given that the universe is a unique, unrepeatable event. To address this issue, we shall now show how the probability invoked in the fine-tuning argument can be straightforwardly understood either as what could be called classical probability or as what is known as epistemic probability.

Classical Probability

The classical conception of probability defines probability in terms of the ratio of number of "favorable cases" to the total number of equipossible cases. (See Weatherford, chapter 2.) Thus, for instance, to say the probability of a die coming up "4" is 1/6 is simply to say that the number of ways a die could come up "4" is 1/6 the number of equipossible ways it could come up. Extending the this definition to the continuous case, classical probability can be defined in terms of the relevant ratio of ranges, areas, or volumes over which the principle of indifference applies. Thus, under this extended definition, to say that the probability of the parameters of physics falling into the life-permitting value is very improbable simply means that the ratio of life-permitting values to the range of possible values is very, very small. Finally, notice that this definition of probability implies the principle of indifference, and thus we can be certain that the principle of indifference holds for classical probability.

Epistemic Probability

Epistemic probability is a widely-recognized type of probability that applies to claims, statements, and hypotheses--that is, what philosophers call propositions. (12) Roughly, the epistemic probability of a proposition can be thought of as the degree of credence--that is, degree of confidence or belief--we rationally should have in the proposition. Put differently, epistemic probability is a measure of our rational degree of belief under a condition of ignorance concerning whether a proposition is true or false. For example, when one says that the special theory of relativity is probably true, one is making a statement of epistemic probability. After all, the theory is actually either true or false. But, we do not know for sure whether it is true or false, so we say it is probably true to indicate that we should put more confidence in its being true than in its being false. It is also commonly argued that the probability of a coin toss is best understood as a case of epistemic probability. Since the side the coin will land on is determined by the laws of physics, it is argued that our assignment of probability is simply a measure of our rational expectations concerning which side the coin will land on.

Besides epistemic probability simpliciter, philosophers also speak of what is known as the conditional epistemic probability of one proposition on another. (A proposition is any claim, assertion, statement, or hypothesis about the world). The conditional epistemic probability of a proposition R on another proposition S--written as P(R/S)--can be defined as the degree to which the proposition S of itself should rationally lead us to expect that R is true. For example, there is a high conditional probability that it will rain today on the hypothesis that the weatherman has predicted a 100% chance of rain, whereas there is a low conditional probability that it will rain today on the hypothesis that the weatherman has predicted only a 2% chance of rain. That is, the hypothesis that the weatherman has predicted a 100% chance of rain today should strongly lead us to expect that it will rain, whereas the hypothesis that the weatherman has predicted a 2% should lead us to expect that it will not rain. Under the epistemic conception of probability, therefore, the statement that the fine-tuning of the Cosmos is very improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis makes perfect sense: it is to be understood as making a statement about the degree to which the atheistic single-universe hypothesis would or should, of itself, rationally lead us to expect the cosmic fine-tuning.(13)

Conclusion

The above discussion shows that we have at least two ways of understanding improbability invoked in our main argument: as classical probability or epistemic probability. This undercuts the common atheist objection that it is meaningless to speak of the probability of the fine-tuning under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis since under this hypothesis the universe is not a repeatable event.

Conclusion to Appendix

We have shown in this Appendix that the claim that the fine-tuning is very improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis can be rigorously justified.

References

Barrow, John and Tipler, Frank. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Davies, Paul. The Accidental Universe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

____________. Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.

____________. The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability to Order the Universe. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Davis, John Jefferson. "The Design Argument, Cosmic "Fine-tuning," and the Anthropic Principle." The International Journal of Philosophy of Religion.

Dirac, P. A. M. "The evolution of the physicist's picture of nature." Scientific American, May 1963.

Hacking, Ian. The Emergence of Probability: A Philosophical Study of Early Ideas About Probability, Induction and Statistical Inference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975.

Leslie, John. "How to Draw Conclusions From a Fine-Tuned Cosmos." In Robert Russell, et. al., eds., Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding. Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Press, pp. 297-312, 1988.

____________. Universes. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Plantinga, Alvin. Warrant and Proper Function. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Sklar, Lawrence. Physics and Chance: Philosophical Issues in the Foundation of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Smart, J. J. C. "Laws of Nature and Cosmic Coincidence", The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 140.

Smith, George. "Atheism: The Case Against God." Reprinted in An Anthology of

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28 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:57 pm

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Smith, Quentin. "World Ensemble Explanations." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 67, 1986.

Swinburne, Richard. An Introduction to Confirmation Theory. London: Methuen and Co. Ltd, 1973.

Van Fraassen, Bas. Laws and Symmetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Weatherford, Roy. Foundations of Probability Theory. Boston, MA: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982.


1. This work was made possible in part by a Discovery Institute grant for the fiscal year 1997-1998.

2. For those familiar with the probability calculus, a precise statement of the degree to which evidence counts in favor of one hypothesis over another can be given in terms of the odds form of Bayes's Theorem: that is, P(H1/E)/P(H2/E) = [P(H1)/P(H2)] x [P(E/H1)P(E/H2)]. The general version of the principle stated here, however, does not require the applicability or truth of Bayes's theorem.

3. Those with some training in probability theory will want to note that the kind of probability invoked here is what philosophers call epistemic probability, which is a measure of the rational degree of belief we should have in a proposition. (See Appendix, subsection III.) Since our rational degree of belief in a necessary truth can be less than 1, we can sensibly speak of it being improbable for a given law of nature to exist necessarily. For example, we can speak of an unproven mathematical hypotheses--such as Goldbach's conjecture that every number greater than 6 is the sum of two odd primes--as being probably true or probably false given our current evidence, even though all mathematical hypotheses are either necessarily true or necessarily false.

4. I define a "universe" as any region of space-time that is disconnected from other regions in such a way that the parameters of physics in that region could differ significantly from the other regions.

5. Moreover, the advocate of the atheistic many-universes hypothesis could not avoid this problem by hypothesizing that the many-universes always existed as a "brute fact" without being produced by a universe generator. This would simply add to the problem: it would not only leave unexplained the fine-tuning or our own universe, but would leave unexplained the existence of these other universes.

6. This connection between order and probability, and the second law of thermodynamics in general, is given a precise formulation in a branch of fundamental physics called statistical mechanics, according to which a state of high order represents a very improbable state, and a state of disorder represents a highly probable state.

7. A more thorough discussion of the atheist argument from evil is presented in chapter ?? and a discussion of other atheistic arguments is given in chapter ??.

8. In the language of probability theory, this sort of probability is known as a conditional probability. In the case of G , calculations indicate that this conditional probability of the fine-tuning would be less than 1/10^40 since the life-permitting range is less than 1/10^40 of the range 0 to 2G0, the latter range being certainly smaller than the total "illuminated" range for G.

9. I say "approximately right" because in this case the principle of indifference only applies to strips of land that are the same distance from the equator. The reason for this is that only strips of land equi-distance from the equator are truly symmetrical with regard to the motion of the earth. Since the northern, contiguous United States is all about the same distance from the equator, equal land areas should be assigned approximately equal probabilities.

10. This solution will not always work since, as the well-known Bertrand Paradoxes illustrate (e.g., see Weatherford, p. 56), sometimes there are two equally good and conflicting parameters that directly correspond to a physical quantity and to which the principle of indifference applies. In these cases, at best we can say that the probability is somewhere between that given by the two conflicting parameters. This problem, however, typically does not seem to arise for most cases of fine-tuning. Also, it should be noted that the principle of indifference applies best to classical or epistemic probability, not other kinds of probability such as relative frequency. (See subsection (iii) below.)

11. Of course, one could claim that our experience with items such as coins and dies teaches us that whenever two alternatives are macroscopically symmetrical, we should assign them an equal probability, unless we have a particular reason not to. All this claim implies, however, is that we have experiential justification for the principle of indifference, and thus it does not take away from our main point that in certain practical situations we must rely on the principle of indifference to justify our assignment of probability.

12. For an in-depth discussion of epistemic probability, see Swinburne (1973), Hacking, (1975), and Plantinga (1993), chapters 8 and 9.

13. It should be noted here that this rational degree of expectation should not be confused with the degree to which one should expect the parameters of physics to fall within the life-permitting range if one believed the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. For, even those who believe in this atheistic hypothesis should expect the parameters of physics to be life-permitting since this follows from the fact that we are alive. Rather, the conditional epistemic probability in this case is the degree to which the atheistic single-universe hypothesis of itself should lead us to expect parameters of physics to be life-permitting. This means that in assessing the conditional epistemic probability in this and other similar cases, one must exclude contributions to our expectations arising from other information we have, such as that we are alive. In the case at hand, one way of doing this is by means of the following sort of thought experiment. Imagine a disembodied being with mental capacities and a knowledge of physics comparable to that of the most intelligent physicists alive today, except that the being does not know whether the parameters of physics are within the life-permitting range. Further, suppose that this disembodied being believed in the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. Then, the degree that being should rationally expect the parameters of physics to be life-permitting will be equal to our conditional epistemic probability, since its expectation is solely a result of its belief in the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, not other factors such as its awareness of its own existence.

53 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sat May 29, 2010 11:25 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2009/05/08/is-the-universe-fine-tuned-for-life/

From Russell Stannard, emeritus professor of physics at Open University:
“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” Those are the words of Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg in his book The First Three Minutes. He goes on to dismiss human life as “a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents.”
It is not difficult to appreciate how one might arrive at such a gloomy assessment. Take, for example, the size of the universe. It takes 13.7 billion years for light to reach us from the farthest depths of space, even though it travels at 300,000 kilometers per second. Are we really expected to believe that God designed it as a home for humans? A case of over-design perhaps?
Most places in the universe are hostile to life. The depths of space are incredibly cold. The most prominent objects in the sky, the sun and the other stars, are balls of fire and thus not suitable places to find life. For the great majority of the history of the universe, there was no intelligent life. After the stars have exhausted their fuel, there comes the Heat Death of the universe—an infinity of time when there will again be no life. Hence the view that life is but a fleeting, accidental byproduct of no significance. Or is it?
Suppose you were put in charge of making a universe. You have freedom to choose the laws of nature and the conditions under which your imaginary universe operates. The aim is to produce a universe that is tailor-made for the development of life—the kind of universe a sensible God would have created if it were really intended primarily as a home for life.
Let us assume you start off your universe with a big bang. All the galaxies of stars are to be receding from each other in the aftermath of that great explosion. The first decision is how violent to make your big bang. You might feel, for example, that the actual big bang was somewhat excessive if the aim was simply to produce some life forms. How about something more discreet? It turns out that if you make the violence of your big bang somewhat less—only a little less—then the mutual gravity operating between the galaxies will get such a secure grip that the galaxies will slow down to a halt, and will thereafter be brought together in a big crunch. Moreover, this will happen in less time than the 13.7 billion years it took for us humans to appear on the scene in the actual universe. So, turn the wick down, and you will get no intelligent life.
All right, you might say, I’ll turn the wick up a little. I’ll make my big bang more violent than the actual one. What happens now is that the gases come out of the big bang so fast that they do not have time to collect together to form embryo stars before they are dispersed into the depths of space. Since there are no stars, you get no life. In fact, it turns out that as far as the big bang’s violence is concerned, the window of opportunity is exceedingly narrow. If you are to get life in your universe, the thrust must be just right—and that is what our actual universe has managed to do.
The next point to consider is the force of gravity. How strong will it be in your imaginary universe? If you make it a little weaker than it actually is, you will collect gas together after the big bang. It will squash down, but there will not be enough of it to produce a temperature rise sufficient to light the nuclear fires. No stars, no life.
On the other hand, you must be careful not to have your gravity too strong. If it is, you will get only very massive types of stars. These burn exceedingly fast and last for only 1 million years. For evolution to produce intelligent life on a nearby planet, you must have a steady source of energy for 5,000 million years; you need a medium-sized star like the sun. Indeed, when you come to think of it, the sun is a remarkable phenomenon. After all, what is a star? It is a nuclear bomb going off slowly. Have you any idea how difficult that is to achieve? The amazing thing is that the sun manages this. The secret is the way the force of gravity in the sun conspires to feed the new fuel into the nuclear furnace at the center of the star. It does so at just the right rate for the nuclear fires (governed by the nuclear force, an entirely different force from that of gravity) to consume it at a steady rate extending over a period of 10 billion years.
So, in order for there to be life, the force of gravity—like the thrust of the big bang—must lie within a very narrow range of possible values. And the gravity of the actual universe does just that.
Next, you must turn your attention to the materials from which you wish to build the bodies of living creatures. This is no small matter. After all, what have you got coming from your big bang? The two lightest gases—hydrogen and helium—and precious little besides. And it has to be that way. Remember, we need a violent big bang to stop the universe from collapsing back in on itself prematurely. And because of that violence, only the lightest nuclei could survive the collisions occurring at that time, anything bigger getting smashed up again soon after its formation.
But you cannot make interesting objects like human bodies out of just hydrogen and helium. So the extra nuclei—those that go to making up the 92 different elements found on Earth—must be manufactured somehow after the big bang. That’s where the stars have another important role to play. Not only do they provide a steady source of warmth to energize the processes of evolution, but they also first serve as furnaces for fusing light nuclei into the heavy ones that will later be needed for producing the bodies of the evolving creatures.
But this process is far from straightforward. Perhaps the most important atom in the making of life is carbon. In a sense, it is an especially “sticky” kind of atom, very good at cementing together the large molecules of biological interest. But forming a nucleus of carbon is by no means easy. Essentially, it consists of fusing three helium nuclei together—which is as unlikely as having three moving snooker balls collide simultaneously. It involves something called a “nuclear resonance,” and the occurrence of this resonance is so highly fortuitous that its discoverer, one-time atheist Fred Hoyle, was moved to declare that “a commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics.”
So, we have our precious carbon. A collision between some of these carbon nuclei and further helium nuclei yields oxygen—another vital ingredient for life—and so on. Thus, you must be sure to incorporate a fortuitous nuclear resonance in your imaginary universe.
Does this mean that the stage is now set for evolution to take over and convert these raw materials into human beings?
Not so. You have your materials, but where are they? They are in the center of a star at a temperature of about 10 million degrees. Hardly an environment conducive to life. The materials have to be got out. But how?
What happens in the actual universe is that a proportion of the newly synthesized material is ejected by supernova explosions. These occur when massive stars—several times the mass of our sun—run out of fuel. They suddenly collapse in on themselves. But that raises a problem. How can an implosion produce and explosion? This was a conundrum that exercised the minds of astrophysicists for many years.
The mechanism turned out to be the strangest imaginable. The material is blasted out by neutrinos. Neutrinos are famous for hardly ever interacting with anything. One could pass a neutrino through the center of the Earth to Australia 100 billion times before it had a 50:50 chance of hitting anything. Neutrinos are incredibly slippery. How fortunate they were not any more slippery than they are.
There are many other conditions that had to be satisfied in order for there to be intelligent life anywhere within the universe. The sum total of these “coincidences” goes under the name “the anthropic principle.”
We are faced with the simple fact that the universe, far from being hostile to life as Weinberg would have us believe, has seemingly bent over backward to accommodate life. As the physicist Freeman Dyson has put it, “The universe knew we were coming.”
The mysterious appropriateness of the universe for the evolution of life is something that calls for explanation. There are two main possibilities.
The first is to assert that our universe is not alone. There are a great many universes—perhaps an infinite number of them—and they are all run on different lines with their own laws of nature. The vast majority of them have no life in them because one or other of the conditions were not met. In a few, perhaps in only the one, all the conditions happen by chance to be satisfied and life was able to get a hold. The probability of a universe being of this type is small, but because there are so many attempts, it is no longer surprising that it should have happened. We, being a form of life ourselves, must of course find ourselves in one of these freak universes.
This is a suggestion that has been put forward by some scientists, but that does not make it a scientific explanation. For one thing, the other universes are not part of our universe and so, by definition, cannot be contacted. There is no way to prove or disprove their existence.
The second alternative is simply to accept that the universe is a put-up job; it was designed for life, and the designer is God. Now, one always gets a little bit worried over arguments in favor of the existence of God based on “design.” The original argument from design held that everything about our bodies, and those of other animals, is so beautifully fitted to fulfill its function that it must have been designed that way—the designer being God—and therefore you must believe in God. The rug was pulled from under that argument by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection— at least in terms of it being a knockdown proof of God’s existence, one aimed at convincing the skeptic.
So it is that I would urge caution on those religious believers tempted to make too much of this new argument from design, this time based on physics and cosmology. One can neither prove nor disprove God on the basis of such reasoning. All one can say is that if one already believes in God on other grounds—say, on the basis of religious experience—then the simplest explanation might be in terms of a Designer God. For religious believers, such an explanation introduces no fresh assumptions over and above what one already accepts as the explanation of other features of one’s life.
Not that the alternative suggestion, the many-universes argument, is necessarily to be regarded as an atheistic theory. Certainly, it will be the theory favored by atheists. But it could well be that the God who used evolution by natural selection as the means for making intelligent creatures like ourselves (and a whole host of other interesting animals along the way) might well have used the same scatter-gun approach to make not only our life-friendly universe, but a whole host of other interesting universes—universes that carry no life, but could nevertheless be appreciated by God.

54 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:39 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
The Fine-tuning of the Universe: Does this point to God?

http://www.godsci.com/gs/new/finetuning.html

Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation… His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.
Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist
The laws of science… contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron… The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.
Sir Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.
Abstract
Extensive scientific evidence discovered in the last several decades indicate that the universe is not random in terms of its physical laws and physical constants.
The physical constants in particular appear to be very carefully fine-tuned (to very very high degrees of precision) to enable intelligent life to exist (as discussed below).
The fine-tuning of the universe has theistic implications and can rationally be considered as pointing to the existence of an Intelligent Designer who created and fine-tuned the universe.
The Christian God is such an Intelligent Designer.
What will it take?
Some of my Atheist friends say (in effect), "no matter what evidence you show me for the existence of God, I absolutely refuse to believe in a God."
And Jesus says, "yes, even if I sent a man back from the dead, you would not believe".
And some others say, "show me a miracle, and I will believe in God".
And some say, I wish to believe in God, please give me some reason to believe…

And so, for those whose minds are not completely closed on this topic ("those who have ears to hear and eyes to see"), God does provide evidence.
This post discusses one area of such evidence.
The workings of God The Christian God indicates that he works in at least three ways in the universe: (i) naturally, (ii) providentially, and (iii) miraculously.
Naturally: where God creates and maintains the regularity in the universe that we observe and categorize as "natural law".
Providentially: where God intervenes into the "natural" course of events, but in such a gentle manner that we are not able to say clearly that a "miracle" has happened. Some answers to prayer are of this kind, where we keep noticing "coincidences" that happen in correlation with prayer.
Miraculously: where God intervenes and over-rides "natural law"; where he steps in and causes something to happen, that would otherwise not have happened, given the "natural" course of events.
The signature of a Miracle So, what are the signatures of these kinds of events?
"Natural law" is associated with high-probability events (or families of events); in other words, events that keep happening the same way, and do the same thing again and again.
For instance, if I tried to run through a solid wall, and end up in a hospital, that would be evidence of "natural law". Or, if I tried to walk on water, and ended up drowning, that would also be evidence of "natural law".
"Miracles" on the other hand are associated with extremely-low-probability (specified) events. In other words, events that tend to be unique, that don’t arise naturally out of "natural law".
For instance, if I successfully walked through a solid wall, that would be a miracle. Or, if I successfully walked on top of water, that would be a miracle. These would both be very low-probability events, and that (the extreme low-probability of the specified event) is the signature of a miracle.
So, is it a miracle if I win the lottery? No, presuming a probability of one chance in 10 million. However, most of us would conclude that it was a miracle if I won the lottery five times in a row, particularly if this happened as a consequence of prayer.
And what would I view as extremely-low-probability? Anything that was less than one chance in 10^30 to 10^50. As you may know, in mathematics, such low probabilities are typically written off as being zero.
So, how would I recognize a miracle, if it happened right in front of my eyes?
By recognizing its extreme low-probability (based on calculations from natural law).
Of course most of us don’t sit around doing these calculations, but we could, in principle.
And, how would I be able to recognize a Fossilized Miracle (one that happened in the past)?
If I knew it happened… by recognizing its extreme low-probability (based on calculations from natural law).
And of course most of us don’t sit around doing these calculations, but we could, in principle.
An unexpected turn of events
It is interesting, that the more science learns about the universe and its physics, the more we are discovering incredible extremely-low-epistemic-probability "coincidences" in the laws and physical-constants of the universe, without which, life (and the specified-complexity that life depends upon) would be impossible …
As you may know, these coincidences are sometimes called "Anthropic Coincidences", and attempts to explain the reason for these coincidences are called "Anthropic Cosmological Principles".
To me, these Anthropic coincidences (and the need for them) are a very unexpected turn of events, as I consider an Atheistic Universe… On the other hand, if Christianity were true, and miracles have happened, these extremely-low-probability "coincidences" could very well be "fossil evidence" of such miracles.
The Anthropic Coincidences were one set of evidence that pointed me away from Atheism and towards an Intelligent Designer of the Universe (i.e., God).
The humor of God
An aside: you will find that any atheist who wishes to avoid the conclusion (that the coincidences point to the existence of an Intelligent Designer) will be forced into metaphysics, an area that he has been struggling to avoid.
(Metaphysics -- defined here as things unprovable by science; things not empirically demonstrable by science).
After all, a fundamental claim to superiority (by atheism) is that atheism is based on things that are empirically demonstrable, and that unlike weak-minded Theists who depend on faith, atheism does not depend on faith…
And if he tries to explain away the Anthropic Coincidences, the Atheist is forced into metaphysical faith (as opposed to his claimed "empirical knowledge"), in a manner that is completely analogous to what he claimed is the (non-empirical) weakness of Theism …
I think that this is a demonstration of the humor of God.
Necessary for Life to exist
I have compiled a few of the Anthropic coincidences here (below). The list is not exhaustive. There are more such coincidences in the scientific literature, that I have not mentioned here…
Note: the coincidences have been determined to be necessary for life (and the specified-complexity that life depends upon) to be possible.
The Christian God and his purposes
The Christian God indicates that one reason why he created the Universe, was for life to exist, and for humans to exist.
Our Universe is His "art project". That is why it is so incredibly beautiful.
Our Universe is His "scientific and engineering" creation. That is why it is so full of science and engineering, and we are learning this as we crawl in his footsteps via mathematics, physics, cosmology and molecular biology.
Earth is boot-camp for humans to come into relationship with him, and then for our experiences to provide opportunities for us to grow towards the beauty-of-character that will be a joy for eternity. The Bible refers to this as us "being conformed to the image of Christ".
Views from three scientists As I mentioned, I have compiled a few of the Anthropic coincidences here (below). But first, let's look at views from three scientists.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation… His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.
Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist
The laws of science… contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron… The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.
Sir Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.
Early Calculations
Given the data available in 1979, Roger Penrose (a world-class mathematician) calculated the odds of our observed universe occurring by accident to be less than one in 10^(10^30). The calculation was based on thermodynamics and entropy considerations. Since 1979, additional Anthropic coincidences have been discovered, making random occurrence even more unlikely.
As you may know, in mathematics, probabilities of less than one part in 10^30 to 10^50 are typically written off as being zero. And 10^30 is 100000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, i.e., 1 followed by 30 zeros; 10^50 is 1 followed by 50 zeros.
Penrose's calculated probability was one part in 10^(10^30), which is 1 followed by 10^30 zeros. And 10^30 is itself 1 followed by 30 zeros. So, the probability works out to be one part in 10^(100000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000), i.e., 10 raised to the power of 100000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, or 1 followed by a thousand billion billion billion zeros (i.e., 1 followed by a nonillion zeros).
Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 … … … … … 00001
If I were to write this number out, as 0.0000 0000 …, with all of its zeros, we would need a computer hard-drive much larger than the size of our entire universe, just to hold all of the zeros that I would have to write out.
So, what does all this mean? It means that it is reasonable to conclude that our universe did not get here by accident. The epistemic-probability is far too low for the universe to have arisen by random chance. The evidence (observation of extremely-low epistemic-probability) points to an Intelligent Designer (God) having designed, created and fine-tuned the universe.
We will continue to see this theme, of extreme low-probabilities (epistemic-probabilities), as we look at some of the Anthropic Coincidences below.
A few of the Anthropic Coincidences (Fine-Tuning the Universe)
The Big-bang
The explosive-force of the big-bang had to be fine-tuned to match the strength of gravity to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000.
This is one part in 10^60. The number 10^60 = 1 followed by 60 zeros.
This precision is the same as the odds of a random shot (bullet from a gun) hitting a one-inch target from a distance of 20 billion light-years.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001
Density-of-matter in the Big-bang
In the big-bang, the density-of-matter in the universe after Planck time (fraction of a second after the big-bang) had to be matched to the critical-density to better than one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000.
This is one part in 10^50, which is 1 followed by 50 zeros.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001
The inflationary Big-bang
In the inflationary big-bang, the cosmological constant and a particular force need to be fine-tuned for galaxies and planets to form.
The net result is a situation with an epistemic-probability of one part in 10^81, which is 1 followed by 81 zeros.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 1
Lambda in the inflationary Big-bang
In the inflationary big-bang, bare-lambda and quantum-lambda (two components of the cosmological constant) had to be fine-tuned to cancel each other to better than one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, for galaxies and planets to form.
This is one part in 10^50, which is 1 followed by 50 zeros.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001
The Strong Force
The strong-force (which binds particles in atomic nuclei) had to be balanced with the weak-nuclear-force to about one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000.
This is one part in 10^60, which is 1 followed by 60 zeros.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001
Gravity
The force of gravity had to be tuned to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, for stars capable of supporting-life to exist (based on balancing electromagnetic forces with gravitational forces).
This is one part in 10^40, which is 1 followed by 40 zeros.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001
Electrons & Protons
The number of electrons had to be matched to the number of protons to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00, for formation of stars and planets.
This is one part in 10^37, which is 1 followed by 37 zeros.
Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 01
Carbon Resonance
A nuclear resonance had to be created for formation of carbon (via alpha particle collision with Beryllium- and then tuned to close to a specific energy, to enable a brief window of opportunity for formation of carbon.
Without this, there would be negligible carbon in the universe.
Carbon is the only element designed to be capable of forming the long molecular-chains necessary for the complexity required by life (silicon for instance forms much shorter and less versatile chains that are not specified-complex enough).
Oxygen Resonance
A nuclear resonance for formation of oxygen had to be tuned to prevent complete cannibalization of carbon (via alpha-particle collision with carbon, resulting in oxygen).
If the oxygen-resonance were half a percent higher, there would be negligible carbon in the universe and on earth. Carbon is the only element designed to be capable of forming the long molecular-chains necessary for the complexity required by life.
Particle masses
Proton, neutron and electron masses had to be fine-tuned to enable life.
For instance, free neutrons decay to form protons. If the proton mass were slightly higher, the opposite would happen, resulting in a universe full of neutronium.
There would be no elements (no hydrogen, oxygen, carbon) and no way to create the molecular-complexity required for life.
Weak Nuclear Force
The weak-nuclear force had to be fine-tuned to enable life.
Slightly stronger, and no helium or heavier elements would form. And there would be no means to create the molecular-complexity required for life.
Slightly weaker, and no hydrogen would remain (to provide fuel for steady-burning stars needed as sources of energy for life).
Also, supernova explosions would not be able to disperse the medium-to-heavy elements created in stars.
Elements such as carbon (for molecular chains basic to life), iron (for hemoglobin), copper and other elements used in life-forms were originally created in stars, then dispersed by supernova explosions, to finally reach/coalesce into earth…
Dimensions
The number of dimensions in our universe had to be fine-tuned to enable life.
The topological, and physical laws of the universe need more than two spatial-dimensions, and less than five extended-dimensions for stability and the complexity required for life…
This requirement is met in our universe, with 3 extended spatial-dimensions and 1 temporal dimension.
Carbon chemistry
Lee Smolin (a world-class physicist and a leader in quantum gravity) estimates that if the physical constants of the universe were chosen randomly, the epistemic-probability of ending up with a world with carbon chemistry is less than one part in 10^220.
This epistemic-probability is one part in: 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 0.
Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 1
Cosmological Flatness
Lee Smolin (physicist) estimates the epistemic-probability for the "equivalent-temperature" of the universe being such as to enable cosmological flatness, to be one part in 10^32.
Epistemic Probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 01
Quantum Gravity & Cosmological Flatness
Looking at Quantum Gravity and what it would take to obtain Flat Euclidean 3D space upto cosmological scales (as observed in our universe) …
Calculating the epistemic probability of this occurring by random chance, using spin-networks from Roger Penrose, applied to quantum gravity by Lee Smolin and co-scientists. The number of predicted spin-network nodes in our universe would be at least 10^180. And allowing a 10% deviation from cosmological flatness, we end up with an epistemic-probability of less than one part in 10^(10^180).
This is one part in 10^(10^180), which is 10 followed by 10^180 zeros.
Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 … … … … … 00001
If I were to write this number out, as 0.0000 0000 …, with all of its zeros, we would need a computer hard-drive much larger than the size of our entire universe, just to hold all of the zeros that I would have to write out.
The big-bang (reprise)
The big-bang had to result in a universe with relatively low-entropy (a high degree of thermodynamic-order), which could then proceed to increase in entropy with time, thus enabling formation of galaxies, stars, planets and ultimately enabling life to function once it was created.
In 1989 Roger Penrose (a world-class mathematician) calculated the precision required to create our universe with the necessary thermodynamic-order and to send it on its way (to develop in a manner compatible with life). His calculated precision was one part in 10^(10^123).
This is one part in 10^(10^123), which is 10 followed by 10^123 zeros.
Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 … … … … … 00001
If I were to write this number out, as 0.0000 0000 …, with all of its zeros, we would need a computer hard-drive much larger than the size of our entire universe, just to hold all of the zeros that I would have to write out.
So, what does all this mean? It means that it is reasonable to conclude that our universe did not get here by accident. The epistemic-probabilities are far too low for the universe to have arisen by random chance. The numerous observations of extremely-low epistemic-probabilities, point to an Intelligent Designer (God) having designed, created and fine-tuned the universe.
The list grows
The list (above) is by no means an exhaustive list of the Anthropic coincidences. There are many more such coincidences in the literature.
As I have mentioned, these Anthropic coincidences (and the need for them) are a very unexpected turn of events, as I consider an Atheistic Universe…
The Anthropic Coincidences were one set of evidence that pointed me away from Atheism and towards an Intelligent Designer of the Universe (i.e., God).
The "Anthropic coincidences" or "evidences of fine-tuning" are consistent with Christianity, and are in fact along the lines of what I would expect if the Christian God exists (based on our discussion of the three ways God works in the universe, "naturally", "providentially", and "miraculously".)
The Christian God and his purposes (Reprise)
As I have mentioned, the Christian God indicates that one reason why he created the Universe, was for life to exist, and for humans to exist.
Our Universe is His "art project"; that is why it is so incredibly beautiful. And our Universe is His "scientific and engineering" creation; that is why it is so full of science and engineering, and we are learning this as we crawl in his footsteps via mathematics, physics, cosmology and molecular biology.
Earth is boot-camp for humans to come into relationship with him, and then for our experiences to provide opportunities for us to grow towards the beauty-of-character that will be a joy for eternity. The Bible refers to this as us "being conformed to the image of Christ".
An Invitation
I invite you to seek the Christian God. He promises that if you seek him with sincerity, humility and perseverance, he will reveal himself to you.
I was given this invitation. I responded, and as I investigated the evidence, I gradually came to intellectual (and experiential) certainty of God's existence. I ended up committing my life to Christ (based on his death on the cross, for me), and I walk now in relationship with the God of the Universe.
I invite you to do the same.
The Essence of Christianity
All of us have fallen short of the beauty-of-character that God wants for his children. (Romans 3:23). Because of sin we are separated from God. (Romans 6:23)
God loves you so much that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins. If you commit your life to Christ based on this, you can be in relationship with God today, and in the life to come... (John 3:16)
God invites you to join his family. Will you open the door (of your heart) and invite Jesus in? (Revelations 3:20)
If you haven't already committed your life to Christ, and would like to do so, but need some help with this, please do not hesitate to ask.
Or if you are sincerely seeking the Christian God, and have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Further Reading
There are numerous books and papers that touch on this topic (of the Anthropic Coincidences). Some are quite technical, and somewhat difficult to plough through.
Here are two books that touch on this topic in somewhat simplified, easy-to-understand fashion.
God: The Evidence (The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World), by Patrick Glynn, copyright 1999; ISBN #0-7615-1964-5
Show me God (What the Message from Space is telling us about God), by Fred Heeren, copyright 2000; ISBN #1-885849-53-2

55 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:24 pm
elshamah888

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Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.apologeticspress.com/articles/53

Apologetics Press :: Reason & Revelation
June 2003 - 2[6]:21-R—22-R & 24-R

Our Finely Tuned Universe
by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. and Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

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Imagine donning a gown and mask, and walking into the operating suite of a Level One trauma center. That cool, sterile environment exudes extreme order and neatness—after all, surgeons need to have instant access to a multitude of surgical supplies. Lives are at stake, and time is of the utmost importance. Now, consider for a moment if someone were to suggest that this precisely ordered surgical suite happened by mere chance, and that every single item just “happened” to find its way there by chance. Sound ludicrous? Well, then, consider for a moment how ludicrous it is for men dressed in starched white lab coats to stand before college students and proclaim that this finely tuned Universe just “happened” without any intervention. It is an undeniable fact that the Universe is delicately ordered and intricately complex—far more so than any operating room. Yet, we continue to be told that we, and the Universe around us, are the end result of some vast, inexplicable cosmological accident that occurred 13.7 billion years ago.

How can this be—in light of the impressive amount (and quality) of design that we routinely see all around us? Australian astrophysicist Paul Davies, in his book, The Cosmic Blueprint, opined:

There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all.... It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe.... The impression of design is overwhelming (1988, p. 203, emp. added).
Our Universe is indeed “fine-tuned” in such a way that it is impossible to suggest logically that it simply “popped into existence out of nothing” and then went from the chaos associated with the inflationary Big Bang Model (as if the Universe were a giant firecracker!) to the sublime order that it presently exhibits. Nancey Murphy and George Ellis discussed this very point in their book, On the Moral Nature of the Universe:

The symmetries and delicate balances we observe in the universe require an extraordinary coherence of conditions and cooperation of laws and effects, suggesting that in some sense they have been purposely designed. That is, they give evidence of intention, realized both in the setting of the laws of physics and in the choice of boundary conditions for the universe (1996, p. 57, emp. added).
The suggestion that the Universe and its laws “have been purposely designed” has surfaced much more frequently in the past several years. For example, the late British cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle wrote:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question (1982, 20:16).
In his book, Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature, Davies made this amazing statement:

If nature is so “clever” as to exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the universe? If the world’s finest minds can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance? (1984, pp. 235-236, emp. added).
Eight years later, in 1992, Davies authored The Mind of God, in which he remarked:

I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.... Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor by-product of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here (1992, p. 232, emp. added).
That “we are truly meant to be here” is reminiscent of the statement made by physicist Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. In his semi-autobiographical book, Disturbing the Universe, Dyson stated:

...[T]he universe is an unexpectedly hospitable place for living creatures to make their home in. Being a scientist, trained in the habits of thought and language of the twentieth century rather than the eighteenth, I do not claim that the architecture of the universe proves the existence of God. I claim only that the architecture of the universe is consistent with the hypothesis that mind plays an essential role in its functioning.... The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming (1979, pp. 250,251, emp. added).
The idea that in some sense the Universe “must have known that we were coming,” is the same sentiment expressed by two prominent cosmologists, Frank Tipler and John Barrow, in their 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, which discussed the possibility that the Universe seems to have been “tailor-made” for man. Interestingly, a mere eight years after that book was published, Dr. Tipler authored another book, The Physics of Immortality, in which he professed:

When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics (1994, preface).
In 1995, NASA astronomer John O’Keefe stated in an interview:

We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.... If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 200).
Then, thirteen years after British molecular biologist Michael Denton published his 1985 book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, he shocked everyone—especially his evolutionist colleagues—when he published his 1998 tome, Nature’s Destiny, in which he acknowledged:

Whether one accepts or rejects the design hypothesis...there is no avoiding the conclusion that the world looks as if it has been tailored for life; it appears to have been designed. All reality appears to be a vast, coherent, teleological whole with life and mankind as its purpose and goal (p. 387, emp. in orig.).
Fred Hoyle, in addressing the fine-tuning of the nuclear resonances responsible for the oxygen and carbon synthesis in stars, observed:

I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not, then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents (1959, emp. added).
When we (to use Hoyle’s words) “examine the evidence,” what do we find? Michael J. Murray answered:

Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe—for example, the fundamental laws and parameters of physics and the initial distribution of matter and energy—is balanced on a razor’s edge for life to occur.... Scientists call this extraordinary balancing of the parameters of physics and the initial conditions of the universe the “fine-tuning of the cosmos” (1999, p. 48, emp. added).
But what is the evidence for that “fine-tuning of the cosmos”? Consider just a small sampling of the many pieces of evidence that are available.

Our Universe operates in accordance with exact scientific laws. The precision of the Universe, and the exactness of these laws, allow scientists to launch rockets to the Moon, with the full knowledge that, upon their arrival, they can land within a few feet of their intended target. Such precision and exactness also allow astronomers to predict solar/lunar eclipses years in advance, or to determine when Halley’s Comet can be seen once again from the Earth. Science writer Lincoln Barnett observed:

This functional harmony of nature Berkeley, Descartes, and Spinoza attributed to God. Modern physicists who prefer to solve their problems without recourse to God (although this seems to be more difficult all the time) emphasize that nature mysteriously operates on mathematical principles. It is the mathematical orthodoxy of the Universe that enables theorists like Einstein to predict and discover natural laws, simply by the solution of equations (1959, p. 22, parenthetical item in orig.)
While many evolutionists willingly concede complexity—and even order—they are not prepared to concede design because the implication of such a concession would demand a Designer. Is there evidence of design? The person who does not believe in a Creator claims no such evidence exists. The individual who acknowledges the existence of that Creator, affirms that it does, and offers the following information in support of such an affirmation.

We live in an incredibly large Universe. While its outer limits have not been measured, it is estimated to be as much as 20 billion light-years in diameter. [A light-year is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year at a speed of slightly more than 186,000 miles per second. Distances expressed in light-years express the time that light would take to cross that distance.] There are an estimated one billion galaxies in the Universe (Lawton, 1981), and an estimated 25 sextillion stars. The Milky Way galaxy in which we live contains over 100 billion stars, and is so large that even traveling at the speed of light would require 100,000 years to cross its diameter. Light travels approximately 5.88 x 1012 miles in a single year; in 100,000 years, that would be 5.88 x 1017 miles, or 588 quadrillion miles just to cross the diameter of a single galaxy. Without doubt, this is a rather impressive Universe.

Yet while the size itself is impressive, the inherent design is even more so. The Sun, which is like a giant nuclear engine, gives off more energy in a single second than mankind has produced since the Creation. It converts eight million tons of matter into energy every single second, and has an interior temperature of more than twenty million degrees Celsius (see Lawton, 1981). The Sun also produces radiation, which, in certain amounts, can be deadly to living things. The Earth, however, is located at exactly the correct distance from the Sun to receive the proper amount of heat and radiation to permit life as we know it. We should be grateful that we live so far from the Sun, because the 93 million miles of empty space between the Earth and the Sun help stop the destructive pressure waves produced by the Sun as it converts matter to energy. If the Earth were much closer to the Sun, human life could not survive because of the horrible heat and pressure. If the Earth were moved just 10% closer to the Sun (about 10 million miles), far too much radiation (and heat) would be absorbed. If the Earth were moved just 10% farther from the Sun, too little heat would be absorbed. Either scenario would spell doom for life on the Earth.

Fortunately, creatures living on Earth receive some protection from the Sun’s radiation because in one of the layers of the atmosphere (known as the mesosphere—about 12 to 18 miles above the Earth), there is a form of oxygen known as ozone, which filters out most of the ultraviolet rays from the Sun that would be harmful (or fatal) in larger amounts. In addition, the Sun constantly sends out an invisible wind that is composed of protons and electrons. These particles approach the Earth from outer space at an extremely high speed, and could be very dangerous to humans. Fortunately, most of these protons and electrons are reflected back into space because the Earth was created like a giant magnet that pushes away the solar wind and makes life on this planet both possible and comfortable.

The Earth is rotating on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour at the equator, and moving around the Sun at 70,000 miles per hour (approximately 19 miles per second), while the Sun and its solar system are moving through space at 600,000 miles per hour in an orbit so large it would take over 220 million years just to complete a single orbit. This rotation provides periods of light and darkness—a phenomenon necessary for sustaining life as we experience it. If the Earth rotated much faster, fierce cyclones would stir over the Earth like a kitchen food-mixer. If the Earth turned significantly slower, the days and nights would be impossibly hot or cold. Venus, for example, turns only once every 243 days—a fact that accounts in part for daytime temperatures reaching as high as 500 degrees Celsius (water boils at 100° C). The Earth’s orbital speed and tilt are “just right.” Just by accident? The Earth completes its orbit roughly once every 365.25 days—the time period we designate as a year. This, together with the fact that the Earth is tilted on its axis, allows for what we refer to as seasons.

The Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle, however, but is elliptical. This means that sometimes the Earth is closer to the Sun than at other times. In January, the Earth is closest to the Sun; in July, it is farthest away. When it is closer, the Earth “speeds up” to avoid being pulled into the Sun; when it is farther away, it “slows down,” so that it remains in a position in space that is “just right.” How does the Earth “know” to do all of this?

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29 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:58 pm

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Interestingly, as the Earth moves in its orbit around the Sun, it departs from a straight line by only one-ninth of an inch every eighteen miles. If it departed by one-eighth of an inch, we would come so close to the Sun that we would be incinerated; if it departed by one-tenth of an inch, we would find ourselves so far from the Sun that we would all freeze to death (see Science Digest, 1981). What would happen if the rotation rate of the Earth were cut in half—or doubled? If it were halved, the seasons would be doubled in their length, which would cause such harsh heat and cold over much of the Earth that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to grow enough food to feed the Earth’s population. If the rotation rate were doubled, the length of each season would be halved, and again it would be difficult or impossible to grow enough food to feed the Earth’s population.

The Earth is tilted on its axis at exactly 23.5 degrees. If it were not tilted as it is, but instead sat straight up in its orbit around the Sun, there would be no seasons. The tropics would be hotter, and the deserts would get bigger. If the tilt went all the way over to 90 degrees, much of the Earth would switch between very cold winters and very hot summers.

The Earth is poised some 240,000 miles from the Moon. This, too, is just right. The Moon helps control the movement of the oceans (tides). This movement is very beneficial to the Earth, because it provides a cleansing of shorelines, and helps ocean life to prosper. Tides are an important part of ocean currents. Without these currents, the oceans would stagnate, and the animals and plants living in the oceans and seas soon would perish. Our existence as humans depends upon the Moon’s tides as they help balance a delicate food chain in nature. If the Moon were moved closer to the Earth by just a fifth, the tides would be so enormous that twice a day they would reach 35-50 feet high over most of the surface of the Earth.

The Earth’s oceans are another good example of perfect design. Water covers about 72% of the Earth’s surface, which is good because the oceans provide a reservoir of moisture that constantly is evaporating and condensing. Eventually, this causes rain to fall on the Earth. It is a well-known fact that water heats and cools at a much slower rate than a solid land mass, which explains why desert regions can be blistering hot in the daytime and freezing cold at night. Water, however, holds its temperature longer, and provides a sort of natural heating/air-conditioning system for the land areas of the Earth. The Earth’s annual average temperature (56°F; 13.3°C) is closely maintained by the great reservoir of heat contained within the waters of the oceans. Temperature extremes would be much more erratic than they are, were it not for the fact that approximately three-fourths of the Earth is covered with water. In addition, humans and animals inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. On the other hand, plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. We depend upon the world of botany for our oxygen supply, yet we often fail to realize that approximately 90% of our oxygen comes from microscopic plants in the seas (Asimov, 1975, 2:116). If our oceans were appreciably smaller, we soon would be out of air to breathe.

Wrapped around the Earth is a protective blanket we know as the atmosphere. It is composed of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and carbon dioxide (0.03%), in addition to water vapor and small levels of other gases. The proper balance of these gases is essential to life on the Earth. The atmosphere of Venus is too thick to sustain life; that of Mars is too thin. But the Earth’s atmosphere does several things. It scatters light waves so that you can read the words on this page. It captures solar heat so that it does not escape too rapidly. Without atmosphere, the heat would escape as soon as the Sun set each day, and nights would be unbearably cold. Frequently, meteors fall from space. Were it not for the fact that most of them burn up (from friction) when they strike the atmosphere, the Earth would be pounded almost daily by these unwelcome visitors. And, electronically charged particles (ions) in the upper atmosphere (referred to as the ionosphere) help make radio communications on the Earth possible. The Earth has an atmosphere that is “just right.” Just by accident?

Richard Dawkins once remarked: “The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially, the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer” (1982, 94:130, emp. added). Twenty years later, in an article on Nature’s August 13, 2002, on-line Science-Update, Philip Ball wrote: “Our Universe is so unlikely that we must be missing something.” We agree: evolutionists are “missing something.” But that “something” is actually a “Someone”—the intelligent Designer!

56 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:25 pm
elshamah888

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http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=66

by Holmes Rolston III

Dr. Rolston is professor of philosophy at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. His article is adapted from Science and Religion: A Critical Survey, published in January 1987 by Random House and Temple University Press. This article appeared in The Christian Century, December 3, 1986, pp. 1093-1095. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. This article prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.

Both astrophysicists and microphysicists have lately been discovering that the series of events that produced our universe had to happen in a rather precise way—at least, they had to happen that way if they were to produce life as we know it. Some might find this fact unremarkable. After all, we are here, and it is hardly surprising that the universe is of such kind as to have produced us. It is simply a tautology to say that people who find themselves in a universe live in a universe where human life is possible. Nevertheless, given the innumerable other things that could have happened, we have reason to be impressed by the astonishing fact of our existence. Like the man who survives execution by a 1,000-gun firing squad, we are entitled to suspect that there is some reason we are here, that perhaps there is a Friend behind the blast.

When we consider the first seconds of the big bang that created the universe, writes Bernard Lovell, an astronomer, "it is an astonishing reflection that at this critical early moment in the history of the universe, all of the hydrogen would have turned into helium if the force of attraction between protons—that is, the nuclei of the hydrogen atoms—had been only a few percent stronger. . . . No galaxies, no stars, no life would have emerged. It would have been a universe forever unknowable by living creatures. A remarkable and intimate relationship between man, the fundamental constants of nature and the initial moments of space and time seems to be an inescapable condition of our existence" ("Whence?," New York Times Magazine, November 16, 1975).

Astronomer Fred Hoyle reports that his atheism was shaken by his own discovery that in the stars, carbon just manages to form and then just avoids complete conversion into oxygen. If one atomic level had varied half a per cent, life would have been impossible. "Would you not say to yourself . . . 'Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule' ? Of course you would. . . . The carbon atom is a fix.

. . .A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics. . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question" ("The Universe: Past and Present Reflections," Engineering and Science, November 1981).

"Somebody had to tune [the universe] very precisely," concludes Marek Demianski, a Polish cosmologist (quoted in Science News, September 3, 1983, p. 152). Stephen Hawking, the Einstein of our time, agrees: "The odds against a universe like ours coming out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications" (John Boslough, Stephen Hawking's Universe, p. 121). How the various physical processes are "fine-tuned to such stunning accuracy is surely one of the great mysteries of cosmology," remarks P. C. W. Davies, a physicist. "Had this exceedingly delicate tuning of values been even slightly upset, the subsequent structure of the universe would have been totally different." "Extraordinary physical coincidences and apparently accidental cooperation . . . offer compelling evidence that something is 'going on.' . . . A hidden principle seems to be at work" (The Accidental Universe, p. 90, p. 110).

B. I. Carr and M. J. Rees, cosmologists, conclude, "Many interrelations between different scales that at first sight seem surprising are straightforward consequences of simple physical arguments. But several aspects of our Universe—some of which seem to be prerequisites for the evolution of any form of life—depend rather delicately on apparent ‘coincidences' among the physical constants. . . . The Universe must be as big and diffuse as it is to last long enough to give rise to life" ("The Anthropic Principle and the Structure of the Physical World," Nature, April 12, 1979).

No universe can provide several billion years of stellar cooking time unless it is several billion light years across. If the size of the universe were reduced from 1022 to 1011 stars, that smaller but still galaxy-sized universe might seem roomy enough, but it would run through its entire cycle of expansion and recontraction in about one year. And if the matter of the universe were not as homogeneous as it is, then large portions of it would have been so dense that they would already have undergone gravitational collapse. Other portions would have been so thin that they could not have given birth to galaxies and stars. On the other hand, if it were entirely homogeneous, then the chunks of matter that make development possible could not have assembled. (See John A. Wheeler, "The Universe as Home for Man." in Owen Gingerich, editor, The Nature of Scientific Discovery.)

Physicists have made some other, quite striking thought experiments. If the universe were not expanding, then it would be too hot to support life. If the expansion rate of the universe had been a little faster or slower, then the universe would already have recollapsed or else the galaxies and stars could not have formed. The extent and age of the universe are not obviously an outlandish extravagance. Indeed, ours may be the most economical universe in which life and mind can exist—so far as we can cast that question into a testable form.

Change slightly the strengths of any of the four forces that hold the world together (the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, gravitation—forces ranging over 40 orders of magnitude), or change various particle masses and charges, and the stars would burn too quickly or too slowly, or atoms and molecules, including water, carbon and oxygen, would not form or would not remain stable.

It is not that we cannot imagine another world in which intelligence or life might exist. It is rather that, in this world, any of a hundred small shifts this way or that would render everything blank. Astrophysicists John D. Barrow and Joseph Silk calculate that "small changes in the electric charge of the electron would block any kind of chemistry" ("The Structure of the Early Universe," Scientific American, April 1980: see also John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle). A fractional difference, and there would have been nothing. It would be so easy to miss, and there are no hits in the revised universes we can imagine: and yet this universe is a delicate, intricate hit.

One can still explain the universe by randomness—this universe is one of a run of universes and big bangs, and ours happened to have the right characteristics for life. Or one can invoke the many-worlds theory: the universe is constantly splitting into many worlds, some of which will be right for life. But to invent myriads of other worlds in order to explain how this one came to be seems to show an addiction to randomness in one's explanatory scheme. It seems more economical (and remember that science often recommends simplicity in explanations) to posit that there were some constraints on the only universe we know that made it right for life.

The human world stands about midway between the infinitesimal and the immense. The size of our planet is near the geometric mean of the size of the known universe and the size of the atom. The mass of a human being is the geometric mean of the mass of the earth and the mass of a proton. A person contains about 1028 atoms, more atoms than there are stars in the universe. Such considerations yield perhaps only a relative location. Still, questions of place and proportion arise.

Nebulae and stars exist at low structural ranges. A galaxy is mostly nothing, as is an atom. Fine-tuned though the system is, at both ends of the spectrum of size nature lacks the complexity found at the mesa levels in Earth's ecosystem. Humans do not live at the range of the infinitely small, nor at that of the infinitely large, but they may well live within the range of the infinitely complex, a range generated and supported by the simpler but stunning microphysics and astrophysics. In our 150 pounds of protoplasm, in our three pounds of brain, there may be more operational organization than there is in the whole of the Andromeda Galaxy. The number of associations possible among our 10 billion neurons, and hence the number of thoughts humans can think, may exceed the number of atoms in the universe. Humans, too, are stars in the show.

The point is not that the whole universe is necessary to produce Earth and Homo sapiens. To so conclude would demonstrate myopic pride. The issue is richness of potential, not anthropocentrism. There is no need to insist that everything in the universe has some relevance to our being here. God may have overdone the creation in pure exuberance, but why should the parts irrelevant to us trouble us? We might even be a bit sorry if the entire sublime universe turned out to be needed simply for our arrival, or even for the scattering of life and mind here and there within the universe. But certainly we cannot leave ourselves out of the account, either.

Since Copernicus, physics has made us wary of claiming a privileged location for Earth. Since Darwin, humans have seemed the result of selection operating over blind variation. Since Newton, the world has seemed only matter in motion. Since Einstein, our location in space and time has seemed a function of our reference frame as observers. Humans have been dwarfed from above, celestially; deflated from below, atomically; and shown to be nothing but electronic particles. In a universe 20 billion years old and 20 billion light years across, humans, the result of 5 billion years of evolution, have felt lost in the stars and in the agelong struggle for life.

But physics has been busy painting a new picture. Christians caught up in the debate over creation in biology may not have noticed how congenial physics and theology have become. The physical world is—shades of Bishop Paley!—looking like a fine-tuned watch again, and this time many quantitative calculations support the argument. The forms that matter and energy take seem strangely suited to their destiny.

57 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:56 pm
elshamah888

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Evidence of the Design of the Universe through the Anthropic Principle

There is an abundant wealth of evidence from the workings of physics, chemistry, and properties of the universe, our solar system, and earth which indicate that life on earth did not happen by accident--it was planned. These arguments are typically called "anthropic principles," where physical properties or parameters seem to be "just right" or "fine-tuned" to allow for life--and not necessarily just for life as we know it. The existence of these principles is well recognized in the scientific literature, and is discussed by many physicists, cosmologists, and even the occasional cosmetologist.

In the Beginning...

Before discussing Anthropic Principles, it is important to note that contrary to public opinion, most astrophysicists believe that the universe itself is not infinite, and that it had a beginning. Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts that the universe must expand or contract if it contains any matter (which of course it does)1, implying there was an "explosion" at the beginning of the universe.1, 3 This explosion, often called the "Big Bang", began as an infinitely dense infinitesimal singularity which blew up, sending matter and energy flying in all directions.

Many predictions made by Einstein's theory of relativity and "Big Bang" cosmology have been observed1--including relativity-related time-changes on satellite clocks, curvature of light around stars due to matter, predicted levels of background radiation in the universe, light elemental abundances, and observations that galaxies are receding from one another from some point of explosion.

Big Bang cosmology has been controversial from its beginning. Young-earth creationists have typically opposed the Big Bang theory as it implies the universe has an age on the order of billions of years. (Please note that ID and the IDEA Center do not take a stance on the age issue. There are Christians who strongly disagree with the Big Bang. Some object based on some curious observations of blue & red shifted objects gravitationally interacting with each other as well as how light waves are affected when traveling through ionized gases.) While the necessity of a young-universe interpretation of Genesis may be open to hermeneutical questioning, the options open to scientists are as follows: the universe was supernaturally created some 10 thousand years ago, or the universe was supernaturally created some 10 billion years ago. For this reason, many atheist cosmologists have also opposed Big Bang cosmology because, "[if there was] a beginning, then there must be a Beginner"3. Information theorist Hubert Yockey notes the results of these implications have been that, "[i]n spite of other successes of the general theory of relativity, the Big Bang, and in particular the idea that the universe had a beginning, was fought bitterly every step of the way"1.

Einstein himself had trouble accepting his own theories with his worldview as they showed "the necessity for a beginning,"4 and "the presence of a superior reasoning power."5 To avoid the consequences of his own theory, Einstein added a "cosmological constant" to the equations to change its philosophical implications and avoid the necessity of a "beginning" to the universe. Decades later, after the cosmological constant was disproved, Einstein called his addition of the constant, "the biggest blunder of his life."6 Sir Arthur Eddington, an astronomer contemporary with Einstein, wrote, "Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant . . . I should like to find a genuine loophole"7 and admitted that "unscientifically I feel ... unwilling to accept the implied discontinuity in the divine nature [caused by the Big Bang creation event]"8. But loophole's weren't to be found, and cosmologists who once strongly held to an infinite universe without a beginning (mostly for philosophical reasons) today are few in number. This led scientists of Einstein's day, such as Nobel Prize winner Arthur Compton, to say:
"For myself, faith begins with the realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence--an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered--'In the beginning God.'"9
Before the Beginning...

As seen in Compton's statement, many have explained the necessity for a beginning to the universe by the action of God. Objectors have said that, philosophically speaking, it isn't acceptable to invoke God as an explanation for the origin of the universe unless we can somehow explain where God came from. Of course for the Christian theist, this cannot be done10, for God is by definition a Being existing outside of space and time eternally in the past, present, and future11, from Whom all things which were created have come12, who has no origin13.

The problem for the person who uses this objection to belief in God is that in their own worldview they are also left with unknowns. When asked where God came from, the theist may answer, "I don't know", but when asked where the universe came from, the non-theist must also then answer, "I don't know".

Some non-theists may try to avoid this unknown through coming up with other theories. As evidence began to mount for the Big Bang beginning of the universe, other theories began to be suggested to avoid the implications. Some of these include the steady state model and the oscillating universe theory. The non-scientific motivation for the oscillating universe theory (not to mention the failure of the steady state model) is best captured by writings of John Gribbon:
"The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe is philosophical - perhaps even theological - what was there before the bang? This problem alone was sufficient to give a great initial impetus to the Steady State theory; but with that theory now sadly in conflict with the observations, the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely."28
Some have suggested a steady bouncing universe (i.e. the universe reaches the same maximum size and then contracts again), while others have suggested an ever increasing bouncing universe (i.e. the universe increases in size with each bounce). But all of these explanations still regress back to the question, "what started off the chain of events?" not to mention "what is the 'bounce' mechanism?". Let's take a look at the latter first.

There are three basic problems to speculating on the theory of a bouncing universe. First, the current state of expansion of the universe is such that the amount of mass (and, therefore gravity) is not sufficient to cause collapse.29 In other words, the universe is expanding too quickly for the effects of gravity to overcome and reverse the expansion. Furthermore, there is now evidence that the universe is actually accelerating in its expansion.30 The second reason why the oscillating universe is found wanting is based on entropy. With each bounce, the radius of the universe would increase because of energy loss with each bounce. An everyday example of this is a rubber ball (matter in the universe) on a rubber band (effect of gravity in universe supposedly causing the contraction) attached to a paddle. With each bounce, usable energy is "lost" (i.e. there's an increase in entropy) to the system as the rubber band heats up and the ball bounces further and further from the paddle. This leads into the third problem: the mechanical efficiency of the universe. When it comes to mechanical efficiency, the universe has been likened to a "wet lump of clay"29 rather than a pumped up basketball.31 Based on these reasons, the oscillating universe is not a likely candidate for valid consideration for the origin of the universe.

To the question, "what started the universe?", the non-theist must answer, "I don't know", but the theist has an explanation for one more thing than the non-theist: the origin of the universe. We may not be able to understand the "origin" of "God", but we know that space-time and energy-matter can come from a superpowerful Being. Using God as an explanation for the origin of the universe is thus an acceptable philosophical inference which actually has a larger explanatory power than a model which doesn't invoke God and leaves the origin of the universe unexplained.

...After the Beginning...

It may be incredible that the universe had a beginning, but if that was the end of the story, then we wouldn't be here to talk about it. The fact is that a large number of physical constants must be "fine-tuned" or "just right" in order to allow for life. Physicist and author Paul Davies has said that it is highly unlikely to get life as we know it given the possibilities for physical laws:
"Taken together they [anthropic principles] provide impressive evidence that life as we know it depends very sensitively on the form of the laws of physics, and on some seemingly fortuitous accidents in the actual values that nature has chosen for various particle masses, force strengths, and so on. If we could play God, and select values for these natural quantities at whim by twiddling a set of knobs, we would find that almost all knob settings would render the universe uninhabitable. Some knobs would have to be fine-tuned to enormous precision if life is to flourish in the universe" 14
If the Big Bang theory is correct, then these finely tuned parameters affected the nature of the universe from its earliest moments. The setting of various constants determined if our universe contained any protons, atoms, molecules, or any life, period:
"the Big Bang cooled just quickly enough to allow neutrons to become bound to protons inside atoms. Here the presence of electrons and the Pauli principle discouraged their decay, but even that would not prevent it were the mass difference slightly greater. And were it smaller--one third of what it is--then neutrons outside atoms would not decay. All protons would thus change irreversibly into neutrons during the Bang, whose violence produced frequent proton-to-neutron conversions. There could be no atoms: the universe would be neutron stars and black holes ... The mass of the electron enters the picture like this. If the neutron mass failed to exceed the proton mass by a little more than the electron's mass, then atoms would collapse, their electrons combining with their protons to yield neutrons ... As things are, the neutron is just enough heavier to ensure that the Bang yielded only about one neutron to every seven protons. The excess protons were available for making hydrogen of long-lived stable stars, water, and carbohydrates."20
But the presence of matter isn't all that matters, and the fact of the matter is that the type of matter matters much in deciding whether life can even exist to ponder these matters. Physicist John Polkinghorne clarifies:
"In the first three minutes of cosmic history, the whole universe was the arena of nuclear reactions. When that era came to an end, through the cooling produced by expansion, the world was left, as it is today on the large scale, a mixture of three-quarters hydrogen and one-quarter helium. A little change in the balance between the strong and weak nuclear forces could have resulted in there being no hydrogen--and so ultimately no water, that fluid that seems so essential to life. A small increase (about 2 percent) in the strong nuclear force would bind two protons to form diprotons. There would then be no hydrogen-burning main-sequence stars, but only helium burners, which are far too fierce and rapid to be energy sources capable of sustaining the coming to be of planetary life. A decrease in the strong nuclear force by a similar amount would have unbound the deuteron and played havoc with fruitful nuclear physics."19
Though the Big Bang itself is said to have created mostly helium and hydrogen, nuclear physics says that other elements could have been produced in the nuclear reactions going on inside of stars. Carbon and oxygen, elements vital to life, are two such heavier elements which, due to their chemical bonding properties, appear to be vital for complex life-form metabolic chemistry. The only other element like carbon is silicon, but silicon is much heavier and has significantly different bonding properties (carbon bonds with many other elements to form mobile gas and liquid substances which are useful for allowing for complex organic chemical reactions. When silicon bonds, it typically forms solids, which makes it no surprise that it is the second most abundant element on earth--it comprises the bulk of rock!!). Oxygen is also useful in its bonding capabilities. However, if either carbon or oxygen are to be produced in stellar reactions, the resonance levels of atomic nuclei must match the levels of the processes which create them. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross notes that these levels are "fine-tuned":
"As you tune your radio, there are certain frequencies where the circuit has just the right resonance and you lock onto a station. The internal structure of an atomic nucleus is something like that, with specific energy or resonance levels. If two nuclear fragments collide with a resulting energy that just matches a resonance level, they will tend to stick and form a stable nucleus. Behold! Cosmic alchemy will occur! In the carbon atom, the resonance just happens to match the combined energy of the beryllium atom and a colliding helium nucleus. Without it, there would be relatively few carbon atoms. Similarly, the internal details of the oxygen nucleus play a critical role. Oxygen can be formed by combining helium and carbon nuclei, but the corresponding resonance level in the oxygen nucleus is half a percent too low for the combination to stay together easily. Had the resonance level in the carbon been 4 percent lower, there would be essentially no carbon. Had that level in the oxygen been only half a percent higher, virtually all the carbon would have been converted to oxygen. Without that carbon abundance, neither you nor I would be here."15
These observations led atheist Fred Hoyle to conclude that, "If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis ... your fixing would have to be just about where these [oxygen and carbon resonance] levels are actually found to be ... A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology..."16

Living Water

Chemical laws present from the beginning of the universe also show that water, the basic molecule of life on earth, has very unique properties which, if any different, wouldn't allow for life on earth. Liquid water is probably vital to any carbon-based life-form23 and carbon is a great element to allow for complex chemical bonding reactions inherent to life. Water is also vital due to its properties as a liquid solvent, and the protective medium it provides as an environment for habitation. However, if water was just a little different, it couldn't be this powerful liquid. Hugh Ross notes that the rules of water chemistry are also fine-tuned, noting that, "polarity of the water molecule if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too great for life to exist; if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too small for life's existence; liquid water would become too inferior a solvent for life chemistry to proceed ... "17

The fact that solid water can float on liquid water is also an important property for life on earth. Intuitively, we would expect the solid form of a substance to be more dense than its liquid form. However, due to its pressure-temperature diagram, the solid crystalline form of water is actually less dense than its liquid phase. If this were not the case, polar ice caps would sink--not float--and would freeze the earth's oceans from the bottom up17. Astrophysicist John Barrow and Mathematician Frank Tipler explain that this property of water is highly uncommon:
"Water is actually one of the strangest substances known to science. This may seem a rather odd thing to say about a substance as familiar [as water,] but it is surely true. Its specific heat, its surface tension, and most of its other physical properties have values anomalously higher or lower than those of any other known material. The fact that its solid phase is less dense than its liquid phase (ice floats) is virtually a unique property. These aspects or the chemical and physical structure of water have been noted before, for instance by the authors of the Bridgewater Treatises in the 1830's and by Henderson in 1913, who also pointed out that these strange properties make water a uniquely useful liquid and the basis for living things." 18
Barrow and Tipler go on to show how water has a much higher boiling point than other substances, which allow it to also condense to form a liquid. Water has properties which are generally "absent" in similar substances. However, all of these facts would be meaningless if the Earth was in a position relative to the sun that made surface temperatures too hot, or too cold to allow for liquid water. This, and other similar facts show that the solar system itself has been "fine-tuned" and that it seems that a Designer has influenced the fundamental properties of the universe, but also much smaller details like the origin of our solar system. This is discussed in the next section.

More than Just a First Cause

The Greeks attributed the origin of the universe to a "Prime Mover", or "First Cause" who set things in motion. "Rational thinkers" of the enlightenment took this idea further and found it popular for them to believe in a watchmaker God, who "wound up" the universe and left it to run on its own. This deistic view of the world saw God as an absentee father, who got things going, and then went on about his more important business. Big Bang theory says that the universe exploded, and over billions of years it cooled, and matter condensed forming galaxies, nubulae, stars, and solar systems. Our solar system is thought to be a "third-generation" solar system, which contains the left over parts of two previous star systems which "went nova." The formation of the solar system, and the earth, allegedly occurred long after the beginning of the universe. Thus, while God could have initially set physical properties of the universe and then gone fishing, the presence of similar "anthropic principles" for the solar system, the moon, and the earth itself indicate that the Designer was involved long after the beginning of the universe and had something to do with life on earth. Put in simple theological terms, one might say, God cares about life on earth.

First of all, the very position of the solar system in our galaxy is unique among stars, and allows for the existence of life. Astronomers Hugh Ross and Guillermo Gonzalez explain:
"The solar system occupies a position in the disk of the Milky Way approximately halfway to its edge and in-between two spiral arms. We now know enough about the structure of our galaxy to understand why our location should be preferred over others. If our solar system were closer to the center of the Milky Way or closer to one of its spiral arms, we would encounter harmful radiation from supernovae and perturbations from stars that would send Oort cloud comets careening into the inner solar system. If the solar system had formed farther out in the disk of the Milky Way, there would not have been sufficient heavy elements to build a planet capable of supporting life. "22
Not only is the position of our solar system important, but also the fact that our solar system's relative position remains constant within the galaxy. Richard Deem notes that, "the stability of our position is possible because the sun is one of the rare stars that lies within the 'galactic co-rotation radius'"23 where, "most stars located between spiral arms do not remain there [within a galactic co-rotation radius] for long, but would eventually be swept inside a spiral arm [of the galaxy]. Only at a certain precise distance from the galaxy’s center, the "co-rotation radius," can a star remain in its place between two spiral arms, orbiting at precisely the same rate as the galaxy arms rotate around the core"23. But having a sun--or even a typical sun--isn't enough:
"While most textbooks discuss the Sun as if it were a typical star, it is a more massive star than 90 percent of the stars in the Milky Way. The Sun is anomalous in other ways, including its composition, brightness variation, and Galactic orbit. It can be plausibly argued that each of these characteristics must be exactly as it is for advanced life to exist on Earth."22
As discussed above, liquid water is necessary at least for carbon based life23, and probably for any life. Yet another parameter allowing for life on Earth is its position within the solar system which allows for liquid water. Nick Hoffman, Senior Research Scientist at La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia notes that if Earth was a bit closer to the sun, it would have a runaway greenhouse atmosphere vaporizing any chance for non-gaseous water to exist, like Venus. But, if it were a little further, it would have had no liquid water, as it all would have been frozen24.

Earth's single large satellite, the Moon, is unique among the planets and greatly affects the geography of the earth. Hoffman again notes that, "it has become clear that our Moon is a rare celestial object and that few Earth-like planets could have produced such a chance outcome during their assembly"26 and argues that without the moon, the earth most likely would have little to no exposure of continents24. Similarly, Ross and Gonzalez note that the moon is vital for earth's continental geography:
"Removing the moon seems harmless enough at first. Of course, Solon [Earth without the moon] would differ from the earth. The tides would be lower without the moon, and it would lack eclipses and romantic, moonlit nights, but in the global scheme of things these changes seem trivial. As we dig deeper, we discover that lower tides, higher winds, and shorter days would greatly affect Solon's geography, its ability to evolve [could also read: support] life, and the quality of the life animals would have there. As the differences between Earth and Solon become more evident, it becomes clear that Solon would be a much less hospitable place in which to live."21
Finally, it has been argued that the size of the earth has prevented it from becoming either a total desert or a waterworld23, that the large magnetic field protects life from harmful radiation23, that our unique continental crust allows for plate tectonics and replenishes nutrient supplies for life23, and even that the size and position of Jupiter is vital to the protection of life on earth from space debris27. The bottom line is that a large number of parameters of the earth and solar system are finally tuned to keep it a stable, protected, nutrient and liquid-water bearing planet. This implies that design went into the origins of earth and the solar system, disallowing for a deistic worldview where God does not care about life on this planet.

Winning the Cosmic Lottery
In light of this evidence for fine tuning, what are our options? So potent is the argument for design that one commentator stated that, “[t]his fine-tuning has two possible explanations. Either the Universe was designed specifically for us by a creator or there is a multitude of universes- a `multiverse'”32 This common objection to these arguments basically goes like this:
“Sure, maybe it is unlikely that our universe would be ‘just right’ for life. But isn’t it also really unlikely that one would win the lottery? We don’t infer some divine coincidence there because we know that if you have enough tries, chances are even something very unlikely will occur. If there are ‘infinite universes’ out there, then perhaps the fact that ours is ‘just right’ for life isn’t so unlikely!”
While this objection, if valid, would seem to make our universe less likely, the rejoinder to that is that we have no evidence of these “multiple universes” and this is complete philosophical speculation. This argument is unverifiable, and unfalsifiable. Additionally, Paul Davies notes that, “if the bio-friendliness of the natural world were the result of randomness, we might expect the observed universe to be minimally rather than optimally bio-friendly. But the degree of bio-friendliness we observe in the universe is far in excess of what is needed to give rise to a few observers to act as cosmic selectors."33 Occam’s Razor (the claim that simplest explanation if more often the right one) would seem to argue against postulating some complex cosmic lottery producing infinite universes.

However, the anthropic argument for design has something else much more powerful going for it. According to intelligent design theory, the ways that intelligent agents act can be observed in the natural world and described. When intelligent agents act, it is observed that they produce high levels of "complex-specified information" (CSI). CSI is basically a scenario which is unlikely to happen (making it complex), and conforms to a pattern (making it specified). Language and machines are good examples of things with much CSI. From our understanding of the world, high levels of CSI are always the product of intelligent design. It may very well be that, through the fine-tuning of its laws, the universe contains this same CSI that we tend to find produced through intelligent design. The laws and properties of the universe are extremely complex, yet they are highly specified to match the very properties needed for life. Thus, we have a positive argument in favor of intelligent design of the universe. In essence, the universe has the same type of information we tend to find in intelligently designed machines. This strongly points to design.

The Meaning of it all

In contrast with strict intelligent design theory, Anthropic Principles reveal more about the Designer than simply the notion that it was, "intelligent." Anthropic Principles show that a Power outside of space and time (not extra-terrestrials) has had something do with life on earth. Anthropic Principles imply that there are Forces capable of providing all the energy for the universe, changing physical laws, manipulating a galaxy, precisely ordering a solar system, and controlling the geological history of Earth. The fact that anthropic principles are deduced all the way from the beginning of the universe to the last earthquake we had show that this Being must have had us in mind from the beginning, and that it is a single Power which did all this. To put it bluntly, the design of the universe imply there is a Creator God. The feelings provoked by these evidences is well typified by Professor of Astronomy George Greenstein:
"It was not for some time that I was able to place my finger on the source of my discomfort. It arises, I understand now, because the contention that we owe our existence to a stupendous series of coincidences strikes a responsive chord. That contention is far too close for comfort to notions such as: We are the center of the universe. God loves mankind more than all other creatures. The cosmos is watching over us. The universe has a plan; we are essential to that plan."25
The very mathematical elegance of the universe is also a compelling observation. Physicist Paul Davies speaks for many scientists saying, "The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product of some sort of design, a manifestation of subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgement, is overwhelming. The belief that there is "something behind it all" is one that I personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists."2

58 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:58 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/510.asp
Strong evidence for a Designer comes from the fine-tuning of the universal constants and the solar system, e.g.
The electromagnetic coupling constant binds electrons to protons in atoms. If it was smaller, fewer electrons could be held. If it was larger, electrons would be held too tightly to bond with other atoms.
Ratio of electron to proton mass (1:1836). Again, if this was larger or smaller, molecules could not form.
Carbon and oxygen nuclei have finely tuned energy levels.
Electromagnetic and gravitational forces are finely tuned, so the right kind of star can be stable.
Our sun is the right colour. If it was redder or bluer, photosynthetic response would be weaker.
Our sun is also the right mass. If it was larger, its brightness would change too quickly and there would be too much high energy radiation. If it was smaller, the range of planetary distances able to support life would be too narrow; the right distance would be so close to the star that tidal forces would disrupt the planet’s rotational period. UV radiation would also be inadequate for photosynthesis.
The earth’s distance from the sun is crucial for a stable water cycle. Too far away, and most water would freeze; too close and most water would boil.
The earth’s gravity, axial tilt, rotation period, magnetic field, crust thickness, oxygen/nitrogen ratio, carbon dioxide, water vapour and ozone levels are just right.
Former atheist Sir Fred Hoyle states, ‘commonsense interpretation of the facts is that a super-intelligence has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces in nature.’
Objection 1: (Barrow & Tipler) We should not be surprised that we do not observe features of the universe incompatible with our own existence, for if features were incompatible, we would not be here to notice it, so no explanation is needed.
However, as Craig pointed out, it does not follow that we should not be surprised that we do observe features compatible with our existence; we still need an explanation.

If you were dragged before a trained firing squad, and they fired and missed:
it is true that you should not be surprised to observe that you are not dead, but
it is equally true that you should be surprised to observe that you are alive.
If you were asked, ‘How did you survive?’, it would be inadequate to answer, ‘If I didn’t, I would not be here to answer you.’

Objection 2: All states of affairs are highly improbable, therefore every individual state of affairs is a ‘miracle’.

However, although all combinations on a combination lock are equally improbable to obtain randomly, a bank manager does not think that anyone could open the lock by chance. No-one would explain a Shakespearian sonnet by a chimp typing randomly, although any randomly typed letter sequence is equally improbable (‘I love you dearly’ surely requires more explanation than ‘asnhouyganpi;kvk klkjfl’).

Objection 3: There are infinitely many universes.

But there is not the slightest evidence for them. In fact, no evidence is even possible, so proposal is unscientific. Better to believe in a supernatural designer, which has good analogical support.

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30 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:09 pm

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http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2012/evidence-for-god-from-fine-tuning/

The Necessary Forces
The answer to this question may be right under our noses. It might be found in science. You see, there are a number of forces in the universe that are finely calibrated to work together to make it possible for life to exist. The laws of electron mass, atomic mass, proton mass, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, speed of light, cosmological constant, gravity, mass of the universe and more are finely tuned to coexist and govern the universe and our world.

If any one of these forces were to be changed by even 1% in either direction (made stronger or weaker) the impact on life would be catastrophic. If, for example, you increased gravity by just a tiny fraction, no large life forms would be able to exist on our planet. They would be crushed under their own weight. Primitive life (like bacteria) may be able to exist in an environment like this, but nothing like the invertebrate life that we see here on earth. You see there are prerequisites for life in our universe, and these laws determine them.

In order for there to be life in the universe, there has to be a perfect harmony between the laws and forces of the universe. The more we discover this, the more we realize that although the universe is vast, it may not be vast enough to support much life. Although there may be an incredible number of planets out there, the conditions required to support life may be so restrictive that there may not be enough numerically to beat the statistical improbability that life could exist on them. In short, the requirements for life are just too difficult!

Water
Several factors are required for life to exist. First, you’ve got to have liquid water present on the planet. The chemical properties of water are perfectly suited for carbon based life forms. Water is able to dissolve and transport all the chemical nutrients that are used by life forms on our planet and it has the unmatched ability to absorb heat from the sun, a process that is critical to regulate the surface temperature of a planet.

Distance From the Sun
The presence of water is linked to another important factor that is required for life to exist: a planet’s distance from its home star. For life to exist, a planet must not be too close to the star (water would evaporate) or too far from the star (water would turn to ice). In our solar system, for example there is a “habitable zone” that exists around the sun, well outside the orbit of Venus and ending short of the orbit of Mars. If you were to move the earth just 5% closer to the sun, all water would evaporate from the surface. On the other hand, if you were to move earth back just 20% from the sun, all water would freeze. While life could exist on planets under these conditions, it would not be the complex life we find here on Earth.

Terrestrial Crust
In addition to these two factors, livable planets must be “terrestrial” in nature. The crust of the planet must be just right in order for life to exist. Here on Earth, the terrestrial crust is paper thin. But if the Earth’s crust were any thicker, something called “plate tectonic recycling” could not exist. Our world is covered with a thin terrestrial crust of 4 to 20 miles in depth, and this crust is divided up into large plates that are constantly moving. This is necessary to regulate the planet’s interior temperature, to recycle carbon, to mix chemical elements that are essential to living organisms, and to shape the continents. The terrestrial depth has to be the perfect thickness for life to exist.

Magnetic Field
This terrestrial depth is important for yet another factor. Under the crust of our planet, the movement of liquid iron is creating a magnetic field around our planet. This magnetic field protects our planet from the solar winds of the sun. If our planet was smaller, or the magnetic field weaker, these winds would strip away our atmosphere altogether.

Oxygen / Nitrogen Atmosphere
And our atmosphere is yet another important factor to sustain life. Complex life requires an Oxygen / Nitrogen atmosphere. How many times have you watched an episode of Star Trek and heard them talk about the atmosphere being capable of supporting the main characters before they beamed down? In order for carbon based complex humanoids to exist, the atmosphere must be just the right blend of Oxygen and Nitrogen and this atmosphere is obviously dependant on many other factors we have already discussed, like the distance from the sun and the magnetic field.

Large Moon
For a world the size of Earth, our moon is unusually large. But if our moon didn’t exist, neither would we. Our moon is 1/4th the size of the Earth, and as a result it has a strong gravitational pull that stabilizes the angle of the earth’s rotational axis at 23 ½ degrees. This insures relatively temperate seasonal changes, and the only climate in the solar system mild enough to sustain complex life.

Perfect Star
In addition to all of this, in order for life to exist on a planet, it has to have a star just like ours. Our star is categorized as a Spectral Type G2 Dwarf, Main Sequence Star. If our sun was less massive, like 90% of the stars in the galaxy, the “habitable zone” orbit would be smaller and much closer to the sun. To remain within the boundaries of the “habitable zone” the earth would have to be much closer as well. If this were the case, the gravitational pull of the sun would halt the orbit of the planet and we would have a hot side (always facing the sun and too hot for life) and a cold side (always facing away from the sun and too cold for life)! The perfect size and type of star is required for life to exist here on Earth!

In summary, there are a large number of factors that are required to have life here on planet earth. We’ve only covered seven of these factors but scientists have uncovered 20 or so. In order to determine the probability of life existing somewhere else in the universe, we simply need to factor the probability of each of these conditions existing against each other. If we assign a VERY conservative factor of probability to each condition (say a one in ten chance) and multiply the 20 factors against each other. The resulting probability that life could exist elsewhere in the universe ends up being about one chance in one quadrillion that a world with life such as ours could exist.

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31 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:42 am

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http://www.detectingdesign.com/detectingdesign.html

A few examples of this principle include the very precise speed of expansion of the universe - precise to 1 part in 10123. Any slower of a rate of expansion and the universe would have imploded upon itself before it ever got very far along. Any faster and galaxies and solar systems would not have formed. This level of precision is like picking the right gain of sand out of the Sahara Desert five times in a row - blindfolded. Not too shabby...


The size and distance of the Moon is just right as is the age, mass, distance and color of the Sun. The Earth's orbit, being nearly circular, is also just right to avoid overheating or overcooling.

http://www.detectingdesign.com/images/SETI/atom.jpgThe atom itself is a bundle of numerous very fortunate "coincidences". Within the atom, the neutron is just slightly more massive than the proton, which means that free neutrons can decay and turn into protons. A free neutron is unstable and will decay into a proton in about 10 minutes - if not within a nucleus. If the proton were larger and had a tendency to decay rather than the neutron, the very structure of the universe would be impossible. A free proton has a half-life of ~1033 years.

Charles Colson & Nancy Pearcey, "Let's Start at the Very Beginning," How Now Shall We Live?, 1999,Tyndall House Publishers, Wheaton, IL

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/particles/proton.html

The strong and weak nuclear forces also have to be very precisely balanced in order for the proper type of stars to form and even molecules necessary for complex life to be able to exist.

The proton mass is 1836 times that of an electron. If this ratio were off even slightly, molecules would not form properly. It is also interesting to note that although protons are very different in size and mass, the charges are exactly the same in opposite degree. If this were not the case, again, molecules necessary to support complex life could not form. The same is true of the electromagnetic coupling constant between protons and electrons - it is very precisely balanced to support complex life.


The ratio of the gravitational force constant to the electromagnetic force constant also cannot differ from its value by more than one part in 1040 without eliminating the possibility for complex life.

http://www.reasons.org/scientists/anthropic-principle-precise-plan-humanity
http://www.reasons.org/design-and-anthropic-principle


There are dozens of these very precisely balanced constants in the universe necessary to support life. While some can be significantly changed if balanced by equivalent changes in other constants to compensate, it is quite clear that the ratio of those parameters that would work vs. those that would not work is an extremely tiny fraction of all the possible ways which these constants could have been set up - which would not have allowed for the support of complex life.

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32 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:41 am

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http://blogs.christianpost.com/science-and-faith/confusion-about-how-fine-tuning-implicates-intelligent-design-british-atheist-philosopher-a-c-grayling-15612/

Fine-Tuning (over 30 fine-tuned universal features are necessary for life)

Expansion Rate of the Universe

If faster: no galaxies would form because matter would be spread out too thinly in space.
(In the absence of galaxies and other specific structural cosmic features, life is impossible).
If slower: the universe would collapse back on itself prior to star formation.
(No stars would also mean that there would be no solar systems that could support life).

Gravitational Force Constant

If larger: stars would be too hot and would burn up too quickly and unevenly for life support.
If smaller: stars would remain so cool that nuclear fusion would never ignite, hence no heavy element production, which is necessary for life.

Electromagnetic Force Constant

If larger: insufficient chemical bonding and elements more massive than boron would not exist.
If smaller: insufficient chemical bonding, again, making life impossible.

The fine-tuning of the universe exhibits two features that lead us reliably to a design conclusion.

Cosmic fine-tuning (dialing up those precise physical constants) is a highly improbable event.
The result of fine-tuning is a meaningful pattern or functional outcome, in this case, life itself.

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Detecting design


Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe


Charles Hard Townes, winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics and a UC Berkeley professor noted:

"This is a very special universe: it's remarkable that it came out just this way.  If the laws of physics weren't just the way they are, we couldn't be here at all....
Some scientists argue that, "Well, there's an enormousnumber of universes and each one is a little different.  This one just happened to turn out right.
Well, that's a postulate, and it's a pretty fantastic postulate.  It assumes that there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them.  The other possibility is that our was planned, and that is why it has come out so specially."


   Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramsinghe, Evolution from Space (1981), p. 148, 150

From the beginning of this book we have emphasized the enormous information content of even the simplest living systems. The information cannot in our view be generated by what are often called 'natural' processes, as for instance through meteorological and chemical processes. . . Information was also needed. We have argued that the requisite information came from an 'intelligence'.


Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics)
Tipler, F.J. 1994. The Physics Of Immortality. New York, Doubleday, Preface.

"When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics."



(Robert Jastrow  God and the Astronomers [New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1978], 116.
Professor Jastrow was the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute,
now director of the Mount Wilson Institute and its observatory.)


"This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth [But] for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; [and] as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."


Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Harold C. Urey


"All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. But we believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, that it is hard for us to imagine that it did".


George Ellis (British astrophysicist)
Ellis, G.F.R. 1993. The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments.
The Anthropic Principle, F. Bertola and U.Curi, ed. New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 30


"Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word 'miraculous' without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word."


Dr. Paul Davies (noted author and Professor
of Theoretical Physics at Adelaide University)


"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life - almost contrived - you might say a 'put-up job'."

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34 Finetuning and the sunlight on Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:25 pm

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Finetuning


Let us consider the consequences in a change of the magnitude of the strong force, as an example. If the magnitude of the strong interaction were slightly higher, the nuclear fusion rates inside stars would be higher than they are now. The star would expand because it would become hotter. The exact change in the stellar structure would have to be investigated by numerical simulations. Because of the increased fusion rate, however, the lifetimes of stars would decrease. Carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen are currently the most abundant chemical elements after hydrogen and helium. However, if the strong interaction were somewhat stronger than it is now, these elements would be less abundant because they would more easily fuse to form heavier elements in the stellar interior. Hence, heavy elements would be more abundant. With carbon less abundant, it is doubtful whether carbon-based life would arise in such a universe.

If the magnitude of strong interaction were greater by only two percent, two protons could combine to form a nucleus made of just two protons. This process, which is governed by strong interaction, would be much more rapid than the deuteron formation, which is governed by weak interaction. In this case, all hydrogen would have been converted to helium during the Big Bang nucleosynthesis. Without hydrogen, stars would shine by combining helium into carbon, and stellar life would be several million years instead of billions of years. Such stellar lifetimes are too short to allow the evolution of life, considering that it took about 800 million years for the earth to produce even the simplest organisms. However, this point is moot; because, without hydrogen, there would be no water, which is also a prerequistie to life.

Let us consider that the magnitude of weak interaction. When the iron core of a massive star exceeds 1.4 times the mass of the sun, it suddenly collapses, and neutrinos emitted from the core push out the stellar envelope to cause a supernova explosion. The neutrino reaction within the stellar envelope is governed by weak interaction. Therefore, if the magnitude of weak interaction were slightly less than it is now, supernova explosions would not be possible. Supernova explo- sions expel heavy elements synthesized deep inside massive stars into interstellar space. Therefore, without supernova explosions, planets like earth would not have heavy elements, some of which are essential to life. In addition to carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus are such elements.[6] Iron in hemoglobin in our blood cells is necessary to carry oxygen; calcium is required for making bones. Therefore, unless the magnitude of the weak force is fine-tuned, life could not emerge in the universe.

If the gravitational constant were larger than its current value, stars would be more tightly bound, with their central temperatures increasing. The increase of the central pressure and the temperature of the sun would increase the nuclear energy generation rate. In order to radiate more energy at the surface, the temperature and/or the area of the surface should increase. However, the stronger gravity would tend to decrease the surface area. Therefore, the surface temperature of the sun would have to be higher than it is now, emitting the bulk of its energy in ultraviolet radiation. The solar-mass stars would be like blue giants, unsuitable for supporting life. With stronger gravity, some low-mass stars would emit most of their energy in visible light, suitable for supporting life. However, such stars would not stay in the main-sequence stage long enough to preside over the long evolutionary history of life.

Similarly, a slight change in the magnitude of the electric force, the speed of light, Planck’s constant, or Boltzmann’s constant would have dire consequences: the universe would not be able to produce life. A slight change in the mass of the electron would also be disastrous.

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35 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:34 pm

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http://www.ascensionearth2012.org/2014/06/cosmic-coincidences-few-amazing.html

Physicists have increasingly come to examine the amazing coincidences of our universe and to consider the possibility that it may be rather perfectly designed for the emergence of conscious life. This is not evidence of intelligent design; it merely is a statement that conscious life is necessary for the universe to exist (through the quantum-mechanical function of collapsing the wave function) - or that the emergence of conscious life is the goal of the universe.
None of these principles presuppose an intelligent creator, as the old Thomistic theological arguments vis-a-vis 'argument by design' did. But they do suggest the possibility of intelligent control over the universe's unfolding, or, more heretically, its self-unfolding toward greater complexity.
So what are these striking cosmic coincidences? One is that the electric charge of the proton and electron are exactly equal and opposite, despite their radically different masses. If this were not the case, everything in the universe would explode.
Our sun would not exist if:
1) the neutron did not outweigh the proton by a fraction of a percent or
2) the strong nuclear force were not strong enough to hold the deuteron together, but not so strong as to make it unstable.
In fact, nothing would exist if the Big Bang did not
1) have a critical density which prevented recollapse
2) have a perfectly smooth and uniform temperature or
3) generate a slightly greater amount of matter than antimatter.
We are also fortunate that space has only three (manifested) dimensions - otherwise nervous system activity and blood circulation would be impossible, and planets would not orbit their stars stably. And if it were not for the nuclear resonances peculiar to Red Giant Stars, the universe would consist solely of hydrogen and helium, and contain no other organic elements. Strangely, there is an almost remarkable matching between the sun's temperature and the absorptive frequencies of chlorophyll in green plants.
There are other coincidences advantageous to life in the cosmos. The "shape" of the cosmos, known as O to astronomers, would be hyperbolic (4-dimensionally so) if omega was greater than 1, and would soon reach entropic heat death; it would be parabolic if omega was less than 1, and eventually recollapse into a Big Stop. But current data suggests that O is almost exactly equal to 1, perhaps due to the mysterious "missing mass" which may or not be neutrino-filled "dark matter." Though it seems trivial, the stars are far apart enough that their gravitation does not preclude the stability of solar systems. On our own planet, we are lucky that water possesses some unique properties - its solution of substances, high heat of vaporization, expansion in solid state, and peculiar crystalline molecular structure make conditions here fortuitous for the emergence of life - and is abundant on a planet which might be barren like its neighbors were it to be a little closer or further from the sun.
Many of the constants of the cosmos - the gravitational constant, Planck's constant, the mass ratio of hadrons to leptons - almost appear to some physicists to be "fine-tuned." This led the famed astronomer Sir James Jeans to surmise that "the universe seems to be more like a great thought than a machine."
Solar System Surprises
There are many surprising facts about our own cosmic 'burb. One is that the orbits of the planets almost, but not quite, fit a simple arithmetic function known as Bode's Law. Bode's Law works almost perfectly up to Uranus, but then starts to go awry around Neptune. Strangely, it predicts the existence of a planet at roughly the orbital position where the asteroid belt is now. Bode's Law also suggests the possibility of the existence of intra-Mercurial and trans-Plutonian planets, which some astronomers have christened Vulcan and Charon respectively, and more than a few have claimed to have turned up on their telescopes.
As for the "missing" 5th planet, some have named it Maldek. More interesting than Bode's Law is the fact that the orbital periods of all the planets are exact fractions of a mathematical figure known as the Nineveh constant (approx. 1.95 times 1014.) This figure is found on Babylonian tablets dating from before the 1st millennium BCE, when it was believed that they only knew of the existence of five planets.
Other astronomers speculate the existence of a "Nemesis" dark-star out beyond the Oort cometary cloud which is responsible for the periodic extinction (every 65 million years or so) of life on our planet (deduced from the geologic record). Yet others wonder about the origins of the retrograde diurnal revolutions of Venus and Uranus. Is it necessary to invoke the "billiard-ball" astronomy of Velikovsky to explain such puzzles? Strangely, Velikovsky's predictions about the temperature of Venus proved to be almost exactly correct, as did his belief that Jupiter would have a unique magnetic "tail" that no other planet would have.
Jupiter is the source of constant and powerful radio emissions of unknown origin. Some have suggested it is a secondary "sun" which failed to ignite. It is also curious that all the so-called "gaseous giant" outer planets - Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune (and not just Saturn) appear to have rings. And there are of course the tantalizing hints that the Red Planet, Mars, may have held water at some point. Certainly, as far as planetary mysteries go, the so-called Face on Mars (if authentic) is hard to ignore...
Frames of Reference
When viewing the universe from our (apparently) fixed vantage point, it is sometimes hard to realize that we are undergoing several types of motion at once. We are on a spinning planet orbiting a star. That star is in turn part of a spiral arm of a spinning galaxy, orbiting around a vast source of energy at the galactic core. That galaxy is in turn rapidly hurtling away from all of its neighbors and toward the constellation of Vega. Said galaxy is also part of what may be a rotating universe (not an impossible notion, if it is in fact finite and unbounded, as Einstein suggested, rather than infinite) which may be part of a vaster multiverse. While most of our units of time are based on simple cosmic motions, few of us are willing to go to the lengths of reckoning Galactic Years. Yet in ancient times the precession of the equinoxes established the crucially important Great Year of approximately 25,900 years. It may be that the Aeons (Yugas) of the Hindus may have been based on accurate notions of cosmic time, with the idea that the movement of the Earth through space might change the influences on the planet - the idea of World or Zodiacal Ages.
While the world has largely absorbed the paradigm shifts of the Copernican revolution, it has yet to absorb the Hubble revolution. The universe contains many exotic, amazing entities - black holes, quasars, pulsars, nebulae, supernovae, and cosmic "walls" of galactic dust - that we can scarcely comprehend.
While many have theorized regarding the possibility of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the cosmos, there has been less than great luck in picking up discernible signals in the SETI program, and the search for planetary systems like our own with habitable worlds goes on. The strange thing is that the cosmos does seem to be more structured than we might expect, almost as if it consists of "films" of matter wrapped around vast cosmic "bubbles" or voids. Most of it seems to exist in places beyond our perception, as infrared, radio, and ultraviolet astronomy has revealed, or beyond even our detection - as with the mysterious "dark matter." Many of us have difficulty in accepting the vastness of our immense universe. But it is not empty, the void is seething with quantum "virtual particles," a veritable sea of ceaseless becoming.

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36 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:18 pm

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1) For hydrogen to exist the mass of an electron must be less than the difference in the masses of a neutron and a proton else the electron would be captured by the proton to form a neutron. Without hydrogen, there would be no water and no long-lived stars (e.g. Helium stars burn out 30 times faster).

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37 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:57 pm

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DOES OUR GALAXY HAVE A HABITABLE ZONE?


http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1277-fine-tuning-of-the-universe

I’ve got to say, you are one of the luckiest people I’ve ever met.
For starters, you are the descendant of an incomprehensible number of lifeforms who were successful, and survived long enough to find a partner, procreate, and have an offspring. Billions of years, and you are the result of an unbroken chain of success, surviving through global catastrophe after catastrophe. Nice going. Not only that, but your lineage happened to be born on a planet, which was in just the right location around just the right kind of star. Not too hot, not too cold, just the right temperature where liquid water, and whatever else was necessary for life to get going. Again, I like your lucky streak.


In fact, you happened to be born into a Universe that has the right physical constants, like the force of gravity or the binding force of atoms, so that stars, planets and even the chemistry of life could happen at all. But there’s another lottery you won, and you probably didn’t even know about it. You happened to be born on an unassuming, mostly harmless planet orbiting a G-type main sequence star in the habitable zone of the Milky Way. Wait a second, even galaxies have habitable zones? Yep, and you’re in it right now. The Milky Way is a big place, measuring up to 180,000 light years across. It contains 100 to 400 billion stars spread across this enormous volume. We’re located about 27,000 light years away from the center of the Milky Way, and tens of thousands of light-years away from the outer rim.

The Milky Way has some really uninhabitable zones. Down near the center of the galaxy, the density of stars is much greater. And these stars are blasting out a combined radiation that would make it much more unlikely for life to evolve. Radiation is bad for life. But it gets worse. There’s a huge cloud of comets around the Sun known as the Oort Cloud. Some of the greatest catastrophes in history happened when these comets were kicked into a collision course with the Earth by a passing star. Closer to the galactic core, these disruptions would happen much more often. There’s another dangerous place you don’t want to be: the galaxy’s spiral arms. These are regions of increased density in the galaxy, where star formation is much more common. And newly forming stars blast out dangerous radiation. Fortunately, we’re far away from the spiral arms, and we orbit the center of the Milky Way in a nice circular orbit, which means we don’t cross these spiral arms very often. We stay nice and far away from the dangerous parts of the Milky Way, however, we’re still close enough to the action that our Solar System gathered the elements we needed for life. The first stars in the Universe only had hydrogen, helium and a few other trace elements left over from the Big Bang. But when the largest stars detonated as supernovae, they seeded the surrounding regions with heavier elements like oxygen, carbon, even iron and gold.

Our solar nebula was seeded with the heavy elements from many generations of stars, giving us all the raw materials to help set evolution in motion. If the Solar System was further out, we probably wouldn’t have gotten enough of those heavier elements. So, thanks multiple generations of dead stars. According to astrobiologists the galactic habitable zone probably starts just outside the galactic bulge – about 13,000 light-years from the center, and ends about halfway out in the disk, 33,000 light-years from the center.Remember, we’re 27,000 light-years from the center, so just inside that outer edge. Phew.

Of course, not all astronomers believe in this Rare Earth hypothesis. In fact, just as we’re finding life on Earth wherever we find water, they believe that life is more robust and resilient. It could still survive and even thrive with more radiation, and less heavier elements. Furthermore, we’re learning that solar systems might be able to migrate a significant distance from where they formed. Stars that started closer in where there were plenty of heavier elements might have drifted outward to the safer, calmer galactic suburbs, giving life a better chance at getting a foothold. As always, we’ll need more data, more research to get an answer to this question. Just when you thought you were already lucky, it turns out you were super duper extra lucky. Right Universe, right lineage, right solar system, right location in the Milky Way. You already won the greatest lottery in existence.

http://www.universetoday.com/130914/galaxy-habitable-zone/

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List of the Fine Tuned Features of the Universe

The Finely Tuned Parameters of the Universe: Barrow & Tipler, in their standard treatment, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, admit that "there exist a number of unlikely coincidences between numbers of enormous magnitude that are, superficially, completely independent; moreover, these coincidences appear essential to the existence of carbon-based observers in the Universe," and include the wildly unlikely combination of:
- the electron to proton ratio standard deviation of 1 to 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (37 0s)
- the 1-to-1 electron to proton ratio throughout the universe yields our electrically neutral universe
- the electron to proton mass ratio (1 to 1,836) perfect for forming molecules
- the electromagnetic and gravitational forces finely tuned for the stability of stars
- the gravitational and inertial mass equivalency
- the electromagnetic force constant perfect for holding electrons to nuclei
- the electromagnetic force in the right ratio to the nuclear force
- the strong force (which if changed by 1% would destroy all carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and heavier elements)
- all electrons in the universe are identical as are all instances of each fundamental particle
- etc., etc., etc. (including the shocking apparent alignment of the universe with the orbit of the Earth)

The universe, as described by its physical laws and constants, seems to be fine-tuned for the existence of life. In the nineteenth century, many scientists thought the universe and our existence had little or no fundamental connection, and that our existence was simply one of the events that happen in an infinite and eternal universe. The apparent fine-tuning of the universe obviously contradicts this.

http://kgov.com/fine-tuning-of-the-universe



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39 Re: Fine tuning of the Universe on Tue May 02, 2017 10:29 am

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http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/is_god_real.html

The laws of physics must have values very close to those observed or the universe does not work “well enough” to support life. What happens when we vary the constants? The strong nuclear force (which holds atoms together) has a value such that when the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass is converted into energy. If the value were 0.6% then a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. If the value were 0.8%, then fusion would happen so readily that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Other constants must be fine-tuned to an even more stringent degree. The cosmic microwave background varies by one part in 100,000. If this factor were slightly smaller, the universe would exist only as a collection of diffuse gas, since no stars or galaxies could ever form. If this factor were slightly larger, the universe would consist solely of large black holes. Likewise, the ratio of electrons to protons cannot vary by more than 1 part in 1037 or else electromagnetic interactions would prevent chemical reactions. In addition, if the ratio of the electromagnetic force constant to the gravitational constant were greater by more than 1 part in 1040, then electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing the formation of stars and galaxies. If the expansion rate of universe were 1 part in 1055 less than what it is, then the universe would have already collapsed. The most recently discovered physical law, the cosmological constant or dark energy, is the closest to zero of all the physical constants. In fact, a change of only 1 part in 10120 would completely negate the effect.

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