Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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# Fine tuning of the Universe

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Fine-tuning of the universe

http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1277-fine-tuning-of-the-universe

The following gives a sense of the degree of fine-tuning that must go into some of these values to yield a life-friendly universe:

Gravitational constant: 1 part in 10^34
Electromagnetic force versus force of gravity: 1 part in 10^37
Cosmological constant: 1 part in 10^120
Mass density of universe:  1 part in 10^59
Expansion rate of universe: 1 part in 10^55
Initial entropy:  1 part in 10^ (10^123)

Lee Smolin, The life of the Cosmos, page 53:
If we are to genuinely understand our universe, these relations, between the structures on large scales and the elementary particles, must be understood as being something other than coincidence. We must understand how it came to be that the parameters that govern the elementary particles and their interactions are tuned and balanced in such a way that a universe of such variety and complexity arises. Of course, it is always possible that this is just coincidence. Perhaps before going further we should ask just how probable is it that a universe created by randomly choosing the parameters will contain stars. Given what we have already said, it is simple to estimate this probability. For those readers who are interested, the arithmetic is in the notes. The answer, in round numbers, comes to about one chance in 10^229. To illustrate how truly ridiculous this number is, we might note that the part of the universe we can see from earth contains about 10^22 stars which together contain about 10^80 protons and neutrons. These numbers are gigantic, but they are infinitesimal compared to 10^229. In my opinion, a probability this tiny is not something we can let go unexplained. Luck will certainly not do here; we need some rational explanation of how something this unlikely turned out to be the case.

Barnes: Beginning in the 1970’s, a number of physicists have noticed the extreme sensitivity of the life-permitting qualities of our universe to the values of many of the physical constants and cosmological parameters of our universe. Seemingly small changes in the free parameters of the laws of nature as we know them have dramatic, uncompensated and detrimental effects on the ability of the universe to support the complexity needed by physical life forms.

Along with atheists generally, Krauss uses the Anthropic Principle to explain away the extraordinarily unlikely precise values of the many finely-tuned parameters like those listed above, including the one in 10,000 decillion odds against us having a virtually perfect one-to-one electron-to-proton ratio.

The number of electrons (in the universe) is equivalent to the number of protons to an accuracy of one part in 10 to the 37th power. If it were not so, galaxies, stars, and planets would never form (because electromagnetic forces would so overwhelm gravitational forces). So what does one part in 10 to the 37th power look like? Ross asks us to imagine the entire North American continent covered in dimes, and that continent-wide pile of dimes reaching all the way to the moon. Now, consider a million such continent-wide, to-the-moon-high stacks of dimes, and among all those dimes a single one painted red. One part in 10 to the 37th power is like a blind-folded person successfully selecting that one red dime on the first try!

And the ratio of electrons to protons is just one of more than 93 characteristics of the universe (so far documented) that exhibit extreme fine-tuning for life. 1

They make the philosophical argument that it is not surprising that the universe has all the necessary fine-tuning for life, for otherwise, we wouldn't be here to notice. In this way, they deflect attention onto the observer and away from the very design of the universe that they are pretending to explain. Meanwhile, Stephen Hawking admits, while faithfully adhering to the anthropic doctrine, "The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars either would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium or else they would not have exploded [as beautiful supernovas]" (Hawking, Brief History of Time, p. 129). And in Hawking's book, The Grand Design, he quotes a famed astronomer, "[Fred] Hoyle wrote, '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...'" with Hawking adding, "At the time no one knew enough nuclear physics to understand the magnitude of the serendipity that resulted in these exact physical laws" (p. 159).

The universe is finely tuned to permit life on our planet. Over 120 fine tune constants are known up to date, and as more time pasts, more are discovered. This might be due to chance, to physical need, or to design. Chance is a very bad explanation. Some advocate a Multiverse. But to have just one life-permitting universe, you need 1 to 10^500 attempts to get it done. That's a 1 with 500 zeros. If we put it in comparison, that in our universe, there exist around 10^80 atoms, this shows how improbable it is, that a Multiverse could explain fine tuning. Besides this, the Multiverse argument does not explain away God. A mechanism needs to be in place to trigger these multiverses. It could not be by physical need, since if so, why are there many planets, which are not life permitting, but our is? So it's best explained by design. Our earth/solar/moon system is a very strong evidence. Our solar system is embedded at the right position in our galaxy, neither too close, nor too far from the center of the galaxy. It's also the only location, which aloud us to explore the universe, In the other location, and we would not see more than stellar clouds. The earth has the right distance from the sun and so has the moon from the earth. The size of the moon, and the earth is the right one. Our planet has the needed minerals and water. It has the right atmosphere, and a ozone protecting mantle. Jupiter attracts all asteroids, avoiding these to fall to the earth, and make life impossible. The earth magnetic field protects us from the deadly rays of the sun. The velocity of rotation of the earth is just right. And so is the axial tilt of the earth. Beside this, volcano activities, earth quakes, the size of the crust of the earth, and more over 70 different parameters must be just right. To believe, all these are just right by chance, needs a big leap of faith. This is indeed maybe the strongest argument for theism.

1. If our universe is random, then it is very unlikely that it permits life.
2. Our universe permits life.
3. Therefore, the existence of our universe is very likely due to something other than chance.

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Estimate of number of grains of sand on earth: 7.5 x 10^18 grains of sand

How Many Stars Are In The Universe? 10^24

How Many Atoms Are There in the Universe? 10^82 atoms in the known, observable universe.

The following gives a sense of the degree of fine-tuning that must go into some of these values to yield a life-friendly universe:

The expansion rate of the universe: 1 part in 10^55
Initial entropy:  1 part in 10^ (10^123)
Gravitational constant: 1 part in 10^34
Electromagnetic force versus force of gravity: 1 part in 10^37
Cosmological constant: 1 part in 10^120
The mass density of the universe:  1 part in 10^59
The chance to get a universe with stars is 10^229
The chance to get the force of gravity just right for life to exist is 1 out of 10^21
The chance to get the strong nuclear force  just right for life to exist is 1 out of 10^21

Fine-tuning of the universe
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1277-fine-tuning-of-the-universe

Fine-tuning of the Big Bang
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1866-fine-tuning-of-the-big-bang

Fine-tuning of the  cosmological constant
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1885-fine-tuning-of-the-cosmological-constant

Fine tuning of the initial conditions of the universe
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1964-fine-tuning-of-the-initial-conditions-of-the-universe

Fine-tuning of the  fundamental forces of the universe
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1339-fine-tuning-of-the-fundamental-forces-of-the-universe

The Force of Gravity
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1366-the-force-of-gravity-evidence-of-fine-tuning

Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1935-matter-antimatter-asymmetry

Fine Tuning of  our Galaxy
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1417-fine-tuning-of-our-galaxy

Fine Tuning of the Solar System
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1416-fine-tuning-of-the-solar-system

FineTuning of the earth
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1415-finetuning-of-the-earth

The electromagnetic spectrum, fine-tuned for life
http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2033-the-electomagnetic-spectrum-fine-tuned-for-life

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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.

Of course, the classic argument is given in response to such anthropic arguments that one shouldn't be surprised to find these fine-tuned features in the universe because if these features weren't fine tuned, we wouldn't exist. Therefore, the fact that we exist means that such fine tuning should only be expected by the mere fact of our own existence - not at all surprising.

However, this argument is like a situation where a man is standing before a firing squad of 1000 men with rifles who take aim and fire - - but they all miss him. According to the above logic, this man should not be at all surprised to still be alive because, if they hadn't missed him, he wouldn't be alive.

The nonsense of this line of reasoning is obvious. Surprise at the extreme fine-tuning of the universe, given the hypothesis of a mindless origin, is only to be expected - in the extreme.

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.

The fact that the cosmos seems exactly balanced and designed for life is just an inescapable scientific observation
Biocentrism, Robert Lanza, MD, page 84

No competent scientist denies that if the laws of nature were just a little bit different in our universe, carbon-based life would never have been possible. Surely such a remarkable fact calls for an explanation. If one declines the insight of the universe as a creation endowed with potency, the rather desperate expedient of invoking an immense array of unobservable worlds [i.e., the “many worlds/multiverse/’unlimited horizons'” proposals] seems the only other recourse.”
John Polkinghorne  Mathematical Physicist, one-time Dean of Queen’s College at Cambridge
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.4647v2.pdf

Let’s be clear on the task that Stenger has set for himself. There are a great many scientists, of varying religious persuasions, who accept that the universe is fine-tuned for
life, e.g. Barrow, Carr, Carter, Davies, Dawkins, Deutsch, Ellis, Greene, Guth, Harrison, Hawking, Linde, Page, Penrose, Polkinghorne, Rees, Sandage, Smolin, Susskind, Tegmark,
Tipler, Vilenkin, Weinberg, Wheeler, Wilczek. They differ, of course, on what conclusion we should draw from this fact. Stenger, on the other hand, claims that the universe is not
fine-tuned.

Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe by Martin Rees

Evidence of chance, physical necessity, or design?

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jun/08/just-six-numbers-martin-rees-review

One can marvel, almost indefinitely, at the balance between the nuclear forces and the astoundingly feeble but ultimately inexorable power of gravity, giving us N, a huge number involving 36 zeroes, and nod gratefully each time one is told that were gravity not almost exactly 1036 times weaker then we wouldn't be here.

One can gasp at the implications of the density parameter Ω (omega), which one second after the big bang could not have varied from unity by more than one part in a million billion or the universe would not still be expanding, 13.7bn years on.

But who'd have thought that we also needed D for dimension to equal three, because without that value the show would never have got on the road? We go up the stairs, down the hall or across the living room so often that we tend to imagine that those are the only imaginable dimensions, but there could have been just two, for instance, or perhaps four.

Had there been four dimensions, gravitational and other forces would have varied inversely as the cube of the distance rather than the square, and the inverse cube law would be an unforgiving one. Any orbiting planet that slowed for whatever reason in its orbit would swiftly plunge into the heart of its parent star; any planet that increased its speed ever so slightly would spiral madly into the cold and the dark.

Under the inverse square law, however, a planet that speeds up ever so slightly – or slows down – simply shifts to a very slightly different orbit. That is, we owe the stability of the solar system to the fact that spacetime has, on the macro scale, only three physical dimensions.

All six values featured in this book permit something significant to happen and to go on happening. Take for instance Q, the one part in 100,000 ratios between the rest mass energy of matter and the force of gravity. Were this ratio a lot smaller, gas would never condense into galaxies. Were it only a bit smaller, star formation would be slow and the raw material for future planets would not survive to form planetary systems. Were it much bigger, stars would collapse swiftly into black holes and the surviving gas would blister the universe with gamma rays.

The measure of nuclear efficiency, ε for epsilon, has a value of 0.007. If it had a value of 0.006 there would be no other elements: hydrogen could not fuse into helium and the stars could not have cooked up carbon, iron, complex chemistry and, ultimately, us. Had it been a smidgen higher, at 0.008, protons would have fused in the big bang, leaving no hydrogen to fuel future stars or deliver the Evian water.

Einstein's supposed "biggest blunder", the cosmological constant λ for lambda, is a number not only smaller than first expected; it is a number so small that the puzzle is that it is not zero. But this weakest and most mysterious of forces – think of a value with 120 zeroes after the decimal point – seems to dictate the whole future of the universe. It seems just strong enough to push the most distant galaxies away from us at an unexpected rate. Were it much stronger, there might be no galaxies to accelerate anywhere.

Ed Croteau
there are only 4 forces in the universe, and the first amazing revelation is we can previously define them mathematically. The next amazing thing is we can define their variation statistically.Physics is more imprecise than mathematics, because math defines the behavior, while physics MEASURES the behavior. But in the case of the universe, the behavior is almost statistically without variation. This NEVER happens in unguided processes...whenever you find an order with the precision you never find randomness...there is always a cause for this behavior, and it's always an intelligence.

Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, is the author of About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang
As cosmologists poked around Big Bang theory on ever-finer levels of detail, it soon became clear that getting this universe, the one we happily inhabit, seemed to be more and more unlikely. In his article, Scharf gives us the famous example carbon-12 and its special resonances. If this minor detail of nuclear physics were just a wee bit different, our existence would never be possible. It’s as if nuclear physics were fine-tuned to allow life. But this issue of fine-tuning goes way beyond carbon nuclei; it infects many aspects of cosmological physics.
Change almost anything associated with the fundamental laws of physics by one part in a zillion and you end up with a sterile universe where life could never have formed. Not only that, but make tiny changes in even the initial conditions of the Big Bang and you end up with a sterile universe. Cosmologically speaking, it’s like we won every lottery every imaginable. From that vantage point, we are special—crazy special.
Fine-tuning sticks in the craw of most physicists, and rightfully so. It’s that old Copernican principle again. What set the laws and the initial conditions for the universe to be “just so,” just so we could be here? It smells too much like intelligent design. The whole point of science has been to find natural, rational reasons for why the world looks like it does. “Because a miracle happened,” just doesn’t cut it.

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1704.01680.pdf
The existence of structure in our universe at all places stringent bounds on the cosmological constant. Compared to the range of values for which our theories are well defined — roughly ± the Planck scale — the range of values that permit gravitationally bound structures is no more than one part in 10^110
.
• A universe with structure also requires a fine-tuned value for the primordial density contrast Q. Too low, and no structure forms. Too high and galaxies are too dense to allow for long-lived planetary systems, as the time between disruption by a neighboring star is too short. This places the constraint 10−6. Q . 10−4 (Tegmark & Rees, 1998).

• The existence of long-lived stars, which produce and distribute chemical elements and are a stable source of energy that can power chemical reactions, requires an unnaturally small value for the “gravitational coupling constant” αG = m2 proton/m2 Planck; or, equivalently, that the proton mass be orders of magnitude smaller than the Planck mass. For stars to be stable at all, we require αG . 10−33 (Adams, 2008).

• The existence of any atomic species and chemical processes whatsoever places tight constraints on the relative masses of the fundamental particles and the strengths of the fundamental forces. For example, Barr & Khan (2007) show the effect of varying the masses of the up and down quark and find that strand-chemistry permitting universes are huddled in a small shard of parameter space which has area ∆mup∆mdown/m2 Planck ≈ 10−42

These small numbers — 10^110, 10^4, 10^33, 10^−42 — are, in the Bayesian fashion, an attempt to quantify our ignorance. We are not assuming the existence of a random universe-generating machine, nor describing the properties of a real or imagined statistical sample. The laws of nature as we know them contain arbitrary constants, which are not constrained by anything in theoretical physics.

That means any of these fine-tune constants are not set due to physical necessity. There can be any value, which would result in no universe.

As usual, we can react to small probabilities in a couple of ways. Perhaps, like the probability of a deck of cards falling on the floor in a particular order, something improbable has happened. Enough said. Alternatively, like the probability that the burglar correctly guessed the 12-digit code by chance on the first attempt, it may indicate that we have made an incorrect assumption. We should look for an alternative assumption (or theory), on which the fact in question is not so improbable. Correct. As a creation , for example?

Getting Metaphysical
At this conference, George Ellis has invited us to think about not only cosmology with a small ‘c’, defined as the the physics of the universe on large scales, but also Cosmology with a capital ‘C’, which asks the great questions of existence, meaning and purpose that are raised by physical cosmology. Nothing in our formalism assumes that T is a physical theory. Indeed, if there is a final, ultimate physical theory of nature F, then whatever we think about that theory will have to be deeper than physics, so to speak.

1.  The characteristics, forces and phenomena of the universe are fine-tuned to such a degree that human life is possible.  That is to say that if any characteristics were any more than slightly (and in some cases even slightly) changed, human life would be impossible.
2.  The characteristics, forces, and phenomena didn’t HAVE TO be this way.  There is no law governing why these characteristics, forces, and phenomena turned out the way they are.  They could have been different.

The gravitational force is an unimaginable thirty-nine order of magnitude smaller than the nuclear force.  If it was a mere (in comparison) trillion times larger than it is now, then the universe would be far smaller than it is now.  The average star would have a mass a trillion times smaller than our sun and the lifespan of about a year.  Far too short for life to develop in any meaningful way if at all.  If the force of gravity had been any less powerful, the universe would not be able to hold itself together (and therefore never would have formed at all).
The other forces are no less essential and precariously positioned in their values.  If the strong force had been slightly weaker, the only substance that would be stable would be hydrogen.  No other atoms could exist.

As Paul Davies in his Accidental Universe summarizes it:

The numerical values that nature has assigned to the fundamental constants, such as the charge on the electron, the mass of the proton, and the Newtonian gravitational constant, may be mysterious, but they are crucially relevant to the structure of the universe that we perceive. . . . Had nature opted for a slightly different set of numbers, the world would be a very different place.  Probably we would not be here to see it. .And when one goes on to study cosmology – the overall structure and evolution of the universe – incredulity mounts.  Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in its motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision.

― Paul Davies

“Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth - the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient "coincidences" and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if "a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics".

To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you are a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile.

Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn't exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life.”

The Big Picture
In order for this article to be concise enough, it will suffice to say that am I excluding the names and explanations of several ratios, constants, forces, biological and chemical interactions etc. that need to be precisely the way they are to allow human life.  I will gradually get into many of these fine-tuned phenomena.
Taking into account the many phenomena that need to be precisely the way they are, and considering the possible range of values they COULD HAVE, the probability of fine-tuning for human life has been conservatively estimated to be at least one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion.  That would be a ten followed by fifty-three zeroes. If you were to randomly throw a dart at some part of the Earth, that would be like hitting a bullseye that’s less than one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter.  That’s less than the size of a single atom.  It’s unbelievably precise, and the universe NEEDS this precision in order for human life to be possible.  Chance cannot begin to explain this precision, it’s like throwing darts an atom.  Only Intelligence explains this precision.

http://www.geraldschroeder.com/FineTuning.aspx

the laws and constants of nature are so “finely-tuned,” and so many “coincidences” have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.

“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 the 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’.”
Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University

If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.
Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University

Hoyle :
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. Adds Dr. David D. Deutch: If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

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,
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,
there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:
the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/evidence-for-god-design-part-2-fine-tuning-of-the-cosmos/

These are the facts relating to fine-tuning; how are they to be explained?[1] According to the design argument, the best explanation is that the universe is the product of a rational mind. The basic motivation for design can be expressed as follows. We consider a range of possible values for these features of the universe and then ask why they happen to have values lying in the very precise region suitable for life. From an atheistic perspective, there seems to be no reason for this whatsoever. That is, given only atheism and our current scientific knowledge we would have no reason to expect the values of these features to be in the life-permitting range.

By contrast, theism provides a very neat explanation. Fine-tuning is a very precise example of the sort of order we’d expect to find in a universe created by God. We pointed out in Part 1 that God would have reason to bring about valuable things, like a community of embodied moral agents. In light of this, we’d have reason to expect God to create a universe that is fine-tuned with values in the life-permitting range. In other words, fine-tuning is the sort of thing we’d expect in a theistic universe, but not at all what we’d expect in an atheistic universe. As such, it provides strong evidence in favor of the existence of God.

The Precise Nuclear Resonances of Carbon and Oxygen:

Someone "Monkeyed with the Physics"

Helium burning in stars is a critical part of the production of all elements other than helium and primordial hydrogen. Helium burning is the first step in the creation of all of the other elements, and so their existence depends vitally on helium burning. As Fred Hoyle pointed out before it was discovered, helium burning in the stars is only possible because a precise resonance (excited energy level) in the carbon nucleus exists. Furthermore, a second precise resonance must exist in the oxygen nucleus (the next step in nucleosynthesis: C + He -> O) -- in this case a resonance that slightly retards the production of oxygen so that not all of the carbon converts to oxygen. This is what led Fred Hoyle to make several remarkable statements, including that cited above.
The position of a nuclear resonance in Oxygen is the second "coincidence" that makes it possible to have carbon/oxygen based life. In the case of carbon, the resonance was slightly above the combined mass-energy of Beryllium and Helium. In the case of Oxygen, a similar resonance is slightly above the combined mass-energy of Carbon and Helium (7.68 MeV resonance vs. 7.65 MeV mass-energy). These two "accidents" determined that the stars would produce similar amounts of Carbon and Oxygen. If the Oxygen resonance had been slightly lower, essentially all Carbon would have fused into Oxygen; if the resonance had been slightly higher, then only small amounts of Carbon would have fused into oxygen, which would have blocked not only oxygen production but also the production of the higher elements.  The remarks of Hoyle refer to the combined effect of these two carefully chosen resonances
http://www.ps-19.org/Crea04SettingForLife/index.html

the ratio of the electromagnetic force constant to the gravitational force constant must be equally delicately balanced. Increase it by only one part in 1040 and only small stars can exist; decrease it by the same amount and there will only be large stars. You must have both large and small stars in the universe: the large ones produce elements in their thermonuclear furnaces, and it is only the small ones that burn long enough to sustain a planet with life.

To use Davies’ illustration, that is the kind of accuracy a marksman would need to hit a coin at the far side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away. If we find that difficult to imagine, a further illustration suggested by astrophysicist Hugh Ross may help. Cover America with coins in a column reaching to the moon (380,000 km or 236,000 miles away), then does the same for a billion other continents of the same size. Paint one coin red and put it somewhere in one of the billion piles. Blindfold a friend and ask her to pick it out. The odds are about 1 in 10^40 that she will.
http://www.focus.org.uk/lennox.php

The argument of the fine-tuning of the Universe Constants of the Big Bang, the Universe, the fundamental forces, the solar system, and the earth
1. Parameter                                                Ratio
Ratio of Electrons: Protons                         1:10^37
Ratio of Electromagnetic Force: Gravity        1:10^40
Expansion Rate of Universe                        1:10^55
Mass Density of Universe1                         1:10^59
Cosmological Constant                               1:10^120
2. These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter or be unsuitable for any form of life.
3. One part in 10^37 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 10^37. (Dr. Hugh Ross)
4. “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust the second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for everyone that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity." Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269
5. The 90 (registered) constants prove an intelligent designer. Without such finely tuned constants, the universe would not exist.
6. This Supreme Designer of these constants and of the universe must be God, the most intelligent person.
7. God exists.

The argument of mathematical precision
1. Einstein once wondered: "How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human thought that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality?" And similarly his book 'The Mysterious Universe,' the English physicist Sir James Jeans describes the flawless order in the cosmos: "A scientific study of the universe has suggested a conclusion, which may be summed up ... in the statement that the universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician."
Laws reflect mathematical symmetries found in Nature. For example,

a. Pauli’s exclusion principle describes the identity of electrons.
b. Noether's theorem connects some conservation laws to certain symmetries.
c. Lorentz transformations correspond to the rotational symmetry of space-time.
2. Every planet in the universe, large and small, is the critically important part of a larger order. Not one of their positions in space or any of their movements is random eg to keep everything circling at particular distances.
3. The distance between the Earth and our moon ensures many important balances and is extremely vital for the continuation of life on Earth, eg the tides flowing, the growth of the flora.
If the moon were much closer [to the Earth], it would crash into our planet, if much farther away, it would move off into space. If it were much closer, the tides that the moon causes on the earth would become dangerously larger. Ocean waves would sweep across low-lying sections of the continents.
4. There are 93 constants in the fine-tuning of the Universe, Martin Rees discusses six dimensionless constants.[1]
5. N, the ratio of the strengths of gravity to that of electromagnetism, is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. According to Rees, if it were smaller, only a small and short-lived universe could exist.[1]
5b. Epsilon, the strength of the force binding nucleons into nuclei, is 0.07. If it were 0.06, the only hydrogen could exist, and complex chemistry would be impossible. If it were 0.08, no hydrogen would exist, as all the hydrogen would have been fused shortly after the big bang.[1]
5c. Omega, also known as the Density parameter, is the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the Universe. If gravity were too strong compared with dark energy and the initial metric expansion, the universe would have collapsed before life could have evolved. On the other side, if gravity were too weak, no stars would have formed.[1]
5d. Lambda is the cosmological constant. It describes the ratio of the density of dark energy to the critical energy density of the universe, given certain reasonable assumptions such as positing that dark energy density is constant. Lambda is around 0.7. This is so small that it has no significant effect on cosmic structures that are smaller than a billion light-years across. If it were extremely large, stars would not be able to form. [1]
5e. Q, the ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass, is around 1/100,000. If it is too small, no stars can form. If it is too large, no stars can survive because the universe is too violent, according to Rees. [1]
5f. D, the number of spatial dimensions in spacetime, is three. Rees claims that life could not exist if there were two or four. [1]
6. a. Thus, scientific discoveries of innumerable patterns and many inter-related complexities of the universe cannot be explained as an appearance after mere accidents just as your computer hasn’t appeared by accident. Mathematical and rational symmetries are wonderful designs indicate a designer.
That wonderful designer that designed symmetries in the whole universe can be only God.
6. b. The universe can’t have come into existence without an all-powerful, super-knowledgeable great person the dictionary meaning of the term God.
7. God exists.

Professor Ulf-G Meißner, in explaining his new groundbreaking study, states: “The Universe we live in is characterized by certain parameters that take specific values that appear to be remarkably fine-tuned to make life, including on Earth, possible. “
“certain fundamental parameters of the Standard Model of light quark masses or the electromagnetic fine structure constant must take values that allow for the formation of neutrons, protons and atomic nuclei.”
“the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis sets indeed very tight limits on the variations of the light quark mass.” “Such extreme fine-tuning supports the anthropic view of our Universe,
http://crev.info/2015/01/more-cosmic-fine-tuning-found/

The fine-tuning argument per se, when it just comes to pointing out the extraordinary special character of the laws of nature which appear to be balanced on the knife’s edge, is not a religious argument, contrary to what many atheists claim. No, the fine-tuning of the laws of nature is pointed out with broad consensus by leading cosmologists, many of them agnostics or atheists. I would think that everyone should take experts in the field of physics and cosmology seriously and be informed about what they have to say. It is remarkable and rather curious how many atheists conveniently ignore or even dismiss mainstream science when it comes to cosmological fine-tuning, thus committing the same mistake they rightfully accuse creationists of when it comes to evolution. Certainly, the further extension as a design argument is theistic, while atheistic scientists often see no other choice than to posit the multiverse (see below) as a non-design explanation.

1. http://antiochapologetics.blogspot.com/2011/04/electron-to-proton-ratio.html

http://treesearch.org/god-exists#the-universe-is-fine-tuned-to-permit-life
2015-01-evidence-anthropic-theory-fundamental-physics.html

New evidence for the extreme fine-tuning of the universe:
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.2959v2.pdf

http://treesearch.org/god-exists#the-universe-is-fine-tuned-to-permit-life
http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/new-evidence-anthropic-theory-fundamental-physics-constants-underlie-life-enabling-universe/
http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/how-to-defend-the-fine-tuning-argument-just-like-william-lane-craig/
Fine-Tuning For Life On Earth (Updated June 2004)
Quotes of famous scientists on fine-tuning of the universe
http://kgov.com/fine-tuning-of-the-universe
http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/Info_design_and_science.htm
http://www.reasons.org/articles/fine-tuning-for-life-in-the-universe
http://intelligentscience.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/the-basic-fine-tuning-argument-for-gods-existence/

Last edited by Admin on Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:34 am; edited 61 times in total

1. Strong nuclear force constant
2. Weak nuclear force constant
3. Gravitational force constant
4. Electromagnetic force constant
5. Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
6. Ratio of proton to electron mass
7. Ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
8. Ratio of proton to electron charge
9. Expansion rate of the universe
10. Mass density of the universe
11. Baryon (proton and neutron) density of the universe
12. Space energy or dark energy density of the universe
13. Ratio of space energy density to mass density
14. Entropy level of the universe
15. Velocity of light
16. Age of the universe
18. Homogeneity of the universe
19. Average distance between galaxies
20. Average distance between galaxy clusters
21. Average distance between stars
22. Average size and distribution of galaxy clusters
23. density of giant galaxies during early cosmic history
24. Electromagnetic fine structure constant
25. Gravitational fine-structure constant
26. Decay rate of protons
27. Ground state energy level for helium-4
Part 1. Fine-Tuning for Life in the Universe 2
28. Carbon-12 to oxygen-16 nuclear energy level ratio
29. Decay rate for beryllium-8
30. Ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
31. Initial excess of nucleons over antinucleons
32. Polarity of the water molecule
33. Epoch for peak in the number of hypernova eruptions
34. Numbers and different kinds of hypernova eruptions
35. Epoch for peak in the number of type I supernova eruptions
36. Numbers and different kinds of type I supernova eruptions
37. Epoch for peak in the number of type II supernova eruptions
38. Numbers and different kinds of type II supernova eruptions
39. Epoch for white dwarf binaries
40. Density of white dwarf binaries
41. Ratio of exotic matter to ordinary matter
42. Number of effective dimensions in the early universe
43. Number of effective dimensions in the present universe
44. Mass values for the active neutrinos
45. Number of different species of active neutrinos
46. Number of active neutrinos in the universe
47. Mass value for the sterile neutrino
48. Number of sterile neutrinos in the universe
49. Decay rates of exotic mass particles
50. Magnitude of the temperature ripples in cosmic background radiation
51. Size of the relativistic dilation factor
52. Magnitude of the Heisenberg uncertainty
53. Quantity of gas deposited into the deep intergalactic medium by the first supernovae
54. Positive nature of cosmic pressures
55. Positive nature of cosmic energy densities
56. Density of quasars during early cosmic history
57. Decay rate of cold dark matter particles
58. Relative abundances of different exotic mass particles
59. Degree to which exotic matter self interacts
60. Epoch at which the first stars (metal-free pop III stars) begin to form
61. Epoch at which the first stars (metal-free pop III stars) cease to form
62. Number density of metal-free pop III stars
63. Average mass of metal-free pop III stars
64. Epoch for the formation of the first galaxies
65. Epoch for the formation of the first quasars
Part 1. Fine-Tuning for Life in the Universe 3
66. Amount, rate, and epoch of decay of embedded defects
67. Ratio of warm exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
68. Ratio of hot exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
69. Level of quantization of the cosmic spacetime fabric
70. Flatness of universe’s geometry
70. Flatness of universe’s geometry
71. Average rate of increase in galaxy sizes
72. Change in average rate of increase in galaxy sizes throughout cosmic history
73. Constancy of dark energy factors
74. Epoch for star formation peak
75. Location of exotic matter relative to ordinary matter
76. Strength of primordial cosmic magnetic field
77. Level of primordial magnetohydrodynamic turbulence
78. Level of charge-parity violation
79. Number of galaxies in the observable universe
80. Polarization level of the cosmic background radiation
81. Date for completion of second reionization event of the universe
82. Date of subsidence of gamma-ray burst production
83. Relative density of intermediate mass stars in the early history of the universe
84. Water’s temperature of maximum density
85. Water’s heat of fusion
86. Water’s heat of vaporization
87. Number density of clumpuscules (dense clouds of cold molecular hydrogen gas) in the universe
88. Average mass of clumpuscules in the universe
89. Location of clumpuscules in the universe
90. Dioxygen’s kinetic oxidation rate of organic molecules
91. Level of paramagnetic behavior in dioxygen
92. Density of ultra-dwarf galaxies (or supermassive globular clusters) in the middle-aged universe
93. Degree of space-time warping and twisting by general relativistic factors
94. Percentage of the initial mass function of the universe made up of intermediate mass stars
95. Strength of the cosmic primordial magnetic field
96. Capacity of liquid water to form large-cluster anions
97. Ratio of baryons in galaxies to baryons between galaxies
98. Ratio of baryons in galaxy clusters to baryons in between galaxy clusters
99. Rate at which the triple-alpha process (combining of three helium nuclei to make one carbon
nucleus) runs inside the nuclear furnaces of stars
100. Quantity of molecular hydrogen formed by the supernova eruptions of population III stars
101. Epoch for the formation of the first population II (second generation) stars
102. Percentage of the universe’s baryons that are processed by the first stars (population III stars)
Part 1. Fine-Tuning for Life in the Universe 4
103. Ratio of ultra-dwarf galaxies to larger galaxies
104. Constancy of the fine structure constants
105. Constancy of the velocity of light
106. Constancy of the magnetic permeability of free space
107. Constancy of the electron-to-proton mass ratio
108. Constancy of the gravitational constant
109. Smoothness of the quantum foam of cosmic space
110. Constancy of dark energy over cosmic history
111. Mean temperature of exotic matter
112. Minimum stable mass of exotic matter clumps
113. Degree of Lorentz symmetry or integrity of Lorentz invariantce or level of symmetry of spacetime
114. Nature of cosmic defects
115. Number density of cosmic defects
116. Average size of the largest cosmic structures in the universe
117. Quantity of three-hydrogen molecules formed by the hypernova eruptions of population III stars
118. Maximum size of an indigenous moon orbiting a planet
119. Rate of growth in the average size of galaxies during the first five billion years of cosmic history
120. Density of dwarf dark matter halos in the present-day universe
121. Metallicity enrichment of intergalactic space
122. Average star formation rate throughout cosmic history for dwarf galaxies
123. Epoch of rapid decline in the cosmic star formation rate
124. Quantity of heavy elements infused into the intergalactic medium by dwarf galaxies during the first
two billion years of cosmic history
125. Quantity of heavy elements infused into the intergalactic medium by galactic superwinds during the
first three billion years of cosmic history
126. Average size of cosmic voids
127. Number of cosmic voids per unit of cosmic space
128. Percentage of the universe’s baryons that reside in the warm-hot intergalactic medium
129. Halo occupation distribution (number of galaxies per unit of dark matter halo virial mass)
130. Timing of the peak supernova eruption rate for population III stars (the universe’s first stars)
131. Ratio of the number density of dark matter subhalos to the number density dark matter halos in the
present era universe
132. Quantity of diffuse, large-grained intergalactic dust
133. Radiometric decay rate for nickel-78
134. Ratio of baryonic matter to exotic matter in dwarf galaxies
135. Ratio of baryons in the intergalactic medium relative to baryons in the circumgalactic media
136. Level of short-range interactions between protons and exotic dark matter particles
137. Intergalactic photon density (or optical depth of the universe)
138. High spin to low spin transition pressure for Fe++
139. Average quantity of gas infused into the universe’s first star clusters
140. degree of suppression of dwarf galaxy formation by cosmic reionization

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

The makeup of the universe and the laws that govern how the it works are fine-tuned to an amazing degree. For example, scientists would expect in the primordial universe that the ratio of quarks to antiquarks would be exactly equal to one, since neither would be expected to have been produced in preference to the other. However, quarks outnumbered antiquarks by a ratio of 1,000,000,001 to 1,000,000,000. The remaining small excess of quarks eventually made up all the matter that exists in the universe. Without this small excess of quarks, the universe would have consisted entirely of energy, with no matter.

The ratio of electrons compared to protons must be exactly equal to one to better than one part in 10^37 or else electromagnetic interactions would dominate gravity, resulting in the universe consisting of scattered particles.

The mass of the universe cannot be more than it is by one part in 10^59. Based upon the mass of the universe (about 10^80 baryons), adding just one extra grain of sand would have resulted in the collapse of the universe early in its history.

However, none of these parameters comes close to the design required for the most recently discovered law of physics - the cosmological constant (or dark energy). This constant is fine-tuned to one part in 10^120. One atheist cosmologist, confronted with these facts said, "This type of universe, however, seems to require a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is in apparent conflict with 'common wisdom'."18 In conclusion, cosmology is producing more and more evidence that our universe is based upon numerous parameters that must be extremely fine tuned in order for life to exist (which is exactly opposite of what would expected if the explanation were god of the gaps). Naturalism would posit that increased knowledge in cosmology would provide evidence that our universe was just an average one, instead of an extremely unlikely one.

Special Galaxy - The earth is housed in a unique spiral galaxy. Although spirals are reasonably common in the universe (~15% of all galaxies), most have been disrupted to various degrees through collisions with other galaxies. In contrast, the milky way galaxy exists within a small galaxy cluster known as the local group, being one of only two large galaxies, and has numerous, symmetric spiral arms. Scientists have yet to find a comparable galaxy among millions of others examined (see Pictures of Galaxies). The solar system exists in a space between two spiral arms, at or near the co-rotation radius, which means that it will remain between spiral arms for some time to come. In contrast, most stars in other parts of the galaxy enter and leave spiral arms periodically. Stars that travel through spiral arms risk disrupting planetary orbits through gravitational interactions with other stars. In addition, our fortuitous location between spiral arms at the co-rotation radius allows us an almost unhindered view of the universe, with the possibility that this was intentional.19

Special Solar System - Now that over 300 extrasolar planetary systems have been discovered to date, we know that our solar system is quite rare. So far, it is the only planetary system in which the large gas giants are located far (greater than 5 AU) from the parent star. In all other systems, such gas giants are found at locations within the region that would correspond to where our inner, rocky planets are located. In all other planetary systems discovered to-date, large gas giants form at a distance from their star, but migrate inward. Computer simulations indicate that this is the usual scenario, with our solar system being a rare exception.20 According to Frederic Rasio, the author of the study:

"We now know that these other planetary systems don't look like the solar system at all. We now better understand the process of planet formation and can explain the properties of the strange exoplanets we've observed. We also know that the solar system is special and understand at some level what makes it special."21

The reason why it is important to have gas giants far from the Sun is because Jupiter and Saturn protect the inner solar system from constant bombardment by comets. Without this protection, advanced life would not be possible on the earth. In addition, a large gas giant roaming close to a star's habitable zone would eject any rocky planets from the planetary system.

Special Star - Our star, the Sun, is a slightly above average-sized star. Large stars burn too quickly for life to develop on possible terrestrial-like planets (with stellar life spans as short as a few million years). Small stars burn for a long time (tens of billions of years). However, the reduced energy output requires that rocky planets be very close to the star in order to be within the habitable zone. This closeness results in all such planets becoming tidally locked (rotational period equals revolutionary period) within a short period of time. Tidal locking means that one side continually faces the star, resulting in extremely hot temperatures, whereas the other side stays very cold, eventually accumulating all the water as ice, and possibly even freezing out the atmosphere.

The Sun is unique in that it is one of only a small percentage that are metal-rich. Originally, the universe consisted almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The first stars had no rocky planet companions, since there were no building materials. The Sun has rocky planets because it is probably a third generation star that had the fortune of igniting within an area of previous supernova events. Rocky planets cannot form at all unless the amount of metallicity is at least 60% of that of the Sun. The Sun is an unusually metal-rich star (richest out of 174 well-studied stars).22 Although planets are fairly common around stars, no earth-sized rocky planets have been discovered to date (2008). The smallest planet discovered is 5.5 times as massive as the earth, but is quite frozen.23 Part of the problem discovering rocky planets is that they had been impossible to detect with the techniques that have been used to discover large planets. However, new instrumentation and techniques developed since 2005 should allow the discovery of earth-like rocky planets within the next few years, if they exist. So, the lack of rocky planets is a God of the gaps explanation for now, but will be answered within the next few years.

Special Planet - The earth is a remarkable place among the other planets and moons of our solar system. It is the only rocky planet in our solar system that contains significant amounts of liquid water on its surface. Although the planet Mars sustained surface water billions of years ago, it was mixed with large amounts of sulfuric acid - producing toxic seas that would have made it unlikely that living organisms could have survived there.24
Earth from Apollo 11Earth from Apollo 11

However, the presence of liquid water is not the only unusual feature of planet earth. Although water is quite common in the universe, it would be either absent (as it is on the other rocky planets in our stellar system) or so abundant on rocky planets that virtually all other rocky planets would be either deserts or waterworlds.25 All other rocky planets (including our "sister planet," Venus) in our solar system have no significant tectonic activity. Without tectonic activity, water-abundant planets like earth would be water worlds. The reason that earth has tectonic activity and continents is because it suffered a major collision with a Mars-sized planet soon after its formation. The metallic core of the collider was incorporated into the earth's core, with the outer part becoming earth's moon. Without this additional metallic component, earth's core, kept molten through radioactive decay, would have solidified, shutting down tectonic activity and the earth's magnetic dynamo (which protects earth's creatures from solar radiation).  Large planets do not form continents because the increased gravity prevents significant mountain and continent formation. Earth-sized planets completely flood, and any land formed is eroded by the seas in a short period of time. Smaller planets lack tectonic activity, so would have no land masses, but would be completely covered with water. Therefore, virtually all rocky planets (other than those that suffered a large collision soon after formation) would be expected to be water worlds. Earth-like planets (with both water and dry land) would be extremely rare. Exactly how rare they would be in the universe is uncertain, making the argument somewhat of a God of the gaps type for now. However, the next decade should give us a much better estimation. For more information on these design features, see The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System.

Whereas a God of the gaps explanation of the design of our galaxy, solar system, and planet would posit that science would be discovering that we really aren't that unique, the data continues to show that we are more unique than first thought. In fact, some of this uniqueness was discovered just this year.20 If the data truly were God of the gaps, we would expect the evidence for design to decrease, rather than increase with additional scientific knowledge.

http://worldview3.50webs.com/mathprfcosmos.html

Science writer Gregg Easterbrook explains the required explosive power-balance of the Big Bang, saying that, "Researchers have calculated that, if the ratio of matter and energy to the volume of space ...had not been within about one-quadrillionth of one percent of ideal at the moment of the Big Bang, the incipient universe would have collapsed back on itself or suffered runaway relativity effects" (My emphasis.) (ref. G.Easterbrook, "Science Sees the Light", The New Republic, Oct.12, 1998, p.26).

http://www.geraldschroeder.com/FineTuning.aspx

According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so "finely-tuned," and so many "coincidences" have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.

In fact, this "fine-tuning" is so pronounced, and the "coincidences" are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind. Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the "fine-tuning" and conclude that the universe is "too contrived" to be a chance event.

In a BBC science documentary, "The Anthropic Principle," some of the greatest scientific minds of our day describe the recent findings which compel this conclusion.

Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories:

If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature -- like the charge on the electron -- then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.

Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.

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'."

According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called "The Big Bang." At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.

When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the "blast-furnaces" of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous "fortunate" one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful "adjustments" had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.

Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. Adds Dr. David D. Deutch: If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

Universal Acceptance Of Fine Tuning

Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment's most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning. 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.

In his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time", Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world's most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as "remarkable."

The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life". "For example," Hawking writes, "if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.

Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of "a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)" (ibid. p. 125).

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of "Genesis and the Big Bang" and "The Science of Life" was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:

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, there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:

the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:

The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.

Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding,

namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)

Penrose continues,

Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe -- and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure -- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.

Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.

It is appropriate to complete this section on "fine tuning" with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:

To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, "How could it have ever been otherwise?"

Last edited by Admin on Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:47 pm; edited 4 times in total

Unique location in our galaxy - co-rotation radius

The Sun and our Solar System have been located in a stable orbit within our galaxy for the last 4.5 billion years. This orbit lies far from the center of our galaxy and between the spiral arms. The stability of our position is possible because the sun is one of the rare stars that lies within the “galactic co-rotation radius.” Typically, the stars in our galaxy orbit the center of the galaxy at a rate that differs from the rate of the trailing spiral arms. Thus, most stars located between spiral arms do not remain there for long, but would eventually be swept inside a spiral arm. 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 ( Mishurov, Y.N. and L. A. Zenina. 1999. Yes, the Sun is Located Near the Corotation Circle. Astronomy & Astrophysics 341: 81-85.). Why is it important that we are not in one of the spiral arms? First, our location gives us a view of the universe that is unobstructed by the debris and gases found in the spiral arms. This fact allows us to visualize what the Bible says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." If we were within the spiral arms, our view would be significantly impaired. Second, being outside the spiral arms puts us in a location that is safer than anywhere else in the universe. We are removed from the more densely occupied areas, where stellar interactions can lead to disruption of planetary orbits. In addition, we are farther from the deadly affects of supernovae explosions. The 4+ billion year longevity of life on earth (the time needed to prepare the planet for human occupation) would not have been possible at most other locations in our galaxy.

Unique stabilization of the inner solar system

A recent study reveals some unusual design in our solar system. With the continuing growth in the capabilities and sophistication of computer systems, scientists are gaining the ability to model the dynamics of the Solar System and ask "what if" questions regarding the presence and size of planets. The presence of Jupiter is required to allow advanced life to exist on the Earth (see below). However, Jupiter's large mass (along with the other gas giants) has a profound destabilizing effect upon the inner planets. In the absence of the Earth-moon system, the orbital period of Jupiter sets up what is called resonance over the period of 8 million years. This resonance causes the orbits of Venus and Mercury to become highly eccentric, so much so, that eventually the orbits become close enough so that there would be a "strong Mercury-Venus encounter." Such an encounter would certainly lead to the ejection of Mercury from the Solar System, and an alteration of the orbit of Venus. In doing the simulations, the scientists learned that the stabilizing effect of the Earth-moon requires a planet with at least the mass of Mars and within 10% of the distance of the Earth from the Sun. The authors of the study used the term "design" twice in the conclusion of their study:

Our basic finding is nevertheless an indication of the need for some sort of rudimentary "design" in the solar system to ensure long-term stability. One possible aspect of such "design" is that long-term stability may require that terrestrial orbits require a degree of irregularity to "stir" certain resonances enough so that such resonances cannot persist. (Innanen, Kimmo, S. Mikkola, and P. Wiegert. 1998. The earth-moon system and the dynamical stability of the inner solar system. The Astronomical Journal 116: 2055-2057.)

Unusually circular orbit of the earth

The unique arrangement of large and small planetary bodies in the solar system may be required to ensure the 4+ billion year stability of the system. In addition, it is readily apparent from the cycle of ice ages that the earth is at the edge of the life zone for our star. Although the earth has one of the most stable orbits among all the planets discovered to date, its periodic oscillations, including changes in orbital eccentricity, axial tilt, and a 100,000-year periodic elongation of Earth's orbit, results in a near freeze over (Kerr, R. 1999. Why the Ice Ages Don't Keep Time. Science 285: 503-505, and Rial, J.A. 1999. Pacemaking the Ice Ages by Frequency Modulation of Earth's Orbital Eccentricity. Science 285: 564-568.). According to Dr. J. E. Chambers, simulations of planetary formation "yield Earth-like planets with large eccentricities (e ~ 0.15)," whereas the Earth has an e value of 0.03. He goes on to say, "Given that climate stability may depend appreciably on e, it could be no coincidence that we inhabit a planet with an unusually circular orbit." (Chambers, J. E. 1998. How Special is Earth's Orbit? American Astronomical Society, DPS meeting #30, #21.07) With this new information, it seems very unlikely that stable planetary systems, in which a small earth-like planet resides in the habitable zone, exist in any other galaxy in our universe. This does not even consider the other design parameters that are required for life to exist anywhere in the universe.

Axial tilt and eccentricity of orbit

The earth is titled on its axis at an angle of 23.5°. This is important, because it accounts for the seasons. Two factors impact the progression of seasons. The most important is the location of land masses on the earth. Nearly all of the continental land mass is located in the Northern Hemisphere. Since land has a lower capacity to absorb the Sun's energy, the earth is much warmer when the Northern Hemisphere is pointing towards the Sun. This happens to be the point at which the earth is farthest from the Sun (the aphelion of its orbit). If the opposite were true, the seasons on the earth would be much more severe (hotter summers and colder winters). For more information, see Aphelion Away! from the NASA website.

The presence of an "impossibly" large moon

The earth has a huge moon orbiting around it, which scientists now know 1) did not bulge off due to the earth's high rotational speed and 2) could not have been captured by the earth's gravity, due to the moon's large mass. For further explanations, see "The scientific legacy of Apollo" (1). The best explanation (other than outright miracle) for the moon's existence is that a Mars-sized planet crashed into the earth around 4.25 billion years ago (the age of the Moon). As you can imagine, the probability of two planets colliding in the same solar system is extremely remote. Any "normal" collision would not have resulted in the formation of the moon, since the ejecta would not have been thrown far enough from the earth to form the moon. The small planet, before it collided with the earth, must have had an unusually elliptical orbit (unlike the orbit of any other planet in the Solar System), which resulted in a virtual head-on collision. The collision of the small planet with the earth would have resulted the ejection of 5 billion cubit miles of the earth's crust and mantle into orbit around the earth. This ring of material, the theory states, would have coalesced to form the moon. In addition, the moon is moving away from the earth (currently at 2 inches per year), as it has been since its creation. If we calculate backwards we discover that the moon must have formed just outside the Roche limit, the point at which an object would be torn apart by the earth's gravity (7,300 miles above the earth's surface). A collision which would have ejected material less than the Roche limit would have formed only rings around the earth. Computer models show that a collision of a small planet with the earth must have been very precise in order for any moon to have been formed at all (coincidence or design?). (see What If the Moon Didn't Exist?, by Neil F. Comins, professor of Astronomy and Physics).

Unusually thin atmosphere

Why is the moon important to life on earth? The collision of the small planet with the earth resulted in the ejection of the majority of the earth's primordial atmosphere. If this collision had not occurred, we would have had an atmosphere similar to that of Venus, which is 80 times that of the earth (equivalent to being one mile beneath the ocean). Such a thick atmosphere on Venus resulted in a runaway greenhouse affect, leaving a dry planet with a surface temperature of 800°F. The earth would have suffered a similar fate if the majority of its primordial atmosphere had not been ejected into outer space. In fact, the Earth is 20% more massive than Venus and further away from the Sun, both factors of which should have lead to a terrestrial atmosphere much thicker than that of Venus. For some strange reason, we have a very thin atmosphere - just the right density to maintain the presence of liquid, solid and gaseous water necessary to life (coincidence or design?).

http://www.unm.edu/~hdelaney/finetuning.html

If the force of explosion was only slightly higher, the universe would only consist of gas without stars, galaxies, or planets. Without stars, galaxies and planets, life could not exist. The matching had to be to the remarkable precision of one part in 1055. ... Some physicists believe that one explanation can be found in a model of an inflationary epoch at about 10-35 of the first second where a short period of accelerated expansion caused the perfect balance between gravity and the rate of expansion and density and critical density. This could explain the very flat characteristics of the universe given by these precise matchings, but the inflation required in this model would itself require an extraordinary fine tuning to yield the precisely balanced result. If the inflationary model is true, the inflationary epoch would contain enormous fine tuning and the precision of values issue is only removed one step.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=405

Many of the rather basic features of the Universe are determined in essence by the values that are assigned to the fundamental constants of nature,...and these features would be drastically altered if the constants assumed even moderately different values. It is clear that for nature to produce a cosmos even remotely resembling our own, many apparently unconnected branches of physics have to cooperate to a remarkable degree (1982, p. 111).

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

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.)

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

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

3. it follows that the fine-tuning data provides strong evidence to favor of the design hypothesis over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis.

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

Rees writes :

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?

http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/499/2/526/pdf/37147.pdf

WHY IS THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND FLUCTUATION LEVEL 10~5?

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/exploring-a-finely-tuned-universe.html

To a physicist, the universe looks as if it were made for the creation of life. British Astronomer Royal Martin Rees clearly illuminated this situation in his 1999 book Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe.

In this book, Rees points out that there are many values — the intensity of dark energy, gravity, electromagnetic forces, atomic binding energies, to name just a few — that would, if different by even an extremely small amount, result in a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. (In some cases, the universe would have collapsed only moments after creation, resulting in a universe inhospitable for any form of life.)

http://quake.stanford.edu/~bai/finetuning.pdf

http://www.focus.org.uk/weinberg.php

http://www.c4id.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=180:the-fine-tuned-universe&catid=42:rnr-articles

Unevenness in the expanding energy

As the primordial universe grew, there needed to be a very slight unevenness in the expanding energy. If the energy had been entirely evenly distributed then there would be no coalescence of matter into galaxies; instead there would have been a homogenous and featureless universe. As a matter of fact the universe is fairly smooth, with very similar conditions and distributions of galaxies in every direction. Some of this smoothness is thought to be due to a short burst of what cosmologists call inflation, very close to the beginning. Inflation is when, after a split second, the universe is said to have suddenly jumped in size by an enormous factor of about 1025 (ten trillion trillion), after which it resumed its normal expansion rate. This inflation is thought to have stretched the initial irregularities away rather like an inflating balloon loses its wrinkles. However, there was still enough irregularity to allow for clumping into galaxies. The amplitude of these non-uniformities is described by a simple number, Q, which is the energy difference between the peaks and troughs in the density, expressed as a fraction of the total energy of the initial universe. Computer models show that Q had to be very close to 0.00001 in order for any galaxies to form. If it was minutely higher then no structures would have formed. If it was minutely lower then all matter would have collapsed into huge black holes. In other words Q had to be just right.

Matter vs. Anti-matter

At the beginning of the universe there was matter and anti-matter. If the amounts of each had been exactly the same then they would have cancelled each other out, leaving just energy in the form of photons. The Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov showed that matter and anti-matter are not precise mirror images of each other. There is a very slight asymmetry which favours matter over anti-matter. This difference is absolutely crucial and is only about one part in a billion. We, and all the rest of matter in the universe, only exist because of this one in a billion difference. As Martin Rees, former Astronomer Royal, writes in his book ‘Our Cosmic Habitat’, referring to this fact, “we owe our existence to a difference in the ninth decimal place.” 2

Expansion Energy vs. Gravity

It was crucial for the expansion of the universe at the very first second of the big bang that the expansion energy (or impetus) was finely balanced with the gravitational force, which was pulling it all back together. If the expansion energy had been too big then galaxies and stars would never have been able to pull themselves together with gravity. If the expansion energy had been too small then there would have been a premature ‘big crunch’ as the universe imploded into itself. It has been mathematically calculated that, back at one second, the universe’s kinetic (expansion) energy and gravitational energies must have differed by less than one in 1015(one part in a million billion). If it was any different, in either direction, then there would be no galaxies, no stars, and no earth.

Ratio of nuclear forces

Physicists tell us that if the ratio of the nuclear strong force to the electromagnetic force had differed by 1 part in 1016, no stars would have formed.

Ratio of electromagnetic and gravitational forces

Also, the ratio of the electromagnetic force constant to the gravitational force constant must be precisely balanced. If you increase it by only 1 part in 1040 then only small stars will form. Decrease it by the same amount and only large stars will form. To have life there must be both large stars (to produce the elements) and small stars to burn long enough to sustain a planet with life.

To understand something of the kind of accuracy to achieve a 1 in 1040 chance of a certain state occurring it is helpful to illustrate this in various ways. Paul Davies writes that it is the kind of accuracy a marksman would need to hit a coin at the far side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away.3 Astrophysicist Hugh Ross gives another illustration:4 cover America with coins in a column reaching to the moon (236,000 miles away), then do the same for a billion other continents of the same size. Paint one coin red and put it somewhere in one of the billion piles. Blindfold someone and ask them to pick it out. The odds are about 1 in 1040 that they will.

The odds of getting a low entropy start

Eclipsing even this, eminent mathematician Roger Penrose writes about the way in which the universe had to start with low entropy to have galaxies, stars and life. To have this state, and the resultant second law of thermodynamics, the ‘Creator’ had to aim for what is called a certain volume of ‘phase space’ This aim would have to have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power 10123. This is a number so large that the zeros far exceed the number of particles in the universe.5 While we may not all understand what ‘phase space’ is, we can grasp the enormity of what he is saying here. The universe, to have a second law of thermodynamics and thus the possibility of sentient beings like ourselves, required extraordinarily special conditions at the big bang; special because the conditions, out of the endlessly other possible ones, simply had to be as they were.

Resonance energy of carbon

We can go on giving even more examples of how the universe, our solar system and our planet seem honed to the most precise states possible so that conditions exist for life to occur, and the last one I will mention is about carbon. We, and the rest of life, are made of carbon-based chemistry. The carbon that is in you and me was manufactured in some star prior to the formation of the solar system. We are literally made of star dust. Each carbon nucleus (six protons and six neutrons) is made from three nuclei of helium within stars. Astrophysicists Hoyle and Salpeter worked out that this process of forming carbon works only because of a strange feature: a mode of vibration or resonance with a very specific energy. If this was changed by more than 1% either way then there would be no carbon to make life. Hoyle confessed that it looked as if a ‘super intellect has monkeyed with physics as well as with chemistry and biology’ and that ‘there were no blind forces in nature worth talking about’.6

The physicist Freeman Dyson wrote: “I do not feel like an alien in this universe, 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.”7 Is this just make-believe or is there really evidence here for a Creator? I will now look at some of the common objections to the idea of a designer of the universe.

Many will question that the universe is really finely tuned at all. Is what we see not just the way it is? After all, if we look at any system or group of objects we see highly unlikely complexity. If I pick up the all the pieces from a set of scrabble and throw them on the floor then the resultant order and position of the pieces is very unlikely; if I throw them again the chances of getting that particular assemblage again is astronomically small. There has been no design input and pure chance can account for the assemblage of pieces. I decide to leave the pieces scattered on the floor and have a cup of coffee. Coming back five minutes later I find that the pieces are still on the floor but some of them are arranged in a sentence. The sentence reads: “Dad is very messy and should not leave scrabble pieces on the floor”. There is no one in the room but I quickly decide that one of my children has actually arranged the pieces, by design, into that sentence. Whereas the first assemblage of pieces was very unlikely and due to chance, the second arrangement is also very unlikely but due to design. What is the difference? The difference is that the second arrangement is specified. It is specifically saying something in English. It has specified complexity. William Dembski the mathematician is one of the principle thinkers to elucidate this subject.8 Many systems can undergo this same test, not least biological ones. In the case of the universe however we see very very specified complexity. The conditions at the beginning, spelled out, if you like, life being possible in the future. Nothing else would have done the trick.

Martin Rees, and others, have used the example of a firing squad to show that there really is something to marvel at when we see fine-tuning.9 Imagine a man before a firing squad with 50 marksmen who fire at him. All of them miss. He opens his eyes and is allowed to walk away. He says to himself, “well, I am alive, so they must have missed! Nothing extraordinary about that.” His lack of wonder at the small chance of them missing is not at all unlike the sceptic who says there is nothing special about the fine-tuning of the universe.

Multiple universes?

Most cosmologists accept the fact that there is at least something to explain about the fine tuning. They look to a way to reduce the incredible improbability of the specified conditions at the beginning. One way is to say that there are multiple universes, trillions times trillions of them in fact. So many, that in at least one of them we will find the unlikely conditions we have in our universe. By posing this possibility, the design argument is seemingly unnecessary. It allows science to regain control if you like of the situation. To many, the idea of a supernatural designer is simply too much to accept. After all, science is about the natural world and to speak these days of a designer is just outside the brief of cosmology.

There is no evidence, theoretical or experimental, for any universe other than our own. To pose the idea of multiple universes is because of a particular belief system (“there is no designer”) rather than about science. So in fact it is a step which is outside of science. This is not to say there could not be more universes; it is just that the idea of them is coming from outside any scientific knowledge. Multiple universes of course do not do away with a designer either. The problem with the idea will always be (unless actual evidence emerges) that it is proposed for unscientific reasons.

The idea that science cannot cope with a designer is very open to dispute, as is seen from the history of great scientists such as Newton, who did wonderful science while all the time firmly of the view that all he saw was designed. It is a peculiarly modern phenomenon to say we cannot speak of a designer. In the end it is much more reasonable to see design or not from the evidence, not from any prior views about the supernatural. Physicist Edward Harrison has written: “Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes, or design that requires only one.”10

Is this man’s arrogance?

Is not the anthropic principle (the idea that the fine tuning leads to the appearance of life) very arrogant? Surely, since Copernicus showed that the earth is not the centre of the universe, we can avoid any such ego-centric nonsense! This is a sort of gut reaction many give to this idea of fine tuning. It is an admirably humble way of seeing our insignificance in the scheme of things. Many would add that evolution shows man to be just one of the many life forms and that there has been no actual purpose or teleology in our appearance.

The problem with this idea of man’s insignificance is that it has been made into a sort of law by many. There can be no deviation from it. Yet the Copernican astronomy had nothing to do with fine tuning. It was about the place of the earth within the solar system and beyond. The subject matter is entirely different. To make a blanket law from it seems excessive, to put it mildly. It is also important to note that the anthropic principle does not actually refer to mankind specifically. It refers to the appearance of any life at all. It is not in this sense man-centred. In the end, particular world views about our significance or lack of it, must bow to the simple facts of the precision tuning we find. We need to step out of our prejudices, including any religious ones we might have, and see this objectively. Does the evidence point to design or not?

God of the gaps?

John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford, has written much in support of the design arguments from fine tuning. He writes concerning these arguments: “We should note that the preceding arguments are not ‘God of the gaps’ arguments; it is advance in science, not ignorance of science, that has revealed this fine-tuning to us. In that sense there is no ‘gap’ in the science, The question is rather: how should we interpret the science? In what direction is it pointing?”11

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

Martin Rees[12] formulates the fine-tuning of the Universe in terms of the following six dimensionless constants:

N = ratio of the strengths of gravity to that of electromagnetism;
Epsilon (ε) = strength of the force binding nucleons into nuclei;
Omega (ω) = relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the Universe;
Lambda (λ) = cosmological constant;
Q = ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass;
D = number of spatial dimensions in spacetime.

http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/evidence-for-god-design-part-2-fine-tuning-of-the-cosmos/

according to cosmologist Paul Davies, had the ratio of the electromagnetic and gravitational forces differed by about 1 part in 1040 (1 in ten thousand billion billion billion billion) then stars such as the Sun, which are capable of supporting life, could not exist. As Davies points out ‘the impression of design is overwhelming’.

Cosmologists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow summarize these findings:

The emergence of complex structures capable of supporting intelligent observers seems to be very fragile. The laws of nature form a system that is extremely fi ne-tuned, and very little in physical law can be altered without destroying the possibility of the development of life as we know it. Were it not for a series of startling coincidences in the precise details of physical law, it seems, humans and similar life-forms would never have come into being.

Philosopher Robin Collins illustrates the extent of the fine-tuning by asking us to consider

the values of the initial conditions of the universe and constants of physics as co-ordinates on a dart board that fills the whole galaxy, and the conditions necessary for life to exist as an extremely small target, say less than a trillionth of an inch: unless the dart hits the target, complex life would be impossible.

― Paul Davies

“Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth - the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient "coincidences" and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if "a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics".

To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you is a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile.

Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn't exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life.”

The extreme fine-tuning of the universe

The laws of nature.
The constants of physics.
The initial conditions of the universe.

Collins makes a threefold “fine-tuning case” for God.

“How many universes then would you need to make it at all probable that one of them could be like our universe? String theorists posit a number of 10 to the power of 500….Now that is an awful lot of universes, particularly since the estimate for the total number of atoms in the entire observable universe is no more than 10 to the power of 80.”

The universe is finely tuned to permit life on our planet. Over 120 fine tune constants are know up to know, and as more time pasts, more are discovered. This might be due to chance, to physical need, or to design. Chance is a very bad explanation. Some advocate a Multiverse. But to have just one life permitting universe, you need 1 to 10^500 attempts to get it done. Thats a 1 with 500 zeros. If we put it in comparison, that in our universe, there exist around 10^80 atoms, this shows how improbable it is, that a Multiverse could explain finetuning. Beside this, the Multiverse argument does not explain away God. A mechanism needs to be in place to trigger these multiverses. It could not be by physical need, since if so, why are there many planets, which are not life permitting, but our is ? So its best explained by design. Our earth/solar/moon system is a very strong evidence. Our solar system is embedded at the right position in our galaxy, neither too close, nor too far from the center of the galaxy. Its also the only location, which alouds us to explore the universe, In a other location, and we would not see more than stellar clouds. The earth has the right distance from the sun, and so has the moon from the earth. The size of the moon, and the earth, is the right one. Our planet has the needed minerals, and water. It has the right atmosphere, and a ozon protecting mantle. Jupiter attracts all asteroids , avoiding these to fall to the earth, and make life impossible. The earths magnetic field protects us from the deadly rays of the sun. The velocity of rotation of the earth is just right. And so is the axial tilt of the earth. Beside this, volcano activities, earth quakes, the size of the crust of the earth, and more over 70 different paramenters must be just right. To believe, all these are just right by chance, needs a big leap of faith. This is indeed maibe the strongest argument for theism.

the probability of the universe supporting life is precisely 1:1.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_hurben/univ.html

"Suppose you are dragged before a firing squad consisting of 100 marksmen. You hear the command to fire and the crashing roar of the rifles. You then realize you are still alive, and that not a single bullet found its mark. How are you to react to this rather unlikely event?"

'Of course you do not observe that you are dead, because if you were dead, you would not be able to observe that fact!' However, this does not stop you from being amazed and surprised by the fact that you did survive against overwhelming odds. Moreover, you would try to deduce the reason for this unlikely event, which was too improbable to happen by chance. Surely, the best explanation is that there was some plan among the marksmen to miss you on purpose. In other words, you are probably alive for a very definite reason, not because of some random, unlikely, freak accident."

"So we should conclude the same with the cosmos. It is natural for us to ask why we escaped the firing squad. Because it is so unlikely that this amazing universe with its precariously balanced constants could have come about by sheer accident, it is likely that there was some purpose in mind, before or during its creation. And the mind in question belongs to God."

Psalm 19?
"The heavens declare the glory of God."

Fine-tuned Universe

1) If our universe is random, then it is very unlikely that it permits life.
(2)Our universe permits life.
(3)Therefore,the existence of our universe is very likely due to something other than chance.

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe
The fine-tuned Universe is the idea that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur when certain universal physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be unlikely to be conducive to the establishment and development of matter, astronomical structures, elemental diversity, or life as it is presently understood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuning
In theoretical physics, fine-tuning refers to circumstances when the parameters of a model must be adjusted very precisely in order to agree with observations. Theories requiring fine-tuning are regarded as problematic in the absence of a known mechanism to explain why the parameters happen to have precisely the needed values. Explanations often invoked to resolve fine-tuning problems include natural mechanisms by which the values of the parameters may be constrained to their observed values, and the anthropic principle.
The necessity of fine-tuning leads to various problems that do not show that the theories are incorrect, in the sense of falsifying observations, but nevertheless indicate that a piece of the story is missing. For example, the cosmological constant problem (why is the cosmological constant so small?); the hierarchy problem; the strong CP problem, and others.
An example of a fine-tuning problem considered by the scientific community to have a plausible "natural" solution is the cosmological flatness problem, which is solved if inflationary theory is correct: inflation forces the universe to become very flat, answering the question of why the universe is today observed to be flat to such a high degree.

Anthropic principle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle
In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the collective name for several ways of asserting that physical and chemical theories, especially astrophysics and cosmology, need to take into account that there is life on Earth, and that one form of that life, Homo sapiens, has attained rationality. The only kind of universe humans can occupy is one that is similar to the current one.
Originally proposed as a rule of reasoning, the term has since been extended to cover supposed "superlaws" that in various ways require the universe to support intelligent life, usually assumed to be carbon-based and occasionally asserted to be human beings. Anthropic reasoning assesses these constraints by analyzing the properties of hypothetical universes whose fundamental parameters or laws of physics differ from those of the real universe. Anthropic reasoning typically concludes that the stability of structures essential for life, from atomic nuclei to the whole universe, depends on delicate balances between different fundamental forces. These balances are believed to occur only in a tiny fraction of possible universes — so that this universe appears fine-tuned for life. Anthropic reasoning attempts to explain and quantify this fine tuning. Within the scientific community the usual approach is to invoke selection effects and to hypothesize an ensemble of alternate universes, in which case that which can be observed is subject to an anthropic bias.
The term anthropic in "anthropic principle" has been argued to be a misnomer. While singling out our kind of carbon-based life, none of the coincidences require human life or demand that carbon-based life develop intelligence.[1][2]
The anthropic principle has given rise to some confusion and controversy, partly because the phrase has been applied to several distinct ideas. All versions of the principle have been accused of undermining the search for a deeper physical understanding of the universe. Those who invoke the anthropic principle often invoke multiple universes or an intelligent designer, both controversial and criticised for being untestable and therefore outside the purview of accepted science.

Quotes

http://www.y-origins.com/index.php?p=quotes

"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).

Fred Hoyle
(British 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 from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

http://www.bethinking.org/science-christianity/fine-tuning-the-multiverse-theory.htm

Hawking, A Brief History of Time, p.125.

The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life… It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at their beauty.

George Ellis
(British astrophysicist)
“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.”

Paul Davies
(British astrophysicist)
“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.”

Alan Sandage
(winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy)
“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

John O'Keefe
(NASA astronomer)
“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.”

George Greenstein
(astronomer)
“As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”

Arthur Eddington
(astrophysicist)
“The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”

Arno Penzias
(Nobel prize in physics)
“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”

Roger Penrose
(mathematician and author)
“I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.”

Tony Rothman
(physicist)
“When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it’s very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.”

Vera Kistiakowsky
(MIT physicist)
“The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.”

Stephen Hawking
(British astrophysicist)
“What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? …

Up to now, most scientists have been too occupied with the development of new theories that describe what the universe is to ask the question why?”

Alexander Polyakov
(Soviet mathematician)
“We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”

Ed Harrison
(cosmologist)
“Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God—the design argument of Paley—updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one. Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.”

Edward Milne
(British cosmologist)
“As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”

Barry Parker
(cosmologist)
“Who created these laws? There is no question but that a God will always be needed.”

Drs. Zehavi, and Dekel
(cosmologists)
“This type of universe, however, seems to require a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is in apparent conflict with ‘common wisdom’.”

Arthur L. Schawlow
(Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics)
“It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”

Henry "Fritz" Schaefer
(computational quantum chemist)
“The significance and joy in my science comes in those occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, ‘So that’s how God did it.’ My goal is to understand a little corner of God’s plan.”

Wernher von Braun
(Pioneer rocket engineer)
“I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”

Anthropic coincidences :

anthropic-principle.com

http://www.anthropic-principle.com/

Resources :

http://www.anthropic-principle.com/preprints.html#history

http://anthropic-principle.com/preprints.html

Welcome! Here you will find both popular overviews and scholarly material on everything related to observation selection effects, the anthropic principle, self-locating belief, and associated applications and paradoxes in science and philosophy.

Subject: Probability of Fine-Tuning

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6411
I think your intuitions on this matter are basically correct, Ken. I’d commend to you the work of Robin Collins, who is probably the best thinker working on these questions. I’ll include a list of references at the end of this answer. In order to calculate the probability of a constant’s being such that it leads to a life-supporting universe, we need to calculate the ratio between the range of life-permitting values and the range of values it might have, whether life-permitting or not. We can assess the range of life-permitting values by holding the laws of nature constant while altering the value of the constant which plays a role in that law. So, for example, we can figure out what would happen if we decrease or increase the force of gravity, and we discover that alterations beyond a certain range would result either in large-scale objects’ ceasing to stick together or else collapsing. That will give us an idea of the range of strength of the gravitational force that is compatible with physical life forms.

Then we compare that range with the range of values that the constant could have assumed. This is trickier, but a simple rule of thumb is to take the range to be as wide as we can see that such values are possible. There may be values that a constant could have which lie outside our ken, but so long as the range that we can see is large in comparison to the life-permitting range, then that constant’s having the value it does is improbable. For some of the constants, like the cosmological constant, the range of life permitting values is incomprehensibly tiny in comparison with the range of values we see that it could have, so that the chances of the constant’s having the value it does is virtually next to impossible.

The range itself is not fine-tuned. Rather it is the individual constant that is fine-tuned, that is to say, in order for the universe to be life-permitting the constant must fall into a very narrow life-permitting range in comparison to the range of values it could have assumed.

You’re right that detractors of design have been forced to resort to the extraordinary Many Worlds Hypothesis in an effort to explain away fine-tuning. If there is a World Ensemble of universes which are infinite in number and varying randomly in their constants and initial conditions, then by chance alone a life-permitting universe will appear in the ensemble, indeed, it will appear an infinite number of times.

Now this recourse to the World Ensemble will be in vain if it turns out that the mechanism that generates the World Ensemble must itself be fine-tuned, for then one has only kicked the problem upstairs. And, indeed, that does seem to be the case. The most popular candidate for a World Ensemble today, the inflationary multiverse, does appear to require fine-tuning. For example, M-theory, the theory which supposedly governs the multiverse, works only if there are exactly eleven dimensions—but it does nothing to explain why precisely that number of dimensions should exist.

So when your teachers or classmates pull the multiverse out of the bag, just ask them, “Isn’t the multiverse itself describable by specific physical laws? Don’t those laws themselves include constants and boundary conditions which must be fine-tuned in order for the multiverse to exist?’” It will be interesting to hear their reply!

https://calumsblog.com/apologetics/arguments-for-gods-existence/finetuning/p4/

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principle
ज्ञानकोश: - The Indological Knowledgebase

http://www.indopedia.org/Anthropic_principle.html

Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe

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

Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe

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

Design and the Anthropic Principle Dr. Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

http://www.origins.org/articles/ross_designanthropic.html

Design and the Anthropic Principle by Hugh Ross

Father Robert Spitzer: The Anthropic Principle - Theistic Implications

http://www.counterbalance.org/cosmcrea/spitzer-frame.html

Fine-tuned universe

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Fine-tuned_universe#encyclopedia

The Fundamental Numbers are Fine Tuned

http://www.churchintoronto.org/LU5.htm

Divine Design of the Universe?

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/universe2.htm

The Electric Charge of the Electron
In his best- selling book A Brief History of Time, Hawking writes:

"The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. For example if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium , or else they would not have exploded." [A Brief History of Time, p. 125] A minor difference in the electron's charge and stars wouldn't burn. There would be no burning sun at the centre of our solar system to provide life-supporting heat and light. Also there would be no supernova explosions to produce the raw materials for the formation of planets like our earth." [Ferguson, p. 94]

Why Creation of Universe is Not an Accident

http://www.scribd.com/doc/19247625/Why-Creation-of-Universe-is-Not-an-Accident

Post-Agnostic Science:How Physics Is Reviving the Argument From Design

In 1973, astronomer and cosmologist Brandon Carter (Carter 1974) delivered a lecture in which he announced an exciting new discovery: the fundamental constants of the physical world must have been very delicately fine-tuned in order to make life possible. Since that time, literally dozens of such remarkable coincidences have been discovered, the so-called "anthropic coincidences". ("Anthropic" is a Greek word meaning "tending to bring about the existence of human beings.")

Books :

By John D. Barrow, Frank J. Tipler
The anthropic cosmological principle, Volume 511

By Lizhi Fang, Shu Xian Li
Creation of the universe

By Helge Kragh
Cosmology and controversy: the historical development of two theories of the ...

By Fraser Watts
Creation: Law and Probability

By Rodney D. Holder
God, the multiverse, and everything: modern cosmology and the argument from ...

By Helge Kragh
Matter and spirit in the universe: scientific and religious preludes to ...

D. Overmann, A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization

By Roy Porter, Mary Jo Nye
The Cambridge History of Science: The modern physical and mathematical ...

By Mark H. Jones, Robert J. Lambourne, David John Adams
An introduction to galaxies and cosmology

By F. Bertola, Umberto Curi
The anthropic principle: proceedings of the second Venice ..., Volume 511

By Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Wesley Richards
The privileged planet: how our place in the cosmos is designed for discovery

By John D. Barrow, Frank J. Tipler Ph.D.
The anthropic cosmological principle, Volume 511

Swinburne, Ross, And the Cosmological Argument

http://www.scribd.com/doc/93428/Swinburne-Ross-And-the-Cosmological-Argument

Scientific papers on the cosmological constants :

DO LENSING STATISTICS RULE OUT A COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT?

How physically plausible is the cosmological constant?

Even though theoretical calculations of the cosmological constant are not fully understood, the fact remains that the vacuum energy does exist. Since gravity couples all forms of energy, the cosmological constant remains as a physically plausible part of modern cosmology.

Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/hep-th/pdf/0208/0208013v3.pdf

Some unknown agent initially started the inflaton high up on its potential, and the rest is history.

Evidence for a positive cosmological constant from flows of galaxies and distant supernovae

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v401/n6750/abs/401252a0.html

Recent observations1, 2 of high-redshift supernovae seem to suggest that the global geometry of the Universe may be affected by a 'cosmological constant', which acts to accelerate the expansion rate with time.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:58 pm; edited 89 times in total

2  Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:57 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Videos :

The God Theory

(www.thegodtheory.com) Video discusses why it is possible to believe in both science and God, a God that is compatible with the Big Bang and evolution. Is there a plausible purpose behind the Universe consistent with modern astrophysics? See http://www.thegodtheory.com

Finely Tuned Universe

"If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size."

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History Of Time, Bantam Press, London: 1988, p. 121-125

Is the Universe Too Precise to Be Randomly Formed?

Dr. William Lane Craig explains briefly how the universe is way too precise to be randomly formed. I challenge you to research this subject more.

Go to www.leestrobel.com for hundreds of other excellent FREE Christian videos.

Todd Tyszka
www.toddtyszka.com

lee strobel Dr. william lane craig debate debated debating universe too precise precision random randomly creation created formed Intelligent Design ID atheist agnostic skeptic evolution apologist apologetic apologetics big bang Creation Genesis evolution perfect precise Jesus Christ God spoke

Dr. Missler - Fine Tuning Of The Universe and Earth

http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=755cb152eeb9eeba8638

Evidence For God In The Cosmos - Fine Tuning of Constants

http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=a6c073b9a5f7041f3d27

Sample clip "Consequences of Fine-Tuning Arguments" V041

This is a low-res sample from a DVD Product available from http://www.arn.org. This program was recorded at the "Intelligent Design and the Future of Science" conference held at Biola University, April 22-24, 2004. Speakers included noted philosophers and scientists, such as Michael J. Behe, John A. Bloom, Walter Bradley, William A. Dembski, Garrett DeWeese, Guillermo Gonzales, Craig Hazen, Phillip E. Johnson, Jed Macosko, Stephen Meyer, J.P. Moreland, Fazale Rana, John Mark Reynolds, Hugh Ross, Henry "Fritz" Schaefer, III; Jonathan Wells, and others. Topics addressed recent advances in biochemistry, astrophysics, and psychology.

The Argument for God from the Fine-Tuning of the Universe

Dr. Henry Schaefer III (http://www.ccqc.uga.edu/group/Dr.Schaef er.html) provides a brief introduction to the argument for the existence of God based on the fine-tuning of the universe.

Intelligent Design - Evidence of Finetuning In The Universe

Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-li...

Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
http://www.godandscience.org/apologet...

Evidence For God In The Cosmos - Fine Tuning of Constants - video

There are no apparent reasons why the value of each individual transcendent universal constant could not have been very different than what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of any materialistic theory based on blind chance expected a fairly large amount of flexibility in the underlying natural laws for the universe, since the natural laws themselves were postulated to arise from some material basis. They "just so happen" to be at the precise unchanging values necessary to enable carbon-based life to exist in this universe. All individual constants are of such a high degree of precision as to defy comparison to the precision of the most precise man-made machine (1 part in 10^22 gravity wave detector--video.) For example, the individual cosmological constant (dark energy) is balanced to 1 part in 10^120 and the individual mass density constant is balanced to 1 part in 10^60.

Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe - Hugh Ross - video

To clearly illustrate the stunning degree of fine-tuning we are dealing with in the universe, Dr. Ross has used the illustration of adding or subtracting a single dime's worth of mass in the observable universe would have been enough of a change in mass density to make life impossible in this universe. This word picture he uses, with the dime, helps to demonstrate a number used to quantify that fine-tuning of mass for the universe, namely 1 part in 10^60 for mass density. Compared to the total mass of the observable universe, 1 part in 10^60 works out to about a tenth part of a dime, if not smaller.

Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? - Hugh Ross
http://www.reasons.org/where-cosmic-d...

Intelligent Design - The Anthropic Hypothesis

Intelligent Design - Evidence of Finetuning In The Universe

Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-li...

Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
http://www.godandscience.org/apologet...

Evidence For God In The Cosmos - Fine Tuning of Constants - video

There are no apparent reasons why the value of each individual transcendent universal constant could not have been very different than what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of any materialistic theory based on blind chance expected a fairly large amount of flexibility in the underlying natural laws for the universe, since the natural laws themselves were postulated to arise from some material basis. They "just so happen" to be at the precise unchanging values necessary to enable carbon-based life to exist in this universe. All individual constants are of such a high degree of precision as to defy comparison to the precision of the most precise man-made machine (1 part in 10^22 gravity wave detector--video.) For example, the individual cosmological constant (dark energy) is balanced to 1 part in 10^120 and the individual mass density constant is balanced to 1 part in 10^60.

Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe - Hugh Ross - video

To clearly illustrate the stunning degree of fine-tuning we are dealing with in the universe, Dr. Ross has used the illustration of adding or subtracting a single dime's worth of mass in the observable universe would have been enough of a change in mass density to make life impossible in this universe. This word picture he uses, with the dime, helps to demonstrate a number used to quantify that fine-tuning of mass for the universe, namely 1 part in 10^60 for mass density. Compared to the total mass of the observable universe, 1 part in 10^60 works out to about a tenth part of a dime, if not smaller.

Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? - Hugh Ross
http://www.reasons.org/where-cosmic-d...

Intelligent Design - The Anthropic Hypothesis

The Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and The Mass Of The Universe

Anthropic Principle - God Created The Universe - Michael Strauss - video

Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-li...

Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
http://www.godandscience.org/apologet...

Evidence For God In The Cosmos - Fine Tuning of Constants - video

To clearly illustrate the stunning degree of fine-tuning we are dealing with in the universe, Dr. Ross has used the illustration of adding or subtracting a single dime's worth of mass in the observable universe would have been enough of a change in mass density to make life impossible in this universe. This word picture he uses, with the dime, helps to demonstrate a number used to quantify that fine-tuning of mass for the universe, namely 1 part in 10^60 for mass density. Compared to the total mass of the observable universe, 1 part in 10^60 works out to about a tenth part of a dime, if not smaller.

Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? - Hugh Ross
http://www.reasons.org/where-cosmic-d...

Intelligent Design - The Anthropic Hypothesis

The Cosmological and Fine-Structure Constants

Physicist David Goodstein, and astrophysicists Neil deGrasse Tyson and Roger Blandford briefly discuss the renewed interest in Einstein's cosmological constant, as well as recent evidence that the fine-structure constant might actually be changing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmolog...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-str...

The complete video of this discussion can be viewed here:
http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/d...

Precise fine-tuning of the universe suggests design
Science tells us that life-prohibiting universes are vastly more probable that life-permitting universes. Scientists have identified over 70 physical constants that must be fine-tuned to an incredible degree for life to exist. This is one reason why I believe in a Creator. This video discusses this rationale in brief while addressing some of the objections that skeptics raise.

Thought-provoking challenges to cosmic fine-tuning
In one of my most popular videos, I discussed the cosmic fine-tuning in the universe and how this indicates that the universe was designed. Naturally, this video drew a lot of responses. Many of these responses were rather foolish (e.g. "Evolution can explain the fine-tuning of the universe!" or "The universe is HUGE! That explains it all"). Some of the challenges raised were much more substantial though, and not so easily dismissed.

In this video, I offer my answers to these more thought-provoking challenges. I kinda enjoy this. I don't care much for "discussion" where respondents simply sling mud or don't make a real attempt to understand the issues. That's just a huge waste of time, and unlike some people, I don't live on the Internet.

However, when people (especially skeptics!) pose careful, thought-provoking challenges in a respectful way, then I welcome such discussion. I wish I had the time to respond to them much more frequently, but I'm glad for these opportunities nonetheless.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:18 am; edited 23 times in total

3  Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:02 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~asuncion/fine_tuned.htm
Did the universe come about solely through chance and natural processes? Or was it designed to be hospitable to life?

One of the most compelling evidences for the idea of cosmological intelligent design is the fact that the universe is finely tuned. In other words, the universe's physical constants are precisely the right values that are needed in order to sustain life.

Consider the gravitational force constant, G. If you have taken a physics course, you may remember a familiar equation for gravitational force: F = G * m1 * m2 / r^2, where G = 6.67 * 10^-11. If G were slightly tweaked, complex life could not exist.

Other examples of finely tuned parameters are the strong nuclear force constant, weak nuclear force constant, electromagnetic force constant, and ratio of electron to proton mass. If these parameters were even slightly smaller or slightly larger, chemistry (as we know it) would not be possible, and molecules would probably not even exist. It would be almost impossible for life of any kind to be sustained in these conditions.

There are three possible explanations for this extraordinary universal fine-tuning: 1) there exists an underlying mechanism that correctly sets these parameters; 2) it happened by sheer luck; 3) it happened by intelligent design.

A January 2006 Nature article titled “Our Universe: Outrageous Fortune” highlights a shift in sentiment among scientists regarding the cause of this fine-tuning. According to the article, “[s]tring theorists and cosmologists are increasingly turning to dumb luck as an explanation” since the search for an underlying mechanism for fine-tuning has been unfruitful.

However, the probability of randomly selecting the correct values for these parameters is so infinitesimally small that it is unreasonable to think that sheer luck alone can be the explanation for cosmological fine-tuning.

In order to increase the probabilistic resources, some scientists have been driven to suggest that there exist millions of universes that are parallel to our own universe but have different laws and constants. Even though the probability of fine-tuning is astronomically low, a fine-tuned universe could hypothetical emerge if chance has an enormous ensemble of universes at its disposal.

In reality, this concept of a multiverse is a metaphysical postulate, since only one universe is scientifically observable, and that universe is our own. The hypothetical existence of millions of universes must be assumed by faith. Charles Townes, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, suggests that the entire postulate is fantastic:

“Some scientists argue that ‘well, there's an enormous number 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 there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that's why it has come out so specially” (UCBerkeleyNews interview, June 2005).

Scientists have not found an underlying mechanism that can explain fine-tuning. Sheer luck cannot be invoked without assuming the metaphysical concept of the existence of millions of universes. The only other alternative is cosmological intelligent design, which is the idea that a Designer has intelligently calibrated the constants in order to sustain life.

A critic may ask, “Doesn't intelligent design appeal to a metaphysical cause?” Actually, the concept of intelligent design is no more metaphysical than the hypothetical concept that millions of universes exist. And Ockham's Razor would favor intelligent design over the concept of an elaborate multiverse, since intelligent design is more direct as an explanation.

If one accepts that this physical universe had a beginning, then one is forced to appeal to a metaphysical cause. For how can there be any physical explanation for the origin of the physical universe?

In addition to the fine-tuning of constants, another positive evidence for cosmological intelligent design is the simplicity and beauty of the physics equations themselves. Einstein once said:

"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."

This simplicity and comprehensibility of physical laws suggests that the universe is more than just a mere fluke of nature, since we would not expect sheer luck to produce mathematically elegant and simple laws.

From the current amount of scientific evidence, we can reliably infer that cosmological intelligent design is the most rational explanation for fine-tuning in the universe. Let's be grateful, for without fine-tuning, we would not exist.

Fine-tuning, and the God of the Gap's argument

http://biologos.org/questions/god-of-the-gaps/

Unlike a God-of-the-gaps argument, the argument for fine-tuning uses science without divine action to reveal the impeccable precision of our Universe. Fine-tuning is described in terms of physical constants and the initial conditions of our universe. Fine-tuning does not try to draw attention to where science has failed, but rather emphasizes how science has revealed the intricate balance of the universe.

One might argue that science could potentially explain the origins of these delicately balanced features, but there are two important things to keep in mind. First, it is very unlikely that a scientific theory could explain away the improbabilities of our Universe without raising other improbabilities. Second, an argument for fine-tuning is unlike a God-of-the-gaps argument in that it is not intended to prove God’s existence. While it is true that the fine-tuning of the Universe adds credence to belief in a creator, such recent scientific findings could hardly be called upon as the basis or justification of the long history of theistic belief. While the fine-tuning of the Universe does indeed lead many people to consider the possibility of God’s existence, the fact that science cannot disprove God’s existence assures us that it also cannot prove it. Instead, fine-tuning can be understood as a feature of the universe that is accordant with belief in a creator. A deeper scientific explanation of these features — albeit highly unlikely — would not ruin its usefulness as a pointer to God.

http://biologos.org/questions/fine-tuning/

"A bottom-up approach to cosmology either requires one to postulate an initial state of the Universe that is carefully ﬁne-tuned — as if prescribed by an outside agency — or it requires one to invoke the notion of eternal inﬂation, a mighty speculative notion to the generation of many different Universes, which prevents one from predicting what a typical observer would see." — Stephen Hawking2

In the 1950s, Cambridge University astronomer Fred Hoyle recognized the precision of the energy match up, called carbon resonance, and made the following observation:

"A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect 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."[/justify]

Last edited by elshamah888 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:30 am; edited 6 times in total

4  Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:38 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Extreme Fine Tuning - the Cosmological Constant

http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/lab/6562/apologetics/cosmoconstant.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20090730174024/http://geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/6562/apologetics/cosmoconstant.html

The recent Nature study popularized in the press regarding the nature of the universe has confirmed some of the original studies involving supernovae type 1.1 The supernovae results suggested that there was a "springiness" to space, called the "cosmological constant," that causes the universe to expand at a faster rate the more it has expanded. Often described as an "anti-gravity" force, it doesn't really oppose matter, but only affects matter as it is associated with the fabric of space.

The balloon-borne microwave telescope (called "Boomerang") examined the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang.2 The angular power spectrum showed a peak value at exactly the value predicted by the inflationary hot Big Bang model dominated by cold dark matter. This model predicts a smaller second peak, which seems to be there, but cannot be fully resolved with the initial measurements. The presence of the second peak would all but seal the reliability of the Big Bang model as the mechanism by which the universe came into existence.

How does this study impact the Christian faith? The Bible says that the universe was created in finite time from that which is not visible.3 In addition, the Bible describes an expanding universe model. The Bible describes the Creator being personally involved in the design of the universe, so that we would expect to see this kind of design in His creation.4

How does this discovery impact atheists? Those who favor naturalism had long sought to find the simplest explanation for the universe, hoping to avoid any evidence for design. A Big Bang model in which there was just enough matter to equal the critical density to account for a flat universe would have provided that. However, for many years, it has been evident that there is less than half of the amount of matter in the universe to account for a flat universe. A cosmological constant would provide an energy density to make up for the missing matter density, but would require an extreme amount of fine tuning. The supernovae studies demonstrated that there was an energy density to the universe (but did not define the size of this energy density), and the recent Boomerang study demonstrated that this energy density is exactly what one would expect to get a flat universe. How finely tuned must this energy density be to get a flat universe? One part in 10120,5 which is:

1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Atheists see a conflict because this level of design is something that one would not expect by chance from a universe that began through a purely naturalistic mechanism. "Common wisdom" is common only to those who must exclude a supernatural explanation for the creation of the universe. In fact, a purely naturalistic cause for the universe is extremely unlikely and, therefore, illogical. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,6 and that He created the universe.7 When a model doesn't work, scientists must be willing to give up their model for a model that fits the facts better. In this case, the supernatural design model fits the data much better than naturalistic random chance model.

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5 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:00 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.veritas.org/media/talks/309

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/is-there-scientific-evidence-for-an-intelligent-designer/

Evidence #1: The design of the universe

1. The correspondence of natural phenomena to mathematical law
All observations of physical phenomena in the universe, such as throwing a ball up in the air, are described by a few simple, elegant mathematical equations.
2. The fine-tuning of physical constants and rations between constants in order to provide a life-permitting universe

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.
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 and ratios: (there are more examples in the lecture)

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.

3. Fine-tuning to allow a habitable planet

A number of factors must be fine-tuned in order to have a planet that supports life
Initial estimates predicted abundant life in the universe, but revised estimates now predict that life is almost certainly unique in the galaxy, and probably unique in the universe.
Even though there are lots of stars in the universe, the odds are against any of them supporting complex life.
Here are just a few of the minimal requirements for habitability: must be a single star solar system, in order to support stable planetary orbits, the planet must be the right distance from the sun in order to have liquid water at the surface, the planet must sufficient mass in order to retain an atmosphere, etc.
Evidence #2: The origin of the universe

1. The progress of science has shown that the entire physical universe came into being out of nothing (= “the big bang”). It also shows that the cause of this creation event is non-physical and non-temporal. The cause is supernatural.

Atheism prefers an eternal universe, to get around the problem of a Creator having to create the universe.
Discovery #1: Observations of galaxies moving away from one another confirms that the universe expanded from a single point.
Discovery #2: Measurements of the cosmic background radiation confirms that the universe exploding into being.
Discovery #3: Predictions of elemental abundances prove that the universe is not eternal.
Discovery #4:The atheism-friendly steady-state model and oscillating model were both falsified by the evidence.
And there were other discoveries as well, mentioned in the lecture.
Evidence #3: The origin of life

1. The progress of science has shown that the simplest living organism contains huge amounts of biological information, similar to the Java code I write all day at work. This is a problem for atheists, because the sequence of instructions in a living system has to come together all at once, it cannot have evolved by mutation and selection – because there was no replication in place prior to the formation of that first living system!

Living systems must support certain minimum life functions: processing energy, storing information, and replicating.
There needs to be a certain amount of complexity in the living system that can perform these minimum functions.
But on atheism, the living system needs to be simple enough to form by accident in a pre-biotic soup, and in a reasonable amount of time.
The minimal functionality in a living system is a achieved by DNA, RNA and enzymes. DNA and RNA are composed of sequences of proteins, which are in turn composed of sequences of amino acids.
Consider the problems of building a chain of 100 amino acids

The amino acids must be left-handed only, but left and right kinds are equally abundant in nature. How do you sort out the right-handed ones?
The amino acids must be bound together using peptide bonds. How do you prevent other types of bonds?
Each link of the amino acid chain needs to be carefully chosen such that the completed chain with fold up into a protein. How do you choose the correct amino acid for each link from the pool of 20 different kinds found in living systems?
In every case, a human or other intelligence could solve these problems by doing what intelligent agents do best: making choices.
But who is there to make the choices on atheism?
The best current atheistic theory is that unobservable aliens seeded the earth with life.

The problem of the origin of life is not a problem of chemistry, it is a problem of engineering. Every part of car functionality can be understood and described using the laws of physics and chemistry. But an intelligence is still needed in order to assemble the components into a system that has the minimal requirements for a functioning vehicle.

Conclusion

In all three areas, scientists expected that the data would be consistent with atheism. First, scientists expected that life could exist even if the physical constants and ratios were altered. The progress of science said NO. Second, scientists expected that the universe would be eternal. The progress of science said NO. Third, scientists expected that the origin of life would be simple. The progress of science said NO.

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6 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:32 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Cosmic fine-tuning: the "anthropic coincidences"

http://www.unm.edu/~hdelaney/finetuning.html

Second BIG challenge to naturalism - vanishingly low probability that so many fundamental properties of the universe could be precisely as required for life to exist.

There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life.
P. Davies Int. J. of Astrobiology 2(2): 115, (2003).

1) Explosive power of the creation event precisely matched to power of gravity; density precisely matched with critical density, cosmological constant

If the force of explosion was only slightly higher, the universe would only consist of gas without stars, galaxies, or planets. Without stars, galaxies and planets, life could not exist. The matching had to be to the remarkable precision of one part in 1055. ... Some physicists believe that one explanation can be found in a model of an inflationary epoch at about 10-35 of the first second where a short period of accelerated expansion caused the perfect balance between gravity and the rate of expansion and density and critical density. This could explain the very flat characteristics of the universe given by these precise matchings, but the inflation required in this model would itself require an extraordinary fine tuning to yield the precisely balanced result. If the inflationary model is true, the inflationary epoch would contain enormous fine tuning and the precision of values issue is only removed one step.

answer of infidels to this book :

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/graham_oppy/overman.html

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 at the cosmological constant."
S. Weinberg, Skeptical Inquirer, Sept./Oct. 2001, pg 67.

At the Nature of Nature conference at Baylor Unviersity, April 2000, Weinberg stated that the cosmological constant appears to be fine-tuned to 1 part in 10120.

In response to a question as to whether inflation eliminates the need for fine-tuning, Alan Guth commented:

"As far as finely tuning things, there are still two important fine tuning problem that are not solved. One is the problem that's called the cosmological constant problem. It's basically the problem of why the energy density of the vacuum is either zero or very close to being zero. Current models of physics require fine tuning in order to make the energy of the vacuum turn out to be either zero or very, very small."

Alan Guth, quoted by F. Heeren in "Show Me God", pg 387.

A straightforward estimation suggests that empty space should weigh several orders of magnitude of orders of magnitude (no misprint here!) more than it does. It "should" be much denser than a neutron star, for example. ... To me, the discrepancy concerning the density of empty space is the most mysterious fact of all of physical science, the fact with the greatest potential to rock the foundations. We're obviously missing some major insight here.

Frank Wilczek, Physics Today, Oct. 2003 pg 10-11.

At present it is clearly too early to choose one cosmological model over the other. It is getting increasingly difficult to find accord with a flat universe without a cosmolgocial constant. The question then becomes: Which fundamental fine-tuning problem is one more willing to worry about, the flatness problem or the cosmological constant problem? The latter involves a fine-tuning of over 120 orders of magnitude, if the cosmological constant is nonzero and comparable to the density of clustered matter today, while the former involves a fine-tuning of perhaps only 60 orders of magnitude, if one arbitrarily fixes the energy density of the universe at the Planck time to be slightly less than the closure density.

L. M. Krauss, The Astrophysical Journal, 1998, 501: p 465.

Although Einstein dismissed the cosmological constant as a personal blunder, quantum mechanics makes it obligatory. Unfortunately, even the best quantum "mechanics" have failed to produce a sensible prediction for L. The sum of zero-point energies diverges due to short-wavelength modes. Truncating at an energy scale beyond which we can appeal to physics ignorance illustrates the enormity of the problem: for a 100-GeV cutoff, WL - 1055. This disparity is the greatest embarrassment in all of theoretical physics.

Michael S. Turner, Physics Today, April, 2003.

"This is an incredibly highly ordered event, extremely highly ordered, its just the opposite of a chaotic event."

Eric Carlson, Senior astronomer at the Adler Planetarium, in an interview with Fred Hereen shown in the video "Scientific Evidence For God"

2) ripples in the cosmic microwave background

The pattern demonstrates that the event was not a haphazard event. The fluctuations had to be just as they were for galaxies to form and life to be possible.

"If your religious, it's like looking at God"

George Smoot, quoted by Milton Rothman in Free Inquiry, vol 13, no 1, 1992.1993 pg 12.

"The big bang, the most cataclysmic event we can imagine, on closer inspection appears finely orchestrated"

G. Smoot and Davidson, "Wrinkles in Time", 1993, 135.

"the most important discovery of the century, if not of all time"

S. Hawking quoted by G. Smoot and Davidson, "Wrinkles in Time" 1993, pg 283.

"The first loose end has to do with the presence of galaxies and large-scale structure. ... these huge structures could not exist today unless the seeds for their formation had been present in the early universe. However, the standard Big Bang theory says nothing at all about how such seeds might have come to exist. The only explanation the theory allows is that they were "already there" at the instant of creation and were not destroyed by the subsequent heat. ...
Finally, our first loose end, concerning the origin of the seeds around which galaxies and larger structures grew, is tied up quite easily. ... Thus inflation says that the seeds for galaxies arose naturally from the amplification of tiny quantum ripples.

J. Bennett, On the Cosmic Horizon, pg 124, 130.

Inflation is a wonderfully attractive, logically compelling idea, but very basic challenges remain. Can we be specific about the cause of inflation, and ground it in explicit, well-founded physics? To be concrete, can we calculate the correct amplitude of fluctuations convincingly? Existing implementations actually have a problem on that score; getting the amplitude sufficiently small takes some nice adjustment.

Frank Wilczek, Physics Today, Oct. 2003 pg 10.

Davies, Ellis, and others argue that such inflation would itself have needed very accurate tuning to occur at all and to leave roughness of just the right amount to lead to galaxies. Two components of an inflation-driving "cosmological constant" might have had to balance each other with an accuracy of better than one part in 1050.

John Leslie, "The Anthropic Principle today", in Modern Cosmology & Philosphy, pg 291.

In response to a question as to whether inflation eliminates the need for fine-tuning, Alan Guth commented:
"As far as finely tuning things, there are still two important fine tuning problems that are not solved. ... The second problem is more directly related to inflation. The cosmic background radiation is uniform in temperature to about one part in a hundred thousand. In order to get these nonuniformities to be as small as what we observe, we have to arrange that certain numbers that describe the underlying particle physics be very, very small, for reasons which we do not, at the present time, understand."

Alan Guth, quoted by F. Hereen in "Show Me God", pg 387.

3). the existence of elements necessary for life

"How is it that common elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen happened to have just the right kind of atomic structure that they needed to combine to make the molecules upon which life depends? It is almost as though the universe had been consciously designed."

Richard Morris, The Fate of the Universe, 1982, 155.

"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."

Fred Hoyle, "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections", Annual Reviews of Astonomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982), 16.

"Without such accidents water could not exist as a liquid, chains of carbon atoms could not form complex organic molecules, and hydrogen atoms could not form breakable bridges between molecules"

Freeman Dyson, Disturbing the Universe,1979, 393.

4). ratio of mass of proton to mass of electron (1,836)

If this ratio were slightly different there would be no chemistry, and no life. S. Hawking cites this example as one of the many fundamental numbers in nature, and he says
"The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life".

S. Hawking, A Brief History of Time,1988, pg 125.

5). the magnitude of each of the four fundamental forces

"The bulk of the carbon in our universe is produced in the triple-alpha process in helium-burning red giant stars. We calculated the change of the triple-alpha reaction rate in a microscopic12-nucleon model of the 12C nucleus and looked for the effects of minimal variations of the strengths of the underlying interactions. ... We conclude that a change of more than 0.5% in the strength of the strong interaction or more than 4% change in the strength of the Coulomb force would destroy either nearly all C or all O in every star.

H. Oberhummer, A. Csoto, H. Schlattl, SCIENCE 289, July 7, 2000, pg 88.

"Every one of these forces must have just the right strength if there is to be any possibility of life. For example, if electrical forces were stronger than they are, then no element heavier than hydrogen could form. ... But electrical repulsion cannot be too weak. If it were, protons would combine too easily, and the sun. ... (assuming that it had somehow managed to exist up until now) would explode like a thermonuclear bomb."

Richard Morris, The Fate of the Universe, 1982, pg 153.

"If the strong nuclear force were even 0.3 % stronger or 2% weaker the universe would never be able to support life."

Barrow and Tipler, Anthropic Cosmological Principle, 318-327, 354-359.

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7 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:24 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.physics.sfsu.edu/~lwilliam/sota/anth/anthropic_principle_index.html

http://digg.com/space/The_Biocentric_Universe_Theory

The Anthropic Principle was proposed in Poland in 1973, during a special two-week series of synopsia commemorating Copernicus’s 500th birthday. It was proposed by Brandon Carter, who, on Copernicus’s birthday, had the audacity to proclaim that humanity did indeed hold a special place in the Universe, an assertion that is the exact opposite of Copernicus’s now universally accepted theory.
Carter was not, however, claiming that the Universe was our own personal playground, made specifically with humanity in mind. The version of the Anthropic Principle that he proposed that day, which is now referred to as the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP) stated only that by our very existence as carbon-based intelligent creatures, we impose a sort of selection effect on the Universe. For example, in a Universe where just one of the fundamental constants that govern nature was changed - say, the strength of gravity - we wouldn’t be here to wonder why gravity is the strength it is. The following is the official definition of the WAP:

“Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP): the observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on the values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirement that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so.” (The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by John Barrow and Frank Tipler, p. 16)
Later, Carter also proposed the Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP), which states that the Universe had to bring humanity into being. This version is much more teleological, if not theological, and is of a highly speculative nature. Nonetheless, Carter had scientific reasons to propose it. The definition of the SAP) is as follows:

“Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP): the Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in it’s history.” (The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, p. 21)
In addition to the WAP and SAP, there are the Participatory and Final Anthropic Principles. The Participatory Anthropic Principle states not only that the Universe had to develop humanity (or some other intelligent, information-gathering life form) but that we are necessary to it’s existence, as it takes an intelligent observer to collapse the Universe’s waves and probabilities from superposition into relatively concrete reality. The Final Anthropic Principle states that once the Universe has brought intelligence into being, it will never die out. These two are also very speculative.

Stephen Hawking on the Anthropic Principle

http://www.emmanueldowntown.org/steven-hawking-on-the-anthropic-principle.html

the anthropic principle refers to a collection of scientific insights indicating that the possibility of the evolution of carbon-based life is dependent upon a very delicate balance among the basic forces of nature and also on very specific initial circumstances for the universe.
An example of one of these scientific insights is set out by Stephen Hawking in the following way: "Why is the universe so close to the dividing line between collapsing again and expanding indefinitely? In order to be as close as we are now, the rate of early expansion had to be chosen fantastically accurately. If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been less than one part in 10 to the 10th power, the universe would have collapsed after a few million years. If it had been greater by one part in 10 to the 10th power, the universe would have been essentially empty after a few million years. In neither case would it have lasted long enough for life to develop. Thus one either has to appeal to the anthropic principle or find some physical explanation of why the universe is the way it is." Hawking is saying that a difference of one part in ten billion in the rate of cosmic expansion would have been enough to preclude the emergence of life.
This is one of the scientific insights that make up the anthropic principle. There are others. The question remains: What is the best explanation of these anthropic phenomena?

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8 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:06 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE: A PRECISE PLAN FOR HUMANITY

http://www.reasons.org/philosophyreligion/worldviews/anthropic-principle-precise-plan-humanity

Human beings climb. Always have, always will. First hills, then mountains, then pinnacles so high they're called "death zones." That's as high as legs could carry them, but not high enough. So people invented balloons, blimps, airplanes, and spacecraft, the higher the better—to a point.

At first, scaling heights made people feel big and powerful. Then they began to feel small, utterly insignificant even, in the hugeness of the cosmos. Today, ironically, the same forces that once shrank humanity's perception of himself now magnify him beyond the wildest imagination, yet with no basis for pride and every reason for humility. Those forces, insatiable curiosity, and capacity for inquiry have lifted humans to a vista, an insight called the anthropic principle, that carries their gaze to the edge of the universe and beyond.

The anthropic principle says that the universe appears "designed" for the sake of human life. More than a century of astronomy and physics research yields this unexpected observation: the emergence of humans and human civilization requires physical constants, laws, and properties that fall within certain narrow ranges—and this truth applies not only to the cosmos as a whole but also to the galaxy, planetary system, and planet humans occupy. To state the principle more dramatically, a preponderance of physical evidence points to humanity as the central theme of the cosmos.

Support for the anthropic principle comes from an unwavering and unmistakable trend line within the data: the more astronomers learn about the universe and the requirements of human existence, the more severe the limitations they find governing the structure and development of the universe to accommodate those requirements. In other words, additional discoveries are leading to more indicators of large-scale and small-scale fine-tuning.

In 1961, astronomers acknowledged just two characteristics of the universe as "fine-tuned" to make physical life possible.1 The more obvious one was the ratio of the gravitational force constant to the electromagnetic force constant. It cannot differ from its value by any more than one part in 1040 (one part in ten thousand trillion trillion trillion) without eliminating the possibility for life. Today, the number of known cosmic characteristics recognized as fine-tuned for life—any conceivable kind of physical life—stands at thirty-eight.2 Of these, the most sensitive is the space energy density (the self-stretching property of the universe). Its value cannot vary by more than one part in 10120 and still allow for the kinds of stars and planets physical life requires.3

Evidence of specific preparation for human existence shows up in the characteristics of the solar system, as well. In the early 1960s astronomers could identify just a few solar system characteristics that required fine-tuning for human life to be possible. By the end of 2001, astronomers had identified more than 150 finely-tuned characteristics.4 In the 1960s the odds that any given planet in the universe would possess the necessary conditions to support intelligent physical life were shown to be less than one in ten thousand.5 In 2001 those odds shrank to less than one in a number so large it might as well be infinity (10173).6

An account of scientific evidence in support of the anthropic principle fills several books.7 The authors' religious beliefs run the gamut from agnosticism to deism to theism, but virtually every research astronomer alive today agrees that the universe manifests exquisite fine-tuning for life.8

THE REVOLT AGAINST A REVOLUTION
This view of humanity as the focal point of the cosmos represents the historic overthrow of an idea rooted in an ancient revolution, the Copernican revolution. For the first fifteen centuries of the Christian era, Western science assumed that Earth's inhabitants, humans in particular, occupied the central position in the universe. When Nicolaus Copernicus revived the ancient Greek proof that the Sun, rather than Earth, holds the central position in Earth's system of planets, a new scientific perspective took root.9 From this perspective, the Copernican principle, emerged the philosophical notion that humans occupy no privileged or exceptional position in the universe. For the past four hundred years, this principle has been the reigning paradigm of science and society. And, during the past forty years, an extension of it, the mediocrity principle, has grown increasingly prevalent. The mediocrity principle asserts that humanity is not special in any way and that human origin and development have likely been duplicated on billions of other sites throughout the cosmos.

The anthropic principle, emerging almost simultaneously with the mediocrity principle, emphatically contradicts it, exposing a distortion of Copernican thinking. The anthropic principle makes this obvious and crucial distinction: while humanity's place in the universe is not spatially central, it does not necessarily follow that humanity's place is not central, or special, in any way.

Few people yet realize that current cosmological research demonstrates a physical universe with no spatial center. All the matter and energy of the universe reside on the three-dimensional surface of the expanding four-dimensional universe. Just as all Earth's cities reside on the planet's two-dimensional surface and none can be identified as geographically central to all others, likewise none of the galaxies, stars, and planets hold the center position on the cosmic 3-D surface.

In one sense, the anthropic principle is possible because Copernicus was right. What makes humanity's location in the cosmos unique, or special, is that Earth resides away from the center of any astronomical system, such as Earth's galaxy. Humanity lives in a unique location—and moment—in cosmic space-time that allows not only for the possibility of human existence but also for the opportunity to discover that human existence represents a miracle, a special case.

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9 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:07 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Earth's particular location gives humans a special window to the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe itself. In virtually any other galaxy or at any other location in Earth's galaxy and at every other time in cosmic history, the view to the surrounding area would be so unstable and/or so occluded that the form, structure, size, and other characteristics of the galaxy and universe would remain obscure to any sentient observers.10 Earth's creatures enjoy a special view to the splendors of the cosmos. Nowhere else and at no other time in the universe would such glory be visible.11

The importance of the anthropic principle can hardly be overstated. It returns legitimacy and respectability to the human species as a worthy, even primary, subject of scientific research. Further, the anthropic principle has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift arguably as profound as any shift in human remembrance.

COSMIC ANTICIPATION
As early as the 1980s, physicist Paul Davies concluded that the physical evidence for design of the universe and of Earth for human life could rightly be described as overwhelming.12 Today, no physicist or astronomer who has researched the question denies that the universe, the Milky Way galaxy, and the solar system possess compelling hallmarks of intentional design for human life. Many researchers have commented over the past twenty years that it seems the universe "knew" humans were coming.

Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term "anthropic principle" (1974),13 noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years "preparing" for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).14 Carter formalized this enormous imbalance between the time required to produce the possibility for human life and the brevity of the species' (potential) survival as the "anthropic principle inequality."15

In response, some researchers speculated that the human species might represent an anomaly, an exception to the rule (e.g., a late bloomer or a more fragile species) among many possible intelligent life forms elsewhere in the cosmos. However, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions.16 Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of "just right" conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.

Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth's rotation period lengthens, Earth's plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth's atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.17

These figures demonstrate that the inequality is extreme. The survival time for advanced intelligent physical life is only a millionth as long as the time required to produce the conditions necessary for its survival.

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10 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:07 pm

Another British mathematical physicist, Roger Penrose, was among the first to give voice to a philosophical conclusion: the extremely high level of fine-tuning astronomers and physicists discern powerfully suggests a purpose behind the universe.18 That the design is so focused on providing a home for humanity implies that a significant, even central, part of the purpose for the universe is anthropic. Specifically, the universe was created for the express benefit of humanity.

Given the awesome capacities necessary to create and design the universe, the purpose for humanity must be significant indeed. Further, given that human survivability is cosmically brief means that humanity's purpose can and must be fulfilled quickly. The rapid fulfillment of a profoundly significant purpose for humanity—that's the message of the Bible. No other "revelation" makes such perfect sense of everything humanity observes and experiences.

PURPOSE, DESTINY, AND HOPE
Distinguished astrophysicists Lawrence Krauss and Glenn Starkman recently analyzed the ultimate consequences of the measured self-stretching property of the universe.19 They deduced that the universe from now on will expand at a faster and faster rate. This exponentially increasing cosmic expansion means that astronomers will see less and less of the universe as time goes on. Thus, knowledge of the universe will decrease with time. Eventually, the cosmic expansion will be so rapid that intelligent beings will lose the capacity to draw adequate energy for work from the heat flow of the universe. All forms of knowledge, then, will necessarily decrease. Inevitably, heat flow will be so tiny that all metabolic reactions will cease, and with their ceasing, all possibility for physical life will end. "Consciousness is eventually lost."20

Krauss and Starkman's response—an expression of despair—betrays their presumption that humanity's destiny must lie within this universe. An important aspect of the biblical message is that God has an existence and a plan for humanity beyond the confines of the cosmos. His plan involves the cosmos but does not end there. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God reveals His plan to prepare those humans for a paradise vastly superior to anything Earth can offer, a new creation completely beyond the physics and dimensions of the universe.

Therefore, the biblical basis for purpose, destiny, and hope supersedes the limitations, even predicts the limitations and cessation, of the universe. The anthropic principle becomes personal, however, with the commonsense observation that human beings universally and uniquely yearn for a sense of destiny and purpose. Human beings stay alive not just by the powerful instinct to survive possessed by all living creatures, but by a unique and universal awareness that they exist for a reason beyond mere physical survival.

THE CHRIST CONNECTION
Those people who need hard data to affirm their sense of destiny can find it. The space-time theorems of general relativity prove that an Entity transcending matter, energy, space, and time is the cause of the universe in which humanity lives.21 Of all the gods, forces, or principles that people have proposed throughout human history to explain the existence and operation of the universe, only the God of the Bible is consistent with the characteristics of the cause established in these space-time theorems.22 Only the Bible predicts and explains the anthropic principle.

True to their inquisitive and skeptical nature, some scientists and philosophers have challenged the validity of the anthropic principle and certainly of its implications for the Christian worldview and faith. Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan argued that the design of such a vast cosmos for such an infinitesimal creature seems wasteful, thus inconsistent with the character of the Christian's all-wise, all-powerful God.23 Such a God, they imply, would have fulfilled His purpose of providing humanity a home by creating just one planet in one planetary system in a relatively tiny and short-lived cosmos.

This argument fails to consider, however, that purpose governs what a person (or God) does as opposed to what he can do. Given the physics of the universe, the laws and properties for which the Bible reveals a specific divine purpose (see "The Physics of Sin," page 00), the universe is the necessary size and age. A universe either slightly less massive or more massive than what researchers observe would be unsuitable for human life.24 In a human frame of reference, God's provision of such an enormous universe so carefully "machined" for billions of years for human benefit makes a compelling statement about His care for humanity—and His purposefulness.

Some skeptics have attempted to trivialize the anthropic principle with the assertion that humans simply would not be here to observe the universe unless the extremely unlikely did somehow happen to take place. British philosopher Richard Swinburne responded to this notion with a simple illustration.25 He points out that the survivor of a firing squad execution would not attribute his or her survival to a lucky accident. Rather, the survivor would conclude that either the rifles were loaded with blanks or that each of the executioners missed on purpose. The measured fine-tuning of the universe tells us that Someone purposed for humans to exist for a certain period of time.

Another argument claims that there is nothing remarkable about the fine-tuning of the universe if an infinitude of universes exist, each with a different set of characteristics. In this case, chance could dictate that at least one would manifest the characteristics necessary for human life.

The fallacy in this appeal represents a form of the gambler's fallacy. A gambler might conclude that an ordinary coin could land on heads a hundred thousand consecutive times if he rationalizes that 2100,000 coins exist (though he cannot see them), each being flipped 100,000 times by 2100,000 coin flippers. Statistically, one of these coins could come up heads 100,000 times. Such thinking is considered fallacious, however, because the gambler has no evidence for the existence of the other coins, coin flippers, or distinct results. With a sample size of one, the only rational conclusion to draw is that someone "fixed" the coin to land on heads. In the case of the universe, no evidence can be found for the existence of other universes. In fact, the principles of relativity dictate that the space-time envelope of a universe that contains observers can never overlap that of any other universe(s). Thus, the sample size for human observers is one and always will be one, and the conclusion that Someone purposed, or fixed, the universe for human existence remains compelling.

TESTING THE CONCLUSION
The anthropic principle invites testing. A skeptic not yet persuaded that the fine-tuning of the universe reflects more than a lucky coin toss can choose to examine the universe, the "coin," more closely. If the anthropic principle and its implications for transcendent design are false, research will discover declining evidence for fine-tuning and existing evidence will be erased by new data. If, on the other hand, the anthropic principle and its implications are true, research will yield an increase in both the number of fine-tuned characteristics and the degree of fine-tuning. Based on the accumulating evidence, to bet on the anthropic principle seems safer than taking another breath. The anthropic principle energizes humanity's climb on the pinnacles of Truth.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:31 am; edited 3 times in total

11 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:28 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Design Evidences in the Cosmos

Table 1: Evidence for the fine-tuning of the universe

a chart of the constances :

http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

http://doesgodexist.com/Charts/EvidenceForDesignInTheUniverse.html

strong nuclear force constant
if larger: no hydrogen; nuclei essential for life would be unstable
if smaller: no elements other than hydrogen

weak nuclear force constant
if larger: too much hydrogen converted to helium in big bang, hence too much heavy element material made by star burning; no expulsion of heavy elements from stars
if smaller: too little helium produced from big bang, hence too little heavy element material made by star burning; no expulsion of heavy elements from stars

gravitational force constant
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn up quickly and unevenly|
if smaller: stars would be so cool that nuclear fusion would not ignite, thus no heavy element production

electromagnetic force constant
if larger: insufficient chemical bonding; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission
if smaller: insufficient chemical bonding

ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
if larger: no stars less than 1.4 solar masses, hence short and uneven stellar burning
if smaller: no stars more than 0.8 solar masses, hence no heavy element production

ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: insufficient chemical bonding
if smaller: insufficient chemical bonding

ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
if larger: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation
if smaller: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation

expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxy formation
if smaller: universe collapses prior to star formation

entropy level of the universe
if larger: no star condensation within the proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxy formation

mass density of the universe
if larger: too much deuterium from big bang, hence stars burn too rapidly
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang, hence too few heavy elements forming

velocity of light
if larger: stars would be too luminous
if smaller: stars would not be luminous enough

age of the universe
if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase in the right part of the galaxy
if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed

if smoother: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
if coarser: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space

average distance between galaxies
if larger: insufficient gas would be infused into our galaxy to sustain star formation for a long enough time
if smaller: the sun’s orbit would be too radically disturbed,

galaxy cluster type
if too rich: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt solar orbit
if too sparse: insufficient infusion of gas to sustain star formation for a long enough time

average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density too thin for rocky planets to form
if smaller: planetary orbits would become destabilized
fine structure constant (a number used to describe the fine structure

splitting of spectral lines)
if larger: no stars more than 0.7 solar masses
if smaller: no stars less than 1.8 solar masses
if larger than 0.06: matter is unstable in large magnetic fields

decay rate of the proton
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
if smaller: insufficient matter in the universe for life

12C to 16O nuclear energy level ratio
if larger: insufficient oxygen
if smaller: insufficient carbon

ground state energy level for 4He
if larger: insufficient carbon and oxygen
if smaller: insufficient carbon and oxygen

decay rate of 8Be
if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
if faster: no element production beyond beryllium and, hence, no life chemistry possible

mass excess of the neutron over the proton
if greater: neutron decay would leave too few neutrons to form the heavy elements essential for life
if smaller: proton decay would cause all stars to rapidly collapse into

neutron stars or black holes initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons
if greater: too much radiation for planets to form
if smaller: not enough matter for galaxies or stars to form

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;

liquid water would be too inferior of solvent for life chemistry to proceed; ice would not float, leading to a runaway freeze-up
supernovae eruptions
if too close: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
if too far: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rock

planets
if too infrequent: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets
if too frequent: life on the planet would be exterminated
if too soon: not enough heavy element ashes for the formation of rocky planets
if too late: life on the planet would be exterminated by radiation
white dwarf binaries
if too few: insufficient flourine produced for life chemistry to proceed
if too many: disruption of planetary orbits from stellar density; life on the planet would be exterminated
if too soon: not enough heavy elements made for efficient flourine production
if too late: flourine made too late for incorporation in protoplanet

ratio of the mass of exotic matter to ordinary matter
if smaller: galaxies would not form
if larger: universe would collapse before solar type stars can form

number of effective dimensions in the early universe
if smaller: quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity could not coexist and life would be impossible
if larger: quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity could not coexist and life would be impossible

number of effective dimensions in the present universe
if smaller: electron, planet, and star orbits would become unstable
if larger: electron, planet, and star orbits would become unstable

mass of the neutrino
if smaller: galaxy clusters, galaxies, and stars will not form
if larger: galaxy clusters and galaxies will be too dense

big bang ripples
if smaller: galaxies will not form; universe expands too rapidly
if larger: galaxies will be too dense; black holes will dominate; universe collapses too quickly

size of the relativistic dilation factor
if smaller: certain essential life chemistry reactions will not function properly
if larger: certain essential life chemistry reactions will not function properly

uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
if smaller: oxygen transport to body cells would be too small; certain life-essential elements would be unstable
if larger: oxygen transport to body cells would be too great; certain life-essential elements would be unstable

cosmological constant
if too large: universe will expand too quickly for solar type stars too form
It is not just the universe that bears evidence for design. The sun and the earth also reveal such evidence. Some sample parameters sensitive for the support of life are listed in Table 2.
Table 2: Evidence for the fine-tuning of the galaxy-sun-earth-moon system for life support

The following parameters of a planet, its moon, its star, and its galaxy must have values falling within narrowly defined ranges for life of any kind to exist. Characteristics #2 and #3 have been repeated from Table 4 since they apply to both the universe and the galaxy.

galaxy size
if too large: infusion of gas and stars would disturb sun’s orbit and ignite too many galactic eruptions.
if too small: insufficient infusion of gas to sustain star formation for long enough time.

galaxy type
if too elliptical: star formation would cease before sufficient heavy element build-up for life chemistry.
if too irregular: radiation exposure on occasion would be too severe and heavy elements for life chemistry would not be available.

galaxy location
if too close to a rich galaxy cluster: galaxy would be gravitationally disrupted
if too close to very large galaxy(ies): galaxy would be gravitationally disrupted.

supernovae eruptions
if too close: life on the planet would be exterminated by radiation
if too far: not enough heavy element ashes would exist for the formation of rocky planets.
if too infrequent: not enough heavy element ashes present for the formation of rocky planets.
if too frequent: life on the planet would be exterminated.
if too soon: not enough heavy element ashes would exist for the formation of rocky planets.
if too late: life on the planet would be exterminated by radiation.
white dwarf binaries
if too few: insufficient flourine would be produced for life chemistry to proceed.
if too many: planetary orbits disrupted by stellar density; life on planet would be exterminated.
if too soon: not enough heavy elements would be made for efficient flourine production.
if too late: flourine would be made too late for incorporation in protoplanet.

proximity of solar nebula to a supernova eruption
if farther: insufficient heavy elements for life would be absorbed.
if closer: nebula would be blown apart.

timing of solar nebula formation relative to supernova eruption
if earlier: nebula would be blown apart.
if later:: nebula would not absorb enough heavy elements.

parent star distance from center of galaxy
if farther: quantity of heavy elements would be insufficient to make rocky planets.
if closer: galactic radiation would be too great; stellar density would disturb planetary orbits

parent star distance from closest spiral arm
if farther: quantity of heavy elements would be insufficient to make rocky planets.
if closer: radiation from other stars would be too great; stellar density would disturb planetary orbits.

z-axis heights of star’s orbit
if too large: exposure to harmful radiation from galactic core would be too great.

number of stars in the planetary system
if more than one: tidal interactions would disrupt planetary orbits.
if less than one: heat produced would be insufficient for life.
parent star birth date
if more recent: star would not yet have reached stable burning phase; stellar system would contain too many heavy elements.
if less recent: stellar system would not contain enough heavy elements.

parent star age
if older: luminosity of star would change too quickly.
if younger: luminosity of star would change too quickly.
parent star mass
if greater: luminosity of star would change too quickly; star would burn too rapidly.
if less: luminosity of star would change too slowly; range of planet distances for life would be too narrow; tidal forces would disrupt the life planet’s rotational period; uv radiation would be inadequate for plants to make sugars and oxygen.

parent star metallicity
if too small: insufficient heavy elements for life chemistry would exist.
if too large: radioactivity would be too intense for life; life would be
poisoned by heavy element concentrations.

parent star color
if redder: photosynthetic response would be insufficient.
if bluer: photosynthetic response would be insufficient.
H3+ production

Last edited by elshamah888 on Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:35 am; edited 4 times in total

12 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:28 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
if too small: simple molecules essential to planet formation and life chemistry will not form.
if too large: planets will form at wrong time and place for life.

parent star luminosity relative to speciation
if increases too soon: runaway green house effect would develop.
if increases too late: runaway glaciation would develop.

surface gravity (escape velocity)
if stronger: planet’s atmosphere would retain too much ammonia and methane.
if weaker: planet’s atmosphere would lose too much water.

distance from parent star
if farther: planet would be too cool for a stable water cycle.
if closer: planet would be too warm for a stable water cycle.
inclination of orbit
if too great: temperature differences on the planet would be too extreme.

orbital eccentricity
if too great: seasonal temperature differences would be too extreme.
axial tilt
if greater: surface temperature differences would be too great.
if less: surface temperature differences would be too great.

rate of change of axial tilt
if greater: climatic changes would be too extreme; surface temperature differences would become too extreme.

rotation period
if longer: diurnal temperature differences would be too great.
if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would be too great.

rate of change in rotation period
if longer: surface temperature range necessary for life would not be sustained.
if shorter: surface temperature range necessary for life would not be sustained.

age
if too young: planet would rotate too rapidly.
if too old: planet would rotate too slowly.

magnetic field
if stronger: electromagnetic storms would be too severe.
if weaker: ozone shield would be inadequately protected from hard stellar and solar radiation.

thickness of crust
if thicker: too much oxygen would be transferred from the atmosphere to the crust.
if thinner: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great.

albedo (ratio of reflected light to total amount falling on surface)
if greater: runaway glaciation would develop.
if less: runaway greenhouse effect would develop.

asteroidal and cometary collision rate
if greater: too many species would become extinct.
if less: crust would be too depleted of materials essential for life.

mass of body colliding with primordial earth
if smaller: Earth’s atmosphere would be too thick; moon would be too small.
if greater: Earth’s orbit and form would be too greatly disturbed.

timing of body colliding with primordial earth.
if earlier: Earth’s atmosphere would be too thick; moon would be too small.
if later: sun would be too luminous at epoch for advanced life.

oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere
if larger: advanced life functions would proceed too quickly.
if smaller: advanced life functions would proceed too slowly.

carbon dioxide level in atmosphere
if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop.
if less: plants would be unable to maintain efficient photosynthesis.

water vapor level in atmosphere
if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop.
if less: rainfall would be too meager for advanced life on the land.

atmospheric electric discharge rate
if greater: too much fire destruction would occur.
if less: too little nitrogen would be fixed in the atmosphere.

ozone level in atmosphere
if greater: surface temperatures would be too low.
if less: surface temperatures would be too high; there would be too much uv

oxygen quantity in atmosphere
if greater: plants and hydrocarbons would burn up too easily.
if less: advanced animals would have too little to breathe.

seismic activity
if greater: too many life-forms would be destroyed.
if less: nutrients on ocean floors from river runoff would not be recycled to continents through tectonics.

oceans-to-continents ratio
if greater: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited.
if smaller: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited.

rate of change in oceans-to-continents ratio
if smaller: advanced life will lack the needed land mass area.

global distribution of continents (for Earth)
if too much in the southern hemisphere: seasonal differences would be too severe for advanced life.

frequency and extent of ice ages
if smaller: insufficient fertile, wide, and well-watered valleys produced for diverse and advanced life forms; insufficient mineral concentrations occur for diverse and advanced life.
if greater: planet inevitably experiences runaway freezing.

soil mineralization
if too nutrient poor: diversity and complexity of life-forms would be limited.

gravitational interaction with a moon
if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe.
if less: orbital obliquity changes would cause climatic instabilities; movement of nutrients and life from the oceans to the continents and vice versa would be insufficient; magnetic field would be too weak.

Jupiter distance
if greater: too many asteroid and comet collisions would occur on Earth.
if less: Earth’s orbit would become unstable.

Jupiter mass
if greater: Earth’s orbit would become unstable.
if less: too many asteroid and comet collisions would occur on Earth.

drift in major planet distances
if greater: Earth’s orbit would become unstable.
if less: too many asteroid and comet collisions would occur on Earth.

major planet eccentricities
if greater: orbit of life supportable planet would be pulled out of life support zone.

major planet orbital instabilities
if greater: orbit of life supportable planet would be pulled out of life support zone.

atmospheric pressure
if too small: liquid water will evaporate too easily and condense too infrequently.
if too large: liquid water will not evaporate easily enough for land life; insufficient sunlight reaches planetary surface; insufficient uv radiation reaches planetary surface.

atmospheric transparency
if smaller: insufficient range of wavelengths of solar radiation reaches planetary surface
if greater: too broad a range of wavelengths of solar radiation reaches planetary surface.

chlorine quantity in atmosphere
if smaller: erosion rates, acidity of rivers, lakes, and soils, and certain metabolic rates would be insufficient for most life forms.
if greater: erosion rates, acidity of rivers, lakes, and soils, and certain metabolic rates would be too high for most life forms.

iron quantity in oceans and soils
if smaller: quantity and diversity of life would be too limited for support of advanced life;
if very small, no life would be possible.
if larger: iron poisoning of at least advanced life would result.

tropospheric ozone quantity
if smaller: insufficient cleansing of biochemical smogs would result.
if larger: respiratory failure of advanced animals, reduced crop yields, and destruction of ozone-sensitive species would result.

stratospheric ozone quantity
if smaller: too much uv radiation reaches planet’s surface causing skin cancers and reduced plant growth.
if larger: too little uv radiation reaches planet’s surface causing reduced plant growth and insufficient vitamin production for animals.

mesospheric ozone quantity
if smaller: circulation and chemistry of mesospheric gases so disturbed as to upset relative abundances of life essential gases in lower atmosphere.
if greater: circulation and chemistry of mesospheric gases so disturbed as to upset relative abundances of life essential gases in lower atmosphere.

quantity and extent of forest and grass fires
if smaller: growth inhibitors in the soils would accumulate; soil nitrification would be insufficient; insufficient charcoal production for adequate soil water retention and absorption of certain growth inhibitors.
if greater: too many plant and animal life forms would be destroyed

quantity of soil sulfur
if smaller: plants will become deficient in certain proteins and die.
if larger: plants will die from sulfur toxins; acidity of water and soil will become too great for life; nitrogen cycles will be disturbed.

quantity of sulfur in the life planet’s core
if smaller: solid core formation begins too soon causing it to grow too rapidly —disrupts magnetic field.
if larger: sold inner core never forms—disrupts magnetic field.

quantity of sea salt aerosols
if smaller: insufficient cloud formation and thus inadequate water cycle; disrupts atmospheric temperature balances.
if larger: too much and too rapid cloud formation over the oceans disrupting the climate; disrupts atmospheric temperature balances.

volcanic activity
if lower: insufficient amounts of carbon dioxide and water vapor would be returned to the atmosphere; soil mineralization would become too degraded for life.
if higher: advanced life, at least, would be destroyed.

rate of decline in tectonic activity
if slower: advanced life can never survive on the planet.
if faster: advanced life can never survive on the planet.

rate of decline in volcanic activity
if slower: advanced life can never survive on the planet.
if faster: advanced life can never survive on the planet.

biomass to minicomet infall ratio
if smaller: greenhouse gases accumulate, triggering runaway surface temperature increase.
if larger: greenhouse gases decline, triggering a runaway freezing.

http://home.messiah.edu/~barrett/facts.htm
Getting the Right Electrons:

The Universe must be fine tuned enough so that the precise number of electrons must exist. The number of electrons needs to be equalvalent to the number of protons to an acuracy of 1 part in 10^37. This balance is needed so that the electromagnetic force does not overpower the gravitational force when the universe was formed. Had the number of protons and electrons not been "perfectly" balanced, gravity would not have been the dominate force to cause the proper formation of the planets, stars, and galaxies .
10^37 is such a great number; the following analogy is helpful in understanding this number:

Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon (a height of 239,000 miles). Next, pile dimes on a billion other continents the same size as North America up to the moon. Paint one dime red and mix that one into the rest of the dimes on the billions of continents. Blindfold a friend and ask them to pick out the red dime. The chances that they will pick out the red dime are 1 in 10^37. And this is only one of the parameters that must be balanced within 1 part in 10^37 to allow any kind of life to form.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:25 am; edited 2 times in total

13 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:29 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Do Anthropic Coincidences Require Explanation?

What are the Coincidences?
Objection 1: Problem of Old Evidence
Objection 2:Laws of Nature Don't need to be Explained

Objection 3: Something Had to Happen -- The Problem of Specification

Objection 4: The Possibility of Exotic Life

Objection 5: The Principle of Mediocrity & Rejection of Anthropocentricity

Objection 6: Too Small a Sample (One Observed Universe)

What are the Coincidences?

The existence of "anthropic coincidences" was first discovered in the early 1970's by cosmologist Branden Carter. Since that time, the list of coincidences has grown dramatically. An anthropic coincidence consists of some feature of the laws of nature, the fundamental constituents of matter, or the initial condition of the universe that had to take a value within some interval in order for life (and hence, for human observers) to exist at all. These coincidences can be grouped into several categories: (i) features of the fundamental laws of nature, including the relative strengths of fundamental forces and other physical constants, (ii) characteristics of the fundamental particles of matter, (iii) the size, degree of flatness and smoothness, and rate of expansion of matter emerging from the big bang. and (iv) features of the solar system and of the earth. (The fourth category could be considered a separate sort of coincidence, since it refers to unlikelihood of even one planet as suited for life as is the earth to come into being. Unlike the other coincidences, it does not refer to universal features of the cosmos.)

If any of these features of the universe had lied outside a narrow interval of values, then the existence of any sort of complex chemistry would have been impossible. Complex, self-replicating life seems to depend on the co-existence of a combination of lighter and heavier elements, including such elements as hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Furthermore, life seems to depend on the formation of stars and planetary systems, since no life could exist in the frigidity of starless deep space or within the superheated interiors of stars. These conditions are interconnected, since only if stars can form and later become supernovas can any of the heavier elements be formed..These processes of star formation and destruction turn out to be very sensitive to the slightest variations in the fundamental constants of the universe. Consequently, the universe is in some sense "fine-tuned" for the possibility of complex chemistry and thus of life.

In most cases, the degree of sensitivity can be quantified precisely. This quantifiable degree of fine-tuning is an absolute, measure-independent quantity. In some cases, the degree of sensitivity is almost unimaginably high. For instance, if the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force were changed by one part in 10 to the 40th power, star formation would have been impossible. Similarly, the ratio of the total number of electrons to the total number of protons could not vary by more than one in 10 to the 37th power, without disastrous implications for galaxy and star formation.

How surprising are these coincidences? This depends on what philosophers call your prior probabilities. If I knew nothing about the the ratio of electromagnetic force to gravitational force, and if I knew nothing about the importance of this ratio to life, I would certainly assign a very low prior probability to that ratio's lying within an interval that is no wider than one part in 10 to the 40th power. Thus, discovering both that there is such an interval defining the conditions of life, and that the actual value does lie within that interval, is to discover something that would be very surprising to any reasonable investigator. These surprising discovery seems to call for some explanation.

We will consider two possible explanations of the coincidences: theism, and the ensemble of universes/observer selection hypothesis. According to theism, the cause of the universe is an intelligent and purposeful agent who had the eventual existence of life as a purpose and end, and who intentionally set the values of the fundamental constants so as to realize that purpose. According to the ensemble-of-universes hypothesis, there are an astronomically large number of universes, each on the scale of the observable universe. In each of these universes, the fundamental constants take values at random. Since there are so many of them, chance alone is able to ensure that (with a high degree of probability) at least one of them will be life-permitting. It is not surprising that we find ourselves in one of these universes, since observers like us could not exist in any other kind.

In two weeks, we will consider the question of which of these two hypotheses provides the best explanation for the anthropic coincidences. For now, I would like to turn to six objections that have been made to the claim that it is desirable, or even possible, to explain the anthropic coincidences.

Objection #1: The Problem of Old Evidence

We already know that life exists, and, consequently, we know that whatever is physically required for life to exist must be actual. Any hypothesis that purports to "explain" the coincidences is explaining something we already know to be true. It is not thereby making a risky prediction that may or may not be borne out by subsequent observation. Hypotheses can be confirmed or made more probable only when they make such risky predictions, as when Halley predicted the return of Halley's comet, or Einstein predicted the bending of light by the sun's gravity.

This objection can be illustrated by using Bayes's theorem, a basic theorem of probability theory. Bayesians stipulate that the posterior probability of a hypothesis, after observing result E, is equal to P(H/E). According to Bayes's theorem, P(H/E) is equal to the product of P(H), the prior probability of H, and P(E/H), the degree to which H made E probable, divided by P(E), the prior probability of E. The probability of H is increased if two conditions are met: (i) P(H) is not zero, (ii) P(E/H) is greater than P(E). If E is not a prediction, then we already know E to be true. In this case, P(E) is 1, and P(E/H) cannot be greater than P(E). This means that no hypothesis can be confirmed by E. This implication of Bayes's theorem is called "the problem of old evidence".

Most philosophers of science believe that this apparent implication of Bayesian theory should not be accepted. There are many cases in the history of science in which a theory was accepted on the basis of its ability to explain, in a very simple way, a wide range of previously-known data. For instance, Copernicus's theory was accepted entirely on the basis of its providing a simpler, more economical explanation of astronomical data that had been known for hundreds, or even thousands of years. According to the strict Bayesian account, this data should have provided no support whatsoever to Copernicus's theory -- an incredible result.

The standard solution to the problem goes something like this. Instead of using the actual probability of the data, E, in using Bayes's theorem, we instead use a hypothetical probability value, one representing how likely we would have found E to be, had we never actually observed it. Thus, the astronomical data we have observed for many thousands of years could receive a very low hypothetical probability, representing how unlikely these observations would have been to one unfamiliar with them.

Applying this solution to the case of the anthropic coincidences, we would have to assign some hypothetical probability to the anthropic coincidences. Given the narrowness of the required intervals, how surprising is it that life actually came into being? The answer would seem to be, very unlikely (unless there are a large number of actual universes within which life could arise by chance).

John Leslie illustrates this point by means of the Firing Squad analogy on pages 13 and 14. Imagine that you are facing a firing squad of sharpshooters, firing at close range. Somehow, you survive the volley. Is the volley something that requires an explanation? It is old evidence -- you already know with probability 1 that you are still alive. Nonetheless, it is, from a suitably impersonal perspective, a very surprising thing that you did survive, under the circumstances. Similarly, we already know, with probability 1, that life exists, but this is a very surprising fact, given the anthropic coincidences that were required.

Laws of Nature Cannot Be Explained

Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences cannot be explained, since they involve the fundamental laws of nature. The laws of nature are used in explaining other things -- they themselves cannot be explained. They are rock-bottom, matters of physical necessity, immutable and uncaused. This objection is sometimes based on actual scientific practice -- scientists seek to discover the laws of nature and to use these laws in constructing explanations of phenomena. They do not try to explain the laws of nature themselves.

There are several points to make in response to this. First, it is no longer true that scientists never seek to explain the laws of nature. Much of recent cosmology and unified force theory has attempted to do that. Second, even if scientists never did attempt to explain the fundamental laws, it would still be an open question whether they should do so. Finally, whether something can or should be explained is itself an empirical matter, to be decided on a case by case basis, and not on the basis of dogmatic, a priori pronouncements. The anthropic coincidences are themselves excellent evidence that the laws of nature can and should be explained. If the laws really were absolute rock bottom, inexplicable brute facts, then we would be faced with a set of inexplicable coincidences. If the only price we have to pay in order to explain these coincidences is to revise our beliefs about the rock-bottom status of physical laws, this is a small price to pay.

There is an episode near the end of Carl Sagan's novel, Contact, that illustrates this point. A mathematician discovers, hidden in the apparently random sequence of numbers in the binary expansion of pi, an encrypted, three-dimensional hologram of the cosmos. The further the binary expansion is carried out, the sharper is the resolution of the hologram. Further, the hologram gives absolutely accurate information about the relative positions of galaxies and galaxy clusters, leading to new discoveries about the cosmos. In light of this discovery, the only possible conclusion to draw is that the number pi is an artefact, created by some unfathomable intellect, who encoded it with this astronomical information. In advance of this remarkable discovery, no one would have thought of the value of pi as something that could be explained in terms of anything else. It seems like a mathematical brute fact, rock bottom if anything is. However, this conviction is subject to change in the light of new information. Similarly, the discovery of the anthropic coincidences should lead us to revise our prior conviction that the fundamental laws and constants of the universe could not be explained.

Something Had to Happen -- The Problem of Specification

Stephen Jay Gould, among others, has offered this objection. It is true that the anthropic settings of the physical constants is antecedently very unlikely. However, whatever value these constants had taken would also have been, from one point of view or another, extremely unlikely. Unlikely things happen all the time. Every time a hand of poker is dealt out, the exact constitution of the hands involved is extremely unlikely. The exact position of the molecules in this room at the present time is an astronomically unlikely arrangement.

This objection raises a fundamental problem of statistical inference: the problem of specification. If every outcome is equally unlikely, how is it that at some times we are able to exclude chance as an explanation, instead preferring the hypothesizing of some causal mechanism?

The general answer to this problem would seem to go something like this. A result is specified when it conforms to a very simple pattern, a pattern that can be specified by a simple rule or algorithm. The simpler the rule or pattern, the greater the degree of specification. When a result is very likely and very specified, no explanation is called for. For instance, if I hope that I will get a red card on the next draw, and I do get one, no special explanation is called for. Even though the result was highly specified, it was also highly likely, since I had a 50/50 chance of drawing a red card. When a result is very unlikely but has a low degree of specification, once again, no explanation is needed. If I draw a 2 of hearts, queen of spades, 5 of diamonds, 10 of clubs and 7 of spades, then this particular hand is very unlikely, but it is also relatively unspecified, since it takes quite a bit of information to spell out this particular result. If I were to spell out in equal detail 7 different hands, each fairly undistinguished, then the event of being dealt these 7 hands, in one particular order, is astronomically unlikely, but also highly unspecified.

In contrast, suppose I am dealt a royal flush (a straight flush, ace high) seven times in a row. This is an astronomically unlikely result, and, in the context of a game of poker, also a highly specified result. It conforms to a very simple pattern: being dealt the very best hand seven times in a row. Such an outcome demands an explanation (some sort of non-random shuffling and dealing).

The anthropic coincidences are extremely unlikely. Are they also highly specified? It would seem that they are. They all fall into one simple pattern: conditions necessary for the existence of complex, molecular chemistry. If the realization of this pattern can be explained, it should be.

One might object that the pattern is in fact a very complex one, since life and organic chemistry are themselves very complex. This objection would be based on a confusion. Life is very simple in its specification (something like "self-replication carbon-based chemical systems"), but it is always very complex in its realization. The simplest forms of life that we know about have hundreds of thousands of interdependent parts, each consisting of long chains of amino or nucleic acids. It is this complexity of realization that makes life such an unlikely state for matter to be in. But the complexity of realization does not contradict the fact that the specification of life is quite simple. For example, suppose that my four-year-old son sorts 100 pictures into two piles, one a pile of pictures of living things, and the other a pile of pictures of inanimate objects. The living/non-living pattern is extremely simple, so the result is highly specified, even if each individual picture is highly complex.

The Possibility of Exotic Life

Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences involve a simple failure of imagination. We can see that life like ours, based on carbon molecules, in a universe like ours, organized around stars and galaxies, would be impossible if any of the anthropic coincidences had failed to be realized. However, this may simply overlook the possibility of very exotic life, based on radically different kinds of chemistry and physics, in very exotic universes.

First, it is not at all clear that the anthropic coincidences are really vulnerable to this charge. In many cases, it seems clear that, in the absence of the anthropic coincidences, the universe would have been so short-lived, or so lacking in interesting structure or heterogeneity, that nothing approximating the complexities of life could be possible.

In any case, even if the charge were entirely just, there still remains a remarkable coincidence in need of explanation. All we need to do is to complicate the specification of the event to be explained very slightly. What we need to explain is this: the coincidence of factors necessary for the existence of complex, carbon-based molecules. In so doing, we are trying to explain the coincidences needed to make life like ours possible. The possible existence of exotic life is simply irrelevant to this problem. Whether or not such life is possible, we still are faced with a very unlikely and very specified event. The universe appears to be fine-tuned, not just to make life possible, but to make carbon-based life possible.

John Leslie gives another good illustration of this fact, the story of the Fly on the Wall. Suppose we have a long stone wall. In places, the wall is entirely covered by flies. However, there is one long stretch of the wall, several hundred yards long, on which a solitary fly (and nothing else of any interest) is resting. Call this stretch the alpha segment of the wall. Suddenly, a gunshot rings out, and the solitary fly is shot. In this case, we have an event that this very unlikely (the hitting of one particular point on the alpha segment) and very specified (the hitting of a fly-occupied spot). This event calls for some sort of explanation, even though the hitting of a fly somewhere on the wall would not require an explanation, since the event of hitting-a-fly-somewhere-on-the-wall is not at all unlikely, given the presence of fly-infested stretches of the wall.

Similarly, if exotic life is in fact possible, then we do not need an explanation for the existence of life. We do, however, need an explanation of the existence of carbon-based life, since this is both highly unlikely and highly specified.

Principle of Mediocrity & the Rejection of Anthropocentricity

The principle of mediocrity is a rule-of-thumb for the conduct of science. It requires that we assume that we, and our particular location in space and time, are nothing special. We must assume that we can observe in our own immediate neighborhood is typical of what is and what could be universally. Something like the principle of mediocrity is presupposed whenever we indulge in generalization: whenever we infer that a law of nature exists because we do not observe any violations. If we did not assume that our own space-time neighborhood is typical of the entire universe, then any generalization of our observations would be illegitimate.

The principle of mediocrity might be applied to the anthropic coincidences in the following way. We might say that the principle of mediocrity requires us to assume that all possible universes are very much like the actual universe. Since the actual universe is life-permitting, almost all possible universes must be so. But if almost all possible universes are life-permitting, then that is by itself a sufficient explanation of the anthropic coincidences.

There are at least two problems with this argument. First, the narrowness of the intervals involved (as narrow as one part in 10 to the 40th power) make it very unlikely that almost all possible universes have values that lie within the required intervals. The principle of mediocrity is a reasonable thing to presume at the beginning of our investigations, but when we discover overwhelming evidence that our own universe is very special, this evidence should override the apriori rule of thumb. Second, even if it were true that almost all possible universes are life-permitting, this does not rule out the need for an explanation of this fact. In fact, a theistic explanation would preserve the principle of mediocrity, since a theist will hold that typical universes are life-permitting, since in most cases, God would design the universe to be so.

Another closely related principle of scientific inquiry is the rejection of anthropocentricity. This principle has become firmly engrained in scientific practice ever since the heliocentric model replaced the geocentric model. The point of the principle is to guard against a very common human bias -- that of assuming that we are more important than we are. It is natural for us to assume that we are the center around which everything else revolves, and it is essential to the acquisition of objective, scientific knowledge that we fight against this bias. The anthropic coincidences put the existence of human beings into the cosmic driver's seat, in violation of this principle.

Again, there are a couple of things to be said in response. First, the "anthropic" coincidences are not well-named. They should really be called the biotropic or the carbotic principle, since they concern the possibility of the existence of life, or at least, of carbon-based, planetary life. This does not put the species homo sapiens into any special place in the grand scheme of things. It does not necessarily make the planet earth the center of the universe, since there may, for all we know, be many planets equally well-crafted for the existence of life.

Second, even if the anthropic coincidences do lead us to reject, or at least to modify, the principle of non-anthropocentricity, this seems the reasonable thing to do in light of the actual data. Once again, we cannot let apriori legislation determine in advance how we must respond to any possible data. If we find overwhelming evidence that the cosmos has been fashioned for the sake of life on earth, then we should accept this conclusion. At most, the principle of non-anthropocentricity should make us cautious about jumping too soon to such a conclusion.

Too Small a Sample Size -- Only One Universe

This objection is one first pressed by David Hume. Hume argues that we cannot draw any conclusions about the causes of a thing until we have observed many tokens of the same type. I can conclude that this egg was probably laid by a chicken only on the basis of many observations of chickens laying eggs in the past. Since we can observe only one universe, we cannot possibly be in a position to draw any conclusions about what sort of thing may have caused it.

Right away, we should concede that our situation is not an optimal one. If we could somehow observe 30 or 50 universes, each on the scale of our own, each taking very different sets of values for the fundamental constants, and yet each being structured so as to make life possible, then we would be in an optimal position to draw the conclusion that some kind of creator or designer has been at work. The question remains, however, just how far from optimal is our actual situation?

If we had to rely on only one feature of the universe, or on only two or three, we might well be in a position that warranted extreme caution. We might be wrong in our estimations of the degree of sensitivity of life to small changes in one or two parameters. However, when we have twenty-five or more features of the universe, each of which appears to be highly constrained, the basis for an inference to an appropriate explanation is much stronger.

I cannot see any basis for an absolute prohibition on reasoning from single cases. In science, history and forensics, we do sometimes come up against unique sets of circumstances. We have observed, for example, only two cases of the use of an atomic bomb against a city. Even if the bomb had been used only once, it surely would have been possible for us to attribute the death and destruction to the use of the A-bomb. Everything pointed to the activity of a fireball of intense heat, originating from a single point. Similarly, we see many signs of the activity of some agency capable of fine-tuning the features of the universe for the sake of the existence of life.

Once again, John Leslie offers a parable in support of this response, the case of the Telepathic Painting (page 18). We are to imagine an experiment in which a purported telepath tries to duplicate a painting being produced simultaneously by another person halfway across the world. When the experiment is concluded, the two paintings are compared and found to be identical, stroke-for-stroke. Each painting contains hundreds of details, exactly duplicated in the other. In such a case, we might not accept telepathy as the explanation for the coincidence, but we would surely expect to find some explanation. The fact that we are dealing only with a single case is surely irrelevant. The single case provides by itself enough data to warrant the search for an explanation.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:16 pm; edited 3 times in total

14 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:04 am
elshamah888

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Join date: 2009-08-09
New Scientific Study Begs the Philosophical Question, "Who's the tailor?"

Pick a universe, any universe. How many hypothetical universes would support life?

Possibly only one, say the authors of a new study. Published in the July issue of Science, the report says that if the physical forces within stars were only slightly different, our universe would be almost devoid of carbon and oxygen, and life would not exist.

The findings bring scientists face to face with the question of design. "I am not a religious person, but I could say this universe is designed very well for the existence of life," said Heinz Oberhummer, astrophysicist at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Mr. Oberhummer and his colleagues used computers to simulate the process by which helium burns to produce carbon and oxygen during the red-giant stage of a star's life. They found that even slight changes in either the strong or weak nuclear force would destroy nearly all the carbon or oxygen inside stars-making life impossible.

"The basic forces in the universe are tailor-made for the production of ... carbon-based life," Mr. Oberhummer told Space.com.

It's a new day when scientists who are not "religious persons" are compelled to use the language of design. Mr. Oberhummer's discovery adds to the enormous number of "cosmic coincidences" uncovered by cosmology--intricate balances among the universe's fundamental forces. For example, if the force of gravity were only slightly stronger, all stars would be red dwarfs, too cold to support life. If it were slightly weaker, all stars would be blue giants, burning too briefly for life to develop.

In the atom, the mass of the neutron is delicately balanced with that of the proton; otherwise, protons would decay into neutrons, making life impossible.

"Imagine a universe-creating machine, with thousands of dials representing the gravitational constant, the charge on the electron, the mass of the proton, and so on," said Steve Meyer of Whitworth College. "Each dial has many possible settings, and even the slightest change would make a universe where life was impossible." Yet each dial is set to the exact value needed to sustain life-for no known reason.

As Mr. Oberhummer put it, "we have no idea why the strengths of the forces are fine-tuned" to support life. The reasonable answer seems to be that someone intended it that way.

To avoid that surprising conclusion, cosmologists are scrambling to craft alternative explanations. Some adopt the "many worlds" hypothesis, suggesting that there exist an infinite number of universes. Most would be dark and lifeless, but by sheer probability a few might be suitable for life--and we happen to live in one.

How do scientists account for these zillions of universes? Some say mini-universes crowd together within a larger universe like bubbles in foam. Others propose an oscillating universe--continually expanding, collapsing, then expanding again to form new universes with different physical laws. Strangest by far is physicist Hugh Everett's notion that all possible states of a quantum interaction are actualized, so that slightly different versions of our universe are constantly splitting off--creating a near-infinitude of new universes at every moment.

What's the evidence for these other universes? There is none. By definition, they cannot be observed. Nor has anyone offered a plausible scientific explanation for how they arise. "There is no hint as to what causal mechanism would produce such a splitting," complained philosopher John Earman--which renders it akin to a "miracle."

Moreover, the hypothesis violates the principle of simplicity. As Guillermo Gonzalez of the University of Washington told World, "Invoking an infinitude of unobservable universes to explain the one observable universe is a grotesque violation of Occam's razor," the principle that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.

Other cosmologists try to explain design by a quasi-pantheistic philosophy that attributes intelligence and foresight to the universe itself. In The Fifth Miracle, Paul Davies says, "the laws of the universe are cunningly contrived to coax life into being"; they "somehow know in advance about life and its vast complexity." This year's Templeton prize-winner, Freeman Dyson, muses that "the universe in some sense must have known we were coming."

Of course, the idea of a conscious universe, or of unknowable universes sprouting like mushrooms, goes beyond science and into philosophy. This opens a new opportunity for Christians, says philosopher William Lane Craig. "Cosmology has broken down the boundary between physics and metaphysics," he told World. "And once the door is opened to metaphysics, you can't stop the theist from coming in the door, too."

If the universe appears "tailor-made" for life, perhaps the simplest explanation is that it was tailor-made.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:14 pm; edited 4 times in total

15 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:53 am
elshamah888

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Join date: 2009-08-09
THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT AND THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE

Dr. William Lane Craig

Introduction
Widely thought to have been demolished by Hume and Darwin, the teleological argument for God's existence has nonetheless continued during this century to find able defenders in F.R. Tennant, Peter Bertocci, and Stuart C. Hackett.

All of these have appealed to what Tennant called "wider teleology," which emphasizes the necessary conditions for the existence and evolution of intelligent life, rather than specific instances of purposive design. Unfortunately, they could speak of this wider teleology for the most part only in generalities, for example, "the fitness of the inorganic to minister to life," but could furnish few specific examples of experimental fact to illustrate this cosmic teleology.

In recent years, however, the scientific community has been stunned by its discovery of how complex and sensitive a nexus of conditions must be given in order for the universe to permit the origin and evolution of intelligent life on Earth. The universe appears, in fact, to have been incredibly fine-tuned from the moment of its inception for the production of intelligent life on Earth at this point in cosmic history. In the various fields of physics and astrophysics, classical cosmology, quantum mechanics, and biochemistry, various discoveries have repeatedly disclosed that the existence of intelligent carbon-based life on Earth at this time depends upon a delicate balance of physical and cosmological quantities, such that were any one of these quantities to be slightly altered, the balance would be destroyed and life would not exist.

Let us briefly review some of the cosmological and physical quantities that have been found to exhibit this delicate balance necessary for the existence of intelligent life on Earth at this epoch in cosmic history.{1}

Examples of Wider Teleology

Physics and Astrophysics

To begin with the most general of conditions, it was shown by G. J. Whitrow in 1955 that intelligent life would be impossible except in a universe of three basic dimensions. When formulated in three dimensions, mathematical physics possesses many unique properties which are necessary prerequisites for the existence of rational information-processing observers like ourselves. Moreover, dimensionality plays a key role in determining the form of the laws of physics and in fashioning the roles played by the constants of nature. For example, it is due to its basic three-dimensionality that the world possesses the chemistry that it does, which furnishes some key conditions necessary for the existence of life. Whitrow could not answer the question why the actual universe happens to possess three dimensions, but noted that if it did not, then we should not be here to ask the question.

More specifically, the values of the various forces of nature appear to be fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life. The world is conditioned principally by the values of the fundamental constants a (the fine structure constant, or electromagnetic interaction), mn/me (proton to electron mass ratio, aG (gravitation), aw (the weak force), and as (the strong force). When one mentally assigns different values to these constants or forces, one discovers that in fact the number of observable universes, that is to say, universes capable of supporting intelligent life, is very small. Just a slight variation in any one of these values would render life impossible.

For example, if as were increased as much as 1%, nuclear resonance levels would be so altered that almost all carbon would be burned into oxygen; an increase of 2% would preclude formation of protons out of quarks, preventing the existence of atoms. Furthermore, weakening as by as much as 5% would unbind deuteron, which is essential to stellar nucleosynthesis, leading to a universe composed only of hydrogen. It has been estimated that as must be within 0.8 and 1.2 its actual strength or all elements of atomic weight greater than four would not have formed. Or again, if aw had been appreciably stronger, then the Big Bang's nuclear burning would have proceeded past helium to iron, making fusion-powered stars impossible. But if it had been much weaker, then we should have had a universe entirely of helium. Or again, if aG had been a little greater, all stars would have been red dwarfs, which are too cold to support life-bearing planets. If it had been a little smaller, the universe would have been composed exclusively of blue giants which burn too briefly for life to develop. According to Davies, changes in either aG or electromagnetism by only one part in 1040 would have spelled disaster for stars like the sun. Moreover, the fact that life can develop on a planet orbiting a star at the right distance depends on the close proximity of the spectral temperature of starlight to the molecular binding energy. Were it greatly to exceed this value, living organisms would be sterilized or destroyed; but were it far below this value, then the photochemical reactions necessary to life would proceed too slowly for life to exist. Or again, atmospheric composition, upon which life depends, is constrained by planetary mass. But planetary mass is the inevitable consequence of electromagnetic and gravitational interactions. And there simply is no physical theory which can explain the numerical values of a and mn/me that determine electromagnetic interaction.

Moreover, life depends upon the operation of certain principles in the quantum realm. For example, the Pauli Exclusion Principle, which states that no more than one particle of a particular kind and spin is permitted in a single quantum state, plays a key role in nature. It guarantees the stability of matter and the size of atomic and molecular structures and creates the shell structure of atomic electrons. In a world not governed by this principle, only compact, superdense bodies could exist, providing little scope for complex structures or living organisms. Or again, quantization is also essential for the existence and stability of atomic systems. In quantum physics, the atom is not conceived on the model of a tiny solar system with each electron in its orbit around the nucleus. Such a model would be unstable because any orbit could be an arbitrary distance from the nucleus. But in quantum physics, there is only one orbital radius available to an electron, so that, for example, all hydrogen atoms are alike. As a consequence, atomic systems and matter are stable and therefore life-permitting.

Classical Cosmology

Several of the constants mentioned in the foregoing section also play a crucial role in determining the temporal phases of the development of the universe and thus control features of the universe essential to life. For example, aG, and mn/me constrain (i) the main sequence stellar lifetime, (ii) the time before which the expansion dynamics of the expanding universe are determined by radiation rather than matter, (iii) the time after which the universe is cool enough for atoms and molecules to form, (iv) the time necessary for protons to decay, and (v) the Planck time.

Furthermore, a fine balance must exist between the gravitational and weak interactions. If the balance were upset in one direction, the universe would have been constituted by 100% helium in its early phase, which would have made it impossible for life to exist now. If the balance were tipped in the other direction, then it would not have been possible for neutrinos to blast the envelopes of supernovae into space and so distribute the heavy elements essential to life.

Furthermore, the difference between the masses of the neutron and the proton is also part of a very delicate coincidence which is crucial to a life-supporting environment. This difference prevents protons from decaying into neutrons, which, if it happened, would make life impossible. This ratio is also balanced with the electron mass, for if the neutron mass failed to exceed the proton mass by a little more than the electron mass, then atoms would simply collapse.

Considerations of classical cosmology allow us to introduce a new parameter, S, the entropy per baryon in the universe, which is about 109. Unless S were < 1011, galaxies would not have been able to form, making planetary life impossible. S is itself a consequence of the baryon asymmetry in the universe, which arises from the inexplicably built-in asymmetry of quarks ever anti-quarks prior to 10-6 seconds after the Big Bang.

In investigating the initial conditions of the Big Bang, one is also confronted with two arbitrary parameters governing the expansion of the universe: Wo, related to the density of the universe, and Ho, related to the speed of the expansion. Observations indicate that at 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang the universe was expanding at a fantastically special rate of speed with a total density close to the critical value on the borderline between recollapse and everlasting expansion. Hawking estimated that even a decrease of one part in a million million when the temperature of the universe was 1010 degrees would have resulted in the universe's recollapse long ago; a similar increase would have precluded the galaxies from condensing out of the expanding matter. At the Planck time, 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang, the density of the universe must have apparently been within about one part in 1060 of the critical density at which space is flat. This results in the so-called "flatness problem": why is the universe expanding at just such a rate that space is Euclidean rather than curved? A second problem that arises is the "homogeneity problem." There is a very narrow range of initial conditions which must obtain if galaxies are to form later. If the initial inhomogeneity ratio were > 10-2, then non-uniformities would condense prematurely into black holes before the stars form. But if the ratio were < 10-5, inhomogeneities would be insufficient to condense into galaxies. Because matter in the universe is clumped into galaxies, which is a necessary condition of life, the initial inhomogeneity ratio appears to be incredibly fine-tuned. Thirdly, there is the "isotropy problem." The temperature of the universe is amazing in its isotropy: it varies by less than one part in a thousand over the whole of the sky. But at very early stages of the universe, the different regions of the universe were causally disjointed, since light beams could not travel fast enough to connect the rapidly receding regions. How then did these unconnected regions all happen to possess the same temperature and radiation density? Penrose has calculated that in the absence of new physical principles to explain this, "the accuracy of the Creator's aim" when he selected this world from the set of physically possible ones would need to have been at least of the order of one part in 1010(123)!

Contemporary cosmologists have found an answer to these three problems--or at least seem certain that they are on its track--in inflationary models of the early universe. According to this adjustment to the standard Big Bang cosmology, between 10 -43 and 10-35 seconds after the Big Bang, the universe underwent an exponentially rapid inflation of space faster than the speed of light. This inflationary epoch resulted in the nearly flat curvature of space, pushed inhomogeneities beyond our horizon, and served to bury us far within a single region of space-time whose parts were causally connected at pre-inflationary times.

Inflationary scenarios have problems of their own --such as getting inflation started, getting it to end without excess turbulence, and having it produce irregularities just right for galaxy formation. Indeed, it is interesting to note that Hawking has recently declared both the so-called "old inflationary model" and the "new inflationary model" to be "now dead as a scientific theory"--though he still holds out hope for Linde's more recent "chaotic inflationary model."{2} Whether this model proves to be any more successful than its predecessors remains yet to be seen; the whole inflationary scenario seems rather ad hoc, and one cannot help but suspect that much of the attraction to such models is due to the desire to escape the sort of inferences as Penrose's conclusion above. More importantly, however, inflationary scenarios seem to require the same sort of fine-tuning which some theorists thought these models had eliminated. For example, in order to proceed appropriately, inflation requires that the two theoretical components of Einstein's cosmological constant, "bare lambda" and "quantum lambda," cancel each other out with an enormously precise though inexplicable accuracy. A change in the strengths of either aG or aw by as little as one part in 10100 would destroy this cancellation on which our lives depend. So although inflationary models may succeed in providing a unifying explanation of some of the forces which play a role in classical cosmology, it does not thereby dispense with the appearance of fine-tuning or teleology.

Biochemistry

Life which is descended from a simpler form of life and which ultimately came into existence spontaneously must be based on water, carbon dioxide, and the basic compounds of the elements C, H, O, and N. Each of these possesses unique properties which, while not sufficient for the existence of life, are necessary conditions of it.

Water, for example, is one of the strangest substances known to science. Its specific heat, surface tension, and most of its other physical properties have anomalous values higher or lower than any other known material. The fact that its solid phase is less dense than its liquid phase, so that ice floats, is virtually a unique property in nature. Its melting point, boiling point, and vaporization point are all anomalously higher than those of other substances. For example, when calculated by atomic weight and number, the boiling point of water would be expected to be -100oC rather than +100oC. The disparity is due to its strong hydrogen bonds, which are difficult to break. Furthermore, because the H-O-H angle in water is so close to the ideal tetrahedral structure, water can form such a structure with very little strain on the bonds. As a result, it tends to polymerize into an open structure, so that ice is less dense than water. This property of water is essential to life, for were ice more dense than water, it would sink to the bottom of bodies of water, where it would remain in the deepest parts until eventually all lakes and oceans would be solidly frozen. Instead, ice forms a protective skin on the surface of reservoirs of water. Water also has a higher specific heat than almost any organic compound. This property allows water to be a store of heat and so stabilize the environment. The thermal conductivity of water is also higher than that of most liquids, which again permits water to act as a temperature stabilizer on the environment. Water has, moreover, a higher heat of vaporization than any known substance. This makes water the best possible coolant by evaporation, and living creatures make extensive use of it in temperature control. Water's high surface tension, exceeded by very few substances, serves to make biochemical reactions more rapid; and the way water bonds shapes organic molecules such as enzymes and nucleic acids into their biologically active forms and permits the formation of cell walls and membranes.

The elements H, O, and C are the most abundant elements in living organisms. They possess many unique properties and are vital to chemical reactions necessary to sustain life. For example, CO2 has the property, unique among gases, of having at ordinary temperatures about the same concentration of molecules per unit volume in water as in air. This enables CO2 to undergo perpetual exchange between living organisms and their environment, so that it is everywhere available for photosynthesis and thereby for molecular synthesis. The element N, on the other hand, is a rare element on Earth, but it does make up 80% of the earth's atmosphere, which is a unique stroke of fortune for Earth's living organisms.

This selective sampling of physical and cosmological quantities which are necessary conditions of the existence of intelligent life on Earth at this point in cosmic history illustrates the sort of wider teleology which Tennant emphasized, but could only dimly envision. The discoveries of contemporary science in this regard are particularly impressive for two reasons: (1) The delicate balance of conditions upon which life depends is characterized by the interweaving of conditions, such that life depends for its existence, not merely upon each individual condition's possessing a value within very narrow limits, but also upon ratios or interactions between values and forces which must likewise lie within narrow parameters. The situation is thus not comparable to a roulette wheel in Monte Carlo's yielding a certain winning number; nor even yet to all the roulette wheels (each representing a physical quantity or constant) in Monte Carlo's turning up simultaneously certain numbers within narrowly circumscribed limits (say, wheel 1 must show 72 or 73 while wheel 2 must show 27-29, etc.); rather it is like all the roulette wheels in Monte Carlo's yielding simultaneously numbers within narrowly prescribed limits and those numbers bearing certain precise relations among themselves (say, the number of wheel 3 must be one-half the square of the number of wheel 17 and twice the number of wheel 6). It seems clear that worlds not permitting intelligent life are vastly more to be expected than life-permitting worlds. (2) The constants and quantities which go to make up this complex nexus of conditions are apparently independent of one another. The development of inflationary models ought to cause us to be cautious in making such a claim; nevertheless, it is the case that there seems to be no nomological necessity requiring the quantities and constants of nature to be related as they are. The value of S, for example, seems to be utterly unrelated to the parameters W, Ho, or inflationary scenarios. But even if it were possible to reduce all the physical and cosmological quantities to a single equation governing the whole of nature, such a complex equation could itself be seen as the supreme instance of teleology and design. Hence, some of those whose hopes seem to lie in the discovery of such an equation are forced to assert that such an equation must be necessarily true; that is to say, there is really only one logically possible set of physical constants and forces. But such a hypothesis seems clearly outlandish. As Nagel observes, none of the statements of natural laws in the various sciences are logically necessary, since their denials are not formally contradictory; moreover, the appropriate procedure in science should then cease to be experimentation, but be deductive proofs in the manner of mathematics.{3} Hence, the notion that the nomological necessity of such an equation should reduce to logical necessity seems obviously false.

The Anthropic Principle

This pattern of discoveries has compelled many scientists to conclude that such a delicate balance cannot be simply dismissed as coincidence, but requires some sort of account. Traditionally, such considerations would have been taken as evidence of divine design--one thinks of Paley's teleological argument in his Natural Theology, for example. Loath to admit the God-hypothesis, however, many scientists are seeking an alternative in the Anthropic Principle, and a tremendous debate involving both scientists and philosophers has broken out concerning this principle, a debate which has spilled over into the popular press and captured the attention of science-minded laymen. The attempt to come to grips with the appearance of cosmic teleology has forced many scientists beyond physics into meta-physics, so that the boundaries between science and philosophy have become ineradicably blurred, well-illustrating George Gale's remark that "we are now entering a phase of scientific activity during which the physicist has out-run his philosophical base-camp, and, finding himself cut off from conceptual supplies, he is ready and waiting for some relief from his philosophical comrades-in-arms."{4} The theistic philosopher can therefore without apology or embarrassment introduce his metaphysical commitment to theism as an at least equally plausible, if not superior, alternative explanation to metaphysical, naturalistic accounts of the complex order of the universe.

Exposition

First proposed by Brandon Carter in 1974,{5} the Anthropic Principle has assumed a number of different forms, generating a great deal of confusion concerning what it is precisely that the principle means to assert. In their recent monumental book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, physicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler state various versions of the principle, the most fundamental being the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP):

WAP: The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable, but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirement that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so.{6}
Barrow and Tipler regard WAP as "in no way speculative or controversial,"{7} since it is "just a restatement . . . of one of the most important and well-established principles of science: that it is essential to take into account the limitations of one's measuring apparatus when interpreting one's observations."{8} For example, if we were calculating the fraction of galaxies that lie within certain ranges of brightness, our observations would be biased toward the brighter ones, since we cannot see the dim ones so easily. Or again, a ratcatcher may say that all rats are bigger than six inches because that is the size of his traps. Similarly, any observed properties of the universe which may initially appear astonishingly improbable can only be seen in their true perspective after we have accounted for the fact that certain properties could not be observed by us, were they to obtain, because we can only observe those compatible with our own existence. "The basic features of the Universe, including such properties as its shape, size, age, and laws of change must be observed to be of a type that allows the evolution of the observers, for if intelligent life did not evolve in an otherwise possible universe, it is obvious that no one would be asking the reason for the observed shape, size, age, and so forth of the universe."{9} Thus, our own existence acts as a selection effect in assessing the various properties of the universe. For example, a life form which evolved on an earthlike planet "must necessarily see the universe to be at least several billion years old and . . . several billion light years across," for this is the time necessary for the production of the elements essential to life and so forth.{10}

Now, we might ask, why is the "observed" in the quotation in the above paragraph italicized? Why not omit the word altogether? The answer is that the resulting statement

1. The basic features of the universe must be of a type that allows the evolution of observers
is undoubtedly false; for it is not logically or nomologically necessary that the universe embrace intelligent life. Rather what seems to be necessarily true is

2. If the universe is observed by observers which have evolved within it, then its basic features must be of a type that allows the evolution of observers within it.
But (2) seems quite trivial; it does nothing to explain why the universe in fact has the basic features it does.

But Barrow and Tipler contend that while WAP appears to be true, but trivial, it has "far-reaching implications."{11} For the implication of WAP, which they seem to interpret along the lines of (2), is that no explanation of the basic features of the universe need be sought. This contention seems to be intimately connected with what is appropriate to be surprised at. The implication of WAP is that we ought not to be surprised at observing the universe to be as it is, for if it were not as it is, we could not observe it. For example, "No one should be surprised to find the universe to be as large as it is."{12} Or again, ". . . on Anthropic grounds, we should expect to observe a world possessing precisely three spatial dimensions."{13} Or again,

We should emphasize once again that the enormous improbability of the evolution of intelligent life in general and Homo sapiens in particular does not mean we should be amazed we exist at all. This would make as much sense as Elizabeth II being amazed she is Queen of England. Even though the probability of a given Briton being monarch is about 10-8, someone must be. Only if there is a monarch is it possible for the monarch to calculate the improbability of her particular existence. Similarly, only if an intelligent species does evolve is it possible for its members to ask how probable it is for an intelligent species to evolve. Both are examples of WAP self-selection in action.110

----------

110 F. B. Salisbury, Nature 224, 342 (1969), argued that the enormous improbability of a given gene, which we computed in the text, means that a gene is too unique to come into being by natural selection acting on chance mutations. WAP self-selection refutes this argument, as R. F. Doolittle in Scientists confront creationism, L. R. Godfrey (Norton, NY, 1983) has also pointed out.{14}

Here we have a far-reaching implication that goes considerably beyond the apparently trivial WAP. Accordingly, although Barrow and Tipler conflate WAP and the implications thought to follow from it, I want to distinguish these sharply and shall refer to these broader implications as the Anthropic Philosophy. It is this philosophical viewpoint, rather than WAP itself, that I believe, despite initial impressions, stands opposed to the teleological argument and constitutes scientific naturalism's most recent answer to that argument. According to the Anthropic Philosophy, an attitude to surprise at the delicately balanced features of the universe essential to life is inappropriate; we should expect the universe to look this way. While this does not explain the origin of those features, it shows that no explanation is necessary. Hence, to posit a divine Designer is gratuitous.

Critique

WAP and Self-Selection

Now it needs to be emphasized that what the Anthropic Philosophy does not hold, despite the sloppy statements on this head often made by scientists, is that our existence as observers explains the basic features of the universe. The answer to the question "Why is the universe isotropic?" given by Collins and Hawking, ". . . the isotropy of the Universe is a consequence of our existence,"{15} is simply irresponsible and brings the Anthropic Philosophy into undeserved disrepute, for literally taken, such an answer would require some form of backward causation whereby the conditions of the early universe were brought about by us acting as efficient causes merely by our observing the heavens. But WAP neither asserts nor implies this; rather WAP holds that we must observe the universe to possess certain features (not that the universe must possess certain features) and the Anthropic Philosophy says that therefore these features ought not to surprise us or cry out for explanation. The self-selection effect affects our observations, not the basic features of the universe itself. If the Anthropic Philosophy held that the basic features of the universe were themselves brought about by our observations, then it could be rightly dismissed as fanciful. But the Anthropic Philosophy is much more subtle: it does not try to explain why the universe has the basic features it does, but contends that no explanation is needed, since we should not be surprised at observing what we do, our observations of those basic features being restricted by our own existence as observers.

But does the Anthropic Philosophy follow from the Anthropic Principle, as Barrow and Tipler claim? Let us concede that it follows from WAP that

3. We should not be surprised that we do not observe features of the universe which are incompatible with our own existence.
For if the features of the universe were incompatible with our existence, we should not be here to notice it. Hence, it is not surprising that we do not observe such features. But it follows neither from WAP nor (3) that

4. We should not be surprised that we do observe features of the universe which are compatible with our existence.
For although the object of surprise in (4) might at first blush appear to be simply the contrapositive of the object of surprise in (3), this is mistaken. This can be clearly seen by means of an illustration (borrowed from John Leslie{16}): suppose you are dragged before a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen, all of them with rifles aimed at your heart, to be executed. The command is given; you hear the deafening sound of the guns. And you observe that you are still alive, that all of the 100 marksmen missed! Now while it is true that

5. You should not be surprised that you do not observe that you are dead,
nonetheless it is equally true that

6. You should be surprised that you do observe that you are alive.
Since the firing squad's missing you altogether is extremely improbable, the surprise expressed in (6) is wholly appropriate, though you are not surprised that you do not observe that you are dead, since if you were dead you could not observe it. Similarly, while we should not be surprised that we do not observe features of the universe which are incompatible with our existence, it is nevertheless true that

7. We should be surprised that we do observe features of the universe which are compatible with our existence,
in view of the enormous improbability that the universe should possess such features.

The reason the falsity of (7) does not follow from (3) is that subimplication fails for first order predicate calculus. For (3) may be schematized as

3'. ~S: (x) ([Fx × ~Cx] É ~Ox)
where "S:" is an operator expressing "we should be surprised that" and "F" is "is a feature of the universe," "C" is "is compatible with our existence," and "O" is "is observed by us." And (7) may be schematized as

7'. S: (\$x) (Fx × Cx × Ox)
It is clear that the object of surprise in (7') is not equivalent to the object of surprise in (3'); therefore the truth of (3') does not entail the negation of (7').{17}

Therefore, the attempt of the Anthropic Philosophy to stave off our surprise at the basic features of the universe fails. It does not after all follow from WAP that our surprise at the basic features of the universe is unwarranted or inappropriate and that they do not therefore cry out for explanation. But which features of the universe should thus surprise us? --those which are necessary conditions of our existence and which seem extremely improbable or whose coincidence seems extremely improbable. Thus, we should amend (7) to read

7*. We should be surprised that we do observe basic features of the universe which individually or collectively are excessively improbable and are necessary conditions of our own existence.
Against (7*), the WAP is impotent.{18}

WAP and a World Ensemble

Now proponents of the Anthropic Philosophy will no doubt contend that I have missed the whole point of the WAP. For (7*) is true only if the basic features of our observable universe are co-extensive with the basic features of the Universe as a whole. But proponents of the Anthropic Philosophy avoid (7*) by conjoining to WAP the hypothesis of a World Ensemble, that is to say, the hypothesis that our observable universe is but one member of a collection of diverse universes that go to make up a wider Universe-as-a-Whole. Given the existence of this wider Universe, it is argued that all possible universes are actualized and that the WAP reveals why surprise at our being in a universe with basic features essential to life is inappropriate.

Various theories, some of them quite fantastic, have been offered for generating a World Ensemble. For example, Wheeler proposes a model of the oscillating universe in which each cycle emerges with a new set of physical laws and constants.{19} Linde suggests an inflationary model according to which our observable universe is but one of many different mini-universes which inflated from the original larger Universe.{20} One of the most widely discussed World Ensemble scenarios is Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics, according to which all possible states of a quantum interaction are actualized, the observer himself splitting off into each of these different worlds.{21}

Now it needs to be emphasized that there is no evidence for any of these theories apart from the fact of intelligent life itself. But as John Leslie, the philosopher of science who has occupied himself most thoroughly with the Anthropic Principle, points out, any such evidence for a World Ensemble is equally evidence for a divine Designer.{22} Moreover, each of the above scenarios faces formidable scientific and philosophical objections.{23} Wheeler's theory, for example, not only succumbs to the problems generic to oscillating models,{24} but insofar as it posits singularities at the termini of each cycle, it is not even a model of an oscillating universe at all, but of just a series of unrelated worlds. Inflationary models not only face the problems of how to get the inflation started, how to get it to end without excess turbulence, and how to get it to allow galaxy formation, but more importantly they themselves require an extraordinary amount of fine-tuning prior to inflation, so that the appearance of design is not eluded. The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics is so fantastic that philosopher of science John Earman characterizes its postulated splitting of space-time as a "miracle." "Not only is there no hint as to what causal mechanism would produce such a splitting," he complains, "there is not even a characterization of where and when it takes place."{25} In fact, Quentin Smith indicts the theory as incoherent, since the many worlds are supposed to exist in a timeless superspace, which is incompatible with the stipulation that they branch off serially as quantum interactions occur.{26}

Objections can be raised against each of the theories proposed for generating many worlds; but even if we conceded that a multiple universe scenario is unobjectionable, would such a move succeed in rescuing us from teleology and a cosmic Designer? This is not at all obvious. The fundamental assumption behind the Anthropic philosopher's reasoning in this regard seems to be something along the lines of

8. If the Universe contains an exhaustively random and infinite number of universes, then anything that can occur with non-vanishing probability will occur somewhere.
But why should we think that the number of universes is actually infinite? This is by no means inevitable, not to mention the paradoxical nature of the existence of an actually infinite number of things.{27} And why should we think that the multiple universes are exhaustively random? Again, this is not a necessary condition of many-worlds hypotheses. In order to elude the teleological argument, we are being asked to assume much more than the mere existence of multiple universes.

In any case, the move on the part of Anthropic philosophers to posit many worlds, even if viable, represents a significant concession because it implies that the popular use of the WAP to refute teleology in a Universe who properties are coextensive with the basic features of our universe is fallacious. In order to stave off the conclusion of a Designer, the Anthropic philosopher must take the metaphysically speculative step of embracing a special kind of multiple universe scenario. That will hardly commend itself to some as any less objectionable than theism.

The point is that the Anthropic Principle is impotent unless it is conjoined with a profoundly metaphysical vision of reality. According to Earman, "Some anthropic theorizers seem all too eager to embrace any form of world making that gives purchase to their modus operandi."{28} Why this desperation? John Leslie explains that although the idea of a World Ensemble is sketchy and faces powerful objections, still people think that it must be correct, for how else could life originate?{29} But Leslie argues that the God hypothesis is no more obscure than the World Ensemble nor less scientific, since natural laws and initial conditions are not generally taken to be scientifically explicable.{30} A scientist should consider the interpretation of a divine Designer, or else admit that he simply has no personal interest in the problem, for the only alternative to the World Ensemble is the God hypothesis, so that if we reject the latter we are stuck with the former.{31}

Martin Gardner, quoting physicist Heinz Pagels, says that the Anthropic Principle raises a new mystery:

"How can such a sterile idea," Pagels asks, "reproduce itself so prolifically?" He suspects it may be because scientists are reluctant to make a leap of faith and say: "The reason the universe seems tailor-made for our existence is that it was tailor-made . . . . Faced with questions that do not neatly fit into the framework of science, they are loath to resort to religious explanations; yet their curiosity will not let them leave matters unaddressed. Hence, the anthropic principle. It is the closest that some atheists can get to God."{32}
Similarly physicist Tony Rothman writes,

It's not a big step from the [Anthropic Principle] to the Argument from Design . . . . When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it's very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.{33}
But if for atheist and timorous theist alike the World Ensemble and Anthropic Principle are functioning as a sort of God surrogate, what is so sad about this situation is that it is so unnecessary. For with the World Ensemble we have already launched our bark out onto the metaphysical deep; if the God hypothesis provides us a surer passage, why not avail ourselves of it? As Leslie reminds us, those who think that "science proper" has boundaries which are easy to fix are becoming increasingly rare.{34}

The Hypothesis of Divine Design

In any case, the philosopher who is a theist is certainly at liberty qua philosopher, if not qua scientist, to introduce God as his explanatory ultimate. What objections then might be raised against the theistic hypothesis? No friend of the Anthropic Principle, Earman seems sympathetic to the hypothesis of divine design, but in the end does not find it compelling because there is no need to adopt a creation theory of actuality, which this hypothesis presupposes:

If one adopts a creation story of actuality and if one calculates that the probability of creation of a big bang model having the features in question is nil, then no anthropic principle, construed as a selection principle, is going to resolve the problem. The resolution calls rather for something akin to the traditional argument from Design.
Alternatively, the need for a creation story of actuality and the need to wrestle with improbabilities of actualization can be obviated by treating actuality as a token-reflexive property of possible worlds not unlike the 'nowness' property of instants of time (see Lewis 1986). On this view all possible worlds, including the merely logically possible as well as the physically possible, are all equally 'actual'. No Creator is needed to anoint one of these worlds with the magical property of 'actuality' and the question of why this property was conferred upon a world having the features in question is mooted.{35}
Here we see the metaphysically extravagant lengths to which philosophers seem compelled to go in order to avoid a divine Designer. Earman, while excoriating Anthropic philosophers for their unwarranted postulate of a World Ensemble, shows himself quite willing to go even further, postulating the actual existence of all logically possible worlds. This involves a metaphysical commitment which is so enormous ontologically and so superfluous for explaining modal locutions that most philosophers have dismissed it as science fiction. Indeed, Plantinga has shown that such a theory of actuality entails the outrageous view that I have all my properties essentially, since it is not I, but a counterpart of me, who exists and possesses different properties in other logically possible worlds.{36} In comparison with Earman's commitment, the hypothesis of theism seems modest indeed.

Barrow and Tipler also object to the hypothesis of divine design, maintaining that "careful thinkers" would not today "jump so readily" to a Designer, for (i) the modern viewpoint stresses time's role in nature; but since an unfinished watch does not work, arguments based on omnipresent harmony have been abandoned for arguments based on co-present coincidences; and (ii) scientific models aim to be realistic, but are in fact only approximations of reality; so we hesitate to draw far-reaching conclusions about the nature of ultimate reality from models that are at some level inaccurate.{37} But Barrow and Tipler seem unduly diffident here. A careful thinker will not readily jump to any conclusion, but why may he not infer a divine Designer after a careful consideration of the evidence? Point (i) is misleading, since the operations of nature always work; at an earlier time nature is not like an unfinished watch, rather it is just a less complex watch.{38} In any case, the most powerful design argument will appeal to both present adaptedness and co-present coincidences. Point (ii) loses much of its force in light of two considerations: (a) this is a condition that affects virtually all our knowledge, which is to say that it affects none of it in particular, so that our only recourse is simply to draw conclusions based on what we determine most accurately to reflect reality; fortunately, the evidence at issue here is rather concrete and so possesses a high degree of objectivity; (b) Barrow and Tipler do not feel compelled to exercise such restraint when proposing metaphysically speculative but naturalistic accounts of the universe's basic features, for example, their defense of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics or scenarios for the origin of the universe ex nihilo, which leads one to suspect that a double standard is being employed here. Their objections, therefore, seem to have little force.

John Leslie's reservations with the theistic hypothesis are somewhat different: while concurring with the necessity of positing a divine Designer of the cosmos, he nonetheless argues that the ultimate explanation of the order in the universe cannot be God as traditionally conceived. Leslie plumps for what he characterizes as a Neo-platonic concept of God as the creativity of ethical requiredness. That is to say, if I understand Leslie correctly, the universe exists as it does because it should; it is morally necessary that a universe of free agents exist. This ethical requiredness of the universe has a sort of creative power to it that makes the world exist. If there is a personal deity, he, too, is the result of this more fundamental principle. Presumably, Leslie calls this conception Neo-platonic because according to that metaphysic the One, which takes the place of Plato's Good, produces being, the first emanation being the Nous, or Mind, which in turn produces the world. The God of traditional theism would be like Plotinus's Nous and Leslie's God like the ultimate form of the Good.

But why is the traditional concept of God so unpalatable? Leslie's critique on this score is disappointing and surprisingly weak.{39} Proceeding from the Leibnizian question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Leslie rejects the answer of God conceived as either a factually or a logically necessary being. For if God is only factually necessary, then He exists logically contingently, albeit eternally, and no reason is supplied for His contingent existence. On the other hand, God cannot be shown to exist necessarily in the logical sense, for when the ontological argument asserts, "It is possible that God exist," this possibility is epistemic only and, hence, does not show that God's existence is logically possible.

But this objection seems confused. If God is merely a factually necessary being, then there are possible worlds in which He does not exist. But then it is logically impossible for Him to exist in all possible worlds, that is to say, it is logically necessary that He exist contingently. But then, assuming that God is the explanatory ultimate in any world in which He exists, it makes no sense to seek a reason for His existence. To demand a reason for His existence is to ask for a logically necessary being which accounts for the fact that God exists. But on this hypothesis, it is logically impossible that there be such a being, for if it were possible such a being would exist in every possible world, including this one, and so God would not be the explanatory ultimate. Hence, if God is a mere factually necessary being, it is logically impossible for there to be a reason for His existence. One need only add that it is wrong-headed to indict a position for not supplying what is logically impossible.

On the other hand, why hold that God is merely factually necessary? The Leibnizian Principle of Sufficient Reason might lead us to reject the concept of God as a merely factually necessary being and hold instead that He is logically necessary. The failure of the ontological argument as a piece of natural theology is irrelevant to the coherence of this conception of God. Leslie correctly points out that when the ontological argument asserts that the proposition "A maximally great being exists" (where maximal greatness entails being omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect in every possible world) is possible, there is an ambiguity between "epistemically possible" and "logically possible." To say that such a proposition is epistemically possible is only to say that for all we know it is true. So understood, it makes sense to say, "Possibly a maximally great being exists, and possibly He doesn't." This sense is insufficient for the purposes of the ontological argument. But if we are talking about logical possibility, then to say that the proposition "A maximally great being exists" is possible is to say that He does exist. For if He exists in any possible world, then by definition He exists in all. Thus, if this proposition is possibly true in the logical sense, it is necessarily true. Now I agree with Leslie that the ontological argument seems to fail because all we intuit is that a maximally great being is epistemically possible, but we cannot say if His existence is logically possible. But how is this even relevant to the issue at hand? The coherence of the logical necessity of God's existence does not depend on the success of the ontological argument or our intuitions. It is possible that the ontological argument fails to prove God's existence, and yet for all we know God's existence is logically necessary. Philosophers such as Plantinga, Robert Adams, and William Rowe have defended the coherence of God as a logically necessary being,{40} and Leslie says nothing to impugn this notion. Using the Leibnizian query as his starting point, Leslie ought to conclude to the existence of a being which is by nature such that if it exists in any possible world, it exists in all; such a being must exist in this world in order to explain why something exists rather than nothing, and, therefore, in all worlds, thereby obviating the need for an explanation of its existence.{41} In this way Leslie's quite legitimate demand for a reason for the existence of something rather than nothing would yield an answer for the universe's existence without requiring one for God's existence, and this without endorsing the ontological argument.

As for Leslie's own alternative conception of God, I think that its lack of explanatory power seems painfully clear. How can there be design without the previsioning of an intelligent mind? Personal agents, not impersonal principles, design things. If one says that the traditional God is a sort of personal demiurge who designed the world, then how can he be produced in being by an abstract principle? Abstract objects such as numbers, propositions, and properties have no spatio-temporal locations and sustain no causal relations with concrete objects. So how does the abstract object posited by Leslie cause a concrete object like God to exist? It thus seems clear that traditional theism is the preferable explanation of the world's design

Concluding Remarks

Teleologists and Anthropic philosophers enjoy a peculiar "love/hate" relationship: they agree that the delicate balance of cosmological and physical conditions necessary for intelligent life does cry out for some sort of interpretation which will render it intelligible; but they differ radically as to what that interpretation should be. Theistic philosophers view this sensitive nexus of conditions as evidence of wider teleology and therefore indicative of a cosmic Designer. Anthropic philosophers contend that due to the self-selection effect imposed by our own existence we can only observe a limited number of worlds; therefore, we should not be surprised at observing this one. Moreover, if a Word Ensemble exists in which all possible values of cosmological and physical quantities are somewhere instantiated, it follows necessarily that our world with its delicate balance of conditions will also obtain. We have seen, however, that in the absence of the hypothesis of the World Ensemble the reasoning of the Anthropic philosopher, based on the trivial WAP is simply logically fallacious. As for the World Ensemble, there is not only no evidence that such an ensemble of worlds exists, but there are substantive objections against each of the proposed means of generating such an ensemble. In any case, the postulation of a world ensemble is metaphysically extravagant, for it must involve the existence of an infinite number of exhaustively random worlds if one is to guarantee that our world will by chance alone obtain in the ensemble. Theism is certainly no more objectionable than this.

Finally, I should like to say a word concerning the religious value of the hypothesis of divine design as an explanation for the wider teleology we have discovered in nature. As the debate over the Anthropic Principle has spread, it has even taken on literary dimensions, finding its way into the contemporary novel Roger's Version by John Updike. When Dale Kohler explains that physicists are proving the existence of God, Roger Lambert, a professor of theology, replies:

For myself I must confess that I find your whole idea aesthetically and ethically repulsive. Aesthetically because it describes a God Who lets Himself be intellectually trapped, and ethically because it eliminates faith from religion, it takes away our freedom to believe or doubt. A God you could prove makes the whole thing immensely, oh, uninteresting. Pat. Whatever else God may be, He shouldn't be pat.{42}
Roger's objections, so typical of contemporary theology, reveal fundamental misunderstandings about the revelation of God and the nature of faith. God's handiwork in nature is not a matter of His being intellectually trapped, but of His revelation of Himself to His creation, a self-disclosure which is aesthetically beautiful; as the Psalmist says, "The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Ps. 19.1). And the decision to believe in God or not is not so much a matter of assensus, but of fiducia. The demonstration of His existence on the basis of His created order in no way removes our freedom to trust in ourselves rather than in Him; as Paul wrote, "although they knew God, they did not honor him as God . . ." (Rom. 1.21). The teleological argument, then, if successful, hardly makes belief in God pat.{43} Rather it helps to bring us more quickly to the true crisis of faith.

http://www.geraldschroeder.com/finetuning.aspx
According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so "finely-tuned," and so many "coincidences" have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.
In fact, this "fine-tuning" is so pronounced, and the "coincidences" are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind. Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the "fine-tuning" and conclude that the universe is "too contrived" to be a chance event.
In a BBC science documentary, "The Anthropic Principle," some of the greatest scientific minds of our day describe the recent findings which compel this conclusion.
Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories:
If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature -- like the charge on the electron -- then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.
Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:
If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.
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'."
According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called "The Big Bang." At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.
When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the "blast-furnaces" of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous "fortunate" one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful "adjustments" had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.
Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. Adds Dr. David D. Deutch: If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

Universal Acceptance Of Fine Tuning
Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment's most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning. 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.
In his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time", Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world's most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as "remarkable."
The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life". "For example," Hawking writes, "if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.
Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of "a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)" (ibid. p. 125).
Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of "Genesis and the Big Bang" and "The Science of Life" was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:
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:
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000,
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,
there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:
the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.
Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:
The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.
Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding,
namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)
Penrose continues,
Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe -- and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure -- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.
Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.
It is appropriate to complete this section on "fine tuning" with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:
To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, "How could it have ever been otherwise?"

17 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:41 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
The Fine Tuning of the Universe

http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/creatorfacts/
An amazing array of scientists are bewildered by the design of the universe and admit a possibility of a designer.

(See the full presentation of this and other themes on the 2001 Principle Website.)

According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so “finely-tuned,” and so many “coincidences” have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.

In fact, this “fine-tuning” is so pronounced, and the “coincidences” are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind.

Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the “fine-tuning” and conclude that the universe is “too contrived” to be a chance event.

In a BBC science documentary, “The Anthropic Principle,” some of the greatest scientific minds of our day describe the recent findings which compel this conclusion.

Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories:

If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature—like the charge on the electron—then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.

Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.

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’.”

According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called “The Big Bang.” At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.

When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the “blast-furnaces” of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous “fortunate” one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful “adjustments” had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.

Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.

If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE OF FINE-TUNING

Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment’s most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning.

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.

In his best-selling book, “A Brief History of Time”, Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world’s most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as “remarkable.”

“The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life”. “For example,” Hawking writes, “if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.”

Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of “a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)” (ibid. p. 125). Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of “Genesis and the Big Bang” and “The Science of Life” was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:

1) 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:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000,

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001,

there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:

the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

2) Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:

The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.

3) Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding,

namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)

Penrose continues,

Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on eachseparate neutron in the entire universe—and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure—we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton’s, Maxwell’s, Einstein’s) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.

Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.

It is appropriate to complete this section on “fine tuning” with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:

To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, “How could it have ever been otherwise?”

Last edited by elshamah888 on Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:30 am; edited 2 times in total

18 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:56 pm
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
God, Fine-Tuning, and the Problem of Old Evidence

http://www.arn.org/docs/monton/god_finetuning_and_the_problem_of_old_evidence.pdf
Premise 1: The fundamental constants that are involved in the laws of physics
which describe our universe (such as the masses of the fundamental particles
and the strength ratios between the fundamental forces) are finely tuned for
life, in the sense that if some of the constants had values outside some narrow
range then life could not exist. (I will call this ‘the fine-tuning evidence’.)

Lemma: It would be very unlikely for the universe to have life-permitting
fundamental constants by chance. (This follows from Premise 1.)

Premise 2: If God created the universe, we would expect it to be lifepermitting.

Premise 3: The universe is life-permitting.

Conclusion: Thus, given the fine-tuning evidence, the fact that the universe is
life-permitting provides evidence for the existence of God. (This follows from
the Lemma and Premises 2 and 3.)

Last edited by elshamah888 on Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:32 am; edited 1 time in total

19 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:57 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/quotes.html
Fred Hoyle (British 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 from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question." (2)

George Ellis (British astrophysicist): "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." (3)

Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "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". (4)

Paul Davies: "The laws [of physics] ... seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design... The universe must have a purpose". (5)

Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy): "I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing." (6)

John O'Keefe (astronomer at NASA): "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." (7)

George Greenstein (astronomer): "As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency - or, rather, Agency - must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?" (

Arthur Eddington (astrophysicist): "The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory." (9)

Arno Penzias (Nobel prize in physics): "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say 'supernatural') plan." (10)

Roger Penrose (mathematician and author): "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance." (11)

Tony Rothman (physicist): "When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it's very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it." (12)

Vera Kistiakowsky (MIT physicist): "The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine." (13)

Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): "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; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." (14)

Stephen Hawking (British astrophysicist): "Then we shall… be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God." (15)

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "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." (16) Note: Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, hence his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it."(17)

Ed Harrison (cosmologist): "Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument." (18)

Edward Milne (British cosmologist): "As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God]." (19)

Barry Parker (cosmologist): "Who created these laws? There is no question but that a God will always be needed." (20)

Drs. Zehavi, and Dekel (cosmologists): "This type of universe, however, seems to require a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is in apparent conflict with 'common wisdom'." (21)

Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): "It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life." (22)

Henry "Fritz" Schaefer (Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia): "The significance and joy in my science comes in those occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, 'So that's how God did it.' My goal is to understand a little corner of God's plan." (23)

Wernher von Braun (Pioneer rocket engineer) "I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science." (24)

Carl Woese (microbiologist from the University of Illinois) "Life in Universe - rare or unique? I walk both sides of that street. One day I can say that given the 100 billion stars in our galaxy and the 100 billion or more galaxies, there have to be some planets that formed and evolved in ways very, very like the Earth has, and so would contain microbial life at least. There are other days when I say that the anthropic principal, which makes this universe a special one out of an uncountably large number of universes, may not apply only to that aspect of nature we define in the realm of physics, but may extend to chemistry and biology. In that case life on Earth could be entirely unique." (25)

Antony Flew (Professor of Philosophy, former atheist, author, and debater) "It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design." (26)

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science." (27)

Last edited by elshamah888 on Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total

20 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:31 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
On the Argument for Design from Fine-Tuning

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6123
Hi, Dr. Craig you’re my favorite Christian philosopher. From listening to your lectures and audio lessons you’re a firm believer that design is the simplest explanation for the fine tuning of the universe. I ran into an article by Richard Carrier “debunking” the fine tuning argument, in a response to James Hannam (bede.org.uk), Richard responded with this,

Hannam has failed to show that it is even possible for one constant to change while the others remain the same. For altering one constant may irrevocably alter another, greatly modifying any conclusion we can draw from modeling possible universes. Thus, just as Hannam warns against arguments based on the improbability of life forming naturally on the grounds that science might discover the natural means of forming life, so should he be warned against using a Fine Tuning argument based on the assumption of independent constants when science may soon discover, for example, a Grand Unified Theory or a Theory of Everything that shows how all the constants are causally related to each other.

Constants of nature and arbitrary quantities are a big part of the fine tuning argument, how should we as Christians who use this argument respond to a charge like this? From the same article Richard throws this argument out about constants,

in the 19th century there were some twenty to forty ‘physical constants,’ there are now only around six. All the others have over the intervening century been proven to be causally determined by more fundamental factors. For example, the boiling point of water was once considered a physical constant, but is now known to be the result of quantum mechanical laws, and thus could not be any different than it is without also changing the laws of quantum mechanics. Since the trend has been steadily in this direction, it is reasonable to predict that all the constants will end up being explained in this fashion. For example, since Planck’s constant defines the smallest possible unit of space and time, it may be the case that the speed of light is inexorably tied to Planck’s constant, so that one cannot be changed without altering the other.

Is it possible for all the constants to be explained away by some scientific theory? Also, how would you respond to this objection to Christian theism through multiple universes?

Again unlike theism, “multiple universes” has another inherent merit that Hannam does not consider: we know that a universe exists, and Hannam himself is agreeing that different universes are in principle possible, so we have a ready explanation of what is unknown by appealing to a known entity--that universes exist. In contrast, the theist tries to explain the same unknown by appealing to a completely unknown entity, that is, an entity that has never been scientifically observed and could well not exist at all. How does it make more sense to appeal to such a strange and unobserved entity when we can explain the same things by appealing to an entity that everyone agrees exists? Since a universe exists, and other universes are possible, isn’t it plausible that other universes exist? Certainly, we cannot know they do. But we cannot know they do not and thus any argument for God that supposes they do not is an argument from ignorance. Once again, agnosticism is the only justified outcome of this line of reasoning.

Does the mere fact that our universe exist make the multiple universe hypothesis more credible than the God hypothesis just because in Richards word “God is an unknown entity, who cannot be scientifically observed?”

As a guy who uses the fine tuning argument a lot it would be helpful for me as well as other Christians to have answers to these possible objections when we witness in our personal lives.

God bless you Dr Craig,

Christopher

Dr. Craig responds:

While I’m not familiar with the exchange between Carrier and Hannam that you cite, Chris, permit me to comment on the issues raised by your question.

That the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life is a pretty solidly established fact and ought not to be a subject of controversy. By “fine-tuning” one does not mean “designed” but simply that the fundamental constants and quantities of nature fall into an exquisitely narrow range of values which render our universe life-permitting. Were these constants and quantities to be altered by even a hair’s breadth, the delicate balance would be upset and life could not exist.

Carrier is mistaken when he asserts that there are only about six physical constants in contemporary physics; on the contrary, the standard model of particle physics involves a couple dozen or so. The figure six may be derived from Sir Martin Rees’ book Just Six Numbers (New York: Basic Books, 2000), in which he focuses attention on six of these constants which must be finely tuned for our existence. But this is just a selection of the constants there are, and new constants, unknown in the 19th century, like the so-called cosmological constant, which must be fine-tuned to one part in 10120 in order for life to exist, are being discovered as physics advances.

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 1040, 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.

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.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:41 am; edited 1 time in total

37 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:39 am
elshamah888

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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.

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.

38 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:15 am
elshamah888

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Join date: 2009-08-09
POST-AGNOSTIC SCIENCE:
HOW PHYSICS IS REVIVING THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN

http://www.discovery.org/a/142

1. Anthropic Coincidences
In 1973, astronomer and cosmologist Brandon Carter (Carter 1974) delivered a lecture in which he announced an exciting new discovery: the fundamental constants of the physical world must have been very delicately fine-tuned in order to make life possible. Since that time, literally dozens of such remarkable coincidences have been discovered, the so-called “anthropic coincidences.” (“Anthropic” is a Greek word meaning “tending to bring about the existence of human beings.”)

For example, the ratios of the four fundamental forces, gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, had to be balanced with great precision in order to make the universe hospitable to life.

Concerning the weak nuclear force: If significantly stronger: fusion at the big bang would have proceeded directly to iron, giving us a star-free universe.

If significantly weaker: an all-helium universe would result.

The weak nuclear force must be extremely weak compared to the other forces, yet just strong enough to make supernovas possible.

Concerning the strong nuclear force: If 2 percent stronger: this would prevent the formation of protons. If 1 percent stronger: all carbon would have been turned into oxygen. If 1 percent weaker: no carbon would have been formed from beryllium.

Concerning electromagnetism: if slightly stronger: all red stars, no supernovae if slightly weaker: all fast-burning blue dwarves.

A very remarkable case of fine-tuning has to do with the smoothness of the universe as it emerged from the Big Bang. The universe had to be extremely smooth, or else it would have been packed with nothing but black holes. At the same time, there had to be just the right amount of lumpiness to the early universe, to make the formation of stars and galaxies possible. Mathematician Roger Penrose (Penrose 1981) has estimated that the margin of error permitted here was less than 1 in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd power (that is, 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros, more zeros than there are particles in the universe!)

One solution to the this smoothness problem is offered by the theory of an inflationary Big Bang, a Big Bang in which there is a very brief period of very rapid expansion at the very beginning. However, such expansion requires an even more impressive feat of fine-tuning. For inflation to take place, the value of the cosmological constant had to take a very small and very precise value.

The cosmological constant is the result of the almost perfect cancellation of a very large number of comparatively very large physical constants. For example, a change in the strength of the gravitational or nuclear force as little as one part in 10 to the 100th could entirely ruin the cancellation, making space expand or contract furiously.

There are many more coincidences of this kind than we can even mention in the short time available, coincidences involving the proton/electron mass ratio, the fine structure constant, the necessity for a universe with exactly 3 spatial dimensions, the necessity of Pauli’s exclusion principle and the quantization of the energy levels of the atom, the electrical neutrality of matter, and so forth. Hugh Ross, in The Creator and the Cosmos (Ross 1995), lists over thirty such coincidences, most of which are clearly independent of the others.

If any of these features of the universe had lied outside a narrow interval of values, then the existence of any sort of complex chemistry would have been impossible. Complex, self-replicating life seems to depend on the co-existence of a combination of lighter and heavier elements, including such elements as hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Furthermore, life seems to depend on the formation of stars and planetary systems, since no life could exist in the frigidity of starless deep space or within the superheated interiors of stars. These conditions are interconnected, since only if stars can form and later become supernovas can any of the heavier elements be formed. These processes of star formation and destruction turn out to be very sensitive to the slightest variations in the fundamental constants of the universe. Consequently, the universe is in some sense “fine-tuned” for the possibility of complex chemistry and thus of life.

How surprising are these coincidences? This depends on what philosophers call your prior probabilities. If I knew nothing about the ratio of electromagnetic force to gravitational force, and if I knew nothing about the importance of this ratio to life, I would certainly assign a very low prior probability to that ratio’s lying within an interval that is no wider than one part in 10 to the 40th power. Thus, discovering both that there is such an interval defining the conditions of life, and that the actual value does lie within that interval, is to discover something that would be very surprising to any reasonable investigator. These surprising discoveries seems to call for some explanation.

Paul Davies :

[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. [Davies 1988, p. 203]

Arno Penzias (Nobel prize winning physicist):

Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”) plan. [in Margenau and Varghese 1992, p. 83.]

In addition, physicists are concluding that ours is the simplest possible universe, consistent with the existence of life. It appears that our universe has been deliberately designed so as to permit life and to maximize the simplicity of its laws.

2. Do the Anthropic Coincidences Require an Explanation?

I would like to turn to six objections that have been made to the claim that it is desirable, or even possible, to explain the anthropic coincidences.

2.1 The Problem of Old Evidence

We already know that life exists, and, consequently, we know that whatever is physically required for life to exist must be actual. Any hypothesis that purports to ``explain” the coincidences is explaining something we already know to be true. It is not thereby making a risky prediction that may or may not be borne out by subsequent observation. Hypotheses can be confirmed or made more probable only when they make such risky predictions, as when Halley predicted the return of Halley’s comet, or Einstein predicted the bending of light by the sun’s gravity.

This objection can be illustrated by using Bayes’s theorem, a basic theorem of probability theory. Bayesians stipulate that the posterior probability of a hypothesis, after observing result E, is equal to P(H/E). According to Bayes’s theorem, P(H/E) is equal to the product of P(H), the prior probability of H, and P(E/H), the degree to which H made E probable, divided by P(E), the prior probability of E. The probability of H is increased if two conditions are met: (i) P(H) is not zero, (ii) P(E/H) is greater than P(E). If E is not a prediction, then we already know E to be true. In this case, P(E) is 1, and P(E/H) cannot be greater than P(E). This means that no hypothesis can be confirmed by E. This implication of Bayes’s theorem is called "the problem of old evidence."

Most philosophers of science believe that this apparent implication of Bayesian theory should not be accepted. There are many cases in the history of science in which a theory was accepted on the basis of its ability to explain, in a very simple way, a wide range of previously-known data. For instance, Copernicus’s theory was accepted entirely on the basis of its providing a simpler, more economical explanation of astronomical data that had been known for hundreds, or even thousands of years. According to the strict Bayesian account, this data should have provided no support whatsoever to Copernicus’s theory--an incredible result.

The standard solution to the problem goes something like this. Instead of using the actual probability of the data, E, in using Bayes’s theorem, we instead use a hypothetical probability value, one representing how likely we would have found E to be, had we never actually observed it. Thus, the astronomical data we have observed for many thousands of years could receive a very low hypothetical probability, representing how unlikely these observations would have been to one unfamiliar with them.

Applying this solution to the case of the anthropic coincidences, we would have to assign some hypothetical probability to the anthropic coincidences. Given the narrowness of the required intervals, how surprising is it that life actually came into being? The answer would seem to be, very unlikely (unless there are a large number of actual universes within which life could arise by chance).

John Leslie illustrates this point by means of the Firing Squad analogy (Leslie 1989, pp. 13-14). Imagine that you are facing a firing squad of sharpshooters, firing at close range. Somehow, you survive the volley. Is the volley something that requires an explanation? It is old evidence--you already know with probability 1 that you are still alive. Nonetheless, it is, from a suitably impersonal perspective, a very surprising thing that you did survive, under the circumstances. Similarly, we already know, with probability 1, that life exists, but this is a very surprising fact, given the anthropic coincidences that were required.

2.2 Laws of Nature Cannot Be Explained

Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences cannot be explained, since they involve the fundamental laws of nature. The laws of nature are used in explaining other things--they themselves cannot be explained. They are rock-bottom, matters of physical necessity, immutable and uncaused. This objection is sometimes based on actual scientific practice--scientists seek to discover the laws of nature and to use these laws in constructing explanations of phenomena. They do not try to explain the laws of nature themselves.

There are several points to make in response to this. First, it is no longer true that scientists never seek to explain the laws of nature. Much of recent cosmology and unified force theory has attempted to do that. Second, even if scientists never did attempt to explain the fundamental laws, it would still be an open question whether they should do so. Finally, whether something can or should be explained is itself an empirical matter, to be decided on a case-by-case basis, and not on the basis of dogmatic, a priori pronouncements. The anthropic coincidences are themselves excellent evidence that the laws of nature can and should be explained. If the laws really were absolute rock bottom, inexplicable brute facts, then we would be faced with a set of inexplicable coincidences. If the only price we have to pay in order to explain these coincidences is to revise our beliefs about the rock-bottom status of physical laws, this is a small price to pay.

There is an episode near the end of Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact, that illustrates this point. A mathematician discovers, hidden in the apparently random sequence of numbers in the binary expansion of pi, an encrypted, three-dimensional hologram of the cosmos. The further the binary expansion is carried out, the sharper is the resolution of the hologram. Further, the hologram gives absolutely accurate information about the relative positions of galaxies and galaxy clusters, leading to new discoveries about the cosmos. In light of this discovery, the only possible conclusion to draw is that the number pi is an artifact, created by some unfathomable intellect, who encoded it with this astronomical information. In advance of this remarkable discovery, no one would have thought of the value of pi as something that could be explained in terms of anything else. It seems like a mathematical brute fact, rock bottom if anything is. However, this conviction is subject to change in the light of new information. Similarly, the discovery of the anthropic coincidences should lead us to revise our prior conviction that the fundamental laws and constants of the universe could not be explained.

2.3 Something Had to Happen--The Problem of Specification

Stephen Jay Gould, among others, has offered this objection. It is true that the anthropic settings of the physical constants is antecedently very unlikely. However, whatever value these constants had taken would also have been, from one point of view or another, extremely unlikely. Unlikely things happen all the time. Every time a hand of poker is dealt out, the exact constitution of the hands involved is extremely unlikely. The exact position of the molecules in this room at the present time is an astronomically unlikely arrangement.

This objection raises a fundamental problem of statistical inference: the problem of specification. If every outcome is equally unlikely, how is it that at some times we are able to exclude chance as an explanation, instead preferring the hypothesizing of some causal mechanism?

In a recent book, The Design Inference, philosopher and mathematician William Dembski (Dembski 1998) has offered a solution to this problem. A result is specified when it conforms to a very simple pattern, a pattern that can be specified by a simple rule or algorithm. The simpler the rule or pattern, the greater the degree of specification. When a result is very likely and very specified, no explanation is called for. For instance, if I hope that I will get a red card on the next draw, and I do get one, no special explanation is called for. Even though the result was highly specified, it was also highly likely, since I had a 50/50 chance of drawing a red card. When a result is very unlikely but has a low degree of specification, once again, no explanation is needed. If I draw a 2 of hearts, queen of spades, 5 of diamonds, 10 of clubs and 7 of spades, then this particular hand is very unlikely, but it is also relatively unspecified, since it takes quite a bit of information to spell out this particular result. If I were to spell out in equal detail 7 different hands, each fairly undistinguished, then the event of being dealt these 7 hands, in one particular order, is astronomically unlikely, but also highly unspecified.

In contrast, suppose I am dealt a royal flush (a straight flush, ace high) seven times in a row. This is an astronomically unlikely result, and, in the context of a game of poker, also a highly specified result. It conforms to a very simple pattern: being dealt the very best hand seven times in a row. Such an outcome demands an explanation (some sort of non-random shuffling and dealing).

The anthropic coincidences are extremely unlikely. Are they also highly specified? It would seem that they are. They all fall into one simple pattern: conditions necessary for the existence of complex, molecular chemistry. If the realization of this pattern can be explained, it should be.

One might object that the pattern is in fact a very complex one, since life and organic chemistry are themselves very complex. This objection would be based on a confusion. Life is very simple in its specification (something like “self-replication carbon-based chemical systems”), but it is always very complex in its realization. The simplest forms of life that we know about have hundreds of thousands of interdependent parts, each consisting of long chains of amino or nucleic acids. It is this complexity of realization that makes life such an unlikely state for matter to be in. But the complexity of realization does not contradict the fact that the specification of life is quite simple. For example, suppose that my four-year-old son sorts 100 pictures into two piles, one a pile of pictures of living things, and the other a pile of pictures of inanimate objects. The living/non-living pattern is extremely simple, so the result is highly specified, even if each individual picture is highly complex.

2.4 The Possibility of Exotic Life

Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences involve a simple failure of imagination. We can see that life like ours, based on carbon molecules, in a universe like ours, organized around stars and galaxies, would be impossible if any of the anthropic coincidences had failed to be realized. However, this may simply overlook the possibility of very exotic life, based on radically different kinds of chemistry and physics, in very exotic universes.

First, it is not at all clear that the anthropic coincidences are really vulnerable to this charge. In many cases, it seems clear that, in the absence of the anthropic coincidences, the universe would have been so short-lived, or so lacking in interesting structure or heterogeneity, that nothing approximating the complexities of life could be possible.

In any case, even if the charge were entirely just, there still remains a remarkable coincidence in need of explanation. All we need to do is to complicate the specification of the event to be explained very slightly. What we need to explain is this: the coincidence of factors necessary for the existence of complex, carbon-based molecules. In so doing, we are trying to explain the coincidences needed to make life like ours possible. The possible existence of exotic life is simply irrelevant to this problem. Whether or not such life is possible, we still are faced with a very unlikely and very specified event. The universe appears to be fine-tuned, not just to make life possible, but to make carbon-based life possible.

John Leslie (Leslie 1989) gives another good illustration of this fact, the story of the Fly on the Wall. Suppose we have a long stone wall. In places, the wall is entirely covered by flies. However, there is one long stretch of the wall, several hundred yards long, on which a solitary fly (and nothing else of any interest) is resting. Call this stretch the alpha segment of the wall. Suddenly, a gunshot rings out, and the solitary fly is shot. In this case, we have an event that this very unlikely (the hitting of one particular point on the alpha segment) and very specified (the hitting of a fly-occupied spot). This event calls for some sort of explanation, even though the hitting of a fly somewhere on the wall would not require an explanation, since the event of hitting-a-fly-somewhere-on-the-wall is not at all unlikely, given the presence of fly-infested stretches of the wall.

Similarly, if exotic life is in fact possible, then we do not need an explanation for the existence of life. We do, however, need an explanation of the existence of carbon-based life, since this is both highly unlikely and highly specified.

2.5 The Principle of Mediocrity & the Rejection of Anthropocentricity

The principle of mediocrity is a rule-of-thumb for the conduct of science. It requires that we assume that we, and our particular location in space and time, are nothing special. We must assume that we can observe in our own immediate neighborhood is typical of what is and what could be universally. Something like the principle of mediocrity is presupposed whenever we indulge in generalization: whenever we infer that a law of nature exists because we do not observe any violations. If we did not assume that our own space-time neighborhood is typical of the entire universe, then any generalization of our observations would be illegitimate.

The principle of mediocrity might be applied to the anthropic coincidences in the following way. We might say that the principle of mediocrity requires us to assume that all possible universes are very much like the actual universe. Since the actual universe is life-permitting, almost all possible universes must be so. But if almost all possible universes are life-permitting, then that is by itself a sufficient explanation of the anthropic coincidences.

There are at least two problems with this argument. First, the narrowness of the intervals involved (as narrow as one part in 10 to the 40th power) make it very unlikely that almost all possible universes have values that lie within the required intervals. The principle of mediocrity is a reasonable thing to presume at the beginning of our investigations, but when we discover overwhelming evidence that our own universe is very special, this evidence should override the a priori rule of thumb. Second, even if it were true that almost all possible universes are life-permitting, this does not rule out the need for an explanation of this fact. In fact, a theistic explanation would preserve the principle of mediocrity, since a theist will hold that typical universes are life-permitting, since in most cases, God would design the universe to be so.

Another closely related principle of scientific inquiry is the rejection of anthropocentricity. This principle has become firmly engrained in scientific practice ever since the heliocentric model replaced the geocentric model. The point of the principle is to guard against a very common human bias--that of assuming that we are more important than we are. It is natural for us to assume that we are the center around which everything else revolves, and it is essential to the acquisition of objective, scientific knowledge that we fight against this bias. The anthropic coincidences put the existence of human beings into the cosmic driver’s seat, in violation of this principle.

Again, there are a couple of things to be said in response. First, the “anthropic” coincidences are not well-named. They should really be called the biotropic or the carbotic principle, since they concern the possibility of the existence of life, or at least, of carbon-based, planetary life. This does not put the species Homo sapiens into any special place in the grand scheme of things. It does not necessarily make the planet earth the center of the universe, since there may, for all we know, be many planets equally well-crafted for the existence of life.

Second, even if the anthropic coincidences do lead us to reject, or at least to modify, the principle of non-anthropocentricity, this seems the reasonable thing to do in light of the actual data. Once again, we cannot let a priori legislation determine in advance how we must respond to any possible data. If we find overwhelming evidence that the cosmos has been fashioned for the sake of life on earth, then we should accept this conclusion. At most, the principle of non-anthropocentricity should make us cautious about jumping too soon to such a conclusion.

2.6 Too Small a Sample Size--Only One Universe

This objection is one first pressed by David Hume. Hume argues that we cannot draw any conclusions about the causes of a thing until we have observed many tokens of the same type. I can conclude that this egg was probably laid by a chicken only on the basis of many observations of chickens laying eggs in the past. Since we can observe only one universe, we cannot possibly be in a position to draw any conclusions about what sort of thing may have caused it.

Right away, we should concede that our situation is not an optimal one. If we could somehow observe 30 or 50 universes, each on the scale of our own, each taking very different sets of values for the fundamental constants, and yet each being structured so as to make life possible, then we would be in an optimal position to draw the conclusion that some kind of creator or designer has been at work. The question remains, however, just how far from optimal is our actual situation?

If we had to rely on only one feature of the universe, or on only two or three, we might well be in a position that warranted extreme caution. We might be wrong in our estimations of the degree of sensitivity of life to small changes in one or two parameters. However, when we have twenty-five or more features of the universe, each of which appears to be highly constrained, the basis for an inference to an appropriate explanation is much stronger.

I cannot see any basis for an absolute prohibition on reasoning from single cases. In science, history and forensics, we do sometimes come up against unique sets of circumstances. We have observed, for example, only two cases of the use of an atomic bomb against a city. Even if the bomb had been used only once, it surely would have been possible for us to attribute the death and destruction to the use of the A-bomb. Everything pointed to the activity of a fireball of intense heat, originating from a single point. Similarly, we see many signs of the activity of some agency capable of fine-tuning the features of the universe for the sake of the existence of life.

Once again, John Leslie offers a parable in support of this response, the case of the Telepathic Painting (Leslie 1989, p. 18). We are to imagine an experiment in which a purported telepath tries to duplicate a painting being produced simultaneously by another person halfway across the world. When the experiment is concluded, the two paintings are compared and found to be identical, stroke-for-stroke. Each painting contains hundreds of details, exactly duplicated in the other. In such a case, we might not accept telepathy as the explanation for the coincidence, but we would surely expect to find some explanation. The fact that we are dealing only with a single case is surely irrelevant. The single case provides by itself enough data to warrant the search for an explanation.

3. The Theistic Explanation of the Coincidences

3.1 Teleological Explanation

What is it for something to occur for a purpose? In the last thirty years considerable work has been done on this problem by analytic philosophers, beginning with the work of Charles Taylor (Taylor 1964) and Larry Wright (Wright 1976) in the 60’s and 70’s. The Taylor/Wright account of teleological explanation is known as the aetiological or causal account of teleology. I will give my own version of this account, one that takes seriously the distinction between tokens and types that I have insisted on before.

First, at the level of types, I will say that type A occurs in context C for purpose B if and only if, whenever a token of type (A & C) occurs, it is most probably caused, in part, by the fact that A-tokens tend to cause B-tokens. This definition brings a causal relation in twice: first, by specifying that tokens of type (A & C) tend to be caused in a certain way, and second, by including the fact that A-tokens tend to cause B-tokens within the first causal connection.

A few examples may help to make the sense of the definition clearer. The purpose of saying ‘please pass the sugar’ is the actual passing of the sugar to the speaker. In the context of polite, English-speaking company, uttering these words does tend to cause a sugar-passing event. The fact that this is so is part of the cause of most utterances of these words. If uttering these words did not tend to cause the sugar to be passed, we would not utter them nearly so often. Similarly, the purpose of working in a coal mine, in the context of 19th century capitalist Britain, was to earn enough money to live. Working in the mine did tend to cause this result, and it is because it tended to do so that so many workers went into the mine on a daily basis. Finally, the wings of a sparrow have as their purpose the sustaining of flight. The wings tend to have this result, and the fact that they do so is part of the explanation of why sparrows have wings. Natural selection has stabilized the gene pool of the sparrows to a wing-producing state because these wings contribute causally to flight.

Last edited by elshamah888 on Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:17 am; edited 1 time in total

39 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:15 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
At the level of tokens, we need the following definition. A token t of type B-in-the-context-of-C has the non-accidental purpose of B if and only if (i) A in the context of C has the purpose B, and (ii) t was caused in part, and in the usual way, by the fact that A-events tend to cause B-events. A token of type A-in-C is very probably, but not always, a token with B as its non-accidental purpose For instance, (assuming Darwinism is true) the wings of the very first flying bird did not have flight as their non-accidental purpose. In that case, the wings were the product of an accidental mutation, and their contribution to the power to flight did not have any causal role in explaining their existence in this case. Similarly, if a molecule-for-molecule duplicate of myself were to form by chance in a swamp, the resulting creature would have purposive organs, but none of the tokens involved would have non-accidental purpose.

However, although accidental purpose is possible, it is very much the exception rather than the rule. Whenever we find examples of purpose, it is reasonable to assume that the purpose is non-accidental, unless we can find good evidence to the contrary.

Is there a connection between non-accidental purpose and intelligent agency? I would like to argue that there is a very tight connection: every case of non-accidental purpose is a case of intelligent agency. If some state t exists (non-accidentally) for the purpose B, then there is some intelligent agent that has B as its purpose and has produced t to this end.

The most obvious apparent counter-example to this claim is one that I have already alluded to: the products of Darwinian natural selection. The instances of purposiveness in nature produced by natural selection pass the Taylor/Wright definition of non-accidental purposiveness, and yet, according to Darwinism, there is no intelligent agent behind the adaptations. Richard Dawkins, for example, talks of Nature as the ``Blind Watchmaker”, producing well-adapted creatures without any intelligence whatsoever. According to Dawkins, the Watchmaker is ``blind” in the sense of being unconscious, thoughtless, witless and purposeless.

However, what reason do we have to deny intelligent agency, of a kind, to Nature as Darwinism conceives of her? I don’t mean to challenge the adequacy of the Darwinian story here but merely to challenge the characterization of natural selection as unintelligent and purposeless. According to Darwinism, nature does seem to act for purposes, crafting a world full of a wide variety of self-sustaining eco-systems. Darwin himself, as well as modern-day Darwinists like Dawkins and Dennett, could wax very poetic about the wonders of the designs produced by Nature, which compare very favorably to the best feats of human engineering. Why deny that Nature is a kind of intelligent agent?

There seem to be several reasons at work here. First, many point out that Nature consists of nothing but blind, purposeless forces. This is true, but to conclude that Nature as a whole is purposeless is to commit the fallacy of composition. Presumably, each of my atoms is unconscious, but this does not that my body as a whole cannot be the seat of consciousness. Second, there is the fact that Nature does not have anything like a central nervous system, and so is not able to coordinate her actions or calculate consequences in advance. This certainly has implications for the kind of intelligence that Nature has, but it does not seem to demonstrate that Nature has no intelligence whatsoever. Finally, it is a central tenet of Darwinism that Nature has no foresight. She muddles through from one generation to another, progressing only by trial and error. Again, this would mean that Nature lacks certain mental powers that we possess, but no effort has been made to show that these particular mental powers are essential to intelligent agency.

Thus, the dispute between Darwinists and special creationists should not be thought of a debate about whether living things are the products of intelligent agency, but only about what kind of intelligence and power the designer possesses. According to the Darwinists, the designer lacks the capacity for foresight, is quite limited in its ability to coordinate its actions, and suffers periodic setbacks due to interference by outside factors (such as asteroid impacts or changes in solar radiation). The Darwinist believes, not in a blind watchmaker, but only in an extremely myopic one. In contrast, the creationist believes that the designer is infinite in intelligence and power. (Obviously, a wide range of intermediate positions are possible.)

If we adopt the sort of minimalist conception of intelligent agency that I am advocating, then it can be shown that hypothesizing an intelligent creator is the only possible explanation for the anthropic coincidences. Here’s a sketch of the argument:

1.The physical constants of the cosmos take anthropic values.
2.This coincidence must have a causal explanation (we set aside for the moment the possibility of a chance explanation through the many-worlds hypothesis).
3.Therefore, the constants take the values that they do because these values are anthropic (i.e., because they cause the conditions needed for life).
4.Therefore, the purpose of the values of these constants is to permit the development of life (using the aetiological definition of purpose).
5.Therefore, the values of these constants are the purposive effects of an intelligent agent (using the minimalist conception of agency).
6.Therefore, the cosmos has been created.

The crucial step in the argument is the third one. Once we reach the conclusion that the values of the fundamental constants exist because they are anthropic, some form of theism quickly follows. Why think that any form of explanation for the anthropic coincidences must suppose that these coincidental values exist because they are anthropic? The reason is this: any other hypothesis will fail to explain why the values are >anthropic. If, for example, we were able to deduce all of the anthropic values of the fundamental constants from some very simple, all-encompassing Grand Theory of Everything, we would still be faced with a new form of anthropic coincidence: explaining why the actual laws of nature force all of the constants to take anthropic values.

Here’s an analogy to illustrate the point. Suppose that we discovered that, hidden within the background radiation pervading the universe, is an encoded version of the proof of a famous theorem, like G�del’s incompleteness theorem. This encoded signal would constitute a remarkable coincidence, requiring some explanation. Suppose further that we were able to prove that the signal exists in the radiation because it was first encoded into the form of the laws of physics. This would not solve the puzzle--it would only relocate it. Now we would want to know how this information came to be encoded in the laws of physics. Similarly, if the values of the constants are constrained to take anthropic values by the fundamental laws of physics, then these laws themselves are fine-tuned to produce this result. In fact, the coincidence is now greater, in more need of theistic explanation, since it is even more unlikely that the laws of physics would by chance form an elegant system that happens to determine all of the values correctly than that the individual constants should each take the correct value by chance. In fact, discovering an elegant theory that generates all the anthropic values would provide conclusive evidence for theism, since this is a result that the many-worlds hypothesis could not explain. The combination of elegance and anthropicity would be a coincidence demanding explanation in terms of purpose.

Notice that at no point does this argument appeal to any supposed similarity between the setting of the values of the constants and any work of human craftsmanship or design. The argument is not based on extending our experience of the origins of human artifacts to the origins of the universe. In fact, I would go so far as to claim that it would be possible for someone to recognize the existence of intelligent agency for the first time by studying the anthropic coincidences, without ever having recognized the phenomenon of human agency. I would like to propose that we could invert Paley’s famous analogy of the man who encounters a watch in the desert and infers that it was designed. Let us imagine a person, The Stranger, who lives in Robinson-Crusoe-like isolation, and who is very un-self-conscious. The very ideas of purpose or intelligence or agency have never occurred to the Stranger, who has instead spent all of his time studying the physics and cosmology of the world. One day, the Stranger discovers the anthropic coincidences, and assuming that they must have a causal explanation, finds that he is forced to introduce a new kind of explanation into his science, one in which a state can be caused, in part, by the tendency of that state to cause some further effect. The Stranger calls this new kind of causal explanation “teleological explanation.” The Stranger also adopts a term for the underlying cause of a purposive state: “intelligent agency.”

Years later, the Stranger discovers the existence other humans and wanders into a watchmaker’s shop. Looking over the shoulder of the watchmaker at his craft, the Stranger cries “Eureka! What I am seeing is strangely reminiscent of the intelligent agency I discovered as the cause of the anthropic coincidences. Apparently, this hairy, bipedal creature is some sort of intelligent agent, and the metallic object he is producing must serve some purpose!”

3.2 The Simplicity of Theism

The design argument for theism is successful only if theism is a simple hypothesis. Swinburne (Swinburne 1987) argues that classical theism is a very simple hypothesis, since it uses only simple quantities, namely, zero and infinity. A hypothesis positing the existence of a being with infinite power and intelligence, that is, a being with zero limitations to his power and knowledge, is simpler than any hypothesis involving a finite deity. Critics of the design argument, including Hume and Mackie, have argued that theism is covertly complex, since the realization of intelligent agency requires a great deal of complexity. This objection can be divided into two arguments: the big giant brain objection, and the duplication objection, both of which can be found in Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

The Big Giant Brain objection goes something like this. Every intelligent agent we know of (humans, maybe chimps and whales) have highly complex central nervous systems, with billions of neurons and quadrillions of connections. A god who is highly intelligent, therefore, most probably has a brain that is much larger and more complex than a human brain. An infinitely intelligent god would seem to require an infinitely large brain. This means that theism involves introducing more complexity, more amazing coincidences and purposively organized structures, than was present in the data it is designed to explain. Consequently, the prior probability of theism is even lower than the probability that the cosmos became organized anthropically by chance, and so the anthropic coincidences do not make theism more likely true than false.

As I have argued above, it is not clear that all intelligent agents have central nervous systems. If Darwinism is true, then the earth’s biosphere is an intelligent agent, designing the earth’s living creatures through a process of trial-and-error learning. In any case, the teleological version of the design argument does not lead to the conclusion that God, the intelligent agent behind the anthropic coincidences, is in any way similar to human beings. In fact, we have good reason to believe that He is radically different from us. This means that we have little grounds for extending a generalization based on finite agents to an infinite agent. For this Humean argument to work, the objector must spell out some reasons for believing that any intelligent agent must have a brain.

In exploring this question, it might be helpful to reflect on what we know about our own case: why do we humans need a brain? For the sake of argument, I will assume that we accept a fairly strong principle of the dependency of the mind on the brain. There would seem to be five roles that the brain plays in making possible intelligent agency in humans:

1.As the site of internal representations of our desires, drives and valuings.
2.As the site of internal representations of our sensory perceptions and memories (our knowledge of the actual world).
3.As the site of internal representations of alternative possibilities.
4.As the site of internal representations of our plans, intentions and volitions.
5.As the basis for processes of ratiocination, inference, and other forms of information processing.

Let us consider how many of these considerations would apply to an infinite agent. First, the traditional view of God’s intelligence has been that God’s thought is “non-discursive.” This means that God does not think in anything like English sentences. Consequently, God does not need to indulge in deductive reasoning, such as syllogistic reasoning. Instead, God’s knowledge encompasses both possible and actual situations in their complete specificity, without any linguistic or conceptual intermediary. God never has to reason as we do, “All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal.” God sees both the humanity and the mortality of Socrates (and of each individual man) immediately. Similarly, God never needs to indulge in inductive or probabilistic reasoning, since there are no gaps in His knowledge to be filled by such inferences. Thus, an infinite agent would not need a brain for the purpose of #5 above.

Reasons #1 through #4 bring us to the second objection to the simplicity of theism: the duplication objection. Whether or not God needs a brain, the size, number and complexity of God’s internal representations would be great, far greater than the complexity of the cosmos His existence is supposed to explain. All the complexity of the universe is duplicated in the form of a representation or plan for the universe in God’s mind. The plan in God’s mind could explain the anthropic coincidences in the universe, but what can explain the anthropic coincidences realized by the plan itself, qua representation in God’s mind?

This is a serious objection. I think that the best theistic response is to challenge the idea that an infinite mind needs representations at all. I call the resulting model of the divine mind the ``non-discursive, non-representational model”. Instead of re-presentations, God can make use of presentations, the immediate presence of the objects of God’s thought to God’s mind. Let us suppose, for the moment, that we all accept the existence of three kinds of things: (i) the actual, spatio-temporal world and all of its constituents. (ii) a space of possibilities, ways the world could have been, some partial and some total in their scope, and (iii) objective, intrinsic values that attach to each possibility, consisting of the degree of goodness or badness that would be realized if that possibility were made actual. Let us suppose further that each of these kinds of things is immediately present to God’s mind, as immediately present to God as our own internal representations are to us.

If these three kinds of things exist, then there is no need for internal representations in God’s mind corresponding to #1 through #4 above. God consults the various possibilities directly, without needing to make a copy of them within His own mind. To some of these possibilities are attached a high degree of intrinsic value, and this fact is immediately available to God, without any need for an internal representation of His own desires or values. The actual states of affairs, whether the result of God’s own direct willing or the result of the agency of created things, are also directly apparent to God, without need for anything like sense organs and attendant nervous systems. The only thing that theism adds to the existence of these three kinds of realities is a power of determination, corresponding to our own power of will or choice. This power of determination selects one of the possibilities with a high enough level of intrinsic value and actualizes this possibility. If this possibility involves the existence of created agents with their own powers of determination, then subsequent acts of divine determination may be necessary, in response to the evolution of the created order.

If we doubt the existence of unrealized possibilities or objective values, then theism would involve the addition of complexity to our picture of the world. However, there are strong grounds for accepting both of these kinds of reality, grounds that are independent of the case for or against theism. In the final analysis, one’s assessment of the simplicity of theism is going to depend to some extent on one’s background metaphysical theory. People who accept, on independent grounds, the reality of possibilities and values (modal and ethical realists) will find theism much simpler than do those who reject the reality of these things.

Is the divine agent who emerges from the design argument, when combined with the non-discursive, non-representational model of the divine mind, a divine person? Certainly, if God is a person, He is a person of a radically different kind than we are. Moreover, there are many features of personhood for which we have not found compelling arguments. We have said little about the presence of consciousness in God, beyond that form of consciousness that is essential to awareness or knowledge. We have said nothing about feelings or emotions in God. We have not gained much insight into the nature and scope of God’s purposes. We do not yet know whether they have the complexity and internal coherency that we would expect to find in a personal agent. In conclusion, we should say that, although nothing we have found excludes the possibility of a personal God, the design argument, in and of itself, provides us with no grounds for attributing a rich personality to God.

At the same time, the anthropic coincidences clearly indicate that God is highly intelligence, with a great deal of foresight (the feature conspicuously absent from the Darwinian watchmaker). Moreover, we can plausibly assume that God’s purposes include the creation of things of a high degree of intrinsic value, with which we can include the creation of life.

4. The Many-Universes Model

The only real competitor to the theistic explanation is the Many-Universes model. According to the Many-Universes model, there are a very large number of parallel universes (perhaps infinitely many) out there, with the values of the fundamental constants varying randomly from one universe to the next. Only an infinitesimally small proportion of these universes are (by chance) the kind of place in which life is possible, but it is not surprising that we are in one of those universes, since otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question.

There are several things to be said in response.

4.1 Metaphysical Parity of Theism and Many-Universes

Note how the situation has changed. Originally, atheists prided themselves on being no-nonsense empiricists, who limited their beliefs to what could be seen and measured. Now, we find ourselves in a situation in which the only alternative to belief in God is belief in an infinite number of unobservable parallel universes! You’ve come along way, baby!

At the very least, God’s existence is as good, as simple and economical an explanation of the coincidences as is the many-universes model. Arguably, it is much simpler, in fact.

4.2 Tie Breakers

The Many-Universes model has been invented solely to explain the coincidences. It is what science calls an “ad hoc” explanation. There is no other, independent evidence of the existence of these other universes. For example, there is the cosmological argument, about which I have written elsewhere (Koons 1997). In addition, there are arguments for God’s existence from morality, consciousness, religious experience and the possibility of knowledge (see Swinburne, Adams, Alston, Plantinga).

4.3 The Supererogatory Goodness of the Universe

The Many-Universes model cannot explain why the values of the constants in our universe are not merely good enough but actually optimal, perfect. In particular, our universe has an extraordinarily long life compared to most hypothetical universes, and life has arisen at a very early stage in the life cycle of the universe (indeed, in a very early stage in the life cycle of our sun). Philosopher Robin Collins at Messiah College has recently published a proof that in the Many-Universes model, we should expect that life would arise only at point very near the end of the life cycle of the associated star. The fact that life arose so early on the earth is strong evidence that our universe has been optimally designed for the origin of life.

In addition, the Many-Universes model cannot explain the consistent thread of simplicity, elegance and symmetry that run through the laws of nature. In contrast, this aesthetic consistency is just what classical theists, beginning with Plato in the Timaeus, have always predicted.

4.4 Leslie’s “Further Evidence”

As John Leslie points out, many of the fundamental constants have to take the values they do for several independent reasons:

A force strength or a particle mass often seems to need to be more or less exactly what it is not just for one reason, but for two or three or five. Yet obviously it could not be tuned in first one way and then another, to satisfy several conflicting requirements. A force strength or a mass cannot take several different values at once! So, you might think, mustn’t it be inexplicable good fortune that the requirements which have to be satisfied do not conflict? . . .

I suspect that we ought to be thinking in terms of hugely many possible Fundamental Theories. In most cases these Theories would make living things impossible because, alas, the existence of such beings would demand that such-and-such factors be fine tuned in conflicting ways. Perhaps only extremely rarely would any Fundamental Theory--any Theory of Everything whose equations might be written on the back of an envelope or an elephant--avoid this depressing result. But some small group of Theories would avoid it, and the Creator would be guided by this fact. (Leslie 1989, pp. 64-5)

This fact makes it quite remarkable that a single range of values could satisfy more than one anthropic constraint. When the value of a single constant is constrained in more than one way, it would be very likely that these independent constraints put contradictory demands on the value of the constraint. By way of analogy, if I consider several algebraic equations, each with a single unknown, it would be very surprising if a single value satisfied all of the equations. Thus, it is surprising that a single range of values satisfies the various anthropic constraints simultaneously. Leslie argues that this higher-order coincidence suggests that the basic form of the laws of nature has itself been designed to make anthropic fine-tuning possible. In other words, Leslie argues that there is evidence of a higher-order fine-tuning.

Theism can explain this higher-order fine-tuning, since presumably God designed the basic form of the laws of nature, and did so in such a way as to make anthropic fine-tuning of the physical constants possible.

Can the many-worlds hypothesis explain the higher-order fine-tuning. It can, but only if we suppose that the basic form of the laws of nature varies randomly from one universe to the next. If we combine this assumption with the assumption that there is a virtual infinity of alternative universes, then observer selection can explain why the basic form of the laws of the universe is fine-tuned.

However, the price to be paid for such a super-many-worlds hypothesis is quite high. It is a fundamental maxim of the scientific method to assume that the basic form of the laws of nature is uniform, that what we observe in our own neighborhood is typical of all of reality. If we abandon this maxim, then all inductive or scientific learning becomes impossible. If the laws of nature vary randomly from universe to universe, then we have good reason to believe that the laws of our own universe are very complex, not at all simple, no matter how much evidence of apparent simplicity we observe. The number of universes with complex laws of nature is much greater than the number of universes with simple laws. No matter how much data we collect, and no longer how simple the curve to which the data can be fit, there are infinitely many more complex curves passing through the data points than there are simple curves. This means that we would never be justified in inferring the existence of simple laws of nature. The super-many-worlds hypothesis would pull the rug out from beneath the scientific enterprise.

4.5 Highly Fine-tuned versus Coarse-Tuned Universes

An additional argument for theism depends on the distinction between highly fine-tuned and coarse-tuned universes. Anthropic universes presumably fall into a range: in some cases the range of permitted values around the actual value is extremely narrow, and in other cases the local range is much wider (relatively speaking). The first kind of anthropic worlds I call ``highly fine-tuned”, and the second kind I call ``coarse-tuned”. A region of contiguous highly-fine-tuned universes is a highly fine-tuned region, and a region of contiguous coarse-tuned universes is a coarse-tuned region.

Let us assume that the number of highly fine-tuned regions is approximately the same as the number of coarse-tuned regions. By definition, the coarse-tuned regions are each much larger, containing far more worlds, than the highly fine-tuned regions. Consequently, the typical anthropic world is a coarse-tuned world. Highly fine-tuned worlds are atypical cases of anthropic worlds.

If we find evidence that our universe is a highly fine-tuned universe, this would be a very unlikely occurrence that could not be explained by observer selection, since most worlds in which observers occur are coarse-tuned. If this unlikely occurrence were also specified, then it would be something that would require a causal explanation. I would argue that being a highly fine-tuned world is clearly a specified event, since we can pick out the class of highly fine-tuned universes by a very simple description, without any post hoc reference to actual events

If our universe is highly fine-tuned, this fact could be explained by theism. God might have a preference for creating life under circumstances that demand a high order of intelligence and foresight. Traditional theology includes the claim that God created the world for the sake of his own greater “glory.” The successful carrying-out of a project of fine-tuning would make a greater contribution to the glory of the creator than the completion of a coarse-tuned universe.

As we discover more and more evidence of the fine-tuning of our own universe, the probability grows that our universe is highly fine-tuned, and not merely coarse-tuned. Theists can predict that still more anthropic coincidences will be found, a prediction that the many-worlds hypothesis cannot duplicate.

Recent work on computer simulations of the spontaneous development of life, including the so-called “Game of Life,” provides evidence that our own universe is highly fine-tuned. These computer simulations provide evidence for the existence of coarse-tuned universes, universes in which the laws of physics and chemistry are, unlike those in our actual universe, robustly conducive to the existence of life (self-replicating systems). These simulated universes include physical states that take only discrete values (like on/off), in contrast to the continuous nature of the actual physical world. This discreteness makes life much easier to create and sustain under a variety of conditions, unlike the conditions in the actual world.

As we discover more instances of fine-tuning, the relative probability of theism over the many-worlds hypothesis is increased for two reasons. First, as we have seen, the existence of more instances of fine-tuning increases the probability that our universe is highly fine-tuned, a fact that theism, but not the many-worlds hypothesis, can explain. Second, as the degree of fine-tuning increases, the many-worlds hypothesis must posit an exponentially increasing number of parallel worlds. Theism, in contrast, can explain any degree of fine-tuning without any material modification of the hypothesis. As the number n increases, the probability that there are at least n worlds decreases. This decrease in probability makes it increasingly unlikely that the many-worlds hypothesis is the correct explanation of the coincidences.

4.6 Many-Universes Itself Requires a Theistic Explanation

Suppose that we accept the many-universes hypothesis and use observer-selection to explain the existence of anthropic values in our universe. There is still one remarkable fact for which we have no explanation: why there exist a sufficient number of universes to make the existence of life unsurprising. If a few million or billion worlds were enough, this would perhaps not be too surprising. However, the anthropic coincidences would require that a mind-bending number of universes exist, something on the order of 10 to the 200th power. If we consider all possible forms that reality might take, it can seem quite surprising that we find ourselves in a version of reality with such a plenitude of universes.

Theism can offer some plausible explanations of this fact. First, as Leslie argues, we could easily imagine that God has a strong preference for variety for variety’s sake. This would give God a good reason for creating an infinity of universes, in which physical and cosmological constants take every possible value. Second, God might have had in mind creating such a large ensemble of universes that interesting things, like life, would be bound to happen in at least a few of them by chance alone.

As Leslie points out, theism and the many-worlds hypothesis are not logically inconsistent. If there is only one universe, then the anthropic coincidences point to the existence of God. Alternatively, if there are many universes, this fact too supports theism.

5. Conclusion

If physics and cosmology have led us to a revival of the argument from design, legitimating references to the activity of an intelligent creator of nature, this fact has implications for the practice of other sciences and disciplines. In a recent book, Michael Denton (Denton 1998) brings a design perspective to chemistry, geology and biology. Michael Behe (Behe 1996) has argued that the existence of intricate molecular machines provide examples of “irreducible complexity,” which can best be explained by intelligent agency and not by undirected mutations. Similarly, research on the origin of life may be overdue for some fundamental rethinking. In recent years, science has been wedded to a philosophy of materialism. The time has come for a trial separation, at the very least.

40 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:23 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09

The improbable universe?

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2007/07/improbable-universe.html

Thought this worth including as main post (previously in the comments on my review of Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing below).

Some argue like this:

Surely we can know that something exists, yet also know that its existence is highly improbable, improbable enough to demand some sort of explanation?

Isn't precisely this true of the existence of the universe?

The playing cards

Here's a Swinburne-type illustration of the general point. Suppose I am asked to guess each one of 52 cards, one by one. If I ever get one wrong, my brains will be blown out.

I start guessing, and amazingly, I get all 52 cards correct. Now you may say, "What's so improbably about that? After all, the probability of you getting them all right is 1, as you wouldn't be here otherwise would you?"

But of course, there's a sense in which something deeply improbable has happened. So improbable, in fact, that it would be reasonable for me to suspect this result wasn't just a matter of chance.

Some of those who favour fine-tuning arguments for the existence of God argue that, similarly, the fact the fact the we do exist does not show that there isn't something extraordinarily improbable about the universe, by chance, being just right for life. So improbable, in fact, that we can reasonably suppose that its "fine-tuned" character is not an accident, but the result of deliberate design.

Here's another classic example of the general point. As a condemned spy, you are put before a firing squad of twenty expert marksmen, who load aim, and fire at your heart from close range.

Amazingly, they all miss. You feign death, and survive.

Pure luck that they all missed? Possibly. But highly unlikely.

Far more likely that the miss was deliberately arranged.   It won't do to now say, "But their all missing is not amazing at all. It's wholly unremarkable. After all, had they not all missed, I would not be here to ponder my luck!"

In the same way, its argued, we can ponder the improbability of the universe (of its being "fine-tuned" for life, etc.), despite its epistemic probability now being 1. We can't dismiss this alleged improbability by saying "But it's not improbable at all - after all, if the universe had not been just right for life, we would not be here!"

One of the commentators on Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing below, does make this move. It's not uncommon. But I don't buy it.

41 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Sep 13, 2009 5:35 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Evidence of the Design of the Universe through the Anthropic Principle

http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/837
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

42 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Sep 13, 2009 5:38 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Anthropic Coincidences

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/anthropic-coincidences-40

Stephen M. Barr
How important is the human race in the scheme of things? According to the Epistle
to Diognetus, a Christian work of the early second century, “God loved the race
of men. It was for their sakes that He made the world.” The consensus of later
Christian tradition does not go quite that far, holding that the purpose of
Creation is to manifest God’s glory, not simply to benefit mankind. And yet
Scripture and tradition certainly concur in teaching that the human race has
a central place in the divine plan. In the Book of Genesis, the six days of
creation culminate in the creation of man, and man alone of all the creatures
is said to be made “in the image of God.” If we are not the sole or the chief
end of Creation, it is nevertheless the Jewish and Christian view that in creating
the world God had the human race in mind. Indeed, St. Paul tells the Ephesians
that they were chosen by God and destined to be His sons “before the foundation
of the world.”

On the other hand, we have often been told, science regards man and his place
in the world very differently. In the story of science as it is told by materialists
the human race is not central to the purpose of the universe for the simple
reason that the universe has no purpose. This is the view set forth in a well–known
passage in Steven Weinberg’s best–selling book The First Three Minutes:

It is almost irresistible
for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that
human life is not just a farcical outcome of a chain of accidents . . . but
that we were somehow built–in from the beginning. . . . It is very hard for
us to realize that [the entire earth] is just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly
hostile universe. . . . The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more
it also seems pointless.

It is the view not only of Weinberg but of many scientists that the progress
of science has more and more made the universe appear “pointless,” and the human
race an accidental by–product of blind material forces. Indeed, this is thought
by many to be the key lesson that science has to teach us. A particularly forthright
champion of this view is the zoologist Richard Dawkins, who writes that “the
universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is
at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.”

The pointlessness of the cosmos and its indifference to human beings is also
a main theme in the writings of the zoologist Stephen Jay Gould, who claims
that the human race is a freak accident of evolutionary history, merely “a tiny
twig on an ancient tree of life.” We are, said Bertrand Russell, but “a curious
accident in a backwater” of the universe.

Certainly, much in the history of science encourages this “marginalization
of man.” If nothing else, the very size of the cosmos seems to tell of our insignificance.
And yet, discussions about the size and age of the universe do not come to grips
with the real question: Is the human race an accident, or were we meant to be
here? To put it in Weinberg’s terms, were we “somehow built–in from the beginning?”

As it happens, new light has been shed on this question by the discoveries
of modern physics. It has been noticed, especially since the work of the astrophysicist
Brandon Carter in the 1970s, that there are many features of the laws of nature
that seem arranged, even “fine–tuned,” to make possible the existence of life,
including intelligent beings such as ourselves. At least on the face of it,
these so–called “anthropic coincidences” would appear to support the idea that
we were built–in from the beginning. Even some former atheists and agnostics
have seen in them impressive evidence of a divine plan. And yet, many others
maintain that a perfectly naturalistic explanation of these coincidences is
possible. Rather than settling the age–old questions, then, the “anthropic”
arguments seem only to have generated new controversy. Before getting into that
controversy, it will be helpful to look at a few examples of anthropic coincidences.
I will start with a detailed look at two of the most famous examples, both of
which concern the origin of the chemical elements needed for life.

All life is based on chemistry—very complex chemistry, as even a cursory look
at a biochemistry textbook makes clear. The human body, for instance, is made
up of no fewer than twenty–five different chemical elements. Altogether, almost
a hundred chemical elements occur naturally, the smallest being hydrogen, and
the largest uranium. Where did all these elements come from? And why are the
chemical possibilities of our universe so rich?

Hydrogen has been around since very soon after the Big Bang. But almost all
of the other elements were forged later, either in the deep interiors of stars,
or in the violent explosions called supernovas with which some stars end their
lives. These supernova explosions are also important for life because they spew
the elements made within stars out into space where they can form new stars,
or planets, or people. Indeed, most of the elements in our bodies were made
inside stars that exploded before the sun was born. We are quite literally made
of stardust.

For our purposes, it is crucial to note that the elements are formed in a sequential
manner by nuclear reactions in which the nuclei of smaller atoms fuse together
to make the nuclei of larger atoms. These same “nuclear fusion” reactions also
produce the energy radiated by stars (including, of course, the sun), energy
that is essential to support life. The first step in the process of forging
the elements is the fusing together of pairs of hydrogen nuclei to make something
called “deuterium.” Deuterium is the first and vital link in the whole chain.
If deuterium had been prevented from forming, none of the later steps could
have taken place, and the universe would have contained no elements other than
hydrogen. This would have been a disaster, for it is scarcely conceivable that
a living thing could be made of hydrogen alone. Moreover, had the deuterium
link been cut, the nuclear processes by which stars burn would have been prevented.

Everything thus depends on hydrogen being able to fuse to make deuterium. Here
is where the first remarkable anthropic coincidence comes in. The force of nature
that cements nuclei together is called the “strong nuclear force.” Had the strong
nuclear force been weaker by even as little as 10 percent, it would not have
been able to fuse two hydrogens together to make deuterium, and the prospects
of life would have been dim indeed. But this is only the half of it. Had the
strong nuclear force been only a few percent stronger than it is, an
opposite disaster would have occurred. It would have been too easy for
hydrogen nuclei to fuse together. The nuclear burning in stars would have gone
much too fast. Stars would have burned themselves out in millions of years or
less, rather than the several billion years that stars like the sun last. However,
the history of life on earth suggests that billions of years are required for
the evolution of complex life such as ourselves. The upshot of all these considerations
is that the strong nuclear force has just the right strength: a little stronger
or weaker and we would not have been here.

Once deuterium is made, deuterium nuclei can combine by fusion processes to
make helium nuclei. These steps happen very readily. At this point, however,
another critical juncture is reached: somehow, helium nuclei must fuse to make
yet larger elements. But all the obvious ways this could happen are forbidden
by the laws of physics. In particular, two helium nuclei cannot fuse together.
This was quite a puzzle for nuclear theorists and astrophysicists. How did all
the elements larger than helium come to be made?

The answer was found by Fred Hoyle, who suggested that nature in effect did
a large double step to get past the missing rung in the ladder. When two helium
nuclei collide in the interior of a star they cannot fuse permanently, but they
do remain stuck together momentarily—for about a hundredth of a millionth of
a billionth of a second. In that tiny sliver of time a third helium nucleus
comes along and hits the other two in a three–way collision. Three heliums,
as it happens, do have enough sticking power to fuse together permanently.
When they do so they form a nucleus called “carbon–12.” This highly unusual
triple collision process is called the “three–alpha process,” and it is the
way that almost all of the carbon in the universe is made. Without it, the only
elements around would be hydrogen and helium, leading to an almost certainly
lifeless universe.

It was in looking closely at the three–alpha process that Hoyle discovered
one of the most dramatic of the anthropic coincidences. Hoyle’s preliminary
calculations showed him that such a rare event as the three–alpha process would
not make enough carbon unless something greatly enhanced its effectiveness.
That something, he realized, must be what is called in physics a “resonance.”
There are many examples of resonance phenomena in everyday life. A big truck
going by a house can rattle the window panes if the frequency of the sound waves
matches up, or “resonates,” with one of the “natural modes of vibration” of
the window. Similarly, opera singers can shatter wine glasses by hitting just
the right note. In other words, an effect that would ordinarily be very feeble
can be greatly enhanced if it occurs resonantly.

Now, it happens that atomic nuclei too have characteristic “notes” or “modes
of vibration,” called “energy levels,” and nuclear reactions can be enormously
facilitated if they hit upon one of these energy levels. Hoyle pointed out that
the three–alpha process could have produced enough carbon only if the carbon–12
nucleus has an energy level in just the right place. Indeed, experiments done
shortly thereafter confirmed that it does. Had this energy level of carbon–12
been only a few percent higher or lower in frequency, the three–alpha process
would have been out of tune, as it were. Without carbon, and the elements heavier
than carbon, life as we know it would have been unable to exist.

One sees that the making of the chemical elements needed for life was, to borrow
the Duke of Wellington’s comment on his victory at Waterloo, “a damn close run
thing.”

One can see anthropic coincidences not only in the nuclear processes that formed
the elements, but in many quite various aspects of the laws of physics. To give
a better idea of this variety, I will describe a few more examples, though in
less detail.

The “strong nuclear force” is one of four basic forces of nature that is presently
known. The others are the so–called “weak interaction,” gravity, and electromagnetism.
In the phenomena of our everyday lives, electromagnetism plays a dominant, although
perhaps not obvious, role. For example, matter is held together by the electrical
attraction of atoms, and light consists of electromagnetic waves. In contrast,
the strong nuclear force plays no direct role in effects that we can experience.
That is because its influence extends only over subatomic distances. Nevertheless,
the electromagnetic force is intrinsically much weaker than the strong nuclear
force. In fact it is, in a certain well–defined sense, about one hundred times
weaker. This is very fortunate. Had the electromagnetic force not been
intrinsically much weaker than the strong nuclear force, the electrical energy
packed inside a hydrogen nucleus would have been so great as to render it unstable.
The “weak interaction” would then have made all the hydrogen in the world decay
radioactively, with a very short half–life, into other particles. The world
would have been left devoid of hydrogen, and therefore almost certainly of life.
For water, which is indispensable for life, contains hydrogen, as do almost
all organic molecules. We see, then, how life depends on a delicate balance
among the various fundamental forces of nature, and in particular on the relative
feebleness of electromagnetic effects.

Another fortunate fact has to do with the flatness of space. Einstein taught
us that space–time is not flat, but curved. Because of this curvature, bodies
seem to attract each other by the force we call gravity. However, it turns out
that the space of our universe, if looked at on large enough scales of distance,
is on average astonishingly flat. The “spatial curvature,” as it is called,
is very small. In fact, shortly after the Big Bang the spatial curvature of
the universe was, to the accuracy of many decimal places, equal to zero. For
a long time, this was referred to as the “flatness problem,” since no one could
think of a good explanation for it. However, while long a difficult thing for
theorists to explain, this flatness of space is very fortunate. Had the flatness
of space not been fantastically small to begin with, the universe would
either have collapsed and ended a very short time—a tiny fraction of a second—after
it began, or would have undergone such a tremendously rapid expansion that it
would have torn matter and even atoms asunder.

So far I have described various quantities, like the strengths of the strong
nuclear force and the flatness of space, that had to be “fine–tuned” to very
special numerical values to make life as we know it possible. But there are
also certain gross qualitative features of the laws of physics that are “anthropically”
important. One example is the fact that space is three–dimensional. We take
this fact for granted, but we shouldn’t. That space has three dimensions is
an empirical fact, not a metaphysical necessity. Theoretical physicists study
hypothetical universes with other numbers of dimensions all the time. If the
world had not had three space dimensions, but four or more of them, the gravitational
force between two objects would have depended in a different way upon the distance
between them. And that, in turn, would have made it impossible for planets to
orbit stably around stars: they would either have plummeted into stars or flown
off into space. (Interestingly, the first person to point out this consequence
of a different law of gravity was the Anglican clergyman William Paley. Paley
was one of the first people to think about anthropic coincidences in the laws
of nature.) In the same way, the orbits of electrons in atoms would not have
been stable, and life based on chemistry would have been impossible.

On the other hand, had there been fewer than three space dimensions,
complex organisms would doubtless have been impossible for quite a different
reason. Complex neural circuitry, as is needed in a brain, would not be possible
in one or two dimensions. If one tries to draw a complicated circuit diagram
on a two–dimensional surface, one finds that the wires have to intersect each
other many times, leading to short–circuits.

As a final example, the fact that nature obeys the principles of quantum theory
is highly important for the possibility of life. It turns out that matter would
not be stable in a non–quantum world. People generally suppose that the Heisenberg
Uncertainty Principle makes the world, at least at the atomic level, a fuzzier
and more indefinite place. However, paradoxical as it may sound, that principle
is ultimately responsible for the fact that subatomic particles form stable
atoms with well–defined chemical properties. Were it not for the principles
of quantum theory, matter would be amorphous and protean to such a degree that
it is hard to imagine a living organism being possible.

What do physicists make of such anthropic coincidences? There is a wide spectrum
of opinion. Some of the greatest scientists of our time, including Yacov Zel’dovich,
Andrei Sakharov, Lev Okun, Martin Rees, and Steven Weinberg, to name but a few,
have been interested in them and have devoted study to them. Nevertheless, the
subject provokes discomfort and even hostility in much of the physics community,
partly due to the specter of teleology. Physicists have a strong instinctive
professional aversion to teleological thinking, because, at least in the physical
sciences, the scientific revolution was to a large extent made possible by the
rejection of teleology in favor of mechanism. I suspect, though, that there
is more to this nervousness about anthropic coincidences—namely, the specter
of religion.

Yet, scientific skepticism about these ideas is not based entirely on such
prejudices. There are several arguments against the idea of anthropic coincidences
that must be taken seriously.

First, it is argued that we cannot really know what is necessary for life to
arise. Life might take forms that are utterly alien to our experience. While
the life that we know about makes use of a certain kind of physics, who knows
whether, with different physical laws, completely different possibilities for
life might have existed?

This objection has some real force. In some cases, I think, all we can honestly
assert is that it appears highly unlikely that life could have arisen had the
laws of physics been different in this or that respect—unlikely, but perhaps
not utterly impossible. In such questions absolute certainty may not be attainable
due to our limited imaginations. However, absolute certainty may be beside the
point. We might still be left with strong indications that the cosmos
was made with us in mind, even if those indications do not add up to a proof.
After all, the reasons that scientists like Weinberg, Dawkins, and Gould give
for reaching the opposite conclusion are also not subject to proof.

The second objection is that conventional scientific explanations may exist
for some if not all of the facts that now appear to be anthropic coincidences.
In fact, among the examples I gave of anthropic coincidences I included two
where we may already have at least a partial scientific explanation of the facts
involved. The fact that the electromagnetic force is much weaker than the strong
nuclear force, for instance, is probably partly explained by the idea of “grand
unification.” There are reasons to believe that the electromagnetic force, the
weak interaction, and the strong nuclear force are really all aspects of one
underlying “grand unified” force. If that is so, then the strengths of the different
forces are not independent of each other, but are tied together in a definite
way. In fact, in a typical grand unified model—and many such models have been
proposed—the electromagnetic force does indeed come out to be much weaker than
the strong nuclear force. Another of the anthropic coincidences concerns the
flatness of space. This too is a fact for which we now have a probable explanation:
it is thought to be a consequence of an effect called “cosmic inflation.”

Thus, it is more than likely that at least some of the facts about the laws
of physics that appear favorable to our existence do have conventional scientific
explanations. Even if that proved to be true of all of them, however, it would
not explain away the coincidental nature of these facts. The critical point
was well expressed by the noted astrophysicists Bernard Carr and Martin Rees:

One day we may have a more
physical explanation for some of the relationships . . . that now seem genuine
coincidences. For example, [some of them] may eventually be subsumed as a consequence
of some presently unformulated unified theory. However, even if all apparently
anthropic coincidences could be explained in this way, it would still be remarkable
that the relationships dictated by physical theory happened also to be those

In other words, suppose that there are twenty numerical relationships that
have to hold in order for life to be possible, and suppose that in some physical
theory every one of those twenty relationships happens to hold as a consequence
of some underlying physical principle. That would itself amount to an
astonishing coincidence.

This brings us to the third objection, which is closely related to the second.
physicists nowadays suspect not. They suspect that all mathematical relationships
in the laws of physics will turn out to be dictated by some deep underlying
principles that leave no room for things to have been otherwise. One frequently
hears the possibility discussed that the laws of physics are “unique.” The idea
is that everything about the physical world—the kinds of particles that exist,
the kinds of forces and their relative strengths, the number of dimensions of
space and its degree of flatness, the energy levels of the carbon–12 nucleus,
and so on, down to the smallest detail—may have to be as they are on account
of some fundamental physical principles. If so, God could not have the freedom
to arrange the laws of nature to be “propitious for life” or otherwise, since
His hands were completely tied.

However, this is plainly wrong. Physical principles could not have tied God’s
hands, for the simple reason that He could have chosen some other principles
upon which to base the laws of physics. For example, while the relative feebleness
of the electromagnetic force, which we saw to be anthropically fortunate, may
be a necessary outcome of a “grand unified” framework, it was by no means necessary
that the world be built according to such a “grand unified” framework. In fact,
we still do not know whether it is. So, in this particular matter God clearly
did have a choice—indeed, many choices, as there are many mathematically self–consistent
frameworks that involve “grand unification” and many that do not.

As a matter of fact, there are an infinite number of mathematically self–consistent
sets of laws of physics that could have been chosen as the basis for the structure
of a universe. This is incontestable. When those (good) physicists talk about
the laws of physics being possibly “unique,” they are speaking very loosely.
What they really have in mind is the idea that a unique set of laws may be necessary
if it has to satisfy certain assumed preconditions. For example, many theorists
believe that there is only one possible set of laws—“superstring theory”—that
can incorporate simultaneously the principles of quantum theory and the principles
of Einsteinian gravity. However, there is certainly no reason to suppose a priori
that the universe had to incorporate either quantum theory or Einsteinian gravity.
In short, the universe could have been made differently, and if it had been
life might not have been able to arise. These assertions, it seems to me, can
hardly be disputed.

Before one leaps to the conclusion that the anthropic coincidences inevitably
point to God, one should be aware of the fact that many of the scientists who
have written about anthropic coincidences are atheists. (Steven Weinberg is
a notable example.) It is their view that the laws of physics being “propitious”
for life, far from pointing to the importance of life or human beings in some
cosmic “plan,” has a purely naturalistic, scientific explanation. The explanation
that they offer is based on an idea that is called the Anthropic Principle.
There are various anthropic principles that are discussed, but the only one
taken seriously by scientists as being plausible and having any explanatory
power is called the Weak Anthropic Principle, or WAP for short. It should be
noted that careless writers often talk about “the anthropic principle” when
what they really mean is “anthropic coincidences.” The two ideas should not
be confused: the anthropic coincidences are facts, while the anthropic “principle”
is a speculative hypothesis for explaining those facts.

The idea of the Weak Anthropic Principle is easiest to grasp using an analogy.
There are many things about conditions on the planet Earth that are propitious
for life. If the Earth were much smaller, then it would not be able to retain
an atmosphere. If it were much bigger, it would retain a lot of hydrogen in
its atmosphere, which might be bad for life. If it were much closer to the sun
it would be too hot to have liquid water, if much farther away it would be too
cold. Has someone “fine–tuned” conditions here to make life possible? Not necessarily.
There are presumably a vast number of planets in the universe. (In the context
of present–day theory, it is not unlikely that there are an infinite number.)
Some planets are hot, some cold. some big, and some small. They undoubtedly
span a vast range of physical and chemical conditions. It seems inevitable that
some of them would happen to have the right conditions for life.

To put it another way, if one tried one key in an unknown lock, it would be
an astonishing coincidence if it worked. But if one tried a million keys it
would not be greatly surprising if one of them did.

The idea of the Weak Anthropic Principle is that the same kind of argument
can be used not just about planets, but about universes. Suppose that there
are a huge number of universes. Some may have three space dimensions, some two,
some four, and so on. In some, the electromagnetic force may be weaker than
the strong nuclear force, in others it may be stronger, and in others there
may be no such thing as the electromagnetic force at all. That is, all sorts
of possible physical laws might be tried out in different universes. If so,
it might not be surprising, assuming that a great enough number and variety
of universes existed, that some of them would have just the right laws of physics
to permit life. And of course, to the inhabitants of such an exceptional universe,
it might seem that someone had arranged things in their universe with them in
mind. This is an old idea, going back at least to David Hume, who suggested
that “many worlds might have been botched and bungled, throughout an eternity,
ere this system was struck out.”

Before examining this idea critically, one must distinguish two versions of
it. In the version that physicists take seriously, the many “universes” are
not really distinct and separate universes at all, but domains or regions of
one all–encompassing Universe. The domains are far apart in space, or otherwise
prevented from communicating with each other. Conditions are assumed to be so
different from one domain to another that they appear superficially to have
different physical laws. However, at a deeper level all the domains are really
controlled by one and the same set of fundamental laws. These laws also control
what types of domains the universe has, and how many of each type.

The other version of the idea posits the existence of a large number of universes
that really are universes, distinct and unconnected in any way with each other.
Each has its own set of physical laws. There is no overarching physical system
of which each is a part. One can understand why this version is not discussed
among scientists. At least in the many–domains version all the domains are part
of the same universe as we, so that, even if we cannot in practice observe them
directly, we might hope at least to infer their existence theoretically from
a deep understanding of the laws of nature. In the many–universes version, this
is not the case.

Let us first consider the many–domains version of the idea. It is not, as many
suppose, a foolish or extravagant one. In fact, some of the kinds of theories
must have domains. In such theories the different domains can differ radically
from each other, with even different kinds of particles and different forces.
Thus it is not unreasonable to suppose that a many–domains version of the Weak
Anthropic Principle might turn out to be the explanation for some of the anthropic
coincidences. Nevertheless, I do not believe that this would subtract much from
the force of the anthropic coincidences as evidence for purpose in the universe.
The reason is simple. The whole point of the anthropic coincidences is that
the laws of physics have to be very special to allow life to exist. But this
requirement is not avoided by the many–domains idea, for the laws of physics
also have to be very special to give rise to a universe with domains, especially
domains of a sufficiently rich variety to do what the Weak Anthropic Principle
demands of them.

One can illustrate the point by means of a rather whimsical analogy. Suppose
you were looking for a specific obscure recipe for, say, goulash. If the first
book you took at random from the cooking shelf of the library happened to have
exactly that recipe, you would regard it as a great coincidence. If you then
discovered that the book contained every recipe for goulash ever invented,
you would cease to regard it as coincidental that it had the one of particular
interest to you. But you would be surprised nonetheless, for one does not expect
a cookbook to treat that particular category of food so comprehensively. The
fact that it happened to be so comprehensive in its selection of goulash, when
it was goulash that you needed, would itself count as a remarkable coincidence.

Likewise, it is not something to be taken for granted that the universe would
have as many domains as needed for the anthropic coincidences to seem unsurprising.
On the contrary, in the kinds of theories physicists have found reason to study,
the universe is not nearly so inclusive. True, some of those theories suggest
that the universe has domains, but they typically realize only a few possibilities,
not the vast smorgasbord of possibilities needed to explain all of the
many anthropic coincidences that have been identified.

The many–universes version of the anthropic principle is in a way simpler.
In the many–domains idea, one has to account for the domains by a physical mechanism.
Consequently the laws of physics have to be “engineered,” as it were, to produce
a universe with a sufficiently rich variety of domains. In the many–universes
idea, on the other hand, it is simply posited that many types of universe exist.
What types of universe exist and what types do not? That is not a question that
the laws of physics can possibly answer, since each universe has ex hypothesi
its own laws of physics. If some kinds of universe exist while others
do not, it would seem to suggest that Someone has made choices. Far from destroying
the case that a cosmic Designer exists, the many–universes idea only strengthens
it.

A last–ditch way out for the opponents of cosmic design would be to say that
all conceivable universes exist, i.e., any universe that is logically
and mathematically self–consistent actually exists. This idea has a breathtaking
simplicity. It would explain existence: to exist is to be self–consistent. It
would remove the need for a Designer or a Creator. Whereas the “unique laws
of physics” idea got rid of a Designer by saying that there are no choices for
a Designer to make as there is only one real possibility, here the Designer
is eliminated by saying that there are infinitely many possibilities, but that
no one has selected among them.

There is, however, a fatal problem with this way of getting rid of the cosmic
Designer. It cannot explain why we live in a universe that is so astonishingly
lawful. Among all the logically possible universes, ones that have the perfection
of order and lawfulness that ours displays are highly exceptional, just as among
all possible rocks, a perfect gem that has absolutely no flaws in it is almost
infinitely unlikely. Why doesn’t our universe exhibit occasional departures
from its regularities—the regularities we call the laws of physics—just as gemstones
have occasional departures from their regularities? No answer to this is possible.
If all possible universes exist, it becomes a tremendous miracle that we live
in a universe of perfect, or nearly perfect, lawfulness. It is a miracle, in
other words, that miracles do not occur around us all the time.

The Weak Anthropic Principle, whether in its many–universes or many–domains
versions, cannot succeed in explaining the anthropic coincidences away or making
them any less coincidental. In the final analysis one cannot escape from two
very basic facts: the laws of nature did not have to be as they are; and the
laws of nature had to be very special in form if life were to be possible. In
my view these facts lend themselves most naturally to a religious interpretation.
Certainly, they tend to undercut the claim so often confidently made by materialists
that the discoveries of science point to a universe without meaning or purpose,
in which man is an accidental by–product.

Having said all this, we remain with a question very troubling to many: Why
is the universe so big? How can we claim to be important in a universe that
dwarfs us in its scales of space and time? There is at least a paradox here.
It is a paradox that was not lost upon the Psalmist, who exclaimed, “When I
consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which
thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of
man, that thou visit est him?”

for our benefit. As the Psalmist also said, “the heavens proclaim the glory
of God.” If it is the glory of God that they proclaim, then there is no particular
reason why they should have to be made to human scale. In fact, in the fifteenth
century Nicolas of Cusa argued that only a universe of infinite extent would
be worthy of the Creator and able to manifest His glory.

The traditional answer is a good one, but there may be another. It turns out
that the very age and vastness of the universe may have an “anthropic” significance.
Life emerged in our universe in a way that required great stretches of time.
As we have seen, most of the elements needed for life were made deep in stars.
Those stars had to explode to disperse those elements and make them available
before life could even begin to evolve. That whole process alone required billions
of years. The evolution of human life from those elements required billions
of years more. Thus, the briefness of human life spans and even of human history
compared with the age of the universe may simply be a matter of physical necessity,
given the developmental way that God seems to prefer to work. It takes longer
for a tree to grow to maturity than the fruit of the tree lasts. It took much
longer for the universe to grow to maturity than we last.

Physics can also suggest why the universe has to be so large. The laws of gravity
discovered by Einstein relate the size of the universe directly to its age.
The fact that the universe is many billions of light–years across is related
to the fact that it has lasted several billions of years. Perhaps we would be
less daunted by a cozy little universe the size, say, of a continent. But such
a universe would have lasted only a few milliseconds. Even a universe the size
of the solar system would have lasted only a few hours. A universe constructed
in such a way as to evolve life may well have had to extend widely in space
as well as in time. It may well be that the frightening expanses that are so
often said to be a sign of human insignificance may actually, like so many other
features of our strange universe, point to man, as they also proclaim the glory
of God.

Stephen M. Barr is a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research
Institute of the University of Delaware.

43 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:26 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
Shaken Atheism: A Look at the Fine-Tuned Universe

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

44 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:42 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
http://www.origins.org/articles/ross_lifesupport.html

PROBABILITY OF GALAXY, STAR, PLANET, PARAMETER OR MOON FALLING IN REQUIRED RANGE BY CHANCE (WITHOUT DIVINE DESIGN)

1 local abundance and distribution of dark matter 0.1
2 galaxy size 0.1
3 galaxy type 0.1
4 galaxy location 0.1
5 local dwarf galaxy absorption rate 0.1
6 star distance relative to galactic center 0.1
7 star distance from corotation circle of galaxy 0.005
8 star distance from closest spiral arm 0.1
9 z-axis extremes of star’s orbit 0.1
10 proximity of solar nebula to a supernova eruption 0.01
11 timing of solar nebula formation relative to supernova eruption 0.01
12 number of stars in system 0.7
13 distance/mass of nearby stars 0.1
14 star birth date 0.2
15 star age 0.4
16 star metallicity 0.02
17 star orbital eccentricity 0.1
18 star’s distance from galactic plane 0.1
19 star mass 0.001
20 star luminosity change relative to speciation types & rates 0.00001
21 star color 0.4
22 star’s carbon to oxygen ratio 0.01
23 star’s space velocity relative to Local Standard of Rest 0.05
24 star’s short term variability 0.05
25 star’s long term variability 0.05
26 H3+ production 0.1
27 supernovae rates & locations 0.01
28 white dwarf binary types, rates, & locations 0.01
29 location, timing, and rate of stellar encounters 0.01
30 planetary distance from star 0.001
31 inclination of planetary orbit 0.5
32 axis tilt of planet 0.3
33 rate of change of axial tilt 0.01
34 period and size of axis tilt variation 0.1
35 planetary rotation period 0.1
36 rate of change in planetary rotation period 0.05
37 planetary orbit eccentricity 0.2
38 rate of change of planetary orbital eccentricity 0.1
39 rate of change of planetary inclination 0.5
40 period and size of eccentricity variation 0.1
41 period and size of inclination variation 0.1
42 number of moons 0.2
43 mass and distance of moon 0.01
44 surface gravity (escape velocity) 0.001
45 tidal force 0.1
46 magnetic field 0.01
47 rate of change & character of change in magnetic field 0.1
48 albedo 0.1
49 density 0.1
50 thickness of crust 0.01
51 oceans-to-continents ratio 0.2
52 rate of change in oceans to continents ratio 0.1
53 global distribution of continents 0.2
54 frequency, timing, & extent of ice ages 0.1
55 frequency, timing, & extent of global snowball events 0.1
56 asteroidal & cometary collision rate 0.1
57 change in asteroidal & cometary collision rates 0.1
58 rate of change in ast. & comet collision rate 0.1
59 mass of body colliding with primordial earth 0.002
60 timing of body colliding with primordial earth 0.05
61 location of body’s collision on primordial earth 0.1
62 position & mass of Jupiter relative to Earth 0.01
63 major planet eccentricities 0.1
64 major planet orbital instabilities 0.1
65 drift and rate of drift in major planet distances 0.05
66 number & distribution of planets 0.01
67 atmospheric transparency 0.01
68 atmospheric pressure 0.01
69 atmospheric viscosity 0.1
70 atmospheric electric discharge rate 0.1
72 carbon dioxide level in atmosphere 0.01
73 rate of change in carbon dioxide level in atmosphere 0.1
74 rate of change in water vapor level in atmossphere 0.01
75 rate of change in methane level in early atmosphere 0.01
76 oxygen quantity in atmosphere 0.01
77 chlorine quantity in atmosphere 0.1
78 cobalt quantity in crust 0.1
79 arsenic quantity in crust 0.1
80 copper quantity in crust 0.1
81 boron quantity in crust 0.1
82 flourine quantity in crust 0.1
83 iodine quantity in crust 0.1
84 manganese quantity in crust 0.1
85 nickel quantity in crust 0.1
86 phosphorus quantity in crust 0.1
87 potassium quantity in crust 0.1
88 tin quantity in crust 0.1
89 zinc quantity in crust 0.1
90 molybdenum quantity in crust 0.05
91 vanadium quantity in crust 0.1
92 chromium quantity in crust 0.1
93 selenium quantity in crust 0.1
94 iron quantity in oceans 0.1
95 tropospheric ozone quantity 0.01
96 stratospheric ozone quantity 0.01
97 mesospheric ozone quantity 0.01
98 water vapor level in atmosphere 0.01
99 oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere 0.1
100 quantity of greenhouse gases in atmosphere 0.01
101 rate of change of greenhouse gases in atmosphere 0.01
102 quantity of forest & grass fires 0.01
103 quantity of sea salt aerosols 0.1
104 soil mineralization 0.1
105 quantity of decomposer bacteria in soil 0.01
106 quantity of mycorrhizal fungi in soil 0.01
107 quantity of nitrifying microbes in soil 0.01
108 quantity & timing of vascular plant introductions 0.01
109 quantity, timing, & placement of carbonate-producing animals 0.00001
110 quantity, timing, & placement of methanogens 0.00001
111 quantity of soil sulfur 0.1
112 quantity of sulfur in the life planet’s core 0.1
113 quantity of silicon in the life planet’s core 0.1
114 quantity of water at subduction zones 0.01
115 hydration rate of subducted minerals 0.1
116 tectonic activity 0.1
117 rate of decline in tectonic activity 0.1
118 volcanic activity 0.1
119 rate of decline in volcanic activity 0.1
120 viscosity at Earth core boundaries 0.01
121 viscosity of lithosphere 0.2
122 biomass to comet infall ratio 0.01
123 regularity of cometary infall 0.1

45 Re: The extreme fine-tuning of the universe on Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:53 am
elshamah888

Posts: 1112
Join date: 2009-08-09
The updated teleological argument for God’s existence

http://www.geneveith.com/the-updated-teleological-argument-for-gods-existence/_1081/
From William Lane Craig’s article on the rise of theism among contemporary philosophers, God Is Not Dead Yet in Christianity Today:

The teleological argument. The old design argument remains as robust today as ever, defended in various forms by Robin Collins, John Leslie, Paul Davies, William Dembski, Michael Denton, and others. Advocates of the Intelligent Design movement have continued the tradition of finding examples of design in biological systems. But the cutting edge of the discussion focuses on the recently discovered, remarkable fine-tuning of the cosmos for life. This finetuning is of two sorts. First, when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, they contain certain constants, such as the gravitational constant. The mathematical values of these constants are not determined by the laws of nature. Second, there are certain arbitrary quantities that are just part of the initial conditions of the universe—for example, the amount of entropy.

These constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants and quantities to be altered by less than a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed, and life would not exist.

Accordingly, we may argue:

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Premise (1) simply lists the present options for explaining the fine-tuning. The key premise is therefore (2). The first alternative, physical necessity, says that the constants and quantities must have the values they do. This alternative has little to commend it. The laws of nature are consistent with a wide range of values for the constants and quantities. For example, the most promising candidate for a unified theory of physics to date, superstring theory or “M-Theory,” allows a “cosmic landscape” of around 10500 different possible universes governed by the laws of nature, and only an infinitesimal proportion of these can support life.

As for chance, contemporary theorists increasingly recognize that the odds against fine-tuning are simply insurmountable unless one is prepared to embrace the speculative hypothesis that our universe is but one member of a randomly ordered, infinite ensemble of universes (a.k.a. the multiverse). In that ensemble of worlds, every physically possible world is realized, and obviously we could observe only a world where the constants and quantities are consistent with our existence. This is where the debate rages today. Physicists such as Oxford University’s Roger Penrose launch powerful arguments against any appeal to a multiverse as a way of explaining away fine-tuning.

FINE-TUNING FOR LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE

http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

For physical life to be possible in the universe, several characteristics must take on specific values, and these are listed below.1 In the case of several of these characteristics, and given the intricacy of their interrelationships, the indication of divine "fine tuning" seems incontrovertible.

Strong nuclear force constant
Weak nuclear force constant
Gravitational force constant
Electromagnetic force constant
Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
Ratio of proton to electron mass
Ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
Ratio of proton to electron charge
Expansion rate of the universe
Mass density of the universe
Baryon (proton and neutron) density of the universe
Space energy or dark energy density of the universe
Ratio of space energy density to mass density
Entropy level of the universe
Velocity of light
Age of the universe
Homogeneity of the universe
Average distance between galaxies
Average distance between galaxy clusters
Average distance between stars
Average size and distribution of galaxy clusters
Numbers, sizes, and locations of cosmic voids
Electromagnetic fine structure constant
Gravitational fine-structure constant
Decay rate of protons
Ground state energy level for helium-4
Carbon-12 to oxygen-16 nuclear energy level ratio
Decay rate for beryllium-8
Ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
Initial excess of nucleons over antinucleons
Polarity of the water molecule
Epoch for hypernova eruptions
Number and type of hypernova eruptions
Epoch for supernova eruptions
Number and types of supernova eruptions
Epoch for white dwarf binaries
Density of white dwarf binaries
Ratio of exotic matter to ordinary matter
Number of effective dimensions in the early universe
Number of effective dimensions in the present universe
Mass values for the active neutrinos
Number of different species of active neutrinos
Number of active neutrinos in the universe
Mass value for the sterile neutrino
Number of sterile neutrinos in the universe
Decay rates of exotic mass particles
Magnitude of the temperature ripples in cosmic background radiation
Size of the relativistic dilation factor
Magnitude of the Heisenberg uncertainty
Quantity of gas deposited into the deep intergalactic medium by the first supernovae
Positive nature of cosmic pressures
Positive nature of cosmic energy densities
Density of quasars
Decay rate of cold dark matter particles
Relative abundances of different exotic mass particles
Degree to which exotic matter self interacts
Epoch at which the first stars (metal-free pop III stars) begin to form
Epoch at which the first stars (metal-free pop III stars cease to form
Number density of metal-free pop III stars
Average mass of metal-free pop III stars
Epoch for the formation of the first galaxies
Epoch for the formation of the first quasars
Amount, rate, and epoch of decay of embedded defects
Ratio of warm exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
Ratio of hot exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
Level of quantization of the cosmic spacetime fabric
Flatness of universe's geometry
Average rate of increase in galaxy sizes
Change in average rate of increase in galaxy sizes throughout cosmic history
Constancy of dark energy factors
Epoch for star formation peak
Location of exotic matter relative to ordinary matter
Strength of primordial cosmic magnetic field
Level of primordial magnetohydrodynamic turbulence
Level of charge-parity violation
Number of galaxies in the observable universe
Polarization level of the cosmic background radiation
Date for completion of second reionization event of the universe
Date of subsidence of gamma-ray burst production
Relative density of intermediate mass stars in the early history of the universe
Water's temperature of maximum density
Water's heat of fusion
Water's heat of vaporization
Number density of clumpuscules (dense clouds of cold molecular hydrogen gas) in the universe
Average mass of clumpuscules in the universe
Location of clumpuscules in the universe
Dioxygen's kinetic oxidation rate of organic molecules
Level of paramagnetic behavior in dioxygen
Density of ultra-dwarf galaxies (or supermassive globular clusters) in the middle-aged universe
Degree of space-time warping and twisting by general relativistic factors
Percentage of the initial mass function of the universe made up of intermediate mass stars
Strength of the cosmic primordial magnetic field
1 Most of the source references may be found in The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd edition by Hugh Ross (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), pp. 145-157, 245-248. Additional references are listed below:

John Leslie, editor, Physical Cosmology and Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1990), pp. 121-180.
Weihsueh A. Chiu, Nickolay Y. Gneden and Jeremiah P. Ostriker, "The Expected Mass Function for Low-Mass Galaxies in a Cold Dark Matter Cosmology: Is There a Problem?" Astrophysical Journal, 563 (2001), pp. 21-27.
Martin Elvis, Massimo Marengo, and Margarita Karovska, "Smoking Quasars: A New Source for Cosmic Dust," Astrophysical Journal Letters, 567 (2002), pp. L107-L110.
Martin White and C. S. Kochanek, "Constraints on the Long-Range Properties of Gravity from Weak Gravitational Lensing," Astrophysical Journal, 560 (2001), pp. 539-543.
P. P. Avelino and C. J. A. P. Martins, "A Supernova Brane Scan," Astrophysical Journal, 565 (2002), pp. 661-667.
P. deBernardis, et al, "Multiple Peaks in the Angular Power Spectrum of the Cosmic Microwave Background: Significance and Consequences for Cosmology," Astrophysical Journal, 564 (2002), pp. 559-566.
A. T. Lee, et al, "A High Spatial Resolution Analysis of the MAXIMA-1 Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropy Data," Astrophysical Journal Letters, 561 (2001), pp. L1-L5.
R. Stompor, et al, "Cosmological Implications of MAXIMA-1 High-Resolution Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropy Measurement," Astrophysical Journal Letters, 561 (2001), pp. L7-L10.
Andrew Watson, "Cosmic Ripples Confirm Universe Speeding Up," Science, 295 (2002), pp. 2341-2343.
Anthony Aguirre, Joop Schaye, and Eliot Quataert, "Problems for Modified Newtonian Dynamics in Clusters and the Ly Forest?" Astrophysical Journal, 561 (2001), pp. 550-558.
Chris Blake and Jasper Wall, "A Velocity Dipole in the Distribution of Radio Galaxies," Nature, 416 (2002), pp. 150-152.
G. Efstathiou, et al, "Evidence for a Non-Zero L and a Low Matter Density from a Combined Analysis of the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey and Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropies," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 330 (2002), pp. L29-L35.
Susana J. Landau and Hector Vucetich, "Testing Theories That Predict Time Variation of Fundamental Constants, " Astrophysical Journal, 570 (2002), pp. 463-469.
Renyue Cen, "Why Are There Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies?" Astrophysical Journal Letters, 549 (2001), pp. L195-L198.
Brandon Carter, "Energy Dominance and the Hawking-Ellis Vacuum Conservation Theorem," a contribution to Stephen Hawkingís 60th birthday workshop on the Future of Theoretical Physics and Cosmology, Cambridge, UK, January, 2002, arXiv:gr-qc/0205010v1, May 2, 2002.
Joseph F. Hennawi and Jeremiah P. Ostriker, "Observational Constraints on the Self-Interacting Dark Matter Scenario and the Growth of Supermassive Black Holes," Astrophysical Journal, 572 (2002), pp. 41-54.
Robert Brandenberger, Brandon Carter, and Anne-Christine Davis, "Microwave Background Constraints on Decaying Defects," Physics Letters B, 534 (2002), pp. 1-7.
Lawrence M. Krauss, "The End of the Age Problem, and the Case for a Cosmological Constant Revisited," Astrophysical Journal, 501 (1998), pp. 461-466.
Q. R. Ahmad, et al, "Measurement of the Rate of p + p + e- Interactions Produced by 8B Solar Neutrinos at thee + d  Sudbury Neutrino Observatory," Physical Review Letters, 87 (2001), id. 071301.
R. E. Davies and R. H. Koch, "All the Observed Universe Has Contributed to Life," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 334B (1991), pp. 391-403.
George F. R. Ellis, "The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments," in The Anthropic Principle, edited by F. Bertola and U. Curi (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 30.
H. R. Marston, S. H. Allen, and S. L. Swaby, "Iron Metabolism in Copper-Deficient Rats," British Journal of Nutrition, 25 (1971), pp. 15-30.
K. W. J. Wahle and N. T. Davies, "Effect of Dietary Copper Deficiency in the Rat on Fatty Acid Composition of Adipose Tissue and Desaturase Activity of Liver Microsomes," British Journal of Nutrition, 34 (1975), pp. 105-112;.
Walter Mertz, "The Newer Essential Trace Elements, Chromium, Tin, Vanadium, Nickel, and Silicon," Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 33 (1974), pp. 307-313.
Bruno Leibundgut, "Cosmological Implications from Observations of Type Ia Supernovae," Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 39 (2001), pp. 67-98.
C. L. Bennett, et al, "First Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations, Preliminary Maps, and Basic Results," Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 148 (2003), pp. 1-27.
G. Hinshaw, et al, ""First Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Angular Power Spectrum," Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 148 (2003), pp. 135-159.
A. Balbi, et al, "Probing Dark Energy with the Cosmic Microwave Background: Projected Constraints from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and Planck," Astrophysical Journal Letters, 588 (2003), pp. L5-L8.
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