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fine-tuned Universe
Posted: 11 October 2012 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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GdB - 11 October 2012 05:15 AM

.

1. On the level of universal constants, we have no reason to believe that the constants can vary. Without the possibility to vary the fine tuning argument makes no sense.

I don’t see how to make sense of this. We have reason to believe it is logically possible and what other sense of can, could you be refering to?

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Posted: 11 October 2012 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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GdB, I owe you an apology for not reading your one of your remarks carefully enough. (I was in a rust to get to a gym session)

So, to set this straight:

““And btw, you should not mix up these two different ‘fine tuned’ areas. You brought in life on earth, where the OP was about the laws of nature and the universal constants. Do you see that one has nothing to do with the other?”

Far from being the platitude which I am sometimes served up with,  that comment is, instead, just plain wrong!

Because the universal constants are everything to do with life on earth (by which I presume you mean biology)

For the physical constants determine chemistry, of which biology is an implementation.

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Posted: 11 October 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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GdB - 11 October 2012 05:15 AM
Write4U - 10 October 2012 03:11 PM

Well said.

Maybe. But the contents is wrong.

1. On the level of universal constants, we have no reason to believe that the constants can vary. Without the possibility to vary the fine tuning argument makes no sense.

2. On the level of the ‘happy circumstances’ here on earth the argument that the universe is vast, with trillions of stars and planets, is perfectly valid. At least some of the planets will be in the ‘Goldilocks-zone’ (or if you want in the ‘Silvilocks-zone’, if you know what I mean…)

And btw, you should not mix up these two different ‘fine tuned’ areas. You brought in life on earth, where the OP was about the laws of nature and the universal constants. Do you see that one has nothing to do with the other?

My point was that even the mathematical ” fine tuning” by universal constants allows for a great variety of “zones” which may be suitable to life. In fact my point was that the the probability for life somewhere is almost a certainty because the constants are not restrictive but rather promote the inevitability of life, which is demonstrably true by the evolution of life under very harsh conditions outside the limits of human tolerance.

[ Edited: 11 October 2012 03:45 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 11 October 2012 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Cognosium - 11 October 2012 01:08 PM

However, your remark “Without the possibility to vary the fine tuning argument makes no sense” does not itself make sense except within the tautologous context of “things must be as they are”, a kind of thinking which is contrary to the spirit of scientific enquiry, a very prominent feature of which is the search for patterns, and the validation and attempts at explanation thereof.

You probably missed this?

GdB - 09 October 2012 11:08 PM

Until now a wider understanding of physical phenomena shows how the number of natural constants can be reduced, by showing their interdependence (e.g. the electric constant, the magnetic constant and the speed of light).

Of course one can ask why the natural constants have the values they actually have. And this might mean that we discover that some of them are not really constant. But the scientific progress should be based on empirical evidence and/or increased theoretical understanding. To build complete theories based on the idea of a fine tuned universe is just way too early.

Cognosium - 11 October 2012 01:08 PM

You are falling into the trap here of assuming that “fine-tuning” of universal processes for the fitness of biology leads to the conclusion that biology must then arise in all spatio-temporal locations. Which is, of course, patently silly.

??? No idea what you are saying here.

Cognosium - 11 October 2012 01:08 PM

Amazingly, GdB, the implications of this platitude had not entirely escaped my notice :>)
As you will find if you check out my writings.

My reaction was meant for Write4U: I notice that when ‘fine tuning’ is discussed, the two tend to mix. Write4U started this here.

Cognosium - 11 October 2012 01:08 PM

The point I am trying to drive home here, though, is that the areas of science with which we are familiar and have a somewhat sounder foundation are a richer field for observation and interpretation of of these persistent and pervasive serendipitous patterns.

Please elaborate. What ‘serendipitous patterns’?

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Posted: 11 October 2012 11:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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StephenLawrence - 11 October 2012 01:46 PM

I don’t see how to make sense of this.

I know.

Ask those who think the argument of fine tuning is really about something.

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Posted: 11 October 2012 11:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Cognosium - 11 October 2012 03:39 PM

GdB, I owe you an apology for not reading your one of your remarks carefully enough. (I was in a rust to get to a gym session)

So, to set this straight:

““And btw, you should not mix up these two different ‘fine tuned’ areas. You brought in life on earth, where the OP was about the laws of nature and the universal constants. Do you see that one has nothing to do with the other?”

Far from being the platitude which I am sometimes served up with,  that comment is, instead, just plain wrong!

Because the universal constants are everything to do with life on earth (by which I presume you mean biology)

For the physical constants determine chemistry, of which biology is an implementation.

The two topics can well be separated, and they should.

The ‘fine tuning of the universe’ is the question about the possibility of greater structures (nuclei, atoms, molecules, stars, star systems, etc) and diverse complex structures, until the possibility of complex (carbon) chemistry.

Questions about ‘Goldilocks-zones’ only arises when the above is given. This question arises based on factual knowledge we have about the universe, and has nothing to do with speculations about the fine tuning of the universe. Answers on Goldilocks questions will be reformulated based on our changing knowledge of our universe as it is.

It might be a future discovery that we live in a Goldilocks universe, but that is pure speculation, and I have reasons to think that we will not be able to answer this question. But I will keep an open mind…

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Posted: 12 October 2012 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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GdB - 11 October 2012 11:44 PM
Cognosium - 11 October 2012 03:39 PM

GdB, I owe you an apology for not reading your one of your remarks carefully enough. (I was in a rust to get to a gym session)

So, to set this straight:

““And btw, you should not mix up these two different ‘fine tuned’ areas. You brought in life on earth, where the OP was about the laws of nature and the universal constants. Do you see that one has nothing to do with the other?”

Far from being the platitude which I am sometimes served up with,  that comment is, instead, just plain wrong!

Because the universal constants are everything to do with life on earth (by which I presume you mean biology)

For the physical constants determine chemistry, of which biology is an implementation.

The two topics can well be separated, and they should.

The ‘fine tuning of the universe’ is the question about the possibility of greater structures (nuclei, atoms, molecules, stars, star systems, etc) and diverse complex structures, until the possibility of complex (carbon) chemistry.

IMO, the universe needs not be fine tuned at all. I would venture that the universe is without tuning altogether. Is gravity proof of fine tuning? But exactly because the universe is without fine tuning and exhibits the most extreme conditions it is the most perfect laboratory where everything has, is, and will be tried. IMO, it is inevitable that sometime, somewhere, a suitable combination was formed which allowed for complex carbon structures to emerge, as well as hospitable zones where these structures were able to combine into lifeforms.

Questions about ‘Goldilocks-zones’ only arises when the above is given. This question arises based on factual knowledge we have about the universe, and has nothing to do with speculations about the fine tuning of the universe. Answers on Goldilocks questions will be reformulated based on our changing knowledge of our universe as it is.

I believe that both conditions are a given and verified by empirical evidence. The notion of a fine tuned universe is hindsight and a subjective conclusion. Was the BB a fine tuned event? Is a black hole a fine tuned system? Is water a fine tuned chemical combination?

It might be a future discovery that we live in a Goldilocks universe, but that is pure speculation, and I have reasons to think that we will not be able to answer this question. But I will keep an open mind…

OTOH, if the universe is a dynamic system, which allows for all conditions (from BB to super novae, to black holes, to temperatures ranging from billions of degrees heat to absolute zero, it cannot in itself be a Goldilocks universe. The fine tuning occurs in certain parts of the universe and under certain conditions which were inevitably created by the universe’s dynamic nature.

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Posted: 12 October 2012 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Conditions on earth are which allow for life are not so fine tuned at all. There are life forms which thrive in -100F ice packs as well as life forms which thrive in +400F sulphur vents at ocean bottom. That is a 500 degree difference and environments which are totally incompatible with each other. Seems that life can find a way to emerge under the harshest conditions, within certain limits of course.

But the fact that these are the extremes of conditions on earth, I see no reason why one would claim an exactly fine tuned universe being necessary. These people always gauge things to human existence, but when we talk about lifeforms there is no fine tuning necessary.

Sorry Write, just caught your response,  Yes there are extremes on Earth wherein various creatures can adapt but without our place in the solar system even those creatures would have no chance of survival, ex. mars: very little atmosphere, no water to speak of and no protetecction from the ultra violet rays. And Venus, well look at the pictures from the Soviet satellite that fried there. this is NOT to say that it was purposely MADE by some supernatural force for our arrogant benefit. We’re just intelligent (well some of us that is) primates existing on a planet that is capable of sustaining life for a while, or at least until we completly screw it up. Which is why I completly agree with paragraph two!


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Posted: 12 October 2012 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Write4U, I have the feeling you haven’t understood what I am saying.

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Posted: 12 October 2012 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 12 October 2012 04:15 AM

Write4U,
Conditions on earth are which allow for life are not so fine tuned at all. There are life forms which thrive in -100F ice packs as well as life forms which thrive in +400F sulphur vents at ocean bottom. That is a 500 degree difference and environments which are totally incompatible with each other. Seems that life can find a way to emerge under the harshest conditions, within certain limits of course.

But the fact that these are the extremes of conditions on earth, I see no reason why one would claim an exactly fine tuned universe being necessary. These people always gauge things to human existence, but when we talk about lifeforms there is no fine tuning necessary.

Sorry Write, just caught your response,  Yes there are extremes on Earth wherein various creatures can adapt but without our place in the solar system even those creatures would have no chance of survival, ex. mars: very little atmosphere, no water to speak of and no protetecction from the ultra violet rays. And Venus, well look at the pictures from the Soviet satellite that fried there. this is NOT to say that it was purposely MADE by some supernatural force for our arrogant benefit. We’re just intelligent (well some of us that is) primates existing on a planet that is capable of sustaining life for a while, or at least until we completly screw it up. Which is why I completly agree with paragraph two!
Cap’t Jack

oh yes, i did qualify my statement “within certain limits”.  My point was that “within certain limits” would not necessarily point to a “finely” tuned universe.
I cited a 500 degree temperature difference and chemically very different environments that support life right here on earth. That is not insignificant. That allows for all systems that have a similar 500 degree difference at their extremes of planetary temperatures to be potentially able to sustain life, in whatever form, whether imported, or emergent, or evolved. Humans and algea alike bear witness.

We have here on earth mutated fruitflies which are immune to radiation. We have viruses that may lay dormant for thousands of years only emerge under a special condition. We have life forms that morph from one stage to another depending on environmental pressures.
Deep sea creatures tha live in a pressure which would instantly kill us or anything else for that matter. Yet have a surface breathing creature like the spermwhale do their hunting at those depths.

Yes we live in a comfort zone with primarily moderate climate changes. But to find life thriving at the extreme ends of this relatively stable system, would not preclude the ability to withstand even greater stresses. IMO, life in any form may possibly occur under much harsher conditions. But again, too close to the star, too much heat; too far from the star, too much cold.

One might compare it with the spectrum of audible sounds on earth in Spectro Analysis. But within that spectrum a near infinite number of harmonics can be formed. Any planet within reasonable relative distance to their sun as earth has to its sun and with similar composition and atmosphere is a candidate for life in my book.

[ Edited: 12 October 2012 07:40 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 12 October 2012 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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GdB - 12 October 2012 04:32 AM

Write4U, I have the feeling you haven’t understood what I am saying.

I believe that both conditions are a given and verified by empirical evidence. The notion of a fine tuned universe is hindsight and a subjective conclusion. Was the BB a fine tuned event? Is a black hole a fine tuned system? Is water a fine tuned chemical combination?

I believe I implicitly accepted your premise with that statement. Yes it is easy to create compounds from certain elements, when they are “compatible”. Hydrogen was created during the BB and carbon itself was created almost immediately after the BB as the fundamental building block for life at least on earth.
wiki

Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity.[12][13]
Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. It is present in all known life forms, and in the human body carbon is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.[16] This abundance, together with the unique diversity of organic compounds and their unusual polymer-forming ability at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth, make this element the chemical basis of all known life.

[ Edited: 12 October 2012 07:35 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 13 October 2012 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Write, I’d suggest you read this first.

Write4U - 12 October 2012 07:23 AM

Hydrogen was created during the BB and carbon itself was created almost immediately after the BB as the fundamental building block for life at least on earth.

Carbon only got into existence in nucleo-synthesis in stars, so was only set free after the first supernovae. See here:

While protons and neutrons combined to form the first atomic nuclei only a few minutes after the Big Bang, it would take thousands of years for electrons to combine with them and create electrically neutral atoms. The first element produced was hydrogen, along with traces of helium and lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements would coalesce through gravity to form stars and galaxies, and the heavier elements would be synthesized either within stars or during supernovae.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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GdB - 13 October 2012 06:28 AM

Write, I’d suggest you read this first.

Write4U - 12 October 2012 07:23 AM

Hydrogen was created during the BB and carbon itself was created almost immediately after the BB as the fundamental building block for life at least on earth.

Carbon only got into existence in nucleo-synthesis in stars, so was only set free after the first supernovae. See here:

While protons and neutrons combined to form the first atomic nuclei only a few minutes after the Big Bang, it would take thousands of years for electrons to combine with them and create electrically neutral atoms. The first element produced was hydrogen, along with traces of helium and lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements would coalesce through gravity to form stars and galaxies, and the heavier elements would be synthesized either within stars or during supernovae.

Sorry, I should have put it more clearly. Got caught up in the word abundance, but of course was created later in the evolution of the universe,

The core of a red giant is compressed and compressed, until, at last, the forces are strong enough to begin fusing helium nuclei (called “alpha particles”) together to form larger atoms such as carbon.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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TimB - 09 October 2012 11:37 AM
Alexander80 - 09 October 2012 08:56 AM

It is said that our Universe is fine tuned and that a slightly different relation of the natural forces would have caused an empty universe with no chance for life.

But isn’t that only centered around our experience, i mean does it only apply to life as we know it, could it be that some strange sort of life would form in universes which are very different from our universe?
Could there be intelligent life in an universe with one or two space dimensions and three time dimensions?

Perhaps there are an infinite number of universes.  And we just happen to be in one of those infinite number of universes in which life, as we know it, was inevitable.

But why is there an infinite number of universes? How can this be explained?

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Posted: 23 November 2012 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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First, I wish people wouldn’t use “infinite” when they mean “many”.

Second, “why” is more an engineering term.  “How” is almost always much more accurately used in science. 

While our species is progressing at learning the basis and functioning of everything at a great rate, there’s still much we recognize that we don’t know, so at this point, “How can this be explained?” is a silly question.

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