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The Fine-Tuned Universe and the Multiverse ?
Posted: 21 January 2010 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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No worries on my part, George. I’m just glad you understood what I was saying. grin

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Posted: 22 January 2010 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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dougsmith - 21 January 2010 09:35 AM

Right, this I understand, but then there’s no “tuning”. Nothing’s being “tuned”; rather it’s that all these universes exist, and so ours does, too.

I know you understand, but scepticeye seems to have been lost here. The multiverse idea very obviously explains away the finetuning, creationist view. ‘Our problem’, when we do not take the multiverse idea for granted, is that we need another explanation for the ‘observed’ fine tuning in our universe. In my ‘speculation posting ’ I explained why I still not believe in the finetuning argument.

To give one example where the ‘multiverse’ idea works is to look at life on earth. There so many conditions come together that make life possible: a long living and stable central star, the right distance to this star, a relatively big moon (that stabilises earth’s rotation around its axis), a relatively stable area in the galaxis etc, that we are extremely lucky here (too extreme, so there must be a god who did it, the place is made for us). And of course, we, inhabitants of this planet, see these factors all come together (and so we have the weak anthropic principle on planetary level).

But then, if you realise how big the universe is, it is no miracle anymore. The chance that at least a few planets are in such lucky circumstances is close to 1. The difference with the multiverse idea of course is that we observe so many galaxies and stars (and we are on a good way to discover many planets). Multiverses on the other still seem pure speculation or even interpretation.

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[ Edited: 22 January 2010 12:21 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 22 January 2010 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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scepticeye - 16 January 2010 02:22 PM

I have been disturbed recently by repeated encounters with articles on the topic of the Fine-Tuned Universe in reputable publications such as New Scientist.

New Scientist is not a reputable publication. They do publish some good articles, but each issue contains at least one feature article dedicated to outlandish subjects such as time travel, faster than light spacecraft and other such nonsense.

Isn’t this yet another surreptitious attempt to promote the Intelligent Design religious concept ? Because I find the logic of the argument to be so appallingly pitiful, and despite this I just listened to a podcast on Scientific American which discussed it as if it is a legitimate scientific concept !

Multiverse theory is a credible scientific concept. Some of the religious nuts are trying to co-opt multiverse theory to fit their dogma, but that does not negate multiverse theory as science any more than woomeisters misusing quantum theory to fit their agendas negate quantum theory as science.

My other question is about the much quoted postulate of the Multiverse. This too seems like a counter rational theory thought up by some mathematician who found that one of his big Cosmological equations turned out to have an infinite range of solutions and his deduction was gee… there must be an infinite number of universes !  I find this completely daft and illogical and totally unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. Yet it is bounced around on all kinds of so-called science TV programs, science magazines etc.

Scientists are just now devising ways to test multiverse theory. I agree that this theory is oversold on TV programs, science magazines etc., but again that does not negate the validity of the theory. We’ll have a lot more information in five years.

[ Edited: 22 January 2010 10:49 AM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 22 January 2010 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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fotobits - 22 January 2010 08:02 AM

New Scientist is not a reputable publication. They do publish some good articles, but each issue contains at least one feature article dedicated to outlandish subjects such as time travel, faster than light spacecraft and other such nonsense.

Tend to agree with this. NS once hat a front page article about QM being wrong. On reading it became clear that just a ‘pictorial explanation’ of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is wrong: the idea that when measuring a particle with a photon, this particle is disturbed by the photon, and therefore we cannot be sure about the measurement. As if precise locality exists, but we just cannot measure it with our means.

But I must say that a german translation of the Max Tegmark article wasin the german version of the Scientific American. So I think the multiverse idea surely has some scientific value. At least Tegmark thinks it has. But I do not see it. Yet.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Occam - 16 January 2010 05:02 PM

I agree with both your comments.  The “fine tuned universe” idea seems to be anthropocentric, that is, that it is tuned for US.  We have adapted to the properties it happens to have.  Had it happened to have had different properties, either there would have been a different kind of life that might be positing the same irrational ideas, or there would have been no life to suggest that the universe wasn’t “fine tuned.”

Your take on the fine tuning argument reminds me of the views expressed by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.  Neither appears to understand the argument.  (I think the following came originally from Richard Swinburne)  Suppose you’re in front of a firing squad where each member of the squad is using real bullets.  Suppose they take their collective shots, yet you live without injury.  Should you be surprised you’re alive?  Or, if dead, not at all surprised that you’re dead given that being dead was probable?  Dawkins and Hitchens draw in the irrelevant point that only one who exists can take note of their existence.  The entire point is the probability involved.  Any attack on the argument needs to proceed from the standpoint of dealing with the probabilities.  Simply noting that one can only note that one is alive if one is alive fails to address the issue.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Sorry, Bryan, you completely missed the thrust of my argument.

Occam

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Posted: 22 January 2010 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Occam - 22 January 2010 10:42 AM

Sorry, Bryan, you completely missed the thrust of my argument.

Occam

I doubt it.

“...or there would have been no life to suggest that the universe wasn’t ‘fine tuned.’”

What is the role of the above statement in your argument?

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Posted: 27 January 2010 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I find that fine-tuning proponents seem to ignore the innumerable about of organisms that die off through natural selection. Of course, many of them seem to dismiss natural selection all together.

Bryan -

Suppose you’re in front of a firing squad where each member of the squad is using real bullets.  Suppose they take their collective shots, yet you live without injury.  Should you be surprised you’re alive?  Or, if dead, not at all surprised that you’re dead given that being dead was probable?

Considering natural selection, this wouldn’t be a very good example. A more relevant metaphor would be if 2 of the people had “normal” skin, 3 had paper skin, 3 had teflon (or body-armor-type) skin and 2 had stone skin and the guns and ammo were the “regular” type. Those who were descendants X generations later with the teflon and the stone type skins would be able to ask the question about why they are so special and how the circumstances were “right” for them without ever knowing about the paper and regular skin types.

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Posted: 27 January 2010 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Kaizen - 27 January 2010 10:01 PM

I find that fine-tuning proponents seem to ignore the innumerable about of organisms that die off through natural selection. Of course, many of them seem to dismiss natural selection all together.

I think you’re absolutely right, at least with respect to the fine tuning argument.  Of course, I don’t see what individual deaths or species extinctions have to do with the argument.  Perhaps you’ll take a few sentences to explain.

Bryan -

Suppose you’re in front of a firing squad where each member of the squad is using real bullets.  Suppose they take their collective shots, yet you live without injury.  Should you be surprised you’re alive?  Or, if dead, not at all surprised that you’re dead given that being dead was probable?

Considering natural selection, this wouldn’t be a very good example. A more relevant metaphor would be if 2 of the people had “normal” skin, 3 had paper skin, 3 had teflon (or body-armor-type) skin and 2 had stone skin and the guns and ammo were the “regular” type. Those who were descendants X generations later with the teflon and the stone type skins would be able to ask the question about why they are so special and how the circumstances were “right” for them without ever knowing about the paper and regular skin types.

I don’t see the relevance of your complaint.  Explain what natural selection has to do with the fine tuning argument.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 12:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Bryan - 22 January 2010 10:40 AM

Suppose you’re in front of a firing squad where each member of the squad is using real bullets.  Suppose they take their collective shots, yet you live without injury.  Should you be surprised you’re alive?  Or, if dead, not at all surprised that you’re dead given that being dead was probable?  Dawkins and Hitchens draw in the irrelevant point that only one who exists can take note of their existence.  The entire point is the probability involved.  Any attack on the argument needs to proceed from the standpoint of dealing with the probabilities.  Simply noting that one can only note that one is alive if one is alive fails to address the issue.

`
The problem lies with the ‘firing squad’ analogy to begin with.  Unless an analogy is an accurate and complete reflection of the situation, it’s not terribly helpful in illuminating anything.  So, here, we’re talking about ‘probabilities’ ~ and the main point is that until we know everything about the universe, until we’re able to explore the remaining 90% of the universe that we don’t currently have access to (or whatever percentage it is), we have no idea what the real ‘probabilities’ are.  Period.

Imagine a little bit of soil becoming trapped between the boards on a porch ~ when a tiny plant takes root in that bit of soil and ‘looks around’ to find itself alone on that porch, where does the ‘argument based on probabilities’ come into play there?  and how on earth would the plant be justified in coming to the conclusion that: because ‘probabilities’ were against them coming into existence, there ‘must be a creator’ to explain it?

`

[ Edited: 28 January 2010 12:37 AM by Axegrrl ]
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Posted: 28 January 2010 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I believe that to think the universe was created and fine tuned with purpose for man to exist is ludicrous and arrogant, and egocentric. If anything is fine tuned it is man and every other species of life on earth, each fine tuned by evolution for its immediate environment. Most mammals (but not all) are fine tuned for living on solid ground, most birds (but not all) are fine tuned for flight, most fish (but not all) for water. Our environment, every nook and cranny of the earth, from the depths of the ocean to the ice packs of the arctic, to the lush green valleys, always seem to be inhabited, nay teeming with species of life, each with totally different life requirements. The universe is vast and was created a long time ago. From what we know of the universe, it is natural to deduce that there are parts of the universe (solar systems) which were/are so stable and temperate, that life had/has a chance of developing on any accompanying planet, a process which is still ongoing. And in fact, even as we live on a temperate planet, there are many areas on earth were man would perish, but other living things thrive. If the universe were fine tuned specifically to man, none of these extremely hardy and “adaptable” species would have evolved and the world would look very different.

[ Edited: 28 January 2010 01:21 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 28 January 2010 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Bryan - 27 January 2010 11:26 PM

I think you’re absolutely right, at least with respect to the fine tuning argument.  Of course, I don’t see what individual deaths or species extinctions have to do with the argument.  Perhaps you’ll take a few sentences to explain.

I don’t see the relevance of your complaint.  Explain what natural selection has to do with the fine tuning argument.

The analogy has to do with environments and types of organisms fit to exist within them. As far as we know, the type of life that we are aware of can exist within this universe. That says nothing of “life” that could potentially exist under different circumstances. Considering how this applies in natural selection, we find that life that continues to exist, continues on by happening to be the type of organism that is capable of living within the environment. As we know the environment doesn’t shape itself in order to be perfect for the species, it’s quite the opposite. Because of this, it seems rather egocentric to presume that the universe works in the opposite manner. This along with the fact that life appears incredibly scarce in relation to the seemingly unlimited vastness of the universe, the idea of a finely-tuned universe for life seems like a stretch when using occam’s razor.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Kaizen - 28 January 2010 01:18 AM
Bryan - 27 January 2010 11:26 PM

I think you’re absolutely right, at least with respect to the fine tuning argument.  Of course, I don’t see what individual deaths or species extinctions have to do with the argument.  Perhaps you’ll take a few sentences to explain.

I don’t see the relevance of your complaint.  Explain what natural selection has to do with the fine tuning argument.

The analogy has to do with environments and types of organisms fit to exist within them. As far as we know, the type of life that we are aware of can exist within this universe. That says nothing of “life” that could potentially exist under different circumstances. Considering how this applies in natural selection, we find that life that continues to exist, continues on by happening to be the type of organism that is capable of living within the environment. As we know the environment doesn’t shape itself in order to be perfect for the species, it’s quite the opposite. Because of this, it seems rather egocentric to presume that the universe works in the opposite manner. This along with the fact that life appears incredibly scarce in relation to the seemingly unlimited vastness of the universe, the idea of a finely-tuned universe for life seems like a stretch when using occam’s razor.

The universe and our solar system in particular is equally fine tuned for a virus as it is to man. If it were fine tuned for man only, none of those other life forms would exist. The fact that there is such variety proves the generality of this fine tuning, giving equal opportunity for many different life forms to develop. One might say that in this particular nook of the universe, our solar system provided a hospitable environment (fine tuned) for carbon based life, of which man is just one expression.

Evolution and natural selection are the natural processes of fine tuning (adapting) a living organism to its environment.

[ Edited: 28 January 2010 02:39 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 28 January 2010 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Write4U - 28 January 2010 01:29 AM
Kaizen - 28 January 2010 01:18 AM
Bryan - 27 January 2010 11:26 PM

I think you’re absolutely right, at least with respect to the fine tuning argument.  Of course, I don’t see what individual deaths or species extinctions have to do with the argument.  Perhaps you’ll take a few sentences to explain.

I don’t see the relevance of your complaint.  Explain what natural selection has to do with the fine tuning argument.

The analogy has to do with environments and types of organisms fit to exist within them. As far as we know, the type of life that we are aware of can exist within this universe. That says nothing of “life” that could potentially exist under different circumstances. Considering how this applies in natural selection, we find that life that continues to exist, continues on by happening to be the type of organism that is capable of living within the environment. As we know the environment doesn’t shape itself in order to be perfect for the species, it’s quite the opposite. Because of this, it seems rather egocentric to presume that the universe works in the opposite manner. This along with the fact that life appears incredibly scarce in relation to the seemingly unlimited vastness of the universe, the idea of a finely-tuned universe for life seems like a stretch when using occam’s razor.

The universe and our solar system in particular is equally fine tuned for a virus as it is to man. If it were fine tuned for man only, none of those other life forms would exist. The fact that there is such variety proves the generality of this fine tuning, giving equal opportunity for many different life forms to develop. One might say that in this particular nook of the universe, our solar system provided a hospitable environment (fine tuned) for carbon based life.

Evolution and natural selection are the natural processes of fine tuning (adapting) a living organism to its environment.

This seems to be missing my point about this specific area where life exists and the relative vastness of the rest of the universe where it appears that that there is no life. So yes, this area is great for us, but to say the universe as a whole is finely tuned for life seems like a stretch IMO.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Kaizen - 28 January 2010 02:33 AM

The universe and our solar system in particular is equally fine tuned for a virus as it is to man. If it were fine tuned for man only, none of those other life forms would exist. The fact that there is such variety proves the generality of this fine tuning, giving equal opportunity for many different life forms to develop. One might say that in this particular nook of the universe, our solar system provided a hospitable environment (fine tuned) for carbon based life.

Evolution and natural selection are the natural processes of fine tuning (adapting) a living organism to its environment.

This seems to be missing my point about this specific area where life exists and the relative vastness of the rest of the universe where it appears that that there is no life. So yes, this area is great for us, but to say the universe as a whole is finely tuned for life seems like a stretch IMO.

Yes, I did edit that sentence (see above). I was trying to convey there is some consensus, that there are most likely other solar systems, scattered throughout the universe, which present an opportunity for some type (not necessarily carbon based or intelligent) of life form to appear and evolve.
To use Axegrrl’s example, if the plant had brains and eyes, it would obeserve a whole world beyond the boundaries of the porch and come to the conclusion that there may well be other homes with porches and a dirt speck lodged between the boards.

[ Edited: 28 January 2010 03:19 AM by Write4U ]
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