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The Fine-Tuned Universe and the Multiverse ?
Posted: 28 January 2010 03:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Write4U - 28 January 2010 02:47 AM

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.

Right, and of course I wouldn’t have any argument against that. But I don’t think that possibility should lead us to conclude that the universe is “fine-tuned.” Suppose I were to place a box in front of you and told you that in that box is an “ideal” environment for germs. Now, if I opened that box, wouldn’t you expect the inside of it to be teeming with germs in all areas within the box? If I opened the box and there were 3 little specs in the corners where they were the only places they could develop, would you agree with my assessment that the inside of the box was “ideal”?

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Posted: 28 January 2010 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Seems you both have shifted the meaning of ‘fine tuned’ universe. The multiverse idea arises in the context that the physical constants seem so fine tuned that any stable structure is possible. Just a slight difference, and nuclear fusion would not exist. Just a slight difference, and there are no stable orbits for planets. Just a slight difference, and atoms could not exist, etc.

But if the possiblility dynamic and stable structures is given, then the vastness of the universe guarantees that in some corners life can exist. But in general, the universe is still a hostile place. As somebody one put it: in 99.9999999 percent of the places in the universe you would die in a millisecond.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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GdB - 28 January 2010 04:16 AM

Seems you both have shifted the meaning of ‘fine tuned’ universe. The multiverse idea arises in the context that the physical constants seem so fine tuned that any stable structure is possible. Just a slight difference, and nuclear fusion would not exist. Just a slight difference, and there are no stable orbits for planets. Just a slight difference, and atoms could not exist, etc.

But if the possibility dynamic and stable structures is given, then the vastness of the universe guarantees that in some corners life can exist. But in general, the universe is still a hostile place. As somebody one put it: in 99.9999999 percent of the places in the universe you would die in a millisecond.

GdB

The difference there it seems to me is that rather than “life”, the “fine-tuning” is in regard to some type of order. Consider that most physical systems are inherently nonlinear in nature. And as explained earlier, we have the ability to understand how we are able to exist from the convenient position of looking retrospectively at the only type of universe that we know of, ours. Looking at an evolutionary example, consider the argument that if we take a human and take away just the brain or just the heart or the process of homeostasis, we no longer have a functioning human. But that doesn’t mean that life cannot exist in some completely different form from a human. Sorry if I’m not making much sense right now, I think the sleeping pill is kicking in. I’m going to have to look this post over tomorrow.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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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 modern fine-tuning argument is based not on individual species environments but on a much broader set of circumstances, most importantly the cosmological constants in existence at the “beginning” of time.  Small adjustments in those cosmological constants (according to science) would have made life as we know it flatly impossible.  Following that notion, we deal then with the notion of probability.  How likely is it that a life-sustaining universe would come into being?  That, in turn, is the foundation for the firing squad analogy.  It’s all about the probability.  AFAICT, you’ve missed the mark.

(Edit to add):

I see that GdB has stepped in to clarify the notion of the fine-tuning argument.  Hat tip, then, to GdB.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Kaizen - 28 January 2010 05:42 AM

But that doesn’t mean that life cannot exist in some completely different form from a human. Sorry if I’m not making much sense right now, I think the sleeping pill is kicking in. I’m going to have to look this post over tomorrow.

No worries.  That one’s a fair point.  It does not put the fine tuning argument to bed entirely, of course, but it reminds us that the argument is not conclusive.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Kaizen - 28 January 2010 03:22 AM
Write4U - 28 January 2010 02:47 AM

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.

Right, and of course I wouldn’t have any argument against that. But I don’t think that possibility should lead us to conclude that the universe is “fine-tuned.” Suppose I were to place a box in front of you and told you that in that box is an “ideal” environment for germs. Now, if I opened that box, wouldn’t you expect the inside of it to be teeming with germs in all areas within the box? If I opened the box and there were 3 little specs in the corners where they were the only places they could develop, would you agree with my assessment that the inside of the box was “ideal”?

I agree with you. As the universe is made up of galaxies and solar systems, one could argue that as our solar system is a finely tuned interactive system of the sun and orbiting planets and is an expression of local universal order. One could argue that this local universal system is fine tuned for supporting life. This does not imply anything other than there is a favorable condiotion in this small locality, but there may be more such systems. It does Not mean that someone fine tuned the universe.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Bryan - 28 January 2010 08:56 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 modern fine-tuning argument is based not on individual species environments but on a much broader set of circumstances, most importantly the cosmological constants in existence at the “beginning” of time.  Small adjustments in those cosmological constants (according to science) would have made life as we know it flatly impossible.  Following that notion, we deal then with the notion of probability.  How likely is it that a life-sustaining universe would come into being?  That, in turn, is the foundation for the firing squad analogy.  It’s all about the probability.  AFAICT, you’ve missed the mark.

(Edit to add):

I see that GdB has stepped in to clarify the notion of the fine-tuning argument.  Hat tip, then, to GdB.

We have identified certain immutable universal laws (as far as we can determine) which are the causality for order in the universe. I believe that given the presence of these natural laws, it was inevitable that order would appear from chaos in not just our solar system but throughout the universe. Even if an environment is not suitable for life as we know it one can not deny that a galaxy is expressive of fine tuning (ie. forming a spiral galaxy or companion galaxies). Eventually everything will show signs of tuning by natural processes and given enough time certain systems will fine tune themselves to present a stable condition, which may support the development of life.
My main point is that the universe is self tuning according to natural law.

[ Edited: 28 January 2010 10:46 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 28 January 2010 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Write4U - 28 January 2010 10:37 AM

We have identified certain immutable universal laws (as far as we can determine) which are the causality for order in the universe.

Oh.  Well, perhaps I’m behind the times.  Last I heard, little could be said for certain about physical law prior to the Planck time, which is where we should expect any causal source for “certain immutable universal laws.”  If you can supply a reliable source for your claim, I would greatly appreciate it.

I believe that given the presence of these natural laws, it was inevitable that order would appear from chaos in not just our solar system but throughout the universe.

What’s not orderly about a universe made up of quartz crystals, when it comes to that? 
But of course that misses the point, doesn’t it?  So far as we know, quartz crystals are not life.  Certainly not life as we know it.

Even if an environment is not suitable for life as we know it one can not deny that a galaxy is expressive of fine tuning (ie. forming a spiral galaxy or companion galaxies).

Intuition, at the very least, suggests that living beings exhibit features in many ways much more impressive than the most interesting celestial patterns.  We can start with consciousness, though I would also be very interested if you posit that galaxies are conscious.

Eventually everything will show signs of tuning by natural processes and given enough time certain systems will fine tune themselves to present a stable condition, which may support the development of life.
My main point is that the universe is self tuning according to natural law.

Your point skips right past the main point of the fine-tuning argument, which suggests that most of the universes we might have ended up with can have infinite time to fine tune via the method you suggest yet without producing anything remotely resembling life as we know it.

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Posted: 28 January 2010 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Bryan - 28 January 2010 11:16 AM
Write4U - 28 January 2010 10:37 AM

We have identified certain immutable universal laws (as far as we can determine) which are the causality for order in the universe.

Oh.  Well, perhaps I’m behind the times.  Last I heard, little could be said for certain about physical law prior to the Planck time, which is where we should expect any causal source for “certain immutable universal laws.”  If you can supply a reliable source for your claim, I would greatly appreciate it.

I am not arguing for immutability, but rather observed phenomena. We know that without gravity planets would not stay in orbit but would fly off into space. The order in a planetary system can be directly attributed to gravity, among other pertinent universal laws.

I believe that given the presence of these natural laws, it was inevitable that order would appear from chaos in not just our solar system but throughout the universe.

What’s not orderly about a universe made up of quartz crystals, when it comes to that? 
But of course that misses the point, doesn’t it?  So far as we know, quartz crystals are not life.  Certainly not life as we know it.

A crystal is a perfect example of order caused by natural laws. As just about everything in the universe is an expression of eventual order from chaos due to natural law.

Even if an environment is not suitable for life as we know it one can not deny that a galaxy is expressive of fine tuning (ie. forming a spiral galaxy or companion galaxies).

Intuition, at the very least, suggests that living beings exhibit features in many ways much more impressive than the most interesting celestial patterns.  We can start with consciousness, though I would also be very interested if you posit that galaxies are conscious.

To assume that life and humans in particular have “special” status in the universe smacks of theism to me. To dismiss the infinite intricacy of “patterns” and “interactions” in the universe shows your disrespect for nature in favor of a conscious god.
But I am not speaking of consciousness, though one might argue that consciousness is the result of the evolutionary process of fine tuning the brain for thought and that is not peculiar to humans. Moreover, there are many different ways for a living organism to develop awareness of its surroundings, without conscious thought. A Venus fly trap reacts in a hydraulic manner when two (not one) sensory hairs are touched, triggering one side (the outside) of each leaf to become engorged with liquid, forcing them to bend inward (close) until the spikes are interlocked and the plant can begin its digestive process.

Eventually everything will show signs of tuning by natural processes and given enough time certain systems will fine tune themselves to present a stable condition, which may support the development of life.
My main point is that the universe is self tuning according to natural law.

Your point skips right past the main point of the fine-tuning argument, which suggests that most of the universes we might have ended up with can have infinite time to fine tune via the method you suggest yet without producing anything remotely resembling life as we know it.

Correct. Who said that all of the universe has to fine tune itself to support life? I certainly did not. Does it matter?

[ Edited: 28 January 2010 04:44 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 January 2010 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Write4U - 28 January 2010 04:05 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2010 11:16 AM
Write4U - 28 January 2010 10:37 AM

We have identified certain immutable universal laws (as far as we can determine) which are the causality for order in the universe.

Oh.  Well, perhaps I’m behind the times.  Last I heard, little could be said for certain about physical law prior to the Planck time, which is where we should expect any causal source for “certain immutable universal laws.”  If you can supply a reliable source for your claim, I would greatly appreciate it.

I am not arguing for immutability, but rather observed phenomena. We know that without gravity planets would not stay in orbit but would fly off into space. The order in a planetary system can be directly attributed to gravity, among other pertinent universal laws.

That is an odd reply, given that I did not mention immutability (except where I quoted you, of course).

A crystal is a perfect example of order caused by natural laws. As just about everything in the universe is an expression of eventual order from chaos due to natural law.

Great.  May I assume that you acknowledge my point that order leading to things like crystals and the like fails to address the thrust of the fine-tuning argument, which has to do with the particularly high level of complexity and inter-connectedness that leads to living systems?

Even if an environment is not suitable for life as we know it one can not deny that a galaxy is expressive of fine tuning (ie. forming a spiral galaxy or companion galaxies).

Sure, though that has nothing really to do with the point of the fine tuning argument.

Intuition, at the very least, suggests that living beings exhibit features in many ways much more impressive than the most interesting celestial patterns.  We can start with consciousness, though I would also be very interested if you posit that galaxies are conscious.

To assume that life and humans in particular have “special” status in the universe smacks of theism to me. To dismiss the infinite intricacy of “patterns” and “interactions” in the universe shows your disrespect for nature in favor of a conscious god.

Dude, even naturalistic scientists agree that life is special and that consciousness exists.  I don’t know where you’re coming from on this one.

But I am not speaking of consciousness, though one might argue that consciousness is the result of the evolutionary process of fine tuning the brain for thought and that is not peculiar to humans.

Sure, but the more obvious and important point is that we do not expect consciousness from non-living things.  Fine tuning remains compelling in the case of field mice.

Moreover, there are many different ways for a living organism to develop awareness of its surroundings, without conscious thought. A Venus fly trap reacts in a hydraulic manner when two (not one) sensory hairs are touched, triggering one side (the outside) of each leaf to become engorged with liquid, forcing them to bend inward (close) until the spikes are interlocked and the plant can begin its digestive process.

Your use of the term “awareness” seems like a stretch.  Is a rat trap “aware” of the rodent attempting to dine on the peanut butter situated on the trigger mechanism?  Would it otherwise not know to snap shut at the right time?

Eventually everything will show signs of tuning by natural processes and given enough time certain systems will fine tune themselves to present a stable condition, which may support the development of life.
My main point is that the universe is self tuning according to natural law.

Given enough time, a physical system will experience heat death, too.  But my main point is that your main point misses the main point of the fine tuning argument.  smile

Your point skips right past the main point of the fine-tuning argument, which suggests that most of the universes we might have ended up with can have infinite time to fine tune via the method you suggest yet without producing anything remotely resembling life as we know it.

Does it matter?

That depends on how interested you are in evaluating evidence, I suppose.

[ Edited: 29 January 2010 12:38 PM by Bryan ]
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Posted: 29 January 2010 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Bryan - 29 January 2010 11:05 AM

Fine tuning remains compelling in the case of field mice.

Does it also remain compelling in the case of babies born with birth defects? I guess God prefers quartz crystals to babies.

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Posted: 29 January 2010 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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George - 29 January 2010 11:50 AM
Bryan - 29 January 2010 11:05 AM

Fine tuning remains compelling in the case of field mice.

Does it also remain compelling in the case of babies born with birth defects? I guess God prefers quartz crystals to babies.

Keep working at it, George.

A baby born with birth defects, if they live, is at least an example of life, so fine tuning argument applies regardless.  Apparently you’re confusing it with the argument from design and applying the (lame) argument from design imperfections to argue against design per se.  On the bright side, perhaps your comment may be viewed as humorous.

[ Edited: 29 January 2010 12:39 PM by Bryan ]
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Posted: 29 January 2010 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Bryan - 29 January 2010 12:36 PM

Apparently you’re confusing it with the argument from design and applying the (lame) argument from design imperfections to argue against design per se.

I see. So I am incorrectly using an example of design imperfection (mutants) to argue against a fine tuned universe, but you are correctly using an example of design perfection (quartz crystals) to argue for a fine tuned universe.

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Posted: 29 January 2010 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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George - 29 January 2010 01:10 PM
Bryan - 29 January 2010 12:36 PM

Apparently you’re confusing it with the argument from design and applying the (lame) argument from design imperfections to argue against design per se.

I see. So I am incorrectly using an example of design imperfection (mutants) to argue against a fine tuned universe, but you are correctly using an example of design perfection (quartz crystals) to argue for a fine tuned universe.

No, you don’t see.  But keep working at it.

Quartz crystals were not an example of design perfection.  They were an example of order.

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Posted: 29 January 2010 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Okay, forget crystals. I still think it is a valid argument but have it your way. You have mentioned that consciousness points to a fine tuned universe. What about mutant babies who are born with some kind of a neurological disease that will prevent them from developing a conscious brain?

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