Friday, May 29, 2009

The Fine Tuning Argument as Sing of Divine Purpose

Photobucket





I was arguing with Hermit and Loren, our two intrepid regular atheists on my blogs. They both feel, apparently, that there is no way to justify a sense of divine purpose. I appeal to the fine tuning argument for such as sense, this elicited a challenge from Loren to debate her on fine turning.

The problem is even though I use the fine tuning argument on my God argument list (that's just to help me get 42 God arguments so I can have the answer to God, the Universe, and everything, which as we all know is the number 42--well I have to do something with my nights), I still have a problem with using it. The problem is that I argue as a standard approach that God is beyond empirical proof. Yet this is an argument ostensibly proving God and yet it's empirical. I over come this difficulty by using it, not as proof for the existence of God, but as an indication of divine purpose being detectable in creation.

This is not the only indication of divine purpose. One could certainly argue that the basic nature of all religions indicates a purpose, that special revelation such as the Bible explicitly states a purpose (although God's ultimate plans and reasons remain a mystery) and one could point to the nature of religious experince for evidence of a purpose. Let's not forget that ever loving Transcendental signifier argument. That TS argument is chock full of purpose. I don't want to get into an argument about the Bible, for the simple reason that this will derail the whole discussion. I am expecting those two loyal opponents to discuss this at length. But I think we can bracket the Bible as just understood as a source for believers to point to for things like this and argue about it latter. I will sketch out the other three sources and then indicate why the fine tuning argument is an indication of purpose.

Now in these first three I'm assuming other arguments for God. Fine tuning is used a God argument, don't let that confuse you. I'm not saying these are arguments for the existence of God. I'm saying having assumed there is some kind of God, this is how we know that God has an overall purpose concerning humanity.

(1)The nature of religion itself

The purpose of religion is to identify the nature of the human problematic, and to resolve the problematic by means of mediation of ultimate transformative experinces. This being the case, the basic reason for religion as a whole is to transform the live of the individual in such a way as to enable self actualization and to surmount the existential angst inherent in the human problematic. Since this seems to be the goal of all world religion, regardless of how differently it is construed, we can postulate that if there is some form of reality behind world religions then this must be a motive or a purpose.



(2) special relation


I have already stipulated that I want to bracket this discussion. But the Bible tells us (Ecclesiastees) that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep his commandments. Thus we can logically infer that since we have a duty the duty giver must have purpose in giving it. In fact the whole sense of duty and devotion that all religious believers feel might also weigh in the discussion.


(3) Nature of RE (overlapps with no 1)

One of the major affects of RE is that it gives us a sense that we understand there is an ultimate purpose. This is one of the major peace making aspects of such experinces. It's universal, people all over the world have these experinces and they almost always get this sense that they now see there is an ultimate purpose and its' good. Part of that experince is a deep abiding sense of a presence of love. That is enough to tell us that love is the basic motivation of purpose.

This is an indication, not an overall argument for the existence of God. The purpose indicated would be the propagation of life.The major evidence that I use for fine tuning comes from an atheist, the atheist physicist who invented one of the primary models for inflationary universe: Andre Linde.




(4) Fine tuning.

fine tuning, in so much as the universe is totally unlikely, demonstrates that a purpose had to be behind the fine turning since it would require purposive action to fine tune. Since the universe is unlikely the odds are overwhelmingly against it we should assume the game is fixed. If it's fixed it's fixed for a reason. That doesn't mean God has to sit down and design it like a giant building contractor in the sky. But he would have to put in motion some kind of principle that would allow for the unlike protection of life where it could develop. Fine tuning indicates that there is some sort of systematic bias introduced into the process that causes it turn out to protect life.


Adrei Linde,Scientific American. Oct 97

http://www.sciam.com/specialissues/0398cosmos/0398linde.html (this url may not be good any more it was a long time ago).


[explaining problems with the BB for which the new inflationary model is propossed. The first problem listed above--that the universe pops into exitence out of nothing]

a) something from nothing

b) Flatness of Universe

"A second trouble spot is the flatness of space. General relativity suggests that space may be very curved, with a typical radius on the order of the Planck length, or 10^-33 centimeter. We see however, that our universe is just about flat on a scale of 10^28 centimeters, the radius of the observable part of the universe. This result of our observation differs from theoretical expectations by more than 60 orders of magnitude."



c) Size of Universe--Plank Density

"A similar discrepancy between theory and observations concerns the size of the universe. Cosmological examinations show that our part of the universe contains at least IO^88 elementary particles. But why is the universe so big? If one takes a universe of a typical initial size given by the Planck length and a typical initial density equal to the Planck density, then, using the standard big bang theory, one can calculate how many elementary particles such a universe might encompass. The answer is rather unexpected: the entire universe should only be large enough to accommodate just one elementary particle or at most 10 of them. it would be unable to house even a single reader of Scientiftc American, who consists of about 10^29 elementary particles. Obviously something is wrong with this theory."



d) Timing of expansion

"The fourth problem deals with the timing of the expansion. In its standard form, the big bang theory assumes that all parts of the universe began expanding simultaneously. But how could all the different parts of the universe synchromize the beginning of their expansion? Who gave the command?



e)Distribution of matter in the universe

"Fifth, there is the question about the distribution of matter in the universe. on the very large scale, matter has spread out with remarkable uniformity. Across more than 10 billion light-years, its distribution departs from perfect homogeneity by less than one part in 10,000..... One of the cornerstones of the standard cosmology was the 'cosmological principle," which asserts that the universe must be homogeneous. This assumption. however, does not help much, because the universe incorporates important deviations from homogeneity, namely. stars, galaxies and other agglomerations of matter. Tence, we must explain why the universe is so uniform on large scales and at the same time suggest some mechanism that produces galaxies."



f) The "Uniqueness Problem"

"Finally, there is what I call the uniqueness problem. AIbert Einstein captured its essence when he said: "What really interests ine is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." Indeed, slight changes in the physical constants of nature could have made the universe unfold in a completeIy, different manner. ..... In some theories, compactilication can occur in billions of different ways. A few years ago it would have seemed rather meaningless to ask why space-time has four dimensions, why the gravitational constant is so small or why the proton is almost 2,000 times heavier than the electron. New developments in elementary particle physics make answering these questions crucial to understanding the construction of our world."



Now Linde is confident that the new inflationary theories will explain all of this, and indeed states that their purpose is to revolve the ambiguity with which cosmologists are forced to cope. The Scalar field is suppossed to explain all of this; but these inflationary models are still on the drawing board. Moreover, he never says where scalar fields come from, what makes them, and indeed never illustrates how they solve the initial problem of where it all came form in the first place. Finally, it seems that scalar fields would be a design feature that should trouble Linde as much as the initial problems, since he compares them the circuit breaker of a house which keeps the universe from heating up too fast before it can expand. Moreover, they might be arbitrary necessities (see argument I).

Loren has already issued her own argument against fine tuning:



Blogger Loren said...

Here is my broader point about alleged fine tuning. It's that the Earth's appearance of being fine tuned does NOT translate in the Universe as a whole being fine tuned. The Universe makes lots of different kinds of environments, and with that productivity, it's only a matter of time before the Universe produces at least one that can allow us to exist.


I think we can see that she doesn't grasp the dimensions of the argument. You can see from the evdience of Linde above the entire structure of the universe overall in its' earliest formation out of the BB is fine tuned. I don't eve mention earth.



It's like how if you play poker long enough, you'll eventually get dealt a high hand. It's very improbable, but if you play long enough, you get dealt LOTS of hands, and it's only a matter of time before you get a high one.


The fine tuning argument is not analogous to getting a "high hand." there are so many 0's in the odds given that it's like getting a thousand royal flushes in a row. In a real poker game those kind of odds would result in a lynching for marking the deck long before we got to even one hundred royal flushes in a row.

My answer:

"No offense but I don't think you understand the argument. It says its' extremely improbable that we would hit the target levels. There are so many of them and if we missed one by just a small bit there would be no life possible in the galaxy or universe. So that means the game is rigged, and that implies purpose."The argument erroneously assumes that "life as we know it" is the only possible outcome. If the universe were different than it's still possible that some other form of life would arise.


Hermit says:


Even life on Earth is pretty diverse; it arises everywhere from superheated volcanic ocean vents to the subfreezing desert of Antarctica.

The idea that the entire universe is somehow "fine-tuned"just for us puny humans is just absurd. This is another consequence of this anthropomorphizing habit; it ignores the vast and almost limitless variety of possibilities in the natural universe to make it all about us. It isn't.


That is merely argument from incredulity. 'O I can't believe it." that's not an argument. It doesn't do anything to the logic or the empriical data.



Blogger Loren said...

Very well. Thanx for inviting me. :)

I'm not especially interested in the question of cosmic purpose, since that seems to me to be a poorly-defined hypothesis. How would one tell one purpose from another, or from no purpose at all? For all we know, our Universe's purpose is to make lots of black holes.


See you got some things to say. We can understand protecting life. We can get that much. I'm not trying to say that I understand God's ultimate purposes. God is beyond understanding. But it seems pretty clear that we are given a series of breaks in this life in all kinds of things, one crucial one is the formation of life in the universe.

It may be plentiful or we may be all there is but it seems clear that a cold and hostile universe has been tweak, the purpose suggested is so that we will be here. That means we have a purpose. That is one of the major motivations for a religious life is understanding this,and seeking what that purpose is.



I'm more interested in the question of how fine-tuned the Universe is for allowing us to emerge and survive. I think that a few things may qualify as fine tuning, but for the most part, I think that the Universe is less fine-tuned than some fine-tuning advocates seem to think.


There are thousands of target levels. They are all over the place from early staler formation, even before from the basic crystallization of elements and formation of gravitation to stars to planets to life. Every step of the way we have a thousands totally unlikely events.

I will finally suggest that God's ultimate purpose is love. This is consistent with all four of the indications I give. God's basic motivation is love and all we have to do to understand everything important that we need to know is to love.

26 comments:

A Hermit said...

"That is merely argument from incredulity. 'O I can't believe it." that's not an argument. It doesn't do anything to the logic or the empriical data"You're missing the point; I see a fundamental flaw in the whole "fine-tuning" argument; ie that it seems to assume that the existence of human life is the target of all this "fine-tuning". This is not only an unwarranted assumption, it's frankly an absurd assumption given the fact that most of the Universe is actually a hostile environment to human life, that other forms of life not only exist, but thrive in environments that are not at all "fine tuned" for human life, and that if any of the "finely tuned" aspects of the universe were different the Universe would not cease to exist, it would just be different. Life "as we know it" might no arise in that case, but some other from of life, (or no life) might.

"Fine tuning" is the observation that the pothole must have been designed to hold a puddle of just that size and shape...

and bad math...

Why I Hate Religious Bayesians"...the argument comes down to a hand-wave that if the universe didn't turn out exactly like ours, it must be no good. Why does a lack of hydrogen fusion stars like we have in our universe imply that there can be no other stable energy source? Why is it reasonable to constrain the life-permitting properties of the universe to be narrow based on the observed properties of the laws of nature as observed in our universe?"From Humans, Cockroaches, and the Laws of Physics
Copyright © 1997 by Victor J. Stenger
"...Before addressing the question of how the laws of physics can have come about in the absence of intelligent design, let me provide a response to the arguments from probability outlined above.

If we properly compute, according to statistical theory, the probability for the universe existing with the properties it has, the result is unity! The universe exists with one hundred percent probability (unless you are an idealist who believes everything exists only in your own mind). On the other hand, the probability for one of a random set of universes being our particular universe is a different question. And the probability that one of a random set of universes is a universe that supports some form of life is a third question. I submit it is this last question that is the important one and that we have no reason to be sure that this probability is small.

I have made some estimates of the probability that a chance distribution of physical constants can produce a universe with properties sufficient that some form of life would have likely had sufficient time to evolve. In this study, I randomly varied the constants of physics (I assume the same laws of physics as exist in our universe, since I know no other) over a range of ten orders of magnitude around their existing values. For each resulting "toy" universe, I computed various quantities such as the size of atoms and the lifetimes of stars. I found that almost all combinations of physical constants lead to universes, albeit strange ones, that would live long enough for some type of complexity to form..."

J.L. Hinman said...

It's obvious that is' fine tuned for anything that survives. We cant' have to argue that' ti' made just for human life (obviously are other kinds of life). We can assume God set's the margin for whatever comes. But the fact that something can survive and evolve is clearly fine tuned for."Fine tuning" is the observation that the pothole must have been designed to hold a puddle of just that size and shape...

But if the likelihood of having a pothole was a billion to one then it would be a good argument.and bad math...

why? show me what's wrong with the math?Why I Hate Religious Bayesians"...the argument comes down to a hand-wave that if the universe didn't turn out exactly like ours, it must be no good.

no one says that, that's a misunderstanding of the argument. did you not get that major atheist physicists takes the argument seriously? I've seen a lot of other major physicists who take it seriously too.Why does a lack of hydrogen fusion stars like we have in our universe imply that there can be no other stable energy source? Why is it reasonable to constrain the life-permitting properties of the universe to be narrow based on the observed properties of the laws of nature as observed in our universe?"From Humans, Cockroaches, and the Laws of Physics
Copyright © 1997 by Victor J. Stenger"...Before addressing the question of how the laws of physics can have come about in the absence of intelligent design, let me provide a response to the arguments from probability outlined above.


don't give your own straw man arguments. Answer the one's Linde put forth. He's a major atheist physicist who invented inflationary theory. answer the stuff I quoted from him.If we properly compute, according to statistical theory, the probability for the universe existing with the properties it has, the result is unity! The universe exists with one hundred percent probability (unless you are an idealist who believes everything exists only in your own mind). On the other hand, the probability for one of a random set of universes being our particular universe is a different question.


the universe exist. The probability of it existing is 0 because it now chance it doesn't so there's probability it does.

that is not the issue. The issue is the universe could have turned out to be twelve feet wide, too narrow for life to develop.
And the probability that one of a random set of universes is a universe that supports some form of life is a third question. I submit it is this last question that is the important one and that we have no reason to be sure that this probability is small.


Linde show pretty clearly just in the few things he talks about how it is. you can't answer them.I have made some estimates of the probability that a chance distribution of physical constants can produce a universe with properties sufficient that some form of life would have likely had sufficient time to evolve. In this study, I randomly varied the constants of physics (I assume the same laws of physics as exist in our universe, since I know no other) over a range of ten orders of magnitude around their existing values. For each resulting "toy" universe, I computed various quantities such as the size of atoms and the lifetimes of stars. I found that almost all combinations of physical constants lead to universes, albeit strange ones, that would live long enough for some type of complexity to form..."

Like you are really going to be fair about it.

well the big atheist science man says you are wrong, he said it was a serious idea so why is he wrong?

A Hermit said...

"The issue is the universe could have turned out to be twelve feet wide, too narrow for life to develop"Close; too narrow for life as we know it to develop."But if the likelihood of having a pothole was a billion to one then it would be a good argument.Yes, the Universe could have turned out a whole lot of different ways (and maybe it has...) The odds against THIS PARTICULAR "pothole" forming are not the same as the odds of SOME FORM OF "POTHOLE" forming. Do you see why that's an important distinction?

"well the big atheist science man says you are wrong, he said it was a serious idea so why is he wrong?"That's your answer? Well, my big atheist scientists just showed why yours is wrong...;-)

Why don't you address the substance of my objections as stated above??

J.L. Hinman said...

"The issue is the universe could have turned out to be twelve feet wide, too narrow for life to develop"Close; too narrow for life as we know it to develop."But if the likelihood of having a pothole was a billion to one then it would be a good argument.Yes, the Universe could have turned out a whole lot of different ways (and maybe it has...)





The odds against THIS PARTICULAR "pothole" forming are not the same as the odds of SOME FORM OF "POTHOLE" forming. Do you see why that's an important distinction?


that's not relevant. Its' not as though the evdience for fine tuning is as lame pot holes anyway. That's your argument form analogy. that's invalid to begin with.

why don't you use the real issues?



"well the big atheist science man says you are wrong, he said it was a serious idea so why is he wrong?"That's your answer? Well, my big atheist scientists just showed why yours is wrong...;-)


You haven't quoted one, I did. debate is evidence oriented activity.

Why don't you address the substance of my objections as stated above??

because you refuse to asddress the actual evdience that I use, (I am as usual the only with evidence in this debate). When you deal with the real evdience that I presented then we will see about answering your stuff, provided you document it.

A Hermit said...

"that's not relevant."

Of course its relevant; it goes to the heart of the argument. If other outcomes are possible then there's no reason to presume that this outcome is the result of design and not chance. Inconvenient for you, perhaps, but not irrelevant...

J.L. Hinman said...

Of course its relevant; it goes to the heart of the argument. If other outcomes are possible then there's no reason to presume that this outcome is the result of design and not chance. Inconvenient for you, perhaps, but not irrelevant...

the whole concept of a target level is that other outcomes are not possible in terms of life. they are possibly but not if you want a life bearing universe. So that shows it's improbable so the game is fixed.

you are merely gainsaying the argument.

A Hermit said...

'the whole concept of a target level is that other outcomes are not possible in terms of life. they are possibly but not if you want a life bearing universe. So that shows it's improbable so the game is fixed."

You're still missing the point; other outcomes which could have given rise to OTHER FORMS of life are certainly possible. You don't read enough science fiction...;-)

There's no reason to assume that human life, or even carbon based life, is the only possible universal outcome. Declaring us the "target" is just another example of that anthropomorphizing tendency I was talking about before.

J.L. Hinman said...

the whole concept of a target level is that other outcomes are not possible in terms of life. they are possibly but not if you want a life bearing universe. So that shows it's improbable so the game is fixed."

You're still missing the point; other outcomes which could have given rise to OTHER FORMS of life are certainly possible. You don't read enough science fiction...;-)

I did not base my arguent on huamn life. you still assume wahtever life comes. you have to prove other forms of life (other than corban) are possible orl ikely.

just because we are the highest form we know of doesn't mean the argument doesn't work with all life. all life is unlikely period.


There's no reason to assume that human life, or even carbon based life, is the only possible universal outcome. Declaring us the "target" is just another example of that anthropomorphizing tendency I was talking about before.


the argument works with any from of life, any kind of life is totally unlikely. but you have to prove other than carbon life is possible. It may be that carbon is the only possible form of life, you don't know that and since we have no counter examples that is a logical assumption.

A Hermit said...

"I did not base my arguent on huamn life. you still assume wahtever life comes. you have to prove other forms of life (other than corban) are possible orl ikely.

Of course other forms of life are possible; in fact if the conditions in the universe were different (ie if they were "fine tuned" in a different way) then other forms of life might be more likely in that universe than carbon based forms. Change the strength of the forces that bind molecules together and Nitrogen or Ammonia might become better candidates for self-replicating structures.

"just because we are the highest form we know of doesn't mean the argument doesn't work with all life. all life is unlikely period."

First of all it's purely subjective to call human beings the "highest" form of life. We put ourselves there, but there's no reason to think that's anything but our own understandable bias...of course, your other arguments require human life to be the target; there's no soteriological drama with sea slugs or bacteria, is there?

Life in general, on the other hand, is a lot more likely; as I pointed out before we find life surviving in environments that would kill us in an instant, from superheated ocean vents to the antarctic. The "tuning" doesn't need to be nearly as "fine" if you broaden the argument.

Kristen said...

I've been puzzling and puzzling, because I've been sensing something odd about Hermit's arguments without being able to put my finger on it. But I think I've got it now. Here's a quote from the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences:

In general, the overall structure of many physical systems is strongly influenced by the numerical values of a relatively small number of universal constants (e.g., the gravitational constant), Over the past couple of decades physicists have become increasingly aware that the physical conditions that enable life to exist are very sensitive to the values of a number of these constants. If they had been only slightly different, life as we know it could not have evolved.

Moreover, the overall chemical composition of the universe was determined by physical conditions during the first seconds of the Big Bang. The elements on which life depends such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and iron are the product of nuclear reactions within stars. In both situations the processes by which the chemical elements are formed are governed very precisely by the strengths of four fundamental physical interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear interactions.

If the relative strengths of these forces were different, the resultant universe would also be different. For example, increasing the strong nuclear interaction by 3% relative to the electromagnetic interaction gives a cosmological model in which none of the known chemical elements could form. Conversely, decreasing it by 1% gives a model in which carbon atoms would be unstable. Both scenarios would preclude carbon-based life. Other tiny variations in these forces might have given rise to a universe which was 100% helium or one in which supernova explosions could not occur (since these explosions are thought to be the chief way in which the chemicals necessary for life are ejected from stars, this too would preclude the evolution of life). These ‘precisions’ in various parameters such as to give rise to life are known as the ‘anthropic coincidences’.

There is no obvious physical reason why these parameters should have the observed values. However, very small changes in any of these key parameters would have resulted in a grossly different universe; one in which life as we know it would almost certainly be precluded. The set of life-permitting cosmological models is a vanishingly small subset of the set of all theoretically possible cosmological models.


So-- I think the issue isn't how likely it is that non-carboned based life could have existed in other possible universes. The issue is that this universe formed in such a way as to enable carbon-based life to appear. And it is extemely unlikely that it would have.

So unless you are going to posit multiple universes (which there is no evidence for), then it is very, very unlikely that this particular universe would have been the one that formed-- but it did, anyway. Saying that life would have been likely in other possible universes, seems to me to be beside the point. This is the universe that formed, and -- strangly enough, it formed in a very precise way such that we can sit here and wonder about it.

Loren said...

I don't know where Kristen got her numbers from, but I'm sure that I could replicate whatever calculations the authors of those numbers did -- and locate any flawed assumptions that they put into their calculations.

I will concede that the strong force being weaker would keep nuclei from forming. That could arise from (say) the up and down quarks being more massive relative to the QCD mass scale.

But if those masses were smaller, then the strong force would be stronger, though I and others have found conclusions other than what that Center claims. According to Big Bang Nucleosynthesis: The Strong Force meets the Weak Anthropic Principle, by J. MacDonald, D. J. Mullan, there will still be plenty of hydrogen, though much of it may be deuterium from diproton decays.

Kristen said...

Loren, I tried to post the link in my last post but was having trouble. Here's the source:

http://www.ctns.org/pub_articles.html

For the rest, I'm not a scientist. I can only bring common-sense arguments to the table-- and my question is, do the alternate conclusions you reference make the formation of carbon-based life, and its development into self-aware intelligence, a likely scenario?

J.L. Hinman said...

Loren I quoted several points by a major atheist physicist who supported the fine tuning argument and you never answered them.

J.L. Hinman said...

I don't know where Kristen got her numbers from, but I'm sure that I could replicate whatever calculations the authors of those numbers did -- and locate any flawed assumptions that they put into their calculations.


sorry,that is not proof. that's an assertion.

sgttomas said...

Hm. I love it when people are unaware of the difference between physics and their imagination...

"There's no reason to assume that human life, or even carbon based life, is the only possible universal outcome. Declaring us the "target" is just another example of that anthropomorphizing tendency I was talking about before." - AHermit

Nor is there any reason to assume that our imagination has any bearing on reality.

Considering the implications of General Relativity, I am literally the center of the universe. lol. There is nothing wrong with observing that this life I have is pretty darned inexplicable on the whole and assuming that there is a Creator behind it. I mean, you DO ADVOCATE for an active imagination after all.

"Life in general, on the other hand, is a lot more likely; as I pointed out before we find life surviving in environments that would kill us in an instant, from superheated ocean vents to the antarctic. The "tuning" doesn't need to be nearly as "fine" if you broaden the argument."

Well that was a pointless diversion to say, "words can be subjective!"

You miss the point that when you say, "of course, your other arguments require human life to be the target; there's no soteriological drama with sea slugs or bacteria, is there?" ...it is actually the best argument for belief in a Creator. Why? Because there's no soteriolgoical drama with sea slugs or bacteria, is there?

Point being, your subjective belief about the words you use precludes you from saying the same thing as Metacrock. I have no idea what causes this ontological discrepancy. So I reserve my right to point out that you are wrong and wonder if you'll ever find out why.

...which isn't any form of argument that I actually am rendering against you. Just pointing out that the arbitrary nature of our perspective on reality isn't something you seem to appreciate justifies faith as easily as it refutes it. Science has no way to resolve that inconsistency because it isn't bound by an objective framework, which is necessary for the formation of scientific knowledge.
...I thought that was pretty obvious.

Belief in a Creator is a subjective work of imagination, same as the idea that the universe naturally self-selected for life is.

J.L. Hinman said...

Tom good stuff man. I enjoyed all of your contributions, thanks for coming. Hope you stick around.

A Hermit said...

"Belief in a Creator is a subjective work of imagination, same as the idea that the universe naturally self-selected for life is."

So where does that leave the "fine tuning" argument? If we take your approach and descend into sophistry it isn't proof of anything either way...which is kind of my position anyway...;-)

J.L. Hinman said...

MetaBelief in a Creator is a subjective work of imagination, same as the idea that the universe naturally self-selected for life is."

HermiSo where does that leave the "fine tuning" argument? If we take your approach and descend into sophistry it isn't proof of anything either way...which is kind of my position anyway...;-)


atheist attention span at work hu? Remember now I presented it as indicative of prupsoe right? so I didn't do it as the conventional fine tunining arugment.

now what are God arugments in my new realization scheme were we don't need God arguments? Hm?

they are "focual points." remember?

what does that mean? it means so you don't have to try to talk about everything in the world you acn focus on a few things as good ideas or good reasons to believe. But not suppossed to be proof becuase the premis is that God an't be proven he's transcendent. you can only realize the relaity around you and havea mystical experince of God. you can't prove it. see?

It's a focal point. a good reason to believe. not proof.

A Hermit said...

It's not a reason to believe either if the evidence can just as easily (or more easily) be explained in natural terms; especially if one's own mystical experiences have the flavour of a godless, natural universe and not a personal, purposeful, interventionist deity.

J.L. Hinman said...

It's not a reason to believe either if the evidence can just as easily (or more easily) be explained in natural terms;

you are a far cry from that, you haven't even comment on most of it. You have no counter evdience.


especially if one's own mystical experiences have the flavour of a godless, natural universe and not a personal, purposeful, interventionist deity.

that statement reveals a wealth of ignorance, or poverty of knowledge, about the mystical.

Nature mysticism has always been part of mystical experince, ever hear of St. Francis os Asisi?

nature mysticism can be just as powerful as any other. my most profound mystical experince was nature oriented.

Rich said...

Hermitite,

You seem clueless as to the big picture, so here it is.

The universe arose through the annihilation of quarks and antiquarks (the former of which outnumber the latter by 1,000,000,001 to 1,000,000,000). Normally, one would not expect quarks and antiquarks to be present in different percentages. So, the average universe would be expected to consist solely of random electromagnetic energy. Definitely not friendly to human life, bacterial life, or even the existence of a single star. However, it gets much worse. It turns out that the amount of matter in the universe must be fine-tuned to a very high degree. If the amount of matter in the universe were to be higher by a factor of 1 in 10^59 (see the website of Dr. Edward Wright, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy at UCLA), the universe would have collapsed on itself before this present time. Since there are only 10^80 baryons in the entire universe, this means that an addition of just 10^21 baryons (about the mass of a grain of sand) at the initiation of the Big Bang would have made life impossible. Maybe you don't consider that to be fine tuning. Then again, maybe your irrational!

J.L. Hinman said...

thanks for the Comments Rich and the website. Fantastic!

A Hermit said...

Dearest Rich, thank you so much for your less than courteous reply...;-)

I'm afraid the kind of "fine tuning" analysis you're proposing only looks impressive if you play with the numbers for individual parameters in isolation, without considering how changes in other complimentary parameters made change the odds. It's actually a bit silly to talk about how the universe would look if, for example, gravity were weaker, but nothing else were different. There's no reason to think the forces that balance one another in our version of the Universe wouldn't change proportionally to one another in some other possible universe to produce an analogous result.

You can try it yourself here:

Monkey God

Perhaps before calling me silly names and dismissing my arguments with a paraphrase from a webpage you have apparently neither fully read nor understood you should do a little reading beyond the links on Hugh Ross's website.

I recommend taking a look at the work of Victor Stenger Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado; Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii (retired).

This one in particular is very good: (pdf link)

"Cosmythology: Is the universe fine-tuned to produce us?"

When you've finished you can come back and explain why you think I'm "clueless"...;-)

Best Regards

A Hermit

A Hermit said...

"thanks for the Comments Rich and the website. Fantastic!"

Now be honest Joe, how would have reacted if some atheist had posted a reply to you in which they first made fun of your screen name, then called you clueless, offered up a poorly reasoned and non-responsive line of BS and ended by dismissing you as "irrational?

Would you have thanked them for the "fantastic" comments? Or would you have gone ballistic, responded with insults of your own and posted the whole exchange on "Atheistwatch" with a rant about what ignorant #$^@'s atheists are?

I think we both know the answer, don't we? ;-)

If you don't like it when people treat you that way please don't encourage others when they do it to me.

J.L. Hinman said...

Now be honest Joe, how would have reacted if some atheist had posted a reply to you in which they first made fun of your screen name, then called you clueless, offered up a poorly reasoned and non-responsive line of BS and ended by dismissing you as "irrational?

I was thinking him for comments I appreciated him making. If I appreciated atheist's comments I would thank them for making them too.

A Hermit said...

"I was thinking him for comments I appreciated him making. If I appreciated atheist's comments I would thank them for making them too"

You appreciated the way he called me "clueless" and "irrational?"

Thanks for letting me know where I stand.