Monday, November 11, 2013

Do Recent Findings Disprove the Fine Tuning Argument?

  photo glls_zpsde619f54.jpg

God is not subject empirical proof. No loss of a God arguemnt spells out disproof of God. The fine tuning argument (FT) is only indirect and probabilistic anyway. So having one less indirect warrant for belief is not so bad when we have at least 51 others to choose from [1] Nevertheless the FT is a fine argument and it is very defensible. It's loss I would feel keenly. Recent findings by NASA show there may be at least 40,000 to 8 Billion earth like planets. in the Milky way. Does that put the kibosh on the FT? O God not the "kibosh!"  I argue that it does not.

The FT says that there are target levels that have to be reached for the universe could not bear life. The odds of these being reached are so high that it clearly seems the presents of life is the result of some pre determined "fix." One can see my own version of the FT here.

According to the argument an earth like planet bearing life that is capable of evolving to a state advanced enough to go off planet should be extremely rare. Finding 40 billion of them would definitely put a crimp in the argument, to say the least. New search by NASA seems to have done just that. The actual research was done by Geoffrey Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, who supervised Mr.Erick Petigura’s research and was a co-author of the paper along with Andrew Howard of the University of Hawaii.[2] We can say as a result that one in five, or so, stars like our own sun should have an earth like planet orbiting it. That's pretty staggering when you look up at the sky at night count out five stars and say "there's a good chance that right up there where I counted someone may be looking back at me!"

 The astronomers looked at data from the Kepler spacecraft, which observed more than 150,000 stars in a small patch of the sky. For four years it observed these stars every 30 minutes, looking for telltale dips in their brightnesses. The idea is that if a star has a planet (or planets), and we happen to see the orbit of this planet edge-on, then we’ll see a small drop in the star brightness every time the planet transits (passes directly in front of) the star.[3]

 They use light from the stars which is altered slightly by the gravitational pull of the planets. That's how they estimate that it's there and what size it is. That would also give location so they can discuss temperature. In this sample 3000 earth like stars were detected. They extrapolated from there. Overall they found 900 planets and 600 of them were earth like. [4] One estimate as high as 40 billion in whole galaxy.[5]

The definition of earth-like planet used:

By Earth-like, I mean planets roughly the size of Earth, and which are also roughly the same temperature as Earth. So we can ignore frigid iceballs far from their stars, boiling lava planets too close in, and giant and dinky planets. We want to know about potentially habitable planets, where life as we know it has a shot at getting a toe (or pseudopod) hold.[6]
 They sought planets 1-2 times the radios of earth, estimated by the extent to which the light is altered by gravity. Even larger sized planets than that can have similar gravity but the larger the planet the less clear that conditions would be like those of our own world.[7]

The new research puts the estimate at 22% of stars have earth-like planets.[8] That certainly like a disproof of the FT since it makes life bearing planets common. The problem is as has been hinted at we can't say these are life bearing. Earth like Just means size and tempature. As has been been seen size can vary and fool us. Temperature is very important to know  too.

 The temperature of the planet is important, of course, and depends on how much light the planets gets from its star. As a range, they looked for planets that received no more than four times the light the Earth receives from the Sun, and no less than 0.25 times as much. That should bracket the warm and cool edges of the “habitable zone”, where water can exist. This range may in fact be much broader; a planet can be much farther from its star and still have liquid water (see Enceladus as an example), but they wanted to be conservative.[9]
 Another crucial issue is how many have water? Water is essential for life, some think it's very rare. we don't really know. There are many caveats.

*We don't the masses of the Planets We don't know if they are solid rocks. balls of ice or balls of gas.

* Estimates on number are uncertain:

 Also, the number is more uncertain than it might have been because Kepler’s pointing system failed before it could complete its prime survey. As a result, Mr. Petigura and his colleagues had to extrapolate from planets slightly larger than Earth and with slightly smaller, tighter orbits. For the purposes of his analysis “Earth-size” was anything from one to two times the diameter of the Earth, and Earth-like orbits were between 400 and 200 days.(--Overbye).
 * So far none of them is exactly analogous

 Dr. Batalha said, “We don’t yet have any planet candidates that are exact analogues of the Earth in terms of size, orbit or star type.”[10]

 So there is still quite a way to go before we count out the FT. I would say it's taken a bloody nose but not a knock out.


[1] I have two God arguments lists. One has 42 arguments. the other has 10 more.

[2] Dennis Overbye, "Far Off Planets Like Earth Dot the Galaxy," space and Cosmos, NY Times. Nov 4, 2013.
 accessed 11/9/13.
Erick Petigura is only a graduate student working with two professors.

[3] Phil Plait "The sky may be filled with Earth like Planets,"Slate, nov 4 2013 on line copy:
 accessed 11/9/13.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Dennis Overbye,Op Cit.

[6] Plait, Op Cit.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Overbye, Op Cit

[9] Plait, Op Cit.

[10] Ibid.


Anonymous said...

metacrock, this does not pertain to the article that i am commenting on but it relates to the christ myth. First a statement from wikipedia:
"In The Quest, Schweitzer reviewed all former work on the "historical Jesus" back to the late 18th century. He showed that the image of Jesus had changed with the times and outlooks of the various authors, and gave his own synopsis and interpretation of the previous century's findings. He maintained that the life of Jesus must be interpreted in the light of Jesus' own convictions, which reflected late Jewish eschatology. Schweitzer, however, writes: "The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the kingdom of God, who founded the kingdom of heaven upon earth and died to give his work its final consecration never existed."" next, a statement found on a blog about the religion of Georg Freidrich Hegel: "Albert Schweitzer praised (Bruno) Bauer's scholarship as world class." Would you comment on these two pieces of information in a blog post and say if they are truthful or not.

john smith said...

Metacrock, have you read anything about "death of god" theology. does being a "death of god" theologian make Meister Eckhart and pseudo-dionysius atheists? Paul tillich was a "death of god" theologian. and, if possible, will you do a blog post about the individuals and the subject itself? I would surely be thankful.

john smith said...

regarding the christ myth, will you comment on the ideas of Bruno Bauer.

Metacrock said...

I don't know what this has to do with the fine tuning argument. Bauer lived at time before Biblical scholarship had it's act together. His views on stoecism have been picked up they Jesus mythers, especially Daughter. they have been disproved. Read my six page essay on Daughtery's evolution of Jesus I talk about where that notion has been disproved.

<a href="><b>here</b></a>

Metacrock said...

Link to my disproof of Daughtery

Metacrock said...

John Smith:

>>Metacrock, have you read anything about "death of god" theology. does being a "death of god" theologian make Meister Eckhart and pseudo-dionysius atheists? Paul tillich was a "death of god" theologian. and, if possible, will you do a blog post about the individuals and the subject itself? I would surely be thankful. <<

I'm greatful for the comments. although they don't fit the subject. You can always get on my boards to talk to me. Or email me at

put something in the title so I know it's not spam.

Neither Eckhart nor Dionysus were death of God theologians. That was a 1960s movement. Although they may have appealed to them.

I will do a thing on them on both for you but it'll have to be next week.

Metacrock said...

The major Death of God guy was Frederich J.J. Altizer. He contributed to the death of Paul Tillich. He kept him up all nigh shouting the night before he died.

I'm not saying it was his fault. He left theologian when he decided God was dead and went into liberal arts. I don't know if he called himself an atheist.

Metacrock said...

Tillich was not a death of God theologian. In fact that's a real misunderstanding of his concept of God. But he was labeled as such by Altizer, that's what they were shouting about the night before Tililch died of a heart attack.

that story was referenced in Time magazine but was told to me by a guy I knew who met Tillich and studied theology. So maybe you should accept it with qualification.

Metacrock said...

Change of plants. I will deal with this death of God stuff tomorrow that will give me more time to work on what I was going to post tomorrow.