Monday, May 24, 2021

Fine Tuning the puddle Argument

A poster on YouTube calling himself "Genetically Modified Skeptic''(GMS) defends the "Puddle argument." [1] This is an atheist refutation of design arguments and just says we mistakenly think the world is designed for us because we fit into it's scheme so well. Why "puddle?" The oringal version says an orgnaism crawls out of a puddle and sees how well it fits into the world.

Christian apologist Frank Turek argues the fine tunning arguent (FT) He is  making a basic mistake with the argument. GMS reduces the argent to one issue, perspective. Huge mistake because that is not it.FT does not take the same perspective as a regular design argument. GMS wants you to think it does; he even says this "just the old Palley argument." The difference is profound. The old argument did not have target levels that quantify the probability of each target being met. FT only takes fitedness as a basic assumption but it does not stop there.  It says we have numbers that  show a life bearing universe  is extremely improbable. It is backed up empirically. It may assume some of the old perspective but having empirically set target levels makes it totally differnt.By target levels we mean things like how thin plank density might be or how many earth sized planets we have before we strike life.[2]

The first thing that should be said about the so-called "puddle argument" is that it is not an argument. It's nothing more than window  dressing (its really just a little story to set up the argument). The actual argument is really just the skeptics retort to design arguments, "here we are, why did we need a creator"? They assert there is no evidence. Of course they are begging the question since the FT data is the evidence. Then GMS asserts that he does not have to prove his assumption but we do have to prove ours. He asserts the universe came before the observer. That means the observer is a product of the universe. The universe was not made for the observer. Of course the real issue is not the observer but what produced the universe? With FT we can assume we are a product of the universe but the universe was made to bear life. We just happen to be some of that life. We do not have to prove the existence of God. His assertion is crazy, why should we prove something to justify suspecting it? No one needs to suspect what he has already proven. We need only demonstrate a good reasonto bieve; FT is dandy reason.

So we have a stalemate and each side has a seemingly valid reason for seeing the universe as they do. That would be an excellent tie to consider FT as it was meant to be,as a tiebreaker. Although GMS just leaves out major portions of the opponent's view. For example he doesn't really deal very deeply with target levels. He wants to spend most of his time reducing Turek's argument to basic simplicity so he can deal with it in classically atheistic ways.He takes up Turek's idea that the universe is made up of information and this is being produced by a mind, and he tries to argue that we don't need a sender to have a message; the message is in the mind of the receiver alone.

What eludes him is the fact that a message with no sender is not a message. We could see this in his examples; GMS himself uses them; he just doen't think deeply about his own evidence. For example he takes the image on mars  thought to be a face and shows NASSA discovered it was not a face but a pareidolia with rocks[3] My major in undergraduate school was communication theory.[4] Communication theory does not accept any model of communication with just a receiver, we have to have a sender or no message.  GMS is merely overlooking the fact that what  Webster calls "random pattern" is thought to be a message but is not one. GMMS  may have a point about the way Turek argues it, Truek himself may reduce FT to complexity alone.But the FTA itself more than just interpirating complexity. The target levels are so precise they spell out the virtual impossibility of an impersonal random  universe. The major aspect behind messages that GMS overlooks is meaning. WE can see thecomningcounicatedin theaaing level of improablity of a random universe.
FT is a valid reason to infer a creator. We see the meaning in the message. An impersonal source cannot attend a message with real meaning. We don't make up our own meaning we can clearly see the meaning; the main way is through personal experience.GMC trashes personal experience, even though his arguments are totally based on his experience of decohversion. It is essential that he disconnect the believer from personal experience because it validates the message we get through nature or God's creaton. In my  book The Trace of God [5] while I do not dscus FT,  one could combine the two for a fine argument.mystical ex[eroece validates the meaning of reality and makes clear God's work.A huge body of scienc studies deomstartes the validity of the experince, below is just a sample.

Research Summary
From Council on Spiritual Practices Website
"States of Univtive Consciousness"

Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources: Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.
Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)
Long-Term Effects
Wuthnow:
*Say their lives are more meaningful,*think about meaning and purpose*Know what purpose of life isMeditate more*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style
Noble:
*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness*Less authoritarian and dogmatic*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient*intelligent, relaxed*High ego strength,*relationships, symbolization, values,*integration, allocentrism,*psychological maturity,*self-acceptance, self-worth,*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,*increased love and compassion Short-Term Effects (usually people who did not previously know of these experiences) *Experience temporarily disorienting, alarming, disruptive*Likely changes in self and the world,*space and time, emotional attitudes, cognitive styles, personalities, doubt sanity and reluctance to communicate, feel ordinary language is inadequate *Some individuals report psychic capacities and visionary experience destabilizing relationships with family and friends Withdrawal, isolation, confusion, insecurity, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, panic, restlessness, grandiose religious delusions Links to Maslow's Needs, Mental Health, and Peak Experiences When introducing entheogens to people, I find it's helpful to link them to other ideas people are familiar with. Here are three useful quotations. 1) Maslow - Beyond Self Actualization is Self Transcendence ``I should say that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still `higher' Fourth Psychology, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, selfactualization and the like.''[6]
Gms is making the same kind of fallicies he's charging Ture with. He argues that individual processes proven to be naturalistic, thus we can ase the entire cosmos is naturaitic, That id the fallacy of composition. It does not follow that the whole is naturalistic.

[1]Genetically modifed Skeptic, "Atheists Can;t Answer this Question," You Tibe, vedio.(Jun 21, 2019)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhHwPoSp7AU

[2]Joseph Hinman, "Fine Tuning Argument part 1." The Reloiiois a prooiroiJuly 2019http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2015/10/fine-tuning-argument-part-1.html

[3]WEbster's online Dictiomaryl "Pareidolia"https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pareidolia the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern The scientific explanation for some people is pareidolia, or the human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness. Think of the Rorschach inkblot test. — Pamela Ferdinand — compare apophenia https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pareidolia#:~:text=%3A%20the%20tendency%20to%20perceive%20a%20specific%2C%20often,inkblot%20test.%20%E2%80%94%20Pamela%20Ferdinand%20%E2%80%94%20compare%20apophenia

[4] long time readers may have seen me say it was sociology i had double major.

[5]Joseph Hinman, "More Alternate Causalilty Placebo, drugs, and other issues 285The Trace of God, Colorado Sp;rimgs Cparadp: 2014

[6]Council on Spiritual Practices,"Research Summary:States of Univtive Consciousness"From Council on Spiritual Practices Website the websitei now defuncked but this all documented in my book. Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources:

Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.
Noble study
Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184. GreelyLester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.in Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe

Welcome back to blogging. I have not known what to do with myself this last month or so!

First point, the "puddle argument" imagines the puddle itself is thinking how the world was built for it, not something that crawled out of it. That is trivial in that in does not affect your argument, but worth getting right, nevertheless.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/70827-this-is-rather-as-if-you-imagine-a-puddle-waking

I agree it is not the same as Paley's watch argument. Paley's argument revolves around seeing a mechanism in nature, and, by analogy with a watch, supposing the biological mechanism must be designed. We could envisage a scenario in which the universe is carefully crafted to maximise the chances of life appearing and evolving, but where the creator took no action once the universe was created. In that scenario, the fine-tuning argument would be right, but the Paley's watch argument would be wrong. Thus, they must be different.

I would, to a degree, agree that the puddle is not an argument - for one thing puddles are not capable of thought, so it is clearly foundered on something that is not true! It is more a way to point out flaws in another argument.

One of those flaws is that the puddle is taking an extremely narrow view of the universe. It is considering only the hole it is sat in, and ignoring the rest of the world. Fine-tuning does the same. When we look at a thin layer on the surface of this planet, it looks to be perfect for us. Compared to the volume of the universe that is absurdly small.

How can you claim the universe is fine-tuned for human life, if 99.999999999% is deadly to human life?

Joe: No one needs to suspect what he has already proven. We need only demonstrate a good reasonto bieve; FT is dandy reason.

What has already been proved exactly?

Joe: What eludes him is the fact that a message with no sender is not a message.

You do not link to Turek's argument, and I can only find responses and YouTube videos myself, so I am not sure what he is saying here, however...

You need to prove it is a message. You do not get to declare some information is a message. We can measure the decay of a radioisotope, therefore there is information there. Does it follow that there is a message, and hence an intelligence causing nuclei to fall apart at just that moment? No.

This really gets to what you mean by information, which is something design advocates have been slow to define. If I was cynical, I would suppose that is so they can declare something in information using a definition that does not require intelligence, then quietly slip to another definition that does, and thus "prove" intelligence was behind it.

The two big problems with the fine-tuning argument to my mind are:

(1) we do not know enough about the fundamentals of the universe to know how unlikely it is

(2) the possibility of the multiverse

Pix

Jesse said...

Hi Joe,

Does this seem like a book that you would read?:

https://www.amazon.com/God-New-Physics-Paul-Davies/dp/014013462X/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I have read it.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...


Welcome back to blogging. I have not known what to do with myself this last month or so!

good to see you again Pix

First point, the "puddle argument" imagines the puddle itself is thinking how the world was built for it, not something that crawled out of it. That is trivial in that in does not affect your argument, but worth getting right, nevertheless.

Not my mistake

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/70827-this-is-rather-as-if-you-imagine-a-puddle-waking

I agree it is not the same as Paley's watch argument. Paley's argument revolves around seeing a mechanism in nature, and, by analogy with a watch, supposing the biological mechanism must be designed. We could envisage a scenario in which the universe is carefully crafted to maximise the chances of life appearing and evolving, but where the creator took no action once the universe was created. In that scenario, the fine-tuning argument would be right, but the Paley's watch argument would be wrong. Thus, they must be different.
they turn on differed points. Paley on fittedness and FT on probability

I would, to a degree, agree that the puddle is not an argument - for one thing puddles are not capable of thought, so it is clearly foundered on something that is not true! It is more a way to point out flaws in another argument.

right

One of those flaws is that the puddle is taking an extremely narrow view of the universe. It is considering only the hole it is sat in, and ignoring the rest of the world. Fine-tuning does the same. When we look at a thin layer on the surface of this planet, it looks to be perfect for us. Compared to the volume of the universe that is absurdly small.

How can you claim the universe is fine-tuned for human life, if 99.999999999% is deadly to human life?

because the bits that are fit for living are too improbable


Joe: No one needs to suspect what he has already proven. We need only demonstrate a good reasonto bieve; FT is dandy reason.

What has already been proved exactly?

what i just said: the bits that are fit for living are too improbable

Joe: What eludes him is the fact that a message with no sender is not a message.

You do not link to Turek's argument, and I can only find responses and YouTube videos myself, so I am not sure what he is saying here, however...

sorry about not linking

You need to prove it is a message. You do not get to declare some information is a message. We can measure the decay of a radioisotope, therefore there is information there. Does it follow that there is a message, and hence an intelligence causing nuclei to fall apart at just that moment? No.


wrong I do get to. I as a communication major. Commination theory tells us a message has a sender, a receiver and content that is to be communicated, no sender violates the model thus is not a message.

This really gets to what you mean by information, which is something design advocates have been slow to define. If I was cynical, I would suppose that is so they can declare something in information using a definition that does not require intelligence, then quietly slip to another definition that does, and thus "prove" intelligence was behind it.

there is a significant and obvious difference in information and a message. Not all info is a message. All messages are info.


The two big problems with the fine-tuning argument to my mind are:

(1) we do not know enough about the fundamentals of the universe to know how unlikely it is

lots of major scientists think we do

(2) the possibility of the multiverse

I have lots of answers on multiverse

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...





here are 10

Anonymous said...

Joe: because the bits that are fit for living are too improbable

Compared to what? The converse question is; how improbable is a creator? If the probability the universes was created by God is even smaller, then the multiverse (say) wins. And this is where the extreme inhospitality of the vast majority of the universe becomes important.

Ancient people supposed the world was flat, with the sun and moon travelling across a domed roof. In this scenario, a creator makes sense. He built a world for mankind that suits mankind. Pretty much all of it is habitable. We now know that that is wrong, and that greatly reduces the probability that the universe was created for us. It is a vast waste to build a universe for someone who can only use 0.0000001% of it. What is the rest for?

What is the probability of an intelligent being creating a universe for mankind where 99.999999% of that universe is not actually suitable for mankind? It does not make sense, which makes the probability of an intelligent agency behind it very improbable.

Joe: wrong I do get to. I as a communication major. Commination theory tells us a message has a sender, a receiver and content that is to be communicated, no sender violates the model thus is not a message.

But you are assuming it is message. Why should I believe you?

Joe: there is a significant and obvious difference in information and a message. Not all info is a message. All messages are info.

Agreed. So the fact that there is information does not necessarily imply a message. Again, why should I believe your assumption of a message?

Pix: we do not know enough about the fundamentals of the universe to know how unlikely it is

Joe: lots of major scientists think we do

You are saying lots of major scientists think we know how unlikely the universe is? How come you have not cited any of them in your article?

Well, here is your chance. Name a major scientist, and quote where he states how unlikely the universe is.

Joe: I have lots of answers on multiverse

The only honest answer is: We do not know.

You link to an article in your subsequent reply, supposedly giving ten reasons multiverse does not work. The first is "Have to know hit rate for life bearing universes". How can the existence of the multiverse possibly depend on human knowledge? If you are right, then when mankind gets to the point where we can estimate the hit point, suddenly it is possible we live in a multiverse! You second is "We can never know if other universes exist or not. Again, how can the state of human knowledge determine in the multiverse exists or not?

Pix

Anonymous said...

Joseph Hinman's argument is that the evidence for the existence a god is missing because alien abductors in UFO's have taken it. Convenient story.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

my friend Jim sends this comment:

Joe, I can't publish my comment. Here it is:

I agree that not all information is a message but that all messages are information, and that not all information requires an intelligent sender.

Intelligible structure is of fundamental importance, which suggests that the universe is grounded in intelligibility and structure, not substance. This is what makes language, knowledge and science possible. While not absolute proof, this is exactly what we'd expect to find if intelligence rather than naturalism was behind the universe.


Done.Got it.Will do.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Anonymous said...
Joseph Hinman's argument is that the evidence for the existence a god is missing because alien abductors in UFO's have taken it. Convenient story.

where did I say that?

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...


I agree that not all information is a message but that all messages are information, and that not all information requires an intelligent sender.

Intelligible structure is of fundamental importance, which suggests that the universe is grounded in intelligibility and structure, not substance. This is what makes language, knowledge and science possible. While not absolute proof, this is exactly what we'd expect to find if intelligence rather than naturalism was behind the universe.

Brilliant argument man! you could develop that into a book.
what do you mean by stricture not substance?

Anonymous said...

Jim: Intelligible structure is of fundamental importance, which suggests that the universe is grounded in intelligibility and structure, not substance. This is what makes language, knowledge and science possible. While not absolute proof, this is exactly what we'd expect to find if intelligence rather than naturalism was behind the universe.

Could you be more specific about what this "Intelligible structure" is? The structures we see around us in nature, from star to snowflakes are the inevitable consequences of the laws of nature.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Intelligible structure means we can we can understand it. If not then science is a joke.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

testing

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Jim again:

Joe, this is in answer to Pix's question to me to be more specific about what I mean about intelligible structure.

The laws of nature are part of what I'm talking about. What is physical reality at the sub-atomic level, ultimately, but energy, and what is energy but causal dispositions, i.e .information, or abstract intelligible structure? Planck length and Planck time suggest that physical reality is digital, or abstract, in nature. These features are what make the physical world so transparently accessible to our minds through language, knowledge and science, all of which operate abstractly through the use of universals.

Also, if some version of mental functionalism is right, and there's good reason to think it is, then the mind doesn't depend on some physical substance for realization but on an abstract organization.

Anonymous said...

Jim: The laws of nature are part of what I'm talking about. What is physical reality at the sub-atomic level, ultimately, but energy, and what is energy but causal dispositions, i.e .information, or abstract intelligible structure?

That leaves me still wondering what you are saying. Okay, yes, the disposition of energy can be regarded as information or intelligible structure (but surely not abstract?!?). But that disposition seemingly arises from the laws of nature. It may be argued that therefore the laws of nature were designed - which is the fine-tuning argument essentially - but that does not imply the intelligible structures were themselves designed and created by an intelligent agency.

Jim: Planck length and Planck time suggest that physical reality is digital, or abstract, in nature. These features are what make the physical world so transparently accessible to our minds through language, knowledge and science, all of which operate abstractly through the use of universals.

This sounds like the puddle argument. The universe appears to be so amenable to our observation because we evolved in it. For example, our eyes can see light that is transparent to the atmosphere of the planet not because the atmosphere was designed to be transparent for our benefit. Rather, our eyes evolved to utilise the wavelengths of light that are useful to survival.

Jim: Also, if some version of mental functionalism is right, and there's good reason to think it is, then the mind doesn't depend on some physical substance for realization but on an abstract organization.

I am not familiar with "mental functionalism" and could not find anything on a quick Google. It sounds intriguing. Can you explain it? Or point me to a site that does?

Pix