Agnostic.com

27 5

The question of the so-called "fine-tuning" of the universe and its basic constants is one of the pet arguments of theists. One of the main reasons for it is that there is no obvious explanation

There are essentially four possible explanations:

  • This fine-tuning is highly unlikely in a random possible universe, but God has ensured in his loving wisdom that it is so, so that we can come into being.

  • This fine-tuning is highly unlikely in a random possible universe, but just by luck the one that exists is anthropic.

  • This fine-tuning is highly unlikely in a random possible universe, but there are such a vast number of other
    universes that it is not unlikely that at least one of them is anthropic.

  • There are as yet undiscovered reasons why this fine-tuning is not highly unlikely in a random possible universe.

>>< Which option do you prefer, and why?

Matias 8 Nov 5
Share

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

27 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

9

Douglas Adam’s puddle analogy is appropriate here. Is the jagged interior of a pothole fine-tuned to perfectly house the water it contains? Or does the shape of the water adapt to its environment?

palex Level 6 Nov 5, 2019
6

Even if the fine-tuning is evidence for an intelligent designer, the fact that the nature so designed is "red in tooth and claw" would suggest that the designer is malevolent rather than loving.

That is exactly what I think about it. The conclusion from "God created the universe" to "God is a personal and moral being, a kind of loving father" is not valid (non sequitur).
After all, the Gnostics believed that our universe was created by a semi-competent "demiurg" who has more in common with a bored child who builds sand-castles on the beach, only to see them destroyed by the next flood, than with a "loving father". Yes, there is some evidence in favor of the theory about this "demiurg" ...

5

I prefer the unspoke option: The universe can be agreed to exist because of a shared sense of something we call reality. We don't know enough to say why something exist instead of nothing, but we are investigating it.
Nothing wrong with admitting that we don't know something, it leaves a puzzle to solve. Preference has no bearing on this "reality" thing, so it doesn't matter.

5

And how does adding a creator make things more likely?

All that does is add a level(s?) of complexity. Now you have to explain where the creator came from then explain why they chose the tuning details that they did.

Add it up and that addition makes it look even more unlikely to me.

5

I prefer option five, to remain agnostic 😛

4

The universe is not fine tuned, it is lethal. Most of it will kill you in an instant.

  1. "This fine-tuning is highly unlikely in a random possible universe" which is inevitable in a expanding pool the size of which is beyond our comprehension.

Think this world was made "just for Us"?
HUBRIS
Go visit Danakil.

2

No. 1 defers the question to an extremely improbable god, so that isn't an explanation
No. 2 begs the question of the universe being extremely improbable, so it isn't an explanation.
No. 3 is possible, but really defers the question by inventing a multiverse that is otherwise lacking any evidence.
No. 4 gets my vote. Why is the speed of light constant at it's value? The finely tuned constants are derived from a level of physics that is still severely defective in not being able to account for a slew of phenomena. Many, many measurements are seen to be precisely off from otherwise precise predictions based on theory. That means the theory is incomplete and missing one or more terms. These elusive missing terms may well dictate the supposedly fine-tuned constants to be what they are. We are still profoundly handicapped in our understanding of physics. And some of it may well be suppressed because of the implications.

A very good and well-reasoned reply! Thumps up

2

What's the odds that the universe would turn out like it did? 100%. Odds are only significant before the fact.

This is the most succinct and significant answer to this ridiculous argument I've seen. Well done. Too bad so many will not understand why.

2

Fine tuning fails because it assumes we are the result of some kind of willful effort. As it happens, we are an effect, not a cause, so of course we'll fit into the structure of the universe that we sprang from. Further, the VAST majority of the universe is NOT suited to us. It's just this one tiny speck of dusty orbiting a tiny star on the far edge of a mediocre galaxy. We're NOT the center of the universe, not the cosmic reason for its existence.

2

Try my reasoning.

I bought a new Chevy yesterday and brought it home from the dealer. After I finish with a lot of fine tuning it might be a good car.

The above is imaginary but it shows that fine tuning arguments for our earth and the universe have to be made by those who embrace evolution in some form. Since we know this is not true, "fine tuning" does not hold up.

1

I prefer option four, because there is a vast amount we don't yet know about the universe. Almost anything is possible.

1

#3 - The law of large numbers allows the probability of a event occurring at some time without divine guidance. The simplest answer considering the alternatives. Occam's Razor.

1

Before you can say a god did it, you have to prove that said god is real. That requires objective evidence that can be tested by anyone and get the same results.

Well, if somebody could "prove" that there is no other logical explanation for the fine-tuning , that would be good evidence of the existence of a "creator" (if this is the God of Christians or Muslims is yet another question)

@Matias
Do you have objective evidence that any god exist?

@xenoview Silly question. Did I make the claim that God exists??

@Matias
You brought it up in one of your possiblities. So you need to prove it's real, or retract your possibility.

@xenoview You simply do not get it.
A theoretical possibility is just that: a possibility of what might be.
Physicists have invented the theoretical possibility that new unknown particles called "WIMPS" are candidates for "Dark Matter" (no evidence up until now). According to your flawed logic, they would have to prove the existence of WIMPs first before they can introduce them as a possibility??

@Matias
I don't have flawed logic. You do know how science works right? Science works by proving something exist or works with objective evidence. All you seem to have is subjective evidence for anything you have proposed.

@xenoview So tell me, Mister Scientist : do WIMPs exist? Did science prove their existence?

@Matias
I don't know.

1

The fine tuning argument is based on the premise that there's something special about us, so it's essentially circular reasoning. If the constants of the Universe were different, the Universe would be different than this one. So what?

Not exactly. If the constants of the Universe were different, the Universe as we know it (and we) would not exist. No atoms, no galaxies, no carbon, no light....

@Matias So? There's nothing special about any of those, and there are likely an infinite amount of other possibilities.

@Matias How does that justify the position that the universe was fine-tuned?

1

It is amazing that the universe is just the way it is and that it is suitable for life. Even more amazing is that anything exists in the first place. I am absolutely staggered by the sheer brazenness of it all. How dare it be so!

I lean toward that last option. Just to say that God did it explains nothing unless you can define and understand God. In the same way, to say that the universe occurred as a random, chance event is equally unsatisfying. What is the system through which all these random events are supposedly occurring? How was such a system established? Where are these almost infinitely numerous other universes and under what overall reality do they exist?

Any honest and aware person is totally mystified, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t move toward understanding. The trouble is that we are trying to fit all of reality into our limited artificial framework of perception and it just can’t be done. Our concept of existence has no real meaning—it’s just symbolic mind-stuff. Our basic definitions and assumptions are sitting on quicksand, and besides that, we don’t understand our selves.

Donald Hoffman’s new book is entitled The Case Against Reality, Why Evolution Hid the Truth from our Eyes. Hoffman has leapt out of the trace-chains of physicalism and is marching off in a new direction. I just started reading, but I’m hoping to gain insights into conscious awareness.

Conscious awareness is like a beacon off on the horizon, barely visible through the fog, but offering hope. That is the direction we need to move in my opinion.

1

DarkMatter2525 covered this already.

Sure, this video is funny, but it does not address the philosophical implications of the question

@Matias Which are what?

@Sgt_Spanky If you read the comment of "racocn8" above, you'll get an impression of the questions behind the idea of "fine-tuning".

1

What we observe is ALL coincidence. It is a human trait to try to see/find "meaning" in randomness. Period. Just because it makes you feel good to think how things seem to be "connected" does not make it a fact!

Except that I'm pretty sure my breakfast came about intentionally. Everything else was random. Coffee is divine intervention.

0

Sorry, but I have this really annoying habit of challenging assumptions that underlie all such questions. Please demonstrate that the universe was "fine-tuned".

0

Anything to make something complicated, simple. If it's difficult to understand it must be magic. Simple is as simple thinks.

"Simple is as simple thinks" - I like that!

0

I'm somewhere between explanations 2 and 3, if I understand them properly.

Our thinking about the question, however, is putting the cart before the horse. To say the universe is "tuned" in some way to permit life begs the question, how do we know life would not come about in some other universe with a different set of rules? We imagine that this universe containing life as we know it is the only possible one, because we have a severely constrained imagination. We almost can't imagine what another form of life would be like. It's like trying to imagine what purple sounds like.

If you are interested in this topic, I can recommend the book "Just six numbers" where Martin Rees describes how even tiny changes in the basic constants of the universe would make life impossible (because there ould be no stable atoms, no planet systems, or no carbon).

@Matias I've read of this before in some detail. And still, as a layman I can't help wondering if there aren't other quantum universes where those constants aren't so constant, and yet life in some other form exists.

@Paul4747 Martin Rees ends his book with some speculations like this, but of course: this is not science but speculation

0

This whole notion of "fine-tuning" is just a way of looking at the human-developed math of physics, usually in awe, and then making the pronouncement that "things had to happen in this very precise way for all of this to be possible."

Well no shit, Sherlock. 😀 What, the butterfly effect doesn't work on a cosmic scale? Of course it does.

And so what? The math is merely our (still young) attempt to define the rules in ways our dumb brains can understand, and the numbers (aka constants) are just the numbers. It's all very awe-inspiring and (for some folks) fun to think about, but the numbers themselves are not particularly meaningful.

So, this is simple enough. Reject the argument entirely. It's wholly unnecessary.

0

The Universe has always been here - and it always will be. Matter interacts at a constant rate throughout the Universe. Sometimes planets form that can support life, that's what happened here.

gater Level 7 Nov 5, 2019
0

IF, and that IS a VERY BIG IF btw, this Universe is so 'fine-tuned' by this god entity then why,
A) is there at least 1 planet is this Solar System that rotates on its axis completely OPPOSITE to all the others,
B) Why does our lunar body, the Moon, NOT rotate on its axis when even asteroids, etc, do,
C) Why bother 'creating' literally billions of other Stars, Planets, etc, AND only putting life on just one,
D) Why 'create' things that are harmful to life created, things like diseases, radiation from the Sun, viruses, etc, in the first place,
E) Why is that the planets in this Solar System do NOT orbit the Sun in a nice, neat, well organised horizontal plane like disc,
F) Why have there been Meteors and Asteroids impacting on the earth over the last billion or so years when IF everything is so 'fine-tuned' it could have been prevented from the very beginning,
G) Why create Ice Ages that almost wiped out life on this planet,
There are literally heaps more questions that I could put forward to any Faithfool and would be at least 90% certain of getting the exact same response as " Who are we to question God, he works in mysterious ways his miracles to perform."
NOTHING, absolutely nothing in this, or any other possible Universe is 'fine-tuned,' nature, to some extent, is always very random and never fine-tuned, it only seeks to fine tune ( for want of a better term) life to suit the environment in which it finds itself.

The Moon does rotate on its axis.

@palex Yes, but it rotates on its axis at exactly the same rate as the Earth does on its axis, hence the reason why we ONLY see the same side/face of the moon and NOT the other side of it that we call the 'Dark side of the Moon.
I stand corrected, thank you.

@palex Correction: the moon's axis of rotation happens to be close to the earth, nowhere near itself.

@anglophone You are thinking of the center of mass in the Earth / Moon system (i.e. "axis of revolution" ). The Moon's axis of rotation is through the Moon as it is for any other celestial body.

@palex You are mistaken as to fact. I refer you to [en.wikipedia.org] coupled with the fact that the Moon always has the same face towards the Earth.

@anglophone - You are correct about the Earth/Moon system being tidally locked, which results in the rotational period and revolutionary period being equal. The axis of the former is through the Moon itself (i.e. it slowly spins once per month, like a top). The axis of the latter is through the center of mass of the system (i.e the Moon revolves around the Earth once per month). These two processes occurring simultaneously results in the same side of the Moon being always visible from Earth. Here is a good explanation:

@palex The video is misleading when it states "The Moon rotates on its axis", as it is rotating about a point that lies outside itself.

@anglophone - In astronomy, the term "rotation" generally refers to spinning on an axis. "Revolution" (or "orbital rotation" ) generally refers to one object circling another. The Moon does both.

@palex Please cite your sources. TIA.

@palex I have done some more research into this. I thank you for correcting my misunderstanding. ((Hugs))

0

Plants and animals evolved to fit the physical world.

0

They are still left with trying to explain how such a being, capable of doing all they say it can do, came into existence. It is far less of a stretch to accept that we exist, and likely other planetary life, because "this" universe allows for it than to think some all powerful being has just always existed and has fine tuned it for our existence.

Heck, if it were a being, that created it all for us, one would think it would have made, not only the universe, but our own planet a little more hospitable for us. As it is we cannot exist in space--and least not for long and not without artificial assistance; and, where we can survive here is also limited.

If the universe and this planet were "created" with a creature in mind--it was the tardigrade. They can survive any earthly conditions and even in space.

[livescience.com]

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:422588
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.