The most decent argument I've come across for the existance of God

mmprotest
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The most decent argument I've come across for the existance of God

Ok, just a bit of background info.

 

I came across this site through that special that was on TV with Kirk Cameron arguing with the Rational Responders (both argued quite badly, but thats beside the point). Anyway, thought I would post this, see what everyone thinks.

 

Ok, I am a maths and physics student (currently doing a masters) so that would be my area of expertise. I was raised in a catholic household, but not very stringently. The argument I put forth here is pretty much based on the Big Bang theories.

 

So in order to have life on a planet, we know that we require a lot of different conditions to be satisfied (the planet has to be made up of the right atmosphere, be the right distance from a sun etc) and as we have found this is incredibly improbable. So the chance of life existing on a planet is incredibly low. Now if we take into account the big bang we find that in order to get from a big bang to a universe containing planets, stars and galaxies, we require at least 50 different specific conditions in the big bang (ratios and presence of different types of matter, temperature conditions as well as densities). When all of these are within a certain small range as our universe is, we get a life permitting universe, with stars, planets and galaxies. As you can probably tell, this is even more improbable. So we have the improbably of a life permitting universe on top of the improbability of a planet being able to support life. This means that the chance of us simply being here is more or less a mathematical impossibility. This leads me to believe that our universe is more than chance, because chance would not lead us here (it would be like winning the lottery every single time it was run, in every single country in the world, and then some). Looking at this objectively implies that it is more likely to be intentional. I'm not saying that this is evidence of a christian god, or any other, but more that an intelligence gave rise to our universe being as it is.

 

Whilst this is not unequivocal proof, it is quite a reasonable and logical argument. The problem is most christians arguing the existance of god know little or nothing about the universe they live in. If any of the rational response team wish to respond then I would appreciate any input. Cheers.


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We call this argument the

We call this argument the Fine Tuning argument. As pointed out, it has two key points.

Before addressing either point, it is necessary to consider a self-refuting aspect of the argument. The weak Anthropic principle says that "if sentient life had evolved somewhere else, we would be asking why it evolved there". In other words, by virtue of the fact that we are sitting on a planet which can foster biological life, we can ask the very questions and have the very discussion that we are having now. In other words, the question we are asking is "how came it that a planet with the ability to foster intelligent life was formed"? Surely, you must realize that to say that an intelligent being placed it in that specific zone is to innately undermine the claim that such conditions are necessary for intelligent life to evolve to ask such questions, which is the crux of the argument! In other words the argument is shooting itself in the foot.

Let us now consider the two aspects of the argument.

The first is the examine the very precise "Goldilocks Zone" associated with planets hospitable to biological life. Biological life has very specific attributes of being based on long, fragile molecules that encode replicative information. This pertains to the situation of precise tuning the Earth finds itself in regarding its stability and friendliness to life. For one, obviously, it is placed precisely in a small band of temperature ranges from its star such that water does not freeze or boil (0 to 100C). Water is probably not absolutely necessary for life, but is surely the best molecule conducive to its formation. For one, its a permanent dipole, which is what gives it its properties and an electrical charge without which no biomolecular system could function (ion channels, proton gradients, DNA, cytokines, signal integrators, molecular switches and protein folding all rely on this principle), this charge is also conduicive to abiogenesis, the formation of proto-replicating biomolecules.

Another such useful fine-tuning comes in the form of Earth’s natural satellite, the moon. Tides may play a role in electrophoresis, which is central to the development of stable biological molecules and the alternating charge and wetting and drying of primordial biological molecules (see clay theory), and its rotation and orbit keep Earth’s orbit stable. Without it, it would become erratic every several hundred million years, and would flip over. Obviously, such conditions would destroy any DNA forming, which takes perhaps as much as half a billion years.

There are plenty more examples. But that is not to say that the blue marble has been carefully placed by an intelligent being. The first thing to consider is that there are an estimated 10^11 galaxies, and a total of roughly 6x10^20 stars, and roughly 5x10^17 planets, and roughly 10^17 solar systems. These all form and collect from ionized gas (for stars) or the nucleosynthesis bridge completed by supernovae (for terrestrial planets).

It is also necessary to consider Anthropic fine tuning. You said "50 constants". The number is actually 6:

Epsilon: The fusion ration of hydrogen to helium. In our universe, this is 0.007, precisely correct. If it were off, say, to 0.008, too high, then all hydrogen would immediately fuse, and there would none left over from the big bang, and hence life could never get started, if it was slightly lower then the universe would remain in freezing darkness since stars could never condense and generate nucleosynthesis fusion, creating the heavy elements necessary for life (oxygen, carbon, iron)

Q:

Omega: Relative density of the universe. This is precisely fine-tuned, the overall density of the universe, if too small, the universe would expand and freeze before life could begin. If too large, the universe would collapse almost as soon as it began, crushing back into the fiery pinprick from whence it came.

Lambda: The cosmological constant determining the acceleration rate of the universe. Any larger than it is (0.7), and the universe would be blown apart by Dark Energy, any smaller and it would quickly crush itself into a fireball. The Hubble constant is precisely equal to one (Omega+ Lambda).

D:  The number of spatial dimensions. Our universe, of course, has three. This is the most conduicive to life. If there are more, the inverse square law is replaced by an inverse cube law, and hence, the motion of planets becomes too erratic for the long stretches of stability needed for life. If there are less, say two, then the advanced computational systems for life cannot develop, as the possibilites are too few. It is much harder to store information in two dimensions than in three (think of integrated circuits) For example, the human mind depends on massive networks of neurons . Biological structures would have great difficulty assembling in two dimensions.

N: The force of electromagnetism divided by gravity. The ratio between the disengaged forces is 1: 10^36, but only slight deviations would quickly destroy any collected proto-stars that tried to form, and ionized gas would be unable to collect.

 

At any rate, this variant is more compelling than the former, yet is still problematic for reasons outlined at the top. Let us consider this solution in a pool of various hypotheses on why our universe is so well tuned to biology, because there are others. (Hence applying abductive reasoning).

The principle antithesis to the hypothesis under discussion is Multiverse. Multiverse is not to be confused with "many worlds" in quantum mechanics. Many Worlds is defined by a world-line split that occurs at every possible divergence for every quantum mechanical event where multiple outcomes are possible. Multiverse has nothing to do with quantum mechanical divergence or decoherence. A new universe is not said to "diverge" as a result of a quantum mechanical event. Rather, individual universes are discrete entities linked by white holes, but they are universes unto themselves, as opposed to carbon copies of a divergence outcome with only a single difference in a quantum event. In Cosmology, universes are said to "bud" off each other through rapidly expanding areas of space-time.

I had liked this idea even before linking it to Fine tuning, because of the 50 or so hypotheses regarding inflation, Linde's was probably best, and his necessitated the aforementioned concept. Guth’s original problem was solved by Linde, where the false vacuum fluctuations would generate many different inflating regions of space time called “bubbles”. The problem is that the theory necessitates the nucleation of the bubbles (imagine it as analogous to heating water on a stove). While the collapse of a false vacuum would dictate that the expansion of the space between the bubbles would multiply logarithmically faster than the actual bubbles themselves. The universe would expand extremely rapidly, but it would never stop in Guth’s model. Inflation necessitated an extremely fast, but extremely short burst. Guth’s model had no way to wind down the inflation. Linde’s solution was that the expansion which triggered the universe was originally very slow, and accelerated in a scalar-field to become competitively fast compared to actual expansion of space time, and when it does, inflation stops, so the bubbles nucleate and thus the universe heats. For the purpose of this exercise, it becomes necessary to merge inflation with quantum cosmology. The original symmetry would have been broken as a trigger to inflation, and the negative energy associated with the vacuum would have been cancelled by the collapse (Since it is mechanistically so unstable. This means that energy, hence matter, may arise).

Taking the concept further, a theory that expounds on this by Lee Smolin has a distinctly Darwinian feel to it. Smolin argues that
1) In a Multiverse, universes are said to bud off of parent universes. Hence, like mitosis produces daughter cells from parents, so too here, universes bud off each other

2) In Cosmology, unlike in the QM concept of Many Worlds, each universe, being an actually seperate universe as opposed to a quantum divergence of an event that occured in an antecedant universe, each universe has slightly different constants. Because universes "bud" off each other at white holes, a universe with more white holes will have more universes bud off.

3) On the other hand, universes which have physical constants which are unstable will usually be destroyed immediately

4) Because universes directly bud off each other, the daughter universes will retain physical constants of their antecedants

5) However, because this process is not perfect, there will always be variation in the physical constants of offspring universes. This enables variation under selection, since the universes with the physical constants most conducive to star formation, hence the formation of biological life, will propogate.

I would feel quite vindicated if Smolin is proven correct, because that would make the concept of evolution not merely the unifying theory of biology, but also all of science. It is not invalid to make a comparison here between the formation of the theory of evolution being pitted against Paley's Design, and the hypothesis of the evolution of physical constants being pitted against Fine Tuning.

 


"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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This is another convoluted

This is another convoluted argument. TO THE PERSON MAKING THE RARITY ARGUMENT........

The "improbability" of anything does not nor will ever justify hokus pokus, nor will it justify the universe being a giant thinking brain. Having a sense of awe is ultimately why a person buys this "improbability"

Albinos are a statistical minority but you don't assign their "improbability" to magic or cognition. Bad things are also rare too. What were the odds that Jim Henson would die from a rare flesh eating disease? Most people DON'T die from that.

Most attempts at life FAIL. For every egg and sperm that end up going to a full term pregnancy, there are MILLIONS of sperm that die. Not to mention wacking off, blow jobs where the sperm get nowhere. And the monthly periods where eggs die, miscarages  and stillborns.

Same with trees, for every pollen that fertilizes an acorn, there are millions of pollen spores that do nothing and hundreds if not thousands of acorns that do nothing.

I see the opposite. You look at the rarity and see design and that is because you are only looking at the warm fuzies of life focusing an the "awe" failing to look at the FAILURE which outnumbers the success. That denotes rarity certainly, but if one is to claim cognition, it would say alot about such cognative incompetence.

 

 

 

 

 

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mmprotest wrote:So in order

mmprotest wrote:
So in order to have life on a planet, we know that we require a lot of different conditions to be satisfied (the planet has to be made up of the right atmosphere, be the right distance from a sun etc) and as we have found this is incredibly improbable.

I'd like to second Brian37 in saying that even if it is improbable, that doesn't point to intent, much less intelligence. Also, the universe is what, at least 100 billion light years wide? That's a lot of space for something improbable to happen.

Obviously, deludedgod gave you the full story, but even before any rigorous treatment, the improbability argument falls flat at the conversational level.

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I am certainly no

I am certainly no scientist,but even I can respond to this. So basically you're saying that the earth is amazingly perfect for life,and amazingly enough, life exists here.Not much of a shocker is it. Consider the no doubt millions of planets that don't have our fortunes. In this light, the universe is rather wasteful.Doesn't seem too designed to me.

While it is statistically improbable that so many benevolent factors should exist in one small space,the very fact that you're here rather defeats the argument.

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

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This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

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deludedgod wrote: Surely,

deludedgod wrote:

 Surely, you must realize that to say that an intelligent being placed it in that specific zone is to innately undermine the claim that such conditions are necessary for intelligent life to evolve to ask such questions, which is the crux of the argument! In other words the argument is shooting itself in the foot.

Hey Brian,

thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it! My stance takes parts from the 'fine tuning argument,' but I am not implying that intelligence was 'placed' here in this zone by something intelligent. More that the big bang may have been fine tuned so eventually it would harbour some sort of life. We don't need to assume that any intelligence fine tuning the big bang knew of all the consequences (eg. life that can ask these questions of itself). Its analogous to firing particles at an atom, you dont need to have any scope into which particle will hit the atom, rather you set it up so that its highly likely that one will hit.

Also, about the other post regarding the improbability, mentioning albinos etc. The order of magnitude of improbability in fertalizing an egg is far smaller than that of the universe. An event that has odds of 1 in 10^6 is large compared to something that has odds of 1 in 10^100. You also mentioned about how large the universe is and how improbable things happen etc.....this can work in my favour. If you were trying to create a universe from a big bang with the goal of creating some sort of life, you would try to make it as large as possible for greatest chance of success....

 

And I am not assuming the universe is a giant thinking brain, my argument had nothing to do with anything like that. the universe is more like a set quantum events as Brian mentioned.

 


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Creator God

Others have done a fine job of showing why an atheistic worldview is not defeated by  the fine tuning argument. We can also posit a god as creator and see whether or not the fine tuning argument is compatible with this state of affairs, which is the state of affairs it attempts to establish.

Now, if there were a creator god, how exactly would it go about fine tuning the universe it defines and creates, to support life it defines and creates? What values for any particular physical constants are required for life if one is defining and creating everything in existence? It seems to me that if god were defining and creating everything then the physical constants could be whatever he decided to make them and they would still support life if he desired them to, as he would define what constants make for a stable universe and what constants allow for life to form. This would make the physical constants arbitrary, not fine tuned. They could be any value he made them and still everything would function as he desired.

So, when we posit a creator god we see that fine tuning actually becomes arbitrary tuning and thereby a fine tuning argument can not lead one to the conclusion that a creator god exists. At least, not one unrestrained by physical laws.

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So you suggesting that the

Quote:
You also mentioned about how large the universe is and how improbable things happen etc.....this can work in my favour. If you were trying to create a universe from a big bang with the goal of creating some sort of life, you would try to make it as large as possible for greatest chance of success....

So essentially what you are suggesting is that the creator was mentally deficient. If he had to create trillions of planets to get one to work he couldn't have been too smart, could he?


 

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Loc wrote:I am certainly no

Loc wrote:

I am certainly no scientist,but even I can respond to this. So basically you're saying that the earth is amazingly perfect for life,and amazingly enough, life exists here.Not much of a shocker is it. Consider the no doubt millions of planets that don't have our fortunes. In this light, the universe is rather wasteful.Doesn't seem too designed to me.

While it is statistically improbable that so many benevolent factors should exist in one small space,the very fact that you're here rather defeats the argument.

 

I'm not preaching some grand perfect design of how the universe is etc etc. I see it more as an experiment. You begin with the best initial conditions to try to maximise the probability of success. The fact that we are here right now in this particular spot with many 'benevolent' factors is irrelevent.


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Huh? Your response quotes

Double Post


 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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Huh? Your response quotes

Huh? Your response quotes from me, adresses Brian by name, and jumps between points from different posts.

Are you talking to me, or are you talking to Brian?

Quote:

And I am not assuming the universe is a giant thinking brain, my argument had nothing to do with anything like that. the universe is more like a set quantum events as Brian mentioned.

Hang on. That was what I mentioned. You've got your interlocutor's names reversed.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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mm, I'd like you to

mm, I'd like you to specifically answer a question for me.  You're working really, really hard to create a tiny window of science through which a deist god might slip, and in the process, you're ignoring the anthropic principle, and you're promoting seriously suspect math to an unduly high prominence.  (The 'probability' of life equations are all riddled with flaws.  The more we understand things like liquid crystals and their propensity to promote horizontal alignment in pre-RNA type molecules, the more we're realizing that IF a goldilocks zone planet exists, life might actually be relatively probable.)

Here's the question.  Why are you working so hard for something that will give you no gain in the end?

Even if you manage to squeak some kind of god through a crack, you will have absolutely no way of tying it to anything that man has ever worshiped, and you will be unable to demonstrate any relevance to the scientific method.

Consider:

IF a god created the universe:

1) We have no evidence that the god still exists.  Perhaps the big bang was god's destruction!

2) We have no evidence that IF god still exists, it is intelligent.  (In other words, we might just be calling something god, when actually, 'vacuum fluctuation' might have been a much better description.

3) We have no evidence that IF god still exists, and is intelligent, it has any knowledge of us.

4) If (3), then we have no evidence that it wants us to know of it.

5) If (4), then we have no evidence that even if it wants us to know of it, that it is truthful.

6) If (5), then all we have to go on is what we can see, and that leaves us at (1).

In other words, your whole line of inquiry is setting you up to be in exactly the same position as an atheist, even if you are proven correct!

So, again, please tell me why you're so interested in proving this correct.

Thanks.

 

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Vessel wrote:Now, if there

Vessel wrote:

Now, if there were a creator god, how exactly would it go about fine tuning the universe it defines and creates, to support life it defines and creates? What values for any particular physical constants are required for life if one is defining and creating everything in existence? It seems to me that if god were defining and creating everything then the physical constants could be whatever he decided to make them and they would still support life if he desired them to, as he would define what constants make for a stable universe and what constants allow for life to form. This would make the physical constants arbitrary, not fine tuned. They could be any value he made them and still everything would function as he desired.

So, when we posit a creator god we see that fine tuning actually becomes arbitrary tuning and thereby a fine tuning argument can not lead one to the conclusion that a creator god exists. At least, not one unrestrained by physical laws.

 

I understand what you are saying here. I am not arguing 'God' as being an all powerful entity who defines everything and creates everything. I am implying that this being has far greater knowledge than us, enough at least to be able to manipulate and trigger things like big bangs etc.......this does not imply that this being is unbounded and can just create anything at will and control everything at will.


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Hambydammit wrote:mm, I'd

Hambydammit wrote:

mm, I'd like you to specifically answer a question for me.  You're working really, really hard to create a tiny window of science through which a deist god might slip, and in the process, you're ignoring the anthropic principle, and you're promoting seriously suspect math to an unduly high prominence.  (The 'probability' of life equations are all riddled with flaws.  The more we understand things like liquid crystals and their propensity to promote horizontal alignment in pre-RNA type molecules, the more we're realizing that IF a goldilocks zone planet exists, life might actually be relatively probable.)

Here's the question.  Why are you working so hard for something that will give you no gain in the end?

Even if you manage to squeak some kind of god through a crack, you will have absolutely no way of tying it to anything that man has ever worshiped, and you will be unable to demonstrate any relevance to the scientific method.

Consider:

IF a god created the universe:

1) We have no evidence that the god still exists.  Perhaps the big bang was god's destruction!

2) We have no evidence that IF god still exists, it is intelligent.  (In other words, we might just be calling something god, when actually, 'vacuum fluctuation' might have been a much better description.

3) We have no evidence that IF god still exists, and is intelligent, it has any knowledge of us.

4) If (3), then we have no evidence that it wants us to know of it.

5) If (4), then we have no evidence that even if it wants us to know of it, that it is truthful.

6) If (5), then all we have to go on is what we can see, and that leaves us at (1).

In other words, your whole line of inquiry is setting you up to be in exactly the same position as an atheist, even if you are proven correct!

So, again, please tell me why you're so interested in proving this correct.

Thanks.

 

 

Very nicely put. It is true, we will all be in the same position regardless of whether god 'squeezes' in through the crack, but that doesnt negate the interest in the topic. I am not posting here or thinking about the topic for personal gain, rather just to keep my mind open and explore all possibilities. Whilst the topic is still open and not proven either way, the best thing to do is find arguments for and against......isnt that human nature?


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mmprotest wrote:Vessel

mmprotest wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Now, if there were a creator god, how exactly would it go about fine tuning the universe it defines and creates, to support life it defines and creates? What values for any particular physical constants are required for life if one is defining and creating everything in existence? It seems to me that if god were defining and creating everything then the physical constants could be whatever he decided to make them and they would still support life if he desired them to, as he would define what constants make for a stable universe and what constants allow for life to form. This would make the physical constants arbitrary, not fine tuned. They could be any value he made them and still everything would function as he desired.

So, when we posit a creator god we see that fine tuning actually becomes arbitrary tuning and thereby a fine tuning argument can not lead one to the conclusion that a creator god exists. At least, not one unrestrained by physical laws.

 

I understand what you are saying here. I am not arguing 'God' as being an all powerful entity who defines everything and creates everything. I am implying that this being has far greater knowledge than us, enough at least to be able to manipulate and trigger things like big bangs etc.......this does not imply that this being is unbounded and can just create anything at will and control everything at will.

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners? So the fine tuning argument doesn't establish your god as necessary unless he needs a fine tuner and so on and so on...

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Quote:It is true, we will

Quote:
It is true, we will all be in the same position regardless of whether god 'squeezes' in through the crack,

Does it not bother you that because of your 'open' attitude about this question, any theist who believes in his particular sadist in the sky will automatically assume you're on his side?  You gain nothing if you are correct, and regardless of your correctness, theists perceive a win for themselves.

I mean, why not spend time pondering the unanswerable question of whether or not there are garden gnomes plotting to overthrow the government of Sudan?  You can spin around in philosophical circles for years, and nobody will make any laws about stem cell research based on your support.

Trust me.  If it's philosophical conundrums you like, you can find plenty that don't encourage bad behavior from Christians and Muslims.

Quote:
but that doesnt negate the interest in the topic.

Ok.  You're about to tell me why you're not interested in the topic... personal gain, etc.  You haven't told me why this particular unanswerable and irrelevant question is of so much interest to you.

Quote:
rather just to keep my mind open and explore all possibilities.

What is your position on invisible gnomes in my refrigerator?  Why don't you devote your time to that question, which has literally billions of possible answers?  You see what I'm getting at?  There's something hidden either in your psyche or your agenda or both.  You elevate the irrelevant "God" question, while ignoring thousands of other philosophical dilemmas.  I've already shown you that your question is truly irrelevant, and has no bearing on anyone's theological beliefs.  Why are you still interested?

Quote:
isnt that human nature?

Actually, not quite.  Again, consider that you've never gone door to door looking for invisible gnomes in refrigerators.  It's an open question that nobody has ever answered, but you're not concerned with it in the least.  Your motivations for asking the god question are not as benign as you say.  I don't know if your ulterior motive is even known to you, but it's there.

Please, address this directly.  The god question you posed is exactly as relevant to your life as whether there's an invisible gnome in my refrigerator.  Why are you concerned with god and not the gnome?

 

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Vessel wrote:Okay, good.Do

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners? So the fine tuning argument doesn't establish your god as necessary unless he needs a fine tuner and so on and so on...

I see what you are saying and I understand the argument. But thats a much larger question that we know even less about (if it exists)! The improbability of the conditions in which the universe was created makes some kind of creator more likely, that is my point.


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Hambydammit wrote:Does it

Hambydammit wrote:

Does it not bother you that because of your 'open' attitude about this question, any theist who believes in his particular sadist in the sky will automatically assume you're on his side?  You gain nothing if you are correct, and regardless of your correctness, theists perceive a win for themselves.

I mean, why not spend time pondering the unanswerable question of whether or not there are garden gnomes plotting to overthrow the government of Sudan?  You can spin around in philosophical circles for years, and nobody will make any laws about stem cell research based on your support.

Trust me.  If it's philosophical conundrums you like, you can find plenty that don't encourage bad behavior from Christians and Muslims.

My 'hidden agenda' simply concerns all that is and was and will be and why........I cant think of a more interesting topic personally. The fact that religion is tearing countries apart and there are forums like this that are so hell bent on arguing athiesm, only makes the topic more interesting for me. This is not all I think about! In fact I only stumbled across that debate on the net about a week ago!


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mmprotest wrote:You also

mmprotest wrote:
You also mentioned about how large the universe is and how improbable things happen etc.....this can work in my favour. If you were trying to create a universe from a big bang with the goal of creating some sort of life, you would try to make it as large as possible for greatest chance of success....

This is where I'm not following you. Here are your statements (correct if I'm wrong):

1. There is life;

2. That's improbable;

3. If something wanted to create a universe with the goal of creating life, it would make it as large as possible for the greatest chance of success.

4. 1 through 3 point to a goal-setting creator being.

See how #3 just jumps in there? You're starting with a creator and working out from there, anticipating that the creator's planning capacity would be similar to our own, and that it has goals.

While we're on the improbable: if we're improbable, what are the odds that yet another form of creature exists that conspires to create something so heavily improbable?

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mmprotest wrote:Vessel

mmprotest wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners? So the fine tuning argument doesn't establish your god as necessary unless he needs a fine tuner and so on and so on...

I see what you are saying and I understand the argument. But thats a much larger question that we know even less about (if it exists)! The improbability of the conditions in which the universe was created makes some kind of creator more likely, that is my point.

But it  doesn't make it more likely. By adding an improbable creator to the formula you actually exponentially increase the improbability of the universe. You can ignore that because it doesn't help you arrive at the conclusion you want to reach, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a catastrophic problem for the argument.

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Next time I see a pure

Next time I see a pure mathematician, I'll punch them in the face and say they are wasting their lives in a topic that's irrelavent.


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Anthropic principle must die!

mmprotest wrote:
Ok, I am a maths and physics student (currently doing a masters) so that would be my area of expertise. I was raised in a catholic household, but not very stringently. The argument I put forth here is pretty much based on the Big Bang theories.

So in order to have life on a planet, we know that we require a lot of different conditions to be satisfied (the planet has to be made up of the right atmosphere, be the right distance from a sun etc) and as we have found this is incredibly improbable. So the chance of life existing on a planet is incredibly low.

We have found no such thing.

There have been some back-of-the-napkin scribblings, with some wild speculation on constants to throw in. However, this is complete speculation. One of those constants in some of the earliest speculations, the probability of a sun having planets, has already been contradicted by current observation. It appears the likelihood of a sun having planets is orders of magnitude greater than originally thought.

The only rational conclusion is, we don't have any clues concerning the probable distribution of life throughout the universe.

mmprotest wrote:
Now if we take into account the big bang we find that in order to get from a big bang to a universe containing planets, stars and galaxies, we require at least 50 different specific conditions in the big bang (ratios and presence of different types of matter, temperature conditions as well as densities). When all of these are within a certain small range as our universe is, we get a life permitting universe, with stars, planets and galaxies. As you can probably tell, this is even more improbable. So we have the improbably of a life permitting universe on top of the improbability of a planet being able to support life. This means that the chance of us simply being here is more or less a mathematical impossibility. This leads me to believe that our universe is more than chance, because chance would not lead us here (it would be like winning the lottery every single time it was run, in every single country in the world, and then some). Looking at this objectively implies that it is more likely to be intentional. I'm not saying that this is evidence of a christian god, or any other, but more that an intelligence gave rise to our universe being as it is.

Ah. The strong anthropic principle.

Okay. How about the same thing that gave us intelligent species? How about evolution?

There's an interesting thing about evolution. Evolution is not a theory of biology. It's based firmly in information theory. Dawkins touches on this when he talks about memes. Here is a case of pure information theory not only occurring in nature, but quite possibly being the driving force behind at least two major fields of study-- biology, and physics.

Now, what if our being here isn't just chance? What if the same thing that drives biological evolution also selected for the physical laws and constants that govern our universe?

This is exactly the idea put forth by Lee Smolin in 1992. For a little background, check out:

http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_4.html#smolin

http://www.universaldarwinism.com/Smolin%20Lee%20contributions.htm (that *should* work-- I had to escape the spaces)

In his essay in the book Intelligent Thought, Smolin presents an excellent lay-person overview of his hypothesis. He then even provides the first empirical proof of its validity.

In a nutshell, Smolin hypothesizes that, due to the quantum gravity effects first hypothesized by John Archibald Wheeler and Bryce DeWitt, each singularity (black hole) created within a universe causes a "bounce" within the singularity. That is, each black hole causes another universe to form. During the creation of the new universe, physical laws would deviate slightly from the laws of the "parent" universe. Now, if we look at propagation as the defining factor of an evolutionarily-successful universe, the universes most likely to create black holes would create the most successful "child" universes.

It just so happens that the same balance of laws and constants that make a fertile black-hole universe, are also the same balance that leads to a universe friendly to life.

Over the last several years, there's been a lot of research into quantum gravity. The current evidence supports Wheeler and DeWitt's orginal hypothesis, providing good support for Smolin's concept of evolutionary physics. It is far from proven, but it's survived that basic first tests, and has also made at least one prediction that has been verified.

This is not just speculation. It's very good science, and a lot of fun to think about.

mmprotest wrote:
Whilst this is not unequivocal proof, it is quite a reasonable and logical argument. The problem is most christians arguing the existance of god know little or nothing about the universe they live in. If any of the rational response team wish to respond then I would appreciate any input. Cheers.

Your viewpoint is very much like Paul Davies, a very intelligent, very thoughtful man, and chair of the SETI Post-Detection Science and Technology Taskgroup.

Given Smolin's purely-naturalistic hypothesis, though, we know there is no need for a God, or even intelligent planning beforehand. It does away with the strong anthropic principle, and probably even the weak anthropic principle.  Smolin's idea is beautiful, simple, and clear. That doesn't make it right, of course, but it means that, as we have one natural possibility to address your issues, there is no need to resort to an unnatural God just yet.

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Vessel wrote:Okay, good.Do

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners?

Unless we just assume the whole postulate into this environment. Then there is just one creative intelligence and just one fine tuned environment.

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So in order to have life on a planet, we know

nigelTheBold wrote:

mmprotest wrote:
Ok, I am a maths and physics student (currently doing a masters) so that would be my area of expertise. I was raised in a catholic household, but not very stringently. The argument I put forth here is pretty much based on the Big Bang theories.

So in order to have life on a planet, we know that we require a lot of different conditions to be satisfied (the planet has to be made up of the right atmosphere, be the right distance from a sun etc) and as we have found this is incredibly improbable. So the chance of life existing on a planet is incredibly low.

We have found no such thing.

There have been some back-of-the-napkin scribblings, with some wild speculation on constants to throw in. However, this is complete speculation. One of those constants in some of the earliest speculations, the probability of a sun having planets, has already been contradicted by current observation. It appears the likelihood of a sun having planets is orders of magnitude greater than originally thought.

The only rational conclusion is, we don't have any clues concerning the probable distribution of life throughout the universe.

One thing we humans always do is put ourselves as the most important thing in the Universe. It is extremely smug to think that life can only exist as we know it here. Given enough possibilities and our Universe certainly has that, life could be based in a different way than we ever could imagine. If we never study or investigate beyond the accepted we won't make progress in knowledge. Many scientists and inventors went in a direction that ultimately resulted in greater understanding of science and new accepted laws because they had an open mind. Just because we lack complete understanding of the Universe is no reason to add a God or creator as a possibility. That only results in a closed mind an acceptance of the irrational.

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deludedgod wrote:We call

deludedgod wrote:

We call this argument the Fine Tuning argument. As pointed out, it has two key points.

Before addressing either point, it is necessary to consider a self-refuting aspect of the argument. The weak Anthropic principle says that "if sentient life had evolved somewhere else, we would be asking why it evolved there". In other words, by virtue of the fact that we are sitting on a planet which can foster biological life, we can ask the very questions and have the very discussion that we are having now. In other words, the question we are asking is "how came it that a planet with the ability to foster intelligent life was formed"? Surely, you must realize that to say that an intelligent being placed it in that specific zone is to innately undermine the claim that such conditions are necessary for intelligent life to evolve to ask such questions, which is the crux of the argument! In other words the argument is shooting itself in the foot.

Let us now consider the two aspects of the argument.

The first is the examine the very precise "Goldilocks Zone" associated with planets hospitable to biological life. Biological life has very specific attributes of being based on long, fragile molecules that encode replicative information.

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This pertains to the situation of precise tuning the Earth finds itself in regarding its stability and friendliness to life. For one, obviously, it is placed precisely in a small band of temperature ranges from its star such that water does not freeze or boil (0 to 100C). Water is probably not absolutely necessary for life, but is surely the best molecule conducive to its formation. For one, its a permanent dipole, which is what gives it its properties and an electrical charge without which no biomolecular system could function (ion channels, proton gradients, DNA, cytokines, signal integrators, molecular switches and protein folding all rely on this principle), this charge is also conduicive to abiogenesis, the formation of proto-replicating biomolecules.

Another such useful fine-tuning comes in the form of Earth’s natural satellite, the moon. Tides may play a role in electrophoresis, which is central to the development of stable biological molecules and the alternating charge and wetting and drying of primordial biological molecules (see clay theory), and its rotation and orbit keep Earth’s orbit stable. Without it, it would become erratic every several hundred million years, and would flip over. Obviously, such conditions would destroy any DNA forming, which takes perhaps as much as half a billion years.

There are plenty more examples. But that is not to say that the blue marble has been carefully placed by an intelligent being. The first thing to consider is that there are an estimated 10^11 galaxies, and a total of roughly 6x10^20 stars, and roughly 5x10^17 planets, and roughly 10^17 solar systems. These all form and collect from ionized gas (for stars) or the nucleosynthesis bridge completed by supernovae (for terrestrial planets).

It is also necessary to consider Anthropic fine tuning. You said "50 constants". The number is actually 6:

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Epsilon: The fusion ration of hydrogen to helium. In our universe, this is 0.007, precisely correct. If it were off, say, to 0.008, too high, then all hydrogen would immediately fuse, and there would none left over from the big bang, and hence life could never get started, if it was slightly lower then the universe would remain in freezing darkness since stars could never condense and generate nucleosynthesis fusion, creating the heavy elements necessary for life (oxygen, carbon, iron)

Q:

Omega: Relative density of the universe. This is precisely fine-tuned, the overall density of the universe, if too small, the universe would expand and freeze before life could begin. If too large, the universe would collapse almost as soon as it began, crushing back into the fiery pinprick from whence it came.

Lambda: The cosmological constant determining the acceleration rate of the universe. Any larger than it is (0.7), and the universe would be blown apart by Dark Energy, any smaller and it would quickly crush itself into a fireball. The Hubble constant is precisely equal to one (Omega+ Lambda).

D:  The number of spatial dimensions. Our universe, of course, has three. This is the most conduicive to life. If there are more, the inverse square law is replaced by an inverse cube law, and hence, the motion of planets becomes too erratic for the long stretches of stability needed for life. If there are less, say two, then the advanced computational systems for life cannot develop, as the possibilites are too few. It is much harder to store information in two dimensions than in three (think of integrated circuits) For example, the human mind depends on massive networks of neurons . Biological structures would have great difficulty assembling in two dimensions.

N: The force of electromagnetism divided by gravity. The ratio between the disengaged forces is 1: 10^36, but only slight deviations would quickly destroy any collected proto-stars that tried to form, and ionized gas would be unable to collect.

 

At any rate, this variant is more compelling than the former, yet is still problematic for reasons outlined at the top. Let us consider this solution in a pool of various hypotheses on why our universe is so well tuned to biology, because there are others. (Hence applying abductive reasoning).

The principle antithesis to the hypothesis under discussion is Multiverse. Multiverse is not to be confused with "many worlds" in quantum mechanics. Many Worlds is defined by a world-line split that occurs at every possible divergence for every quantum mechanical event where multiple outcomes are possible. Multiverse has nothing to do with quantum mechanical divergence or decoherence. A new universe is not said to "diverge" as a result of a quantum mechanical event. Rather, individual universes are discrete entities linked by white holes, but they are universes unto themselves, as opposed to carbon copies of a divergence outcome with only a single difference in a quantum event. In Cosmology, universes are said to "bud" off each other through rapidly expanding areas of space-time.

I had liked this idea even before linking it to Fine tuning, because of the 50 or so hypotheses regarding inflation, Linde's was probably best, and his necessitated the aforementioned concept.

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Guth’s original problem was solved by Linde, where the false vacuum fluctuations would generate many different inflating regions of space time called “bubbles”. The problem is that the theory necessitates the nucleation of the bubbles (imagine it as analogous to heating water on a stove). While the collapse of a false vacuum would dictate that the expansion of the space between the bubbles would multiply logarithmically faster than the actual bubbles themselves. The universe would expand extremely rapidly, but it would never stop in Guth’s model. Inflation necessitated an extremely fast, but extremely short burst. Guth’s model had no way to wind down the inflation. Linde’s solution was that the expansion which triggered the universe was originally very slow, and accelerated in a scalar-field to become competitively fast compared to actual expansion of space time, and when it does, inflation stops, so the bubbles nucleate and thus the universe heats. For the purpose of this exercise, it becomes necessary to merge inflation with quantum cosmology. The original symmetry would have been broken as a trigger to inflation, and the negative energy associated with the vacuum would have been cancelled by the collapse (Since it is mechanistically so unstable. This means that energy, hence matter, may arise).

Taking the concept further, a theory that expounds on this by Lee Smolin has a distinctly Darwinian feel to it. Smolin argues that
1) In a Multiverse, universes are said to bud off of parent universes. Hence, like mitosis produces daughter cells from parents, so too here, universes bud off each other

2) In Cosmology, unlike in the QM concept of Many Worlds, each universe, being an actually seperate universe as opposed to a quantum divergence of an event that occured in an antecedant universe, each universe has slightly different constants. Because universes "bud" off each other at white holes, a universe with more white holes will have more universes bud off.

3) On the other hand, universes which have physical constants which are unstable will usually be destroyed immediately

4) Because universes directly bud off each other, the daughter universes will retain physical constants of their antecedants

5) However, because this process is not perfect, there will always be variation in the physical constants of offspring universes. This enables variation under selection, since the universes with the physical constants most conducive to star formation, hence the formation of biological life, will propogate.

I would feel quite vindicated if Smolin is proven correct, because that would make the concept of evolution not merely the unifying theory of biology, but also all of science. It is not invalid to make a comparison here between the formation of the theory of evolution being pitted against Paley's Design, and the hypothesis of the evolution of physical constants being pitted against Fine Tuning.

 


Oh, my sweet Jesus, not only did I actually understand all of that (partly because it was written very well, in regular English) but before I became and atheist and cared about this stuff, I would have thought it evil jibberish.

 

BTW, you forgot a universal constant: Beer.  It's gotta be in there somewhere. It's absolutely divine.

(Tonight: Castelain, Blonde Bierre de Garde)

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
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daedalus wrote:BTW, you

daedalus wrote:
BTW, you forgot a universal constant: Beer.  It's gotta be in there somewhere. It's absolutely divine.

Have you tried real ale? (Sometimes called "cask conditioned" or "traditional ale".) Delicious! I prefer my local Wellington Brewery County Ale, but I'd encourage you to ask a local microbrew if they have a "real ale" on tap.

Benjamin Franklin proposed beer as the proof that God loves us (he would have been drinking real ale at the time) and so far, that's the best proof I've heard for any supernatural being.

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HisWillness wrote:Have you

HisWillness wrote:
Have you tried real ale? (Sometimes called "cask conditioned" or "traditional ale".) Delicious! I prefer my local Wellington Brewery County Ale, but I'd encourage you to ask a local microbrew if they have a "real ale" on tap.

Benjamin Franklin proposed beer as the proof that God loves us (he would have been drinking real ale at the time) and so far, that's the best proof I've heard for any supernatural being.

A Canadian, eh?

Yeah. Not only does beer prove that God loves us, but He wants us to be happy.

I wish more people thought that God wants us to be happy.

As far as real ale? Haven't had the chance to try it. Do you prefer a sparkler?

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mmprotest wrote:Vessel

mmprotest wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners? So the fine tuning argument doesn't establish your god as necessary unless he needs a fine tuner and so on and so on...

I see what you are saying and I understand the argument. But thats a much larger question that we know even less about (if it exists)! The improbability of the conditions in which the universe was created makes some kind of creator more likely, that is my point.

Other posters have addressed this, but I will add to their excellent points.

 

Your "but" is huge. You are basically saying: "I understand your arguments but don't care. I like the feeling I have."

 

That is, the argument has been strongly countered and the idea of a god (of any kind) is highly unlikely through logical means. Trust me, many, many people have addressed the Fine Tuning argument and it always fails to show that a god exists. 

 

So, what make you think there is a god in the first place? Why insert a virtually impossible figure into a series of improbable events?

 

I simply don't get why you present the argument, say you understand the rebuttals, but return to your argument? How about rebut the rebuttals? That is where all Theists fail in this regard - they simply think that rephrasing their argument with a  nice personal story, threat of Hell, or more vivid descriptions makes the argument better.

1+1 still equals 2, whether you right it in Syntax font or Illuminated manuscript.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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Hambydammit wrote:I mean,

Hambydammit wrote:

I mean, why not spend time pondering the unanswerable question of whether or not there are garden gnomes plotting to overthrow the government of Sudan?

Shhhh! Dammit, Hamby, if they find out you've stumbled onto their secret, they'll come after YOU next! Tempt not the ire of the Sudanese Gnomish Liberation Front!

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Eloise wrote:Vessel

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners?

Unless we just assume the whole postulate into this environment. Then there is just one creative intelligence and just one fine tuned environment.

Fine tuned to necessary values as determined by what?

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Vessel wrote:Eloise

Vessel wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners?

Unless we just assume the whole postulate into this environment. Then there is just one creative intelligence and just one fine tuned environment.

Fine tuned to necessary values as determined by what?

The same entity. 

I know what you're thinking, and your only reason for thinking that is that you believe that time as we experience it actually exists in some independent form. Keep in mind, that is not necessarily true.

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Divine Wombat

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Fine tuned to necessary values as determined by what?

The same entity. 

I know what you're thinking, and your only reason for thinking that is that you believe that time as we experience it actually exists in some independent form. Keep in mind, that is not necessarily true.

Time isn't independent. Time itself is highly dependent on the existence of the rest of the universe. They didn't name it the "space-time continuum" after one of their cats. Time is also relative. It flows slower through a gravity well than it does in free space. In a black hole, time stops at the singularity.

Some thinkers have suggested that we are actually in a simulated universe, not a real one. The thinking goes like this:

The universe is very old, but it's going to last quite a bit longer. There is a strong probability that, during all that time, one or more intelligent species will live to master quantum computing. At some point, they will be able to simulate very complex models. They will want to model the development of their own species. This model universe will be perfect, and the simulations inside won't "know" the difference between the simulated universe and the real universe. Finally, they will run many, many simulations over the course of their species' existence. Ergo, there will be  many more "simulations" than actual intelligent species, making it more probable that we are in a simulated environment, rather than a real universe.

Now, this is an interesting hypothesis. Given the argument that the models would be perfect, though, it's impossible to test. This makes it speculation, and it will never make it to the theory stage. Since it's not testable, it's not science.

It is infinitely more probable that we are in a simulation, than there is a God. Why? Because we know the natural world exists. We know that intelligent species are possible. We know that quantum computing is not only possible, it's kick-ass. There's nothing to postulate that doesn't already exist.

To postulate God in a non-pantheistic manner (such as the Christian God), you must also assume there is a realm outside of natural reality-- some call it the "supernatural." The realm must have a connection to the natural world, in that agents (God) within the supernatural realm may interact with the natural world (causing floods, plagues, the start of the natural universe, the murder of children, and so forth). The properties of this other realm are that it is eternal and static.

Here's where the strong anthropic principle breaks down. As described, God isn't the "cause" of the universe. He's the causer. He's an entity. A cause is an action, a transient thing. God is not transient. He exists in the same way the universe exists, only in a different realm. So, given the axiom that every effect must have a cause, if the universe is an effect that requires a cause, then God must also have a cause.

If you claim that God is eternal, then why do we need the step from the universe (which could be effectively eternal, as the arrow of time starts in our universe with the big bang) to a supernatural God? It makes more sense to begin the causal chain with the start of the universe, as we don't have to postulate another realm with another entity, neither of which we can measure or perceive.

Finally, there is a question that no Christian supporter off the strong anthropic principle can answer: assuming God does exist, what is the evidence that this first-cause God is the God of Abraham? What makes Him the Father of Christ? What is the evidence that He even exists as the abusive Father described in the Bible? Why isn't he simply a divine Wombat who wanted to make a world for wombats everywhere?

That's actually several questions, but the all amount to the same thing. Why do you suppose this God has any particular interest in us?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Vessel wrote:By adding an

Vessel wrote:
By adding an improbable creator to the formula you actually exponentially increase the improbability of the universe.

... and acknowledging the improbability of the universe, you actually exponentially increase the improbability of an improbable creator.

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Eloise wrote:Vessel

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good.

Do you then see that the god you posit, being subject to a specific environment and set of laws (constraints), would need a creator to have fine tuned the environment in which it exists (by which it is constrained)? And then we fall into an infinite regress of fine tuners?

Unless we just assume the whole postulate into this environment. Then there is just one creative intelligence and just one fine tuned environment.

Fine tuned to necessary values as determined by what?

The same entity. 

I know what you're thinking, and your only reason for thinking that is that you believe that time as we experience it actually exists in some independent form. Keep in mind, that is not necessarily true.

I don't think my objection is reliant on any conception of time. The problem comes from what would necessarily be logically prior, not temporally prior.

Look at it this way. Let's say that in some possible world all the physical constants are vastly different values in respect to what they are in our world, yet the world is stable and supports a life form identical to our's because this is how the creator created it. In this world there are theologians who claim that, due to the fact that life exists and that the physical constants are what they are, which they need to be to support life in that world, then there has to be a fine tuner who tuned the constants to their specific values.  Both our world and their's are using the same argument to arrive at a necessary fine tuner/creator and yet  the  constants  that  lead them to  that fine tuner are different. You could plug in any of infinite values and make the same argument which shows that any specific values can not lead to a necessary creator unrestricted by some rules, laws, constants.

If it is not possible that a creator could create a world with different physical constants that support our form of life then there must be some logically prior conditions that dictate what type of life can be created within certain physical constants. If the creator is restricted by these conditions then it must exist in a meta-realm with its own rules, laws, and constants that then need a fine tuner/creator as well.

I don't understand how this is dependent on our conception of time. Probably I am misunderstanding your objection to my objection. If so, please clarify.

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Vessel wrote:Eloise

Vessel wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Vessel wrote:

Okay, good ...

Unless ....

Fine tuned to necessary values as determined by what?

The same entity. 

I know what you're thinking, and your only reason for thinking that is that you believe that time as we experience it actually exists in some independent form. Keep in mind, that is not necessarily true.

I don't think my objection is reliant on any conception of time. The problem comes from what would necessarily be logically prior, not temporally prior.

Look at it this way. Let's say that in some possible world all the physical constants are vastly different values in respect to what they are in our world, yet the world is stable and supports a life form identical to our's because this is how the creator created it. In this world there are theologians who claim that, due to the fact that life exists and that the physical constants are what they are, which they need to be to support life in that world, then there has to be a fine tuner who tuned the constants to their specific values.  Both our world and their's are using the same argument to arrive at a necessary fine tuner/creator and yet  the  constants  that  lead them to  that fine tuner are different. You could plug in any of infinite values and make the same argument which shows that any specific values can not lead to a necessary creator unrestricted by some rules, laws, constants.

If it is not possible that a creator could create a world with different physical constants that support our form of life then there must be some logically prior conditions that dictate what type of life can be created within certain physical constants. If the creator is restricted by these conditions then it must exist in a meta-realm with its own rules, laws, and constants that then need a fine tuner/creator as well.

I don't understand how this is dependent on our conception of time. Probably I am misunderstanding your objection to my objection. If so, please clarify.

No, you have my view straight here Vessel. I would contend that logically prior assumes temporally prior in any case, so it comes down to how you handle temporality, that will dictate your logical priority.

To address your example- two or more fine tuned environments with equal sentient forms which equally come to consider the same, necessary fine tuner, using the same argument as each other (meaning in the same argument as we use). Then each necessary creator in each possible world is arrived at as temporally prior according to their temporal distinctness as is the case with us.

Lets take for example the fine structure constant, one common anthropic argument for 1/137 is that our life would never be because the heavier elements necessary to the formation of our known forms of life would not be able to develop. In the development of 'life' elements a passage of time is already assumed. It's not possible to revert to calling this a logical prior distinct of temporal necessity, because it is already based on a temporal prior; stated in the principle - this had to happen in history in order for this to consequently be in the present. It is clear to see that the handling of temporality in this statement has directed it's logical priority. (Aside: To express a logical necessity which is not involved in a temporal priority it's best to use pure mathematics.) So, our anthropic question is based on temporal necessity, and in kind are all the answers. ie: outside creator, outside multiverse, extraordinary coincedence.

Continuing to follow your example, we're saying in each possible universe the constants are different but the results are the same.

Both come to conclude an anthropic principle. They conclude the anthropic principle because the prior (the constants) is arbitrary and not because you have made it so in your example, that is the actual basis of the anthropic principle. Arbitrariness implies an act of selection, an act of selection in turn implies a selector ergo an anthropic principle.

This all results from the way the observer of the constants handles temporality. It is the temporal priority of the observer which decides that the constants are prior and arbitrary. Take away the temporal priority of the observer and the constants are just arbitrary. They can be selected from any direction or position in time.

... thinking back that was really a long winded way of saying just this. The fine tuning constants imply our environment was selected but only our conception of time suggests that they were selected from some single coordinate in history. The constants themselves do not dictate this as a logical prior, we dictate it as an empirical prior, in short it's an anthropomorphism.

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xlint posting all .... just

xlint posting all .... just a buddha thought , ( Ignore this if you're feeling serious or frustrated )

Asking a cherished wise man some 2000 plus yrs ago about god, and getting a "who cares" reply is rather revealing for me. As "Buddha" may have predicted, here we've now come with all our present scientfic imfo falling into the same worthless question. If god was staring us in the face we'd still doubt, unless hypnotzed.

I like the beer ale idea. To much philosophy is bunk sophism , and all religion is practically worthless. Science will never end therefore ........etc to etc. Does anyone even remotely know themself ?! ( "soliphism" )

I wish more buddhists would get drunk with me, they are a fun atheistic bunch. Buddhaism is like a defense philosophy against the madness in our minds and world. Drunk Party Buddhists ?, Imagine ! Real progress .... and no armys needed ..... why not ??? ..... ( if everyone was Xain we'd still have armys ) .....

Sometimes I've used the wrong word when meaning "sophism"; ( to many simular spellings ) This is all a bit interesting tho .... (?)

"sophism" = B.S. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=sophism&btnG=Search

My RRS goof here etc "solphism", ( I meant sophism ) http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define+solphism&btnG=Search

Then , "soliphism" http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=+soliphism&spell=1

Then , "solipsism" http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=solipsism&btnG=Google+Search

1.  The theory or view that the self is the only reality.

2.  The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.

So what is the self ???? shezzz ..... beats me .... that's why I JUST call me "god as you". God = ALL and can't know, and so that is highest GOD, a sense of unknown, that's me for damn sure, then I wonder on !? ..... What is this ? .... So I'll just call it "god" and be done with that, and get back to science .....

.... geezzz language is a fucking bitch .... Do we do it on purpose ?!?! YES / NO ....    yeah beer, proof god loves us !

 


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Got-to love the fine tuning

Got-to love the fine tuning argument, ? do you kown what the odd's of you specifically being alive now reading this are ? if you go back to the development of separate and distinct lifeforms, if you then calculate the chances of two creatures meeting and being sexually receptive at exactly the right time and then calculate every possible interaction up to the point of sperm and eggs, then calculate the probability of one out of millions of sperm finding exactly the right egg at the right time and then surviving to the point of reproduction threw-out evolutionary history over the millions of years, statistically the chances of you specifically existing are so ridiculously impossible it can't possibly happen

 

But there you are, reading this now

 

Just goes to show if it can happen, it will happen

 

 


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Eloise wrote:No, you have my

Eloise wrote:

No, you have my view straight here Vessel. I would contend that logically prior assumes temporally prior in any case, so it comes down to how you handle temporality, that will dictate your logical priority.

I don't agree. While we often reference something that is a logically prior condition as also being temporally prior, I don't think logical priority is dependent on temporal priority. Logically prior conditions for X are simply the necessary states of affairs if X is to be considered true.  In order for a flower to be yellow light must exist. This does not require that light exists before color exists temporally, just that the existence of light is a necessary condition for the existence of color. Light is therefor logically prior to color but not necessarily temporally prior to color.

Quote:
To address your example- two or more fine tuned environments with equal sentient forms which equally come to consider the same, necessary fine tuner, using the same argument as each other (meaning in the same argument as we use). Then each necessary creator in each possible world is arrived at as temporally prior according to their temporal distinctness as is the case with us.

Lets take for example the fine structure constant, one common anthropic argument for 1/137 is that our life would never be because the heavier elements necessary to the formation of our known forms of life would not be able to develop. In the development of 'life' elements a passage of time is already assumed. It's not possible to revert to calling this a logical prior distinct of temporal necessity, because it is already based on a temporal prior; stated in the principle - this had to happen in history in order for this to consequently be in the present. It is clear to see that the handling of temporality in this statement has directed it's logical priority. (Aside: To express a logical necessity which is not involved in a temporal priority it's best to use pure mathematics.) So, our anthropic question is based on temporal necessity, and in kind are all the answers. ie: outside creator, outside multiverse, extraordinary coincedence.

Continuing to follow your example, we're saying in each possible universe the constants are different but the results are the same.

Both come to conclude an anthropic principle. They conclude the anthropic principle because the prior (the constants) is arbitrary and not because you have made it so in your example, that is the actual basis of the anthropic principle. Arbitrariness implies an act of selection, an act of selection in turn implies a selector ergo an anthropic principle.

Fine tuning requires a set of parameters. If every radio frequency broadcasts KKPW then I can not fine tune my radio tuner to receive KKPW. If there were infinite radio frequencies, then what frequency I decided to set my radio at to listen to KKPW would be completely arbitrary. There must be some logically prior set of required parameters, only within which I can receive the KKPW signal, if I want to fine tune my radio to receive KKPW. If all of infinite radio frequencies received KKPW then stumbling upon a radio playing KKPW's morning show should not lead me to believe that someone had fine tuned the radio to KKPW.

Does the arbitrary frequency, to which the discovered radio receiving KKPW is tuned, imply an act of selection? A radio receiver has to be tuned to some frequency, so how does any frequency imply selection?

Quote:
This all results from the way the observer of the constants handles temporality. It is the temporal priority of the observer which decides that the constants are prior and arbitrary. Take away the temporal priority of the observer and the constants are just arbitrary. They can be selected from any direction or position in time.

... thinking back that was really a long winded way of saying just this. The fine tuning constants imply our environment was selected but only our conception of time suggests that they were selected from some single coordinate in history. The constants themselves do not dictate this as a logical prior, we dictate it as an empirical prior, in short it's an anthropomorphism.

I really don't see how your objection applies to my argument. I've tried to, but I still don't.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Eloise wrote:Lets take for

Eloise wrote:

Lets take for example the fine structure constant, one common anthropic argument for 1/137 is that our life would never be because the heavier elements necessary to the formation of our known forms of life would not be able to develop. In the development of 'life' elements a passage of time is already assumed. It's not possible to revert to calling this a logical prior distinct of temporal necessity, because it is already based on a temporal prior; stated in the principle - this had to happen in history in order for this to consequently be in the present. It is clear to see that the handling of temporality in this statement has directed it's logical priority. (Aside: To express a logical necessity which is not involved in a temporal priority it's best to use pure mathematics.) So, our anthropic question is based on temporal necessity, and in kind are all the answers. ie: outside creator, outside multiverse, extraordinary coincedence.

There's one other option not in your list: that the universe is "fine-tuned" due to mathematical necessity. Like certain atoms form a chemical lattice by their very chemical properties, the constants that make up the universe may be a natural result of the laws of the  universe.

However,  from your choices, the multiiverse is the most logical. As I pointed out in my first post in this thread, we have a hypothetical mechanism for the creation of each universe, an hypothesis first put forth forty years ago. In recent times, it's been able to test some of the predictions of that hypothesis, and so far, the data supports the hypothesis.

As I mentioned in the other post, Lee Smolin has put forth an excellent hypothesis that explains the fine-tuned nature of the universe using evolution. This invalidates the anthropic principle entirely.

It is much more credible that the universe is a result of natural processes, which we have already observed, than to suppose it is the result some eternal, omniscient, omnipotent entity. Even if it's just pure luck that the universe is fine-tuned, even at odds of a trillion-to-one, it is still much more credible than the happenstance existence of the standard conception of God as first mover.

Anyway you dress the argument of God as first mover, it is still argument from ignorance. That is, "We don't understand it now, so God must've done it." Using God to paint over ignorance is worse than just plain lack of knowledge. It's wilful ignorance, the desire to remain ignorant.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Understand that there are

Understand that there are roughly 100 to 500 billion galaxies in the observable universe.  In each of these galaxies there are roughly 200 billion stars.  Combine these numbers gives you a figure between 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars.  Considering we may yet find life in our own solar system (the building blocks of life have been found on Mars, Enceledus, & Europa) this gives us a rather high probability of life of some sort existing in the universe.

As to the big bang argument, actually the factors aren't that sensitive, for example we could remove one of the four fundamental forces entirely, the weak force, and the universe would be just about the same, except no radioactive elements like uranium, etc.

 

Also it's a big jump from "wow this is pretty improbable" to "wow god must have done this".  I could refer you the the probability of getting a specific hand by shuffling a deck of cards, I think its 1 in some billion probability.  Also the probability that all your relatives would meet, have sex, the particular lucky sperm would find the particularly lucky egg and have your descendant, etc, etc, till you were born.  You don't think god did that do you?  I hope not.

 

Then there's the difficult situation of figuring out which god did it, since there are multiple competing gods out there, you'd have to find some sort of way to discredit the other gods that didn't discredit your own, good luck with that.

 

 


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Chances of you existing

This is an interesting read.

http://members.shaw.ca/tfrisen/chances_of_you_existing.htm

 

"If you go back 1 million years or 40 000 generations (each generation is considered 25 years), your chance of being born is at most 1 in 1.8 x 10403167 or 18 with 403,166 zeros after the 1"

 

 

 


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nigelTheBold wrote:Eloise

nigelTheBold wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Lets take for example the fine structure constant, one common anthropic argument for 1/137 is that our life would never be because the heavier elements necessary to the formation of our known forms of life would not be able to develop. In the development of 'life' elements a passage of time is already assumed. It's not possible to revert to calling this a logical prior distinct of temporal necessity, because it is already based on a temporal prior; stated in the principle - this had to happen in history in order for this to consequently be in the present. It is clear to see that the handling of temporality in this statement has directed it's logical priority. (Aside: To express a logical necessity which is not involved in a temporal priority it's best to use pure mathematics.) So, our anthropic question is based on temporal necessity, and in kind are all the answers. ie: outside creator, outside multiverse, extraordinary coincedence.

There's one other option not in your list: that the universe is "fine-tuned" due to mathematical necessity. Like certain atoms form a chemical lattice by their very chemical properties, the constants that make up the universe may be a natural result of the laws of the  universe.

Hi Nigel,

This is precisely what we really don't know about the fine tuning conditions, if there is a mathematical necessity here it's not one that we can sensibly argue at this juncture which forces us to deal with some degree of an anthropic principle until we can.

I haven't been ignoring your other post, by the way, I've just been really engrossed in the conversation with Vessel and hadn't got around to responding to you yet.

Quote:

However,  from your choices, the multiiverse is the most logical.

There's no question of that in my mind.  Of the three the multiverse is the one that actually has a sensible cohesive argument associated with it. By virtue of that it must be given due respect. 

Quote:

As I pointed out in my first post in this thread, we have a hypothetical mechanism for the creation of each universe, an hypothesis first put forth forty years ago. In recent times, it's been able to test some of the predictions of that hypothesis, and so far, the data supports the hypothesis.

As I mentioned in the other post, Lee Smolin has put forth an excellent hypothesis that explains the fine-tuned nature of the universe using evolution. This invalidates the anthropic principle entirely.

I'm aware of cosmological natural selection, just to properly clarify my position on this AP issue, I'll be no less glad if Smolin's process is found proven and does invalidate the anthropic principle, I have no attachment to AP and don't think it has any earth shattering potential either way. When it comes to Smolin's work I am actually more baited for the future ramifications of RQM, dissing the anthropic principle is just fly swatting in comparison.

Quote:

It is much more credible that the universe is a result of natural processes, which we have already observed, than to suppose it is the result some eternal, omniscient, omnipotent entity. Even if it's just pure luck that the universe is fine-tuned, even at odds of a trillion-to-one, it is still much more credible than the happenstance existence of the standard conception of God as first mover.

Anyway you dress the argument of God as first mover, it is still argument from ignorance. That is, "We don't understand it now, so God must've done it." Using God to paint over ignorance is worse than just plain lack of knowledge. It's wilful ignorance, the desire to remain ignorant.

How can I dress a first mover at all when my initial contention excludes any meaning of the word first from the statement? What part of forget time did you miss the memo on?

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I didnt have the time to

I didnt have the time to read through all the answers but here`s my 2 cents

 

The entire argument is flawed because it assumes that life as we know and define it is THE purpose , or rather the finality , cause purpose involves "intention" from there on it just goes to say that if we accept that life is THE finality , then life must be purpose aswell , and thus SOMEONE had this purpose in mind.....lol

Ant the rationalization that because it`s so improbable (life) , then SOMEONE MUST BE WORKING hard to achieve it....

 

So, im no scientist , but i`m sure there are things less probable in the universe then life...say ...i don`t know...paricles that aren`t influenced by time?(laugh here) my point is..then why isn`t that the "purpose" , and life as we know it just another thing gone wrong , a byproduct of the guy attempting to finetune a universe to get these particles to exist?

 

To me this entire inteligent design/fine tune argument sounds like a handicaped man attempting to make himself feel "special"..sorry guys , it just doesn`t work that way The assumption that the entire universe is the way it is just so you can exist is one of the most arogant things i ever heard...typicaly theist


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Vessel`I am thinking our

Vessel`

I am thinking our conversation is getting a little bogged down in speculation and dissidence without underscoring the actual topic of the thread so I've decided to start afresh on a clean page, hopefully steer the course of the discussion more directly to the anthropic principle and then answer your questions as they apply to my side of the fence on this.

First the anthropic principle and what I had meant by the word arbitrary.

This is a very big universe, if you were going to consider the ordinary chance of carbon-based life evolving in this universe you would expect to find some indication from the physical state of the universe that the parameters within which the conditions for life were able to develop were somewhat free over a large deviation, you'd expect to find a 'Star Trek' universe. 

They're not, and it's not.

The conditions for carbon based life developing seem to be highly extravagantly specific. The universe, big as it is, and small and insignificant seeming as we are, springs from this extraordinarily narrow band of physical parameters that decree carbon based life. This is the whole universe we are talking about, a universe with no sentience or reason attributed to it, meaning that it really should not care what comes of its being.

This gigantic universe's utterly arbitrary path through existence did not seem to stumble upon some small pocket of life that was likely over large degrees of freedom, the conditions that exist tend to exclude this possibility. What appears to be is that it's initial conditions bound it firmly to the eventual existence of a golden age in a goldilocks zone of carbon based life forms. In a way if there was a blueprint of the entire potential of the universe we are in at dot then carbon based life, right here, right now was locked into it from the first moment.  It was not inevitable because there is a large chance of carbon based life happening, it was inevitable because the baby steps of the universe were directly toward it.  This is why the anthropic principle is latched onto by creator claims, it is a compelling argument, but I, like any atheist despise "God did it" s, so I am honestly not making that claim here.

So to your questions now, Vessel.  In your analogy KKPW is these 'baby steps' of the universe.  We are tuned into KKPW and the arbitrary positioning of the universes listening at this band directly corresponds to us existing. In relation to our specific existence there is only KKPW. If the self same thing were happening on another band broadcasting KKPW to another universe of carbon based life, in relation to them there would only be their band and their KKPW.

Ideally we could know if another band of KKPW parameters did support life that is exactly like ours, but we don't have a way to do that so we're in speculative territory here. What we can say from your question is that if an alternate band broadcasting KKPW to another universe was in every way the analogue of our situation then their band would be in direct relation to their existence, their universe would still appear to move in a direct line in which their existence was assured and inevitable across the expanse of time.  Their universe took an arbitrary path along the paths within their system which was in direct relation to their existence.

 

Now the question of logical priors vs temporal priors.

You wrote:

Vessel wrote:


I don't agree. While we often reference something that is a logically prior condition as also being temporally prior, I don't think logical priority is dependent on temporal priority. Logically prior conditions for X are simply the necessary states of affairs if X is to be considered true.  In order for a flower to be yellow light must exist. This does not require that light exists before color exists temporally, just that the existence of light is a necessary condition for the existence of color. Light is therefor logically prior to color but not necessarily temporally prior to color.



I see what you are saying Vessel, yet I will still contend that your logical priority is based on temporality and this is why. Light is only logically prior to a flower being yellow in temporal terms. The light travels from the source to the flower, the flower's atomic and cellular structure auspices the absorption of energies corresponding to the spectrum of light with the exception of the colour yellow, yellow light is reemitted then, recieved by the eye of an observer and transferred to the brain to be translated as a recognisable colour. This is a logical sequence over a dimension of time lending to light being a logical priority.

Take time completely out of the picture and the logical priority for a flower to be yellow must occur at the very instant that flower=yellow. This relationship exists in the observers decision framework, in consciousness. Thus the logical priority here is that the observed state of the flower is, wrt the observers conscious state, yellow.

Linear Time is a very pervasive concept, and it is somewhat unintuitive to conceive of physical relationships without assuming a sequence over time, so I don't expect you to immediately agree with me on this. nevertheless, the existence of some thing as a logical prior necessarily assumes a flow of time, in the absence of a flow of time, not a single thing has existence prior to anything else, Space-Time, the very fabric on which anything we observe exists, is not continuous. It is not linked up with infinitely smaller subsections merging into one another. The existence of light does not spill precedence over into the existence of yellow, they are as discrete from each other as a spoon to a fork - a similarly constructed chunk of similar material in two distinct forms wholly unreliant on each other.

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nigelTheBold wrote:Time

nigelTheBold wrote:

Time isn't independent. Time itself is highly dependent on the existence of the rest of the universe. They didn't name it the "space-time continuum" after one of their cats. Time is also relative. It flows slower through a gravity well than it does in free space. In a black hole, time stops at the singularity.

Some thinkers have suggested that we are actually in a simulated universe, not a real one. The thinking goes like this:

The universe is very old, but it's going to last quite a bit longer. There is a strong probability that, during all that time, one or more intelligent species will live to master quantum computing. At some point, they will be able to simulate very complex models. They will want to model the development of their own species. This model universe will be perfect, and the simulations inside won't "know" the difference between the simulated universe and the real universe. Finally, they will run many, many simulations over the course of their species' existence. Ergo, there will be  many more "simulations" than actual intelligent species, making it more probable that we are in a simulated environment, rather than a real universe.

Now, this is an interesting hypothesis. Given the argument that the models would be perfect, though, it's impossible to test. This makes it speculation, and it will never make it to the theory stage. Since it's not testable, it's not science.

It is infinitely more probable that we are in a simulation, than there is a God. Why? Because we know the natural world exists. We know that intelligent species are possible. We know that quantum computing is not only possible, it's kick-ass. There's nothing to postulate that doesn't already exist.

To postulate God in a non-pantheistic manner (such as the Christian God), you must also assume there is a realm outside of natural reality-- some call it the "supernatural." The realm must have a connection to the natural world, in that agents (God) within the supernatural realm may interact with the natural world (causing floods, plagues, the start of the natural universe, the murder of children, and so forth). The properties of this other realm are that it is eternal and static.

Here's where the strong anthropic principle breaks down. As described, God isn't the "cause" of the universe. He's the causer. He's an entity. A cause is an action, a transient thing. God is not transient. He exists in the same way the universe exists, only in a different realm. So, given the axiom that every effect must have a cause, if the universe is an effect that requires a cause, then God must also have a cause.

If you claim that God is eternal, then why do we need the step from the universe (which could be effectively eternal, as the arrow of time starts in our universe with the big bang) to a supernatural God? It makes more sense to begin the causal chain with the start of the universe, as we don't have to postulate another realm with another entity, neither of which we can measure or perceive.

Finally, there is a question that no Christian supporter off the strong anthropic principle can answer: assuming God does exist, what is the evidence that this first-cause God is the God of Abraham? What makes Him the Father of Christ? What is the evidence that He even exists as the abusive Father described in the Bible? Why isn't he simply a divine Wombat who wanted to make a world for wombats everywhere?

That's actually several questions, but the all amount to the same thing. Why do you suppose this God has any particular interest in us?

 

Woah, just one second, please take the time to read my signature now.....

done?

Okay we can get back to this without referring to any christian religious dogma as though I could give a shit to defend it, yes?

The anthropic principle itself explains why one would suppose this creator has an interest in us. The fine tuning of the constants is somewhat inexplicably in our direct interest.  That's why it implies an anthropic principle. You're still right about something, though, you didn't hear this from a "Christian". Sticking out tongue

Second point, I think you may have missed some key points in my posts. The first important one being that the entity I spoke of is not outside nature in a supernatural realm. That was my original point on engaging in this discussion. We put the entity in this universe, then it is in a fine tuned environment supporting it's existence and we don't need to invent another one that does not exist.

The most obvious response to that is as Vessel said, 'then who does the fine tuning?'. And my reply is take out continuous time and it is the same entity as the one postulated to be outside the universe. The fine tuning parameters do not logically precede anything that is not in continuous time.

aside: Yes that includes us, so if you got that, you can see how I don't care at all what happens to the anthropic principle or the fine tuning prime mover argument, it has no bearing on what I am saying here.

Only the constants or more specifically the state of providence which is the universal constants within any reference frame, affect my conception of God, which is, in case you cheated and didn't look at my signature - Panentheistic.

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Two points not addressed by

Two points not addressed by the basic AP argument:

1. We have no basis for even assigning a probability to any of the constants having the value it has, because we really don't know what constraints there may be on the range of plausible values it could have.

2. No attempt is normally made to assess the probability that, while a significant variation of any one 'constant' would render the universe unsuitable for some form of life, there could be a whole range of values which would work if the other constants also had significantly different values. Some work which has been done here shows that there could easily be many 'islands' of life-friendly recipes or combinations of values in the 6-dimensional value-space of possible values.

So it really is pure speculation, and the 'God' solution of course in no way is a reasonable response unless we can say confidently that the conditions needed for a God to exist are highly probable, which of course is inherently pure un-founded speculation about an intrinsically un-knowable entity.

Once you consider time as a more complex, possibly circular dimension, or bring in quantum observer effects, then you have another set of potential solutions. A Universe like ours then could virtually determine that conditions that are more likely to bring it into existence will, by that very fact, be more likely to come into combination. IOW the Universe determines its own initial conditions, entirely independent of any outside entity, and in an entirely (quantum) mechanistic way. Paul Davies expressed something like this recently. You can, at a stretch, and without adding usefully to the idea, see this as consistent with a pantheist view.

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BobSpence1 wrote:Two points

BobSpence1 wrote:

Two points not addressed by the basic AP argument:

1. We have no basis for even assigning a probability to any of the constants having the value it has, because we really don't know what constraints there may be on the range of plausible values it could have.

2. No attempt is normally made to assess the probability that, while a significant variation of any one 'constant' would render the universe unsuitable for some form of life, there could be a whole range of values which would work if the other constants also had significantly different values. Some work which has been done here shows that there could easily be many 'islands' of life-friendly recipes or combinations of values in the 6-dimensional value-space of possible values.

Ah! Thank you! I've been trying to formulate exactly this response since I first saw the fine-tuning argument, and you've done a much more succinct job of it than I would have. I was actually confused when I heard Dawkins say that this was the argument he found most convincing (for the very reasons you have above).

May I quote you in future?

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Apologies

Eloise wrote:

I haven't been ignoring your other post, by the way, I've just been really engrossed in the conversation with Vessel and hadn't got around to responding to you yet.

Understandable. He's much more engaging, and actually cares about the philosophical arguments.

 

Eloise wrote:

Woah, just one second, please take the time to read my signature now.....

done?

Okay we can get back to this without referring to any christian religious dogma as though I could give a shit to defend it, yes?

The anthropic principle itself explains why one would suppose this creator has an interest in us. The fine tuning of the constants is somewhat inexplicably in our direct interest.  That's why it implies an anthropic principle. You're still right about something, though, you didn't hear this from a "Christian". Sticking out tongue

Second point, I think you may have missed some key points in my posts. The first important one being that the entity I spoke of is not outside nature in a supernatural realm. That was my original point on engaging in this discussion. We put the entity in this universe, then it is in a fine tuned environment supporting it's existence and we don't need to invent another one that does not exist.

The most obvious response to that is as Vessel said, 'then who does the fine tuning?'. And my reply is take out continuous time and it is the same entity as the one postulated to be outside the universe. The fine tuning parameters do not logically precede anything that is not in continuous time.

aside: Yes that includes us, so if you got that, you can see how I don't care at all what happens to the anthropic principle or the fine tuning prime mover argument, it has no bearing on what I am saying here.

Only the constants or more specifically the state of providence which is the universal constants within any reference frame, affect my conception of God, which is, in case you cheated and didn't look at my signature - Panentheistic.

My apologies, Ma'am. I read more into your post than you actually stated. Mea culpa. (I tend not to read signatures. Sorry. I should've. And your comments definitely lean to panentheism, so it was just laziness on my part that I misconstrued your commments.)

What you describe is the strong anthropic principle. The weak merely states that we observe the finely-tuned universe because the finely-tuned universe exists. No entity (other than us, as observers) required. So it's not because it's the anthropic principle, but the strong anthropic principle.

That's the only hair I'll split. Really.

So, you're proposing an auto-panentheistic entity? A self-directed universe? I'm not quite sure what you are proposing for this entity that isn't readily explained by nature itself. If the entity is of our natural universe, then it is constrained by the laws of our universe, Are you suggesting something similar to Seth Lloyd's universe-as-quantum-computer proposal?

Given all that, and your statement that the constants are logically prior, not not necessarily temporally prior, are you suggesting that the physical constants of the universe are malleable, and have been altered since the first few picoseconds of the universe? Or, did the entity exist within the time between the singularity and the point at which the constants in the universe became fixed? Do you think the arrow of time may have been reversed at different "times" in the universe, thus avoiding the logically prior/temporally prior maxim? Or is it that the singularity/entity relationship is logically prior to the state of the universe?


I'm asking these questions not to build a challange, as these are questions that cannot be answered empirically at this time, with our current knowledge. Rather, I'm intrigued by your line of reasoning, and I'd like to know more about some of the necessary details.

Thanks for kicking my ass over my assumptions. I sometimes jump the gun in an argument, thinking I've seen it before, when in fact I'm just being an asshole. It's humbling, but reassuring to be reminded I'm not necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed.

 

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BobSpence
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HisWillness wrote:BobSpence1

HisWillness wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Two points not addressed by the basic AP argument:

1. We have no basis for even assigning a probability to any of the constants having the value it has, because we really don't know what constraints there may be on the range of plausible values it could have.

2. No attempt is normally made to assess the probability that, while a significant variation of any one 'constant' would render the universe unsuitable for some form of life, there could be a whole range of values which would work if the other constants also had significantly different values. Some work which has been done here shows that there could easily be many 'islands' of life-friendly recipes or combinations of values in the 6-dimensional value-space of possible values.

Ah! Thank you! I've been trying to formulate exactly this response since I first saw the fine-tuning argument, and you've done a much more succinct job of it than I would have. I was actually confused when I heard Dawkins say that this was the argument he found most convincing (for the very reasons you have above).

May I quote you in future?

Sure, no problem....

The observation that this is the most convincing argument for 'God' really amounts to a comment on how even more feeble all the others are...

It doesn't really hold up well when you dig into it a bit, spell out more mathematically just what it is implying. We simply do not have remotely enough context to draw any conclusions either way. Altho in current theories the 'constants' appear to be independent, it would be very presumptive to assume that some new insight or discovery will not reveal that their values are determined by some more fundamental context.

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This has really been covered

This has really been covered by DeludedGod, in particular, but on re-reading the OP, I would like to point out a very specific fallacy in bringing in the improbability of conditions on planet being suitable for life. This is a much lower order problem than the strict Anthropic Principle. Whatever merit it had has effectively evaporated with recent discoveries which seem to indicate that the likelihood of stars having a retinue of planets, of a range of sizes and compositions, is much higher than used to be assumed.

So the chances of there NOT being a planet suitable for life like ours somewhere in the universe may well be astronomically small, given the fundamental properties of our Universe. These properties are the argument, the 'suitable planet' thing is not an issue which should be considered 'on top of' the basic question. It is better seen as another way of looking at the AP, ie why are the fundamental properties such as to lead to a Universe where planets are so common.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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