Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Atheists, does it faze you in the least that scientifically, the universe appears to be fine tuned?

In other words, the values of universal constants are so mind bogglingly exact, and that with the slightest difference in values among many of them, life would not be possible anywhere in the universe??

We aren't talking about lottery odds here, we are talking about 1 part in 10^120. The value of the cosmological constant alone is one part in 10^60, comparable to you throwing up 150 coins in the air simultaneously, calling heads or tails, and getting them ALL at once

And compound that with the staggering odds of life developing from inanimate matter by itself (even over hundreds of millions of years) and you come up with a number so high that it is literally impossible in a mathematical sense

How can you reject the idea of a god given such unbelievable odds?

Update:

Atheist scientists do not dispute these constant values or their significances either. I watched an hour long discussion on it between Dawkins and nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg

Update 2:

Dreamstuff: Lol, nice cut and paste (obviously you have alot of those neatly stored and readily available on your PC) but it falls short of course, since there is absolutely ZERO evidence for multiple universes, much less the 10^60 or so required to dilute the odds. Nice try though

Update 3:

Anyone bringing up other solar systems or "unstable planets" is way off the mark here

Update 4:

Muhammed: Okay, show me one shred of evidence that Rees has for multiple universes since one has never been observed. That is completely theoretical, and may remain that way since anything "outside" our universe is pretty much beyond observation

Update 5:

Samantha: Why don't you tell me which term is biased?

Update 6:

Meghan: Yes, that could be a point, but we don't know of any possible life that can form w/o carbon

Update 7:

I've seen Dreamstuff's sources before and they are entirely false, not to mention they are for the weak anthropic principal, not the strong lol. In other words, it is an completely irrelevant argument. Also, as I said, it is based on what-ifs, with no evidence, such as multiple universes, and opinion (why would God do this...yada yada)

Update 8:

Dreamstuff is addressing a different argument

"Carter defined two forms of the Anthropic Principle, a "weak" one which referred only to anthropic selection of privileged spacetime locations in the universe, and a "strong" form which addressed the values of the fundamental constants of physics"

Update 9:

Goddess & Her little Dog: Lol, that is a pretty pathetic and irrelevant response

38 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Claim CI301:

    The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life. If any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, life would be impossible. (This claim is also known as the weak anthropic principle.)

    Response:

    1. The claim assumes life in its present form is a given; it applies not to life but to life only as we know it. The same outcome results if life is fine-tuned to the cosmos.

    We do not know what fundamental conditions would rule out any possibility of any life. For all we know, there might be intelligent beings in another universe arguing that if fundamental constants were only slightly different, then the absence of free quarks and the extreme weakness of gravity would make life impossible.

    Indeed, many examples of fine-tuning are evidence that life is fine-tuned to the cosmos, not vice versa. This is exactly what evolution proposes.

    2. If the universe is fine-tuned for life, why is life such an extremely rare part of it?

    3. Many fine-tuning claims are based on numbers being the "same order of magnitude," but this phrase gets stretched beyond its original meaning to buttress design arguments; sometimes numbers more than one-thousandfold different are called the same order of magnitude (Klee 2002).

    How fine is "fine" anyway? That question can only be answered by a human judgment call, which reduces or removes objective value from the anthropic principle argument.

    4. The fine-tuning claim is weakened by the fact that some physical constants are dependent on others, so the anthropic principle may rest on only a very few initial conditions that are really fundamental (Kane et al. 2000). It is further weakened by the fact that different initial conditions sometimes lead to essentially the same outcomes, as with the initial mass of stars and their formation of heavy metals (Nakamura et al. 1997), or that the tuning may not be very fine, as with the resonance window for helium fusion within the sun (Livio et al. 1989). For all we know, a universe substantially different from ours may be improbable or even impossible.

    5. If part of the universe were not suitable for life, we would not be here to think about it. There is nothing to rule out the possibility of multiple universes, most of which would be unsuitable for life. We happen to find ourselves in one where life is conveniently possible because we cannot very well be anywhere else.

    6. Intelligent design is not a logical conclusion of fine tuning. Fine tuning says nothing about motives or methods, which is how design is defined. (The scarcity of life and multi-billion-year delay in it appearing argue against life being a motive.) Fine-tuning, if it exists, may result from other causes, as yet unknown, or for no reason at all (Drange 2000).

    7. In fact, the anthropic principle is an argument against an omnipotent creator. If God can do anything, he could create life in a universe whose conditions do not allow for it.

    Links:

    Drange, Theodore M. 2000. The fine-tuning argument revisited (2000). Philo 3(2): 38-49. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_dr...

    Stenger, Victor J. 1997. Intelligent design: Humans, cockroaches, and the laws of physics. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html

    Stenger, Victor J. 1999 (July). The anthropic coincidences: A natural explanation. The Skeptical Intelligencer 3(3): 2-17. http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/stenger_intel....

    Weinberg, Steven. 1999. A designer universe? http://www.physlink.com/Education/essay_weinberg.c...

    References:

    1. Drange, Theodore M. 2000. The fine-tuning argument revisited (2000). Philo 3(2): 38-49. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_dr...

    2. Kane, G. L., M. J. Perry, and A. N. Zytkow. 2000 (28 Jan.). The beginning of the end of the anthropic principle. New Astron. 7: 45-53. http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0001197

    3. Klee, Robert. 2002. The revenge of Pythagoras: How a mathematical sharp practice undermines the contemporary design argument in astrophysical cosmology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53: 331-354.

    4. Livio, M., D. Hollowell, A. Weiss and J. Truran. 1989. The anthropic significance of the existence of an excited state of 12C. Nature 340: 281-284.

    5. Nakamura, Takashi, H. Uehara, and T. Chiba. 1997. The minimum mass of the first stars and the anthropic principle. Progress of Theoretical Physics 97: 169-171. http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/9612113

    Further Reading:

    Goldsmith, D. 2004. The best of all possible worlds. Natural History 113(6) (July/Aug.): 44-49.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    No, I think it's marvelous. After all, we have no idea how many times universes coalesced into existence with somewhat different constants. We live here in this one. But assume this is the only universe, the universal constants are what they are because otherwise the universe would not exist. As to life forming, I suspect it was virtually inevitable given the conditions under which it emerged. Molecules of all different sorts interacting means that virtually all possible combinations will occur somewhere, some time. Once certain chemicals are formed, even if by total chance, they have a tendency to shift the odds. We are now talking about not random chance, but the laws of physics that underlie the laws of chemistry.

    Nothing about the way this world is requires a supreme being to explain. The laws of physics and chemistry, plus an unknown but certainly reasonable amount of time, are enough to explain the world as it is now.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    But you're not talking about the universe, you're talking about earth.

    That being said, most of the universe (that we can see) IS devoid of life. Earth is a special place. Not because Earth was designed for life, but because Earth happened to be the only planet in the right spot for life. There is no significance in the planet itself.

    You must also concede that you are very vague when you say "inanimate matter." You are discussing an issue with biochemistry, so please use the proper terminology. I believe when you say inanimate matter, you mean organic matter (molecules composed primarily of carbon.)

    Organic matter is actually quite common in the universe in the form of hydrocarbons and even simple sugars.

    RNA has also been shown to form in early-earth conditions, using nothing but the chemistry available at the time.

    EDIT: Your "response" to Dreamstuff is an absolute joke. You take one phrase that is purely speculative (multiple universes) and used only to make a point, and you take it as a literal argument. This is done to divert attention away from the fact that you refuse to address the brunt of his argument.

    Bear, I had assumed that you were more respectable amongst the Christians around here, but you have proved that you are about as respectable as VenomFangX.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    The argument that the universe is the way it is therefore there is a God, doesn't seem valid to me. Questions arise about whether it could be any other way, whether there's a multiverse of billions of universes whose natures are different from each other, meaning that universes in which creatures like us could develop, though possibly rare, are virtually inevitable, and who knows what else?

    Matter, energy, space and natural forces interact. And given the size of the universe - billions of stars in billions of galaxies - and the 13 billion or so years it has been expanding, if something can happen it very likely has somewhere, however unlikely.

    We are part of the universe. If it wasn't the way it is, we wouldn't be here. Our perception is a map of reality that developed because it works. It isn't perception of reality itself; for example, a rock seems solid to us - it looks it and feels it - but in reality, it is mostly empty space; each atom has a nucleus and electrons, but they take up a very small part of the volume of an atom - the rest is space. Our perception prevents us damaging ourselves against the forces that prevent our sub-atomic particles from interacting with those of the rock.

    Because we evolved in the universe, it gives the illusion of being ordered. It's actually we who have adapted over billions of years to the way the universe is. It wasn't designed.

    The impression that the universe was made for us is also an illusion. Reality is different. There's no Designer, nor any other type of supernatural being. And I don't believe in God.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You are quite right. It does "appear" to be fine tuned. That does not mean that it was, is or ever will be fine tuned.

    Even if the odds are tremendously long, I would take that bet over the odds of there being an omipotent, omnicient god, who although very active around the end of the BC era, has not made a confirmed appearance yet

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Watev
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The extremely low chance of something happening is irrelevant after the event has already happened. Even if there's only an extremely small chance of a planet forming to sustain life (as you say, 10^120), the fact that it can happen somewhere in the universe is 100%, as is evidence by our own Earth.

    To assume a God past that is an argument from incredulity.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    No, it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

    Remember that in Science, we still have a few disparate fragments of theories. There are many, many loose ends to be tied up before we have a Grand Unified Theory.

    It would not surprise me in the least to discover that the universal constants are NOT independent of one another (as the electric and magnetic constants ε0 and μ0 respectively were once thought to be).

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Sharon
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    This is soooo pathetic. They've invented this video thingy youtube. It's crawling with, get this, public atheists. We're spreading like the plague too. Do you really accost people in public and treat them to your rude evangelizing techniques? All the atheists I know, and I know many, are way too polite to pester people on the street.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Qualifier: I am not an atheist, but this is an open forum and anyone can answer.

    "You come up with a number so high that it is literally impossible in a mathematical sense".

    False. The "odds" of the universe being the way it is are 100%, because it is here and it is the way it is. I've seen this argument before and it fails The universe is a marvelous thing but it neither proves nor disproves the existence of a deity. Either you believe or you don't. Probability and statistics is not theology.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Ark
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The universe isn't tuned, if it is an environment where life can come into existence then life will come into existence. the universe isn't tuned at all, gravity is different depending where you are along with temperature, chemical build up, everything is unstable ect. ect. even if it is tuned then does that mean there is a god? or maybe we're just in one of the possibility's of the muiltiverse

    The finely tuned theory and the muiltiverse are both just as likely possible despite the universe clearly isn't tuned

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.