Fine Tuning of the Universe - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-15-2006, 06:27 PM   #1
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
AEON's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: California
Posts: 4,052
Local Time: 07:19 AM
Fine Tuning of the Universe

If I could go back to my youth and start school all over again, I would want to study astrophysics. I think it is a truly amazing field and they are probably the biggest apologists for God - even if most do not know they are

Anyway, here is a brief article published last January that I found thought provoking. Since I am not an astrophysicist, I cannot claim any of these thoughts as my own, but I do think that in a roundabout way - they make me feel my faith is not merely planted in some ethereal hope, but on firm logical, scientific ground. It seems that instead of science disproving the necessity of God over time, science is actually revealing more and more how necessary God truly is in understanding this mind-bogglingly complex universe.

Quote:
An amazing array of scientists are bewildered by the design of the universe and admit a possibility of a designer. by Mordechai Steinman with Dr. Gerald Schroeder January 10, 2006

According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so "finely-tuned," and so many "coincidences" have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.

In fact, this "fine-tuning" is so pronounced, and the "coincidences" are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind.

Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the "fine-tuning" and conclude that the universe is "too contrived" to be a chance event.

In a BBC science documentary, "The Anthropic Principle," some of the greatest scientific minds of our day describe the recent findings which compel this conclusion.

Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories:
If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature -- like the charge on the electron -- then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.

Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:
If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.

Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University:
"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life -- almost contrived -- you might say a 'put-up job'."

According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called "The Big Bang." At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.

When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the "blast-furnaces" of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous "fortunate" one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful "adjustments" had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.

Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.

Adds Dr. David D. Deutch:

If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE OF FINE-TUNING

Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment's most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning.

The August '97 issue of "Science" (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled "Science and God: A Warming Trend?" Here is an excerpt:

The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life -- such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars -- also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.

In his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time", Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world's most famous cosmologist)
refers to the phenomenon as "remarkable."

"The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life". "For example," Hawking writes, "if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty."

Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of "a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)" (ibid. p. 125).

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of "Genesis and the Big Bang" and "The Science of Life" was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:

1) Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in high energy physics (a field of science that deals with the very early universe), writing in the journal "Scientific American",
reflects on how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.

Although Weinberg is a self-described agnostic, he cannot but be astounded by the extent of the fine-tuning. He goes on to describe how a beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. But this is not the end of Professor Weinberg's wonder at our well-tuned universe.

He continues:

One constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning -- The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.
This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not:
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000,

but instead:
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,
there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:
the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

2) Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:

The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.

3) Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding, namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)

Penrose continues,
Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe -- and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure -- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.

Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.

It is appropriate to complete this section on "fine tuning" with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:
To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, "How could it have ever been otherwise?"
__________________

__________________
AEON is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 06:41 PM   #2
ONE
love, blood, life
 
financeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ireland
Posts: 10,122
Local Time: 03:19 PM
Ah yes, that old chestnut the anthropic principle.

"In cosmology, the anthropic principle in its most basic form asserts the truism that any valid theory of the universe must be consistent with the existence of human beings and of organic chemistry, here and now in the universe.

In simple terms, the anthropic principle says, if a billion universes existed, with a multitude of laws of nature, then humans would only be aware of those in which humans could emerge, and (no matter how many versions of laws of nature existed) the laws of nature humans saw would only be the laws of nature of those universes in which humans as we know them could emerge. In other words, "If something must be true for us, as humans, to exist, then it is true because we exist." This is an effect known as selection bias."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_anthropic_principle

From Aeon's link:-

"Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of "a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)" (ibid. p. 125). "

The phrasing is interesting, note that Hawking is not actually saying that he personally is a believer in God. I think that Hawking is (at most) a deist agnostic, and as Aeon quite correctly implies, the majority of cosmologists are not believers.
__________________

__________________
financeguy is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 07:00 PM   #3
The Fly
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 220
Local Time: 02:19 PM
AEON, out of curiosity, where was that article published?
__________________
silja is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 07:58 PM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The American Resistance
Posts: 4,754
Local Time: 08:19 AM
Sadly, in many public schools a science teacher couldn't read that article.
__________________
INDY500 is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 08:27 PM   #5
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:19 AM
We exist in the best of all possible worlds, quite simply of all the infinite possibilities we may only exist in one just like Earth - therefore our very existence may be looked at as either the statistical inevitability of an infinite series of atomic arrangements or a deliberate act of design, given what we have discovered about the size and age of the universe and it's nature the infinite variation option seems to be the most probable. The authoratative statements from the article and appeals to experts through quotation does little to sway me, science is about facts and not consensus.

As for the amazing wonders of the universe why do people suffer a compulsion to make them representations of divine order? To relegate such fascinating things to the category of a mundane design from a human invention is to limit the possibilities.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 09:00 PM   #6
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Washington State
Posts: 3,861
Local Time: 02:19 PM
I've always been of the opinion that this whole big bang idea will be out the window within the next century or earlier. It's just so contrived and improbable that even big name scientists are starting to discount it.

"The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side."

That's a really cool quote by the way.
__________________
shart1780 is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 09:04 PM   #7
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:19 AM
It's not contrived it is a reasonably good explanation for the red shifting of galaxies at tremendous distance, it is a way of explaining the expansion of the universe. It does however require many additions that have created problems, for instance cosmic inflationary period immediately following the big bang.

If the theory gets scrapped for something better it does not indicate a failure of scientific investigation it reflects a success, a step closer to understanding exactly what is going on.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 09:06 PM   #8
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Washington State
Posts: 3,861
Local Time: 02:19 PM
If science were to move on to a new idea I'd find it harder to trust in science as we've been told for thousands of years "the truth" about how the universe came to be but pretty much every theory but the big bang has been tossed out the window.

Heck, even these scientists who pretty much have the job of disproving creation are coming to terms with the idea that the universe may have needed a grand designer.
__________________
shart1780 is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 09:18 PM   #9
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:19 AM
You need to get an understanding of the philosophy of science, it is not about coming up with absolute truth but the best possible explanation for the facts. It is a progressive system of knowledge accumulation and unlike religion the validity of scientific theory does not gain credence simply by virtue of being old, for the record the big bang theory only came into existence when we were able to observe that the light from distant galaxies had it's wavelengths stretched out (red-shifted) which showed that the very space in between the galaxies and the earth was expanding, by looking at the ammount of red-shift relative to the distance away we have been able to formulate the hubble constant which gives us the rate of universal expansion.

Science is about paradigm shifts, revolutionary ideas that give us a better framework of knowledge that closer approximates what is going on - just look at the development of Plate Tectonic Theory in the 20th Century to see how a revolutionary idea that better explains the evidence can be adopted.

Creationists claim that their ideas are also revolutionary and are being supressed by the scientific community, the real joke is that their ideas have been around for over a century and in all that time the evidence has discredited their ideas furthur. Their intellectual lazyness (as in never coming up with new ideas and always giving the same arguments regardless of how often they have been disproves - case in point the evolutionary pathway for flagellum has been unravelled disproving the contention of Michael Behe when he used it as the master stroke for his Irreducable Complexity Hypothesis.

All this attatchment to tradition, the idea that older must always be better and that change is weakness is the legacy of religious thought on humankind.

Scientists have little time to waste arguing with creationists, they never come up with any new research to prove their ideas, they don't have a system of peer review and they are not contributing anywhere near what evolutionary theory is to the world (modern medicine, ecology and genomics to name a few). Evolution underpins modern biology, none of it would make any sense without evolution, the creationism argument and the whole bundle of social critiques expoused as criticism of evolution (as in it causes sinfulness and genocide) just reflect the true reason of opposition; a fundamental rejection of naturalism and objective investigation which discredits and disproves the literalist interperatation of their tomes and traditions.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 09:24 PM   #10
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Washington State
Posts: 3,861
Local Time: 02:19 PM
Do you expect christianity as whole to present new ideas regarding science and medicine to the world? I'm sure there are more than a handful of religious people who have made numerous advances in science and medicine. They just may not flaunt their beliefes saying "look at me, I'm a religious person who contributed to science!!".
__________________
shart1780 is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 09:30 PM   #11
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:19 AM
No but they demand to have their ideas taken seriously and in science that means peer review, study of methodology and criticism. Theistic impositions by way of design simply introduce non-falsifiable elements and they are always non-scientific (and as a matter of record String "Theory" - not really a scientific theory - suffers this same problem). If they want to come in tell the scientific community that they have been getting it wrong for over a century and that they don't really understand anything that they think they do they should be able to handle the refutations and either answer their critics satisfactorily or enjoy being ignored and occasionally challenged (when they try to put their tripe into the public school classroom).
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 10:00 PM   #12
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
trevster2k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 4,330
Local Time: 10:49 AM
For the laypersons here like me, go read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

It has great stories about science and the earth and all kinds of interesting discoveries and facts about the earth. Basically, we as humans still know practically nothing about our planet and any new science discoveries are challenged and sometimes ridiculed for decades before being accepted. But just because scientists are baffled by the universe doesn't mean they will never understand it either, I mean, it is the ultimate puzzle, it's not sudoku.

Science is allowed to make mistakes, look at the flat earth theory, shit, we put lead and CFCs into our fuel and cooling units for decades before they reallized how bad it was for humans and the environment. Einstein didn't believe in tectonic plates as an explanation of earthquakes, he wrote the foreward for a book condemning the theory before he died. There are a ton of examples of theories in the past which have since been PROVEN to be incorrect. Just because some scientists admit to being baffled by the greatest mystery of all doesn't mean anything. I think that all the numbers reflecting the rarity of the chance of life kind of supports why the universe is so big and lifeless. Everything has to be perfect for life to exist, the earth has undergone tremendous change over the past millions of years and each time a different form of life has dominated the planet whether it be dinosaurs, reptiles, marine life, or mammals.

Just curious, how do creationists explain the existance of the different fossils found proving the existance of creatures from different geological eras?
__________________
trevster2k is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 11:19 PM   #13
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
AEON's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: California
Posts: 4,052
Local Time: 07:19 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Theistic impositions by way of design simply introduce non-falsifiable elements and they are always non-scientific
So, you are saying that the conclusions reached by these scientists in the article are non-scientific?

To many, myself included, the Big Bang fits quite nicely into Genesis.

It seems that many atheist scientists will completely ignore the almost impossible odds against their theories. They will accept 99.9 as a reasonable amount of certainty to say something is scientific fact. But they will toss out the 99.9999 (please insert BILLIONS of BILLIONS of nines) certainty that there was a creator and that the universe was specifically tuned and balanced for life.

How insane are these odds? Imagine a tornado ripping through a town and destroying it – brick by brick, every last bit of it. Now imagine a second tornado following behind it and the raging winds whip everything in that town back into the EXACT same place it was before the first tornado hit.

Please tell me - who is really abandoning scientific thought here?
__________________
AEON is offline  
Old 07-15-2006, 11:25 PM   #14
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
ILuvLarryMullen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: in the sunshine
Posts: 6,904
Local Time: 06:19 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by shart1780
If science were to move on to a new idea I'd find it harder to trust in science as we've been told for thousands of years "the truth" about how the universe came to be but pretty much every theory but the big bang has been tossed out the window.

ummm... maybe i'm not reading your post correctly but the theory of the big bang hasn't been around for "thousands of years". It's a very recent theory. It really hasn't been that long since it was believed that the world was flat and the that the sun revolved around the earth.

Just because one theory is thrown out doesn't mean that you shouldn't believe in science anymore. Look at medical science for example. Because they were wrong about bleeding people to cure them does that mean that we shouldn't trust medicine either because it is likely to be just a bunch of crap too?
__________________
ILuvLarryMullen is offline  
Old 07-16-2006, 02:14 AM   #15
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:19 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
It seems that many atheist scientists will completely ignore the almost impossible odds against their theories.
The "odds against" argument is full of shit because the events themselves did occur at some stage; just because it is unlikely doesn't infer design.
Quote:
They will accept 99.9 as a reasonable amount of certainty to say something is scientific fact.
Yes, and that is perfectly reasonable.
Quote:
But they will toss out the 99.9999 (please insert BILLIONS of BILLIONS of nines) certainty that there was a creator and that the universe was specifically tuned and balanced for life.
Bullshit, there is absolutely no way to prove the existence of this supposed creator, it an unfalsifiable element and the nature of science is that a theory has to have the ability to be disproved. Your authoratative statement about the statistical evidence for a creator is valid as the evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Quite simply the supposition of a creator is not the conclusion that the evidence points to, we see a purely naturalistic universe, the anthropic principle also fails to make the case for or against a creator because it merely states that we only exist in the world that is ideal for our existence and we never see the innumerable situations where life and us do not arise.
Quote:
How insane are these odds? Imagine a tornado ripping through a town and destroying it – brick by brick, every last bit of it. Now imagine a second tornado following behind it and the raging winds whip everything in that town back into the EXACT same place it was before the first tornado hit.
You know if I throw an infinite number of tornadoes at an infinite number of towns that is going to happen eventually, the size of the universe would make the formation of self-replicating organisms a cosmic inevitability - my evidence for this statement is that life has emerged on the planet Earth.
Quote:
Please tell me - who is really abandoning scientific thought here?
Those who infer design on the basis of the complexity in the universe are not making that leap based on the evidence - we have no evidence for a creator and the assumption that one ever existed is an invention of mankind, unless the evidence draws us to the conclusion of creation and design (and it has not done so over the last century) then the idea shouldn't be entertained seriously.
__________________

__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com