Fine-tuned Universe

The fine-tuned Universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can occur only when certain universal dimensionless physical constants lie within a very narrow range of values, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, the Universe would be unlikely to be conducive to the establishment and development of matter, astronomical structures, elemental diversity, or life as it is understood.[1][2][3][4]

Various possible explanations of ostensible fine-tuning are discussed among philosophers, scientists, theologians, and proponents and detractors of creationism. The fine-tuned Universe observation is closely related to, but not exactly synonymous with the anthropic principle, which is often used as an explanation of apparent fine-tuning.

History

In 1913, the chemist Lawrence Joseph Henderson (1878–1942) wrote The Fitness of the Environment, one of the first books to explore concepts of fine tuning in the universe. Henderson discusses the importance of water and the environment with respect to living things, pointing out that life depends entirely on the very specific environmental conditions on Earth, especially with regard to the prevalence and properties of water.[5]

In 1961, physicist Robert H. Dicke claimed that certain forces in physics, such as gravity and electromagnetism, must be perfectly fine-tuned for life to exist anywhere in the universe.[6][7] Fred Hoyle also argued for a fine-tuned universe in his 1984 book Intelligent Universe. He compares "the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a star system full of blind men solving Rubik's Cube simultaneously".[8]

John Gribbin and Martin Rees wrote a detailed history and defence of the fine-tuning argument in their book Cosmic Coincidences (1989). According to Gribbin and Rees, "The conditions in our Universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity. But the question remains – is the Universe tailor-made for man?"[2]

Premise

The premise of the fine-tuned universe assertion is that a small change in several of the dimensionless physical constants would make the universe radically different. As Stephen Hawking has noted, "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life."[4]

If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e. if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger), while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable; according to physicist Paul Davies, hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium.[9] This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The existence of the diproton would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all of the universe's hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang.[9] This "diproton argument" is disputed by other physicists, who calculate that as long as the increase in strength is less than 50%, stellar fusion could occur despite the existence of stable diprotons.[10]

The precise formulation of the idea is made difficult by the fact that physicists do not yet know how many independent physical constants there are. The current standard model of particle physics has 25 freely adjustable parameters and general relativity has one additional parameter, the cosmological constant, which is known to be non-zero, but profoundly small in value. However, because the standard model is not mathematically self-consistent under certain conditions (e.g., at very high energies, at which both quantum mechanics and general relativity are relevant), physicists believe that it is underlaid by some other theory, such as a grand unified theory, string theory, or loop quantum gravity. In some candidate theories, the actual number of independent physical constants may be as small as one. For example, the cosmological constant may be a fundamental constant, but attempts have also been made to calculate it from other constants, and according to the author of one such calculation, "the small value of the cosmological constant is telling us that a remarkably precise and totally unexpected relation exists among all the parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics, the bare cosmological constant and unknown physics."[11]

Examples

Martin Rees formulates the fine-tuning of the universe in terms of the following six dimensionless physical constants.[1][12]

  • N, the ratio of the strength of electromagnetism to the strength of gravity for a pair of protons, is approximately 1036. According to Rees, if it were significantly smaller, only a small and short-lived universe could exist.[12]
  • Epsilon (ε), a measure of the nuclear efficiency of fusion from hydrogen to helium, is 0.007: when four nucleons fuse into helium, 0.007 (0.7%) of their mass is converted to energy. The value of ε is in part determined by the strength of the strong nuclear force.[13] If ε were 0.006, only hydrogen could exist, and complex chemistry would be impossible. According to Rees, if it were above 0.008, no hydrogen would exist, as all the hydrogen would have been fused shortly after the big bang. Other physicists disagree, calculating that substantial hydrogen remains as long as the strong force coupling constant increases by less than about 50%.[10][12]
  • Omega (Ω), commonly known as the density parameter, is the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the universe. It is the ratio of the mass density of the universe to the "critical density" and is approximately 1. If gravity were too strong compared with dark energy and the initial metric expansion, the universe would have collapsed before life could have evolved. On the other side, if gravity were too weak, no stars would have formed.[12][14]
  • Lambda (λ), commonly known as the cosmological constant, describes the ratio of the density of dark energy to the critical energy density of the universe, given certain reasonable assumptions such as positing that dark energy density is a constant. In terms of Planck units, and as a natural dimensionless value, the cosmological constant, λ, is on the order of 10−122.[15] This is so small that it has no significant effect on cosmic structures that are smaller than a billion light-years across. If the cosmological constant were not extremely small, stars and other astronomical structures would not be able to form.[12]
  • Q, the ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass, is around 10−5. If it is too small, no stars can form. If it is too large, no stars can survive because the universe is too violent, according to Rees.[12]
  • D, the number of spatial dimensions in spacetime, is 3. Rees claims that life could not exist if there were 2 or 4 dimensions of spacetime nor if any other than 1 time dimension existed in spacetime.[12]

Carbon and oxygen

An older example is the Hoyle state, the third-lowest energy state of the carbon-12 nucleus, with an energy of 7.656 MeV above the ground level. According to one calculation, if the state's energy level was lower than 7.3 or greater than 7.9 MeV, insufficient carbon would exist to support life. Furthermore, to explain the universe's abundance of carbon, the Hoyle state must be further tuned to a value between 7.596 and 7.716 MeV. A similar calculation, focusing on the underlying fundamental constants that give rise to various energy levels, concludes that the strong force must be tuned to a precision of at least 0.5%, and the electromagnetic force to a precision of at least 4%, to prevent either carbon production or oxygen production from dropping significantly.[16]

Disputes regarding the existence and extent of fine-tuning

Physicist Paul Davies has asserted that "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the universe is in several respects 'fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires." He also states that "'anthropic' reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted, but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because abiogenesis occurs frequently".[17] Among scientists who find the evidence persuasive, a variety of explanations have been proposed, such as the anthropic principle along with multiple universes. George F. R. Ellis states "that no possible astronomical observations can ever see those other universes. The arguments are indirect at best. And even if the multiverse exists, it leaves the deep mysteries of nature unexplained."[18]

Regarding recently discovered dark energy and its implication on the cosmological constant, Leonard Susskind says "The great mystery is not why there is dark energy. The great mystery is why there is so little of it [10−122]... The fact that we are just on the knife edge of existence, [that] if dark energy were very much bigger we wouldn’t be here, that's the mystery." A slightly larger quantity of dark energy, or a slightly larger value of the cosmological constant would have caused space to expand rapidly enough that galaxies would not form.[19] Despite this, Susskind does not necessarily see the universe as being fine-tuned, suggesting that some parts of the "megaverse" in which we live might just, by chance, be suitable for the emergence of life, while other parts might not be.[20]

Steven Weinberg rejects the argument about the fine-tuning of the carbon cycle, arguing that "the fine-tuning of the constants of nature here does not seem so fine". He acknowledges that he currently has no explanation (apart from a multiverse) for the smallness of the cosmological constant, but cautions that "It is still too early to tell whether there is some fundamental principle that can explain why the cosmological constant must be this small."[21][22]

Physicist Victor Stenger objected to the fine-tuning, and especially to theist use of fine-tuning arguments. His numerous criticisms included what he called "the wholly unwarranted assumption that only carbon-based life is possible."[23] In turn, the astrophysicist Luke Barnes has criticised much of Stenger's work.[24]

The validity of fine tuning examples is sometimes questioned on the grounds that such reasoning is subjective anthropomorphism applied to natural physical constants. Critics also suggest that the fine-tuned universe assertion and the anthropic principle are essentially tautologies.[25]

The fine-tuned universe argument has also been criticized as an argument by lack of imagination, as it assumes no other forms of life, sometimes referred to as carbon chauvinism. Conceptually, alternative biochemistry or other forms of life are possible.[26] Regarding this, Stenger argued: "We have no reason to believe that our kind of carbon-based life is all that is possible. Furthermore, modern cosmology theorises that multiple universes may exist with different constants and laws of physics. So, it is not surprising that we live in the one suited for us. The universe is not fine-tuned to life; life is fine-tuned to the universe."[27]

In addition, critics argue that humans are adapted to the universe through the process of evolution, rather than the universe being adapted to humans (see puddle thinking, below). They also see it as an example of the logical flaw of hubris or anthropocentrism in its assertion that humans are the purpose of the universe.[28]

Possible naturalistic explanations

There are fine tuning arguments that are naturalistic.[29]:125 First, as mentioned in premise section the fine tuning might be an illusion: we don't know the true number of independent physical constants, which could be small and even reduce to one. And we don't know either the laws of the "potential universe factory", i.e. the range and statistical distribution ruling the "choice" for each constant (including our arbitrary choice of units and precise set of constants). Still, as modern cosmology developed various hypotheses not presuming hidden order have been proposed. One is an oscillatory universe or a multiverse, where fundamental physical constants are postulated to resolve themselves to random values in different iterations of reality.[30] Under this hypothesis, separate parts of reality would have wildly different characteristics. In such scenarios, the appearance of fine-tuning is explained as a consequence of the weak anthropic principle and selection bias (specifically survivor bias) that only those universes with fundamental constants hospitable to life (such as the universe we observe) would have living beings emerge and evolve capable of contemplating the questions of origins and of fine-tuning. All other universes would go utterly unbeheld by any such beings.

Multiverse

The Multiverse hypothesis proposes the existence of many universes with different physical constants, some of which are hospitable to intelligent life (see multiverse: anthropic principle). Because we are intelligent beings, it is unsurprising that we find ourselves in a hospitable universe if there is such a multiverse. The Multiverse hypothesis is therefore thought to provide an elegant explanation of the finding that we exist despite the required fine-tuning. (See [31] for a detailed discussion of the arguments for and against this suggested explanation.)

The multiverse idea has led to considerable research into the anthropic principle and has been of particular interest to particle physicists, because theories of everything do apparently generate large numbers of universes in which the physical constants vary widely. As yet, there is no evidence for the existence of a multiverse, but some versions of the theory do make predictions that some researchers studying M-theory and gravity leaks hope to see some evidence of soon.[32] Some multiverse theories are not falsifiable, thus scientists may be reluctant to call any multiverse theory "scientific". UNC-Chapel Hill professor Laura Mersini-Houghton claims that the WMAP cold spot may provide testable empirical evidence for a parallel universe,[33] although this claim was recently refuted as the WMAP cold spot was found to be nothing more than a statistical artifact.[34] Variants on this approach include Lee Smolin's notion of cosmological natural selection, the Ekpyrotic universe, and the Bubble universe theory.

Critics of the multiverse-related explanations argue that there is no independent evidence that other universes exist. Some criticize the inference from fine-tuning for life to a multiverse as fallacious,[35] whereas others defend it against that challenge.[36]

Top-down cosmology

Stephen Hawking, along with Thomas Hertog of CERN, proposed that the universe's initial conditions consisted of a superposition of many possible initial conditions, only a small fraction of which contributed to the conditions we see today.[37] According to their theory, it is inevitable that we find our universe's "fine-tuned" physical constants, as the current universe "selects" only those past histories that led to the present conditions. In this way, top-down cosmology provides an anthropic explanation for why we find ourselves in a universe that allows matter and life, without invoking the ontic existence of the Multiverse.[38]

Alien design

One hypothesis is that the universe may have been designed by extra-universal aliens. Some believe this would solve the problem of how a designer or design team capable of fine-tuning the universe could come to exist.[39] Cosmologist Alan Guth believes humans will in time be able to generate new universes.[40] By implication previous intelligent entities may have generated our universe.[41] This idea leads to the possibility that the extraterrestrial designer/designers are themselves the product of an evolutionary process in their own universe, which must therefore itself be able to sustain life. However it also raises the question of where that universe came from, leading to an infinite regress.

The Designer Universe theory of John Gribbin suggests that the universe could have been made deliberately by an advanced civilization in another part of the Multiverse, and that this civilization may have been responsible for causing the Big Bang.[42]

Philosophical arguments

As with theistic evolution, some individual scientists, theologians, and philosophers as well as certain religious groups argue that providence or creation are responsible for fine-tuning.

Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga argues that random chance, applied to a single and sole universe, only raises the question as to why this universe could be so "lucky" as to have precise conditions that support life at least at some place (the Earth) and time (within millions of years of the present).

One reaction to these apparent enormous coincidences is to see them as substantiating the theistic claim that the universe has been created by a personal God and as offering the material for a properly restrained theistic argument—hence the fine-tuning argument. It's as if there are a large number of dials that have to be tuned to within extremely narrow limits for life to be possible in our universe. It is extremely unlikely that this should happen by chance, but much more likely that this should happen, if there is such a person as God.

— Alvin Plantinga, "The Dawkins Confusion: Naturalism ad absurdum"[43]

This fine-tuning of the universe is cited[44] by philosopher and Christian apologist William Lane Craig as an evidence for the existence of God or some form of intelligence capable of manipulating (or designing) the basic physics that governs the universe. Craig argues, however, "that the postulate of a divine Designer does not settle for us the religious question."

Philosopher and theologian Richard Swinburne reaches the design conclusion using Bayesian probability.[45]

Scientist and theologian Alister McGrath has pointed out that the fine-tuning of carbon is even responsible for nature’s ability to tune itself to any degree.

The entire biological evolutionary process depends upon the unusual chemistry of carbon, which allows it to bond to itself, as well as other elements, creating highly complex molecules that are stable over prevailing terrestrial temperatures, and are capable of conveying genetic information (especially DNA). […] Whereas it might be argued that nature creates its own fine-tuning, this can only be done if the primordial constituents of the universe are such that an evolutionary process can be initiated. The unique chemistry of carbon is the ultimate foundation of the capacity of nature to tune itself.[46][47]

Theoretical physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne has stated: "Anthropic fine tuning is too remarkable to be dismissed as just a happy accident."[48]

Intelligent design

Proponents of intelligent design argue that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. The fine-tuned universe argument is a central premise or presented as given in many of the published works of prominent intelligent design proponents, such as William A. Dembski and Michael Behe.[49]

Counterarguments

Mark Colyvan, Jay L. Garfield and Graham Priest (2005) have argued that a theistic explanation for fine tuning is faulted due to fallacious probabilistic reasoning.[50]

Mathematician Michael Ikeda and astronomer William H. Jefferys have argued that the anthropic principle and selection effect are not properly taken into account in the fine tuning argument for a designer, and that in taking them into account, fine tuning does not support the designer hypothesis.[51][52] Philosopher of science Elliott Sober makes a similar argument.[53]

Physicist Robert L. Park has also criticized the theistic interpretation of fine-tuning:

If the universe was designed for life, it must be said that it is a shockingly inefficient design. There are vast reaches of the universe in which life as we know it is clearly impossible: gravitational forces would be crushing, or radiation levels are too high for complex molecules to exist, or temperatures would make the formation of stable chemical bonds impossible... Fine-tuned for life? It would make more sense to ask why God designed a universe so inhospitable to life.[54]

Victor Stenger argues that "The fine-tuning argument and other recent intelligent design arguments are modern versions of God-of-the-gaps reasoning, where a God is deemed necessary whenever science has not fully explained some phenomenon".[23] Stenger argues that science may provide an explanation if a Theory of Everything is formulated, which he says may reveal connections between the physical constants. A change in one physical constant may be compensated by a change in another, suggesting that the apparent fine-tuning of the universe is a fallacy because, in hypothesizing the apparent fine-tuning, it is mistaken to vary one physical parameter while keeping the others constant.[55]

In popular culture

Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact, it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this World was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Rees, Martin (May 3, 2001). Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe (1st American ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books. p. 4.
  2. ^ a b Gribbin. J and Rees. M, Cosmic Coincidences: Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology p. 7, 269, 1989, ISBN 0-553-34740-3
  3. ^ Davis, Paul (2007). Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life. New York, NY: Orion Publications. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-61859226-5.
  4. ^ a b Stephen Hawking, 1988. A Brief History of Time, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-05340-X, p. 7, 125.
  5. ^ Lawrence Joseph Henderson, The fitness of the environment: an inquiry into the biological significance of the properties of matter The Macmillan Company, 1913
  6. ^ R. H. Dicke (1961). "Dirac's Cosmology and Mach's Principle". Nature. 192 (4801): 440–441. Bibcode:1961Natur.192..440D. doi:10.1038/192440a0.
  7. ^ Heilbron, J. L. The Oxford guide to the history of physics and astronomy, Volume 10 2005, p. 8
  8. ^ Profile of Fred Hoyle at OPT Archived 2012-04-06 at the Wayback Machine. Optcorp.com. Retrieved on 2013-03-11.
  9. ^ a b Paul Davies, 1993. The Accidental Universe, Cambridge University Press, p70-71
  10. ^ a b MacDonald, J.; Mullan, D. J. (2009). "Big bang nucleosynthesis: The strong nuclear force meets the weak anthropic principle". Physical Review D. 80 (4): 043507. arXiv:0904.1807. Bibcode:2009PhRvD..80d3507M. doi:10.1103/physrevd.80.043507. Contrary to a common argument that a small increase in the strength of the strong force would lead to destruction of all hydrogen in the big bang due to binding of the diproton and the dineutron with a catastrophic impact on life as we know it, we show that provided the increase in strong force coupling constant is less than about 50% substantial amounts of hydrogen remain.
  11. ^ Abbott, Larry (1991). "The Mystery of the Cosmological Constant". Scientific American. 3 (1): 78.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Lemley, Brad. "Why is There Life?". Discover magazine. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  13. ^ Morison, Ian (2013). "9.14: A universe fit for intelligent life". Introduction to astronomy and cosmology. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. ISBN 9781118681527.
  14. ^ Sean Carroll and Michio Kaku (2014). How the Universe Works 3. End of the Universe. Discovery Channel.
  15. ^ John D. Barrow The Value of the Cosmological Constant
  16. ^ Livio, M.; Hollowell, D.; Weiss, A.; Truran, J. W. (27 July 1989). "The anthropic significance of the existence of an excited state of 12C". Nature. 340 (6231): 281–284. Bibcode:1989Natur.340..281L. doi:10.1038/340281a0.
  17. ^ Davies (2003). "How bio-friendly is the universe". Int. J. Astrobiol. 2 (115): 115. arXiv:astro-ph/0403050. Bibcode:2003IJAsB...2..115D. doi:10.1017/S1473550403001514.
  18. ^ George F. R. Ellis, "Does the Multiverse Really Exist?" Scientific American
  19. ^ Ananthaswamy, Anil. "Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life?". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
  20. ^ Ross, Greg (2015). "An interview with Leonard Susskind". American Scientist.
  21. ^ Weinberg, Steven (1999). "A Designer Universe?". physlink.com.
  22. ^ "Interview". Public Broadcasting System, pbs.org.
  23. ^ a b Stenger, Victor J. "Is The Universe Fine-Tuned For Us?" (PDF). University of Colorado. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-16.
  24. ^ Barnes (2011). "The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. 29 (4): 529–564. arXiv:1112.4647. Bibcode:2012PASA...29..529B. doi:10.1071/AS12015.
  25. ^ See, e.g., Silk, Joseph (September 14, 2006). "Our place in the Multiverse". Nature. 443 (7108): 145–146. Bibcode:2006Natur.443..145S. doi:10.1038/443145a.
  26. ^ See, e.g. Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart: What Does a Martian Look Like: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life, Wiley, 2002, p. 159.
  27. ^ Stenger, Victor J. "Flew's Flawed Science".
  28. ^ See, e.g., Gerald Feinberg and Robert Shapiro, "A Puddlian Fable" in Huchingson, Religion and the Natural Sciences (1993), pp. 220–221
  29. ^ Hinnells, J., The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2010), p. 119.
  30. ^ Wheeler, J. A. (1977) in Foundational problems in the special sciences, Reidel, Dordrecht, pp 3–33
  31. ^ Friederich, Simon (2017). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  32. ^ Parallel Worlds,2005, Michio Kaku, pp. 220–221
  33. ^ "Two Programmes – Horizon, 2010–2011, What Happened Before the Big Bang?". BBC. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  34. ^ Zhang, Ray; Dragan Hunterer (2010). "Disks in the sky: A reassessment of the WMAP "cold spot"". Astroparticle Physics. 33 (69 (2010)): 69. arXiv:0908.3988v2. Bibcode:2010APh....33...69Z. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.249.6944. doi:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2009.11.005.
  35. ^ White, Roger (2000-06-01). "Fine-Tuning and Multiple Universes". Noûs. 34 (2): 260–276. doi:10.1111/0029-4624.00210. ISSN 1468-0068.
  36. ^ Bradley, Darren (2009). "Multiple Universes and Observation Selection Effects". American Philosophical Quarterly. 46 (1): 61–72. JSTOR 20464437.
  37. ^ Ball, Philip (June 21, 2006). "Hawking Rewrites History...Backwards". News@nature. doi:10.1038/news060619-6. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
  38. ^ Hawking, S. W.; Hertog, Thomas (February 2006). "Populating the Landscape: A Top Down Approach". Phys. Rev. D73 (12): 123527. arXiv:hep-th/0602091v2. Bibcode:2006PhRvD..73l3527H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.73.123527.
  39. ^ Dick, S. J., The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 59.
  40. ^ Malcolm W. Browne (1987-04-14). "Physicist Aims to Create a Universe, Literally". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  41. ^ Science & Nature – Horizon – Parallel Universes – Transcript. BBC (2002-02-14). Retrieved on 2013-03-11.
  42. ^ John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse: Parallel Worlds, Hidden Dimensions, and the Ultimate Quest for the Frontiers of Reality, 2010, p. 195
  43. ^ Alvin Plantinga, "The Dawkins Confusion: Naturalism ad absurdum," Christianity Today, March/April 2007
  44. ^ William Lane Craig, "The Teleological Argument and the Anthropic Principle". leaderu.com
  45. ^ Richard Swinburne, 1990. Argument from the fine-tuning of the Universe, in Physical cosmology and philosophy, J. Leslie, Editor. Collier Macmillan: New York. pp. 154–73.
  46. ^ McGrath, Alister E. (2009). A fine-tuned universe : the quest for God in science and theology (1st ed.). Louisville, KY.: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0664233105.
  47. ^ "What is the "fine-tuning" of the universe, and how does it serve as a "pointer to God"?". BioLogos.org. Archived from the original on 2014-12-21.
  48. ^ Polkinghorne, John (1998) Science and Theology: An Introduction p. 75
  49. ^ Meister, C., Introducing Philosophy of Religion (Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2009), p. 107.
  50. ^ Colyvan et al. (2005). Problems with the Argument from Fine Tuning. Synthese 145: 325-38.
  51. ^ The Anthropic Principle Does Not Support Supernaturalism, Michael Ikeda, Bill Jefferys
  52. ^ Michael Ikeda and William H. Jefferys, "The Anthropic Principle Does Not Support Supernaturalism," in The Improbability of God, Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier, Editors, pp. 150–166. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Press. ISBN 1-59102-381-5.
  53. ^ Elliott Sober, 2004. The Design Argument, in The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Religion, W. E. Mann, Editor. Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-22129-8.
  54. ^ Park, Robert L. (2009). Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science. Princeton University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-691-13355-3
  55. ^ Chown, Marcus (14 June 2011). "Why the universe wasn't fine-tuned for life". New Scientist. 210 (2816): 49. Bibcode:2011NewSc.210R..49C. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(11)61395-X.
  56. ^ Williams, Robyn (18 February 2006). "The anthropic universe". The Science Show. ABC Radio National. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  57. ^ Redfern, Martin (24 December 1995). "Proofs of God in a photon". The Independent. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  58. ^ Adams, Douglas (2002). The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time. Harmony Books. p. 131. ISBN 9781400045082. Retrieved January 9, 2015.

Further reading

External links

Defend fine-tuning
Criticize fine tuning
Argument from love

The Argument from love is an argument for the existence of God. The best-known defender of the argument is Roger Scruton.

Argument from miracles

The argument from miracles is an argument for the existence of God that relies on the belief that events witnessed and described as miracles – i.e. as events not explicable by natural or scientific laws – indicate the intervention of the supernatural.

One example of this argument is the Christological argument: the claim that historical evidence proves that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that this can only be explained if God exists. Another is the claim that many of the Qur'an's prophecies have been fulfilled and that this too can only be explained if God (Allah) exists.

Defenders of the argument include C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and William of Ockham.

Best of all possible worlds

The phrase "the best of all possible worlds" (French: le meilleur des mondes possibles; German: Die beste aller möglichen Welten) was coined by the German polymath Gottfried Leibniz in his 1710 work Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal (Essays of Theodicy on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil). The claim that the actual world is the best of all possible worlds is the central argument in Leibniz's theodicy, or his attempt to solve the problem of evil.

Carbon chauvinism

Carbon chauvinism is a neologism meant to disparage the assumption that the chemical processes of hypothetical extraterrestrial life must be constructed primarily from carbon (organic compounds) because carbon's chemical and thermodynamic properties render it far superior to all other elements.

Cataphatic theology

Cataphatic theology or kataphatic theology is theology that uses "positive" terminology to describe or refer to the divine – specifically, God – i.e. terminology that describes or refers to what the divine is believed to be, in contrast to the "negative" terminology used in apophatic theology to indicate what it is believed the divine is not.

Centre for Intelligent Design

The Centre for Intelligent Design is an advocacy group, headquartered in Scotland that promotes the pseudoscientific principle. of intelligent design.

Cosmic Jackpot

Cosmic Jackpot, also published under the title The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life?, is a 2007 non-fiction book by physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies, describing the idea of a fine-tuned Universe.

Eschatological verification

Eschatological verification describes a process whereby a proposition can be verified after death. A proposition such as "there is an afterlife" is verifiable if true but not falsifiable if false (if it's false, the individual will not know it's false, because they have no state of being). The term is most commonly used in relation to God and the afterlife, although there may be other propositions - such as moral propositions - which may also be verified after death.

John Hick has expressed the premise as an allegory of a quest to a Celestial City. In this parable, a theist and an atheist are both walking down the same road. The theist believes there is a destination, the atheist believes there is not. If they reach the destination, the theist will have been proven right; however, if there is no destination on an endless road, this can never be verified. This is an attempt to explain how a theist expects some form of life or existence after death and an atheist does not. They both have separate belief systems and live life accordingly, but logically one is right and the other is not. If the theist is right, he will be proven so when he arrives in the afterlife. However, if the atheist is right, they will simply both be dead and nothing will be verified.

This acts as a response to Verificationism. Under Hick's analogy claims about the afterlife are verifiable in principle because the truth becomes clear after death. To some extent it is therefore wrong to claim that religious language cannot be verified because it can (when you're dead).

Fine-tuning

In theoretical physics, fine-tuning is the process in which parameters of a model must be adjusted very precisely in order to fit with certain observations.

Theories requiring fine-tuning are regarded as problematic in the absence of a known mechanism to explain why the parameters happen to have precisely the observed values that they return. The heuristic rule that parameters in a fundamental physical theory should not be too fine-tuned is called naturalness.

Goldilocks principle

The Goldilocks principle is named by analogy to the children's story The Three Bears, in which a little girl named Goldilocks tastes three different bowls of porridge and finds that she prefers porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but has just the right temperature. Since the children's story is well known across cultures, the concept of "just the right amount" is easily understood and applied to a wide range of disciplines, including developmental psychology, biology, astronomy, economics, and engineering.

Intelligent designer

An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life. The term "intelligent cause" is also used, implying their teleological supposition of direction and purpose in features of the universe and of living things.

Natural evil

Natural evil is evil for which "no non-divine agent can be held morally responsible for its occurrence." By contrast, moral evil is “caused by human activity.” The existence of natural evil challenges belief in the omnibenevolence or the omnipotence of deities and the existence of deities including God.

Ontogenetic depth

Ontogenetic depth is a pseudoscientific idea proposed in February 2003 by Paul Nelson, an American philosopher of science, young Earth creationist and intelligent design advocate; he is employed by the Discovery Institute.

Basically, Nelson concludes in his 'hypothesis' that developmental complexity is infrangible, and that if he shows Cambrian organisms to be complex, then it is therefore impossible for them to have evolved. Nelson proposes 'ontogenetic depth' as evidence of specified complexity, and a reliable marker of design by an intelligent agent, in opposition to modern evolutionary theory.

Nelson subsequently stated that ontogenetic depth is "Currently Impossible to Measure".

Outline of the creation–evolution controversy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the creation–evolution controversy.

Physical constant

A physical constant, sometimes fundamental physical constant or universal constant, is a physical quantity that is generally believed to be both universal in nature and have constant value in time. It is contrasted with a mathematical constant, which has a fixed numerical value, but does not directly involve any physical measurement.

There are many physical constants in science, some of the most widely recognized being the speed of light in vacuum c, the gravitational constant G, the Planck constant h, the electric constant ε0, and the elementary charge e. Physical constants can take many dimensional forms: the speed of light signifies a maximum speed for any object and its dimension is length divided by time; while the fine-structure constant α, which characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic interaction, is dimensionless.

The term fundamental physical constant is sometimes used to refer to universal but dimensioned physical constants such as those mentioned above. Increasingly, however, physicists reserve the use of the term fundamental physical constant for dimensionless physical constants, such as the fine-structure constant α.

Physical constant in the sense under discussion in this article should not be confused with other quantities called "constants" that are assumed to be constant in a given context without the implication that they are fundamental, such as the "time constant" characteristic of a given system, or material constants, such as the Madelung constant, electrical resistivity, and heat capacity.

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures decided to redefine several SI base units as from 20 May 2019 by fixing the SI value of several physical constants, including the Planck constant, h, the elementary charge, e, the Boltzmann constant, kB, and the Avogadro constant, NA. The new fixed values are based on the best measurements of the constants based on the earlier definitions, including the kilogram, to ensure minimal impact. As a consequence, the uncertainty in the value of many physical constants when expressed in SI units will reduce substantially.

Teleological argument

The teleological or physico-theological argument, also known as the argument from design, or intelligent design argument is an argument for the existence of God or, more generally, for an intelligent creator based on perceived evidence of deliberate design in the natural world.The earliest recorded versions of this argument are associated with Socrates in ancient Greece, although it has been argued that he was taking up an older argument. Plato, his student, and Aristotle, Plato's student, developed complex approaches to the proposal that the cosmos has an intelligent cause, but it was the Stoics who, under their influence, "developed the battery of creationist arguments broadly known under the label 'The Argument from Design'".Abrahamic religions have used the teleological argument in many ways, and has a long association with them. In the Middle Ages, Islamic theologians such as Al-Ghazali used the argument, although it was rejected as unnecessary by Quranic literalists, and as unconvincing by many Islamic philosophers. Later, the teleological argument was accepted by Saint Thomas Aquinas and included as the fifth of his "Five Ways" of proving the existence of God. In early modern England clergymen such as William Turner and John Ray were well-known proponents. In the early 18th century, William Derham published his Physico-Theology, which gave his "demonstration of the being and attributes of God from his works of creation". Later, William Paley, in his 1802 Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity published a prominent presentation of the design argument with his version of the watchmaker analogy and the first use of the phrase "argument from design".From its beginning, there have been numerous criticisms of the different versions of the teleological argument, and responses to its challenge to the claims against non-teleological natural science. Especially important were the general logical arguments made by David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published 1779, and the explanation of biological complexity given in Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, published in 1859. Since the 1960s, Paley's arguments, including the words "intelligent design", have been influential in the development of a creation science movement, especially the form known as the intelligent design movement, which not only uses the teleological argument to argue against the modern scientific understanding of evolution, but also makes the claim that supposed flaws in evolutionary science justify removing it from the educational curriculum.Also starting already in classical Greece, two approaches to the teleological argument developed, distinguished by their understanding of whether the natural order was literally created or not. The non-creationist approach starts most clearly with Aristotle, although many thinkers, such as the Neoplatonists, believed it was already intended by Plato. This approach is not creationist in a simple sense, because while it agrees that a cosmic intelligence is responsible for the natural order, it rejects the proposal that this requires a "creator" to physically make and maintain this order. The Neoplatonists did not find the teleological argument convincing, and in this they were followed by medieval philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna. Later, Averroes and Thomas Aquinas considered the argument acceptable, but not necessarily the best argument.

Contemporary defenders of the teleological argument are Richard Swinburne and John Lennox.

The Design Inference

The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities is a 1998 book by American philosopher and mathematician William A. Dembski, a proponent of intelligent design, which sets out to establish approaches by which evidence of intelligent agency could be inferred in natural and social situations. In the book he distinguishes between 3 general modes of competing explanations in order of priority: regularity, chance, and design. The processes in which regularity, chance, and design are ruled out one by one until one remains as a reasonable and sufficient explanation for an event, are what he calls an "explanatory filter". It is a method that tries to eliminate competing explanations in a systematic fashion including when a highly improbable event conforms to a discernible pattern that is given independently of the event itself. This pattern is Dembski's concept of specified complexity. Throughout the book he uses diverse examples such as detectability of spontaneous generation and occurrence of natural phenomena and cases of deceit like ballot rigging, plagiarism, falsification of data, etc.

The filter states that if the thing being examined cannot be explained by regularity, and if it is too statistically unlikely to be explained by chance, and contains an independently given pattern, then it may be attributed to design. Dembski says his concept is useful to those concerned with detecting design in different fields: forensic scientists, detectives, insurance fraud investigators, cryptographers, and SETI investigators, as well theologians and others who argue for the concepts of the fine-tuned universe and the Anthropic Principle.

Theistic science

Theistic science, also referred to as theistic realism, is the pseudoscientific proposal that the central scientific method of requiring testability, known as methodological naturalism, should be replaced by a philosophy of science that allows occasional supernatural explanations which are inherently untestable. Proponents propose supernatural explanations for topics raised by their theology, in particular evolution.Supporters of theistic realism or theistic science include intelligent design creationism proponents J. P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer and Phillip E. Johnson.Instead of the relationship between religion and science being a dialogue, theistic science seeks to alter the basic methods of science. As Alvin Plantinga puts it, this is a "science stopper", and these concepts lack any mainstream credence.

Time-variation of fundamental constants

The term physical constant expresses the notion of a physical quantity subject to experimental measurement which is independent of the time or location of the experiment. The constancy (immutability) of any "physical constant" is thus subject to experimental verification.

Paul Dirac in 1937 speculated that physical constants such as the gravitational constant or the fine-structure constant might be subject to change over time in proportion of the age of the universe.

Experiments conducted since then have put upper bounds on their time-dependence. This concerns the fine structure constant, the gravitational constant and the proton-to-electron mass ratio specifically, for all of which there are ongoing efforts to improve tests on their time-dependence.The immutability of these fundamental constants is an important cornerstone of the laws of physics as currently known; the postulate of the time-independence of physical laws is tied to that of the conservation of energy (Noether theorem), so that the discovery of any variation would imply the discovery of a previously unknown law of force.In a more philosophical context, the conclusion that these quantities are constant raises the question of why they have the specific value they do in what appears to be a "fine-tuned Universe", while their being variable would mean that their known values are merely an accident of the current time at which we happen to measure them.

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