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Terrible argument against fine-tuning from someone who should know better

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  • Terrible argument against fine-tuning from someone who should know better

    I'll start with Sean Carroll. He's obviously a very smart guy , but his objections to fine tuning are awful.
    1.We donít really know that the universe is tuned specifically for life, since we donít know the conditions under which life is possible.
    2.Fine-tuning for life would only potentially be relevant if we already accepted naturalism; God could create life under arbitrary physical conditions.
    1.As many physicists have pointed out in the literature , if not for fine tuning there would not be stable atoms or chemical reactions at all. There'd be no stable structures like planets for life to live on . You can't have life without some kind of chemistry.

    2. is multiply flawed
    a. even if this was tre , it would give use good reason to reject naturalism is favor of God.
    b. Swinburne has pointed out that in order for there to a universe that we can behave regularly in ie , for me to get into my car and know it would work or for me to swing a hammer and know it will drive in a nail, there needs to be some kind of physical laws governing the universe. So unless Carroll wanted to live in a lawless andrandom universe , I don't see the force of this objection

  • #2
    Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    I'll start with Sean Carroll. He's obviously a very smart guy , but his objections to fine tuning are awful.
    I'm assuming that you mean, "his objections to the fine-tuning argument for theism."

    1.We donít really know that the universe is tuned specifically for life, since we donít know the conditions under which life is possible.
    2.Fine-tuning for life would only potentially be relevant if we already accepted naturalism; God could create life under arbitrary physical conditions.
    Are those his words, or are you paraphrasing him?

    I don't understand #2. If Carroll said that, then I don't know what he meant.

    Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    1.As many physicists have pointed out in the literature , if not for fine tuning there would not be stable atoms or chemical reactions at all. There'd be no stable structures like planets for life to live on . You can't have life without some kind of chemistry.
    Life as we know it requires stars and planets as we know them and chemistry as we know it. Fine tuning refers to the observation that if any of several fundamental scientific constants were even minusculely different from their known values, then stars, planets, and chemistry could not be as we know them and therefore life as we know it could not exist.

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    • #3
      Here is what Carroll says with regards to 1:
      In the face of these apparent fine-tunings, we have several possible options:
      1. Life is extremely robust, and would be likely to arise even if the parameters were very different, whether or not we understand what form it would take.
      ...
      Generally, not nearly enough credence is given to option #1 in this list. We know very little about the conditions under which complexity, and intelligent life in particular, can possibly form. If, for example, we were handed the Standard Model of particle physics but had no actual knowledge of the real world, it would be very difficult to derive the periodic table of the elements, much less the atoms and molecules on which Earth-based life depends. Life may be very fragile, but for all we know it may be ubiquitous (in parameter space); we have a great deal of trouble even defining "life" or for that matter "complexity," not to mention "intelligence." At the least, the tentative nature of our current understanding of these issues should make us reluctant to draw grand conclusions about the nature of reality from the fact that our universe allows for the existence of life.
      http://preposterousuniverse.com/writings/dtung/

      That said, Carroll seems to prefer the multiverse as an explanation for fine-tuning, so it is curious that this is absent from the OP.
      My Blog: http://oncreationism.blogspot.co.uk/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
        I'm assuming that you mean, "his objections to the fine-tuning argument for theism."


        Are those his words, or are you paraphrasing him?
        Yes. They're his exact words

        So yeah we're talking about the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent conscious life.
        I don't understand #2. If Carroll said that, then I don't know what he meant.
        I'm thinking he means God could create a world not governed by any kind of physical laws , where life just exists.


        Life as we know it requires stars and planets as we know them and chemistry as we know it. Fine tuning refers to the observation that if any of several fundamental scientific constants were even minusculely different from their known values, then stars, planets, and chemistry could not be as we know them and therefore life as we know it could not exist.
        Yes. but say if the strong nuclear force was not fine-tuned, no atoms would exist other than hydrogen. Ask any biochemist if there could be a life form composed completely out of hydrogen gas.
        We know a lot about physics and biochemistry. I think we can make the reasonable conclusion that intelligent conscious life requires some sort of chemical reaction.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
          Yes. but say if the strong nuclear force was not fine-tuned, no atoms would exist other than hydrogen. Ask any biochemist if there could be a life form composed completely out of hydrogen gas.
          To call it "fine-tuned" begs the question. The apparent scientific fact is that if the strong nuclear force were slightly different from what it is, there could be no atoms other than hydrogen. And I will stipulate, without needing any biochemist to tell me so, that there could be no life in a universe composed of nothing but hydrogen. But from that apparent fact, and from that stipulation, you cannot logically deduce any probability for a god's existence without some additional premises.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Pixie View Post
            Here is what Carroll says with regards to 1:

            http://preposterousuniverse.com/writings/dtung/

            That said, Carroll seems to prefer the multiverse as an explanation for fine-tuning, so it is curious that this is absent from the OP.
            It amounts to a collossal argument from ignorance fallacy. We have decent reasons, from the mere fact that life requires complex interactions, to suspect that any universe in which atoms fail to form won't be able to sustain life. If all you have is a quark-gluon plasma for the entire duration, nothing interesting will happen.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
              It amounts to a collossal argument from ignorance fallacy. We have decent reasons, from the mere fact that life requires complex interactions, to suspect that any universe in which atoms fail to form won't be able to sustain life. If all you have is a quark-gluon plasma for the entire duration, nothing interesting will happen.
              I think all he is saying is that we do not know, therefore we should not rule it out. An argument from ignorance would be we do not know, therefore it must have been whatever.
              My Blog: http://oncreationism.blogspot.co.uk/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                To call it "fine-tuned" begs the question. The apparent scientific fact is that if the strong nuclear force were slightly different from what it is, there could be no atoms other than hydrogen. And I will stipulate, without needing any biochemist to tell me so, that there could be no life in a universe composed of nothing but hydrogen. But from that apparent fact, and from that stipulation, you cannot logically deduce any probability for a god's existence without some additional premises.
                Fine-tuning is not question begging. It's a technical physics term. Its just when a range in possible parameter space is very small with respect to the total range. When we say its fine tuned we mean that the theoretical range of values of the strong force that permit life is much smaller than the total theoretical range of values .
                Last edited by LaplacesDemon; 05-13-2014, 01:25 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
                  When we say its fine tuned we mean that the theoretical range of values of the strong force that permit life is much smaller than the total theoretical range of values .
                  Can you refer me to anything written by a physicist in which they explain the theory that establishes that total range?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                    Can you refer me to anything written by a physicist in which they explain the theory that establishes that total range?
                    The most recent review of fine-tuning is a paper by physicist Luke Barnes here.
                    He cites a lot of papers in it as well , and you can go check out the methodology in those as well.
                    From what I understand there's a range of theoretical values of constants consistent with the laws. Ranges of the initial conditions (like the low entropy state) are solved in a way similar to boundary value problems. I guess for specifics you can check the literature.
                    Last edited by LaplacesDemon; 05-13-2014, 08:59 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
                      Fine-tuning is not question begging. It's a technical physics term. Its just when a range in possible parameter space is very small with respect to the total range. When we say its fine tuned we mean that the theoretical range of values of the strong force that permit life is much smaller than the total theoretical range of values .

                      The problem with the hypothetical theist argument of 'fine tuning' is that the actual possible ranges of the physical factors that determines the nature of our universe and all possible universes in a possible multiverse is unknown.
                      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeareís Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                      go with the flow the river knows . . .

                      Frank

                      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
                        The most recent review of fine-tuning is a paper by physicist Luke Barnes here.
                        Thank you very much. It looks like a good resource.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doug Shaver
                          Can you refer me to anything written by a physicist in which they explain the theory that establishes that total range?
                          Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
                          The most recent review of fine-tuning is a paper by physicist Luke Barnes here.
                          Now that I've had a chance to look it over . . . . That paper was obviously not written for the layperson. I am very literate in the sciences, but much of what they discussed was stuff I have not yet encountered in my lay studies of cosmology and particle physics.

                          With that disclaimer in place, I note that I found no answer to my question in Barnes's paper. If you saw one and can tell me where to find it, I'll look again.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                            Now that I've had a chance to look it over . . . . That paper was obviously not written for the layperson. I am very literate in the sciences, but much of what they discussed was stuff I have not yet encountered in my lay studies of cosmology and particle physics.

                            With that disclaimer in place, I note that I found no answer to my question in Barnes's paper. If you saw one and can tell me where to find it, I'll look again.
                            There isn't one range for every set of values. Usually physicists look at the background laws and see what kind of possible range they'd expect the values to be in from the theory. For example in his discussion of the cosmological constant on pg 35 you can see this.
                            We can use the term dark energy for any form of energy that causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate, including a \bare" cosmological constant (see Barnes et al., 2005, for an introduction to dark energy). Cosmological observations constrain the total dark energy. QFT allows us to calculate a number of contributions to the total dark energy from matter fi elds in the universe. Each of these contributions turns out to be 10^120 times larger than the total.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
                              Usually physicists look at the background laws and see what kind of possible range they'd expect the values to be in from the theory.
                              What does that have to do with fine tuning? The fine-tuning argument alleges that the values in question are arbitrary -- they could have been anything. That is not the case when we have a theory that predicts what the value should be.

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