Fine-tuning of physical constants

107 posts / 0 new
Last post
Peurii's picture
The fine tuning argument is

The fine tuning argument is just a thinly veiled first mover argument. Even if these constants necessitated a fine tuner, nothing more is known of the fine tuner, than that it fine tuned the constants. Nothing in that would make it the theists's personal pet god.

I agree with chimp3. An atheist doesn't need to know everything about theoretical physics, just that the theists' tales don't add up to them knowing much either.

Diotrephes's picture
Such questions as this are

Such questions as this are basically silly. Life has existed on this planet for billions of years. Humans have existed for only a blink of an eye and just became intelligent about 100 years ago. Even so millions of people are no smarter than cave men were 10,000 years ago.

Cognostic's picture
Douglas Adams had a great

Douglas Adams had a great response to the 'Fine Tuning' argument. Any being that found itself alive in an environment would be perfectly adapted to that environment. (Essentially; we came from the universe and were not made separately and put into it.) To elaborate on this he uses the example of a puddle that gains consciousness. In doing so it notices how well it fits into the hole that must have been specifically designed for it to fit into. Humans are like the puddle. We exist and we look around at the universe and say, "Isn't it amazing how well the universe is designed for us."

The design argument does not get you to a God as a designer any more that it gets you to the flying spaghetti monster. (Assuming Design) A sufficiently powerful being could have designed the world and then died. A natural process could have occurred. Universe creating hamsters could have done it. You do not get from the appearance of design to a designer.

Finally, if the universe were different, it would be different. Another life form would either evolve or not. The design argument asserts this universe was designed for us and yet 99.9% of it will kill us. What sort of design is that? Astronomer Rory Barnes from the University of Washington sad “We actually are kind of close to the inner edge of the habitable zone. If our planet was spotted from space, we would assume it was too hot for life." On a habitability index, our planet scores only 82%.

https://futurism.com/turns-earth-isnt-habitable-think/

adragonist's picture
It is indeed difficult to

It is indeed difficult to establish what encompasses the Goldilocks zone. I don't remember exactly, but I heard aliens probably would dismiss the habitability of Earth because there is way to much of aggressive oxygen in its atmosphere.

David Killens's picture
@adragonist

@adragonist

You heard that aliens would ..... you heard what from whom?

Now you are pulling shit out of the air.

We don't even know if there are "aliens". Many accept the possibility that there may be life on other planets. But to make the leap from simple life to Klingons is .. as they say, making a wild leap without any supporting evidence.

adragonist, you are an example of a person who learned a little, and now pretends you can understand much more. Your reach exceeds your grasp.

I sit in on interactive lectures by recognized scientists, those who truly comprehend the math behind quantum theory and such. They do not spout as much shit as you do.

adragonist's picture
I advise you once more to

I advise you once more to open the other eye so that you may JUDGE better.

You seem to be one of the regulars here making it a full time business to be an atheist. Why this hostility to a new-comer wanting to discuss and maybe learn something here on this forum?

Someone's picture
I cannot see how the best

I cannot see how the best argument theists have is the fine tuning of the physical constants. I myself have put forward a different fine tuning argument on this forum http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/debate-room/evidence-design . Assuming you understand the fine tuning of the physical constants argument then you should be able to understand the first argument. Analogous to the different imaginable physics constant values, are the different imaginable experiences that could have correlated to our neural activity (a flash of light each time a neuron fires for example), or what physical activity correlated to the experiences, if any experience at all. The advantage it has over the fine tuning of the physics constants is that a "multiverse" could be posited to get out of the argument. With the fine tuning of the experience though, a "multiverse" could be imagined in which what correlated to experiences varied between the "universes" and/or what what those experience were like varied between the "universes", but that would just lead to the question of what differences it would make to behaviour (which brings in the second argument I presented into it). So it does not provide an escape, it just changes the problem.

The anthropic principle only forms part of an adequate defence against the fine tuning of the physics constants point when combined with the suggestion of a "multiverse".

arakish's picture
And my argument is that those

And my argument is that those fundamental parameters could have been of any value and the universe and life would still have come to be. Just fundamentally different. Perhaps leading to an ammonia-based life form instead of us ugly bags of mostly water. Just because those fundamental parameters have the values they currently have, does NOT mean they could not have settled on different values.

I do not hold to the "multiverse" hypothesis. Nor do I hold to the String and M Hypotheses. Yes, I know they call them theories, but I still hold to the argument that they are nothing more than hypotheses. Completely unproven and unprovable. At least for now.

I hold to the Theory that there is only one universe. And one universe only. Until I see actual hard empirical evidence of other universes and these String and M things, I shall hold onto the fact that there is only one universe.

And yes, astrophysics, both actual and theoretical, has been a life long study for me. As has been Celestial Mechanics and Orbital Mechanics. Although I only have an Honorary Degree (having passed the test for it), I do have a good grasp on these things, even though my specialty is Volcanology/Seismology.

rmfr

Someone's picture
I think you could do with

I think you could do with reading some books on the fine tuning of the physics parameters. For if you had you would realise that there theoretical physics suggests there wouldn't have still been life. Because there wouldn't have been any complex chemistry. Considering the masses of just the up quark, the down quark and the electron, and limiting the consideration of the parameter space to the current mass of the top quark: If one were to pick random masses in that space for the up quark, the down quark, and for the electron, it would be something like a 1 in 5 trillion chance of those chosen masses being in the parameter space that would allow complex chemistry (according to theoretical physicists).

Here is a youtube video that might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0zdXj6fSGY&t=174s

Nyarlathotep's picture
Someone - ...it would be

Someone - ...it would be something like a 1 in 5 trillion chance of those chosen masses being in the parameter space that would allow complex chemistry...

Horseshit. You don't know the allowed values, you don't know the distribution of those values, you don't know the separation between choices; you also don't know the relationship between them, or if there even is a relationship between them. For all you know the odds could be 1 in 2, or 1 in 10^50 or less.

My guess is you set it to be low; because that is what you want.

Sheldon's picture
Could you please cite half a

Could you please cite half a dozen peer reviewed publication with research from qualified theoretical physicists claiming a deity fine tuned the universe?

Or can we go straight to the fact that this is just an assumption you are making because you believe it to be true.

Cue argumentum ad ignorantiam...

adragonist's picture
I think I understand the fine

I think I understand the fine-tuning of the physical constants argument, but I don't understand your fine-tuning of experience, especially if you combine it with moral judgement.
The fine-tuning of experience (the tuning of responses of an organism to sensory input) can very well be explained by Darwinian laws.

You could be right that the anthropic principle only holds in combination with some 'multiverse'. I need to think about this... Why do you think so?

Sheldon's picture
"I myself have put forward a

"I myself have put forward a different fine tuning argument on this forum "

And a load of old tosh it was as well, even by the woeful standard set by most religious apologetics, it was the most asinine vapid verbiage I've encountered for some time.

Someone's picture
No it is just your poor

@Nyarlathotep

reply to http://www.atheistrepublic.com/comment/reply/51713/108168

No it is just your poor comprehension skill again. The theoretical physicists think they know the range of mass values that would allow complex chemistry. The odds I supplied were roughly those of if picking a random number from 0 up to the mass of a top quark for each, the result of each being in its allowable range. It has nothing to do with whether in reality there is a relationship between them, or whether if there were multiverses, what the distributions would be in those multiverses. It was just a simple maths statement.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Someone - The odds I supplied

Someone - The odds I supplied were roughly those of...picking a random number from 0 up to the mass of a top quark...

That is a good example of just one of the problems with your statement. There is an infinite number of values between 0 and the mass of the top quark. That it going to make it very difficult for you to map that to any finite odds (like your 1 in 5 trillion value).

Someone's picture
Your comment seems to reflect

Your comment seems to reflect that it is not just your comprehension skills that are poor, but your mathematical understanding also. Yes there are an infinite number of values between 0 and the mass of the top quark. As there are an infinite number of values between 0 and 10. But when picking a random number between 0 and 10 the amount of decimal points you decide to go to has no influence on the odds of the randomly selected number being between 0 and 2. It will be 1 in 5 regardless.

Perhaps I misunderstood your point, and you were fine with what I had said, as long as I mention only considering the mass values to a finite number of decimal points.

Nyarlathotep's picture
The problem is you are using

The problem is you are using a continuous distribution. What makes you think the mass of particles is continuous?

Someone's picture
It is simply that with

It is simply that with physicalism scientists have no reason to have expected one mass rather than another. Though given the rules (and they had no reason to have expected those either) there is perhaps an argument that the max mass would be where if the particle's mass was any higher it would become its own black hole: The Planck Mass. As the theories cannot handle a higher mass for particle.

The fine tuning issues can be outlined using objective bayesian inference. So what range of masses does the idea of physicalism limit the masses to for example, and how likely within that range would it be that there would be complex chemistry. All outcomes in the range are given equal probability unless there is reason not to. So if physicalist's had reason to favour certain outcomes for example (maybe given the laws a mass value for particles below Planck Mass). With the example I gave, I was particularly generous, I did not consider a mass beyond the mass of the top quark. So it is the theory that determines the limits. Sure you could argue that latter the situation could change and the theories would give reason to suggest some relationship between those particle masses, or cut out some possible mass values. Well if they did, then the objective bayesian inference for those theories would change. But until then...

Nyarlathotep's picture
Let me make a simple example:

Let me make a simple example:

Let's say we find a weird brick in my backyard. We deiced the range of the possible masses of a brick are from 0 to 10 kilos. We then measure the brick and find its mass. But if we try to use this to calculate the probability of the brick having that mass we have a problem (we have several problems but I'll only discuss one of them now). The problem is we need to divide the number of masses the brick has (1) by the number of possible masses (infinity). It is infinity because there are an infinite number of masses the brick could have between 0 and 10 kilos.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now what you could do is round everything into 1 kilo increments. In which case there would only be 10 possible masses of the brick, leading to a 10% probability.

But you could also round everything into 5 kilo increments. Leading to a 50% probability.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So it becomes clear that whatever arbitrary rounding scheme we adopt has a huge influence on the final probability.

Could you address what exact rounding scheme you choose to get the 1 in 5 trillion result? Could you also address your rational for choosing that scheme?

Someone's picture
Each particle has about a 10

Each particle has about a 10 MeV range which would allow for complex chemistry. The proportion of 10 MeV is then compared to the mass of the top quark. The proportion roughly remains the same as long as the rounding is lower than 10 MeV. So roughly 10^3 volume in an 172,440^3 volume. Which is roughly 1 in 5 trillion. Without that there could be no evolution into life forms. The universe is presumably more special than that though, with what seems like "spooky action at a distance", and rules which allow evolution into the forms we experience having etc... and being able to know from the experience that reality is one in which at least some of reality experiences, and express that... reminds me of the atheists being like the black knight in the Monty Python film going "I've had worse".

Nyarlathotep's picture
Someone - So roughly 10^3

Someone - Each particle has about a 10 MeV range which would allow for complex chemistry. The proportion of 10 MeV is then compared to the mass of the top quark.

Why did you choose the top quark? The chemistry involved in life certainly does not depend on the top quark. If we replace your top quark with say the down quark (something life chemistry certainly does depend on), you get a result close to 100%. It is almost like you choose the heaviest particle you could find, to get the very low results you wanted.

LogicForTW's picture
@Someone

@Someone

Since you seem so good at calculating odds of complex chemistry down to a single seemingly (to me) arbitrary number of rough odds for "complex chemistry" tell me what you think the approximate odds of whichever particular god fantasy that sprung out of human imagination that you worship, what are the odds for such an idea actually existing?

Someone's picture
I think you are looking at it

I think you are looking at it the wrong way.

I have put forward an argument for design. http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/debate-room/evidence-design

Once you accept that the universe was designed, then it isn't too hard to imagine that the/a designer might make its presence known. Though there could be rules about how it could do this, and so it could be a slower process than one might expect if there were no such rules.

LogicForTW's picture
Fortunately I do not have to

Fortunately I do not have to accept that the universe was designed. Especially when there is plenty more evidence that it was not designed. How about the whole 99.99999+% of all of the known universe is utterly hostile to life?

So ~15 billion years is too slow for your "such rules"?

In your link to a previous post by you: I will post my response with brevity.
1) The fine tuning of the experience.
A. So your "god" took 15 billion years and trillions upon trillions of tries to get a planet and solar system just right for humanoids here and now? Jeez even a mentally disabled monkey banging on a typewriter would of written the complete works of shakespeare faster then that.
2) Our ability to respond to the experience.
Your post looks like gibberish/word-salad, so it is difficult to respond to, guessing what you are trying to say: all evidence is evidence for design? You just changed your definitions again to suit you. I can say all evidence is evidence that I am your supreme lord and ruler and you should bow down and give me all your worldly possessions at this moment. Naturally you won't, because all evidence does not point to me being your supreme lord and ruler.

Sure I can imagine a designer, easy, I just imagined 1 million of them. Imagining is fun and easy! But does it mean anything? No unless other people actually buy into my imagination and start believing stuff that does not stand up to evidence, and start giving me money and power for my imagination (AKA organized religion.)

Someone's picture
Because while most use the

Because while most use the Planck Mass, as that seems like the natural upper limit on the mass that particles could have, I limited the results to the heaviest naturally occurring particle, because we know that particles can have a mass up to that value because one exists. If I had wanted to make the odds look as unlikely as I could, I would have chosen the Planck Mass as many physicists do.

Sheldon's picture
Could you cite any peer

Could you cite any peer reviewed research from respected physicists who agree with your superstitious claim, that a deity from a bronze age superstition created the universe merely so that humans could evolve about 200,000 years ago after 13.772 billion years, on one tiny planet in one tiny solar system in one tiny galaxy out of 100 billion known galaxies in the observed universe?

That's a cracking design that, fair play. WTF exactly do you think your deity was doing for hundreds of millions of years of dinosaur evolution? What's with all those black holes come to that?

Fine tuned for life, fair play that's pretty funny.

adragonist's picture
"Just a scratch!"

(difficult to reply to a specific post on this forum...)
This was a reply to Someone citing the black knight in the Holy Grail.
"Just a scratch!"

adragonist's picture
"No it is just your poor

Quote Someone:
"No it is just your poor comprehension skill again".
"Your comment seems to reflect that it is not just your comprehension skills that are poor, but your mathematical understanding also".

Why so hostile Someone?

Mutorc S'yriah's picture
adragonist, if the universe

adragonist, if the universe were NOT as it is, then some other values for the apparently fine tuned constants that we have, would exist. There has been some speculation as to the types of universes that might come to be, if the constants were different. We only have one universe to study, so as an experiment, we have no control sample to check against, (a sample size of one).

In a universe with other values for the constants, it is quite possible that a quite different basis for life, and different life forms would exist. We only use the term anthropic, because we have humans. If there were life in a different universe, (setting aside multi-universes), it might not be intelligent life, but could have arisen, quite naturally, no gods or "supernatural" causations. But if intelligent life were able to evolve in the conjectured universe, and the most highly intelligent of life forms were able to study the universe, and its constants, they might be saying just the same thing, but worded as: "you think the throgmorton principle is good enough to account for our universe?" where the higher intelligence has labeled itself throgmorts.

What I am saying explains nothing, but merely points out that the anthropic principle is fine, from a logical and philosophical position.

Should we ever come up with a G.U.T., the anthropic principle would still pertain, wouldn't it?

As an addendum on the multiverse hypothesis, it is considered seriously be some scientists, at least one reason being that it is not precluded by any accepted science that we know of, and it could explain the derivation of our universal constants.

In view of that, I hold a neutral position on multiverses, especially since there is a lot of other, established science, which is counter intuitive.

Mu.

adragonist's picture
You raise good points Mutorc

You raise good points Mutorc S'yriah, thank you!
Sample size 1 makes our discussion highly speculative, I agree!!

What do you think of survival of the fittest and natural selection of universes in a multiverse (Lee Smolin)?

Pages

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.