Fine tuning of the universe

58 posts / 0 new
Last post
arakish's picture
You have answered you

You have answered you proposal with the first seven words.


lighthearted athiest's picture
The universe is not fine

The universe is not fine tuned for human life. Over 99.999% of the universe is fine tuned to kill us. Humans will freeze, burn, asphyxiate, be torn apart by radiation, or crushed into nonexistence by gravity in almost ever part of the universe. There is a tiny part of the surface of this one planet where we can survive.

I read that the analogy is to walk into a home and the area you can live on is a proton in the kitchen.

TwanSky's picture
Of course, life adapts to its

Of course, life adapts to its environment. But some environments would not allow for life. So some accidental finetuning will be required to provide a universe capable of evolving it.

arakish's picture
Reiteration: First seven

Reiteration: First seven words answers your proposal.


Nyarlathotep's picture
Fine tuning arguments depend

Fine tuning arguments depend on several controversial premises; not the basket I'd be putting my eggs into.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Life as you know it, and this

Life as you know it, and this is the key point!

However, it is highly likely life exists elsewhere, bactaria/single cell life is considered possible in various locations within our own system, let alone the vast cosmos.

It is a lack of imagination on behalf of humanity (not to mention rank arrogance) to think what we see on Earth is what defines life.

arakish's picture
Found this just after logging

Found this just after logging off.

And I shall always say, all of these fundamental parameters could be changed slightly and the universe and life would still exist. It would just be fundamentally different.


David Killens's picture
@ Antoine

@ Antoine

"Obviously, the universe in which a conscious observer evolves first is going to be the one in which the fine tuning is best."

That too is an assumption you need to prove. Personally I disagree.

Just because something triggered an event, that does not mean that the consequences of the trigger was beneficial or to the advantage of what caused the trigger event.

During the beginning of the rapid expansion, it took approximately a billion years until the first suns appeared. When this planet Earth first formed, it was definitely hostile to any life.

To me that doesn't lend any credibility for fine tuning, my take on all this is that the universe was a chaotic mess, and it took billions of years for things to reorganize to the point where suns and life could take hold.

Muashkis's picture
The only thing that's fine

The only thing that's fine tuned in the universe is our arbitrarily abstract concepts of constants governing it's rules. Now how did that happen?.. *Gasps* I know! People figured out a mathematical way of explaining reality, yes, that must be it! We created those concepts ourselves based on what we observe! Not the other way around... ( >.>)

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
one million likes button is

one million likes button is required immediately.

Cognostic's picture
For cryin our loud... I just

For cryin our loud... I just measured my XXX and it disappeared. WTF is going on?

Grinseed's picture
It probably encountered a

It probably encountered a chronosynchrastic infundibulum and had its protons polarised so you cant see it. Just a hunch.

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog and Grinseed

@Cog and Grinseed

Aha!!! Finally! THAT explains why I can never find the television remote! Because whenever I DO happen to see it while looking for it, the damn thing instantly disappears again.....*wiping forehead with back of hand*... Phew! And all this time I thought I was just going crazy. Science to the rescue!!! Yay!

TwanSky's picture
Let’s start from scratch:

Let’s start from scratch:
Superposition of a zillion possible universes.
In the 1st universe out of them where consciousness arises an observation takes place and the wavefunction collapses. THAT universe has been condensed out of the superposition.

What about the other universes in the superposition? Maybe they remain so until the next consciousness emerges and does an observation so that this universe condenses out. But in any case we can’t verify that because all of the universes are orthogonal to each other, exactly like in Fourier analysis.

The long and the short of the story is that a universe is (or looks) finetuned because only those where a conscious observation takes place exist, pop into existence. This provides a possible mechanism for a finetuned looking universe without invoking angels or magic.

The crucial assumption made here is that a wavefunction collapses upon conscious observation.
Without the conscious part the universes remain in superposition and in limbo. As we can assume that consciousness is emergent this does in no way require any kind of god.

Muashkis's picture



Your 'crucial assumption' FAILS completely! Conscious observation has nothing to do with wavefunction collapse! Act of measurement does that, we only ever see the aftermath after it has already happened. And if you don't know how humans measure things, here's a little insight - WE SLAP TWO THINGS TOGETHER AND LOOK AT THE RESULT! Doesn't take a genius to figure out what can go wrong, now does it? Making two quantum objects interact will most certainly change their properties, as observed. Their wavefunction collapse happens all the time, everywhere, even without us observing it, because matter constantly interacts with other matter.

Even if you tried and applied a wavefunction to something as big as a universe (not a quantum object btw), it would still produce only ONE resulting universe, not multiple. The Many Worlds theory, mother of all multiverse theories, is about something completely different. Do your homework on that, please. Also - wavefuntion collapse does NOT in any way affect natural constants. And constants are the ones debated as being 'fine-tuned'.

So, not only your original assumption fails, you also completely mess up the connection between QM and constants of nature.

What are you, an undercover theist? Do your research properly!

Nyarlathotep's picture
100 agrees for Muashkis!

100 agrees for Muashkis!

Dave Matson's picture
Another 100 agrees for

Another 100 agrees for Muashkis!
We have a relief pitcher for Nyarlathotep on the physics front!

LogicFTW's picture
Going down the rabbit hole

Going down the rabbit hole here..

If all of reality is a construct in our head, (which one could argue it is, all of your reality is indeed created in your own head, as all of my reality is in my head.) To each of us, all of reality blinks to zero when when we go into deep sleep, and starts again when we wake again.

Then yes, all of the universe is a construct brought to life in each of our heads. But is that useful, to anyone? Nope. Much better to operate that we share reality and extracting useful information from our reality as we can best perceive it, to better our reality.

Cognostic's picture
@ Antoine: Superposition of

@ Antoine: Superposition of a zillion possible universes. NO!

That is an erroneous assumption. There is nothing at all that asserts the universe that we live in could be any different than it is. You don't get to invent shit. Stay with facts.

@ Maybe they remain so until the next consciousness emerges...

Here you go again on your consciousness BS. Then when people comment on it you will insist as you did above that you are not talking about consciousness and that it has nothing to do with your main point. (Here we go again? Why? Your got your answers. What in the hell do you think is going to change?)

The definition of insanity is "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

@ The long and the short of the story is that a universe is (or looks) finetuned because only those where a conscious observation takes place exist,

NO! All you are doing is cherry picking the things you observe. "Douglas Adam's Puddle Analogy" What do you imagine a non-fine-tuned universe would look like? If it is a universe, it came together somehow to make a universe. No fine tuning necessary.

@ The Many Worlds theory, mother of all multiverse theories.

MW is inherently untestable/unfalsifiable by its nature. It's not the mother of anything. It is pure philosophical speculation. Other universes can not be observed.

David Killens's picture
That is the problem Cognistic

That is the problem Cognistic. The OP posted this hypothesis as a valid theory, but almost all of it is much more philosophical than reality.

it is an interesting philosophy, and even worth further investigating. But I do not see at any point where it has any connection to this physical universe, and as I stated, cannot be tested.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Well said Cognostic!

Well said Cognostic!

May I also add that MW is also not a theory in the same regard as say that of evolution and so fourth.

Rather it is the consequence of theories, One that you can use all the laws and theories we currently have and build a model that appears as such, or at the very least a mathematical interpretation.

And in that regard it isn't overly controversial.

Sapporo's picture
I disagree and agree with the

I disagree and agree with the general sentiment.

TwanSky's picture
Muashkis and Cognostic: It is

Muashkis and Cognostic: It is obvious from your answers that you completely misunderstand the argument. It is correct that my idea might be completely wrong, but none of your counter arguments address that at all. For instance, the universe IS a wavefunction (that is not a theory) and when I write a universe is (or looks) finetuned; I put "or looks" between brackets for emphasis, assuming that most people would understand that finetuned is relative to the observer. And that a multitude of different outcomes for our universe at the instance of the big bang exist in superposition isn't a new or very controversial idea either. The most tricky thing I did is to make consciousness important (please don't turn that in me talking for religion, it's actually the opposite)…but even that isn't much controversial. The only 100% solid way I know to get rid of consciousness in observations is to go with the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, in this view observation isn't required at all. It is a very elegant theory and I like it, and if correct everything I proposed is certifiably wrong. But should I shut up because my idea is a bit crazy? I don't think so and it still is consistent with physics today. I am not inventing any new physics or rules at all, only applying those that are accepted in main stream science already. Thanks!

Nyarlathotep's picture
I'm a fan of: the shut up and

I'm a fan of the: shut up and calculate "interpretation".

Muashkis's picture

"It is obvious from your answers that you completely misunderstand the argument."

It's only expected your argument is misunderstood. First, you use QM terminology to address ideas that originate from String 'Theory'. It doesn't work that way, sorry. As I tried to explain before, NOT A SINGLE QM interpretation gives rise to differently 'tuned' universes. At best, QM leads to multiple different realities with the exact same laws of physics, but different results from probable interactions. Every single QM idea is still BASED on the fundamental constants, or what you might call 'fine-tuning'. Not a single QM interpretation gives rise to different laws of Physics. Period. And get this through your skull, please.

The basic argument you are addressing should be like this:

DO NOTE! One of the biggest proponents of ST, Michio Kaku, called the humongous number of possible Calabi-Yau manifolds very fittingly - A DISASTER! Yes, the physics world does still take the ideas behind ST rather seriously, but they are nowhere near accepted! Not until they provide a way to test the underlying assumptions. So if you want to make a point through that, you better be clear. Mixing up two fundamentally different theories is not a good way to start one's day. Claiming ST as accepted in main stream science isn't either. They are important ideas worth exploring, sure, but there are plenty of things left to address to even call ST a true theory.

That said, OP argument can still be easily addressed with just the anthropic principle. We can only observe the universe that allows our existence and the act of observation in the first place.

Cognostic's picture
@ "none of your counter

@ "none of your counter arguments address that at all. "

What counter arguments? You are in "WOOO WOOO LAND." No one needs a counter argument., If you want to play armature philosopher - WHICH HAS NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH BEING AN ATHEIST - go find a philosophy chat room.

Tin-Man's picture
Ya know, I'm no expert on any

Ya know, I'm no expert on any of this stuff, not by any stretch of the imagination. However, if I had to take a guess, I would say for the universe to have been perfectly "fine tuned" for our puny human race, the timing should have been set somewhere between one and two degrees left of center. As is it, it would seem that whatever creator - or "universe mechanic" - there might be had a faulty/broken timing light. Or maybe it didn't have a timing light at all and simply guessed at the setting. And it would appear that setting was about three degrees in the opposite direction of what is should be. Also, it more than likely didn't even bother changing out the points, plugs, or distributor cap. Sloppy work. That is why I always strongly suggest you take your universe to a certified universe repair shop for universal fine tuning. Oh, and the Dark Matter should definitely be changed regularly for better performance and longer universal life.


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.