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Ben Masada

A Proof That God Exists

365 posts in this topic

No I don't know enough to say I "believe" anything, except that the God hypothesis is pretty much out. The simulation could be by ourselves, providing ourseleves education or entertainment. More likely, all existence is definable as simulation -- as manipulation of information, in which case we are not far from being able to produce our own universes to our own design.

Could you explain why the God hypothesis is pretty much out?

We already create universes to our own design, just play a game within a virtual environment. I would reject though that we are doing it ourselves, we would know if that were the case, and we could leave if we wanted to, which is evidently not the case.

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The theological infinite God is a logical impossibility. The various creator gods that people have invented are myths that don't stand up to any sort or rational or ethical scrutiny.

The virtual environments we create are heading in that direction, and, what makes me suspect it, is its obviousness (if it is possible the odds that we are in one are overwhelming, and it sure seems possible) combined of course with the improbability of the universe as we see it.

The other possibility, and the one worth pursuing (since if we are in a virtual environment we can presume it is such that we cannot prove it), is that there is either some natural selection of cosmoses going in that tends to select in favor of universes that can have life in them (a number of theories of this sort are out there) or there are beings in another cosmos popping off big bangs, perhaps for no reason than to allow others the chance to exist. (Doing this would not be all that unimaginable -- just manipulate some virtual particles in the right way and it is self-sustaining -- the only thing is once you have popped one off it goes on its own without any way for you to influence it -- a sort-of deist universe.

Of course we could also be just a chance bit of good luck. Given enough tries at it (and one presumes the universe has an infinite number of these), we are bound to happen now and then.

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I can see us living in some boring utopia somewhere hooking into various virtual universes in order to get some excitement into our lives, or perhaps as a punishment for some offense, or perhaps to get a degree in Twenty-fist Century history. Then when we die we disconnect and go back to the utopia.

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Posted (edited)

Jor-el

Thank you 8B, that is exactly what the video I posted stated as well. There are some constants that cannot be fooled with, Pi is one example.

OK, I think we're all in agreement, then, that the class of "constants that cannot be fooled with" is non-empty. So, the next question would be whether any "physical" constants belong to that set, and if so, which ones? I put physical in quotes, because it's not so clear how to identify constants that are candidates for "can(not) be fooled with."

Historically, some ancient high civilizations, writing before Greeks got interested in demonstrative geometry, realized based on observation that the widest angle in any 3-4-5 triangle was always, in their experience, a right angle. So, that was an empirical "physical" and constant relationship, a very fine tuning and useful for civilized life.

At that point in human understanding, anybody might have imagined "what the world would be like" if some other widest angle could be found in such a triangle. You could dream up all kinds of "realistic" seeming consequences, mostly catastrpohic for civilized life: land surveys would be haphazardly mesed up, carefully measured buildings would collapse, flood control gates wouldn't work, ...

Such a person would be forgiven for thinking that the Universe was designed for civilized life. Such a person might also be numbered among the proto-scientists of their time. As such, their speculations might be given some weight in scholarly discussion, without losing sight that their opinions on this subject were purely speculative, as opposed to their better-founded work.

Today, ordinary schoolchildren know better about 3-4-5 triangles than the most learned of these ancients. 3-4-5's are the physical realizations of an abstract arrangement of elements that cannot be except that the arrangement encloses a right angle and two acute angles. What was first identified in a way that suggested a possibility of "fooling with" turns out to be a member of the set of things that cannot be fooled with, just as pi cannot be fooled with.

So, it would appear that that's where we are with the very first steps of the "fine tuning" argument. We just don't know whether the various phyical constants we empirically observe belong to the "cannot be fooled with" set or not. If not, how many degrees of freedom are there for the "fooling with?" Just because we observe 50 "different" constants, doesn't mean that this reflects 50 different choices - and that's assuming there is any choice at all.

What we seem to have, then, is not a proof that God exists in all of this, but a reason why anybody might consider God a serious possibility. It is simply a fallacy of quantitative reasoning to argue from a serious possibility to a near-certain probability, excepting only the case where "the probability" in question is plainly understood as one way to restate the speaker's personal opinion about the subject, not to be confused with any kind of objective quantitative statement.

Edited by eight bits

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Jor-el

OK, I think we're all in agreement, then, that the class of "constants that cannot be fooled with" is non-empty. So, the next question would be whether any "physical" constants belong to that set, and if so, which ones? I put physical in quotes, because it's not so clear how to identify constants that are candidates for "can(not) be fooled with."

Historically, some ancient high civilizations, writing before Greeks got interested in demonstrative geometry, realized based on observation that the widest angle in any 3-4-5 triangle was always, in their experience, a right angle. So, that was an empirical "physical" and constant relationship, a very fine tuning and useful for civilized life.

At that point in human understanding, anybody might have imagined "what the world would be like" if some other widest angle could be found in such a triangle. You could dream up all kinds of "realistic" seeming consequences, mostly catastrpohic for civilized life: land surveys would be haphazardly mesed up, carefully measured buildings would collapse, flood control gates wouldn't work, ...

Such a person would be forgiven for thinking that the Universe was designed for civilized life. Such a person might also be numbered among the proto-scientists of their time. As such, their speculations might be given some weight in scholarly discussion, without losing sight that their opinions on this subject were purely speculative, as opposed to their better-founded work.

Today, ordinary schoolchildren know better about 3-4-5 triangles than the most learned of these ancients. 3-4-5's are the physical realizations of an abstract arrangement of elements that cannot be except that the arrangement encloses a right angle and two acute angles. What was first identified in a way that suggested a possibility of "fooling with" turns out to be a member of the set of things that cannot be fooled with, just as pi cannot be fooled with.

So, it would appear that that's where we are with the very first steps of the "fine tuning" argument. We just don't know whether the various phyical constants we empirically observe belong to the "cannot be fooled with" set or not. If not, how many degrees of freedom are there for the "fooling with?" Just because we observe 50 "different" constants, doesn't mean that this reflects 50 different choices - and that's assuming there is any choice at all.

What we seem to have, then, is not a proof that God exists in all of this, but a reason why anybody might consider God a serious possibility. It is simply a fallacy of quantitative reasoning to argue from a serious possibility to a near-certain probability, excepting only the case where "the probability" in question is plainly understood as one way to restate the speaker's personal opinion about the subject, not to be confused with any kind of objective quantitative statement.

Ok, then why might I ask do most of the scientists who should technically know about this more than any of us, state that these constants can be different in other universes?

In basic chemistry we know that a chemical reaction occurs in a specific sequence due to the nature of the elements used, for example the burning of Hydrogen and Oxygen in a rocket engine. 2 H2 + O2 → 2 H2O + heat (2 hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom results in heat and 2 water molecules)

The result is water vapour.

It can go no other way, you will aways get heat (combustion) and water vapour as a result. So it stands to reason that if all these different constants are somehow linked that the only possible result is a universe like ours, none other is permitted. But that is exactly what scientists are not saying.

We can find references of these statements by nearly if not all scientists who theorize the existence of multiple universes. Every single one of these scientists have stated that these constants can be different and produce different types of universes in the multiverse. Hawking says it, Vilenkin says it as well as multiple others which I can quote, they are all saying the same thing, that these constants can be different elswhere. Without variation of these constants, the whole of the Multiverse theory collapses.

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I thought he made it fairly clear. There are pure numbers (pi) that we calculate and there are denominate numbers (the speed of light, where you have units of measurement attached that we derive).

But there are other numbers that we don't. One of the more interesting of the pure numbers is the ratio of the force of gravity to the electromagnetic force. The latter is vastly stronger than the former (a dime magnet overcomes the entire gravitaional force of the earth).

There is no reason we can discern for this state of affairs, but if gravity or electromagnetism were stronger or weaker by even one order of magnitude, solar systems and stars could not exist in one case and atoms and molecules could not exist in the other. The possible range of forces is immense, but the range that allows a universe where life can exist small.

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Posted (edited)

I thought he made it fairly clear. There are pure numbers (pi) that we calculate and there are denominate numbers (the speed of light, where you have units of measurement attached that we derive).

But there are other numbers that we don't. One of the more interesting of the pure numbers is the ratio of the force of gravity to the electromagnetic force. The latter is vastly stronger than the former (a dime magnet overcomes the entire gravitaional force of the earth).

There is no reason we can discern for this state of affairs, but if gravity or electromagnetism were stronger or weaker by even one order of magnitude, solar systems and stars could not exist in one case and atoms and molecules could not exist in the other. The possible range of forces is immense, but the range that allows a universe where life can exist small.

And yet every single scientist is on record that these fine tuned parameters can be different in other universes... I'm not talking of Pi, but Pi only is what it is because of the nature of the universe we are in, the spacetime-continuum with its laws on geometry work perfectly here, because we derived them from the very structure of this universe, could we say the same for another type of universe were the very structure is essentially different form ours?

Don't think so... its like saying that we only have trees that have green leaves, so there cannot be trees that have purple leaves.

Edited by Jor-el

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Well I wouldn't say they are on record that in other universes they can have different values; we don't know that these other universe even exist. We just strongly suspect it. It is imaginable that deep connections may exist that force all the physical constants to have the values they have, but it seems more likely that these values are "set" based on unknown factors at the birth of a given "universe." Indeed, some blend of these may be most likely.

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Well I wouldn't say they are on record that in other universes they can have different values; we don't know that these other universe even exist. We just strongly suspect it. It is imaginable that deep connections may exist that force all the physical constants to have the values they have, but it seems more likely that these values are "set" based on unknown factors at the birth of a given "universe." Indeed, some blend of these may be most likely.

Oh they are on record, want me to give you those quotes?

They are all easily available online...

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You said, "Every single scientist." That would be quite a few.

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Posted (edited)

You said, "Every single scientist." That would be quite a few.

Well there are detractors who don't accept the theory, I suppose you wouldn't include them. By the term "every single scientist", I am stating every scientist that accepts the theory which, is most of them. It is the new "In vogue theory"...

Below there are a number of quotes from scientists who describe exactly what the theory entails, at least one of the scientists below, doesn't actually agree with the stated theory.

The basic workings of inflationary models are summarized, along with the arguments that strongly suggest that our universe is the product of inflation. It is argued that essentially all inflationary models lead to (future-)eternal inflation, which implies that an infinite number of pocket universes are produced. Although the other pocket universes are unobservable, their existence nonetheless has consequences for the way that we evaluate theories and extract consequences from them. The question of whether the universe had a beginning is discussed but not definitively answered. It appears likely, however, that eternally inflating universes do require a beginning.

Alan H. Guth

http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0101507

http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0101507v1.pdf

String theory admits an immense number of solutions describing bubble universes with diverse physical properties. The quantities we call constants of nature, such as the masses of elementary particles, Newton’s gravitational constant, and so on, take different values in different bubble types. Now combine this with the theory of inflation. Each bubble type has a certain probability to form in the inflating space. So inevitably, an unlimited number of bubbles of all possible types will be formed in the course of eternal inflation.

This picture of the universe, or multiverse, as it is called, explains the long-standing mystery of why the constants of nature appear to be fine-tuned for the emergence of life. The reason is that intelligent observers exist only in those rare bubbles in which, by pure chance, the constants happen to be just right for life to evolve. The rest of the multiverse remains barren, but no one is there to complain about that.

Alexander Vilenkin

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=multiverse-the-case-for-parallel-universe

Our universe appears surprisingly fine-tuned for life in the sense that if you tweaked many of our constants of nature by just a tiny amount, life as we know it would be impossible. Why? If there's a Level II multiverse where these "constants" take all possible values, it's not surprising that we find ourselves in one of the rare universes that are inhabitable, just like it's not surprising that we find ourselves living on Earth rather than Mercury or Neptune. George objects to the fact that you need to assume a multiverse theory to draw this conclusion, but that's how we test any scientific theory: we assume that it's true, work out the consequences, and discard the theory if the predictions fail to match the observations. Some of the fine-tuning appears extreme enough to be quite embarrassing—for example, we need to tune the dark energy to about 123 decimal places to make habitable galaxies. To me, an unexplained coincidence can be a tell-tale sign of a gap in our scientific understanding. Dismissing it by saying "We just got lucky—now stop looking for an explanation!" is not only unsatisfactory, but is also tantamount to ignoring a potentially crucial clue.

Max Tegmark

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=multiverse-the-case-for-parallel-universe

In any such picture, in which the universe contains many parts with different values for what we call the constants of nature, there would be no difficulty in understanding why these constants take values favorable to intelligent life. There would be a vast number of big bangs in which the constants of nature take values unfavorable for life, and many fewer where life is possible.

Stephen Weinberg

http://www.physlink.com/Education/essay_weinberg.cfm

Inflationary theory describes the very early stages of the evolution of the Universe, and its structure at extremely large distances from us. For many years, cosmologists believed that the Universe from the very beginning looked like an expanding ball of fire. This explosive beginning of the Universe was called the big bang. In the end of the 70's a different scenario of the evolution of the Universe was proposed. According to this scenario, the early universe came through the stage of inflation, exponentially rapid expansion in a kind of unstable vacuum-like state (a state with large energy density, but without elementary particles). Vacuum-like state in inflationary theory usually is associated with a scalar field, which is often called ``the inflaton field.'' The stage of inflation can be very short, but the universe within this time becomes exponentially large. Initially, inflation was considered as an intermediate stage of the evolution of the hot universe, which was necessary to solve many cosmological problems. At the end of inflation the scalar field decayed, the universe became hot, and its subsequent evolution could be described by the standard big bang theory. Thus, inflation was a part of the big bang theory. Gradually, however, the big bang theory became a part of inflationary cosmology. Recent versions of inflationary theory assert that instead of being a single, expanding ball of fire described by the big bang theory, the universe looks like a huge growing fractal. It consists of many inflating balls that produce new balls, which in turn produce more new balls, ad infinitum. Therefore the evolution of the universe has no end and may have no beginning. After inflation the universe becomes divided into different exponentially large domains inside which properties of elementary particles and even dimension of space-time may be different. Thus the universe looks like a multiverse consisting of many universes with different laws of low-energy physics operating in each of them. Thus, the new cosmological theory leads to a considerable modification of the standard point of view on the structure and evolution of the universe and on our own place in the world. A description of the new cosmological theory can be found, in particular, in my article The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe published in Scientific American, Vol. 271, No. 5, pages 48-55, November 1994

.

Andre Linde

http://www.stanford.edu/~alinde/

We seem to be at a critical point in the history of science, in which we must alter our conception of goals and of what makes a physical theory acceptable. It appears that the fundamental numbers, and even the form, of the apparent laws of nature are not demanded by logic or physical principle. The parameters are free to take on many values and the laws to take on any form that leads to a self-consistent mathematical theory, and they do take on different values and different forms in different universes.

Stephen Hawking

The Grand Design, Chapter 6, pg 227 of pdf version

Edited by Jor-el

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Posted (edited)

If I may, I would like to ask you all to see the following video which directly relates again to our discussion of a fine tuned universe, you can ignore the religious commentaries if you like, I just want you to hear what scientists like Leonard Susskind and Richard Dawkins among others have to say on the subject.

[media=]

[/media]#!

Edited by Jor-el

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Posted (edited)

Jor-el

Ok, then why might I ask do most of the scientists who should technically know about this more than any of us, state that these constants can be different in other universes?

Working through "what would happen if ___" is a fine method for exploring uncertainties. I mentioned the hypothetical ancient high-civilization proto-scientists in this regard, I didn't criticize them for thinking about the problem the way they did.

Langauge fails. If one mathematician says "It is possible that Goldbach's conjecture is correct," and another mathematician says "It is possible that Golbach's conjecture is incorrect," then both mathematicians are correct and one of the mathematicians is wrong. Why? Because the word possible has more than one meaning. The meaning in which both are correct is something like "I don't know whether this is true (false), because no (contrary) proof is now available."

For the other meaning, Goldbach's conjecture is necessarily correct or else it is necessarily incorrect. Whichever it is, it cannot be otherwise, any more than pi could be any different.

So, all your example shows is that scientists speak the same natural language that everybody else does. Scientists qua scientists have no special expertise in the analysis of necessary truth or in distinguishing necessary from contingent truths, since there is no natural test.

And (skipping to the end of your post, commenting out of sequence), a scientist speaking expertly about the implications of a theory is one thing, but whether the theory is true or not is unrelated to the expertise or celebrity of the people who don't confidently think it is false.

Turning back to the middle of your post,

It can go no other way, ...

... meaning that the reaction is uncontroversially energetically favored. Whether that is a necesary truth or contingent is undetermined from what you said. Within a chosen model of the world, the statement is a necessary consequence of the model's premises. Whether the model's statements' correspondence with features of the world is necessary or contingent is hard to say.

It is perfectly reasonable for scientists to speculate about contingent constants and various dependency relationships among them. It doesn't resolve the question, it just reminds us that the question is unresolved, but somebody's working on it.

Edited by eight bits
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Posted (edited)

And (skipping to the end of your post, commenting out of sequence), a scientist speaking expertly about the implications of a theory is one thing, but whether the theory is true or not is unrelated to the expertise or celebrity of the people who don't confidently think it is false.

I agree with much of you said although I would add that all they are doing are correlating the physical data of observation into a theoretical model. The model fails or succeeds on the capacity of the model to duplicate the real world data and observations.

Alexander Vilenkin for example managed to disprove a number of such models after determining one that states that our universe is not eternal but did in fact have a beginning. He disproved models like Eternal Inflation, Cyclic Evolution, and Static Seed (Emergent Universe)) that supposedly argue for a universe without a beginning. He then offers his own explanation (via the Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem) why the universe did have a beginning.

As long as the model can explain all the data observed in the real universe, there is no reason why it should be rejected, at least that is how science works for the most part. If on the other hand new data comes in that undermines a specific model then it has to be rejected or at least reformulated to accept the new data.

Now assuming that the data is correct and that the model therefore succeeds, we should confidently be able to determine the implications that the model represents. That is what I have been doing on this thread, for the most part, demonstrating the implications, if not for a God, then at least for a designer.

Something that the scientists also do, even if they do not like the implications. The video I posted above demonstrates this in their own words, (ignore the religious add ins)

I personally have no problem with a fine tuned universe that could go no other way, which is what would happen if in fact the different constants are all related or influence one another, but that in itself by the probability of such a thing happening by accident or coincidence is amazingly remote.

As one commentator said in a video I have, there are about 1 Quadrillion granules of sand in all the beaches of our planet, if we added just 1 extra granule of sand to the mix, we wouldn't have the universe we live in right now (talking of the cosmolocial constant). That would mean that just on this one factor, we would have 1 in a Quadrillion chance of or universe coming about by accident or coincidence. That I think is not zero but it is as close to it as one is likely to get.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1110.4096v4.pdf

Edited by Jor-el

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Posted (edited)

As one commentator said in a video I have, there are about 1 Quadrillion granules of sand in all the beaches of our planet, if we added just 1 extra granule of sand to the mix, we wouldn't have the universe we live in right now (talking of the cosmolocial constant). That would mean that just on this one factor, we would have 1 in a Quadrillion chance of or universe coming about by accident or coincidence. That I think is not zero but it is as close to it as one is likely to get.

A fascinating image, to be sure, but nobody has yet demonstrated that anybody or anything could add or remove so much as a grain of sand to the specific sandpile we are talking about.

The quality you are describing is called "brittleness." Take any integer at all, and add one to it, and it is an entirely different integer. Add anything less than one to the integer and the result isn't even an integer So what?.

I chose a necessary example, but designed systems have brittleness too. If I enter a key any different at all from the correct key to decode some encrypted file, then the file doesn't decode correctly, and usually not even "close."

Both designed and undesigned systems can display brittleness. Identifying the quality doesn't help me to determine which systems are designed and which are spontaneous.

In fact, we have in part circled around. Another poster here mentioned the possibility of discovering a "code" in the remote bits of pi. So, suppose I discover a triple {m, n, D} which, when applied to the n bits starting with the m-th bit of pi recovers the Gettysburg Address. One piece of that story is designed: the Gettysburg Address, another piece is necessary, the n bits of pi starting at position m, and something that is discovered not designed, the triple. Change anything "just a little bit" in any one of the three components: which digits of pi, what D says to calculate, or which text we want to recover, and the whole picture unravels. Brittleness in the designed part, brittleness in the discovered part, brittleness in the necessary part - all have the same effect on the overall outcome.

Edited by eight bits
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A fascinating image, to be sure, but nobody has yet demonstrated that anybody or anything could add or remove so much as a grain of sand to the specific sandpile we are talking about.

The quality you are describing is called "brittleness." Take any integer at all, and add one to it, and it is an entirely different integer. Add anything less than one to the integer and the result isn't even an integer So what?.

I chose a necessary example, but designed systems have brittleness too. If I enter a key any different at all from the correct key to decode some encrypted file, then the file doesn't decode correctly, and usually not even "close."

Both designed and undesigned systems can display brittleness. Identifying the quality doesn't help me to determine which systems are designed and which are spontaneous.

In fact, we have in part circled around. Another poster here mentioned the possibility of discovering a "code" in the remote bits of pi. So, suppose I discover a triple {m, n, D} which, when applied to the n bits starting with the m-th bit of pi recovers the Gettysburg Address. One piece of that story is designed: the Gettysburg Address, another piece is necessary, the n bits of pi starting at position m, and something that is discovered not designed, the triple. Change anything "just a little bit" in any one of the three components: which digits of pi, what D says to calculate, or which text we want to recover, and the whole picture unravels. Brittleness in the designed part, brittleness in the discovered part, brittleness in the necessary part - all have the same effect on the overall outcome.

Agreed, what then allows us to make a specific determination over another?

This discussion basically has two outcomes, one that there is an indication of a designer and alternatively that the design is only apparant and part of a much larger natural order of existence, the so called multiverse theory.

Both views are not testable, both rely on a certain ammount of faith, if we can use that word and both call for Occams razor in their defence in regard to viability.

Occams razor states that among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected. Well which of the competing hypothesis makes the least assumptions?

That fine tuning indicates a designer, or that fine tuning is in indicator of a multiverse, of which ours is merely one in an almost infinite number, 10120 to be precise.

That is more universes than all the atoms of our universe by an order of a trillion trillion trillion times. There are approximately 1082 atoms in the observable universe.

On the one hand we have single designer on the other we have a cosmological improbability that even scientists find disturbing...

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Agreed, what then allows us to make a specific determination over another?

At the moment, we can't, no more than those ancient proto-scientists could make the determination about 3-4-5 triangles. Or, if there is a way, then it's way above my pay grade.

Both views are not testable, both rely on a certain ammount of faith, if we can use that word and both call for Occams razor in their defence in regard to viability.

Well, I won't thumb-wrestle with you over the word faith, but I really couldn't care less about the misnamed Occam's razor. It is a fabulously weak heuristic that by an amazing coincidence reliably finds simplicity in what agrees with the wielder's existing opinions.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no simpler explanation of anything than "It must be true necessarily." And there certainly can be no fewer number of assumptions than one. So, if there is something to be explained in the brittleness of the various physical constants, then that is what Occam's razor teaches when it is mine to wave around.

In actual fact, however, I simply don't have any confident belief about whether the physical situation is necessary or not, and if not, how many degrees of freedom are involved. Our subject is "Proof that God exists," and the existing state of "fine tuning" hypotheses is far from being that.

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At the moment, we can't, no more than those ancient proto-scientists could make the determination about 3-4-5 triangles. Or, if there is a way, then it's way above my pay grade.

Well, I won't thumb-wrestle with you over the word faith, but I really couldn't care less about the misnamed Occam's razor. It is a fabulously weak heuristic that by an amazing coincidence reliably finds simplicity in what agrees with the wielder's existing opinions.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no simpler explanation of anything than "It must be true necessarily." And there certainly can be no fewer number of assumptions than one. So, if there is something to be explained in the brittleness of the various physical constants, then that is what Occam's razor teaches when it is mine to wave around.

In actual fact, however, I simply don't have any confident belief about whether the physical situation is necessary or not, and if not, how many degrees of freedom are involved. Our subject is "Proof that God exists," and the existing state of "fine tuning" hypotheses is far from being that.

Yes it is not "proof", ultimately none of us have that one way or another, but there are indicators, indicators that when compared to the alternative become a whole lot more realistic than that alternative.

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Posted (edited)

A fine-tuned universe is not evidence for God, it is only evidence for a fine-tuned universe. Given the fact that you or I would not exist if not for the fine-tuning it makes perfect sense why we observe it to be fine-tuned. I do not understand why this is evidence for a creator God. A watch is evidence for the watchmaker because we know for a fact that nature does not assemble watches together. We do not know for a fact that physics does not naturally assemble into a fine-tuned universe so the fact that we live in one is not evidence for God, it is simply evidence for the fact that we still have a lot to learn about the universe.

Edited by Einsteinium
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A fine-tuned universe is not evidence for God, it is only evidence for a fine-tuned universe. Given the fact that you or I would not exist if not for the fine-tuning it makes perfect sense why we observe it to be fine-tuned. I do not understand why this is evidence for a creator God. A watch is evidence for the watchmaker because we know for a fact that nature does not assemble watches together. We do not know for a fact that physics does not naturally assemble into a fine-tuned universe so the fact that we live in one is not evidence for God, it is simply evidence for the fact that we still have a lot to learn about the universe.

What does a fine tuned universe mean?

How many physical constants in the universe are fine tuned?

What is the probability that all these physical constants happened to all converge at just the exact time for the universe we now live in to exist?

If even scientists admit that it looks like designer did it, why do so many people reject the possibility, after all there is no real alternative at this time.

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A fine-tuned universe is not evidence for God, it is only evidence for a fine-tuned universe. Given the fact that you or I would not exist if not for the fine-tuning it makes perfect sense why we observe it to be fine-tuned. I do not understand why this is evidence for a creator God. A watch is evidence for the watchmaker because we know for a fact that nature does not assemble watches together. We do not know for a fact that physics does not naturally assemble into a fine-tuned universe so the fact that we live in one is not evidence for God, it is simply evidence for the fact that we still have a lot to learn about the universe.

I think part of the problem is that you're giving too much importance to our 'universe'. Try thinking of it as just an amazingly beautiful toy. When you bring out the anthropic principle, you're just choosing to believe in a 1 in infinity chance instead of admitting the much more likely possibility of design. Why do you let pride make your decision? What is about being a part of something made with a purpose that disturbs you so much?

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I personally beleive in a multiverse theory, which then takes the 'fine-tuned' universe arguement out of the question.

It then becomes probibility.

Like the good old saying: Put a group of monkeys and a type writer into a room, Give them an infinite amount of time and they will produce shakespear.

Same with universes, given an infinite amount of time, Matter will configure into the correct conditions for a universe as we know it.

This is my own opinion of course.

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I personally beleive in a multiverse theory, which then takes the 'fine-tuned' universe arguement out of the question.

It then becomes probibility.

Like the good old saying: Put a group of monkeys and a type writer into a room, Give them an infinite amount of time and they will produce shakespear.

Same with universes, given an infinite amount of time, Matter will configure into the correct conditions for a universe as we know it.

This is my own opinion of course.

And the probability of either happening by natural means (coincidence) is more improbable than the appearance of a flying pink spaghetti monster in your living room from spontaneous creation.

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The application of Occam's Razor is a rule of thumb, not a rule of logic, and is best used to decide which theory to test first. It can also be damn hard to apply to real cases, since "simplicity" is oft in the eye of the beholder. To me an infinite set of "universes" is simpler than an infinite mind and has the benefit that they can have a beginning in time (don't have to have "always" existed) while the infinite mind has to have been doing something all through that infinite time.

However, I do think the situation as we have it is excellent evidence of design. The idea of the universe throwing out cosmos after cosmos, each a dud, an unbelievably huge number of times before one comes along that is just right does stretch Occam quite a bit. I think it better to think there is something narrowing the parameters -- some natural, or even intelligent thing making models, but something. Of course this has nothing to do with God, an invention that predates these understadings about how the world is and so doesn't fit no matter how much you trim Him.

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Jor-el,

Thanks for your earlier response. In regard to one of your points, I thought we had resolved the issue of the 'net energy in the universe is zero' issue but if there are questions I have not responded to just let me know; most of the questions I had were cleared up once we clarified that we both agree this universe has energy, lots of it. I have a few other disagreements with your post (definition of God of the gaps, the implication that I think science is the answer to everything, etc), but I don't think they're worth continuing.

I think the more interesting questions, since we don't seem to have any source for anyone actually calculating the probabilities of fine tuned constants from any actual data, concerns the 'therefore, God' argument. You said to eight:

Yes it is not "proof", ultimately none of us have that one way or another, but there are indicators, indicators that when compared to the alternative become a whole lot more realistic than that alternative.

On what basis are we determining 'more realistic'? If I entertain for a moment that pi must be the value it is, then the chance of it having that value is 100%, and yes, it makes me wonder then why anyone thinks the values these other fine-tuned constants have in this universe is unlikely. Regardless, let's say that our universe's values are unlikely in some way, why does that at all make a god the 'more realistic' alternative? One question, in my mind, that I don't think you have adequately addressed is why this is a 'someone' instead of a 'something'. But I think the real difference in our argument may come down to that you may believe there is other evidence outside of fine-tuning that leads one to believe that a god exists and that makes him then a 'more realistic' explanation for fine-tuning than something like a multiverse or some other non-sentient natural force or law; I don't though. I may be reading you wrong, but your argument against the multiverse seems to be that there is no direct evidence for it, which to me is exactly the same deficiency in the God answer (ignoring Occam/parsimony). So why then is God a more realistic answer? What is the probability of God existing? It seems to me like you are comparing the small probability of the constants being what they are to a null/unknown probability of God existing, which means we don't know which is more 'realistic' and likely. Piggy-backing on something you said to eight:

If even scientists admit that it looks like designer did it, why do so many people reject the possibility, after all there is no real alternative at this time.

If I understand you correctly, 'the designer' is not a 'real alternative' either, there's nothing that the multiverse theory suffers from that the designer hypothesis does not. I don't reject the possibility, I just don't see why this argument is supposedly supporting one unevidenced possibility over another.

What you seem to not be seeing is that you are exactly limited to those two choices, and that in either one of them, you are forced to accept a belief. Either the multiverse (conjectural and non-testable) or God (conjectural and non-testable). So yes, the choice is yours in what to believe.

This is the false dichotomy I was referring to, I have a very obvious third option: we don't have enough information on how universes are created, how constants are determined, what the probability is of them having certain values, how interrelated they are, etc, thus 'we don't know' is definitely an option. Especially given this subject matter (universe creation) which is at the bleeding edge of our scientific understanding.

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