Discussion in 'Alternative Theories' started by Saint, Feb 9, 2017.
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It's the Cosmological Fine-Tuning Argument. It's somewhat interesting in that it seems to be a new cosmological argument for the existence of God (or at least a new spin on the older Design argument). The claim put forward by some rather prominent physicists (originally in the UK it seems) seems to be that a whole host of physical constants have to be precisely what they are, or else a universe such as we perceive (and of which we are composed) couldn't exist. So if the constants could have had any value at the beginning, what made them have these precise values that make a universe possible?? (God, the cosmic designer, that's who.)
Then consider them unrealized possibilities, 'possible worlds' in the manner of some interpretations of modal logic. That's just a way of logically representing the way things might have been in logical space, without committing one's self to their actual reality somewhere else.
But yes, it's true that the Cosmological Fine Tuning Argument (for the existence of God) has stimulated a new popularity for stouter metaphysical multiverse theories among more atheistic physicists. The idea there is that if the physical constants could have had any value, then suppose that all of the values are instantiated in different alternative universes somehow at the beginning and that there is an infinity of universes, each with the same physics as ours but with different physical constants. Then invoke a weak Anthropic Principle and point out that it's only universes where sentient beings like ourselves can exist that will generate internal observers such as physicists. So if those observers become aware of the alleged unlikeliness of their physical constants being precisely what they are, they will believe that their universe is special somehow and the product of design.
As for me, I'm not a physicist. (Not even close.) But the philosopher in me is exceedingly skeptical about the Fine Tuning Argument's central premise. (I'm often skeptical about scientific propositions, which makes me a "denier" I guess.) Regardless of the pretensions of physics, I don't think that humanity really fully understands this universe in which we find ourselves. So it seems to me to be hubris to start pontificating about what supposedly is and isn't possible were things a little different.
Part of that problem seems to be that these physicists are just plugging different physical constants into their sacred equations (theoretical physicists often turn Platonist and confuse their mathematics with reality) which supposedly remain the same from universe to universe. But what justifies that assumption? If the constants can take on different values, why can't the functions that describe the relationships between physical variables take on different forms as well? If that were so, it would throw a huge curveball into the Fine Tuning arguments and render it impossible to predict how alternative universes might behave and what they might produce.
Yes, I agree very strongly with that. Our own lives are hugely contingent as well, dependent on a huge succession of fortuitous events in the past. So were my parents meeting and marrying preplanned by Providence to produce me? Was Hitler (and Napoleon) losing their wars intended to produce me? Was the fall of Rome?
But turning once again to the physics, if physical constants were a little different, and if the physicists are right about that making this universe we see around us impossible, how can they be so certain that a hypothetical alternative universe wouldn't have evolved in its own unknown way, producing stable structures different somehow from our atoms, coalescing into things different somehow from our planets and stars, and ultimately resulting in sentient beings fully convinced that their universe was designed precisely for them?
My point is that the Fine Tuning arguments seem based entirely on precisely replicating our own universe. But our own universe might not be the only kind of interesting, fecund and productive universe possible.
Theology too. It's an interesting point where all three: physics, metaphysics and theology seem to approach very close to one another.
My main discomfort with the Fine Tuning Argument is that equally elaborate chains of coincidence, and hence vanishingly low probability factors, are associated with any actually observed outcome in real life.
Probability is designed to calculate the likelihood of a future, as yet unrealised, state compared to the alternatives. Once you already have a realised state it makes no sense to use probability backwards, to say whether or not it was likely - it has happened and that's it. You can't use probability to argue it could not have happened by chance, because an outcome is a certainty, and the one we see is merely the one that the roulette wheel of fortune happens to have picked, out of the myriad of alternatives, all of them individually of vanishingly low probability. Seems to me the same is true of the values of the fundamental constants.
I agree, in the end all those disciplines seek truth.
However I disagree with the notion that the Fine Tuning Argument suggests a motivated fine tuner.
IMO, a natural self-ordering mathematical geometric and gravitational fine tuning from an initial chaotic beginning could be modeled, without the attendant obstacle of trying to define a "motivated causal cosmic individuality".
In a world where certain functional patterns are allowed and certain other are not, we end up with a mathematical probability or Implicate (David Bohm) of what is to become expressed in reality. A Mathematical Imperative.
As Tegmark posits that only some 32 values (numbers) and a handful of equations
can explain everything in the universe. It's simple mathematics does not require a "guiding hand". It kind of finds its own path by trial and error, natural selection.
Question: Did God at one time decide that creating a specific attraction between H and O (H2O) would be a nice new tuning device?
IMO, the concept of an intelligent and motivated arche-type makes any analysis so complicated, that simple known inherent mathematically functional progression (patterns) is sufficient to produce the results we see around us.
Perhaps a clue can be found in the equations of the fundamental observed patterns and their seemingly near infinitely allowed interactions. Think of E = Mc^2 , and the implications of possible expression in reality that simple equation of *functionality* has produced.
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