I'm new today to the website, and I'm a new athiest as of a few months ago. I've read some internet literature on physics and whatnot (in fact I just graduated high school and am planning on majoring in physics), and recently picked up a book on athiesm. It was called "God, the failed hypothesis" I forget the authors name, but if I remember or pick up the book again I'll be sure to post again. Anyways, the book goes about empirically debunking arguments for God, and all of them are backed up with studies and fact.
I just was wondering if anyone had a good argument against the fine tuning of the universe argument for God. The book tells that a lot of the universe isn't conductive to human life, so if a god made it for us, why can we only live on this tiny planet? Any other reasons people can come up with?
Also, while we're at it, what about the big bang, and what started it. I understand that the universe was an infinity small/dense point (plank point i believe the term is) and that the universe's mass-density level is Zero, which would mean there wasn't any other energy put into the universe, the way God would have. Any other good arguments for this?
I'm not sure of the fallacy(s) which the fine tuning argument commits...
In summary, the universe is not necessarily fine-tuned for us, it is also possible that we are(or have evolved) the way we are BECAUSE of the way the universe(the parts we have been exposed to at least) is. Can anyone name this theory? I cant think of its name.
The book you have is of Victor Stenger. He has a number of great books on physics and his newest book is just about fine tuning, it's called "The Fallacy Of Fine Tuning, Why the Universe is Not Designed For Us."
This is his website: http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/VWeb/Home.html
You can find information about his book there and lots of other stuff.
As I'm plugging now, I just as well can do it right: If you are planning on majoring in physics, you'd probably like another one of his, "The Comprehensible Cosmos, Where Do The Laws of Physics Come From." and maybe get a copy of "Road To Reality, A Complete Guide.." from Roger Penrose alongside while at it.
A\ Matt Clerke, you are talking about multiverses or parallel universes. Taking multiverse theories seriously is not a minority position among cosmologists I believe. If you really like to know more about that stuff and have it explained to you in a real comprehensible and structured way, leaving you in a perpetual aha-orgasm, then I suggest reading Brian Greene's "The Hidden Reality."
The variation you are referring to I think is what Greene calls the "Quilted Universe" as in an infinite Universe in which sheer by chance particles will arrange themselves in a way so extremely closely to the way it is in our visible patch, that there is an (exact or almost exact) copy of the Earth with (a copy of) you on it. (Or the other way around of course) The distance that such an arrangement of particles should occur, time and again, the recurrence distance as it can be called, is calculable. It's about 10^(10^122) light years.
I wasn't actually talking about multiverses or parallel universes, although the existance of an infinite number of universes would of course lead to at least one in which life will form.
I was actually refering to the fact that evolution is the process of an organism adapting to its habitat. So of course our habitat seems ideal to us, we evolved to take maximum advantage of it.
The multiverse theory best explains the apparent "tuning" of physical constants like c and plank's length. The evolution theory explains why we are so well adapted to life in our environment e.g. we breathe air and cannot survive in space because survival in space has never been a selection pressure.
If in your earlier post you didn't just mean Evolution by natural selection I must assume you meant the Anthropic Principle then? But that isn't a theory, it's at best a hypothesis.
Forgive me if it sounds pedantic, but as of yet no multiverse proposal that I know of explains or fixes from first principles the value of physical constants that we now have to plug in by hand, like c, h, G, alfa and such, or for example the number of dimensions, but the AP turns it around saying that if they were different, each with their own margin, such a Universe wouldn't be conducive to life (as far as we are able to tell.) We wouldn't be here to speculate about it in any case.
Yes I think that is what I was talking about... Our existance means that the universe is such that intelligent life can exist. In summary: the universe being perfect for us to exist in it is not remarkable, because if it were not true, we would not be here at all.
I don't know if I would even call it a hypothesis, it's just logical reasoning. Something along the lines of if A and B: A and B.
hmm...reading through the wiki page on the Anthropic Principle it seems as if some people use it to argue that the universe exists because they exist to observe it....Just want to clarify that is not what I believe.
I'm with you on that last one.
There are different flavors to the Anthropic Principle and that last one is the strong flavor of it, where proponents often believe that life had to come into existence from the outset to ponder the existence of everything. The weakest objection I can think of is that the strong Anthropic Principle violates the much more battle tested Copernican Principle, which is already enough to bury it I'd think.
The weak Anthropic Principle leads you almost automatically to Multiverse theories in combination with an (observational) selection bias. That is to say in the grand scheme of things an observer is much more likely to make observations from within patches of the Multiverse that allows the observer to exist than in places where he/ she/ it can't.
If you'd read Smolin in the "Life of the Cosmos" (1997) he does away with even the Weak Anthropic Principle in favor of a hypothesis of Universes created through black holes in which natural selection on a cosmic scale allows for optimization of the circumstances for biogenesis and life as an accidental by-product of black-hole selection.
In regards to the big bang theory I have heard a few interesting ideas but the correct answer is "we don't know".
Now for interests sake, some of the ideas:
Our universe is a like a bubble which formed on another bubble(universe). Not sure if this one explains the bang part though...
In quantum theory it is, apparently, possible for particles to appear and disappear at random. The results of which eventually caused the big bang.
Our universe is caused by the intersection of two(or more I suppose) energy fields in higher dimensional space.
Just remember, answers are worthless unless they are proven... otherwise we may as well just believe the bible.
An interesting counter to the Fine Tuning argument (which Victor Stenger might cover in his latest book) is that those finely tuned values are not really that finely tuned.
For example, take the cosmological constant. Currently, it is ever so slightly positive, leading to our ever-expanding universe. And yes, if it was largely positive or largely negative, stars couldn't form, planets would not exist and life would be impossible. However, if it were ever so slightly negative, instead of positive, that value would be even more favorable towards the development of stars, planets and thus life than the current state of affairs.
as for the Big Bang, we know that the universe was in a very hot, dense state, but before Plank Time we can only speculate as our current understanding of physics breaks down at the point where gravity becomes important at a quantum level.
There are a number of viable hypothesises about what happened prior to Plank Time. There's M-theory which speculates that our universe is just one of many that form like a bubble out of a 'quantum foam', similar to how virtual particles spontaneously arise out of the vacuum of space. And yes, if such a bubble expanded fast enough (inflation), it would essentially have a zero total energy count.
There's also an interesting hypothesis that universes are spawned from black holes in other, older universes and that universes which have natural laws that favor black holes are more likely to create new universes, an evolution of universes as it were.