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Physics prof Eric Hedin has a ticket on the Ball Street Railroad

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An interesting piece in the San Francisco Chronicle spells out the problems assistant prof Eric Hedin is having at Ball State U in Muncie, Indiana, where he teaches an honours course exploring the nature of the universe. He is accused by atheists of promoting intelligent design, and is under investigation. Here is who is investigating him, according to John West of the Discovery Institute, who did some research:

The three other panelists [besides Catherine Pilachowski, an astronomy prof from Indiana U who has chaired the American Astronomy Society] are Ball State faculty members Gary Dodson, a professor of biology; Juli Thorson Eflin, a professor of philosophy; and Richard Fluegeman Jr., a professor of geological sciences.

West said Pilachowski was on the governing council of AAS when it issued a declaration denouncing intelligent design in 2005 and stating that it should not be taught in science classes.

He also said Dodson signed an anti-creationism petition circulated by the lobbying group the National Center for Science Education and that in 2009, Dodson was a presenter and discussion leader for a Darwin Day conference organized by the Ball State Freethought Alliance.

Fluegeman delivered the opening lecture at the same Darwin Day conference.

Some of us suspect that the problem is a bit like this: The fine tuning of our universe suggests it is designed. The only serious alternative these days is the multiverse, for which there is no evidence.

So anyone who sets forth the facts honestly could be got on charges of non-atheism.

Hey, ya gotta choose: Lies, nonsense… or just don’t teach. Call it, if you like, the Ball State Railroad.

(We’ve covered this story here. And here.)

Note: Yes, that’s the same place as just hired exoplanet hunter Guillermo “Earth is special” Gonzalez. Maybe Hedin can get him to teach a few sessions on what a real planetary “habitability zone” involves. A bit more, let’s say, than two-inch type about billions of “habitable” planets.

68 Replies to “Physics prof Eric Hedin has a ticket on the Ball Street Railroad

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    The multiverse ….. the only serious alternative? A (multi)phenomenon(!) which would, at a stroke, nullify all intelligibility, and knowledge, science in its pristine meaning; its very antithesis?

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    I can’t help but wonder… who saw this multiverse?

  3. 3
    News says:

    Actuall, Axel, that is what pop science writers often sound like when writing about it. It holds more attractions for them than one might at first suppose. – O’Leary

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    News: Each of those, just on basic professional ethics, should have refused to serve on a panel as judges. This is why I would rather be tried by twelve plain ordinary folks, good and true, taken at random from the phone book, than by a faculty railroading committee in those indoctrination centres formerly known as universities. KF

  5. 5

    I’m curious: do people who say that the “multiverse” has no evidence to support it, nonetheless agree that our observable universe must be a tiny fraction of the whole?

    Estimates are that the universe is 10^23 larger than the part we can observe.

    Does anyone here have a problem with this estimate?

  6. 6
    PeterJ says:

    “Estimates are that the universe is 10^23 larger than the part we can observe.”

    Wow!! Isn’t it amazing what an explosion amidst nothingness can achieve? 😉

  7. 7
    Andre says:

    Elizabeth

    I have to concur, we have not observed the edge of our universe yet that much is true but to speculate that there are an infinite number of these is just fantasy. Nobody knows and you can bring a million mathematical models none of them make it true. Unless these universes are observed its not science.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    So citing a a fairly contestable figure for how large this universe is provides support for the multiverse??? Oh,, I see who made the comment,,, someone who believes designed computer algorithms provide support for Darwinism! Never mind then.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    I will bring up my thesis again. Proposing infinite universes is essentially proposing an infinite number of gods. Would there be any limit to an intelligence that could develop in an infinite subset of these universes. And what is to stop one of these intelligences without limit to say somewhere “Let there be light” and play God.

    Read one of Isaac Asimov most enjoyable short stories which begins with a discussion of reversing entropy, a frequently hot topic here:

    http://filer.case.edu/dts8/thelastq.htm

  10. 10

    No, bornagain, but it seems fairly uncontestable that this universe consists of far more (maybe 23 orders of magnitude) universe that we can see than universe that we can’t.

    And who knows how much of it has the same tuning as this bit? Can we assume so?

    And even if we can, doesn’t that rather increase the probability that we are not alone?

  11. 11

    Wow!! Isn’t it amazing what an explosion amidst nothingness can achieve?

    Yes indeed, but I’m more interested to know whether you accept the basic principle that the observable universe (the one we know about, the dead centre of which we are necessarily at) is only a tiny fraction of the whole.

    Or do you think that we are, in fact, at the centre of the entire universe?

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    jerry, that was a very short, sweet, concise way to put the ontological argument from many-worlds:

    The materialistic conjecture of an infinity of universes to ‘explain away’ the fine tuning of this universe also insures, through the ontological argument, the 100% probability of the existence of God:

    God Is Not Dead Yet – William Lane Craig – Page 4
    The ontological argument. Anselm’s famous argument has been reformulated and defended by Alvin Plantinga, Robert Maydole, Brian Leftow, and others. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being, a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and he would exist in every logically possible world. But then we can argue:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
    2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
    7. Therefore, God exists.

    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=4

    Where this argument has gained purchase is in the materialist/atheist appeal to the multiverse (an infinity of possible worlds) to try to ‘explain away’ the extreme fine tuning we find for this universe. The materialist/atheist, without realizing it, ends up conceding the necessary premise to the ontological argument and thus guarantees the success of the argument and thus insures the 100% probability of God’s existence!

    I like the concluding comment about the ontological argument from the following Dr. Plantinga video:

    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exit.”

    Ontological Argument – Dr. Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ

    Ontological Argument For God From The Many Worlds Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

    This following video deals with many of the technical objections that atheists/materialists have tried to raise to the ontological argument:

    The Ontological Argument (The Introduction) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQPRqHZRP68

    And as weird as it may sound, this following video refines the Ontological argument into a proof that, because of the characteristic of ‘maximally great love’, God must exist in more than one person:

    The Ontological Argument for the Triune God – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGVYXog8NUg

    Moreover, not only does the multiverse insure the success of the ontological argument, the multiverse also clearly demarcates the epistemological failure that is inherent within the materialistic worldview:

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale. For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Here is a fairly interesting talk I listened to this morning that goes a bit further into many of the nuanced details, and history, of the abject epistemological failure inherent within atheism:

    The Atheist’s Guide to Intellectual Suicide – video
    https://vimeo.com/60437420

  13. 13

    I have to concur, we have not observed the edge of our universe yet that much is true but to speculate that there are an infinite number of these is just fantasy. Nobody knows and you can bring a million mathematical models none of them make it true. Unless these universes are observed its not science.

    We do not need to directly observe something to make it science. Much of physics consists in observing the traces of things rather than the thing-itself.

    And I’m not talking about lots of other Big Bang-spawned universes – I’m talking about the other, unobservable, but vastly larger, regions of this one.

    Do you think that because they cannot be observed, we should ignore them?

  14. 14
    Andre says:

    Elizabeth

    I hold that the Christian God is true and I hold that the Bible is God’s infallible word, so far it has not been proven wrong. Here is the problem with Christianity and the we are not alone theory.

    If Jesus Christ is true and died for the sins of man it is a one time event in our universe only. I can not see Jesus being born and dying on every planet where there was sin. That would make it an almost every day event and there is nothing special about that. Nah the universe is as big as it is because the stars Display His Glory.

  15. 15

    jerry:

    I will bring up my thesis again. Proposing infinite universes is essentially proposing an infinite number of gods.

    Is the same true of a vast number of regions of this universe that we cannot ever observe, and which together dwarf our local observable patch?

    Does that mean there are a vast number of Gods for this universe?

  16. 16
    Andre says:

    Elizabeth

    We search until we observe them how about that? I did not say ignore or discard no, we explore we where made to do that!!!!

    Most importantly how big do you think the universe must be to sustain free will? I wonder? I think its this size precisely because of the cost of free will.

  17. 17

    But we can’t do that, Andre, because we can’t observe anything that is too far away for its light to reach us.

    We can infer that it’s there by other means, but we can’t know anything about it, other than estimate its size.

    I don’t see how its size make any difference to free will. But if it does, then it’s apparently about 10^23 times bigger than it looks!

    In other words, before we even start on wondering about multiverses, there is 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more universe than the part we can actually do any kind of measurements on.

  18. 18
    jerry says:

    Do you think that because they cannot be observed, we should ignore them?

    Boy, does that sound like an argument for Intelligent Design. This was part of the argument made in Meyer’s book for the legitimacy of the ID thesis.

  19. 19
    Andre says:

    Elizabeth

    So? Does a bigger universe than we can observe make the need for a Creator any less?

  20. 20

    No, I don’t think it makes any difference at all. Nor would multiverses.

    I’m not really sure why there is all this fuss about multiverse models, but given that there is, I do wonder what people think of the much more solid argument that there are multiple regions the size of our observable universe within this one, and which may have very different properties.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerry I think I heard Dr. Meyer once refer to the atheists actual position as the ABG Hypothesis, Anything But God Hypothesis. 🙂

  22. 22

    jerry:

    Boy, does that sound like an argument for Intelligent Design. This was part of the argument made in Meyer’s book for the legitimacy of the ID thesis.

    It’s not an argument at all, it’s a question.

    I’m really curious about how the anti-multiverse contingent view the case for our observable universe (the one we can measure things in, like constants) being only 1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of the whole.

  23. 23
    jerry says:

    Does that mean there are a vast number of Gods for this universe?

    What is so special about this universe in a multi-verse scenario? It is just one big happy Multi-verse.

    It is just a logical consequence of the multi-verse argument. If there are not an infinite number then that might limit a God, but if there is an infinite number it means that there are an infinite number and no matter which one you find, there will always be one more powerful.

    And an infinite number of them will have said “Let there be light.” But maybe not all in English. Just an infinite subset of them.

    Just using absurdity to demonstrate absurdity.

  24. 24

    I’m not disagreeing with you, jerry, I’m just curious about the resistance here to the concept of multiverses. It seems entirely unthreatening to the idea of God.

    And it’s especially curious when the same objection doesn’t seem to be raised to the idea of multiple observable-universes within our own.

  25. 25
    jerry says:

    the atheists actual position as the ABG Hypothesis, Anything But God Hypothesis.

    This was one of the elements of Denyse’s rants the other day which I believe is absolutely true given my 15 years of observing this nonsense. If an alternative to Darwinian processes could be found, Darwin will go the way of Marx and Freud and other nuts who captured the imagination of a large subset of the planet. He would be gone one second later with the admission that they knew all along that his ideas really couldn’t explain too much

    So will they abandon the Multi-verse argument when it logically implies not only a God but an infinite number of them.

  26. 26
    jerry says:

    I’m just curious about the resistance here to the concept of multiverses. It seems entirely unthreatening to the idea of God.

    I personally have no problem with the concept though as I have pointed out, it does lead to some interesting logical absurdities. I also have no problem with God creating other forms of intelligence in our universe or other universes, even in the vastly expanded one you propose.

    What I find amusing is the absurdity of the anti-God position. It may be true but I find it one of very low probability. The people who hold it are actually the ones who are more absolute in their beliefs than those who believe a creator is logical. I find little give in their positions even as they are pushed into corners. The mantra is “I will not give an inch.” I use the old English but current American unit of measure.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    OF note:

    Alan Guth, if it is assumed that inflation began about 10?37 seconds after the Big Bang, then with the plausible assumption that the size of the universe at this time was approximately equal to the speed of light times its age, that would suggest that at present the entire universe’s size is at least 10^23 times larger than the size of the observable universe.[12]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe#The_universe_versus_the_observable_universe

    Yet the inflation conjecture of Guth, upon which the 10^23 number is derived is shown to be highly problematic:

    One of cosmic (Rapid) inflation theory’s creators now questions own theory – April 2011
    Excerpt: (Rapid) Inflation adds a whole bunch of really unlikely metaphysical assumptions — a new force field that has a never-before-observed particle called the “inflaton”, an expansion faster than the speed of light, an interaction with gravity waves which are themselves only inferred– just so that it can explain the unlikely contingency of a finely-tuned big bang.
    But instead of these extra assumptions becoming more-and-more supported, the trend went the opposite direction, with more-and-more fine-tuning of the inflation assumptions until they look as fine-tuned as Big Bang theories. At some point, we have “begged the question”. Frankly, the moment we add an additional free variable, I think we have already begged the question. In a Bayesean comparison of theories, extra variables reduce the information content of the theory, (by the so-called Ockham factor), so these inflation theories are less, not more, explanatory than the theory they are supposed to replace.,,, after 20 years of work, if we haven’t made progress, but have instead retreated, it is time to cut bait.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....wn-theory/

    A new study,, challenges the inflation model – April 12, 2013
    Excerpt: CfA astronomers Anna Ijjas, Paul Steinhardt, and Avi Loeb have just published a paper arguing that the new Planck results, far from lending credibility to ideas of inflation, actually undermine them. Indeed, they argue that they pose a challenge to cosmology overall. In an ironic and subtle twist, the scientists point out that the results of Planck are actually too good, because they confirm with high precision only the very simplest version of inflation. Yet, they argue, if one believes in the principles of inflation the simplest version is actually by far the most unlikely version. Hence the whole edifice of inflation becomes untenable.
    http://scitechdaily.com/new-st.....k-results/

    (it turns out rapid inflation was initially postulated to ‘smooth away’ the ‘problems’ of fine tuning in the initial conditions of the universe and that that conjecture has now come full circle to bite atheists in the rear end)

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Sean Carroll channels Giordano Bruno – Robert Sheldon – November 2011
    Excerpt: ‘In fact, on Lakatos’ analysis, both String Theory and Inflation are clearly “degenerate science programs”.’
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.....runo.thtml

  28. 28

    I just checked out Seth Lloyd’s paper, Computational Capacity of the Universe, and find, interestingly (although I now remember that this has been mentioned before), that his upper limit on the number of possible operations is 10^120 (i.e. 400 bits) rather than 10^150 (the more generous 500 bits usually proposed by Dembski). However, what I also found was that his calculation was based on the volume of the universe within the particle horizon, which he defines as:

    …the boundary between the part of the universe about which we could have obtained information over the course of the history of the universe and the part about which we could not.

    In other words, that 400 bit limit is only for the region of the universe observable by us, which we know pretty well for sure must be a minor fraction of the total. However, it seems that a conservative lower limit on the proportion of the entire universe that is within the particle horizon is 250, and could be as much as 10^23, so that 400 bit limit needs to be raised to at least 100,000, and possibly very much more.

    Which rather knocks CSI out of the water, even if we assume that P(T|H) really does represent the entire independent random draw configuration space, and is the “relevant chance hypothesis” for life.

    heh.

    But I’m no cosmologist – any physicist like to weigh in?

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    The multiverse would put a damper on materialism- they can’t even explain this universe nevermind many others.

  30. 30
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Which rather knocks CSI out of the water, even if we assume that P(T|H) really does represent the entire independent random draw configuration space, and is the “relevant chance hypothesis” for life.

    Cuz Lizzie sez so! Care to make a positive case Lizzie?

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Please note how when shown that her dogmatic assertion for the size of the universe (10^23 past observable) is highly questionable she doesn’t miss a beat and goes from dogmatism to ‘may be’. pathetic and typical!

  32. 32
    Andre says:

    Elizabeth

    I’m not anti multiverse or anti evolution or even anti science, what I am is anti swallow up wild claims that can not be tested or observed, that kind of stuff is not science, its religion because you need allot of faith to belief stuff you yourself can not experience, test or observe.

    Being skeptical about claims that are not able to be tested or or that can not be observed is a good thing, it means I can comprehend, reason and use logic. I’m confident that I’m ok.

  33. 33

    Joe:

    Sure. You could read my post here, or you could just read Dembski’s 2005 Specification paper.

    BA77, re “dogmatic assertion”:

    What part of “Estimates are that the universe is 10^23 larger than the part we can observe”, and ” it’s apparently about 10^23, and “view the case for our observable universe… being only 1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of the whole” don’t you understand?

  34. 34

    Andre

    I’m not anti multiverse or anti evolution or even anti science, what I am is anti swallow up wild claims that can not be tested or observed, that kind of stuff is not science, its religion because you need allot of faith to belief stuff you yourself can not experience, test or observe.

    Cool. But in that case, what do you make of the “wild claim” that there their can only have been a maximum of 10^150 bit operations in the history of the universe, and that therefore life must have been designed?

    When that estimate was based on what must necessarily be only a proportion (and an estimated small proportion) of the total universe?

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    Oh I see the highly questionable transformed into an unquestioned assertion and then back again when called on it. I’ll guess I’ll add insane to pathetic and typical (or ‘wicked’ but we would not rather think about that would we?)

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    here you go to dogmatism again:

    “must necessarily be only a proportion”

  37. 37
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Sure. You could read my post here, or you could just read Dembski’s 2005 Specification paper.

    I have read both and you definitely do NOT know what you are talking about. And I am sure I have told you that on many occasions. Read Dr Johnson’s book on probabilities…

    YOU need to stick with trying to find support for your position’s claims as that is the only way you are going to refute ID. And it is very telling that you refuse to take that tact.

  38. 38

    OK, almost necessarily, then BA77.

    I guess it’s conceivable that the universe just happens to stop at that exact point beyond which wouldn’t be able to see any further, even if it didn’t.

  39. 39

    Careful, Joe, you are sounding a little dogmatic there 🙂

  40. 40

    BA77

    Oh I see the highly questionable transformed into an unquestioned assertion and then back again when called on it. I’ll guess I’ll add insane to pathetic and typical (or ‘wicked’ but we would not rather think about that would we?)

    That’s right, BA, I wrote post 5, giving the “estimate” after you “called” me on my “dogmatic assertion” at post 37.

    sheesh.

  41. 41
    Andre says:

    Elizabeth

    Those are estimates that are as of yet not testable, we don’t know the boundaries sure but we also don’t know if the estimate is even close to that….. Lets explore and see where the actual evidence takes us.

  42. 42

    Indeed, they are almost certainly subject to revision. But what is not in serious doubt is that a) the unobservable universe larger, probably by many times, than the observable universe and that b) Seth Lloyd based is estimate on the volume of the observable universe.

    That means that at best we do not know the upper limit on the number of bit operations that could have occurred since Big Bang, and that therefore Seth Lloyd’s estimate is not a maximum (and was not intended to be – he was explicit about what he was calculating, namely the maximum number of bit operations in the observable universe).

    That completely undermines the concept of CSI, which actually contains the a similar figure as a parameter. Dembski’s figure is more generous than Seth Lloyd’s, but I just checked and his, too is based on an estimate of the number of particles in the observable universe.

    I had not realised this until today.

    So would anyone like to defend a Universal Probability Bound calculated on the size of the observable universe?

  43. 43
    Joe says:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    The ONLY thing that can undermine CSI as a design indicator is if someone, anyone, demonstrates that nature, operating freely, can produce it. To date no one has. And that means CSI stands as a design indicator.

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    BTW Ball State’s investigation has concluded- no word on what it found…

  45. 45

    Well, no, Joe: if the definition of CSI includes a parameter that is wrong, then we can’t even tell whether a thing has it or not.

    So that’s pretty undermining. It means it can’t be used at all.

  46. 46
    Axel says:

    ‘Nah the universe is as big as it is because the stars Display His Glory.’

    … and how much He thinks of his adoptive brothers and sisters.

    In terms of that kind of metaphor, as a young child, I was more Godlike than my brother, as I wanted, when I grew up, to buy our mother a fur coat, diamonds, pearls, etc… the sun, the moon and the stars, while he offered her the promise of a broom, saucepan, frying pan, etc.

    In life, in reality, as opposed to metaphor, however, as far as I’m aware, he remained an agnostic, but he taught me more about the essence of our faith than any other person, and I’m sure took a lot more with him than I’ll ever learn.

    He did have the advantage of getting confirmed when he was about seven, while I had to wait until adulthood and reconversion. But I’ve never achieved the level of commonsense that seemed innate in him. A maudlin digression, but there it is.

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually postulating a much larger universe, mass-wise, makes the Penroses entropy problem worse:

    How special was the big bang? – Penrose
    ,,the number of protons and neutrons, taken together-in the universe is roughly given by

    B = 10^80.

    ,,, If B were taken to be larger than this then the figures that we would obtain would be even more striking than the extraordinary figures that we shall be arriving at in a minute!,,,

    and that extraordinary figure that would be much worse is,,

    This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.
    Penrose

    Furthermore, we now know that the universe cannot be much larger than it is, as far as mass is concerned, for the simple fact that the amount of mass in the universe is constrained by the mass density at the big bang:

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007682

    Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/where-c.....ine-tuning

    To clearly illustrate the stunning, incomprehensible, degree of fine-tuning we are dealing with in the universe, Dr. Ross has used the illustration of adding or subtracting a single dime’s worth of mass in the universe, during the Big Bang, would have been enough of a change in the mass density of the universe to make life impossible in this universe.

    Evidence for Belief in God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Isn’t the immense size of the universe evidence that humans are really insignificant, contradicting the idea that a God concerned with humanity created the universe? It turns out that the universe could not have been much smaller than it is in order for nuclear fusion to have occurred during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang. Without this brief period of nucleosynthesis, the early universe would have consisted entirely of hydrogen. Likewise, the universe could not have been much larger than it is, or life would not have been possible.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ntro2.html

    Thus there are very principled reasons for supposing limits to the amount of mass in the universe (observable or otherwise).

    supplemental note

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    This preceding video, at the 6:49 mark, has a very interesting quote that highlights the absurd levels of insanity that atheists are willing go to to deny God:

    “So what are the theological implications of all this? Well Barrow and Tipler wrote this book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, and they saw the design of the universe. But they’re atheists basically, there’s no God. And they go through some long arguments to describe why humans are the only intelligent life in the universe. That’s what they believe. So they got a problem. If the universe is clearly the product of design, but humans are the only intelligent life in the universe, who creates the universe? So you know what Barrow and Tipler’s solution is? It makes perfect sense. Humans evolve to a point some day where they reach back in time and create the universe for themselves. (Audience laughs) Hey these guys are respected scientists. So what brings them to that conclusion? It is because the evidence for design is so overwhelming that if you don’t have God you have humans creating the universe back in time for themselves.” –
    Michael Strauss PhD. – Particle Physics

  48. 48
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note:

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,

    c?u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108

    c?g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96

    c?s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85

    c?e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70

    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/6/1/27

    Programming of Life – Probability – Defining Probable, Possible, Feasible etc.. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....ckv0wVBYpA

  49. 49

    OK, BA77, so what is the rationale for basing the number of atoms on only the parts of the universe we can see?

  50. 50
    bornagain77 says:

    Liz, I just as soon go back to you ignoring me and me ignoring you since you don’t listen to anything I say anyway and I cringe when I read your posts..

  51. 51
  52. 52
    Barb says:

    If ours is the only universe in existence, then the fine-tuning argument is powerful (and conclusive). It would be evidence that an intelligence has “monkeyed with the physics” to paraphrase Fred Hoyle. There wouldn’t be any other reasonable possibility.

    But that conclusion evaporates once you bring in the concept of the multiverse: that our universe is simply one of many, and it’s the luck of the draw that it’s just right for human life to flourish. Belief in a multiverse is pure metaphysics. There’s no real reason to believe parallel worlds exist.

  53. 53

    Well, there is some reason, Barb. Some good mathematical models of the universe predict them, e.g. eternal inflation, or the “ekpyrotic” universe.

    And some of the predictions of those models are testable.

    But I don’t see why that should be a bar to the idea of a Designed universe. It would just be even more amazing than it already seems to be.

  54. 54
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Well, no, Joe: if the definition of CSI includes a parameter that is wrong, then we can’t even tell whether a thing has it or not.

    CSI exists, Lizzie. We use it every day.

    And it is very telling that your position doesn’t have any explanation for it. Heck your position doesn’t have an explanation for anything beyond disease and deterioration.

    And I understand that bothers you.

  55. 55
    Joe says:

    So to recap- Lizzie’s position cannot explain CSI so she is forced to try to find something wrong with the concept.

    Lizzie’s position cannot be tested at all so she is forced to try to show that ID cannot be tested either.

    Pathetic but still hilarious…

  56. 56
    Axel says:

    Re your#3, Denyse (if I may presume), quoted below:

    ‘Actually, Axel, that is what pop science writers often sound like when writing about it. It holds more attractions for them than one might at first suppose. – O’Leary

    … in view of their resolute refusal to distinguish between empirically-proven paradoxical truths/mysteries, and plain oxymorons and gratuitous conjectures, I can imagine a book being written by an atheist author setting forth how, in the natural word, truth is often stranger than fiction – mixing the latter with the former; indeed, with a preponderance of fantasy, even expressing a fanciful concluding conspectus.

    Oops, I think there was one – called the Origin of Species, or some such. Although I don’t believe Darwin’s atheism prevailed, either when he wrote the book or later in life. He was a scientist manque (dropped out of his medical studies) and a stamp-collector who had turned to pressed plants and the like.

    How different history might have been, had William Lane Craig or John Lennox been able to take him under their wing, when he was studying theology (in which he graduated successfully). His mind seemed sufficiently unworldly for him to have been much better attuned to spiritual truths than a study of the physical world.

  57. 57

    Joe:

    So to recap- Lizzie’s position cannot explain CSI so she is forced to try to find something wrong with the concept.

    No, Joe. It’s because there is something wrong with the concept of CSI that trying to explain it is bootless.

  58. 58
    Axel says:

    Alas, he fell into bad company. The man robbed of his integrity by shameless blaggers, and likely Good Samaritans as yet unborn.

    The atheists (certainly, Old Nick) seemed to have immediately recognised what a turning point his ideas could be for their campaigning.

  59. 59
    Axel says:

    ‘There’s no real reason to believe parallel worlds exist.’

    When they have nowhere else to go, Barb, reason is not an option.

  60. 60
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    It’s because there is something wrong with the concept of CSI…

    The only thing “wrong” with the concept of CSI is people like you.

  61. 61
    jerry says:

    It’s because there is something wrong with the concept of CSI

    I have to agree with this. here is a discussion 6 1/2 years ago on how to define CSI and no one could explain it or define it then. Any better definition today?

    file:///Users/jerrycosgrove/Documents/Personal/Discussions/Evolution/Evolution%20Old%20IMac/UncommonDescent/Content/CSI/UD_070217_Egnor_CSI.html#comment-92381

    There is a long discussion after this comment on the problems of defining CSI. I referred to this post a couple months ago for the same reason. It is also the post where kairosfocus appeared for the first time. It led to a definition of FCSI which has an easy and intuitive definition. FCSI is a subset of CSI but maybe CSI is to generic to have a good “specified” definition.

    If anyone attacks CSI then send them to the definition of FCSI which is more compelling.

  62. 62
    jerry says:

    I put the link to the file on my Mac. Here is the proper link for the internet discussion

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ment-92381

  63. 63
    jerry says:

    I am going to have to contradict myself on CSI. I looked at the comments policy and the references to CSI and think I have resolved my problem. Namely that the “specified” part of CSI is unclear. When one adds the concept of “refers” to the idea of specified to mean a reference to something specific outside of the CSI instance it becomes clearer.

    In other words CSI is a characteristic of an entity when the entity is complex, contains information and either specifies or refers to something else outside of itself. Anyone have a better definition. I am sure there must be one.

  64. 64
    Jerad says:

    Lizzie,

    It’s rather sad that no one seems able to address your point about the universe being much bigger than what we can observe and what implications that might have for Dr Dembski’s definition of CSI.

    Carrying through the mathematics isn’t hard after all. Although there is still the matter of computing P(T|H) which, unless I’m mistaken, we have not seen calculated for any real, meaningful example.

  65. 65

    Neither able nor even willing, it seems, Jerad.

    And FSCO has exactly the same problem – any formulation that contains those 500 bits.

    And FSCO has the same P(T|H) problem too.

    So while I would agree that that F does deal with Dembski’s “Kolmogorov” problem (not that Dembski seems to think it’s a problem), it’s the only problem the F part does solve.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerad claims that

    “It’s rather sad that no one seems able to address your point about the universe being much bigger than what we can observe”

    And your empirical proof that the inflation conjecture of Guth is true, upon which the claim that ‘the universe being much bigger than what we can observe’ is based, would be what exactly? Moreover, even if this inflation conjecture of Guth were not pure ad hoc mathematical fantasy, a fantasy which has nothing to do with reality but was used to ‘explain away’ the fine-tuning of initials conditions of the universe, this would solve local probabilistic hurdles for Darwinism how? by osmosis? i.e. Imagination is not science, and fantasy is certainly not empirical proof!

    Notes:

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete – Borde-Guth-Vilenkin – 2003
    Excerpt: inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012

    One of cosmic (Rapid) inflation theory’s creators now questions own theory – April 2011
    Excerpt: (Rapid) Inflation adds a whole bunch of really unlikely metaphysical assumptions — a new force field that has a never-before-observed particle called the “inflaton”, an expansion faster than the speed of light, an interaction with gravity waves which are themselves only inferred– just so that it can explain the unlikely contingency of a finely-tuned big bang.
    But instead of these extra assumptions becoming more-and-more supported, the trend went the opposite direction, with more-and-more fine-tuning of the inflation assumptions until they look as fine-tuned as Big Bang theories. At some point, we have “begged the question”. Frankly, the moment we add an additional free variable, I think we have already begged the question. In a Bayesean comparison of theories, extra variables reduce the information content of the theory, (by the so-called Ockham factor), so these inflation theories are less, not more, explanatory than the theory they are supposed to replace.,,, after 20 years of work, if we haven’t made progress, but have instead retreated, it is time to cut bait.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....wn-theory/

    The ‘big bang’: More data and answers, but what about why? by John Horgan
    Excerpt: Inflation, which was invented more than 25 years ago by the physicist Alan Guth, appealed to cosmologists because it seemed to solve various fine-tuning problems. Unfortunately, inflation comes in many different versions, and it is based on highly speculative physics that so far lack any empirical evidence. Paul Steinhardt, an early champion of inflation, now promotes a rival theory that he says can account for the observed universe just as well.
    String theory suffers from flaws even deeper than those of inflation. Far from making our cosmos seem less arbitrary, string theory allows for more than a googol (1 followed by 100 zeros) different possible universes with dimensions, particles, forces and other properties radically unlike our own.
    http://www.stevens.edu/csw/cgi.....=inflation

    The Inflation Debate – Paul J. Steinhardt – April 2011
    Excerpt: Cosmic inflation is so widely accepted that it is often taken as established fact. The idea is that the geometry and uniformity of the cosmos were established during an intense early growth spurt.,,, But some of the theory’s creators, including the author, are having second thoughts. As the original theory has developed, cracks have appeared in its logical foundations.,,, Highly improbable conditions are required to start inflation. Worse, inflation goes on eternally, producing infinitely many outcomes, so the theory makes no firm observational predictions.
    http://www.scientificamerican......ion-summer

    Sean Carroll channels Giordano Bruno – Robert Sheldon – November 2011
    Excerpt: ‘In fact, on Lakatos’ analysis, both String Theory and Inflation are clearly “degenerate science programs”.’
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.....runo.thtml

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,

    c?u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108

    c?g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96

    c?s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85

    c?e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70

    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/6/1/27

    Programming of Life – Probability – Defining Probable, Possible, Feasible etc.. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....ckv0wVBYpA

    Pink EleP(T|H)ants on Parade: Understanding, and Misunderstanding, the Design Inference –
    Closing Thoughts
    Liddle objects that we cannot calculate the probability necessary to make a design inference. However, she is mistaken because the design inference requires that we calculate probabilities, not a probability. Each chance hypothesis will have it own probability, and will be rejected if that probability is too low. Intelligent design researchers have investigated these probabilities.
    Liddle’s objections to Dembski’s appeal to Earman demonstrate that she is the one not following Earman. Earman’s approach involves starting assumptions about what a valid theory would look like, in the same way that any design inference makes starting assumptions about what a possible chance hypotheses would look like.
    In short, neither of Liddle’s objections hold water. Rather both appear to be derived from a mistaken understanding of Dembski and Earman.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74551.html

  67. 67

    BA77 – I honestly didn’t think that anyone seriously questioned the idea that the observable universe is only a subset of the whole.

    It would be very odd if it were – it would mean we were at the absolute dead centre of the entire universe, and it just happened to have the exact radius that is observable!

    I had thought this was non-controversial. Does any other IDer think that the whole universe is no larger than the part we can observe?

    If so, can I ask why?

  68. 68
    Jerad says:

    BA77:

    Can you or anyone else on this forum address the mathematical implications for Dr Dembski’s definition of CSI regarding the size of the universe being larger that than the observed size of the universe?

    This is not a trick question. Just please address the mathematical implications based on Dr Dembski’s definition and the effect on computing P(T|H).

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