Fine tuning News

Journalist on fine-tuning of the universe

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From David Warren at the Catholic Thing:

Thirty years have now passed since the publication of an extraordinary book, by a respectable publisher (the Oxford University Press). This was, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, by the witty British astronomer, John Barrow, and the brilliant American mathematical physicist, Frank Tipler. It included a laudatory preface by John Wheeler, co-inventor or discoverer of “black holes.”

It was an attempt to overturn the Copernican Revolution: to put man back at the centre of a miraculously conceived universe, and make his fate the whole meaning of it. This universe, from its Alpha Point in what is popularly called the “Big Bang,” to an Omega Point that is darkly foreseeable, could be described in no sense of the word, “random.”

For the very existence of man depends upon a large, and constantly increasing number of demonstrably happy coincidences, in the “design” of the universe itself. The thing is incredibly fine-tuned, from what we can already calculate and measure, such that the slightest alteration in any of the physical laws, or the chemical properties, would not only eliminate us, but make it impossible that we had ever been.More.

Warren is one of the bravest Canadian journalists I have ever known. He was, of course, eventually forced out of local media who were attuned to griping neurotics*. These media will soon be defunct and – in many cases, if you ask me – should be collectively panhandling outside a liquor store.

Trust Warren to take the fact of fine-tuning on.

* Griping neurotics? I offer a standard response when some apparent live entity writes me threatening to raise hell over something or other I wrote:

Yes, you are correct. There are only two Free Speech Corners in all of North America, north of the Rio Grande.

One is called the Dominion of Canada. The other is called the United States of America.

You could find out their locations using this map.

There are strict hours. They operate 24/7.

If I was not in one of them when I said what I did, or was there at an hour not covered by the rules, please feel free to contact the authorities.

Otherwise, get the heck out of my mailbox and don’t come back. I have a serious deadline to meet.

See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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6 Replies to “Journalist on fine-tuning of the universe

  1. 1
    Rationalitys bane says:

    I have been reading David Warren for years. But I have to admit that I find his writing style to be rambling, pompously arrogant and almost unreadable. He has also had some serious issues with attribution.

    He was, of course, eventually forced out of local media who were attuned to griping neurotics*.”

    I don’t think that it was as simple as that. In the last few years he was writing for the Citizen, his articles became more and more about religion. Which would not be problem if he was being paid to write about religion. But he wasn’t. This is part of his bio that still, for some strange reason, still appears on the Citizen site:

    He has been writing for the Citizen since 1996. His commentaries on international affairs appear Wednesdays & Saturdays; on Sundays he writes a general essay on the editorial page.

    Regardless, even though I disagree with him on almost everything he writes about, I still enjoy reading his essays that still appear on his web site. But I do miss the comments that he used to allow. His argument for getting rid of the option was that he was spending too much time editing those comments.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Rationalitysbane at 1: I do not care whether you like Warren’s style or not. He makes a living as a writer.

    He got more serious about religion as a result of various hellstorms that the rest of us go through as well.

    I (with others) helped Warren walk through many witch hunts sponsored by griping neurotics who should just have been shown the door politely.

    The cowards who would not do that are deservedly seeing their media assets shrink in value.

    If it weren’t for people like Warren, my country would be much less free. Freedom is not given by bureaucrats; it is taken from them.

  3. 3
    Rationalitys bane says:


    Rationalitysbane at 1: I do not care whether you like Warren’s style or not. He makes a living as a writer.

    Actually, he doesn’t. Any more. He is retired to the High Dogonate in Parkdale (or is it Parkside?).

    I (with others) helped Warren walk through many witch hunts sponsored by griping neurotics who should just have been shown the door politely.

    With respect, the accusations of failing to attribute many written paragraphs of his published articles are very easy to confirm. We are not talking about a handful of words strung together that are similar to those published by someone else. We are talking about significant chunks of text. I am willing to accept a momentary lapse of judgement on his part, but attributing it to a witch hunt is just the sign of someone not owning up to his own mistakes.

    If it weren’t for people like Warren, my country would be much less free.

    I grew up in the same country you did. Am roughly the same age as you. I grew up in the same city you did (hurricane Hazel, the junction, Christie Pits). Went to the same high school you did (go Redmen), and currently live in the same city you do (go RedBlacks), so please don’t insult me by claiming that Warren had anything to do with freedom in Canada. He was never more than a mediocre journalist. I am named after two friends of my father’s killed in the war. I dare say that they are far more responsible for freedom in Canada than Warren is. But this being said, I always looked forward to reading Warren’s essays. And still do. But please don’t pretend that he was noble, or a martyr, or more important than he was.

    But enough of my little rant. Are you aware of the Runnymede 90th reunion in 2017. My father went there, me and my brothers went there, and my brothers’ kids went there.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this excerpt from the article:

    He was being told not only that the universe had “evolved,” thus far, to produce man, and no comparable example of consciously intelligent life; but that this evolution must continue in the advance of cybernetics, to an infinite threshold, in which man would master the whole universe and its contents, including all of its possible energy sources, and “resurrect” himself in a location ultimately beyond the arrow of time.

    So apparently it is somehow ‘non-miraculous’ for someone to now believe that human beings, that are supposedly composed completely of mass and energy, to somehow, in their ‘evolved’ future, gain mastery over mass and energy, and space and time so as to reach back in space and time to create all of mass and energy, and space and time?

    And this complete failure in logic in this materialistic scenario is missed exactly how by these supposedly brilliant men of science?

    “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
    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – video – 6:49 mark

    “In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.”
    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video

    Along that same line:

    Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski
    “The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
    Kurt Gödel, was a preeminent mathematician who is considered one of the greatest to have ever lived.

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.,,,

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski (mathematically) prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:


    We may be overlooking a critical factor in our quest to find alien life – August 2016
    Excerpt: Many scientists assume that plate tectonics is a given on rocky, Earth-like worlds, but this may be rarer than anyone imagined.
    A new study in the journal Science Advances questions the idea that rocky worlds “self regulate” their heat after forming.
    The implications could be enormous, says study author Jun Korenaga, a geophysicist at Yale University. Essentially, we could be overlooking another “Goldilocks” factor in our searches for worlds habitable to aliens: a planet’s initial temperature.
    If you’re a planet and you start out too hot, the thick layer of rock below the crust called the mantle doesn’t give you plate tectonics. If you’re too cold, you also don’t get plate tectonics. The mantle is not as forgiving as scientists once assumed: you have to have the right internal temperature to begin with.
    “Though it’s difficult to be specific about how much, it surely does reduce the number of habitable worlds,” Korenaga wrote in an email to Business Insider. “Most … Earth-like planets (in terms of size) probably wouldn’t evolve like Earth and wouldn’t have an Earth-like atmosphere.”
    That would mean that many planets in the “Goldilocks” zone may not be habitable after all.,,,
    The new models suggest that rocky planets which can regulate their temperature, and thus develop all the geologic support systems life needs to emerge and thrive, are much rarer than we might hope.,,,
    he wrote. “[A] planet like Earth could well be the one of a kind in the universe.”

  6. 6
    HeKS says:

    Rationalitys bane and News

    Rationalitys bane: …and currently live in the same city you do (go RedBlacks)

    Wow. Three of us on this site are from Ottawa? For some reason I find that surprising. Yay for us, I guess.


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