Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

At Mind Matters News: Prof: Fine-tuning in nature is due to the mind of the universe


Panpsychism’s take on intelligent design, as expressed in the exquisite fine-tuning of the universe for life, is an interesting new approach:

Here’s a fascinating essay from 2018 by philosophy prof Philip Goff, author of Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness (2019). He discusses the fine-tuning of the universe as an argument for cosmopsychism (a form of panpsychism) in which the universe is thought to have a mind.

Ideas like his are becoming respectable in mainstream science venues:

In the past 40 or so years, a strange fact about our Universe gradually made itself known to scientists: the laws of physics, and the initial conditions of our Universe, are fine-tuned for the possibility of life. It turns out that, for life to be possible, the numbers in basic physics – for example, the strength of gravity, or the mass of the electron – must have values falling in a certain range. And that range is an incredibly narrow slice of all the possible values those numbers can have. It is therefore incredibly unlikely that a universe like ours would have the kind of numbers compatible with the existence of life. But, against all the odds, our Universe does. –

Philip Goff, “Is the Universe a conscious mind?” at Aeon (February 8, 2018) Quoted in News, “Prof: Fine-tuning in nature is due to the mind of the universe” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Panpsychists (or cosmopsychists) are permitted to make arguments that would be banned if made by, say, intelligent design advocates. Some change is afoot.

You may also wish to read: Nautilus offers primer on panpsychism. Noting the growth in interest from science writers as well as neuroscientists and philosophers, the magazine offers four essays discussing current approaches.


Leave a Reply