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Atheist cosmologist warns “deeply religious” people not to put their faith in “apparent” fine-tuning

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In “Physics: A cosmos in the lab,” a review of A Big Bang in a Little Room: The Quest to Create New Universes by Zeeya Merali, cosmologist Andreas Albrecht writes at Nature,

The question of cosmic origins, and the possibility that humans might create new universes, can connect with religious concerns. These form a substantial thread through A Big Bang in a Little Room that significantly reduced the book’s appeal to me. I am an atheist. I respect that many people are deeply religious (some are very close to me) and that religion can have a positive, even beautiful, role. And I know many religious people who do superb science. But I find most attempts to connect religious questions with the fundamental questions of physics and cosmology (or vice versa) deeply unsatisfying.

Does your favourite interpretation of quantum mechanics or apparent fine-tuning of the fundamental constants provide evidence for or against a divine creator? Deeply religious people know better than to leave something so important to them to fads in physics. And when people do engage in these debates, they seem to find a reason to believe what they want to believe, regardless of how the science unfolds.
More.

Rubbish. Fine-tuning is the most obvious fact of the universe and efforts to undermine the evidence for it have driven crackpot cosmology for decades. The crackpots now turn on the very idea of evidence to protect their position.

First, no one cares what Dr. Albrecht finds “deeply unsatisfying”; he can find himself another universe if he likes, and take his fads in physics with him.

Second, “deeply religious people” feel constrained by facts, evidence, and truthfulness, not by the view—attractive to so many Darwinian atheists—that “evolution” bred a sense of reality out of us.

The choice matters to science and we fear we know which one most of them have made.

By the way, why are atheists so solicitous about theists who, they fear, will lose their faith? The reality is that the only faith many of us are rapidly losing is in government of science by atheists. Take the unstoppable crises of peer review, for example.

Why are we better off with science’s affairs run by people who believe that if they win they survive and that none of us evolved so as to grasp reality anyway?

Note: We confess we don’t know why all this sounds like BioLogos on steroids either.

See also: Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us

Ethan Siegel tackles fine-tuning at Forbes

and

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

10 Replies to “Atheist cosmologist warns “deeply religious” people not to put their faith in “apparent” fine-tuning

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    An oldie but goody,, The late atheist Christopher Hitchens, in an after the debate midnight confession, conceded that the ‘fine-tuning argument’ is very powerful:

    Christopher Hitchens on Fine Tuning – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDJ9BL38PrI

    At the 8:15 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins is set straight by Steven Weinberg, who is an atheist himself, on just how big the ‘problem’ of the 1 in 10^120 Cosmological Constant is:

    Quote:
    “I don’t think one should underestimate the fix we are in. That in the end we will not be able to explain the world. That we will have some set of laws of nature (that) we will not be able to derive them on the grounds simply of mathematical consistency. Because we can already think of mathematically consistent laws that don’t describe the world as we know it. And we will always be left with a question ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws?’. And I don’t see any way out of that.
    The fact that the constants of nature are suitable for life, which is clearly true, we observe,,,”
    (Weinberg then comments on the multiverse conjecture of atheists)
    “No one has constructed a theory in which that is true. I mean,, the (multiverse) theory would be speculative, but we don’t even have a theory in which that speculation is mathematically realized. But it is a possibility.”
    Steven Weinberg – as stated to Richard Dawkins at the 8:15 minute mark of the following video
    Leonard Susskind – Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg – 1 in 10^120 – Cosmological Constant points to intelligent design – video
    https://youtu.be/z4E_bT4ecgk?t=495

    A few quotes:

    (Commenting on the 1 in 10^120 fine tuning of the expansion of the universe), “Hugh Ross states an analogy that does not even come close to describing the precarious nature of this cosmic balance [between too fast and too slow] would be a billion pencils all simultaneously positioned upright on their sharpened points on a smooth glass surface with no vertical supports.”
    Eric Metaxas – Miracles – page 49

    “The cliche that ‘life is balanced on a knife-edge’ is a staggering understatement in this case: no knife in the universe could have an edge that fine.”
    Paul Davies – commenting on the finely tuned expansion of the universe (1 in 10^120) –

    further note:

    1 in 10^120 Fine Tuning of Dark Energy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7gWX7BUA3U

    Here is the paper from the atheistic astrophysicists, that Dr. Ross referenced in the preceding video, that was withdrawn because of mounting evidence for a Cosmological Constant, that speaks of the ‘disturbing implications’ of the finely tuned expanding universe (1 in 10^120 cosmological constant):

    Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant – Dyson, Kleban, Susskind (each are self proclaimed atheists) – 2002
    Excerpt: “Arranging the universe as we think it is arranged would have required a miracle.,,,”
    “The question then is whether the origin of the universe can be a naturally occurring fluctuation, or must it be due to an external agent which starts the system out in a specific low entropy state?”
    page 19: “A unknown agent [external to time and space] intervened [in cosmic history] for reasons of its own.,,,”
    Page 21 “The only reasonable conclusion is that we don’t live in a universe with a true cosmological constant”.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0208013.pdf

    Here are the verses from the Bible, which were written well over 2000 years before the discovery of the finely tuned expansion of the universe, that speak of God ‘Stretching out the Heavens’; Job 9:8; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 48:13; Zechariah 12:1; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 51:13; Jeremiah 51:15; Jeremiah 10:12. The following verse is my favorite out of the group of verses:

    Job 9:8
    He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

    Of related note:

    Stronger and More Comprehensive Tests Affirm the Universe’s Unchanging Physics – July 1, 2013 By Dr. Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: For thousands of years, the Bible has been on record stating that the physical laws governing the universe do not vary. For example, Jeremiah 33:25, God declares that he “established the fixed laws of heaven and earth” (NIV, 1984).,,,
    Laboratory measurements have established that variations any greater than four parts per hundred quadrillion (less than 4 x 10-17) per year cannot exist in the fine structure constant, which undergirds several of the physical laws.,,,
    ,,they confirmed with 99 percent certainty that possible variations in the fine structure must be less than two parts per 10 quadrillion per year over the past 10 billion years. This limit is about a thousand times more constraining than the one I described in More Than a Theory.
    http://www.reasons.org/article.....ng-physics

  2. 2
    buffalo says:

    He can live in his fake universe. It is a possible universe, eh?

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    As a Christian, my faith rests on four major pillars:

    1. An inexplicable and profound peace, joy, and love that fills and overflows my life. I’d also add the occasional miraculous outcomes or events, but I’ll tell you that they don’t seem to have the “staying power” of a day-by-day experience.

    2. A chain of trust, testimony, and dedication to the point of death that traces its way back through godly men and women back to Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . or as believers in India express it, the only human Avatar of God.

    3. The wisdom, guidance, and maturity that comes from reading the Word of God, deriving trustworthy principles from them, and finding them engraved onto my life by the working of the Holy Spirit, and often through suffering.

    4. A multitude of improbable prophecies regarding the Messiah being fulfilled, including the prediction that he would die, which would soon be followed by the destruction of Jerusalem, along with a time frame.

    The fact that science and archaeology seem discover things mentioned in the Bible but also often come to the opposite conclusions is simply indicative that “Science” is never static but continually changing, revising, and overthrowing things that were once considered “facts.”

    A true scientifically minded person should never be doctrinaire, and conversely, the announcement of some new discovery should never be taken as proof or disproof of a person’s faith. The smug professor who announces that “we” in science now know better, is either a fool or a devil, because science is never settled.

    To me the spectacular complexity in the DNA code, in interlocking chemical cycles, in cellular structures, screams design. One would think it would speak to anyone with an open mind. Nevertheless, the evolutionist has an amazing capacity for faith in things that haven’t “yet” been discovered, such as a reasonable, demonstrable mechanism for all this to happen. They won’t admit it, but the evidence is simply not there, nor can anyone show how the complexity level (i.e. information content) of a system can ratchet itself up from some random slime.

    But my faith doesn’t rest on this observation. To me Darwinism is simply bad science that’s way outlived its usefulness as a model. Just like people who try to sell designs for perpetual motion machines, give me a working model from a biochemistry lab.

    Similarly the fine tuning argument makes me suspect that some or all of these constants actually derive themselves from a common source, and that they are not independent. On that point, I agree with the book’s author, and you can see why.

    For me, science and the scientific method is a wonderful tool! But it is simply incapable of taking the place of our dynamic connection with the living God!

    -Q

  4. 4
    Ted Davis says:

    Denyse said, “We confess we don’t know why all this sounds like BioLogos on steroids either.”

    I don’t see anything above that sounds like BL at all, Denyse, except your obvious sympathy with the (favorable) religious implications of cosmic fine-tuning, which people at BL (including Francis Collins and me) also tend to like. For example, this: http://biologos.org/blogs/ted-.....e-part-two

    I confess I don’t know what you were driving at: care to elaborate?

    By the way, I’ve never seen any steriods anywhere in BL’s office, but then I don’t go there very often.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    ‘By the way, why are atheists so solicitous about theists who, they fear, will lose their faith’

    Yes, I was very touched by that concern. I found it quite poignant

  6. 6
    daveS says:

    By the way, why are atheists so solicitous about theists who, they fear, will lose their faith? The reality is that the only faith many of us are rapidly losing is in government of science by atheists. Take the unstoppable crises of peer review, for example.

    Well, some theists do lose their faith in God, and by all accounts, it can be a painful process, almost like experiencing a death in the family or a divorce. I would be concerned if it happened to someone close to me.

  7. 7
    Pearlman says:

    In valid science:
    ‘The bigger the claim the bigger the burden of proof’
    so an older universe, more than one universe, a larger universe are three vastly greater claims, that have a vastly greater burden of proof the the most reasonable scientific cosmology model that should be the new standard: now available review edition 6.3 🙂
    ‘Distant Starlight and the Age, Formation and Structure of the Universe’
    Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1519262205

    Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0181C4Q1W http://www.researchgate.net/pu.....nfographic

  8. 8
    mw says:

    The following is an excellent video, (imop). It points out the ‘none too fine tuning’ that you would expect from a smooth Big Bang. It seems, the problem to get rid of solar anomalies is to always use the fall back cosmic sledge hammer – an asteroid smashed it into conformity to Big Bang expectations. It works every time!

    https://youtu.be/s9_o7NGTkJc

  9. 9
    Vy says:

    Well, some theists do lose their faith in God, and by all accounts, it can be a painful process, almost like experiencing a death in the family or a divorce

    Really? That’s certainly not my experience. It’s more along the lines of “it was the most liberating thing, getting rid of the shackles of ‘religion’ blah blah blah Dawkins blah blah blah science blah blah blah”

  10. 10
    Origenes says:

    And in turn, I warn deeply religious atheistic cosmologists not to put their faith in the infinitesimal possibility that fine-tuning is but “apparent”.

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