Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Fine-tuning: Help! We are drowning in evidence!


From Denyse O’Leary at Evolution News & Views:

Fine-tuning of the universe is so unpleasant a subject for materialists that it cannot really become a controversy. The desired evidence favors a random universe, accidentally spilled. Differing points of view on the findings would, of course, be funded by the government. But the randomness would be agreed upon up front.

On the other hand, if evidence matters, our universe appears fine-tuned.

In the end it is not really an issue about the evidence. Help! we are drowning in evidence! The universe’s expansion speed is said to be just right for life, the Higgs boson seems to be fine-tuned, and Earth has a “unique” iron signature, just as a few examples.

This from Natalie Wolchover at Quanta Magazine: “As things stand, the known elementary particles, codified in a 40-year-old set of equations called the ‘Standard Model,’ lack a sensible pattern and seem astonishingly fine-tuned for life.” Why does being fine-tuned for life “lack a sensible pattern”? What if that IS the pattern?The alternative sounds like saying that the letters STOP on a sign do not form a sensible pattern.

Cocktail napkin objections are always on offer, to be sure.More.

See also: How naturalism rots science from the head down


The Big Bang: Put simply,the facts are wrong.

willh, 'Let us make man in our own image.' If this is the 'intention' then He has suceeded; 8 billion times and counting. His 'intention', has been realised. Ever heard of the phrase, 'too much of a bad thing.' I'm sorry, did I say 'bad'? I meant 'good', of course. Anyway you are wrong, because God stated His intention, pretty much as I quoted; let me try again, for the hard of hearing: Gen 1: 26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image,after our likeness: and let them (him?), have dominion over.....etc" Gen 1: 28, "And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.....etc" Both quotes speak to intention; a creator created a home for his created animals. He intended for these creatures to build, develop, thrive; there is no ambiguity here. wiil, please stop your silly obfuscation; the 'intention' is unambiguous. WJM is a practiced obfuscator, taking simple Biblical, or evolutionary evidence, and mashing, mixing, and confusing simple ideas into a hodge podge of near indecipherable nonsense; it seems to be an ID staple. willh, don't take simple Biblical exegesis about God's 'intention' for his creation and turn it into partisan ammunition for a weak unevidenced position; ID. At least give God the bennefit of the doubt; this creation is a gift from Him to us, to grow, multiply and thrive, and destroy, murder, pollute; there is no ambiguity here; none! rvb8
rvb8 you are missing the 'let us make man in our image' design intention. The real intention. The open ended intention that goes beyond the limited requirements of populating the earth, continuing the species etc (hmmm, the only reason imaginable in a materialistic world view?). You can hardly criticise the question of intentions if you miss the magnitude of them. willh
WJM @33, "when someone claims a design is "waisteful" without knowing all the designer's intentions concerning the project," But we do. We do know the designer's intentions. It is written quite clearly in Genesis. It's a book, one of several in an anthology known as the Bible. The intention of the design was for man to procreate, inhabit, and subdue the earth. Something BTW, we have been woeful at, and have let our Designer down in. (The Designer, in said Bible, gave us no instruction about His design beyond earth, almost as if he was unaware, that He had created dark matter, quazars, black holes, planets by the billion, stars by the trillion.) WJM, your metsphysical, mystical handwavings are not testable. 'What the designer intended'? Are you completely non-science based? Where is the possible experiment that can test for the Designer's intentions? Like all mystical folk, you give nothing that is testable, and yet wish to have a spot at the science table; sorry, will never, and more importantly, should never happen! Best, it won't happen. If it did science would role back several hundred years to your ideal time of, theocratic idiocy. rvb8
Multiverse was dead, not that it had ever been alive, because there was not, and still there not a shred of evidence for it, until fine-tuning became reality materialists could no longer ignore... So, they decided to resurrect multiverse to dilute the fact of fine-tuned universe for life... So if there are more or infinite number of universes, one or more than one, will eventually be fine-tune for life... they argue... What they are actually saying is what my buddy often says when we discuss multiverse: "...if you have an enough potties, or an infinite number of potties, s..t is bound to appear in one of them..." He calls it an infinite-toilet paradox... ;-) J-Mac
Wasteful lol. The exquisitely impossibly fine tuned constants and laws of nature that lead to life are wasteful lol again. "Why doesn't the 2nd Law demand less entropy waa waa. Wasteful waa" ppolish
Murray @33: This brings to mind a blog discussion I had a few years back over at NCSE. My adversary pointed out to me a document NCSE had published at http://ncse.com/rncse/23/5-6/what-design-looks-like I reviewed this document and found it lacking so I decided on a rebutal. It is lengthy and took a great deal of my time to do it, but I invite you to take a look and comment if you wish -- it's at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/what-design-looks-like-an-ncse-document-with-comments-by-don-johnson/ DonJohnsonDD682
Note the comment by Pindi @30. Even a cursory rational examination shows the blatant problem when someone claims that a design is "wasteful" without knowing all the designer's intentions concerning the project, the full depth and breadth of what goals are being worked into and met by the design, or the limitations and boundaries of the design project in question, the materials available for the project and how they interact, the rules of the project, etc. Without knowing these things, it's impossible to know the efficiency of any design. But the meme Pindi applies ignores the obvious and basic logical flaw inherent in the objection because it is an easy dismissal and psychologically supportive of Pindi's perspective. Just thinking these objections out with a little unbiased self-criticism is all it really takes to see the problem, yet they refuse to exercise even the smallest degree of introspection. William J Murray
kmidpuddle and rvb8 provide us with examples of the power of memes - whether true or false - to anchor a mindset and prevent it from meaningfully considering any other point of view. They spout these memes over and over as if they represent sound objections or counter-arguments, never bothering to even investigate the claims or evidence they think the meme rebuts. Nor do they bother critically examining the meme itself. If the meme is particularly comforting in assuring them that their worldview is correct, no amount of rational argument or evidence can dislodge it simply because it is not logic or evidence that has positioned it and keeps it in place. In a sort of emotional, rhetorical way, it psychologically satisfies them that the competing worldview/argument is incorrect, and their own position is right. Of course, both the "puddle" and the "99% lifeless universe" complaints have been fully rebutted and answered many, many times, but that doesn't matter; it's an easy, psychologically satisfying dismissal that keeps the A/Mat narrative safe and secure. William J Murray
ppolish, the 99.99999999999999% is a requirement for our existance? How? Why is it a necessity? You don't explain, you merely state it's a requirement. Once again, couldn't the designer do a better, or at least, less extravagently wasteful effort? rvb8
ppolish, pretty wasteful design. Why didn't the designer fill the whole universe with life? Or is that beyond their power? Pindi
rvb8, that 99.999999999999999999999 lifeless part is required for the life part to happen. Fine tuning tells us so. Regards ppolish
Barry @4, that comment comes perrilously close to a threat. Like many of your posts, and much of your writing, you strike me as a particularly thin skinned individual. I can apologise, and I can say I am wrong, you simply grit your teeth, hunker down, and show a streak of mean intolerance that is quite excessive. Fine Tuning, or the Teleological argument is poor precisely because we can use the 'design' argument against its supporters. If these numbers are so superb and designed, why is 99.999999999999999999999% of the universe devoid of life. Frankly, what a shoddy design! Perhaps other CONSTANTS, would do a better job of leading to life. Please, in your 'design' arguments, and your 'fine tuning' wishful thinking, take into account, the lack of life in this 'fine tuned' nightmare of waste. rvb8
DJ/AYP, yes, the analogy of the transformative impact of being able to see distinct colours for the first time on putting in glasses that carefully filter the spectrum, reducing confusing overlap in spectral response is thought-provoking. How much of the troubles of our time trace to the distorting effects of worldviews driven by defective frameworks is probably incalculable, but it is a huge fraction. A worldview in a box is what those spectacles are about, and notice the interaction with family and the familiar that is now transformed. KF kairosfocus
Often times in reading arguments for/against ID, Darwinism, creation, Irreducible Complexity etc. I get the feeling I'm reading arguments on how many angels are, or are not, dancing on the head of some pin. Then once in awhile something comes along that's simple and intuitive that speaks to my heart, mind and soul. The following video is such a time. Watch the man's reaction to a part of vision he was unable to experience prior. We see an immediate reaction, an immediate knowing, and immediate appreciation. No lengthy scientific/theological arguments necessary ... no books to read or college courses to take ... no experts to consult. His eyes see it immediately and then his whole being understands it. Beautiful ... take a look. https://www.facebook.com/NTDTelevision/videos/1986628964712537/ DonJohnsonDD682
K-puddle @1
The fine tuning argument reminds me of Douglas Adams farce about the depression in the ground being finely tuned for the puddle that fills it.
Hmmm. Right! That reminds me of a quote from the article:
In the end it is not really an issue about the evidence.
I totally agree. No matter what data is presented, you will always interpret it to support your worldview. In other words, you are just gonna believe what you want to believe no matter what. So, evidence doesn't really seem to be the issue. Worldview and preferred beliefs seem more to the point. tjguy
Dr. Glicksman’s series, “The Designed Body.” over at https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/the-exquisite-design-of-human-biology/ completely -- completely destroys any credibility of Darwinian Evolution and the claims of Richard Dawkins that designs in nature are illusions and only appearances of design. An excerpt: " ... The series by Dr. Glicksman discusses 40 interrelated chemical and physiological parameters that the human body must carefully balance to sustain life. The body deploys amazing, interconnected solutions to manage them. The parameters are: (1) oxygen, (2) carbon dioxide, (3) hydrogen ion, (4) water, (5) sodium, (6) potassium, (7) glucose, (8) calcium, (9) iron, (10) ammonia, (11) albumin, (12) transport proteins, (13) insulin, (14) glucagon, (15) thyroid hormone, (16) cortisol, (17) testosterone, (18) estrogen, (19) aldosterone, (20) parathormone, (21) digestive enzymes, (22) bile, (23) red blood cells, (24) white blood cells, (25) platelets, (26) clotting factors, (27) anti-clotting factors, (28) complement, (29) antibodies, (30) temperature, (31) heart rate, (32) respiratory rate, (33) blood pressure, (34) lung volume, (35) airway velocity, (36) cardiac output, (37) liver function, (38) kidney function, (39) hypothalamic function, (40) nerve impulse velocity. ... " Yes, the human body is exquisitely designed and engineered by an intelligent designer whose capabilities are far beyond what humans are capable of producing. rvb8 and others of like mind -- please read and digest several of Dr. Glicksman's many articles such as: https://evolutionnews.org/2016/06/liver_function/ https://evolutionnews.org/2017/03/designed-body-engineered-system-displaying-irreducible-complexity-steroids/ https://evolutionnews.org/2016/09/in_conclusion_a/ Be honest with yourself in evaluating Dr. Glicksman's materials and analysis. Are you really seeking and propagating truth in your atheistic position, or are you simply trying to win an argument. The evidence is there in overwhelming abundance -- right in your very own body. Be honest ... with readers and seekers here on this blog, but more importantly be honest with yourself. Let me repeat myself here in closing -- Irreducible complexity as demonstrated by the human body destroys any credibility of Darwinian Evolution and the claims of Richard Dawkins that designs in nature are illusions and only appearances of design. https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/the-origins-of-the-universe-simple-or-complex-part-2-the-problem-of-massively-complex-synchronicity/ DonJohnsonDD682
Kmidpuddle @ 1 Funny, I thought the depression in the ground was finely tuned for the puddle that fills it in this universe, but not in others. http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/12/greene-on-nozick-on-nothing.html Macauley86
KMP, I am pointing you to a sampler on the real argument, not a convenient strawman caricature. KF kairosfocus
Scientists have a better grasp of fine tuning than they do climate change. Denial of fine tuning is ignorance sorry. This is a quick explanation from an Atheist physicist: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2cT4zZIHR3s ppolish
kmidpuddle @15, My point is that your 'red' analogy is simply off the mark. You seem to be arguing that physical constants must have the values they do -- that they are not contingent, but necessary. Like red must be with a certain spectrum of wavelengths by definition. (You mention the word 'variable' a couple times in your posts, but you are missing the point; I think the concept of contingent vs necessary is more appropriate, unless you deny altogether that the universe is fine-tuned. Physicists agree that the universe is fine-tuned for life; they just might disagree as to why that is.) There are three ways to account for fine-tuning: chance, necessity, or design. The argument for necessity carries a huge burden of proof. It is not hard to imagine a universe where the coupling force of gravity is different -- there seems to be no reason why it couldn't be. In fact, to believe that the constants of the universe have their values by necessity requires one to believe that a life-prohibiting universe is physically impossible. But it certainly seems possible. So,you actually have a pretty radical position. The argument for chance is an appeal to the multiverse. This position is silly, as has been pointed out on this site many times. People who believe this option seem to do so for metaphysical reasons. That leaves design. Simply put, it's the most reasonable position. cmow
I always like to point out that if you change "puddle" to "pool" in Adams' analogy, it completely flips it on its head. Anyway . . . That the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life is a scientific fact not up for debate. It is observed reality. We can argue what the cause of this fine-tuning is, whether chance of design, but fine-tuning is as proven as the law of gravity. That fine-tuning deniers so adamantly deny this fact is evidence of its powerful theistic implications. Jammer
Splashing in a mud puddle clueless of the fine tuning. Splish Splash. ppolish
KF@16 I did. I didn't read anything that said the gravitational constant could be anything other than what it is. Arguing that something that can't vary is proof of design is not an argument. Water at standard pressure will always boil at 100C and freeze at 0C. That doesn't mean that it is designed to do so. kmidpuddle
KMP, kindly read the linked at 14 above. KF kairosfocus
So, if the gravitational constant were minutely stronger or weaker, then gravity would cease to be gravity?
Do you have any examples of it being different than what it is? Just because something is invariable doesn't mean that it is designed. kmidpuddle
Folks, kindly read: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.4647.pdf KF kairosfocus
"It is like saying that red is finely tuned to 650 nm. If the wavelength were any different, it wouldn’t be red." So, if the gravitational constant were minutely stronger or weaker, then gravity would cease to be gravity? cmow
What's evidence got to do with science anyway, K-Puddle ? To borrow Dawkins' inadvertent 'bon mot' : The evidence for fine-tuning only looks like evidence, anyway. Gratuitous conjecture now trumps empirical evidence, since not being empirical, conjectures are not potentially subject to optical illusions of any kind. Eat your heart out, Karl Popper where is your 'falsifiability' now, eh ? So much for they pesky Bible-bashers ! Axel
K-Puddle "It is like saying that red is finely tuned to 650 nm. If the wavelength were any different, it wouldn’t be red." No, it is absolutely nothing like that. And the fact that you would say that it is speaks about your desperate need to deny the evidence, not the evidence. Barry Arrington
Redman, we want you home safe. Bio note of virtually no importance: I attended Runnymede Collegiate (home of the Runnymede Redmen) in Toronto in the mid-1960s (had attended several other high schools previously, due to family moves). Did not graduate, as I gained early admission to U. [Don't ask about that unless you want to hear way more than I suspect you do about how the Ontario education system worked in the 1960s... ] News
@kmidpuddle that's the point of finetuning, if the parameters were any different the universe would cease to exist... EricMH
Someone, drive kmidpuddle home.
Ouch. What happened to the idea of Runnymede Redmen having each other's back? :) kmidpuddle
Someone, drive kmidpuddle home. News
I guess that the lack of a sense of humour is an ID requirement. All of these "finely tuned" physical constants are nothing more than things that we have measured that don't appear to vary. Arguing that if any one of them had different values the universe as we know it would not exist, assumes that any of these constants could have a different value. It is like saying that red is finely tuned to 650 nm. If the wavelength were any different, it wouldn't be red. And, being Canadian, I am also non-violent. kmidpuddle
Barry Arrington at 4: Will K-puddle play poker with you? Like most Canadians, I am non-violent by disposition and training - so would settle for that test instead. But is it fair to take K-puddle's money instead of just driving him home? ; News
News, K-puddle's response says that, for him at least, the evidence does not matter. If we stood K-puddle up against a wall in front of a firing squad of 500 expert marksmen standing 20 feet away and none of them hit him, I wonder if he would say "the fact that I am here to contemplate my existence means they all missed." Barry Arrington
K @ 1: You actually wasted your time coming here and typing that garbage? Time is precious, especially for you a/mats who believe (oh, what a faith you have) that this is the only time you get. Learn something...fool (sorry, KF) Truth Will Set You Free
UD is finely tuned to attract Evo-Trolls. Andrew asauber
The fine tuning argument reminds me of Douglas Adams farce about the depression in the ground being finely tuned for the puddle that fills it. kmidpuddle

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