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Hoyle’s fallacy? I think not.


Eugene V. Koonin is a Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which is part of the National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. He is a recognized expert in the field of evolutionary and computational biology. He is also the author of The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution (Upper Saddle River: FT Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-13-262317-9). I think we can fairly assume that when it comes to origin-of-life scenarios, he knows what he’s talking about.

In Appendix B of his book, The Logic of Chance, Dr. Koonin argues that the origin of life is such a remarkable event that we need to postulate a multiverse, containing a very large (and perhaps infinite) number of universes, in order to explain the emergence of life on Earth. Dr. Koonin is an enthusiastic proponent of the eternal inflation model of the cosmos (which was proposed in 2007 by physicist Alan Guth). According to this model, all possible series of events (or in physics jargon, all macroscopic histories) which are allowed by the laws of physics are repeated an infinite number of times in the infinite multiverse. What we call “our universe” is simply the observable region (O-region) within a vast and infinite multiverse. Dr. Koonin is quite upfront about what this means. In his words:

There is, e.g., an infinite number of (macroscopically) exact copies of the earth with everything that exists on it, although the probability that a given observable region of the universe (hereinafter O-region) carries one of such copies is vanishingly tiny.

Dr. Koonin invokes a version of the anthropic principle in order to explain why the physical constants of our universe (or O-region) are compatible with the existence life. According to the anthropic principle, the only “reason” our universe has these constants is that if it didn’t, we wouldn’t be here!

However, Dr. Koonin contends that the physical constants and initial conditions of our universe are insufficient to explain the origin of life on Earth. Only if our universe is part of a larger multiverse, in which all possible scenarios are played out, does the emergence of life on Earth become likely.

The reason why Dr. Koonin believes we need to postulate a multiverse in order to solve the riddle of the origin of life on Earth is that all life is dependent on replication and translation systems. These systems are fiendishly complex. As Koonin puts it:

The origin of the translation system is, arguably, the central and the hardest problem in the study of the origin of life, and one of the hardest in all evolutionary biology. The problem has a clear catch-22 aspect: high translation fidelity hardly can be achieved without a complex, highly evolved set of RNAs and proteins but an elaborate protein machinery could not evolve without an accurate translation system.

Dr. Koonin claims that the emergence of even a basic replication-translation system on the primordial Earth is such an astronomically unlikely event that we would need to postulate a vast number of universes, in which all possible scenarios are played out, in order to make its emergence likely.

To justify this claim, Dr. Koonin provides what he calls “a rough, toy calculation of the upper bound of the probability of the emergence of a coupled replication-translation system in an O-region.” The calculations on pages 434-435 in Appendix B of Dr. Koonin’s book, The Logic of Chance, are adapted from his peer-reviewed article, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life, Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15. As readers can verify for themselves, the wording is virtually identical in the 2007 article. I shall reproduce the relevant passage below (bold emphases are mine – VJT):

Probabilities of the emergence, by chance, of different versions of the breakthrough system in an O-region: a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the upper bounds

General assumptions: an O-region contains 1022 stars and every 10th star has a habitable planet, hence 1021 habitable planets (undoubtedly, a gross over-estimation because, in reality, most stars have no planets at all, let alone habitable ones). Each planet is the size of earth and has a 10 kilometer (106 cm) thick habitable layer; hence the volume of the habitable layer is 4/3π[R3-(R-l)3] ≈ 5 × 1024 cm3, where R is the radius of the planet and l is the thickness of the habitable layer. RNA synthesis occurs in 1% of the volume of the habitable layer, i.e., a volume V ≈ 5 × 1022 cm3 is available for RNA synthesis (a gross over-estimation – in reality, there would be very few “RNA-making reactors”). Let the concentration of nucleotides in volume V and the rate of the synthesis of RNA molecules of size n (a free parameter depending on the specific model of the breakthrough stage; hereinafter n-mer) be 1 molecule/cm3/second (a gross overestimate for any sizable molecule; furthermore, the inverse dependence on n, which is expected to be strong, is disregarded). The time available after the Big Bang of the given O-region (as an upper bound) of all planets in it is 1010 years ≈ 3 × 1017 seconds. Then the number of unique n-mers “tried out” during the time after the Big Bang is this:

S ≈ 5 × 1022 × 1021 × 3 × 1017 ≈ 1.5 × 1061.

Let us assume that, for the onset of biological evolution, a unique n-mer is required. The number of such sequences is N = 4n ≈100.6n.

Then, the expectation of the number of times a unique n-mer emerges in an O-region is this:

E = S/N = 1.5 × 1061/100.6n and n = log(E × 1.5 × 1061)/0.6.

Substituting E = 1, we get n ≈102 (nucleotides). Note that, because n is proportional to logS, the estimate is highly robust to the assumptions on the values of the contributing variables; e.g., a order of magnitude change in S will result in an increase or decrease of n by less than 2 nucleotides.

A ribozyme replicase consisting of ~100 nucleotides is conceivable, so, in principle, spontaneous origin of such an entity in a finite universe consisting of a single O-region cannot be ruled out in this toy model (again, the rate of RNA synthesis considered here is a deliberate, gross over-estimate).

The requirements for the emergence of a primitive, coupled replication-translation system, which is considered a candidate for the breakthrough stage in this paper, are much greater. At a minimum, spontaneous formation of the following is required:

– Two rRNAs with a total size of at least 1000 nucleotides

– Approximately 10 primitive adaptors of about 30 nucleotides each, for a total of approximately 300 nucleotides

– At least one RNA encoding a replicase, about 500 nucleotides (low bound)is required. Under the notation used here, n = 1800, resulting in E <10-1018.

In other words, even in this toy model that assumes a deliberately inflated rate of RNA production, the probability that a coupled translation-replication emerges by chance in a single O-region is P < 10-1018. Obviously, this version of the breakthrough stage can be considered only in the context of a universe with an infinite (or, at the very least, extremely vast) number of O-regions.

The model considered here is not supposed to be realistic by any account. It only serves to illustrate the difference in the demands on chance for the origin of different versions of the breakthrough system and, hence, the connections between these versions and different cosmological models of the universe.

Dr. Koonin’s 2007 paper, which contained the above calculations, passed a panel of four reviewers, including one from Harvard University, who wrote:

In this work, Eugene Koonin estimates the probability of arriving at a system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution and comes to a cosmologically small number. With such an improbable event at hand, Koonin turns to a cosmological perspective in order to grasp its feasibility. He cites recent work in cosmology that highlights the vastness of the universe, where any series of events is necessarily played out an infinite number of times. This so-called “many-worlds in one” model essentially reconceives any chance event as a necessary one, where its (absolute) abundance is proportional to its chance of occurring.

The context of this article is framed by the current lack of a complete and plausible scenario for the origin of life. Koonin specifically addresses the front-runner model, that of the RNA-world, where self-replicating RNA molecules precede a translation system. He notes that in addition to the difficulties involved in achieving such a system is the paradox of attaining a translation system through Darwinian selection. That this is indeed a bona-fide paradox is appreciated by the fact that, without a shortage [of] effort, a plausible scenario for translation evolution has not been proposed to date. There have been other models for the origin of life, including the ground-breaking Lipid-world model advanced by Segrè, Lancet and colleagues (reviewed in EMBO Reports (2000), 1(3), 217–222), but despite much ingenuity and effort, it is fair to say that all origin of life models suffer from astoundingly low probabilities of actually occurring

Overall, this is a bold manuscript that promises to deeply influence the stream of thought on the origin of life

…[F]uture work may show that starting from just a simple assembly of molecules, non-anthropic principles can account for each step along the rise to the threshold of Darwinian evolution. Based upon the new perspective afforded to us by Koonin this now appears unlikely. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

Is there any atheist out there who is foolhardy enough to argue with this Harvard scientist, and claim that there is an elementary flaw in Dr. Koonin’s calculations, which the Harvard scientist overlooked, and that Koonin’s argument is just a modern-day example of Hoyle’s fallacy? Go on, I dare you! Knock yourself out!

Does the multiverse solve the problem of the origin of life?

Dr. Koonin contends that in an infinite multiverse where all possible scenarios are played out, life is bound to emerge sooner or later. What Dr. Koonin overlooks, however, is that a multiverse would itself need to be highly fine-tuned, as Dr. Robin Collins has argued in an influential essay entitled, The Teleological Argument: An Exploration of the Fine-Tuning of the Universe (in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, edited by William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, 2009, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.):

[T]he fundamental physical laws underlying a multiverse generator – whether of the inflationary type or some other – must be just right in order for it to produce life-permitting universes, instead of merely dead universes

In sum, even if an inflationary-superstring multiverse generator exists, it must have just the right combination of laws and fields for the production of life-permitting universes: if one of the components were missing or different, such as Einstein’s equation or the Pauli Exclusion Principle, it is unlikely that any life-permitting universes could be produced. Consequently, at most, this highly speculative scenario would explain the fine-tuning of the constants of physics, but at the cost of postulating additional fine-tuning of the laws of nature.

Dr. Robin Collins took his argument one step further several years ago, in a lecture he gave at Stanford University, entitled, Universe or Multiverse? A Theistic Perspective, where he argued (see section 6) that the multiverse hypothesis is unable to account for the beauty of the laws of nature:

…[W]e inhabit a world that could be characterized as a world of fundamental simplicity that gives rise to the enormous complexity needed for intelligent life…

For example, although the observable phenomena have an incredible variety and much seeming chaos, they can be organized via a relatively few simple laws governing postulated unobservable processes and entities. What is more amazing, however, is that these simple laws can in turn be organized under a few higher-level principles … and form part of a simple and elegant mathematical framework…

Further, this “fine-tuning” for simplicity and elegance cannot be explained either by the universe-generator multiverse hypothesis or the metaphysical multiverse hypothesis, since there is no reason to think that intelligent life could only arise in a universe with simple, elegant underlying physical principles. Certainly a somewhat orderly macroscopic world is necessary for intelligent life, but there is no reason to think this requires a simple and elegant underlying set of physical principles.

One way of putting the argument is in terms of the “surprise principle” we invoked in the argument for the fine-tuning of the constants of intelligent life. Specifically, as applied to this case, one could argue that the fact that the phenomena and laws of physics are fine-tuned for simplicity with variety is highly surprising under the non-design hypothesis, but not highly surprising under theism. Thus, the existence of such fine-tuned laws provides significant evidence for theism over the non-design hypothesis.

In other words, by appealing to the multiverse in order to explain the origin of life on Earth, Dr. Koonin has generated an even bigger problem: explaining the fine-tuning of the multiverse itself.

To cap it all, since Dr. Koonin’s book, The Logic of Chance was published, cosmologist Dr. Alex Vilenkin has acknowledged that current scientific evidence indicates that even if there is a multiverse, it too would have had a beginning (see here).

Nevertheless, I would like to take my hat off to Dr. Koonin for frankly recognizing the magnitude of the problem of life’s origin.

What do readers think?

Papers cited:

Yuri I. Wolf and Eugene V. Koonin, On the origin of the translation system and the genetic code in the RNA world by means of natural selection, exaptation, and subfunctionalization, Biology Direct 2007; 2: 14, doi: 10.1186/1745-6150-2-14.

Eugene V. Koonin, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life, Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15.

I hope many of you are aware of Fr. Robert Spitzer's website: MagisCenter of Reason and Faith. You can find his book there,New Proofs for the Existence of Gods which takes apart the problems of 'multiverse' and the problems with the idea of "inflation". Recently a proof was demonstrated that showed that every multi-verse you can think of must itself be "fine-tuned." Even if you have an infinite number of them, 'each one' of the multi-verses must, themselves, be 'fine-tuned.' Another monkey wrench for the non-believing. But we here at UD should be at least aware of the argument Fr. Spitzer makes, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, I believe, and who has appeared on Nature TV. PaV
Hi bornagain77, Thanks for the links. It's interesting that no atheist has dared to critique Dr. Koonin's arguments. I wonder why. vjtorley
Here are my references for the claim that "information reduces to consciousness":
Due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this: 1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a 'epi-phenomena' of material reality. 2. If consciousness is a 'epi-phenomena' of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality. 3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality. 4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality. Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Leggett’s Inequalities, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice; Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries; Quantum Zeno effect) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit The Galileo Affair and Life/Consciousness as the true “Center of the Universe” https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit
Of related note: The following site is very interesting to the subject of consciousness preceding 'material' reality:
The Scale of The Universe - Part 2 - interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features) http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white
The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which 'just so happens' to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality (not just ‘nearly’ in the exponential center!). i.e. 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of 'observable' length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle. Now, since I am very limited in my ability to use, and understand, higher mathematics, and thus, since I am forced to to appeal directly to the empirical evidence itself to make my case for Theism, I find the fact that the empirical evidence itself lines up so well, that even someone as unqualified as I am can readily understand it, to be a striking thing to consider. It seems readily apparent, as Dr. Torley said in a recent post, "the Designer wants His existence to be known"! Verse and Music:
Isaiah 45:18-19 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” Laura Story - Keeper Of The Stars (Official Live Video) www.youtube.com/watch?v=krRQGGu898k
To continue on, here are my references for the claim that "energy and mass both reduce to information":
Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,, http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2004/October/beammeup.asp Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009 Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,, “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2171769/posts Physicists set new record for quantum teleportation with matter qubits - Apr 16, 2013 Excerpt: "The greatest significance of our work is the dramatic increase in efficiency compared to previous realizations of matter-matter teleportation," Nölleke said. "Besides, it is the first demonstration of matter-matter teleportation between truly independent systems and constitutes the current record in distance of 21 m. The previous record was 1 m." http://phys.org/news/2013-04-physicists-quantum-teleportation-qubits.html How Teleportation Will Work - Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/teleportation1.htm Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,” http://researcher.ibm.com/view_project.php?id=2862 Unconditional Quantum Teleportation – abstract Excerpt: This is the first realization of unconditional quantum teleportation where every state entering the device is actually teleported,, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/282/5389/706.abstract
It is also very interesting to note that the quantum state of a photon is actually defined as 'infinite information' in its uncollapsed quantum wave state:
Quantum Computing - Stanford Encyclopedia Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-quantcomp/#2.1 Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) --- Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a (photon) qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport. http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/faculty/duwell/DuwellPSA2K.pdf
As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler's footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is 'information'.
"It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom - at a very deep bottom, in most instances - an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin." John Archibald Wheeler Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe? Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word." Anton Zeilinger - a leading expert in quantum teleportation: http://www.metanexus.net/archive/ultimate_reality/zeilinger.pdf
To further clarify this 'top down' Theistic structure for the universe, materialism had postulated for centuries that life emerged 'bottom up', from material atoms and/or particles, yet the correct structure of reality is now found by modern science to be as follows:
1. material particles/atoms (mass) normally reduce to energy (e=mc^2) 2. energy and mass both reduce to information (A. Zeilinger, quantum teleportation; Wheeler and Zeilinger’s ‘It from Bit") 3. information reduces to consciousness (geometric centrality of conscious observation in universe dictates that consciousness must precede quantum wave collapse to its single bit state) (Leggett’s Inequalities, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice; Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries)
Here are my references for the claim that mass “normally reduces” to energy: The reduction of matter to energy is comparatively easy to accomplish as is demonstrated by nuclear/atomic bombs:
Atomic Bomb Explosion – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-22tna7KHzI *6.4 mg of mass converted to energy in Hiroshima A-bomb *4,400,000 Hiroshima A-bombs equivalent to one ounce of mass *1 drop of water equivalent to 10 Hiroshima A-bombs
Whereas to convert energy to matter is a far more difficult proposition:
Why is it impossible, at this point in time, to convert energy into matter? Excerpt: "Particle accelerators convert energy into subatomic particles, for example by colliding electrons and positrons. Some of the kinetic energy in the collision goes into creating new particles. It’s not possible, however, to collect these newly created particles and assemble them into atoms, molecules and bigger (less microscopic) structures that we associate with ‘matter’ in our daily life. This is partly because in a technical sense, you cannot just create matter out of energy: there are various ‘conservation laws’ of electric charges, the number of leptons (electron-like particles) etc., which means that you can only create matter/anti-matter pairs out of energy. Anti-matter, however, has the unfortunate tendency to combine with matter and turn itself back into energy. Even though physicists have managed to safely trap a small amount of anti-matter using magnetic fields, this is not easy to do. Also, Einstein’s equation, Energy = Mass x the square of the velocity of light, tells you that it takes a huge amount of energy to create matter in this way. The big accelerator at Fermilab can be a significant drain on the electricity grid in and around the city of Chicago, and it has produced very little matter. http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970724a.html
Moreover, it is interesting to note that a simple atom is certainly not as 'simple' as would have initially been believed from a materialistic perspective:
Delayed time zero in photoemission: New record in time measurement accuracy - June 2010 Excerpt: Although they could confirm the effect qualitatively using complicated computations, they came up with a time offset of only five attoseconds. The cause of this discrepancy may lie in the complexity of the neon atom, which consists, in addition to the nucleus, of ten electrons. "The computational effort required to model such a many-electron system exceeds the computational capacity of today's supercomputers," explains Yakovlev. http://www.physorg.com/news196606514.html
Yet somehow, serendipitously, shortly after the big bang, and in the nucleosynthesis of stars, all the pieces of the puzzle ‘spontaneously’ fell together to get these complex atoms to form from energy (at least according to atheists/materialists it must ultimately be 'spontaneous'):
Big Bang After its (The Big Bangs) initial expansion from a singularity, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow energy to be converted into various subatomic particles, including protons, neutrons, and electrons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang The Elements: Forged in Stars – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003861 “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2012-08-21T14_43_59-07_00
Since, as a Christian Theist, I am free to look for evidence beyond the artificial, and cumbersome, construct of methodological naturalism, (an artificial construct of materialists which forced the absurd multiverse upon us, and also forces us to look upon our very own consciousness as 'unnatural' - i.e. Decartes), to explain the universe as well as the origin of life, I, in my very fallible human opinion, find that the evidence lends itself much more readily, and simply, to a Theistic view of reality rather than any 'naturalistic' view which must ultimately appeal to 'infinite chance' (which results in epistemological failure for science anyway). But anyways, here is the, IMHO, the much more simple, and parsimonious, Theistic view of the universe from the evidence we now have in hand: The 'Top Down' Theistic Structure Of The Universe: It is important to note that higher dimensions are invisible to our physical 3 Dimensional sight. The reason why ‘higher dimensions’ are invisible to our 3D vision is best illustrated by ‘Flatland’:
Dr. Quantum in Flatland - 3D in a 2D world – video http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/9395/Dr_Quantum_Flatland_Explanation_3D_in_a_2D_world/
Perhaps some may think that we have no scientific evidence to support the view that higher ‘invisible’ dimensions are above this 3 Dimensional world, but a person would be wrong in that presumption. Higher invisible dimensions are corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please note the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light:
Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/
The preceding video was made by two Australian University physics professors. Here is the interactive website, with link to the relativistic math at the bottom of the page, related to the preceding video:
Seeing Relativity http://www.anu.edu.au/Physics/Searle/
As well, as with the mathematically verified tunnel for special relativity to a higher dimension, as we approach the speed of light, we also have scientific confirmation for extreme ‘tunnel curvature’, within space-time, to an eternal ‘event horizon’ at black holes;
Space-Time of a Black hole http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8
It is also interesting to point out that we have 'observational evidence' for a ‘tunnel’ to a higher dimension in Near Death Experiences:
Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/
Some may want to write off the 'observational evidence' from Near Death Experiences (NDEs) as 'unscientific', but I remind those who would like to do that that NDEs have far more 'observational evidence' going for them than Darwinism evolution has going for it:
Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist's Evidentiary Standards to the Test - Dr. Michael Egnor - October 15, 2012 Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE's are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception -- such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE's have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,, The most "parsimonious" explanation -- the simplest scientific explanation -- is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species (or origin of life), which is never.,,, The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE's show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it's earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it's all a big yawn. Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/10/near_death_expe_1065301.html
What’s more is that special relativity (and general relativity) also confirm an ‘eternal dimension of time’ for this higher dimension. i.e. Time, as we understand it temporally, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.
Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/ “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.” Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.” Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12
It is also interesting to point out that this 'eternal' framework for time at the speed of light is also a common feature mentioned in Near Death Experience testimonies:
'In the 'spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it's going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.' Mickey Robinson - Near Death Experience testimony 'When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.' Dr. Ken Ring - has extensively studied Near Death Experiences 'Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything - past, present, future - exists simultaneously.' - Kimberly Clark Sharp - NDE testimony
‘Time dilation’, i.e. eternity, is confirmed by many lines of scientific evidence but basically the simplest way to understand this 'eternal framework' is to realize that this higher dimensional, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is also shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light. This paradox is only possible for time at the speed of light if temporal time is a lower dimensional value of time. Temporal time must be a 'lower dimensional value of time' that was original created from a higher dimension that ‘contains all temporal time within it’,,,Yet, even though light has this higher dimensional ‘eternal’ attribute, in regards to our temporal framework of time, for us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, will still only get us to first base as far as coherently explaining the eternal framework of quantum entanglement, and/or quantum teleportation, is concerned.
Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182
i.e. As the preceding video reveals, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be, because of time dilation, instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them at the speed of light, yet, and this is a very big ‘yet’ to take note of, this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent of our temporal framework of time as quantum teleportation and quantum entanglement are shown to be. i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference for time, is still not completely transcendent of our temporal time framework since light appears to take time to travel from our temporal perspective. Yet, in the quantum teleportation of information, the ‘time not passing’, i.e. ‘eternal’, framework is not only achieved in our lower temporal framework, but is also ‘instantaneously’ achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of quantum information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us in this temporal framework. Thus ‘quantum information/entanglement’ is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we now have examined (many of which I have not specifically listed here); transcendent, eternal, and 'infinite', quantum information is indeed real and resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can possibly exist, i.e. In a dimension with no time, no space, no matter, and no energy!
“An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality” Akiane Kramarik – Child Prodigy - artist
nightlight @ 11: Finally, something on which we agree! Barry Arrington
StuartHarris: Well said. Eric Anderson
My favorite question to ask a believer in the absurd concept of the multiverse. ( I will call him John Doe ). "John, if you believe in a multiverse where every possibility happens then there must be at least one where I ( JDH on uncommon descent.com) the following conversation takes place" JDH: "John Doe, will you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?" John Doe:"YES". "Why is this not that universe?" JDH
"According to this model, all possible series of events (or in physics jargon, all macroscopic histories) which are allowed by the laws of physics are repeated an infinite number of times in the infinite multiverse. What we call “our universe” is simply the observable region (O-region) within a vast and infinite multiverse. Dr. Koonin is quite upfront about what this means." In other words, there can be no such thing as scientific study that deduces observation from cause, since any arrangement of what we see could have just popped into existence moments before. The multiverse is a series of infinite unending miracles. Multiverse theory doesn't even rise to the level of beer-fueled freshman dorm room talk. StuartHarris
The explanatory and predictive power of multiverse hypothesis is indistinguishable from that of a hypothesis that "this is so because everything is the way it is." In other words, the multiverse hypothesis is merely the latest fancy label for the same old acknowledgment 'I have no clue, but I wish to pretend that I do'. nightlight
Why do materialists get a pass with infinity-of-the-gaps as an explanation for the origin of life? Why is that not a science stopper but ID is? RexTugwell
In addition to all the other problems with the multiverse idea, there are two other devastating problems: 1. Even if a universe happens to be spit out of the multiverse machine with just the right physical constants amenable to life, that still doesn't explain the existence of life. For example, we know what the constants are in our universe and that they are amenable to life; but they most certainly do not give rise to life in and of themselves. The only way to escape from this problem is to posit a double win of the cosmic lottery: (i) our universe just happened to get the right physical constants by winning the multiverse lottery, and (ii) with those constants in place, life just happened to arise and then develop to its current state of diversity and complexity in our particular universe (out of, one presumes, an infinite number of universes that happen to have physical constants identical or nearly identical to ours). So we are begging infinities multiplied by infinities. At this point a skeptical individual might be forgiven for rolling his eyes and muttering, "Yeah. Sure." 2. The oft-invoked anthropic principle is not helpful. Here's why: The anthropic principle is invoked to say, in essence, "obviously our wonderfully complex and functional capabilities of self observation arose, otherwise we wouldn't be around to observe ourselves." In other words, we are dealing with nothing more than an observer effect, the argument goes. However -- and this is critical -- we are not simply observing ourselves. There are millions of living creatures that exhibit characteristics of complex specified information and functionality similar to what we observe in ourselves: sight, smell, hearing, DNA, molecular machines, and on and on. And when we ask where they came from, we are not observing ourselves, but observing them. As weak as the argument may be, when looking in the mirror one could perhaps with a straight face invoke the anthropic principle and try to convince himself that nothing surprising is going on because otherwise we wouldn't be here to observe ourselves. But when we look at the other forms of life on Earth, no such self-observation occurs. We are every bit as much an outside observer as an alien from a distant planet or a universe-hopping observer stopping by to see what exists in this little corner of the multiverse. The anthropic principle is completely irrelevant to the question of how all these other forms of life came about. Eric Anderson
It is impossible that we live in a multiverse. Our universe is finely tuned with a 'flat' shape and an Omega of 1. Now let's consider multiverse. The probability of multiverse being Flat is less than probability of 'Open' + probability of 'closed' multiverse.It follows that multiverse should be either Open or Closed. Since our universe would be in multiverse, our universe too would not be flat.If that was the case, the matter to dark energy ratio will not be close to 30:70 and our universe would not have formed at all. The only way our universe would exist is if all other universe in multiverse are flat- which is of course impossible even if the other universes had their own fundamental laws. Of course, I have no idea if this would be true if you apply some kind of crazy quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement which would prove an electron from our universe effected other universes across billions of light year(which is possible in quantum mechanics) and a replica was made. selvaRajan
@ OldArmy94 My favorite "elegant mathematical construct" is the Mandelbrot set. Back in the 80s I wrote a program on my first computer (an IBM PS2 Model 30) to explore the infinite depth and complexity of this seemingly simple mathematical equation. I was astounded that such a simple formula could produce such complex and beautiful patterns. I still remember the wonder I felt as my late-night programming sessions revealed a mathematical landscape as mysterious and fascinating to me as outer space. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVO85iZTLWE sagebrush gardener
And another where Santa Claus is real.
I will repeat again. An infinite number of universes entails that there is a God, that said "Let there be light!." A God without limit (actually an infinite number of Gods) is a necessary consequence of the infinite multiverse proposition. Which probably by some form of logic says it is all cuckoo. jerry
The origin of the translation system is, arguably, the central and the hardest problem in the study of the origin of life, and one of the hardest in all evolutionary biology. --Koonin
Huh. It almost sounds like Koonin doesn't know that evolutionary biology has nothing whatsoever to do with the origin of life or the translation systems required for it. Will any of the anti-IDists around here set him straight? Phinehas
Yes, in Koonin's multiverse Santa Claus is real. Yawn But here's something else that must be true, somewhere in the infinite multiverse: President George W. Bush putting in an 8 hour day! I dont care how many infinite multiverses you got, a day's hard work? Bush? That's a bit much! chris haynes
Dr Koonin is too optimistic! His figures are based on an unsupported assumption, that life will be initiated merely by the assembly, however improbable that may be, of the right chemicals. This is like saying that the computer on my desk would start working if it were assembled and supplied with power. I believe something further is needed to get the operating system to start working. Just as he has no evidence that his assumed multiverses exist, he has no evidence that unknown forces, natural or supernatural are not needed to support and sustain life. chris haynes
One objection I would have to the anthropic principle in this instance is why do we find such elegant mathematical constructs that describe what is happening? Why is the Pythagorean Theorem so beautiful in its simplicity? WHY does A^2+B^2=C^2? Boyles Law is another example, and I am sure that a mathematician or physicist could name dozens. OldArmy94
One problem with the multiverse is that no one knows whether or not the physical laws vary from one universe to the next, and if they do, whether or not the chance that a certain physical law will vary (and by how much) given a certain universe. It could be that the gravitational constant can vary widely, while other constants may stay pretty much the same (or vise-versa). Another problem with the multiverse is that if it is truly infinite, then we would have a world just like ours where evolution is true and another world in another universe just like ours where creationism is true. And another where Santa Claus is real. Collin

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