Fine tuning Intelligent Design

Larry Krauss article at Inference Review – reply from Steve Meyer

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Then, Larry Krauss responds.

The original piece was an article by Larry Krauss, “Cosmology Without Design”:

To assume that the universe is fine-tuned for life because we exist in a universe in which we can exist—this is a little like a single individual, alone in the world, looking down at his legs and finding that they are remarkably fine-tuned to touch the ground. A millimeter shorter and they wouldn’t make it. A millimeter longer and they would be buried underground. Thanks to gravity, no such fine-tuning is required. In a cosmic sense, we are like the isolated individual. We simply do not know enough to ascribe significance to things that may be accidental, or that may be governed by some underlying principle, like the existence of gravity.

Lawrence Krauss, “Cosmology without Design” at Inference Review (Vol. 5, No. 3 / September 2020)

Steve Meyer offered a
rebuttal:

Cosmological fine-tuning exemplifies just the kind of evidence we would expect to find if a purposeful and intelligent agent had acted in the past to design the universe as a fit habitat for life. It does not seem to be the kind of evidence that one would expect if the universe had arisen from “blind, pitiless indifference.” Nor do Professor Krauss’s arguments alter this probability calculus.

Steve Meyer, “Cosmology without Design reply” at Inference Review (Vol. 6, No. 1 / April 2021)

Oh, and Larry Krauss replies:

If, as Meyer seems to require, life must be like the life we experience on earth, presumably designed in the image of God, then the Universe is a horribly poor environment. In almost every other location we see in the Universe, life like our own cannot arise. Indeed, even here, our survival involves a constant battle against a harsh and seemingly indifferent universe that is trying to kill us, as it eventually will. But why must life be like our own? Meyer argues, without any underlying evidence, that life has to exist on rocky planets like our own. But some, like my late colleague Freeman Dyson, argued cogently that in the long run, other sorts of intelligent life could arise even in the very “diffuse clouds of hydrogen” that Meyer finds so inhospitable—the black clouds of Fred Hoyle. The rules for such life-forms would undoubtedly be very different than for us.

Lawrence Krauss, “Cosmology without Design reply” to Meyer, at Inference Review(Vol. 6, No. 1 / April 2021)

We await Meyer’s reply… he won’t disappoint us.

If you are stuck in some ridiculous lockdown, be sure to find a link to Inference Review and order in lots of good coffee.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

14 Replies to “Larry Krauss article at Inference Review – reply from Steve Meyer

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Much as I hate to admit it, Krauss wins this one. Fine-tuning is not a useful argument, and “image of God” is not even an observation.

    Islam has a much more realistic picture of the battle. Life is a gift that comes with an obligation and a test. In payment for the gift, we have a duty to fight against entropy, a duty to make more life, more beauty, more order.

  2. 2
    drc466 says:

    Krauss only wins the argument if you accept the unwarranted assumption that other types of life are possible. We have significant evidence that isn’t true, and none to support it.
    In addition, a great deal of fine tuning is involved with simply the existence of the universe. Then more for the existence of stars. Then planets. And water. And organic molecules. And limited radiation. And temperate zones where most molecules are not frozen or melted/gaseous. And so on.
    As for the “horribly poor environment,” the earth supports billions of life forms in millions of species. Further, the Judeo-Christian view regarding the Fall of Man explains the “tooth and claw” nature of the earth.
    Contra Krauss, Meyer isn’t assuming that all life must be like ours – just that even survivable environments of any type of life requires enormous fine tuning.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Krauss wrote,

    If, as Meyer seems to require, life must be like the life we experience on earth, presumably designed in the image of God, then the Universe is a horribly poor environment. In almost every other location we see in the Universe, life like our own cannot arise. Indeed, even here, our survival involves a constant battle against a harsh and seemingly indifferent universe that is trying to kill us, as it eventually will.

    This doesn’t even make any ‘scientific’ sense for an atheist to say this.

    Atheists are the ones who have been scientifically ‘predicting’ for decades, (via the very simplistic Drake equation),,,,

    Eric Metaxas – Does Science Argue for or against God? – (Sagan’s estimate based on the Drake equation is shown to be overly optimistic) – animated video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjGPHF5A6Po

    Atheists are the ones who have been scientifically ‘predicting’ for decades that life will be found to be relatively abundant in the universe. Christian Theism, on the other hand, has predicted all along that the Earth will be extremely unique in its ability to host life in this universe.

    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.”

    And indeed, the more we learn about what it takes for a planet to be able to host life in this universe, then the more we realize that the earth is EXTREMELY unique in its ability to support life in this universe. Far more unique than the simplistic Drake equation predicted.

    Hugh Ross and company have found hundreds of independent ‘life-enabling’ parameters that gives us very strong mathematical indication that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe.

    ‘Probability for Life on Earth’
    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;?Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    http://d4bge0zxg5qba.cloudfron.....3_ver2.pdf

    A few of the items in Dr. Ross’s “life-enabling characteristics” list are; Planet location in a proper galaxy’s ‘habitable zone’; Parent star size; Surface gravity of planet; Rotation period of planet; Correct chemical composition of planet; Correct size for moon; Thickness of planets’ crust; Presence of magnetic field; Correct and stable axis tilt; Oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere; Proper water content of planet; Atmospheric electric discharge rate; Proper seismic activity of planet; Many complex cycles necessary for a stable temperature history of planet; Translucent atmosphere; Various complex, and inter-related, cycles for various elements etc.. etc..

    I could go a lot further in the details for there are a total of 816 known parameters which have to be met for complex life to be possible on Earth, or on a planet like Earth. Individually, these limits are not that impressive but when we realize ALL these limits have to be met at the same time on the same planet and not one of the limits can be out of its life permitting range for any extended period of time, then the probability for a world which can host advanced life in this universe becomes very extraordinary. Here is the final summary of Dr. Hugh Ross’s ‘conservative’ estimate for the probability of finding another life-hosting world in this universe.

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle(s).

    To put that probability in perspective, there are only 10^80 sub-atomic particles in the universe.

    Hugh Ross is hardly alone in his finding that the Earth is extremely uniques in its ability to host life in this universe.

    Peter B. Ward and Donald Brownlee, in their book “Rare Earth” commented that, “ “If some god-like being could be given the opportunity to plan a sequence of events with the expressed goal of duplicating our ‘Garden of Eden’, that power would face a formidable task.,,, The physical events that led to the formation and evolution of the physical Earth required an intricate set of nearly irreproducible circumstances.”

    “If some god-like being could be given the opportunity to plan a sequence of events with the expressed goal of duplicating our ‘Garden of Eden’, that power would face a formidable task. With the best of intentions but limited by natural laws and materials it is unlikely that Earth could ever be truly replicated. Too many processes in its formation involve sheer luck. Earth-like planets could certainly be made, but each would differ in critical ways. This is well illustrated by the fantastic variety of planets and satellites (moons) that formed in our solar system. They all started with similar building materials, but the final products are vastly different from each other . . . . The physical events that led to the formation and evolution of the physical Earth required an intricate set of nearly irreproducible circumstances.”
    – Peter B. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000)

    Astrobiologist David Waltham, in his book “Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional”, agrees and states, ““Earth is a precious jewel possessing a rare combination of qualities that happen to make it almost perfect for sustaining life.,,, it is unlikely we will succeed in finding similarly complex life elsewhere in the Universe.”

    “Earth is a precious jewel possessing a rare combination of qualities that happen to make it almost perfect for sustaining life. Lucky Planet investigates the idea that good fortune, infrequently repeated elsewhere in the Universe, played a significant role in allowing the long-term life-friendliness of our home and that it is unlikely we will succeed in finding similarly complex life elsewhere in the Universe.”
    London astrobiologist – David Waltham, Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional — and What That Means for Life in the Universe (Basic Books, 2014), p. 1.)

    As well, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Wesley Richards, in their book and documentary ‘Privileged Planet’, have found that there is a strange correlation between some of these life enabling parameters and our ability to make scientific discoveries.

    Specifically, “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”

    The Privileged Planet – The Correlation Of Habitability and Observability?
    “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”
    – Guillermo Gonzalez – Astronomer
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

    Moreover, perhaps no scientific discovery has shook the status quo in science more than the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, (CMBR).

    The CMBR was the final piece of evidence that firmly established that the universe indeed had a beginning, and was therefore the final piece of evidence that put to rest all the attempts by atheists to prove that the universe, as we know it, has always existed.

    To say that atheists were, and are, uncomfortable with the discovery, and implications, of the CMBR would be to make a severe understatement.

    The Theistic implications of the CMBR are quite clear. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take the word of three Nobel Laureates

    “My argument,” Dr. Penzias concluded, “is that the best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
    – Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    – Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    , Fred Heeren, Show Me God (Wheeling, Ill.: Daystar, 2000),

    “The question of ‘the beginning’ is as inescapable for cosmologists as it is for theologians…there is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing”
    – George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time, 1993, p.189. – George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    Moreover, the CMBR has now done far more than firmly establish that the universe must have had a beginning. The CMBR has also now revealed that the earth itself was intended since the beginning of the creation of the universe.

    Specifically, there are anomalies that are now found in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, (CMBR), data that ‘strangely’ line up with the earth and solar system.

    Here is an excellent clip from the documentary “The Principle” that explains, in an easy to understand manner, how these ‘anomalies’ that line up with the earth and solar system were found, (via the ‘averaging out’ of the tiny temperature variations in the CMBR data.

    Cosmic Microwave Background (CMBR) Proves Intelligent Design (disproves Copernican principle) (clip of “The Principle”) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htV8WTyo4rw

    (Of note: I believe, if I am not mistaken, that Krauss himself made an appearance in the preceding documentary)

    Moreover besides the earth and solar system lining up with the anomalies in the Cosmic Background Radiation, Radio Astronomy now reveals a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4134

    These ‘anomalies’ in the CMBR data, and the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe, combine in order to give as a proper X, Y, and Z axis in order to reveal that the earth does indeed have a ‘privileged’ position in the universe.

    As the following article, (with a illustration) explains,

    “Of course to have an exact position, (or what we would call an ‘exact center’ in the universe), we would need an X axis, a Y axis, and a Z axis, since that will give us three dimensions in Euclidean space. The CMB dipole and quadrupole gives us the X axis and Y axis but not a Z axis. Hence, the X and Y axis of the CMB provide a direction, but only an approximate position. That is why we have continually said that the CMB puts Earth “at or near the center of the universe.”
    For the Z-axis we depend on other information, such as quasars and galaxy alignment that the CMB cannot provide. For example, it has been discovered that the anisotropies of extended quasars and radio galaxies are aligned with the Earth’s equator and the North celestial pole (NCP)4.,,, Ashok K. Singal describes his shocking discovery in those terms:
    “What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.”
    – Ashok K. Singal4 “Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky,” Ashok K. Singal, Astronomy and Astrophysics Division, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, India, May 17, 2103,..
    Signal states: “We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations.”
    http://www.robertsungenis.com/.....20Wars.pdf

    Illustration with X, Y, and Z axis superimposed on the universe
    https://i.postimg.cc/L8G3CbXN/DOUBLE-AXIS.png

    Thus, contrary to the presumption of atheists, (i.e. that the universe and the earth are the product of some random quantum fluctuation), far from the temperature variations in the CMBR, and the large scale structures in the universe, being a product of random quantum fluctuations, (as atheists presuppose in their inflation model),,,, far from that, both the temperature variations of the CMBR and the large scale structures of the universe reveal teleology, (i.e. a goal directed purpose, a plan, a reason), that specifically included the earth and solar system from the creation of the universe itself. ,,, The earth, from what our best science can now tell us, is not just some random cosmic fluke as atheists had presupposed in their inflation model.

    Genesis 1:1-3
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

    Isaiah 45:18
    “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Krauss states this,

    Meyer argues, without any underlying evidence, that life has to exist on rocky planets like our own. But some, like my late colleague Freeman Dyson, argued cogently that in the long run, other sorts of intelligent life could arise even in the very “diffuse clouds of hydrogen” that Meyer finds so inhospitable—the black clouds of Fred Hoyle. The rules for such life-forms would undoubtedly be very different than for us.

    It is the height of irony that Krauss would accuse Meyer not having “any underlying evidence” for his claim that life has to exist on rocky planets like our own.

    There is not one scrap of scientific evidence that life can arise in “diffuse clouds of hydrogen”.

    For crying out loud, the very fact that the clouds of hydrogen are diffuse, in and of itself, pretty much directly means that the atoms of hydrogen are not interacting with each other in any meaningful way so as to signify that they are doing, or that they are capable of doing, anything that can be described as being ‘intelligent’.

    Just because Krauss can imagine that intelligent life can be present in a “diffuse clouds of hydrogen” certainly does not equate to actual scientific evidence that it is even remotely possible for “diffuse clouds of hydrogen” to be intelligent in any meaningful sense of the term ‘intelligent life’.

    I’m pretty sure that if “diffuse clouds of hydrogen” were ever shown to have ‘agent causality’ in any meaningful way, then the scientist who proved that “diffuse clouds of hydrogen” were indeed ‘intelligent agents’ would in all likelihood be the recipient of multiple Nobel Prizes.

    Indeed his fame would surely exceed even that of Einstein for turning the scientific world completely on its head.

    Krauss, nor anyone else, has come anywhere near proving the absurd proposition of ‘intelligent hydrogen clouds’ is even remotely feasible, much less has anyone come close to proving that it is scientifically true.

    After Krauss’s foray into his completely unsubstantiated imagination with ‘intelligent hydrogen clouds’, Krauss goes on to state,

    Once again the argument for purpose and design seems to come down to a lack of imagination, and a lack of faith, not in God, but in the possibilities of existence and the ability of science to eventually unravel most, if not all of them.

    The irony is literally dripping off every word Krauss writes.

    Completely unrestrained imagination is exactly what Krauss, and other atheists, are most acutely suffering from.

    Which is to say that the main problem in science today is NOT a lack of imagination on the part of Christian Theists. But the main problem in science today is the completely unrestrained imagination of Atheists.

    Moreover, this characteristic of completely ‘unrestrained imagination’ is forced upon atheists by their naturalistic worldview itself.

    Although it may come as a complete surprise to atheists, without God to provide the foundation for their worldview, the atheists’s naturalistic worldview turns into into a very unscientific world of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor of ‘reality’ for him to ground his worldview on.

    Although the Darwinian atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science, (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is, when examining the details of his naturalistic worldview, that Darwinian atheists are found to be adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to:

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 2021 – Detailed Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/from-philip-cunningham-the-human-eye-like-the-human-brain-is-a-wonder/#comment-727327

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    Thus Krauss may complain that “the argument for purpose and design seems to come down to a lack of imagination,,,” but the Christian Theist has every right to reply to Krauss that his appeal to his unrestrained imagination, just to try to avoid the overwhelming inference to design, is not even in the field of empirical science in the first place. Indeed, it is not even in the field of ‘reality’ in the first place.

    Bottom line, if you believe ‘reality’ trumps unrestrained imagination, then the inference to design is very ‘real’.

    Indeed, the inference to design must necessarily be ‘real’ for us in order to avoid the catastrophic epistemological failure that is inherent in the unrestrained imagination of Atheistic Naturalism where everything we regard as being ‘real’ is forced to turn into flights of fantasy and imagination.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  5. 5

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Polistra. The Design Filter, as described by William Dembski, asks 2 questions and in this order: “Is it Law?” (No) “Is it Chance” (No) “Then it must be design.”
    Cosmological Fine tuning cannot get past the first question: “Is it Law?”
    But we do not know, because we have only one example.

    Now many, many people substitute computer modelling for the lack of examples. “Is it Law?”
    (No, because I have made hundreds of computer models and this is the only one that works.)
    The problem with this approach, is that the models may all be false. In which case, they do nothing to prove it was not a Law.
    Let us just pick one trivial example of a bad computer model. “Is alpha = 1/137 a Law?”
    (I ran my model for alpha= 1/100 and 1/10 and 1.0 and 10.0 and 100.0 and never crashed the program, so it must be logically consistent. If it is logically consistent, then there is no Law forbidding changing alpha, and therefore there must not be a Law determining alpha=1/137.)
    So there must not be a Law? What if we found one tonight?
    (Well, there might be, we just don’t know.)
    But if you don’t know, you can’t move past the first Dembski question?
    (It’s a guess okay, but a very, very, very, good guess. )
    But if the fine tuning argument is intended to provide evidence for belief, how does it help to discover that it takes belief to construct the evidence for belief? Wouldn’t it just be faster to skip all the words in between?

  6. 6
    PaV says:

    What lies unstated in Krauss’ argument is the mind-numbing notion of “multiverses.” He presupposes an infinite number of other universes-universes we cannot detect nor can we in principle detect, wherein all the constants of nature assume an ‘almost’ infinite number of differing values and that we just happen to live in one such universe (what is the probability of living in such a universe? 1/infinity=0) with all the constants “fine-tuned.” This is the kind of answer you give when you don’t have an answer. Liberals love such answers–since it relies on the existence of something unseen, and hence unfalsifiable in principle.

    David Gross, who I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with, brings this all out in this YouTube video. Preposterous claims rely on preposterous arguments.

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    “this is a little like a single individual, alone in the world, looking down at his legs and finding that they are remarkably fine-tuned to touch the ground.”

    This is just a variation on the Douglas Adams Puddle Argument Arm-Wave (people on both sides commented this argument cannot be seriously made)- which doesn’t address or include any science. We’ve been over this before.

    Andrew

  8. 8
    EDTA says:

    Luke Barnes goes into more depth than Krauss, bringing in probability arguments, Bayesian reasoning, etc. Goes a level deeper than Krauss apparently wants to, and shows that fine-tuning is not what we should expect on naturalism. Google his papers instead.

  9. 9
    drc466 says:

    Rob,

    Pardon my ignorance, but doesn’t your argument that we can never get past the question “Is It Law” simply serve as a conversation stopper that prevents coming to any philosophical conclusions about the nature of the universe period?

    Imagine the contra side, the materialist side. “Only naturalistic, materialistic matter/energy explanations are valid”. How do you “prove” something isn’t a materialistic explanation? Is it [materialist]? There is no Law forbidding [an explanation being materialist].

    So there must not be a Law? What if we found one tonight? (Well, there might be, we just don’t know.)

    Since we can never “know” anything at all, in the sense you use the term (can’t prove a universal negative), we’re stuck with no argument (fine-tuning, materialism, etc.) ever being valid. So we should all just believe what we want to believe, because everything eventually comes down to belief, and every argument is flawed by lack of complete knowledge.

    (My viewpoint, valid or not, being – while we can’t prove the “Is It Law” part of the design filter in the same way we can’t prove that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t have exceptions, our knowledge of “Is It Law” is complete enough to accept a conclusion of “Is It Law? No” when it comes to the Design Filter and life in the universe, and proposing the contrary ‘Is It Law? Maybe” conclusion falls under the heading of “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.)

  10. 10
    Dick says:

    Rob Sheldon (5) argues that the Fine-Tuning argument is a poor argument for design of the universe because we can’t rule out that FT is governed by some physical law.
    This raises some questions, though. Since the initial conditions of the universe are themselves exquisitely fine-tuned, and since those conditions were established in the Big Bang, wouldn’t any law that described their establishment have transcended the universe? How does a law exist apart from the universe and, moreover, how can a law, which is purely descriptive, be responsible for any fact about the universe, anyway?
    It seems reasonable to conclude that the answer to the first step in Dembski’s filter, as it relates to FT, is indeed, no.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    As to Polistra and Sheldon

    Polistra stated,

    Much as I hate to admit it, Krauss wins this one. Fine-tuning is not a useful argument, and “image of God” is not even an observation.

    Robert Sheldon agreed,

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Polistra. The Design Filter, as described by William Dembski, asks 2 questions and in this order: “Is it Law?” (No) “Is it Chance” (No) “Then it must be design.”
    Cosmological Fine tuning cannot get past the first question: “Is it Law?”

    Sheldon further argued that just because we can change the fine structure constant, (i.e. “Is alpha = 1/137 a Law?”), on computer models that does not necessarily mean that the fine structure constant is not necessarily determined by some other (meta) law.

    What evidence does Sheldon offer to support his position? Well, he imagines that it may be possible to explain fine-tuning of the universal laws by reference to some other meta-law.

    If Sheldon considers evidence from computer modeling to be weak, perhaps I can be forgiven for thinking his imagination to be no evidence whatsoever?

    Moreover, if Sheldon (and Polistra), are not impressed with computer models, perhaps they will be more impressed with the results of the Large Hadron Collider, (which is arguably the most ambitious scientific experiment ever conducted by man).

    The Large Hadron Collider has failed to find any evidence for the super-symmetric particles that would have indicated, and/or pointed to, a supersymmetric ‘meta-law’ that would have ‘explained away’ fine-tuning of the laws we observe?

    As Sabine Hossenfelder explains, “the prediction(s) from String Theory for the existence of new particles was a ‘prediction’ that was made in order to avoid the implications of the fine-tuning of the laws of nature. Specifically she said, “new particles must appear” in an energy range of about a TeV (ie accessible at the LHC) “to avoid finetuning.”

    … This was the argument why the LHC should see something new: To avoid finetuning and to preserve naturalness.
    I explained many times previously why the conclusions based on naturalness were not predictions, but merely pleas for the laws of nature to be pretty.”,,,
    “I must have sat through hundreds of seminars in which naturalness arguments were repeated. Let me just flash you a representative slide from a 2007 talk by Michelangelo L. Mangano (full pdf here), so you get the idea. The punchline is at the very top: “new particles must appear” in an energy range of about a TeV (ie accessible at the LHC) “to avoid finetuning.”
    … This was the argument why the LHC should see something new: To avoid finetuning and to preserve naturalness.
    I explained many times previously why the conclusions based on naturalness were not predictions, but merely pleas for the laws of nature to be pretty. Luckily I no longer have to repeat these warnings, because the data agree that naturalness isn’t a good argument.
    (“Pretty” as in ‘not-fine-tuned’?)
    My disbelief in naturalness used to be a fringe opinion and it’s gotten me funny looks on more than one occasion. But the world refused to be as particle physicists expected, naturalness rapidly loses popularity, and now it’s my turn to practice funny looks. The cube, it’s balancing on a tip and nobody knows why. In desperation they throw up their hands and say “anthropic principle”. Then they continue to produce scatter plots. …
    The naturalness arguments are eventually based on the idea that whatever a fundamental theory looks like, it does conform to this ideal: There’s one or only a few parameters. They are neither fine-tuned nor appear in unreasonably large ratios. We, the stuff we are made of, and our universe, is somehow “natural,” “average” or “mediocre.” However, if you continue to ask “why” at this point you’ll notice how the scientific basis crumbles away under your feet. Why should this be? Because very small parameters make you feel uneasy? Because you don’t find many parameters a satisfactory explanation? Because it’s not pretty? Because it smells like intelligent design?”
    – Sabine Hossenfelder – PhD Physics
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/after-the-multiverse-the-multiworse/#comment-653926

    To more clearly define what the concept of supersymmetry is, according to string theory, all particles in the universe can be divided into two types: bosons and fermions. String theory predicts that a type of connection, called supersymmetry, exists between these two particle types.
    Under supersymmetry, a fermion must exist for every boson and a boson for every fermion. Unfortunately, experiments have not yet detected these extra particles.

    String Theory and Supersymmetry
    Excerpt: According to string theory, all particles in the universe can be divided into two types: bosons and fermions. String theory predicts that a type of connection, called supersymmetry, exists between these two particle types.
    Under supersymmetry, a fermion must exist for every boson and a boson for every fermion. Unfortunately, experiments have not yet detected these extra particles.
    Supersymmetry is a specific mathematical relationship between certain elements of physics equations. It was discovered outside of string theory, although its incorporation into string theory transformed the theory into supersymmetric string theory (or superstring theory) in the mid-1970s.
    One benefit of supersymmetry is that it vastly simplifies string theory’s equations by allowing certain terms to cancel out. Without supersymmetry, the equations result in physical inconsistencies, such as infinite values and imaginary energy levels.
    https://www.dummies.com/education/science/physics/string-theory-and-supersymmetry/

    And the search for these hypothetical supersymmetric particles that would ‘explain away’ fine-tuning of the universe has come up completely empty.

    And as the following 2019 article explains, If supersymmetry (SUSY) is the solution to the hierarchy problem, then the lightest superpartners should definitely be accessible by Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The fact that it hasn’t found any, thus far, is enough to eliminate virtually all models of SUSY that solve the very problem it was designed to solve.

    Why Supersymmetry May Be The Greatest Failed Prediction In Particle Physics History – Feb. 2019
    Excerpt: In theory, SUSY is a possible solution to this puzzle, where practically no other known solutions remain viable. However, just because it offers a possible solution doesn’t mean it’s correct. In fact, each of the predictions of SUSY are extremely problematic for physics.
    1. If SUSY is the solution to the hierarchy problem, then the lightest superpartners should definitely be accessible by the LHC. The fact that it hasn’t found any, thus far, is enough to eliminate virtually all models of SUSY that solve the very problem it was designed to solve.
    2. The strong force may not unify with the other forces. There’s no evidence for unification in our Universe so far, as proton decay experiments have come up empty. The initial motivation is flimsy here as well: If you put any three curves on a log-log scale and zoom out far enough, they will always look like a triangle where the three lines just barely miss coming together at a single point.
    3. If dark matter is truly made of the lightest SUSY particle, then experiments designed to see it such as CDMS, XENON, Edelweiss and more should have detected it. Furthermore, SUSY dark matter should annihilate in a very particular way which hasn’t been seen.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/02/12/why-supersymmetry-may-be-the-greatest-failed-prediction-in-particle-physics-history/?sh=374cb27669e6

    And as the following 2021 article points out, ‘After years of searching and loads of accumulated data from countless collisions, there is no sign of any supersymmetric particle. In fact, many supersymmetry models are now completely ruled out, and very few theoretical ideas remain valid.’ And the article even goes on to state that “Where will physics go from here, in a universe without supersymmetry? Only time (and a lot of math) will tell.”

    Where are all the squarks and gluinos?
    The future of supersymmetry is in serious doubt. – Jan 2021
    Excerpt: The ATLAS collaboration, made up of hundreds of scientists from around the world, have released their latest findings in their search for supersymmetry in a paper appearing in the preprint journal arXiv.
    And their results? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
    After years of searching and loads of accumulated data from countless collisions, there is no sign of any supersymmetric particle. In fact, many supersymmetry models are now completely ruled out, and very few theoretical ideas remain valid.
    While supersymmetry has enjoyed widespread support from theorists for decades (who often portrayed it as the obvious next step in advancing our understanding of the universe), the theory has been on thin ice ever since the LHC turned on. But despite those initial doubtful results, theorists had hoped that some model of tuning of the theory would produce a positive result inside the collider experiment.
    While not every possible model of supersymmetry has been ruled out, the future of the theory is in serious doubt. And since physicists have invested so much time and energy into supersymmetry for years, there aren’t a lot of compelling alternatives.
    Where will physics go from here, in a universe without supersymmetry? Only time (and a lot of math) will tell.
    https://www.livescience.com/no-signs-supersymmetry-large-hadron-collider.html

    And here are a few more notes along that line,

    One Idea to Explain Dark Matter – Ultralight Bosons – Fails the Test – April 20, 2021
    Excerpt: Dark matter continues to resist our best efforts to pin it down. While dark matter remains a dominant theory of cosmology, and there is lots of evidence to support a universe filled with cold dark matter, every search for dark matter particles yields nothing. A new study continues that tradition, ruling out a range of dark matter candidates.,,,
    Known elementary particles of matter can be placed in one of two categories: fermions and bosons. So, electrons, quarks, and neutrinos are fermions, while photons and gluons are bosons. Within the standard model of particle physics, there are no bosons that would fit the bill for dark matter. But some alternative models predict particles that could be dark matter. Supersymmetry models, for example, predict that every known fermion must have a corresponding boson and vice versa. Thus, the electron would have a counterpart boson known as the selectron, the photon would have a counterpart fermion known as the photino, and so forth. Another possibility are axions, which were proposed in 1977 to address subtle aspects of how quarks interact.
    Both axions and supersymmetry particles could be low-mass bosons and would satisfy the needs of dark matter. But if either exists, they haven’t been found thus far. Still, these light bosons would interact with regular matter gravitationally, hence this latest study.
    If dark matter is made of light bosons, then these particles would be spread across the universe, including near black holes. A black hole would gravitationally capture nearby bosons, thus increasing its mass. If a black hole is rotating, the capture of dark matter particles would also tend to slow down its rotation. You can imagine children at a playground that has a merry-go-round. If children jump onto the merry-go-round as it is spinning, the merry-go-round will slow down slightly because of the added mass. The same would be true for black holes.
    In other words, dark matter bosons would limit the rate that black holes rotate. The team realized that heavier bosons would limit black holes more, and lighter bosons would constrain them less. So they looked at the LIGO and Virgo data of black hole mergers, which tells us the rotation rate of black holes before they merge. It turns out that some of these black holes rotated so quickly that it rules out the existence of ultra-light dark matter bosons. Based on this study, dark matter can’t be axions or light supersymmetry particles.
    So once again, a search for dark matter has shown us not what dark matter is, but what it isn’t. It’s extremely frustrating, and potentially exciting because we are quickly running out of options for dark matter.
    https://www.universetoday.com/150964/one-idea-to-explain-dark-matter-ultralight-bosons-fails-the-test/

    April 2021 – Might I suggest that this current study with black holes satisfies that ‘size’ requirement for a particle collider, and thus, in over the top fashion, falsifies the supersymmetric model even more forcefully that the LHC has done thus far??
    In short, I hold that this present study can be counted as another devastating and fatal blow against the supersymmetry model of string theory.
    ultra-light-bosons-explanation-for-dark-matter-doesnt-pan-out-either

    So apparently a search for a ‘natural’ meta-law, i.e. supersymmetry, that would ‘explain away’ the fine-tuning of the universe has come up with zero evidence to support the claim from atheists, (and apparently also from Sheldon and Polistra), that there could be some meta-law that could ‘explain away’ the apparent fine-tuning of the laws of the universe that we observe.

    Moreover, that atheists, (and apparently Sheldon and Polistra), would fail to find a ‘meta-law’ to ‘explain away’ the fine-tuning of the laws of nature should not be all that surprising.

    There simply can’t, in principle, be a ‘bottom up’ materialistic explanation for a ‘top down’ law that dictates how the particles of the universe behave.

    As Origenes explains, “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.”

    “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.
    Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws is in need of constraints (laws) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws.
    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”
    Saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, is another way of saying that laws cannot be explained by physical processes.”
    – Origenes

    Moreover, despite the almost universal tendency of people to refer to the laws of the universe as merely being ”natural’, there is simply nothing ‘natural’ about the laws of the universe.

    In reality the laws of the universe should be referred to as the ‘miraculous’ laws of the universe rather than referred to as the ‘natural’ laws of the universe.

    People say that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. No where is that saying more true than in regards to the laws of universe.

    If we never observed an apple falling to the ground, but all of the sudden we were to see an apple fall to ground, we would rightly consider that to be a miraculous event.

    But since we see apples fall to the ground all the time, we consider apples falling to the ground to be a ‘natural’ event and not to be a miraculous event.

    In other words, our familiarity with apples falling to the ground has dulled us to just how miraculous, even how unnatural, it is for an apple to fall to the ground.

    Moreover, our familiarity with apples falling to the ground, and our contempt for just how miraculous the event actually is, has led many atheistic scientists into denying there very own ‘miraculous’ free will, and/or agent causality, altogether.

    As J. Budziszewski explains, “I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before.”

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    Moreover, the Christian founders of modern science certainly did not consider the laws of the universe, which they discovered, to be ‘natural’ but instead considered then to be from God and to therefore be ‘miraculous’:

    As Paul Davies explained,

    “All the early scientists, like Newton, were religious in one way or another. They saw their science as a means of uncovering traces of God’s handiwork in the universe. What we now call the laws of physics they regarded as God’s abstract creation: thoughts, so to speak, in the mind of God. So in doing science, they supposed, one might be able to glimpse the mind of God – an exhilarating and audacious claim.”
    – Paul Davies – quoted from an address following his award of the $1 million Templeton Prize in 1995 for progress in science and religion.

    In short, and in conclusion, atheists have no clue why there should even be universal laws in the first place, nor do they have a clue, much less any scientific evidence, why the laws should be fine-tuned.

    Whereas the Christian founders of modern science, on the other hand, expected, and found, universal laws. Fine-tuning is just a cherry on top of the cake that further validates the Christian worldview as being true.

    Atheists can bang the heads on the wall of fine-tuning all they want, (vainly trying to get fine tuned universal laws for ‘bottom up’ materialistic processes), but the Christian Theist can rest assured that his worldview is in no danger whatsoever of ever being overturned by the atheists. EVER!

    Isaiah 40:8
    The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

  12. 12
    ET says:

    Robert Sheldon misrepresents the EF. We do not infer design if necessity and chance have been eliminated. There has to be some specification or we say “we don’t know”, and continue the investigation to flesh it out.

  13. 13
    doubter says:

    Robert Sheldon@5

    “Unfortunately, I have to agree with Polistra. The Design Filter, as described by William Dembski, asks 2 questions and in this order: “Is it Law?” (No) “Is it Chance” (No) “Then it must be design.”
    Cosmological Fine tuning cannot get past the first question: “Is it Law?”
    But we do not know, because we have only one example.”

    It seems to me that not being able to say with absolute certainty that fine tuning isn’t a hidden even deeper Law of nature (a set of meta-Laws) only leads to an infinite regress. It is quite certain that these meta-Laws (if they exist) must be in practical effect fine-tuned to produce the actual physics relationships and mathematical constants that in turn actually determine the livability of our Universe. But there is no way of telling if these meta-Laws aren’t in turn the result of another set of even deeper meta-Laws, and so on ad infinitum. This inevitable result of the meta-Law explanation would seem to invalidate the meta-Law explanation in order to avoid an invoking an infinite regress.

  14. 14
    MikeW says:

    It is naïve for Krauss to believe that the cosmological constant might have a “natural” value of zero based on “additional cosmic symmetries”. Given the extensive use of known cosmic symmetries by the Creator when they are logically available, the fact that the cosmological constant was exquisitely fine-tuned instead is actually evidence that Krauss’s imagined symmetries are not logically possible. Thus, Krauss’s argument of the “unnatural smallness” of the constant ironically provides additional evidence of the immense power and design revealed by the Creator in the fine-tuning of His creation, who thus should be praised as a divinely caring and loving God.

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