Fine tuning Intelligent Design Multiverse

Sabine Hossenfelder on why the Anthropic Principle is controversial

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It’s controversial because it is sometimes used to support the idea of a multiverse:

So, the anthropic principle is neither unscientific, nor is it in general useless. But then why is the anthropic principle so controversial? It is controversial because it is often brought up by physicists who believe that we live in a multiverse, in which our universe is only one of infinitely many. In each of these universes, the laws of nature can be slightly different. Some may allow for life to exist, some may not.

If you believe in the multiverse, then the anthropic principle can be reformulated to say that the probability we find ourselves in a universe that is not hospitable to life is zero. In the multiverse, the anthropic principle then becomes a statement about the probability distribution over an ensemble of universes. And for multiverse people, that’s an important quantity to calculate. So the anthropic principle smells controversial because of this close connection to the multiverse.

However, the anthropic principle is correct regardless of whether or not you believe in a multiverse. In fact, the anthropic principle is a rather unsurprising and pretty obvious constraint on the properties that the laws of nature must have. The laws of nature must be so that they allow our existence. That’s what the anthropic principle says, no more and no less.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Is the Anthropic Principle scientific?” at BackRe(Action)

It should be common sense to assume that a venue in which we exist must feature conditions that allow for that. But the multiverse does not need logic, evidence, or science.

Sabine Hossenfelder is the author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.

See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide

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6 Replies to “Sabine Hossenfelder on why the Anthropic Principle is controversial

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I note that Sabine Hossenfelder pretty much ignores the other side of the logic behind the anthropic principle that would hold that the laws of nature are fine-tuned for life because they are DESIGNED with life in Mind.

    Her ‘nothing to see here’ attitude aside, that is not a minor omission on her part.

    Life, and human life in particular, are not nearly as inconsequential in this universe as many people are predisposed to believe,

    November 2019 – despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principal is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc..), to be a false assumption.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855

    as well, Robin Collins found that photons coming from the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) are ‘such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.’

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Predictive and Explanatory Power of Discoverability – Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    ,,, The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    ,,, The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

    Besides physics, chemistry is also fine-tuned for human life in particular

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Excerpt page 6: Water
    The fitness of the thermal properties of water for life were first discussed by Whewell in his Bridgewater Treatise [47], and later touched on by Wallace [2: ch. 7]. In The Fitness, Henderson pointed out that water’s high thermal capacity assists in the maintenance of a constant body temperature in warm-blooded organisms [3: p. 89], while its high evaporative cooling greatly assists terrestrial warm-blooded organisms in losing heat when the ambient temperature approaches 38°C. As he put it:
    “In an animal like man, whose metabolism is very intense, heat is a most prominent excretory product, which has constantly to be eliminated in great amounts, and to this end only three important means are available: conduction, radiation and the evaporation of water … At a low temperature there is little evaporation of water, but at body temperature or above there can be no loss of heat at all by conduction and radiation, and the whole burden is therefore thrown on evaporation. [3: p. 102;]”,,,
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    Privileged Species – video (2015)
    https://youtu.be/VoI2ms5UHWg

  2. 2
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    I believe that Dr Hossenfelder has missed the point here.
    It is true that the laws of nature must be what they are because they need to be to allow for a known fact, our existence “And that’s what the anthropic principle says, no more and no less.”
    so far so good.

    The problem begins when you ponder WHY these laws are what they are, when there is no apparent reason. Especially when one realizes that if they were different, by even an infinitesimal smidgeon, the universe we couldn’t be here.

    The obvious and easy explanation, and the one that’s consistent with Occam’s razor, is the Creationist one: God made the laws the way they are so creatures like us could exist.

    Of course, that puts Atheists in a jam. They cant fly with Creationism. They would have to give up Atheism and then they couldn’t be upscale profs, because federal judges say that creationism is against the constitution. That would mean no more gravy train. So they fly with the nonsensical infinite multiverse. It may be garbage, but for our poor Atheist friends, its the only show in town.

    How nonsensical is it?
    Consider this: According to MIT’s Atheist Multiverse guru, Dr Alan Guth,”in the infinite universe anything that can happen, and does not violate a fundamental law of conservation, will happen infinitely many times”. So an infinite number of universes multiverses will have laws like ours. Of course there’s no data for even a second universe, never mind an infinite number of them. Whatever.

    It gets worse. By Dr Guths reasoning, in an infinite number of universes there will an infinite number of universes that contain a country with a system of government like ours. And as Dr Guth points out, there will an infinite number of them where reasonable and intelligent people think that Congress is doing a good job !!!! Now if that’s not nonsensical, tell me what is.

  3. 3
    Latemarch says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES @2

    It gets worse. By Dr Guths reasoning, in an infinite number of universes there will an infinite number of universes that contain a country with a system of government like ours. And as Dr Guth points out, there will an infinite number of them where reasonable and intelligent people think that Congress is doing a good job !!!! Now if that’s not nonsensical, tell me what is.

    Heh! “;^)
    Dr. Guth has us caught in a whirlpool of infinities.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES @ 2

    It gets worse. By Dr Guths reasoning, in an infinite number of universes there will an infinite number of universes that contain a country with a system of government like ours. And as Dr Guth points out, there will an infinite number of them where reasonable and intelligent people think that Congress is doing a good job !!!! Now if that’s not nonsensical, tell me what is.

    Fortunately, however, Guth’s argument implies its own “defeater”. In an infinite number of universes there will be an infinite number of Donald Trumps. An infinite number of egos the size of Trump’s would instantly coalesce and form a singularity that would swallow up the whole of reality leaving one final tweet frozen on the event horizon. Since we are still here that cannot be…

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    In the multiverse, there are an infinite number of universes where Seversky isn’t a troll.

    Obviously, the one we live in isn’t one of them.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    @Seversky
    LOL

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