Fine tuning Intelligent Design

Templeton tries to wish away fine-tuning of the universe

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Profiling the work of science writer and editor Miriam Frankel:

Many physicists are skeptical that our universe is fine tuned for life, with some arguing that any apparent fine tuning is an illusion. Some scientists have argued that in the absence of a probability distribution for the possible values of parameters that could occur, it’s impossible to argue with conviction that our measured values are actually odd or “lucky.” Another major issue is that a lot of the evidence supporting the idea that our universe is fine tuned for life is largely based on investigating how changes to the parameters of the universe would, in theory, affect the evolution of a bio-friendly cosmos like ours. But we cannot rule out the possibility that some kind of life could arise even in a universe with completely different properties. In chapter five, Frankel explains that in some cases, if one allows many parameters to vary simultaneously, it could alleviate the apparent fine-tuning problems. This suggests that the universe may not be so finely tuned after all — it may be able to produce life under a wider range of circumstances than first thought.

Frankel concludes the review by returning to the overarching question — is the universe ultimately fine-tuned for life? To learn more about her conclusion, read the full review.

John Templeton Foundation, “Fine-Tuning” at Foundational Questions Institute (January 2022)

It’s a free short book (52 pp):

Her conclusion?:

If we decide to consider fine tuning to be a real conundrum, then, as discussed in Chapter 3, the most popular explanations are either to accept it as a lucky coincidence or to subscribe to an infinite multiverse. The multiverse allows us to make sense of how the universe may have come to hold the values of the physical constants and laws that it has—among many other possibilities that are realized in neighboring cosmoses. But importantly, it cannot tell us why it has those values, in the way that a new fundamental theory of physics might be able to explain. And there is no fundamental reason for why the multiverse is the way it is, governed by string theory, enabling so many different universes within. In a sense, the multiverse explanation just shifts the problem of fine tuning up a level, from the universe to the multiverse. As seen in Chapter 4, there are many ongoing and upcoming experiments that could provide some evidence in support of the multiverse, or perhaps lead us to a new fundamental theory of nature in which the values of physical constants are explained more deeply, rather than having occurred as a whim. Or, forthcoming measurements of the fundamental constants, such as the cosmological constant and the fine-structure constant, could show that these apparent constants actually vary over time and space, rather than being fixed. If this turns out the be the case, and that variation was large, it would be a major blow to fine-tuning arguments.

For now, we could perhaps regard the multiverse and even fine tuning as “meta cosmology,” as Bernard Carr does (Carr, 2020). Until experiments address the issues laid out in this review, perhaps the most important question is not whether fine tuning is real or an illusion, but whether it is useful as a scientific concept. Scrutinizing the conditions needed for life to emerge in the universe will ultimately help us understand the foundations of physics and biology—and potentially explore the possibility of life existing beyond our planet. To that end, investigating fine tuning seems to be vital to unveiling the essence of who we are, and our place in the cosmos. (pp. 47–48)

So there you have it, folks. Fine-tuning is either a fluke or a multiverse. No other possibility is conceivable. Maybe science is about eliminating the concept of intelligence from the universe.

Alternative view from Steve Meyer:

4 Replies to “Templeton tries to wish away fine-tuning of the universe

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    “If we decide to consider fine tuning to be a real conundrum, then, as discussed in Chapter 3, the most popular explanations are either to accept it as a lucky coincidence or to subscribe to an infinite multiverse.”

    Evidence be damned. For a Materialist, these are the only two options left to hold on to. No matter how improbably, or evidence free the assertion may be, they must choose to believe one or the other.

    We all have beliefs!

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    It is fascinating that Darwists deny evidence by calling it an illusion while accepting the illusion of speciation that has no evidence. Science is about what is known. Science is about following the evidence of what is witnessed. Darwinians ignore the evidence and accept something as scientific that has never been witnessed by anyone.

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    A fascinating display of ignorance: “we cannot rule out the possibility that some kind of life could arise even in a universe with completely different properties.” People have tried to do that and found that, aside from a few cases, even the tiniest change in parameters would make life impossible, as in: no elements but hydrogen; no galaxies, stars, planets; instant collapse or immediate expansion as a vacuum; no stable particles at all; and so on. Indeed, it was the efforts to see how physics or cosmology might differ if one or more parameters were changed that first made the fine tuning so evident.
    And then there is, “if one allows many parameters to vary simultaneously, it could alleviate the apparent fine-tuning problems”. I wonder if the author has a suggested set of changed parameters to consider as an example? I thought not.
    And as Tjguy mentioned, listing only two options as “the most popular explanations” for the fine tuning is just hubris, as it ignores the truly most popular, and best supported option of intelligent design.
    I have previously suggested that scientists attempt to determine the actual ranges of the numerous parameters allowing for life to exist, in order to see where within each range the actual (only) Universe exists. If it can be shown that the actual parameters are the optimum values instead of just a set within the allowed ranges (however narrow), then that would give us more evidence of fine tuning and hence, for ID. Some may have tried this for one or more parameter. It would be a difficult and uncertain analysis, but I think, it would be worth the effort.
    A simpler(?) alternative would be to come up with a somewhat different set of values that might be thought “better” than the actual values; i.e. tweak each parameter a bit and analyse the likely effect on the Universe and its potential for life. If one or more parameters seems to be sub-optimal it could tell us a lot about the fine tuning overall. Or it could just show that our analyses are incomplete or in error.

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    This sort of book is similar to atheists declaiming about how God would have done things, and thereby concluding that God does not exist. Discounting the fine tuning by waving one’s hands with speculation and vague hypotheses does not make for meaningful science, and certainly does not do away with the tuning itself.

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