[Continued from here]
>>  With all due respect to prof Page, I do not think he has made his point.
Or rather, his remarks, in effect [if not intent], seem to be a matter of providing a “but if . . . ” rhetorical talking point to persuade people to dismiss the cumulative evidence for fine-tuning, than any cogent, broadly based response to what is inherently a cumulative case. However, one cannot responsibly dismiss a cumulative case on a single point, unless one thereby shows an inescapable self-referential absurdity, such as a contradiction. Which prof Page’s papers and presentation do not present.
First, he notes that if the cosmological constant — “(or dark energy density)that quantifies the gravitational repulsion of empty space . . . ” [EAFTL, p.2 of 8] — were . . .
of magnitude smaller than the Planck value, but if it were just a few orders of magnitude larger than its tiny positive observed value [8, 9], with the other constants of physics kept the same, life as we know it would appear to be very difficult . . . . [T]he fact that the cosmological constant is roughly 122 orders of magnitude smaller than the apparently simplest natural nonzero value for it (the Planck value) cries out for an explanation beyond pure coincidence, since the probability of such a remarkable coincidence is extremely low, much less than the probability of having a monkey randomly type on a simple typewriter in one go,
The cosmological constant is 10^(-122) in Planck units.
[p. 2, EAFTL]
So, he here acknowledges that the present, observed value does seem to be fine tuned to put the observed cosmos at a — note, not “the”; i.e., following John Leslie we are talking about an isolated fly on the wall swatted by a bullet [and implying local fine-tuning in the teeth of multiverse arguments], not the possibility that there may be other flies or even carpets of flies, elsewhere on the wall — fine-tuned operating point that fits well with C-chemistry, cell based life.
This comes out further on p. 4, where he says:
. . . if indeed there is a multiverse with a wide range of values of that are fairly uniformly distributed near [L] = 0, the third view, observer selection within a multiverse, would be a good explanation for the observed value [L0]
We need to slow down a moment here. For, if there is such a multiverse, then that multiverse is in effect searching the range near L = 0. That is, we are back at Collins’ sub-cosmos bakery that is set up to put out good loaves, not burned hockey-pucks. The multiverse has to be set up at a condition sufficient to produce such a happy distribution of sub-cosmi, and — surprise — all that has happened is that the fine-tuning has been elevated one level. Do we then resort to a quasi-infinite array of multiverses, each somehow set up to search a zone of interest? That would now strain credulity, multiplying unobserved entities without limit, in an ad hoc argument to avoid a conclusion one plainly is hostile to, rather than to seek a reasonable explanation.
Now, too, on prof Page’s own approach: that a twiddling of the cosmological constant to a slightly negative value might create more baryons is not a demonstration of a contradiction or other absurdity. In fact, it would naturally increase the gravitational attractions, and trigger a cosmological contraction, so indeed Page remarks:
Although one could make the fraction of baryons condensing into structures larger by a negative cosmological constant, the flip side is that if [L] < 0, the entire universe will recollapse, putting a limit on how much time there is for life to develop, and therefore on what fraction of baryons actually form life. (For a positive cosmological constant no larger than its observed value, once gravitationally bound structures like galaxies develop, [L] appears to have an insignificant effect on the development of life, so that the fraction of baryons that form life can be taken to be the fraction that condense into galaxies multiplied by a tiny factor that depends on the other constants of physics but which has negligible dependence on [L].) [EAFTL, p. 5.]
As a consequence, he resorts to — surprise!! — A FINE TUNING ARGUMENT.
As we may see on the same p. 5:
For example . . . with the cosmological constant being the negative of the value for the MUM that makes it have present age
t0 = H0^- 1 = 10^8years/alpha, the total lifetime of the anti-MUM model is 2:44t = 33:4 Gyr.
Values of [L] more negative than this would presumably reduce the amount of life per baryon that has condensed into galaxies more than the increase in the fraction of baryons that condense into galaxies in the first place, so I would suspect that the value of the cosmological constant that maximizes the fraction of baryons becoming life is between zero and – LO ~ 3.5 * 10^- 122, with a somewhat lower magnitude than the observed value but with the opposite sign.
SOMETHING THAT IS SET TO WITHIN 3 – 4 PARTS IN 10^-122 IS PLAINLY EXQUISITELY FINE-TUNED.
In short, Prof Page is arguing for another possible finely-tuned operating point, not against fine-tuning as such.
However, that another fine-tuned operating point for the cosmos is possible does not refute the observation that the observed operating point is evidently fine-tuned.
Reports of the death of fine-tuning are somewhat over-stated.>>
F/N: A few notes on Prof Page’s slideshow presentation:
1] Pp. 7 – 8: When Darwin proposed evolution, many conservative Christians accepted it. However, many later came to oppose it . . . . Benjamin B. Warfield [a leading conservative theologian of c. 100+ years ago, said:] ” . . . I do not
think that there is any general statement in the Bible or any part of the account of creation, either as given in Genesis 1 and 2 or
elsewhere alluded to, that need be opposed to evolution.”
Prof Page, here, needs to distinguish the concept of evolution in general [including theistic and old earth Creationist forms of both today and the turn of C20], from the canonical, a priori evolutionary materialist form that is not only dominant in the key institutions today, but evidently was Darwin’s own view. As his Oct 13, 1880 letter to Aveling, a physician and Marx’s son-in-law who waned to dedicate a book to Darwin documents, CRD’s view was:
. . . though I am a strong advocate for free thought [NB: free-thought is an old synonym for skepticism, agnosticism or atheism] on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family [NB: especially his wife, Emma], if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion.
In short, Darwinism was in part motivated by specifically anti-Christian skepticism, and was intended to undermine the general faith in God by making God seem unnecessary, through presenting a materialistic, chance and necessity view of the origin of species.
However, at no point has the evolutionary materialistic framework — which in the main today is promoted in the name of methodological naturalism as an a priori, question begging and censoring imposition on science –succeeded in accounting for the origin of digitally coded functionally specific complex information [dFSCI] required to explain the origin of life, or the origin of the dozens of major body plans.
More generally, we have excellent reason to see that dFSCI is an empirically reliable diagnostic sign of design, through the explanatory filter.
2: p. 10: It does seem true that we could not be here if many of the constants of physics were significantly different.
If the mass and charge of the proton
and electron were much different,
suitable stars to produce elements and to sustain planets could not exist.
If the cosmological constant weren’t so tiny, structures would not form at all.
In short, prof Page acknowledges that there is a cluster of fine-tuned parameters.
Also, his own argument, as we just saw, boils down to arguing for another possible fine-tuned range for the cosmological constant, not against fine tuning at the range we do see.
3] p. 23: Is it sufficient to explain what we see by a
multiverse theory in which there are enough different conditions that ours necessarily occurs somewhere?
To get that searching of the neighbourhood of our locally isolated fly on the wall, we arguably need a fine tuned multiverse.
4] p. 28: If the constants of physics we see are optimal, it might be simplest for God to
choose them and them only. They do seem very good, but it is not clear that they are optimal, so it might be simpler for God to choose a set of varying constants,
a multiverse rather than a single universe.
A locally fine-tuned cluster is just as wondrous as a global one, as Leslie’s fly on the wall analogy shows. He puts it aptly in Our Place in the Cosmos:
. . . the need for such explanations does not depend on any estimate of how many universes would be observer-permitting, out of the entire field of possible universes. Claiming that our universe is ‘fine tuned for observers’, we base our claim on how life’s evolution would apparently have been rendered utterly impossible by comparatively minor alterations in physical force strengths, elementary particle masses and so forth. There is no need for us to ask whether very great alterations in these affairs would have rendered it fully possible once more, let alone whether physical worlds conforming to very different laws could have been observer-permitting without being in any way fine tuned. Here it can be useful to think of a fly on a wall, surrounded by an empty region. A bullet hits the fly Two explanations suggest themselves. Perhaps many bullets are hitting the wall or perhaps a marksman fired the bullet. There is no need to ask whether distant areas of the wall, or other quite different walls, are covered with flies so that more or less any bullet striking there would have hit one. The important point is that the local area contains just the one fly.. . . the need for such explanations does not depend on any estimate of how many universes would be observer-permitting, out of the entire field of possible universes. Claiming that our universe is ‘fine tuned for observers’, we base our claim on how life’s evolution would apparently have been rendered utterly impossible by comparatively minor alterations in physical force strengths, elementary particle masses and so forth. There is no need for us to ask whether very great alterations in these affairs would have rendered it fully possible once more, let alone whether physical worlds conforming to very different laws could have been observer-permitting without being in any way fine tuned. Here it can be useful to think of a fly on a wall, surrounded by an empty region. A bullet hits the fly Two explanations suggest themselves. Perhaps many bullets are hitting the wall or perhaps a marksman fired the bullet. There is no need to ask whether distant areas of the wall, or other quite different walls, are covered with flies so that more or less any bullet striking there would have hit one. The important point is that the local area contains just the one fly.
And, the definition of “optimal” is subtle: to go to a maximum or minimum as relvant, subject to a cluster of conditions. So, to judge thathe cosmos as observed is NOT optimal, one would have to have a good reason to know that s/he has accurately pictured the full range of constraints on the choice.
This condition, we plainly cannot meet. Indeed, the OT reminds us to be humble on such a theme:
Is 55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9(N) For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.[ESV]
5] [Multiverse models are] Not observable or testable. But if one had a theory giving the distribution of different
conditions, one could make statistical tests of our observations (likely or unlikely in the distribution). Unfortunately, no such theory exists yet.
In short, the proposed multiverse is speculation, in absence of a means of even indirect empirical testing.
6] p. 34: Though multiverses should not be accepted uncritically, I would argue that Christians have no more reason to oppose them than they had to oppose Darwinian evolution when it was first proposed.
The Oct 13, 1880 CRD letter to Aveling — as already cited above — suggests that there were excellent reasons to be concerned over Darwin’s motives, rhetorical intent and hidden assumptions for his theory.
On balance, it seems that the reported death of the fine-tuning argument has been considerably overstated. >>
In short, an argument for a second arguably possible fine-tuned range for one of dozens of cumulatively considerably fine-tuned parameters, does not boil down to being an argument against fine-tuning. END