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Thread: Cosmologists Taste the Forbidden Fruit

  1. #1 Cosmologists Taste the Forbidden Fruit 
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    Everyone agrees: our universe appears fine-tuned for human existence. You have two choices: it was designed by God, or there is a multiverse (other universes we cannot detect). Amanda Gefter is unhappy with that choice. In New Scientist, she asked, why can’t we have more options?
    Calling the God-vs-multiverse choice a false dichotomy, she said, “Science never boils down to a choice between two alternative explanations. It is always plausible that both are wrong and a third or fourth or fifth will turn out to be correct.”
    Choosing the God option, she said, would be to “abandon science itself.” But she was also uncomfortable with the multiverse. Irritated at creationist blogs and websites that consider the multiverse a “get-out-of-God-free card,” Gefter also took umbrage at their linking of evolution with moral evil.
    She labeled any speculative hypothesis that avoided God as “science.”
    Want to hear her speculation on what the third option might look like? Here it is – we kid you not. We quote the article so you know we are not making this up.

    What might a third option look like here? Physicist John Wheeler once offered a suggestion: "maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation. It’s an idea that Stephen Hawking has been thinking about, too. Hawking advocates what he calls top-down cosmology, in which observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is not surprising that the universe is well suited to us."

    Let’s get this straight: either imagining universes we can never know is science, or believing that we are god is science. But believing in a real God, who has the purpose and power to create a universe, is not science. OK, everyone, let’s sing:

    When you wish upon a star, nature makes you what you are,
    Anything your heart concocts is science true.
    If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme
    When you speculate as scientists do.
    Fate is kind, she gives reality,
    The sweet fulfillment of our observing.
    Like a bolt out of the blue, observation creates you,
    When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.

    Believers in this PAP or “Participatory Anthropic Principle” (i.e., the idea that we create the universe by observing it), apparently are willing to take credit for having brought into existence distant galaxies, with all their stars and planets and whatever – items they have never seen or will see – just because the universe we see from earth is a requirement for their existence. Undoubtedly this is considered more scientific than the “name it and claim it“ preaching on some religious TV programs.
    Welcome to modern science Fantasyland. This make-believe world, in which otherwise intelligent people employ the honorable label of science to abandon reason and common sense, and hide their eyes from the clear evidence of creation, where they can embrace absurd notions that fulfill an old temptation (“Ye shall be as gods”) to preserve their naturalistic religion, has only one explanation: Romans 1.


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  3. #2 Re: Cosmologists Taste the Forbidden Fruit 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mastmec
    Everyone agrees: our universe appears fine-tuned for human existence.
    Mastmec you will find that nearly everyone on this forum agrees that on the contrary human existence is fine-tuned for the universe. Moreover, we're far from perfect and our existence is preoccupied with further fine-tuning. It rains. Get an umbrella.

    Personally I do agree participatory anthropic principle as you nicely jeer it is ludicrous. On the other hand I think it nearly as ludicrous to leave man out of the equation. Of course we are part of the universe and its laws. Our intention and proven ability to pave it all over and bust that up for a better tomorrow should be taken into account since we too make the law.


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    you will find that nearly everyone on this forum agrees that on the contrary human existence is fine-tuned for the universe
    I doubt if you are correct in this assumption, but it would be interesting to see who agrees with you. I for one think the coincidences that allow the universe to accommodate us are almost vanishingly improbable:

    - if protons had a mass 0.2% greater than they do there would be no atoms
    - if the strong force were just a bit stronger there would be no hydrogen
    - the expansion of the universe is "just right" for stars to form
    - etc.

    The argument that there are so many universes that one of them had to be our Goldilocks, seems to overcome the improbability factor, and apparently the LHC might actually lend some more-than-hypothetical support to the idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    you will find that nearly everyone on this forum agrees that on the contrary human existence is fine-tuned for the universe
    I doubt if you are correct in this assumption, but it would be interesting to see who agrees with you. I for one think the coincidences that allow the universe to accommodate us are almost vanishingly improbable:

    - if protons had a mass 0.2% greater than they do there would be no atoms
    - if the strong force were just a bit stronger there would be no hydrogen
    - the expansion of the universe is "just right" for stars to form
    - etc.

    The argument that there are so many universes that one of them had to be our Goldilocks, seems to overcome the improbability factor, and apparently the LHC might actually lend some more-than-hypothetical support to the idea.
    If we're voting, I'll go with pong and the Weak Anthropic Principle.

    As an old mate, Bernie, once said, the chances against your having a particular one dollar bill are astronomical, but you will nevertheless probably have one in your pocket. If you look at its serial number right now, do you have the right to say: "Oh my word - it's a trillions-to-one chance that I'd have this particular bill - there must be magic in the air"?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    But the WAP is entirely consistent with the multiverse hypothesis.

    (And who said anything about magic?)
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    I also have no problem with the anthropic principle whatsoever. It is in fact the much more probable explanation IMO. What scientific arguments are there against it?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    you will find that nearly everyone on this forum agrees that on the contrary human existence is fine-tuned for the universe
    I doubt if you are correct in this assumption, but it would be interesting to see who agrees with you. I for one think the coincidences that allow the universe to accommodate us are almost vanishingly improbable:

    - if protons had a mass 0.2% greater than they do there would be no atoms
    - if the strong force were just a bit stronger there would be no hydrogen
    - the expansion of the universe is "just right" for stars to form
    - etc.

    The argument that there are so many universes that one of them had to be our Goldilocks, seems to overcome the improbability factor, and apparently the LHC might actually lend some more-than-hypothetical support to the idea.
    Ah, okay. I'd taken the OP for argument against evolution.

    Still I don't see why these particular stars and atoms are necessary. We'd just operate on another scale... of which there are an infinite number. The consequence there is that if life could, then surely life does. Then as an infinite population it becomes a constant property of the universe.
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    I'd taken the OP for argument against evolution.
    Hmmm, that's not the way I read it. But I do agree with the sentiment that "she was also uncomfortable with the multiverse". I am uncomfortable with many current ideas like string theory and the multiverse, but then being uncomfortable doesn't mean they are wrong. It just means we are at the very edge of what humans (or at least this human) can get their heads around.

    I understand that while multiple universe may never be empirically proven there are aspects of the mathematical modeling of this universe, and of particle physics that only make sense if the multiverse is true. This is way beyond me but there might be some on the board who could expand on it. It's unfortunate that this is in Pseudoscience, because there is some actual science here.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Still I don't see why these particular stars and atoms are necessary. We'd just operate on another scale... of which there are an infinite number. The consequence there is that if life could, then surely life does. Then as an infinite population it becomes a constant property of the universe.
    If there are no atoms is life still possible? It certainly would not be "us".
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  11. #10  
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    Life is possible without us.

    In a finite universe atoms are essential because they're the the most basic building blocks. But if you "pull the bottom out" then there are infinitely smaller scales of "blocks" life may build with.

    I think one "gets it" or doesn't. Kinda like a religion. :| I never "got" the belief that our locale is bounded with humans in the middle.
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  12. #11  
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    Life is possible without us.
    Of course it is. My reference to "us" was in response to this of yours: "We'd just operate on another scale... " implying that "we" would still be around if the universe was vastly different, and we almost certainly wouldn't.

    However, the anthropic principle is by definition only concerned with human beings.
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  13. #12  
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    As it happens the OP is lifted lock stock and barrel, and without attribution, from a creationist site here (scroll down) so it seems you are right Pong in thinking it is an argument against evolution, albeit a very bad one:

    http://creationsafaris.com/crev200812.htm#20081205a
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Life is possible without us.
    Of course it is. My reference to "us" was in response to this of yours: "We'd just operate on another scale... " implying that "we" would still be around if the universe was vastly different, and we almost certainly wouldn't.

    However, the anthropic principle is by definition only concerned with human beings.
    Sorry I waked flaky there and by "we'd just operate on another scale" I meant we life... like the gravity around a moon saying moons aren't really necessary.

    ***

    Good catch!
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    I doubt if you are correct in this assumption, but it would be interesting to see who agrees with you. I for one think the coincidences that allow the universe to accommodate us are almost vanishingly improbable:

    - if protons had a mass 0.2% greater than they do there would be no atoms
    - if the strong force were just a bit stronger there would be no hydrogen
    - the expansion of the universe is "just right" for stars to form
    - etc.

    The argument that there are so many universes that one of them had to be our Goldilocks, seems to overcome the improbability factor, and apparently the LHC might actually lend some more-than-hypothetical support to the idea.
    The element salcine can only exist if strong force is a bit weaker. Oh wait! There is no element salcine!!!

    Here's the thing. The universe is the way it is. You are right about the hydrogen atoms. That is why hydrogen is the smallest atom. A smaller atom cannot exist because of strong force.

    Also, the universe was here first. The only way it could have been fine tuned for us is if it was created by someone for humans to later inhabit (god).
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    you will find that nearly everyone on this forum agrees that on the contrary human existence is fine-tuned for the universe
    I doubt if you are correct in this assumption, but it would be interesting to see who agrees with you. I for one think the coincidences that allow the universe to accommodate us are almost vanishingly improbable:

    - if protons had a mass 0.2% greater than they do there would be no atoms
    - if the strong force were just a bit stronger there would be no hydrogen
    - the expansion of the universe is "just right" for stars to form
    - etc.

    The argument that there are so many universes that one of them had to be our Goldilocks, seems to overcome the improbability factor, and apparently the LHC might actually lend some more-than-hypothetical support to the idea.
    allow me to also add my opinion to the already long list:
    seems like someone has a chip on the shoulder, so you think the universe decided conciously that it should have hospital conditions? or does it seem more likely that we just adapted to what we had to make do with...
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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