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Eowynesque

Robin Collins and Fine Tuning for Discoverability

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To preface, I encountered this variation of the fine tuning argument back when I was newly de-converting and it reeled me back in for a few months. I was feeling rather antagonistic toward christianity at that point four years ago and was honestly disappointed that i found this argument so convincing. I successfully de-converted despite this as christianity falls apart all on its own with or without arguments for god's existence. I actually haven't revisited this argument since hearing about it and am curious if anyone else has encountered it and your thoughts. 

 

Here is a link to a draft of Robin Collins's argument of fine tuning for discoverability. If I can summarize briefly, we have no reason to expect the universe to be optimized for discoverability within life supporting parameters, yet it is. One example he gives from his calculations is from the fine-structure constant (α). An increase in α would result in open wood fires extinguishing; a decrease in α would result in less resolving power of the light microscope. Neither change of up to 9 fold affects conditions necessary for life to exist. He give more examples in this paper and elsewhere. In his view, this addresses the multiverse objection to the anthropic fine tuning argument.

 

Am I missing anything glaring? Just to clarify, I have no stance here. I just wanted to se some discussion by those more knowledgeable than I on these topics.

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20 hours ago, Eowynesque said:

To preface, I encountered this variation of the fine tuning argument back when I was newly de-converting and it reeled me back in for a few months. I was feeling rather antagonistic toward christianity at that point four years ago and was honestly disappointed that i found this argument so convincing. I successfully de-converted despite this as christianity falls apart all on its own with or without arguments for god's existence. I actually haven't revisited this argument since hearing about it and am curious if anyone else has encountered it and your thoughts. 

 

Here is a link to a draft of Robin Collins's argument of fine tuning for discoverability. If I can summarize briefly, we have no reason to expect the universe to be optimized for discoverability within life supporting parameters, yet it is. One example he gives from his calculations is from the fine-structure constant (α). An increase in α would result in open wood fires extinguishing; a decrease in α would result in less resolving power of the light microscope. Neither change of up to 9 fold affects conditions necessary for life to exist. He give more examples in this paper and elsewhere. In his view, this addresses the multiverse objection to the anthropic fine tuning argument.

 

Am I missing anything glaring? Just to clarify, I have no stance here. I just wanted to se some discussion by those more knowledgeable than I on these topics.

 

I'm just generalizing based on past discussions. The entire fine tuned premise has never been substantiated to my knowledge.

 

And one thing that I've noticed is that in any condition, anywhere, if you try and work back wards it will always look as if everything was fine tuned. But only because you are looking back on things that did happen. It couldn't have been any other way because this is the way that it did happen. As in, if something accidentally came to be, one could argue that it was fine tuned to be even if it wasn't. Because once it happened, it couldn't have not happened or happened any differently. So it looks as if it was all meant to be from the perspective of looking back wards. 

 

 

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One way of countering fine-tuning arguments is simply to grant the point. Yes, if the universe had been different, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be able to make discoveries, whatever. So what? Here we are. It just doesn't follow that things have been specially designed this way.

 

Say we have an oddly shaped hole in the ground, which fills with water, which then freezes. If the ice is carefully removed, its shape will exactly match that of the hole. Those who argue from design basically take this kind of situation and say "aha! Someone must have made the ice into that shape!" Obviously this is false. The hole shaped the ice. The universe shaped us. It might have been different, but it isn't, and that doesn't mean it was designed this way, it just means it is this way.

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Hello Eonynesque.  :)

 

I've discovered that a former member of this forum, sadly now dead, had a neat way of dealing with fine-tuning arguments.

 

 

 

All fine-tuning arguments are essentially statistical ones.  The apologists who make them claim that the likelihood of this or that is so remote that it indicates the hand of a fine-tuning God.  But they have made a serious error, one that BAA was on to.  They treat the edge of the observable universe as a hard-and-fast boundary, sharply delineating what is inside from what's outside.  Some even say that there is no 'outside'. 

 

In statistics a definite boundary is required if you want to assess the likelihood of something happening within it.  This is known as the sample space.  So, if I asked how many States are there in the Union, my sample space would consist of the the United States of America and nothing else.  Or, if I asked how many people pass through Grand Central station between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, I've added another statistical boundary - time.  You see how it works?  Without defined boundaries it becomes impossible to make a statistics-based argument, like fine-tuning.  

 

But BAA knew that the edge of our observable universe is just a visual horizon and not a real edge or boundary.  The true edge of the universe cannot be defined by us and there may not even be one.  In either case, this robs the apologists of the hard boundary they need to make their fine-tuning arguments.  Without a boundary to their sample space they cannot assess the likelihood of anything.  This stops them in their tracks.

 

If they retreat to the position of saying that god fine-tuned only the observable universe, then there are still two nasty surprises awaiting them there.  But I'll let you respond to this post first, before saying any more about them.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

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@WalterP thanks, I'm not sure how I missed that thread as I've read a lot of BAAs content. That makes a lot of sense, so much so that I feel this should be obvious to Collins and others like him. So his work adds nothing to the conversation? What a fantastic waste of grant money.

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3 hours ago, Eowynesque said:

@WalterP thanks, I'm not sure how I missed that thread as I've read a lot of BAAs content. That makes a lot of sense, so much so that I feel this should be obvious to Collins and others like him. So his work adds nothing to the conversation? What a fantastic waste of grant money.

 

It is, Eowynesque.  (Shield maiden - like?)

 

Those two nasty surprises I mentioned before are these.

 

First, if an apologist asserts that the edge of the universe is a real, physical boundary and not just a visual horizon, then they must also be asserting that we lie at the exact centre of the universe.  This directly violates the Copernican Principle, upon which of all modern cosmology, astrophysics and astronomy is built. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle

 

Secondly, since we cannot observe the distant universe in real time, all of cosmology works by assumption.  It is assumed that the fundamental physical constants of the universe apply everywhere, without varying in any way.  We cannot test this assumption in real time due to the finite speed of light.  We will only see the Andromeda galaxy as it is in 2019 in two million years time.  Likewise, the way we see it in 2019 is the way it was, two million years ago.

 

Therefore, since all fine-tuning arguments also work upon the assumption that the universe's constants never vary, should we find evidence of variation, then their arguments are dead in the water.  Guess what?  In 1998 it was discovered that the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.  So, the assumption that all the values of the constants are fixed and unvarying no longer holds.  This isn't something the apologists can easily deny, because its happening within the observable universe and its happening now.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_expansion_of_the_universe

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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21 hours ago, WalterP said:

I've discovered that a former member of this forum, sadly now dead, had a neat way of dealing with fine-tuning arguments.

 

@TABA Those were good times, weren't they. I remember those threads well. 

 

21 hours ago, WalterP said:

All fine-tuning arguments are essentially statistical ones.  The apologists who make them claim that the likelihood of this or that is so remote that it indicates the hand of a fine-tuning God.  But they have made a serious error, one that BAA was on to.  They treat the edge of the observable universe as a hard-and-fast boundary, sharply delineating what is inside from what's outside.  Some even say that there is no 'outside'. 

 

 

BAA made a very good point on that. With graphic illustration of the point to boot. Concerning the "known universe," verses the potential or larger universe beyond perception. 

 

21 hours ago, WalterP said:

But BAA knew that the edge of our observable universe is just a visual horizon and not a real edge or boundary.  The true edge of the universe cannot be defined by us and there may not even be one.  In either case, this robs the apologists of the hard boundary they need to make their fine-tuning arguments.  Without a boundary to their sample space they cannot assess the likelihood of anything.  This stops them in their tracks.

 

If they retreat to the position of saying that god fine-tuned only the observable universe, then there are still two nasty surprises awaiting them there.  But I'll let you respond to this post first, before saying any more about them.

 

I was looking at it as something like scuba diving or snorkeling. There's always a visual boundary. But it's not the edge of the ocean. It's just your range of visibility relative to your position of observation. It's not identical of course, but it makes for an analogy that most people can understand. 

 

34 minutes ago, WalterP said:

First, if an apologist asserts that the edge of the universe is a real, physical boundary and not just a visual horizon, then they must also be asserting that we lie at the exact centre of the universe.  This directly violates the Copernican Principle, upon which of all modern cosmology, astrophysics and astronomy is built. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle

 

We haven't really discussed any of this content since BAA's death. But we should be. 

 

34 minutes ago, WalterP said:

Therefore, since all fine-tuning arguments also work upon the assumption that the universe's constants never vary, should we find evidence of variation, then their arguments are dead in the water.  Guess what?  In 1998 it was discovered that the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.  So, the assumption that all the values of the constants are fixed and unvarying no longer holds.  This isn't something the apologists can easily deny, because its happening within the observable universe and its happening now.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_expansion_of_the_universe

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

This has been a pleasant, 'resurrection' of sorts....

 

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On 11/2/2019 at 9:36 AM, WalterP said:

The true edge of the universe cannot be defined by us and there may not even be one.  

 

Just because you can't see the bow in the cloud that covers the earth like a garment doesn't mean that the earth's atmosphere isn't curved nor does the fact that you can look up at the stars at night mean that  you can see the light, that's right.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 9:36 AM, WalterP said:

In either case, this robs the apologists of the hard boundary they need to make their fine-tuning arguments. 

 

Wow, you just gave up their secret like the other guy did.   You just admitted that there is no plausible basis for the eternal universe of scientism since the ability to achieve a highly condensed state requires a hard boundary.  Don't say you are not claiming the universe is eternal, by default when you reject the 'in-kind' principle that holds that 'from nothing can come nothing" you are making the assumption that the universe had always existed.  So the two immutable things of the eternal is that it has always existed and that it does not change in its nature or form.  

 

Thus, due to the inability of a condensed state to be achieved without a hard boundary, your scientism doctrine is easily debunked by demonstrating what happens when one attempts to draw a vacuum on a open system.  Since it can't, thonly thing to call your eternal universe of the scientism doctrine is a FAIL, unless the falsifiable of drawing a vacuum on an open system is meet.  Otherwise it will be said that being called FAIL is going to be perpetual since from nothing comes nothing  seeing that they be 'in-kind', but it can only occur once, but  when it does it is really something to behold.   And that something, being liken to nothing never seen, is the same thing from which all things that be in this world came from.  :HaHa:

 

 

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2 hours ago, Justus said:

 

  On 11/2/2019 at 2:36 PM, WalterP said:

The true edge of the universe cannot be defined by us and there may not even be one.  

2 hours ago, Justus said:

Just because you can't see the bow in the cloud that covers the earth like a garment doesn't mean that the earth's atmosphere isn't curved nor does the fact that you can look up at the stars at night mean that  you can see the light, that's right.

 

?

 

2 hours ago, Justus said:

 

Wow, you just gave up their secret like the other guy did.   You just admitted that there is no plausible basis for the eternal universe of scientism since the ability to achieve a highly condensed state requires a hard boundary.  Don't say you are not claiming the universe is eternal, by default when you reject the 'in-kind' principle that holds that 'from nothing can come nothing" you are making the assumption that the universe had always existed.  So the two immutable things of the eternal is that it has always existed and that it does not change in its nature or form.  

 

Which eternal universe theory are you referring to Justus?  There are different ones.  Please specify.

 

 

A hard boundary is required in a sphere, but modern cosmology doesn't use a sphere as a model for the universe.  As I pointed out earlier in this thread, Christian apologists posit a spherical universe.  However, in doing so, they violate the Copernican Principle.  Modern cosmology does NOT posit that we are at the centre of a spherical universe.

 

2 hours ago, Justus said:

Thus, due to the inability of a condensed state to be achieved without a hard boundary, your scientism doctrine is easily debunked by demonstrating what happens when one attempts to draw a vacuum on a open system.  Since it can't, thonly thing to call your eternal universe of the scientism doctrine is a FAIL, unless the falsifiable of drawing a vacuum on an open system is meet.  Otherwise it will be said that being called FAIL is going to be perpetual since from nothing comes nothing  seeing that they be 'in-kind', but it can only occur once, but  when it does it is really something to behold.   And that something, being liken to nothing never seen, is the same thing from which all things that be in this world came from.  :HaHa:

 

 

 

You are aiming at the wrong target, Justus.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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3 hours ago, Justus said:

Thus, due to the inability of a condensed state to be achieved without a hard boundary, your scientism doctrine is easily debunked by demonstrating what happens when one attempts to draw a vacuum on a open system.  Since it can't, thonly thing to call your eternal universe of the scientism doctrine is a FAIL, unless the falsifiable of drawing a vacuum on an open system is meet.  Otherwise it will be said that being called FAIL is going to be perpetual since from nothing comes nothing  seeing that they be 'in-kind', but it can only occur once, but  when it does it is really something to behold.   And that something, being liken to nothing never seen, is the same thing from which all things that be in this world came from.  :HaHa:

 

 

 

I'm gonna be honest, I'm having a hard time parsing what you are saying and I think that says more about your argument than my comprehension.

 

Thanks for the replies everyone. This has been very helpful.

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Justus,

 

One way that the geometry of an expanding universe is often explained is by using the balloon analogy.  But, this if usually misread, with people thinking that the universe is a sphere, with a centre, a radius and a circumference.  However, this is not so.  I've put together this graphic, to help you understand things better.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

4justus4.jpg

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As you will see Justus, the size of the dots, stars and galaxies on the surface of each balloon doesn't change.  They get no bigger or smaller.  But the area of the balloon's surface between them does expand.  

 

Now, reverse the expansion and whatever material (hot gas in the very early universe) is in any square of the balloon's surface will be compressed and will condense.  It's not being compressed by any kind of edge or boundary, because the surface of a sphere has no edge or boundary.  As each square gets smaller, the material within it compresses further and heats up.  Eventually, if you reverse the expansion enough, all the material in the universe will be so compressed that it will become an ultra-dense, super-heated plasma.  This is the hot, dense state that corresponds to the earliest instants after the Big Bang.

 

So, your point about condensing was relevant, but you were thinking in terms of what happens inside the balloon.  As I've just explained, compression or expansion happens within the balloon's surface and not its interior volume.  Therefore, cosmology has no need to posit a hard 'edge' to the universe.  

 

Also, every square on the balloon's surface is exactly the same as every other.  The view from each one is exactly the same as every other.  No particular square is more important or more central than any other.  They all experience the same amount of compression or expansion as each other.  This equality satisfies the Copernican Principle. 

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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