Jump to content

The Failure of the Fine Tuned Universe Apologetic Argument


Recommended Posts

Hello.  :)  

 

This thread is about the fine-tuned universe argument and its use in the apologetics of Christianity and other religions.  If you are unfamiliar with it, this Wiki page is a fairly good introduction.

 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_universe

 

As we can see from the list below, the fine-tuned universe argument is very popular in Christian apologetic circles.

 

(I apologize for the quantity of links.  But I cite them here to give you an idea of the scale of the popularity of this argument among religiously-minded people.  There is no real need for you to go through this list, but if you are so minded, please do.  Future posts in this thread will NOT feature this deluge of links.  I promise.  Thank you for your understanding.)

 

https://infidels.org/library/modern/robin_collins/design.html 

https://www.gotquestions.org/fine-tuning-argument.html

https://strangenotions.com/are-fine-tuning-arguments-for-god-or-the-multiverse-circular/

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/finetuning

https://philifefsu.org/manson-the-fine-tuning-argument/

https://existenceofgod.org/arguments-for-the-existence-of-god/teleologicaldesignfine-tuning-argument/

https://biologos.org/common-questions/what-do-fine-tuning-and-the-multiverse-say-about-god/

http://www.wesleyantheology.com/blog/the-fine-tuning-argument

http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/the-fine-tuning-argument-in-12-quick-points/

https://coldcasechristianity.com/videos/is-the-appearance-of-fine-tuning-in-the-universe-simply-a-matter-of-physical-necessity-video/

https://www.christiantruththroughapologetics.com/talk-apologetics-blog/the-fine-tuning-argument-for-gods-existence

https://eliotelwarapologetics.com/2020/04/19/the-fine-tuning-of-the-universe/

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designun.html

https://adherentapologetics.com/2019/12/28/the-fine-tuning-argument/

https://crossexamined.org/the-argument-from-cosmic-fine-tuning/

https://mountcarmelapologetics.com/argument-from-fine-tuning/

https://capturingchristianity.com/why-god-exists-fine-tuning-beauty-and-discoverability/

https://1peter315.blogspot.com/2010/08/fine-tuning-of-universe-another-reason.html

https://apologeticsblogsg.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/fine-tuning-of-the-universe-what-it-can-tell-us/comment-page-1/

https://calumsblog.com/apologetics/arguments-for-gods-existence/finetuning/

 

But the argument is also used by Muslims to argue for the existence of Allah, not Jesus.

 

http://cosmos.nautil.us/short/92/the-islamic-view-of-the-multiverse#:~:text=From the Muslim perspective%2C fine-tuning isn’t a problem%2C,universe. To Mimouni%2C the idea is also unscientific.

https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/10518/fine-tuning-of-universe-part-1/

https://talkislam.info/fine-tuned-universe/

https://www.miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_08.html

https://www.ask-a-muslim.com/en/evidence-for-god-fine-tuning-argument-summarized/

https://knowingallah.com/en/articles/fine-tuning-of-the-universe-summarized-part-2-of-2/

https://onepathnetwork.com/five-proofs-that-god-exists/

https://themuslimtimes.info/2020/09/01/ten-raised-to-five-hundred-reasons-for-our-gracious-god/

http://believeguide.com/?page_id=2

https://yaqeeninstitute.org/justin-parrott/the-case-for-allahs-existence-in-the-quran-and-sunnah

 

The Jews use it to validate the existence of their god, Yahweh.

 

https://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/creatorfacts/

https://noahidenations.com/index.php/the-science-in-torah/347-a-fine-tuned-universe?boxed=1

http://cosmos.nautil.us/short/81/whether-theres-a-multiverse-or-not-judaism-can-take-it

https://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48937152.html

https://www.judaismandscience.com/tag/fine-tuning/

 

The Sikhs use it as well.

 

http://www.discoversikhism.com/sikhism/fine_tuning.html

 

And so do the Buddhists.

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11797750/#:~:text=According to Buddhism%2C the exquisitely precise fine-tuning of,consciousness%2C the two having co-existed for all times.

 

In fact, any religion or belief system can claim that the fine-tuning of the universe demonstrates that their deity is the one and only true god.  Which just goes to show that for all its popularity, the prime failure of the fine-tuned universe argument is its inability to specifically identify who is doing the fine tuning. 

 

This isn’t a minor detail.  Failure to correctly identify and worship the ‘right’ god usually results in punishment for mis-identifying and worshipping the ‘wrong’ one. Get it wrong and you will have all eternity to regret your error, especially if you are writhing and screaming in a pit of undying flames.  

 

So then, what do religious people use it for? By and large they use it for these reasons.

 

1.      They use this argument to support a religious belief that they already have, claiming that science supports this belief.

2.      They use it to try and make converts of those who lack critical thinking skills.  That is, the gullible, the naïve and the needy. 

3.      They use it in forums like this one, to defend their beliefs from sceptics like us.

 

Ok, that concludes my preamble.  In my next post I will begin to examine the science behind the argument. Focusing specifically on the wording and meaning of what is being claimed. Here, in a nutshell, is the essence of the claim.

 

 

SCIENCE INDICATES THAT THE UNIVERSE IS FINELY – TUNED FOR LIFE. 

IT IS TOO IMPROBABLE FOR THE UNGUIDED FORCES OF NATURE TO DO THIS. 

THEREFORE, THERE MUST BE A FINE-TUNER WHO GUIDES NATURE AND FINE TUNES THE UNIVERSE TO MAKE LIFE POSSIBLE.

 

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

SCIENCE INDICATES THAT THE UNIVERSE IS FINELY – TUNED FOR LIFE. 

IT IS TOO IMPROBABLE FOR THE UNGUIDED FORCES OF NATURE TO DO THIS. 

THEREFORE, THERE MUST BE A FINE-TUNER WHO GUIDES NATURE AND FINE TUNES THE UNIVERSE TO MAKE LIFE POSSIBLE.

 

Hello again. :)

 

Rather than going into the complex details of fine tuning itself I want to closely examine what is meant by the word, ‘universe’ used by the apologists promoting this argument.  To do this I’ll need to delve into probability theory.  This is not as challenging or frightening as it sounds.  I’ll begin with some very familiar examples and show that they all have two fundamental features in common. 

 

https://www.probabilisticworld.com/delving-into-sample-spaces/

 

Please follow the above link.  Once there, please direct your attention to the Coin Flip, Dice Roll, Card Deck and Weather diagrams.

 

The common features for each of these diagrams are internal boundaries dividing up the sample space and a external boundary describing how large the sample space is.  

 

With the coin flip there is one internal boundary dividing heads from tails and an external boundary dividing the coin in question from any other coins.  With the dice roll, there are five internal boundaries dividing the six possible outcomes of a dice roll and an external boundary dividing the dice in question from any other dice.  With the deck of cards there are many internal boundaries and one external one, dividing the deck in question from any other decks.

 

The weather diagram is a bit different.  Here the internal boundary isn’t fixed but can shift up or down, according to the probability of dry or wet weather.  The external boundary is a bit more complex too.  This boundary limits an area of space, usually a city or a small region.  If we made our sample space too big (like the whole Earth) then there would be hundreds of areas where its raining and hundreds more where its dry, making it impossible for us to assign any meaningful probabilities for the weather.

 

To make sensible probability calculations we need both internal and external boundaries of our sample space.

 

Therefore, properly defined boundaries are absolutely fundamental to any probability-based prediction, estimate or measurement. 

 

If the size or volume of a sample space isn’t known, then you can’t calculate anything.

 

You can’t divide a known value by an unknown one.

 

Can you see where I’m going with this?

 

The fine-tuned universe apologetic argument is one based upon probabilities.  It is claimed that such a finely-tuned universe as ours appears to be is so improbable that this must indicate the hand of a fine-tuner.  This argument is a probability-based one.  But, as we now know, to calculate any probabilities your sample space needs  properly defined boundaries.

 

So, where’s the properly-defined external boundary of the...  universe  ?

 

Think about it.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In case the concept of a sample space is a difficult one to visualise, do you recall Venn diagrams from your mathematics classes at school?

 

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

 

You'll notice that each illustrated diagram has definite boundaries dividing up the sets of things they contain.  

 

This is also true for the various types of diagram listed; extended Venn diagrams that deal with higher numbers, Edwards-Venn diagrams and Euler diagrams.

 

The common feature of all of them are their properly-defined internal and external boundaries.

 

Which brings us back to the all-important question about the fine-tuned universe argument.

 

Where is the properly-defined external boundary of the universe?

 

Food for thought.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Walter,

 

I don't think you should say that science in general indicates that the universe is fine tuned, or that it's finely-tuned for life. Yes, some scientists believe this but others have different explanations, one of which is that the fine tuning argument is simply based upon our lack of knowledge and understanding concerning the underlying sources of the so-called free parameters. As to the fine tuning argument and life, our Universe was not fine-tuned for life, instead life is/was fine tuned by natural selection.  If complicated life is discovered elsewhere then it will have been fine-tuned by its own environment.

 

> https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/84963-fine-tuning-and-science/?tab=comments#comment-1235428 <

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pantheory said:

Walter,

 

I don't think you should say that science in general indicates that the universe is fine tuned, or that it's finely-tuned for life. Yes, some scientists believe that but others have different explanations, one of which is that the fine tuning argument is simply based upon our lack of knowledge and understanding concerning the underlying sources of the so-called free parameters. As to the fine tuning argument and life, our Universe was not fine-tuned for life, instead life is/was fine tuned by natural selection.  If complicated life is discovered elsewhere then it will have been fine-tuned by its own environment.

 

> https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/84963-fine-tuning-and-science/?tab=comments#comment-1235428 <

 

 

 

Pantheory,

 

Please remember the context in which I am writing in this thread.  That context is Christian apologetics. 

 

The apparently-fine tuned nature of the universe may not be agreed upon in scientific circles, but it has been seized upon by the Christian apologists as 'evidence' of god's hand designing the universe for us.

 

My purpose in this thread is dismantle the way those apologists misuse the science to further their religious agendas. 

 

That's why I'm posting this in the Den and not in the Science vs Religion section.

 

If I were solely concerned with the science I'd have posted this in the Science vs Religion section.

 

I'd hoped that my introduction at the beginning of this thread would be enough to indicate the counter-apologetic purpose of this thread.

 

So, while I'm going to introduce and discuss certain scientific concepts, the fact that I do so doesn't imply that necessarily agree with them or hold to them.

 

This has been my considered stance for some time within this forum Pantheory and I believe that I've explained this to you more than once.

 

Anyway, I hope this message clears up any confusion on your part.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/4/2021 at 1:56 PM, WalterP said:

 

Pantheory,

 

Please remember the context in which I am writing in this thread.  That context is Christian apologetics. 

 

The apparently-fine tuned nature of the universe may not be agreed upon in scientific circles, but it has been seized upon by the Christian apologists as 'evidence' of god's hand designing the universe for us.

 

My purpose in this thread is dismantle the way those apologists misuse the science to further their religious agendas. 

 

That's why I'm posting this in the Den and not in the Science vs Religion section.

 

If I were solely concerned with the science I'd have posted this in the Science vs Religion section.

 

I'd hoped that my introduction at the beginning of this thread would be enough to indicate the counter-apologetic purpose of this thread.

 

So, while I'm going to introduce and discuss certain scientific concepts, the fact that I do so doesn't imply that necessarily agree with them or hold to them.

 

This has been my considered stance for some time within this forum Pantheory and I believe that I've explained this to you more than once.

 

Anyway, I hope this message clears up any confusion on your part.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

OK, I get it concerning your post, but think you could clarify that fine-tuning is the view of only some scientists since the existence of contrary views was unclear to me concerning your posting -- all of them would be contrary to any religious interpretation also. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, pantheory said:

 

OK, I get it concerning your post, but think you could clarify that fine-tuning is the view of only some scientists since that contrary view was unclear to me concerning your posting.

 

 

 

I'm sorry for any confusion caused, Pantheory.

 

In my opinion our exchange tonight will serve to illuminate your point.

 

That fine-tuning is not accepted by all cosmologists and theoretical physicists.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Am I not sufficiently intelligent, or perhaps only opinionated?

 

At the present state of physics and astronomy, we believe the universe to be infinite in scope.

 

If that is so: the universe continues without end, or so near to it that this is the best we can do in understanding our own existence and our place in the infinite..

 

then:  how can anyone assume anything about the conditions here on earth where we humans are able to exist and live, or what lends to and enables those conditions, the cosmology of it?

How can we assume to apply probability to it all?

 

To my simple mind, this seems akin to asking "where does God come from?", or "is there a Ms. God?".

 

As a believer I almost never pondered such things... or the question of whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.

I tend to be driven to gain some understanding of anything I can see or of which I can become aware. But at the same time, we are surrounded by "the void", the infinite.

 

I have some understanding of the fundamentals of optical astronomy, a little understanding of radio astronomy, and other remote sensing technologies being applied today to astronomy. Not a deep understanding, but a little more than a shallow understanding. I believe I know just enough about those things to understand that our knowledge of the more distant universe is thin at best.

 

Anyone who has worked over a period to gain understanding or knowledge of something can relate to that place where the Dunning-Krugger effect begins to both encourage and motivate you to go further, but also encourages you to make a fool of yourself by becoming comfortable enough to begin making assumptions.. out at the hairy end of the D-K effect.

 

After all, we just got started exploring the distant galaxies and greater universe.

We've barely begun.

 

From there, it seems to me that to begin ascribing meta-properties with regard to what enables us to live and survive and to then draw from this a suite of conclusions is pointless.

 

In my opinion we, mankind has much to learn before I can give any weight to such things.

 

To assume that what we think we know about the physics of our existence and how they apply to support of our specific biology at this specific address in space  just seems to be another apologetic silliness. Form a hypothesis and then build a framework of assumptions to support it.

 

That's only my opinion...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for this, AG.   :)

 

I see that you've zeroed in on the very core of the issue in this thread.  

 

In statistics the probability of something can only be determined if you can measure things.

 

If the universe really is infinite in extent, then measurement of all of it is impossible.

 

We can only measure things within our observable universe, which, by definition, is infinitely smaller than the (infinitely large) entire universe.

 

Even if the entire universe isn't infinite, it still must be much, much larger than our observable universe.

 

Which means that the vast bulk of it lies beyond our visual horizon and is therefore just as impossible to measure.

 

 

Christian apologists cheat by treating the edge of the observable universe as a 'hard' boundary and they use that boundary as cut-off to measure what's within it.

 

This is simply wrong. 

 

As wrong as an ocean-going sailor using his tiny visual horizon as a hard boundary and declaring that 'everything there is' lies within it.

 

 

Thanks again.

 

Walter.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/11/2021 at 12:51 PM, WalterP said:

If the universe really is infinite in extent, then measurement of all of it is impossible.

 

We can only measure things within our observable universe, which, by definition, is infinitely smaller than the (infinitely large) entire universe.

...

Which means that the vast bulk of it lies beyond our visual horizon and is therefore just as impossible to measure.

 

 

...

 

 

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it.

When you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science."

 

-Lord Kelvin

 

 

I don't know much, but I know the above is the essence of human comprehension and understanding.

 

If you were a god, could you escape the above truth?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, alreadyGone said:

 

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it.

When you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science."

 

-Lord Kelvin

 

 

I don't know much, but I know the above is the essence of human comprehension and understanding.

 

If you were a god, could you escape the above truth?

 

 

 

Ummm... not being a god, I couldn't answer that one, AG.

 

However, what I'm getting at in this thread is that certain humans (Christian apologists) sidestep the problem of the universe having no definite boundary by 'cheating' and falsely using the visual horizon of our observable universe as a 'hard' boundary.

 

Then, having pulled that trick, they use only what is within that false boundary to claim that everything within it must be finely-tuned by god.

 

But, as you and I know, nobody really knows the full extent of the entire universe.

 

As you point out, it could be infinitely large.

 

Or it could be vastly larger than the small amount we can see.

 

Either way, those apologists cannot measure what lies beyond our visual horizon.

 

And if they cannot measure what's out there then they cannot assign any meaningful probabilities.

 

So, they can't rightfully and properly declare the universe to be finely-tuned.

 

They are lying for Jesus.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As we can see from this Wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_system  there are three types of thermodynamic systems in the physical sciences.

 

Isolated systems have a definite boundary across which neither matter nor energy can cross in either direction.  Closed systems, where energy, but not matter, can freely pass in and out and Open systems, where both matter and energy can freely pass in and out of the region in question.

 

By falsely using the visual horizon of the observable universe as a 'hard' boundary, Christian apologists claim that our universe is an Isolated system.  Then having 'established' that our universe is an isolated system they proceed to argue that everything within it is finely-tuned by the hand of god.

 

But, this is wrong.  In physics and cosmology our universe is NOT treated by scientists as an isolated system.  We can see why this is if we look at one important fact about the speed of light.  With each passing year light from more and more distant galaxies is arriving, here on Earth.  So, if we go back a thousand years, our view of the extent of the observable universe will be a thousand light years smaller in diameter.  And so it will go, the further and further back in time you go.  Visit the end of the Jurassic Period, 145 million years ago, and your view of the universe will correspondingly be 145 million light years smaller.

 

If we return to today and take stock, we can see that matter and energy, in the form of galaxies, have been entering our observable universe for the last 145 million years.  And if we take the longest view, all the way back to the Big Bang, it logically follows that galaxies have been doing this for 13.7 billion years.  Therefore, at no point in its long history has our observable universe ever been isolated from what lies beyond the visual horizon.

 

So, Christian apologists have no grounds whatsoever to claim that our observable universe was ever an isolated system in any scientific sense.  If they cannot isolate it with a boundary, then they cannot derive a meaningful measure of what it contains.  If they cannot measure what it contains, then they cannot assign any probabilities to anything that happens within it.  If they cannot derive any probabilities about what is in the universe, then how can they possibly say that what it contains is finely-tuned by god?

 

This sets out the logic behind why Christian apologists are wrong (and disingenuous) about the universe being fine-tuned by the hand of god.

 

Now let's dip a little further into the cosmology involved.

 

The diagram below comes originally from this science paper by Tamara Davis and Charles Lineweaver. https://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0310808 

 

zAtf4.png

The lower portion, dealing with Co-Moving Distance, is the one we need to pay attention to.

 

It's not meant for casual inspection by the general public, but is configured by scientists for scientists.  So please don't be worried if you don't understand the meaning of Conformal Time, Co-Moving Distance or the Scalefactor.  I've received some help in reading the basics of this diagram by asking about it on a science forum.  Here's what I've gleaned and this is all we, here at Ex-C, really need to know and understand about it.

 

Our position, at the apparent centre of the observable universe is indicated by the central vertical line that runs from 0 (zero) at the bottom to 0 (zero) at the top.

 

Time advances vertically from 0 (the Big Bang) at the bottom, which in ordinary time equals 13.7 billion years ago.  It leaves the past behind and passes through the horizontal line marked 'Now', going forward into the future.  So, here on Earth, in the year 2021, we are located on the central, zero line, exactly where the horizontal 'Now' line crosses it.

 

The two diagonal lines radiating downward at 45 degrees from the crossover point mark out the limits of our light cone.  In simple terms, our light cone is the visual horizon we call the edge of our observable universe.  The light from any galaxy in the past, outside of our light cone, isn't visible to us.  There hasn't been sufficient time since the Big Bang for their light to reach us.  But, the light from any galaxy in the past, within our light cone, is visible to us.  

 

(If you want to understand more about light cones, please go here.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_cone I can give some help if needed.)

 

The key point to understand here, which relates to the fine-tuned universe apologetic argument, is that our light cone MOVES UPWARDS over time.

 

145 million years ago, in the Jurassic period, the 'Now' line would have been lower down on the diagram.  Which would also mean that the width of the base of our light cone would have been smaller.  So, there would have been a smaller volume of space within the Jurassic light cone than there currently is within our 2021 light cone.  A smaller volume of space means fewer galaxies.

 

If we follow the logic dictated by the dynamics of the diagram, we can see that more and more space and more and more galaxies enter our light cone (the observable universe) as time passes.  It also logically follows that in the future, as the 'Now' line drags our light cone higher and higher up the central 0 axis, our light cone will continue to grow and widen, bringing more and more galaxies into our observable universe.  In a nutshell, the longer we wait, the more galaxies we can see.  Our view doesn't go any further back in time than 0 (the Big Bang), but the distance we can see grows larger and larger as the base of our light cone widens.

 

So, how does this relate to the fine-tuned universe argument?

 

If you recall, the Christian apologists making this argument try to claim that our universe is an isolated system with a definite boundary across which neither matter nor energy can cross.  They go on to say that because the universe has a boundary, we can use this boundary to measure everything within it.  When we do that we find that the universe appears to be finely-tuned for life.  They then go on to claim that this is evidence for the hand of their god, finely-tuning the universe for life.

 

But, as the Wiki diagrams about Isolated, Closed and Open systems show, NO matter or energy is allowed to pass in or out of an isolated system.  

 

This is where the apologetic argument runs into what cosmology tells us about our light cone, which is the visual edge of the observable universe.

 

As we can see from the Co-Moving Distance diagram, with its upwardly-moving 'Now' line, galaxies have been entering the observable universe as the size of our light cone has grown since the Big Bang.  Galaxies are made up of both matter and energy.  Therefore, with the free movement of both matter and energy into our observable universe over billions of years, at no point in its history was our universe ever an Isolated system.

 

The Christian apologists who don't understand this are simply mistaken and probably parroting the fine-tuned universe argument without understand the cosmology underpinning it.  But those apologists who do understand the cosmology and who persist is making the fine-tuned universe argument for their god are simply lying for Jesus.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.