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Author Topic:   Uniformitarianism and Fine Tuning
Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1484 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 1 of 9 (433486)
11-12-2007 8:02 AM


An argument:

We often read in these forums that one cannot claim that physical phenomena such as radioactive decay operated in the past as they do in the present. This is said to apply to even the recent past, during which there have been living organisms.

We also read that the physical constants of this universe are so finely tuned that any appreciable change would make life impossible.

Yet, we do find that living beings do exist. Therefore, if fine tuning is true, there cannot have been significant changes in the physics of the universe in the recent past. Otherwise, life would have become impossible and would not occur now.

A question:
How many creationist claims does all this invalidate?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Discreet Label, posted 11-13-2007 11:46 PM Woodsy has not yet responded
 Message 6 by PaulK, posted 11-14-2007 2:06 AM Woodsy has responded
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Message 2 of 9 (433867)
11-13-2007 9:48 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Discreet Label
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Posts: 272
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 3 of 9 (434012)
11-13-2007 11:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
11-12-2007 8:02 AM


We also read that the physical constants of this universe are so finely tuned that any appreciable change would make life impossible.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, could you clarify it? Are you talking things like speed of light and radioactive decay constants and how they are applied? Who exactly claims that to?


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truthlover
Member (Idle past 2169 days)
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From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 4 of 9 (434013)
11-13-2007 11:54 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Discreet Label
11-13-2007 11:46 PM


Who exactly claims that to?

I've read repeatedly that if any of the four forces (gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces) were slightly different, or if even just the force of gravity were slightly different, then life as we know it couldn't have happened.

I have no idea if that's true. I do know I've heard it a lot.

Edited by truthlover, : No reason given.


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NosyNed
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Message 5 of 9 (434023)
11-14-2007 1:17 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by truthlover
11-13-2007 11:54 PM


Other Values
I don't have time now but try searching the New Scientist web site. They had an article sometime in the last year that discussed work done to examine this claim. It turns out that if you adjust more than one
"constant" at a time you can produce different but apparently workable universes.

It seems this claim might be about as well founded as the "we only use 10% of our brain" claim.


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PaulK
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Message 6 of 9 (434034)
11-14-2007 2:06 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
11-12-2007 8:02 AM


As I stated elsewhere, creationists generally have an apologetic mindset. They are not interested in building up a coherent picture of the universe, simply in defending the views they already hold. To them, the value of an argument is whether it looks good, and how badly they need it to defend their position.

YECs need changing decay rates, to discard radiometric dating results that prove them wrong. They also like the fine tuning argument. They don't think about consistency. The arguments are useful to them therefore they are both good.


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 Message 7 by Woodsy, posted 11-14-2007 7:48 AM PaulK has responded

    
Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1484 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 7 of 9 (434060)
11-14-2007 7:48 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by PaulK
11-14-2007 2:06 AM


YECS need changing decay rates, to discard radiometric dating results that prove them wrong. They also like the fine tuning argument. They don't think about consistency. The arguments are useful to them therefore they are both good.

This is what I am really interested in. I don't see how one can honestly use both claims. Maybe one or the other.

To clarify a bit: Phenomena like radioactive decay and the speed of light are tightly connected to the fundamental physical constants, so one cannot vary the phenomena without messing up the constants.

As NosyNed pointed out, the fine tuning argument is probably overstated. I wonder if one could "turn the tuning knobs" to get from one set of useable fundamental constant values to another set without passing through life-hostile conditions, and whether life formed under one set could survive under another.


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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6532
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 8 of 9 (434061)
11-14-2007 7:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Woodsy
11-12-2007 8:02 AM


Good catch!
Damn. I wish I had thought of this one!

Excellent point.


Computers have cut-and-paste functions. So does right-wing historical memory. -- Rick Perlstein
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PaulK
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Posts: 14819
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 9 of 9 (434170)
11-14-2007 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Woodsy
11-14-2007 7:48 AM


In many cases, as I said they don't think about it. They aren't interested in understanding, only in "proving" that they are right - or at least that their beliefs have not been disproven. So they simply don't link the two things. Often they don't even consider the direct implications of their arguments - i.e. attributing all the evidence of age to God quite strongly implies that God is directly deceiving us. But many creationist don't even think that far.

But then there are cases that make you wonder.

One creationist here has repeatedly insisted that the pre-flood atmosphere WOULD have caused accelerated radiometric decay. When challenged to offer a plausible explanation he has only evaded the issue (at best - usually he just runs away). He even claims to be using "logic and reason" despite the fact that he has offered nothing of the sort.

Maybe it's just me but it seems to me that somebody who continually refuses to offer any support for an assertion ought to know that he hasn't used "logic and reason" to support it. But I leave the conclusion to the readers.


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