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Author Topic:   Is the “Fine-Tuned Universe” an Illusion?
Tanypteryx
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Joined: 08-27-2006
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Message 1 of 61 (891697)
02-09-2022 4:40 PM


I think this is probably best as a Coffee House topic because the article I reference seems more lunatic fringe than scientific. I saw it on SciTechDaily this morning and rather than the usual article about a study that is published in some scientific journal, it is more like publicity for their own report.
quote:
FQXi’s Fine Tuning report is part of the latest in a series exploring the frontiers of physics research, produced in partnership with the John Templeton Foundation. Other reports in the series tackle how our universe came into existence, whether time is real, and the origin of space from quantum entanglement.

Is the “Fine-Tuned Universe” an Illusion? Challenging Popular Arguments for a Multiverse by The Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, February 8, 2022.

quote:
For decades physicists have been perplexed about why our cosmos appears to have been precisely tuned to foster intelligent life. It is widely thought that if the values of certain physical parameters, such as the masses of elementary particles, were tweaked, even slightly, it would have prevented the formation of the components necessary for life in the universe — including planets, stars, and galaxies. But recent studies, detailed in a new report by the Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, propose that intelligent life could have evolved under drastically different physical conditions. The claim undermines a major argument in support of the existence of a multiverse of parallel universes.

So not just fine tuned for life, but fine tuned for intelligent life!

By the way, the new report link takes you to a brief 2 page "report" on the Templeton website which has no detailed recent studies.

quote:
“The tuning required for some of these physical parameters to give rise to life turns out to be less precise than the tuning needed to capture a station on your radio, according to new calculations,” says Miriam Frankel, who authored the FQXi report, which was produced with support from the John Templeton Foundation. “If true, the apparent fine tuning may be an illusion,” Frankel adds.

quote:
Over the last few decades, the subject of fine tuning has attracted some of the sharpest minds in physics. By probing the universe’s physical laws and precisely pinning down the values of physical constants—such as the masses of elementary particles and the strengths of forces—physicists have discovered that surprisingly small variations in these values would have rendered the universe lifeless. This led to a puzzle: why are physical conditions seemingly tailored towards human existence?

Almost the entire Universe is extreme vacuum filled with lethal extreme electromagnetic radiation. That does not seem like physical conditions tailored towards human existence.

I would bet that all the minds in physics, not just the sharpest, are aware of the fine tuning question.

I would also bet that the sharpest minds in physics do not spend any time or effort trying to figure out how to test this latest Creationist Pretend to be Scientific Gambit.

The article goes on a bit further but it's just more bullshit.

quote:
About FQXi

The Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of science, particularly new frontiers in physics and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.

About the John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation supports research and catalyzes conversations that inspire people with awe and wonder. With an endowment of $3.8 billion and annual giving of approximately $140 million, the Foundation ranks among the 25 largest grantmaking foundations in the United States and its philanthropic activities have engaged all major faith traditions and extended to more than 57 countries around the world.


Templeton put money into the Discovery Institute, didn't he?

Hey if these clowns at FQXi can get a grant from Templeton, we should cash in. FQXi is as empty as MrID


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


  
Taq
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(2)
Message 2 of 61 (891698)
02-09-2022 4:45 PM


#N/A
I would call the fine tuning problem an #N/A instead of an illusion. If anyone has dealt with spreadsheets or data analysis, you will be all too familiar with the dreaded #N/A that appears when you fail to have the required inputs for the function. This is the case here. We simply don't have knowledge of how universes come about, how physical constants come about, or how many universes there are. We don't have the inputs for a probability calculation, which is why it should return an #N/A.

Replies to this message:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 3435
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 3 of 61 (891700)
02-09-2022 5:08 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Taq
02-09-2022 4:45 PM


Re: #N/A
Yep, #N/A is the only response to this question, because it is an appeal to incredulity, ignoring the lack of any way to calculate probabilities.

I don't expect great scientific scholarship at SciTechDaily, but their promotion of this pseudoscientific scam article is disappointing and makes me wonder if they have a vetting process.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


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 Message 2 by Taq, posted 02-09-2022 4:45 PM Taq has not replied

  
jar
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(2)
Message 4 of 61 (891702)
02-09-2022 5:19 PM


Reminds me of the AWK error message "AWK bailing out near line 1" regardless of where in the 1000 lines of code the problem actually exists.

My Website: My Website

  
AZPaul3
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(1)
Message 5 of 61 (891705)
02-09-2022 6:18 PM


Fine Tuned
What's with the templeton's and this fine tuning crowd?

Anything fine tuned for x cannot help but make lots and lots of x. And fine tuning implies plan and agency.

When we look into the universe we do not see billions upon billions of intelligent civilizations. In fact we see precisely 0 intelligent civilizations. That's an awfully fucked-up job of even gross tuning if intelligent life was the goal.

What we are seeing are trillions upon trillions of stars. Stars in every conceivable configuration. This universe is fine tuned to create stars, not life, but stars. It does so because Amun-Ra is our god and he chose the parameters. He made us so we could make telescopes to peer into his wonderous creation.

You might even say this universe is fine tuned to create telescopes.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

Replies to this message:
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nwr
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(5)
Message 6 of 61 (891710)
02-09-2022 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by AZPaul3
02-09-2022 6:18 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
You might even say this universe is fine tuned to create telescopes.

Looking around, I'm more inclined to think it is fine tuned to create idiots.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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Replies to this message:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 3435
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


(7)
Message 7 of 61 (891712)
02-09-2022 7:22 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by nwr
02-09-2022 6:35 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
You might even say this universe is fine tuned to create telescopes.

Looking around, I'm more inclined to think it is fine tuned to create idiots.

I'm just really pleased that we don't have to let the idiots look through our telescopes.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 02-09-2022 6:35 PM nwr has seen this message but not replied

  
ringo
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(1)
Message 8 of 61 (891742)
02-10-2022 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by nwr
02-09-2022 6:35 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
nwr writes:

Looking around, I'm more inclined to think it is fine tuned to create idiots.


There must be an evolutionary advantage to idiocy.

"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"
-- Lucky Ned Pepper

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dwise1
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Member Rating: 3.0


(2)
Message 9 of 61 (891745)
02-10-2022 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by AZPaul3
02-09-2022 6:18 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
I recall it being a Douglas Adams quote that puts the entire "fine tuning" argument into proper perspective; from The Puddle's Pothole:
quote:
The Puddle's Pothole

The Puddle's Pothole is an illustration of the failings of the Fine-Tuning Argument. The counter-argument was told by Douglas Adams to Richard Dawkins, and reported by Dawkins at Adams's funeral on 17 September 2001. The anecdote describes a puddle of water that "wak[es] up one morning and think[s], 'This is an interesting world I find myself in – an interesting hole I find myself in – fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"

In the illustration, the puddle assumes that the pothole it resides in was designed specifically for it based on the fact that the dimensions of the pothole match exactly the dimensions of the puddle. This is meant to highlight the flaws in the concept that the universe (specifically the Earth) was specifically designed for our kind of life (human life in particular) based on the fact that the conditions of the universe match exactly the conditions necessary for our kind of life.

Adams's analogy demonstrates that the Fine-Tuning Argument is the result of an interverted conception of the universe. In the same way that, in actuality, it is the molecules of water in the puddle that conform to the dimensions of the pothole, it is our kind of life that conforms to the parameters of the universe.


IOW, it is not the universe that is fine-tuned, but rather life that is fine-tuned (mainly through evolution once life has gotten started through other natural processes) to fit in the universe. If the universe had been even slightly different enough to preclude life as we know it but rather would allow some other form of life, then that's the form of life that one would find in that universe.


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Replies to this message:
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Taq
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Posts: 8525
Joined: 03-06-2009
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(3)
Message 10 of 61 (891746)
02-10-2022 12:19 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by dwise1
02-10-2022 12:08 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
dwise1 writes:

IOW, it is not the universe that is fine-tuned, but rather life that is fine-tuned (mainly through evolution once life has gotten started through other natural processes) to fit in the universe.

The Puddle explanation doesn't really address the basic argument. The fine tuning argument deals more with fundamental constants and starting conditions that allowed for stars, galaxies, planets, and complex chemistry to exist. If we were addressing an argument over how the Earth was designed for life, then the puddle analogy would be spot on.


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dwise1
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Posts: 5191
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 11 of 61 (891762)
02-10-2022 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Taq
02-10-2022 12:19 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
Though the entire fine-tuning argument is still moot. If the universe had not formed with those fundamental constants and starting conditions that allowed for stars, galaxies, planets, and complex chemistry to exist, then nobody would be posing any questions about it.

---------------------------------

My standard reaction to philosophizing: "Dammit, Jim! I'm an engineer, not a philosopher!"


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 13 by Tanypteryx, posted 02-10-2022 8:40 PM dwise1 has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 33957
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 12 of 61 (891764)
02-10-2022 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by dwise1
02-10-2022 7:13 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
Or at least WE would not be posing any questions about it.

My Website: My Website

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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 3435
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 13 of 61 (891778)
02-10-2022 8:40 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by dwise1
02-10-2022 7:13 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
"Dammit, Jim! I'm an engineer, not a philosopher!"

It would have been funnier if Spock had said it!


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by dwise1, posted 02-10-2022 7:13 PM dwise1 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by dwise1, posted 02-10-2022 9:29 PM Tanypteryx has replied

  
dwise1
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Posts: 5191
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 14 of 61 (891779)
02-10-2022 9:29 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Tanypteryx
02-10-2022 8:40 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
Yeah, but then I am an engineer, so that's what I need to go with.

Either something works or it doesn't. If it doesn't work, then try to figure out how to get it to work.

That cannot be done by redefining words in order to change reality. That is how theologians, philosophers, and lawyers roll, but not engineers.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Tanypteryx, posted 02-10-2022 8:40 PM Tanypteryx has replied

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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 3435
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 15 of 61 (891780)
02-10-2022 10:00 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by dwise1
02-10-2022 9:29 PM


Re: Fine Tuned
That cannot be done by redefining words in order to change reality. That is how theologians, philosophers, and lawyers roll, but not engineers.

Yep, nothing actually runs on BULLSHIT.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by dwise1, posted 02-10-2022 9:29 PM dwise1 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by PaulK, posted 02-11-2022 7:55 AM Tanypteryx has not replied
 Message 17 by Taq, posted 02-11-2022 5:21 PM Tanypteryx has replied

  
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