I was wondering if you could help me with something. Recently I’ve been studying the Fine Tuning Argument for the Universe. I came across this blog that attempts to debunk it. I’ve looked through your questions and answers section but haven’t been able to find anything that addresses the counter argument that this blog brings up. Here is a link to the blog if you have the time to read it:
Multiverse: the idea that our Universe is just one among innumerably many, each of which is controlled by different parameters in the (otherwise fixed) laws of nature. This seemingly outrageous idea is actually endorsed by some of the most eminent scientists in the world, such as Martin Rees and Steven Weinberg ().The underlying idea was nicely explained by Rees in a talk in 2003, raising the …
It refutes the multiverse theory but it does bring up a point about the Fine Tuning Argument (FTA). Basically it points out that those who use FTA assume that life is special. The blog uses the analogy of a dice with six sides, saying that FTA assumes 6 is special but the fact is that all sides are just as unlikely to get. The article concludes with the silly “the universe isn’t fine tuned for life, life is fine tuned (somehow!) to the universe” argument.
I’ve tried to come to the conclusion that life must be special because out of all the bazillion other ways in how the universe could’ve formed that FTA brings up, this one we’re in now is the only one that could produce life. I’m not an astronomer but I’m assuming all the other possible outcomes of the universe would look more or less the same as each other. Using the same analogy, it’s a bazillion sided dice with billions of 1s, billions of 2s, billions of 3s etc but only one 6. However I don’t know for sure if this is the case as I haven’t seen FTA supporter responding to this argument. If it’s not too burdensome I would really love a reply back as it would really help with my faith!
I was already aware of this article. This person has a lot of the information at his hand, but his argument is incoherent to me. It seems to me that he is throwing dust in the air so as to confuse the issue, using smart-sounding phrases that simply make no sense at all. Let me give you an example, using one of his paragraphs:
First, there is an underlying assumption in the FTA to the effect that the ‘constants’ of Nature as well as the initial conditions of the Universe (to both of which the emergence of life is allegedly exquisitely sensitive) are similarly variable. This may or may not be the case; the present state of science is not advanced enough to decide between chance and necessity concerning the laws of nature and the beginning of the Universe.
He says the constants “may or may not” be variable. What does this even mean? This seems to be simply rhetoric, designed to escape the obvious. What would it mean for us to decide whether the constants of the universe are or are not variable? They are constants! They are not variable. He is dancing around the central facts by fancy talk. The constants are what they are. If they were not what they were, then we would not be here. So, here is the question: Why do they have the values they have? He proposes that there exists some principle that decides what the constants of the universe are. What does that even mean? We do not need to “decide between chance and necessity.” What does necessity even mean in this sentence? What does chance mean in this sentence? In the context of reality, they are meaningless words. The constants are what they are. There are only three rational proposals I have heard of: 1. There is one universe and we are REALLY lucky that they have the values they have. 2. There is only one universe (although I suppose there might be more than one…) and the values are what they are by design. 3. There are an infinite number of universes, and we live in a one in a quintillion quintillion quintillion universe. He seems to me to be simply inventing a meaningless concept to talk about “chance” versus “necessity.”
What he does a pretty good job of doing is giving a partial list of some of the precise requirements. His list is far from complete, by the way, because he does not include the fine tuning of the nuclear strong force, the nuclear weak force, the number of protons and electrons, and several more.
Then he proposes that life is adapted to the universe, not the universe is adapted to life. Forgive me for saying this, but as you appear to notice, this is utter nonsense!!! How could life adapt itself to a universe in which no molecules can form? How can life adapt itself to a universe that never forms galaxies? How can life adapt itself to a universe without hydrogen? How could life adapt itself to a universe with no elements heavier than Boron? I am having trouble coming up with a word that is respectful to describe how out of touch with reality this proposal is. Is this gentleman aware of the absurdity of this proposal, given his own list of the kinds of fine tuning we are talking about?
By the way, he does mention some kinds of supposed fine tuning arguments that are used occasionally, but which are a bit on the weak side. These are arguments about the right kind of star, the right kind of planet, having a Jupiter-like planet, and the right kind of moon. I believe that the sheer number of galaxies and planets in those galaxies are sufficient that, for a universe whose physical constants are sufficiently fine-tuned (which we already know that we have), the probability of that universe with hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars producing a planet which, in principle, can support life is very good. That believers continue to use these sorts of arguments as part of their fine-tuning argument case gives room for people like this to cast doubt on the entire range of FTA’s which is a bit unfortunate.
However, putting that aside, this person’s option #5 is an incoherent argument which seems to use fancy language to avoid the key question. I find it completely incoherent and unuseful.