Do New Findings Make Fine-Tuning of the Universe Harder to Deny?

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Do New Findings Make Fine-Tuning of the Universe Harder to Deny?

Quote:To judge from this episode of Closer to Truth, cosmologists like Alan Guth are finding it harder than ever to rule out intelligent design of the universe

Quote:Guth: [0:53] Well, when it was first proposed in the earliest days, there was just no explanation as to what mechanism implemented the Anthropic Principle. One had the feeling that somehow behind it all there had to be some intelligent designer who was trying to design the universe for life. And I think some versions of the Anthropic Principle were really pretty explicit about that.

Quote:We have not found any sensible explanation for why there should be a cosmological constant or an energy density of dark energy, as we sometimes call it. [5:28] The magnitude that we see is vastly smaller than what we would expect. We used to think it was really zero and we didn’t understand that. But zero we were willing to accept as something that we might be able to calculate someday soon [5:39]. Now that we think it’s a small number but nonzero — and by small I don’t mean kind of small — I mean extremely small. The energy density of this dark energy is about 120 orders of magnitude less than what particle physicists would naturally guess it ought to be. [5:55]

Quote:Guth: The Anthropic explanation I think is a valid explanation. (6:37) And so far, I think it’s our only sensible explanation.[6:42] I still hope that we’ll find a better explanation ,and by better I just mean one that’s more predictive.

The segment ends without further information about what Guth is trying to predict. The viewer is left with the impression that cosmologists are finding it harder than ever to rule out intelligent design of the universe.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2024-03-04, 05:45 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-03-04, 05:44 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Do New Findings Make Fine-Tuning of the Universe Harder to Deny?

It seems to me that Guth's favorite anthropic "explanation" is no explanation at all, since it just says that the laws of physics are apparently exquisitely fine tuned for life simply "because" they have to be in order for us to exist, because for instance there "has to be" a multiverse large enough to contain at least one universe with these particular laws. Talk about empty words having little meaning, since an assertion that something "has" to exist has no actual causative efficacy or power.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-04, 11:45 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)
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I didn't hear him propose an explanation for the anthropic principle per se.  What I took from his comments is that it continues to be a viable explanation in light of current, known science.  That's quite amazingly charitable coming from a physicist to my mind.  He seems to understand the bias that many scientists have on this topic; their motivation to discredit the anthropic principle.  And yet, it doggedly remains a possible explanation.... perhaps even a "best fit" as we sit here today.
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(2024-03-06, 03:00 PM)Silence Wrote: I didn't hear him propose an explanation for the anthropic principle per se.  What I took from his comments is that it continues to be a viable explanation in light of current, known science.  That's quite amazingly charitable coming from a physicist to my mind.  He seems to understand the bias that many scientists have on this topic; their motivation to discredit the anthropic principle.  And yet, it doggedly remains a possible explanation.... perhaps even a "best fit" as we sit here today.

Why do you consider the anthropic principle to be any kind of a legitimate viable explanation for fine tuning at all considering my argument above?
(2024-03-06, 04:04 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Why do you consider the anthropic principle to be any kind of a legitimate viable explanation for fine tuning at all considering my argument above?

I'm not sure I understand your point.

Its a hypothesis, maybe a theory (?).  Its a favorite for the theists of course.  I has no explanatory power at this time of course.

Yet, it intrigues people like Guth (and me) due to its dogged hardiness.  Try as reductionist-inclined/biased scientists try to discredit the concept.... it seems to shrug off all such efforts.  So what does it mean or explain?  To me, and I think Guth, nothing substantive at this point.  However, it creates (again for me) this niggling feeling that maybe there's more here (i.e., reality) than meets the eye.
(2024-03-07, 03:11 PM)Silence Wrote: I'm not sure I understand your point.

Its a hypothesis, maybe a theory (?).  Its a favorite for the theists of course.  I has no explanatory power at this time of course.

Yet, it intrigues people like Guth (and me) due to its dogged hardiness.  Try as reductionist-inclined/biased scientists try to discredit the concept.... it seems to shrug off all such efforts.  So what does it mean or explain?  To me, and I think Guth, nothing substantive at this point.  However, it creates (again for me) this niggling feeling that maybe there's more here (i.e., reality) than meets the eye.

Let's say I read in the paper the bare notice that the grave of person A. L. is now viewable at cemetery F. L. Now there are two known facts - that A. L. died, and that there is the grave of A. L. in F. L. cemetery, which facts can be verified by observation. Then somebody claims that with no further information he can explain "why" this fact is the truth - it is "because" A. L. absolutely had to die and be buried there in order for us to be able to view the grave. But this is just the trivial observation of two known facts, that A. L. died and that he was buried in F. L. cemetery.

Of course, this is obvious - but the trouble is, this claim has minimal real information and is circular and useless in explaining the actual causative factors of how A. L. got into this grave and why. This claim is of a bare fact unattached to any further information other than that it is a fact - it adds absolutely no knowledge of exactly how A. L. actually got there - just that he in fact did get there. For instance it might be because he died of a heart attack in his sleep, or it might be because he was executed for murder, or it might be due to chance because he was in a fatal auto accident.

In the same sense, citing the anthropic principle that the Universe has to be finely tuned in order for us to exist (both the observed fine tuning and that we exist being unexplained known facts) is circular and adds no knowledge in trying to supply the actual "because" - to answer the question of how and why we exist. So why should the anthropic principle intrigue us? These two unexplained known facts do not in themselves amount to anything but perhaps an extremely trivial hypothesis impossible of experimental validation.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-07, 05:38 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 6 times in total.)
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Not to be pedantic, but I fully understood the lack of explanatory power from the Fine Turning argument.  (i.e., didn't really need the elementary walkthrough Wink )

So why should this be intriguing?  (Your question)

I'm not a physicist but many such as Guth seem intrigued by the presence of many cosmological constants.  The energy density of dark matter being one example Guth spent time discussing.  There is a "from design" inference that can be considered here.  The alternative, which I believe you are correctly pointing out, is that these constants are.... just what they are.  No per se "design" needed.

There is no known causation (at least as far as I know).

It is intriguing just as the simply fact of our existence is intriguing.  Why is there something at all?  Whether fine tuning ends up providing anything explanatory is a second order question for many of us.
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(2024-03-07, 06:41 PM)Silence Wrote: Not to be pedantic, but I fully understood the lack of explanatory power from the Fine Turning argument.  (i.e., didn't really need the elementary walkthrough Wink )

So why should this be intriguing?  (Your question)

I'm not a physicist but many such as Guth seem intrigued by the presence of many cosmological constants.  The energy density of dark matter being one example Guth spent time discussing.  There is a "from design" inference that can be considered here.  The alternative, which I believe you are correctly pointing out, is that these constants are.... just what they are.  No per se "design" needed.

There is no known causation (at least as far as I know).

It is intriguing just as the simply fact of our existence is intriguing.  Why is there something at all?  Whether fine tuning ends up providing anything explanatory is a second order question for many of us.

I think the challenge here is in many cases if we found something as finely tuned as the Universe is we'd assume that it was likely planned.

This isn't to say it's definite that the Universe is finely tuned, as you point out. But the secular/atheistic Anthropic Principle wants to say it's simply a matter of luck that the Universe has the constants it does and this feels quite unsatisfying.

Admittedly to me the metaphysical picture I endorse already posits that all causation is mental causation in some way, in addition to the existence of Universals of Math/Logic...so to me the evidence of fine tuning is exactly what I would expect in the same way that the irreducibility + immaterial aspects of consciousness makes me expect Survival.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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