Saturday, January 25, 2014

You Can't Tuna Universe, Part 4

In the previous three installments of this series I attempted to shoot down the individual premises within the Fine Tuning Argument (FTA) used by theists to prove the existence of God. In this fourth installment I'll present some of the objections raised in the past by others, and then in the fifth and final installment I'll deliver one final blow using an example from our own atmosphere.

Clearly the objections I raised about the FTA are not the only ones that have been raised. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson objects to the whole notion that the universe is fine-tuned for life. Tyson points out that there are so many things in the universe that can kill us (asteroid, nearby supernova, disease, etc.) and that 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 percent of the universe is uninhabitable for life, hardly what one would consider a grand design by an all-powerful creator. As Tyson eloquently states "the universe is no garden of eden."

Physicist Lee Smolin comically points out that the universe is more fine tuned for black holes than life, since they are more abundant in the cosmos than planets which are capable of supporting life. Historian Richard Carrier makes an excellent point that our universe looks exactly how it would if the universe was created naturally without god. It would have to be enormous in size, very old (to give time for life to evolve naturally somewhere in the universe), and life would only be rarely observed. And this is exactly what we see. In contrast, an all-powerful god would be expected to build a universe that is more benevolent for life.

Perhaps the most vehement objections to the FTA come from physicist Victor Stenger, who argues that many of the physical constants in the universe have to be that way and can not be set to anything other than the values we observed according to established physics and cosmology. He also points out that many of the constants appear to have a narrow window of life-permitting values only because of the units chosen. More importantly, many of the physical constants are not independent of each other, so changing one parameter can be compensated for by a change to another parameter which increases the probability of life-permitting universes. This dependency among many factors also means that accurate probabilities of a life-permitting universe can not be calculated. In his work Stenger was able to show computer simulations whereby viable universes can develop and exist for billions of years even when the physical parameters are simultaneously varied by several orders of magnitude. Plus there is no telling what other forms of life could form in a universe that had different sets of parameters.

So, as you can see, the FTA is a bunch of bunk no matter which angle it's viewed. In the fifth and final part to this series, I'll provide an example from our own atmosphere which shows that if you believe that the FTA is proof of god, then god must be controlling our weather!!

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