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Scientific Arguments: Fine-Tuning and the Big Bang Professor Rob Koons Philosophy – UT robkoons.net Unpublished Papers
Can Science Prove God? Science cannot prove anything – it is always tentative, corrigible. God clearly lies beyond the bounds of the ordinary scientific method.
What are Gods terms? Surprisingly, God does not expect us to reform ourselves or meet some ethical standard. However, He has no interest in satisfying idle curiosity – He wants to establish a loving, transformative relationship. If were unwilling, He wont intrude.
Evidence that the Universe (Space, Time and Matter) had a Supernatural Cause Scientific evidence: –Evidence for the Big Bang –Evidence for the fine-tuning of our universe for life Philosophical arguments –The Kalaam argument: time had a beginning. –The Thomistic argument: whatever is contingent (merely natural) has a causal explanation.
Robert J. Fitzer, S. J. New Proofs for the Existence of God President of Gonzaga University Trained in philosophy, physics and theology Eerdmans, 2010
The Big Bang A Belgian priest, Father Georges Lemaitre, was the first to discover that Einsteins theory of general relativity entailed that the universe had a beginning (1930s).
Proof of the Big Bang Astronomer Edwin Hubble observed the red shift of distant galaxies Universally agreed upon: time, space and matter began 13.7 billion years ago.
Before the Big Bang? In recent years, some physicists have proposed theories of a pre- Big-Bang era (infinite inflation or string/brane theories) theorem by Borde, Guth and Vilenkin: every inflationary model universe (with or without a multiverse) must have a beginning in time.
Design Argument We can infer that the First Cause is infinitely wise and personal by examining the creation. The creation is obviously organized for certain purposes: it obeys simple, universal laws, it permits the origin and development of life, it contains human beings, with the capacity for universal knowledge.
Evidence of Design: Overview Simple, elegant laws of nature. Anthropic fine-tuning. The constants of nature, the ratios of fundamental forces are adjusted to permit the formation of carbon, planets.
Evidence of Design The design of the earth, as an ideal environment for life, intelligence, astronomy: Guillermo Gonzalez, The Privileged Planet.
Some Anthropic Coincidences Seven coincidences (of about 40): #1: Strong nuclear force. If 5% weaker, no deuterium formed at Big Bang. Deuterium needed for initial ignition of fusion in stars. If 50% weaker, all elements would be unstable (equivalently, if electromagnetic force were 14X stronger)
Anthropic Coincidence #2 Strong nuclear force: if 0.5% stronger, all carbon turned to oxygen in supernovas. If 1% weaker, no carbon formed from beryllium. The coordination of several atomic resonance levels in carbon. If the third resonance had been 1/2% higher, no carbon would have been produced. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics … that there are no blind forces in nature. Astronomer Fred Hoyle
Anthropic Coincidence #3 Cosmological constant must be close to zero (less than 10 to the minus 50 th power), but positive. If too strong, inflation proceeds too far, leading to a diffuse cloud. If too weak, inflation cannot take place at all, leading to a lumpy, non-uniform cosmos, preventing the formation of stable stars and galaxies.
Anthropic Coincidence #4 Net electrical neutrality of universe. The number of protons and electrons (produced by two independent processes in Big Bang), must agree to within a factor of 10 to the 37 th power. Otherwise, electrical repulsion would overwhelm gravity, preventing the formation of galaxies, stars, planets.
Anthropic Coincidence #5 Electromagnetic force (compared to gravity). If too weak, all stars would be short-lived blue dwarfs. Gravity is weaker by a factor of 10 to the 39 th power. If gravity were 3000 times greater, no long-lived stars. Fine-tuned within1 part in 10 to the 36 th power.
Anthropic Coincidence #6 Visible light, 0.3 to 1.5 microns, (produced in abundance by Sun-like stars) has exactly the right energy levels to interact usefully with chemical reactions (almost all chemical reactions involve energy corresponding to the micron range). Too little - passes right through matter (like radio and microwave). Too much -- destroys compounds (X-rays, gamma rays). Visible light is 1 part in 10 to the 25 th power of the whole spectrum.
Anthropic Coincidence #7 The universe began in a state of extremely low entropy. Roger Penrose: odds of 1 in 10 to the 10 to the 123 rd power. More zeros than there are atoms in the universe! If the Big Bang were merely a transition from some earlier state, then there would be no possible explanation for its low- entropy state.
The Multiverse Response This… can be answered by the suggestion... that there are many universes, co-existing like bubbles of foam, in a 'multiverse' (or 'megaverse', as Leonard Susskind prefers to call it). The laws and constants of any one universe, such as our observable universe, are by-laws. The multiverse as a whole has a plethora of alternative sets of by-laws. The anthropic principle kicks in to explain that we have to be in one of those universes (presumably a minority) whose by- laws happen to be propitious to our eventual evolution and hence contemplation of the problem. (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2006, p. 145)
The Multiverse Response If there are many parallel universes, with a wide enough variety, there will exist (by chance alone) some capable of life. Scientific theories: many-worlds QM, Lindes super-inflation, string theory Philosophical theories: every logically possible world exists out there.
Objections to Scientific Theories of the Multiverse Still unconfirmed by empirical testing. Dont solve all cases of fine-tuning, since all universes share the same basic laws. Cant produce enough universes. Generation of multiverses itself requires fine- tuning. Cant explain the optimality of the earth as astronomical observatory (Gonzalez) Violates Ockhams Razor: God is simpler explanation.
Objections to Philosophical Theories of Many Worlds No possible scientific evidence. Huge violation of Ockhams Razor. God is a much better explanation. Undermines the very possibility of science and induction, since disorderly worlds (with apparent order) vastly outnumber truly orderly worlds. Boltzmann brain. See John Leslie, Universes.
Three Forms of the Design Argument The argument by analogy. The universe islike a watch. Appeal to Bayess Theorem Dembskis model of specified complexity as a positive test for design Appeal to the direct perception of design, by a natural faculty (Thomas Reid, Alvin Plantinga)
The Argument by Analogy The cosmos resembles a human artifact. Therefore, the universe was created by something like a human artisan. Objections: There are many dissimilarities. There are apparent defects in the design. Gives us an anthropomorphic God – finite and fallible.
Bayess Theorem We need three inputs: (1) the prior probability of h, P(h), (2) the likelihood of the evidence, assuming the truth of the hypothesis, P(e/h), (3) the prior probability of the evidence.
Using Bayess Theorem Since we want P(e/h) to be high, P(e/~h) must be very low. That is, the evidence e must be something that would be very unlikely (surprising) if the hypothesis were false. If P(e/h) > P(e/~h), and P(h) 0, then we say that the evidence e confirms hypothesis h.
Dembskis Design Inference (from The Design Inference and Intelligent Design) For William Dembski, the hypothesis h = the claim that the observed phenomenon is the product of intelligent design. Note: this does not by itself establish that the designer is God. According to Dembski, we do not have to estimate P(h), the prior probability of h, or P(e/h), the likelihood of the evidence on the assumption of intelligent design. Instead, we need only two things: (1) P(e/~h), the probability that the phenomenon was produced by undirected natural forces, must be astronomically small (something like 1 in 10 to the 50th power), and (2) The evidence e must be specified (it must conform to some real, independently describable pattern).
Perceiving Design Dembskis model could be thought of as an explication of our natural capacity for design-recognition, a capacity postulated by the Scottish epistemologist Thomas Reid (founder of Scottish common-sense realism). Defended recently by Alvin Plantinga, Del Ratzsch, and C. Stephen Evans. Parallel: our knowledge of other human minds.
Some Objections Who designed God?...if you explain the order in the natural world by a divine plan, you still have to explain the order in the divine mind. As Philo says, 'a mental world or universe of ideas requires a cause as much as does a material world or universe of objects'. (J. L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1982, p. 142) There is no reason why mental order as such should be any less in need of further explanation than material order, and the claim that mental order in a god is self-explanatory is just the thesis, central in the cosmological argument...., that God is a necessary being, a being that could not have failed to exist. (Mackie, p. 144)
God is no explanation of anything...there is no limit to the explanatory purposes to which God's infinite power is put. Is science having a little difficulty explaining X? No problem. Don't give X another glance. God's infinite power is effortlessly wheeled in to explain X (along with everything else), and it is always a supremely simple explanation because, after all, there is only one God. What could be simpler than that? Well, actually, almost everything. A God capable of continuously monitoring and controlling the individual status of every particle in the universe cannot be simple. His existence is going to need a mammoth explanation in its own right. (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2006, p. 149)
God cant cause the laws of nature The evidence we do have indicates that orderly behavior must exist before minds can impose their purposes on nature. It is therefore incorrect to argue that orderliness results from a mind imposing its purposes on nature. (B. C. Johnson, The Atheist Debaters Handbook, Prometheus Press, NY, 1983, p. 29). Without the laws of causality, no causes would be operative. The laws of causality must therefore exist before any cause can operate. Therefore the laws of causality cannot be the result of any cause. These are laws which cannot be caused even by God. (B. C. Johnson, p. 31)
Something had to Happen: Everything Definite is Equally Improbable Consider a random whirl of dust particles. All the particles composing it must interact to produce the exact distribution of particles which occurs. If only a single particle had moved contrary to its course, the exact arrangement of particles would have been different. We would never have recognized the change because all dust particles look alike to us, but the result would nevertheless have been different. Now, according to the theist's reasoning, the existence of this complex interaction of countless particles producing a specific result must indicate the presence of some intention. However, the result of a completely random, totally unplanned whirl of dust particles is exactly what we mean by an unintentional result. Clearly, reasoning which makes a demonstrably unintended result appear to be intended is fundamentally unsound. B. C. Johnson, The Atheist Debaters Handbook, 1983, p. 40.
An All-Powerful God Shouldnt Need to Design "....what is meant by design? Contrivance: the adaptation of means to an end. But the necessity of contrivance -- the need for employing means -- is a consequence of the limitation of power... Wisdom and contrivance are shown in overcoming difficulties, and there is no room for them in a being for whom no difficulties exist. John Stuart Mill, Theism, ed. by Richard Taylor (Bobbs- Merrill, Indianapolis, 1957/1874), pp
We cant evaluate the likelihood of Gods preferring life, knowledge...before we can detect God's purpose, we must first know his intentions. And before we can know his intentions we must first know that he exists -- for he cannot have intentions unless he does exist. Therefore the argument from design cannot prove God's existence because we must first know he exists before we can know anything is designed by him. B. C. Johnson, Atheist Debaters Handbook, 1983, p. 44
We cant say just how unlikely the anthropic band is We havent observed a large sample of undesigned universes, so we dont know how likely it is for a random universe to be governed by elegant, anthropic laws.