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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2013, 11:09:12 am »
Let's go back to the original question.  The question is why assume that intelligent life is more valuable than a rock?  The question is raised in the context of the fine tuning argument.  I will, therefore, assume that the person posing the question means to suggest that the fine tuning argument necessarily makes the assumption that life is more valuable than rocks.  This is false.

One proposed example of fine tuning is that the expansion rate of the universe must be exquisitely balanced to avoid either the quick collapse of the universe shortly after it comes into existence or to avoid matter being so widely dispersed that stars and planets cannot form.  If such a balance did not exist, life could not exist.  It would be equally true to say that not only could life not exist, but ordinary objects could not exist such as rocks or tables. 

Another proposed example of fine tuning involves the balance of the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force that is necessary for heavier elements to form.  Again this fine tuning is necessary for the universe to be "life-permitting" or "rock permitting".  Therefore, the observation that the universe is fine-tuned is value neutral as to whether life is more valuable than rocks.

It is true that the argument is usually framed in terms of life-permitting universes.  As Dr. Craig explains in the debate you cite: 

"Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by even a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed and life would not exist. We now know that life-prohibiting universes are incomprehensibly more probable than any life-permitting universe."

He could just as well as framed the argument as "the fine-tuning refers to narrow range of values that permits planets and heavy elements to exist that would be necessary for life or any ordinary physical object such as tables to exist".  It does not require any type of assumption that intelligent life has a special value. 

So why does Dr. Craig choose to frame the argument in terms of "life permitting" universes rather than as "object permitting" universes.  Nothing in his argument requires that he do so.  Does he have some deceptive reason?  I don't think so. As ontologicalme observes most people intuitively assume that life is more valuable than rocks so it is not unreasonable to frame the argument in such terms, although it is not necessary. 

I agree with your claim that the existence of fine tuning, by itself, does not lead to any conclusions about the existence of God.  The concept is value neutral and theologically neutral. That is why Craig does not end his argument with the mere assertion that the universe is fine tuned.  He goes onto to argue for several other premises, which are:

1)    This fine tuning can only be explained by chance, necessity or design;
2)   It cannot be explained by chance;
3)   It cannot be explained by design:

Therefore, it can only be explained by design.

Now you raise a number of arguments related to whether the universe is fine-tuned as described by Dr. Craig or whether the multiverse theory would allow a life-permitting universe to exist by chance.  You are free to raise such arguments, but they are red-herrings as to the issue being discussed in this thread.  If you want to discuss such issues, perhaps you should start a new thread on the topics, "The universe is not fine-tuned" or "The multiverse is an explanation how fine-tuning can be explained by chance."

The last point I would make is that if you want a full presentation of the fine tuning I would not rely on Dr. Craig's debate transcripts because they are necessarily time limited and focused on the arguments raised by his opponents. They are necessarily very incomplete defenses of the argument.  If you go to the transcripts of the defenders series or articles of Dr. Craig you will find much more complete presentations.   Better yet, I would suggest Dr. Robbin Collins book on the topic.






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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2013, 12:41:20 pm »
To correct the above, the third premise of the fine tuning argument should be:

"It cannot be explained by necessity" rather than "it cannot be explained by design"

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2013, 03:08:14 am »
I really find strange your argument of the comparability of tenis balls, rocks and so on with corporeal conscious agents, it seems as if you have lost connection with the reality that these are very different entities, with different worth. If we did not exist, but a very different alien race, an specie of corporeal conscious agents, in some place very far from here, even disconnected causally from our region of space time, the fine tuning argument would still apply to them.

I did post before in this thread explaining why corporeal conscious agents are special and why they add value to the world, though I honestly think this should be obvious to anyone with 4 fingers on their forehead. I used to be a hardcore agnostic, but it seems that to be so one needs to abandone any reasonable stance for some kind of moving target world view, I am to dumb to make sense out of such a position.

Another thing I find kind of surprising is that when the standard model predicts with 10 -17  precision then science informs of reality, and we are all to bow before it, but when it misses by 10 to the 122 then it is just a model, that we can´t use.

It is understandable that scientific models are limited and can be bettered, but that is irrelevant when it comes to using them as the best scientific knowlege we have, and in the end, it can not be both that science is meaningful and meaningless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhGdVMBk6Zo

(minute 3:00 if you want to save time)

Here is Penrose saying that the initial conditions of the entropy density of the primitive universe, with respect to gravity was fine tuned with such a precision that if you devided 1 by a  1 followed a putting a zero in every particle there is in the universe it would not be enough.

I honestly prefer your argument against establishing reliable probabilities, it makes much more sense, though I would argue that we can still recognize intelligence, it is not that obvious who is right.

Onto , I am not saying that tennis ball and rock are the same as conscious beings, of course not. What I am saying is that the level of fine tuning needed for tennis and rocks is roughly the same as that for life. There is no reason to have a fine tuning argument for life and not for other things in the universe except to skew the argument in a way to appeal to human egos. Conscious being have properties unique to them. But so do other objects .  Black holes have their own unique properties, empty space has some unique properties. We can find lots of things that have unique properties, so what?

I’m not sure what you mean by misses by 10^122 are you talking about the claimed fine tuning of lambda?

Penrose does claim the entropy is fine tuned, but he never claims its fine tuned for life, in fact he says he is unimpressed by such claims. He is saying there is a mystery as to why the entropy of the universe was so low at the big bang. That’s not the same as saying it was fine tuned for life. Sean Carroll says the same thing, yet he also says that the entropy could have been a lot bigger and life would have been fine, so it is not fine tuned for life.  More importantly whilst both Penrose and Carroll agree there’s  a mystery (not the mystery Craig claims) they both  offer a solution for. In Penrose's CCC cosmology the phase space collapses inside black holes as they evaporate. As the universe is then rescaled the entropy goes to zero with no conflict with the second law.
Penrose is basically saying there’s a mystery as to why there’s a low entropy big bang and the way to solve that mystery is to envoke a pre big bang universe. That’s what Caroll says too (although Carroll’s model works differently). Now what theists do is to quote Penrose selectively. They quote him talking about entropy and how it needs fine tuning, they ignore the fact that its not a claim of fine tuning for life and then ignore the fact that he thinks this means a pre big bang universe. That’s very disingenuous in my opinion.

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2013, 04:40:25 am »
Let's go back to the original question.  The question is why assume that intelligent life is more valuable than a rock?  The question is raised in the context of the fine tuning argument.  I will, therefore, assume that the person posing the question means to suggest that the fine tuning argument necessarily makes the assumption that life is more valuable than rocks.  This is false.

One proposed example of fine tuning is that the expansion rate of the universe must be exquisitely balanced to avoid either the quick collapse of the universe shortly after it comes into existence or to avoid matter being so widely dispersed that stars and planets cannot form.  If such a balance did not exist, life could not exist.  It would be equally true to say that not only could life not exist, but ordinary objects could not exist such as rocks or tables. 

Another proposed example of fine tuning involves the balance of the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force that is necessary for heavier elements to form.  Again this fine tuning is necessary for the universe to be "life-permitting" or "rock permitting".  Therefore, the observation that the universe is fine-tuned is value neutral as to whether life is more valuable than rocks.

It is true that the argument is usually framed in terms of life-permitting universes.  As Dr. Craig explains in the debate you cite: 

"Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by even a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed and life would not exist. We now know that life-prohibiting universes are incomprehensibly more probable than any life-permitting universe."

He could just as well as framed the argument as "the fine-tuning refers to narrow range of values that permits planets and heavy elements to exist that would be necessary for life or any ordinary physical object such as tables to exist".  It does not require any type of assumption that intelligent life has a special value. 

So why does Dr. Craig choose to frame the argument in terms of "life permitting" universes rather than as "object permitting" universes.  Nothing in his argument requires that he do so.  Does he have some deceptive reason?  I don't think so. As ontologicalme observes most people intuitively assume that life is more valuable than rocks so it is not unreasonable to frame the argument in such terms, although it is not necessary. 

I agree with your claim that the existence of fine tuning, by itself, does not lead to any conclusions about the existence of God.  The concept is value neutral and theologically neutral. That is why Craig does not end his argument with the mere assertion that the universe is fine tuned.  He goes onto to argue for several other premises, which are:

1)    This fine tuning can only be explained by chance, necessity or design;
2)   It cannot be explained by chance;
3)   It cannot be explained by design:

Therefore, it can only be explained by design.

Now you raise a number of arguments related to whether the universe is fine-tuned as described by Dr. Craig or whether the multiverse theory would allow a life-permitting universe to exist by chance.  You are free to raise such arguments, but they are red-herrings as to the issue being discussed in this thread.  If you want to discuss such issues, perhaps you should start a new thread on the topics, "The universe is not fine-tuned" or "The multiverse is an explanation how fine-tuning can be explained by chance."

The last point I would make is that if you want a full presentation of the fine tuning I would not rely on Dr. Craig's debate transcripts because they are necessarily time limited and focused on the arguments raised by his opponents. They are necessarily very incomplete defenses of the argument.  If you go to the transcripts of the defenders series or articles of Dr. Craig you will find much more complete presentations.   Better yet, I would suggest Dr. Robbin Collins book on the topic.
Paul your whole argument relies on a mistaken made this sentence you made:
“I will, therefore, assume that the person posing the question means to suggest that the fine tuning argument necessarily makes the assumption that life is more valuable than rocks.  This is false.”

Firstly it isn’t about what the argument necessarily implies, it’s about how the argument is used to convince people of god. If someone said the universe was fine tuned to allow for table tennis therefore god exists people wouldn’t take that seriously. One could create a theology whereby god’s main purpose in creating the universe is to watch people play table tennis. So he fine tunes all the constants, steers the evolution of life and the evolution of sport all to the grand objective of watching table tennis matches from heaven. Since as far as I know no one believes such a theology such an argument would not be convincing. Just as it would not be convincing for rock or cup cakes..  But people do believe that god created the universe for human being to exist and it’s crucial that this is how the argument is framed as the fine tuning argument for life otherwise the argument will fall flat. I think you are living in denial if you think otherwise. 

if you study  the universe and appreciate its grand scale, you may realise the life is a tiny blip in a see of vacuum, there’s no reason though think its special as a phenomenon in the universe. Moreover if the constants of nature were different maybe other phenomenon would arise, phenomenon we’ve never even dreamed of. This is why Roger Penrose said :
“The main thing that I am not happy about is that I don't see how we have the remotest idea what would happen in a world where the constants of nature were different “
Alan Guth says something very similar in the video link I posted above. Did you watch it?

When we look at the universe today we see it’s dominated by phenomenon that isn’t even described by the standard model. Only 4-5% of the universe is accounted for by baryonic matter that is described by the standard model. Dark matter isn’t in the standard model, neither is dark energy. No one knows what these things are. Is the universe fine tuned for the existence of dark matter?  No dark matter and life wouldn’t form. We need dark matter for galaxies to form. So given what we know there is crucial phenomenon in our universe that we couldn’t have ever predicted from the standard model , its ridiculous in the extreme to suppose we know what other phenemonon would arise in a universe with different constants, we cant even predict what arises in this universe.

Another difficulty you face if you are a Christian theist, is that Christian theists believe that god created life via a miracle, now if that’s true then its false that the values of constants need to be fine tuned , if the values of the constants were different would god have been unable to create life? If yes then god is not omnipotent, if no then they don't need to be fine tuned. You can’t have it both ways.
Paul when you say the expansion rate of the universe needs to be specially balanced are you referring to the Hubble parameter or omega sub zero? When I was at college there was a huge debate about whether the Hubble parameter was 50 or 100, Planck gave us a value of 67.3 so it hardly seems fine tuned. So I presume you mean omega sub zero, is that right?

With regards to my arguments being red herring, they would have been if you hadn’t raised the issue of the validity of the fine tuning argument. But since you did, they are not. So perhaps you could address them.

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2013, 05:21:09 am »
You say:
"Paul your whole argument relies on a mistaken made this sentence you made:
“I will, therefore, assume that the person posing the question means to suggest that the fine tuning argument necessarily makes the assumption that life is more valuable than rocks.  This is false.”

Lets quote the original post:
"I want to pose another question I got from a friend of mine some days ago.
He thinks that the teleological argument fails in presupposing that life is more special than say a stone. The existence of life is (roughly) the same as that of a stone, a planet or any other phenomenon in the universe. Why on this view think that design is necessary for life, if life is no more probable than the existence of anything else?

It is not exactly clear to me why you think I am mistaken as to the question posed in the original post.

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2013, 06:02:30 am »
Because you ignore the context of the fine tuning argument and what appeals to human ego are being made.
You have also ingored my points and my questions. Perhaps you could asnwer the points made in the previous posts rather than continually dodging them?

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2013, 06:17:49 am »
we do seem to be talkingpast each other.

On your first point, you seen to be suggesting that the fine tuning argument reaches some conclusion that the universe was created with a particular purpose or end in mind such the creation of human beings or perhaps table tennis.

It seems to me that this is an inaccurate.  If WilliamCraig proves every point of his argument, one could reach the far more modest conclusion that "the universe is designed in such a way that it permits the existence of life."

That is why I am puzzled when you talk about fine tuning for Hitler. The fine tuning argument desn't say anything about a specific end or purpose.

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2013, 07:55:17 am »
Too say that the univers permits life is juts a tatutology, what could we possibly learn from that?
A univer with different constants might permit other things like an abundance of magentic monopoles, You still need to assuem theres somehting special about life.

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Unbeknownst Philosopher

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2013, 08:13:00 am »
Too say that the univers permits life is juts a tatutology, what could we possibly learn from that?
A univer with different constants might permit other things like an abundance of magentic monopoles, You still need to assuem theres somehting special about life.

What do you make of the following then? I'm curious because it has been ignored thus far.

You don't need to assume that life is intrinsically worthwhile. All you need to confirm a teleological hypothesis in any domain is to have a hypothesis advocated independently of the confirmatory observation, and then to make that observation.

For example, say I get dealt two random cards in black jack, a 4 of hearts and a 10 of spades. Now, say after the dealing, a friend of mine tells me that he thinks someone intentionally stacked the deck so I would get the 4 and the 10--no reason, just his claim. In bayesian terms, yes, his hypothesis is confirmed by the evidence because the existence of a deck stacker makes my cards more likely than the chance hypothesis. The problem with the deck stacker hypothesis, however, is that the prior probability is low because it is ad hoc and unmotivated.

Let's change the scenario a little. Say that a friend of mine has all day been saying that the dealer loves it when people get 4's and 10's in any card games. This fact motivates the deck stacker hypothesis when I find that I do in fact have the 4's and 10's, and thus the deck stacker hypothesis becomes pretty probable.

Same with theism and the fine-tuning. Theists have been saying for ages that the universe exhibits signs of design for life. Now that scientists have discovered that life is extremely improbable, the "cosmic stack" hypothesis is not ad hoc and is strongly confirmed by the observation.

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2013, 08:15:45 am »
"Too say that the univers permits life is juts a tatutology, what could we possibly learn from that? "

It is not clear to me why you think this is a tautology (i.e. something that is true by definition) .  The argument that Craig makes is that the ""Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by even a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed and life would not exist. We now know that life-prohibiting universes are incomprehensibly more probable than any life-permitting universe."

If one agrees with his point, the likelihood of a life-permitting universe is extraordinarily improbable and requires some explanation, which he argues are limited to chance, necessity or design.

Perhaps your point is that if the Universe was not life-permitting, we would not be present to observe it.  If that is your point, Craig addresses this point at length in his defender's series.  I don't want to get into those arguments, unless this is indeed the point that you are trying to make.

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2013, 08:48:55 am »
Ive answered Craigs points, maaybe you could read through my previous posts and address them.

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2013, 09:08:37 am »
"A universe with different constants might permit other things like an abundance of magentic monopoles, You still need to assume there's something special about life. "

Let's imagine that we could observe another universe that produced an abundance of magnetic monopoles.  If it just so happened that if that the laws of such a universe, the constants and the initial conditions, had to be fine-tuned to an extraordinary degree for such a universe to permit the abundance of magnetic monopoles, then I think it would be reasonable to ask:  Did this highly improbable universe come about by chance, necessity or design.  One might reasonably reach the conclusion depending upon the particular characteristics of such a universe that it was indeed designed to permit an abundance of magnetic monopoles. 

The design inference in such a universe would be weakened, however, because one could reasonably question, "why would a designer choose to design such a universe?"  This would be a legitimate question that would make the design inference much less compelling.

We are not presented with this question in our universe, because there is a readily apparent reason why a designer might choose to design a Universe which permits the intelligent life to exist.  Theists believe God designed a universe that would permit the existence of intelligent life created in his image who could have fellowship with him.  In other words since God is an all good being, and it is good for intelligent, conscious beings to exist, it not surprising or improbable that God would design a universe that could support intelligent life.  This plausible explanation for a particular design is not necessarily required to make an inference of design, but it certainly strengthens the case. 

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2013, 10:59:11 am »
So what you mean is that fine tuning makes sense if you already believe in a god of the type theists believe in; if you already believe that life has some special significance in the universe. Now you perhaps you see why non believers are unimpressed by this argument and believers are. 

 You are asking how can one universe have monopoles , another runiverse have life and one could go on. A universe has to have some features, why treat life as the one that needs some special explanation?

You still haven’t answered my previous questions.
Let me recap a just few
1 if god is omnipotent and created life via miracle then why does he need to fine tune the constants?
2 how can one say that other universes with different constants wont have life when we can’t even get the answer right for the one universe we can observe?
3 how can you say the expansion rate needs to be finely tuned when astronomers couldn’t agree if the Hubble parameter was 50 or 100? Or are you talking about omega sub zero?

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2013, 11:28:53 am »
redtilt,

Why are you ignoring Jubilee's point that life doesn't have to be deemed special?

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Paul DeMott

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2013, 11:38:06 am »
"So what you mean is that fine tuning makes sense if you already believe in a god of the type theists believe in; if you already believe that life has some special significance in the universe. Now you perhaps you see why non believers are unimpressed by this argument and believers are. "

First, I think that inferences of design can be made without presupposing that life has some special significance as would be the case in an alternative universe that appeared to fine-tuned to permit, say, an abundance of cupcakes.  The evidence of fine-tuning would need to be greater in such a case, because it would not be obvious why a designer would choose to design such a universe.

Second, I am suggesting that the possibility of design in our universe is one hypothesis that should be considered unless it can be ruled out for other reasons.  This is why Craig proposes three possible explanations for fine tuning that includes two possibilities that do not involve a design.  The argument does not presuppose that one already believes in a God.

"1 if god is omnipotent and created life via miracle then why does he need to fine tune the constants?"

First, God can choose to create a universe that is governed by uniform natural laws that do not require his supernatural intervention after its creation. Given the laws, etc. that exist in our universe, Craig argues that this requires fine tuning. 

Second, whether he could have created other universes subject to other uniform laws that would not require fine tuning is irrelevant.

"It has been objected that in universes governed by different laws of nature, such deleterious consequences might not result from varying the values of the constants and quantities. The teleologist need not deny the possibility, for such universes are irrelevant to his argument. All he needs to show is that among possible universes governed by the same laws (but having different values of the constants and quantities) as the actual universe, life-permitting universes are extraordinarily improbable."
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/theistic-critiques-of-atheism#ixzz2kjYxEA7c

(2) and (3) are not within my expertise, although I believe that other credible experts have agreed that the universe is fine-tuned in the manner described by Craig.  I am open to consider evidence that they are wrong.