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Teleological Argument

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redtilt1

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2013, 05:04:37 am »
I think you have fundamentally mistaken idea of what is meant by fine tuning.

When Dr. Craig or Dr. Robin Collins state that the universe is fine-tuned they are making a neutral, objective, scientifically verifiable statement about the nature of our universe.  As just one example, they are observing that if the forces of expansion and forces on contraction that we observe in our universe were slightly different, then the universe would have either collapsed shortly after it came into existence or expanded so rapidly that matter would be too dispersed for stars and planets to form.  Under either scenario, intelligent life could not exist, nor could snowflakes, ice cream cones or even table tennis tables.  Under this definition of fine tuning, it would be equally true to say that the universe is fine tuned for the existence of life, or any of the above material objects.

When I say that fine tuning is a neutral, and objective fact about our Universe, I am saying that one can recognize that the universe is fine turned without making any assumptions about the existence of God or the value of life.  This is why the following people can all recognize the objective fact that the Universe is fine-tuned: Richard Dawkins, an outspoken atheist; Freeman Dyson, a theoretical physicist and agnostic; William Craig and Robbin Collins, two proponent theistic philosophers.  It is also why it doesn't matter whether one says that the Universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life or for the existence of snow flakes.  Both require fine-tuning as the term is used in the teleological argument.

Paul your argument is contradictory, you say the inference of design can be made with presupposing that life has some special significance but then you state the evidence would need to be greater with a universe with an abundance of cup cakes as it would not be obvious that designer would chose to design a universe full of cup cakes. But this presumes life has some special place in the designers eyes and hence life is special. So you need an underlying theology for the argument to work. That is, I suspect, why believers are very impressed with this argument and non believers are not.

 I’m happy to consider design as a possibility, just as I am happy to consider chance. Neither has been show to be true. The multiverse can give us a chance explanation, but I do not think people should believe in a multiverse as it not an established fact. Not so with theists, who ask to believe in god even though it is not on any firmer footing for the multiverse
Unlike god there are sound reasons for believing that the multiverse is a direct result of standard cosmology. If you want to see why, read Alan Guth’s paper here:
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0702178
Or watch a short interview with him here for a layman’s explanation.
http://www.counterbalance.org/cqinterv/cq1-26-body.html?b=cqinterv/ag-body.html


“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 exists in our universe”

Your problem as a Christian theist is that you believe that life got started through miracle of divine intervention. So it makes no sense to set up a universe governed by natural laws that lead to life, when they don’t actually lead to life in your theology. What’s was the point of all that fine tuning for life, when it’s created by a miracle? I can see a deist make a fine tuning argument that makes sense, but not A Christian theist. You can’t have it both ways.


When you say my points 2 and 3, that you are open to consider evidence that you are wrong. It really doesn’t appear that way because you haven’t engaged the argument at all.

Let me explain to you again in very plain English what these points are, no equations!
 Point 2 : the fine tuning argument assumes that physicists can tell given the standard model and the values for constants whether or not a universe will have life in it. But if you do that with our universe you will conclude that our universe has no life.
I will give you three reasons for this:
1 the standard model does not include inflation. Without inflation the big bang model will give you nothing but a uniform soup of radiation
2 the standard model does not have sufficient matter anti matter asymmetry. So if you calculated whether there was life in our universe you would again find nothing but a soup of radiation as all the matter would have been annihilated by the anti matter.
3 In order to get the raw materials for life, a planet has to be in associations of many stars i.e. a galaxy, the star it orbits won’t give it the raw materials it needs. But without dark matter ,galaxies won’t form, the standard model has no dark matter in it. So yet again, our theoretical physicists will incorrectly assume that our universe has no life in it.
In other words from our observations of the world we can confidently conclude that the answer to the question: can physicists determine if a hypothetical universe has life in it or not form first principles?  Is no.
That is a plain English explanation; you don’t need an advanced degree to understand that, you can look up cosmic inflation, dark matter and baryon asymmetry on Wikipedia quite easily and confirm I’m right.
To say, as you do,
“that if the forces of expansion and forces on contraction that we observe in our universe were slightly different, then the universe would have either collapsed shortly after it came into existence or expanded so rapidly that matter would be too dispersed for stars and planets to form”

This cannot be the case. Think about it, the rate of expansion is currently accelerating, agreed? That means that these two opposing forces are changing in their strength. But yet we are still here, if they had to be fine tuned then that number couldn’t change, but it has changed.
Moreover here is a link to a paper published in 1996
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/HubbleConstant.html
You don’t need to read the whole paper, although feel free to if you want. I will give you the summary though:

The current value of the Hubble constant, denoted  , is hotly debated, with two opposing camps generally getting values near the high and low ends of 50 and 100 km s-1/Mpc (where Mpc is a megaparsec, equal to 106 parsecs  )”

Nopw think about that for a moment people didn’t know in 1996 whether the expansion rate was given by a Hubble parameter of 50 or double that! That’s hardly fine tuning.

What I think you are really referring to is a number called omega sub zero (the ratio of two densities) I won’t go into the technical issues regarding this number because I want to keep things simple. It’s true that this number does need fine tuning to agree with observations, depending on when you start the calculation. If you start it all the way back in the Planck era it needs to be fine tuned to more than 50 decimal places to agree with current observations. If its not specified to this precision the deviation grows and the universe is driven away from a flat shape  which we call omega =1. This will make it expand too fast or contract too fast. But this calculation assumes some energy conditions. What was found is that in inflation the energy condition is revered so rather than being driven away from 1 if it starts off away from it; Omega during inflation is driven rapidly towards one no matter where it starts , the equation is turned upside down by inflation. So what seemed like fine tuning, turns out not to be. You can find this explained in Guth paper (page 4 where it talks about the flatness problem).


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jludwig25

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2014, 07:25:37 pm »
First we have "life" in a general sense, referring to all organic and animal life on Earth, including human life. "Life" encompasses biological reality and occupying a place in the ecosphere and biosphere.  Life includes all attributes of the human personality. It includes the motivating or vital principles that inhere and adhere to the will, emotions, thoughts, desires, intentions, motives, and hidden aspects of our beings that all these non-corporeal processes to operate, although there is a corporeal aspect to their operation. There is, so to speak, a unity of form and content in all these intangible, non-sensory aspects of personality and consciousness. However, can life be understood apart from telos?  Our telos is to glorify God, Creator of the Universe (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Ans. to Question #1).  But why is that our telos?  The answer is that we are created in the image of God. This can be understood as a kind of spiritual DNA or spiritual marker. Every aspect of our being is turned towards Him once our relationship with Him is established by grace through faith. If that relationship with Him is not established by being "born again," then it becomes merely artificial to even talk about telos, because any telos we arrive at is inauthentic insofar as our true natures (created in the image of God) do not participate in said "telos."  We have actually "false purposes," or  telos that is not telos.  Our consciousness of being, grounded in ontic awareness by the I (the "I" becomes conscious of its metaphysical reality as being) is fractured insofar as being-without-grounding-in-consciousness-of-the-image-of-God cannot mobilize itself for the true telos.  Through redemptive grace, however, we grasp true being (denoted to consciousness as the image of God), and automatically or reflexively we make a conscious, daily, eternal extension of our consciousness towards the glorification of the Almighty.  It's quite a hopeful and uncompromising movement upward and outward (with great momentum of consciousness) towards the glory of God. It's unending and becomes glorified finally in eternity after death.

The reader is directed to my latest book Memoir of a Jewish American Christian, Vol. 1 by Jeffrey Ludwig

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jludwig25

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #47 on: February 01, 2014, 07:27:22 pm »
 First we have "life" in a general sense, referring to all organic and animal life on Earth, including human life. "Life" encompasses biological reality and occupying a place in the ecosphere and biosphere.  Life includes all attributes of the human personality. It includes the motivating or vital principles that inhere and adhere to the will, emotions, thoughts, desires, intentions, motives, and hidden aspects of our beings that all these non-corporeal processes  operate, although there is a corporeal aspect to their operation. There is, so to speak, a unity of form and content in all these intangible, non-sensory aspects of personality and consciousness. However, can life be understood apart from telos? 
Our telos is to glorify God, Creator of the Universe (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Ans. to Question #1).  But why is that our telos?  The answer is that we are created in the image of God. This can be understood as a kind of spiritual DNA or spiritual marker. Every aspect of our being is turned towards Him once our relationship with Him is established by grace through faith. If that relationship with Him is not established by being "born again," then it becomes merely artificial to even talk about telos, because any telos we arrive outside of grace (i.e., by cognitive, non-spiritual experience, ie. Without reasonable faith) is inauthentic insofar as our true natures (created in the image of God) do not participate in said "telos."  At that non-salvific point of establishing a goal or telos, we actually have "false purposes," or  telos that is not telos.  Our consciousness of being, grounded in ontic awareness by the I (the "I" becomes conscious of its metaphysical reality as being) is fractured insofar as being-without-grounding-in-consciousness-of-the-image-of-God cannot mobilize itself for the true telos.  Through redemptive grace, however, we grasp true being (denoted to consciousness as the image of God), and automatically or reflexively we make a conscious, daily, eternal extension of our consciousness towards the glorification of the Almighty.  It's quite a hopeful and uncompromising movement upward and outward (with great momentum of consciousness) towards the glory of God. It's unending and becomes glorified finally in eternity after death.

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FNB - Former non-believer

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2014, 08:48:01 am »
I don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but it seems it me that it is significant that if there is life, we can ask the question, "why does did life occur." And if there is no life, there is no one there to even ask the question

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Vimbiso

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2014, 06:48:58 am »
@Paaatrick, I am new to this forum and I got attracted to your question. I haven’t really read the responses you have received so far therefore I may be repeating what has already been said. To answer your question, the teleological argument does not presuppose that life is special. The argument is comparing and contrasting possible candidates to explain the observed fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life. Life is not the subject of the argument; rather it is the fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life that is the matter to be explained. Whether life is special or not is left open to further inquiry which falls outside the scope of this argument.

As I mentioned before, the teleological argument does not answer the question about the specialness of life. That question is more fundamentally addressed by the axiological argument which seeks to determine the ontological basis for moral values and duties. To think that life is special, and I am assuming by special you mean life is objectively endowed with more moral significance than non-life, one would have to offer a sound argument for thinking so. On atheism I do not see how one can affirm that life is objectively special though one can, as a matter of preference, choose to hold the view that life is special which would be relativistic in the absence of a valid objective basis. However, as a theist I can affirm the objectivity of the moral significance of life by grounding that objective value in God. This is the argument from the absurdity of life without God. While you do not need to be a theist to find meaning in life, you do need God to ground the objective meaningfulness of life. If however you presuppose atheism then it becomes difficult to find a valid basis for affirming the objective meaning to life.

Your friend also asks, “Why on this view think that design is necessary for life, if life is no more probable than the existence of anything else?” The teleological argument is not postulating that design is necessary for life; it is positing that design is the best explanation for the fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life. The question regarding the whether or not life is designed is not addressed by the argument since this is the realm of biology. The second part of his question asserts that life has the same chance of existing as non-life. Again the argument is not attempting to explain what makes life more probable than not because it is the fine tuning of the universe that is the subject of the matter. The background to the argument is that fine tuning is necessary for the possibility of life to exist. The universe being fine tuned does not mean that life must exist but it simply makes it possible for life to exist.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 10:32:23 am by Vimbiso »
Pro Nostrum Invisitatus Redemptor

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Arch

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2015, 04:24:46 pm »
I’m looking for a forum thread that relates to this idea, so I apologize in advance if it seems out of place. I’d like to consider a specific instance of biological life and consider the possible explanation of these observations. I know that some will allow even macro-evolution as part of God’s design which I don’t have a problem with in principle, although in practice it has some holes and makes some leaps. Of course, I can’t help but frequently use an automobile analogy (not as an argument but a way of understanding what I am saying).

I’ve been watching a video on the ocean life (Netflix: Moving Art: Underwater). I love the beauty of God’s creation. BBC has a nice series on the biomes around our Planet Earth. I realized something that has been in the back of my mind for a long time: the similarity of sharks and dolphins has always intrigued me.
Why are dolphins and sharks similarly shaped? I realize that there are some differences, in features and types, but they are minor compared to their similarities. It’s like the difference between two model-years of the same car. I yet they are not from the same genus, one is a fish and the other a mammal.

On the eye-test alone – the design of the great white shark and dolphin are strikingly similar. The dorsal fin, caudal (tail) fin and pectoral fins serve similar functions (while the movement of each is different they both navigate the waters using powerful strokes on similar timing). The shark has an additional dorsal fin, pelvic and anal fins. But these are like embellishments on a vehicle that is made by the same manufacturer.

As I consider this question, I am quickly struck by how an evolutionary biologist would reply. First they would magnify the differences. To point out all the intricate differences – as a car salesman pointing out upgrades – they intend to show progress. But this doesn’t hold for two species out of separate trees. Where the branch divides consistency ends. Why would a mammal retain some primary features of a fish? Second, they would lessen the similarities. These animal are only superficially similar, but they are really very different – breathing, swimming speed, sociability, eating, living areas etc. And all of these may be true. But that doesn’t undermine (it may only exacerbate) the stunning reflection of one animal in the other when they are so different.

It would seem to me that these animals are both optimally designed for similar functions – swimming, eating and living in deep waters. And the fact that they come from fundamentally different lines is really just a testament to the designer. If a good design works, why mess with it. There are reasons or purposes to have mammals that swim, but you don’t need to effectively neutralize their ability to compete in the water by limiting them too much. So God would build them on the same chassis.

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Re: Why is life special?
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2016, 09:08:06 pm »
I always thought that the fine-tuning argument talked about "intelligent" life, not just life. Because intelligent life has many seemingly unique properties that things like rocks don't. And intelligent life seems to require a very special set of circumstances to exist, while rocks don't?