Explaining universe based on purpose/source

  • Thread starter jimjohnson
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  • #1
jimjohnson
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Having recently read Goldilocks Enigma by Paul Davies, I would like comments on my simplistic logic. Why does our “fine tuned” universe exist? The answer must be linked to purpose and source. Consider the following options for explaining the existence of our observed universe: 1 It is what it is. Mysteriously and by accident, the universe permits life and intelligence. 2 Theory of everything. A mathematical theory describes the forces, masses, constants, etc., exactly as observed. 3 Multiuniverse (fine tuning by sheer numbers). Numerous cosmic domains containing all possible combinations of design parameters and possibly different laws as well. 4 Intelligent design. A creator designs the universe so that it is right for life. 5 Simulated universe. As in the movie The Matrix, our universe is a simulation or virtual reality simulated in a “powerful” computer.
Now let’s add perspective based on source of creation and purpose. The three logical sources for creation are: space/time itself, God, and an advanced civilization. There are also three purposes for creation: none, life and intelligence, and simulation or experiment.
If the universe has no purpose, space/time is the only logical source since God or an advanced civilization would have a purpose. If the purpose is intelligent life, God would be the source of creation. An advanced civilization might simply experiment, curious to observe the simulated outcome. Comments?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Tanelorn
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14
Yes, Yes, Yes is the only reply I can of.

I dont think that physicists can help either for or against anyone's faith in a Creator. This universe is following the certain laws which we hope to understand as well as possible. It appears to have come into existance 13B years ago and we believe that the universe will eventually fade away and effectively end, just as everything else seems to do around here. I am pretty certain that there isnt a permanent after life housing all the souls that have ever existed in this psuedo infinite universe, but who knows!
 
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  • #3
zhermes
1,255
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While I expect this posting to be deleted shortly... a few comments:

The answer must be linked to purpose and source.
Why must this be the case?

1 It is what it is. Mysteriously and by accident, the universe permits life and intelligence.
That's not an answer; what---In my opinion--should replace '1' is a very possible solution: we can't (and couldn't) understand whatever the answer is.
2 Theory of everything. A mathematical theory describes the forces, masses, constants, etc., exactly as observed.
Again, this isn't really an answer per se, it just states that an answer exists (which also might not be the case).
3 Multiuniverse (fine tuning by sheer numbers). Numerous cosmic domains containing all possible combinations of design parameters and possibly different laws as well.
Probable.
4 Intelligent design. A creator designs the universe so that it is right for life. 5 Simulated universe. As in the movie The Matrix, our universe is a simulation or virtual reality simulated in a “powerful” computer.
Neither of these have any explanatory effects, nor are they ultimate---i.e. they simply beg the question. Again, not viable 'answers.'


The three logical sources for creation are.... There are also three purposes for creation....
This is quite narrow minded, anthrocentric, and unscientific. These are certainly not complete sets. The rest is even less scientific....
 
  • #4
zonde
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Why does our “fine tuned” universe exist?
My simplistic viewpoint is that all the fine tuning is result of evolution.
Didn't found that in your option.
 
  • #5
jimjohnson
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I think 4 and 5 could answer why our universe exists. What comes before is another question.
 
  • #6
jimjohnson
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My simplistic viewpoint is that all the fine tuning is result of evolution.
Didn't found that in your option.
Evolution follows and is the result of the initial fine tuning parameters and laws.
 
  • #7
thorium1010
178
6
Evolution follows and is the result of the initial fine tuning parameters and laws.

fine tuned for what ? or rather what makes you think the universe is finetuned ? (This indicates a purpose)

Lets just talk about cosmic phenomena such as black holes , asteroids , comets, neutron stars, super novae. Do you think these are fine tuned cosmic objects.

what about the sun which releases a lot radiation and ionic particles every second reaching earth filtered of by earths atmosphere, befre it reaches the earth surface

why is there no life on any other planet in our system (fine tuned for only one planet?)
 
  • #8
"fine tuned"

I have never found the fine tuned argument convincing. If condition had been different evolution would have used other mechanisms. We can think of an infinity of possible universes and an infinity of possible life forms. It may be that not all possible universe can have life. That just means by dumb luck we are in a universe that does support life. It does not mean someone set up the universe to be that way.

Of course it also does not prove against someone setting up the universe. It proves neither.
 
  • #9
zonde
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Evolution follows and is the result of the initial fine tuning parameters and laws.
You mean evolution of life? If so that is not what I meant.

I mean that forms of matter are result of evolution. Physics constants have the values they have as a result of some lengthy process.
 
  • #10
jimjohnson
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You mean evolution of life? If so that is not what I meant.

I mean that forms of matter are result of evolution. Physics constants have the values they have as a result of some lengthy process.
Ok, in that context, all 5 options could explain existence of universe. But, what was the source and was there a purpose for this process?
 
  • #11
jimjohnson
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fine tuned for what ? or rather what makes you think the universe is finetuned ? (This indicates a purpose)

Lets just talk about cosmic phenomena such as black holes , asteroids , comets, neutron stars, super novae. Do you think these are fine tuned cosmic objects.

what about the sun which releases a lot radiation and ionic particles every second reaching earth filtered of by earths atmosphere, befre it reaches the earth surface

why is there no life on any other planet in our system (fine tuned for only one planet?)
The issue is fine tuned for intelligent life. Specific objects are not but the environment as a whole is.
I did not mention two other options in the book (because they do not seem logical). They are: the "life law" - life is a fundamental aspect of universe- and the self explaining universe -observers by comprehending the univeres create it. Both state that life is a requirement.
 
  • #12
thorium1010
178
6
The issue is fine tuned for intelligent life. Specific objects are not but the environment as a whole is.
I did not mention two other options in the book (because they do not seem logical). They are: the "life law" - life is a fundamental aspect of universe- and the self explaining universe -observers by comprehending the univerese create it. Both state that life is a requirement.

Again fine tuned argument is not convincing argument, for the universe to exist the way it is. The best answer at present is we do not know.
why should only one planet in the entire universe (with billions of galaxies) have to be fine tuned for intelligent life ?
Life is not a requirement, a universe could exist on its own
 
  • #13
Chalnoth
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I think 4 and 5 could answer why our universe exists. What comes before is another question.
Not really. An explanation is only an explanation if it reduces the number of unknowns. This is basically down to Occam's Razor: if your explanation actually has more unknowns than what it tries to explain, then it is more likely that whatever it is just happened for no reason at all than it is your explanation is accurate. Because 4 and 5 don't make any statements about why any particular feature of our universe should or shouldn't be a certain way, and furthermore posit an extra hypothetical being, these explanations are more complex than what they purport to explain, and thus even worse than not bothering to explain anything at all!

Real explanations, on the other hand, provide us with relationships between different phenomena. For example, since this is the cosmology board, the big bang theory provides us with a single framework that combines predictions about observations of the relationship between redshift and distance, how quickly structure forms in the universe, and how much of the various elements our universe started out with. It is this connection between different observables that really makes the big bang theory an actual explanation for these observations, as the number of parameters in the big bang theory is far, far smaller than the number of observables it explains.
 
  • #14
nismaratwork
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jimjohnson said:
Now let’s add perspective based on source of creation and purpose. The three logical sources for creation are: space/time itself, God, and an advanced civilization. There are also three purposes for creation: none, life and intelligence, and simulation or experiment.

What?! You can't just enforce a purpose on the universe as a means to explain... anything. This is a baseless philosophical question, not cosmology! What of MWI, or an infinite universe, or just plain chance?

This is a very cute way of packaging a "why?" philosophical question that would not meet the new phil-forum guidelines in my vew.
 
  • #15
jimjohnson
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I appreciate the comments and have a few more of my own. Most physicists, including Paul Davies and Michio Kaku, believe the universe is fine tuned for life, which is the theme in Goldilocks (not a baseless philosophical question – post 14 and 7). Davies argues seven positions that might explain life’s existence (the last two were added in post 11, the seventh is John Wheeler’s strong anthropic principle). My idea was to add perspective by considering purpose and source. This was not meant to be philosophy or linked to religion (post 2), God could have been called the intelligent designer. The source for intelligent life should also include an advance civilization which could be the intelligent designer. Both TOE and multiuniverse are examples of no purpose and created from space/time itself (post 3). Did I add clarity with source and purpose? Not sure.
 
  • #16
nismaratwork
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I appreciate the comments and have a few more of my own. Most physicists, including Paul Davies and Michio Kaku, believe the universe is fine tuned for life, which is the theme in Goldilocks (not a baseless philosophical question – post 14 and 7). Davies argues seven positions that might explain life’s existence (the last two were added in post 11, the seventh is John Wheeler’s strong anthropic principle). My idea was to add perspective by considering purpose and source. This was not meant to be philosophy or linked to religion (post 2), God could have been called the intelligent designer. The source for intelligent life should also include an advance civilization which could be the intelligent designer. Both TOE and multiuniverse are examples of no purpose and created from space/time itself (post 3). Did I add clarity with source and purpose? Not sure.

OK... lets back up. IS that what Kaku believes, or is that what he believes IF the universe is finite... IF MWI is wrong, if... if...

I also recently read an article, I believe in this site's magazine sponsor/partner (SciAm), that these conditions might not be so finely tuned as we think. The authors talked about enormous changes to forces and constants, but in such a way that one force takes the role of another, and visa versa.

I really do think that you can't simply posit GOD or the nearest equivalent in Cosmology.
May I suggest a perusal of this?... it's just an example of some different thinking around the "fined-tuned universe" conjecture.
http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Cosmo/FineTune.pdf [Broken]

I'm far more impressed by Tegmark, Smolin, Weyl, and others cited, than whatever show Kaku was on this week.
 
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  • #17
Chalnoth
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The source for intelligent life should also include an advance civilization which could be the intelligent designer. Both TOE and multiuniverse are examples of no purpose and created from space/time itself (post 3). Did I add clarity with source and purpose? Not sure.
As I said, these explanations simply don't work. You can't explain the emergence of intelligent life by appeal to some other intelligence. That merely regresses the problem one step while adding more complexity.

The only reason to pursue such explanations is if we have specific evidence of them. Mere existence cannot ever be used as evidence of an explanation like this. In fact, if you look at the history of science, you'll see that these sorts of purpose-based explanations were the norm before modern science. Modern science grew out of previous superstitious beliefs precisely by discarding such purpose-based explanations (e.g. astrology became astronomy, alchemy became chemistry). And as we have learned more and more about science, people have always tended to be biased towards such purpose-based explanations anyway, and they consistently come up with the wrong answers.

So given our experience with science, it makes good sense to be highly, highly skeptical of any purpose-based explanations.
 
  • #18
nismaratwork
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As I said, these explanations simply don't work. You can't explain the emergence of intelligent life by appeal to some other intelligence. That merely regresses the problem one step while adding more complexity.

The only reason to pursue such explanations is if we have specific evidence of them. Mere existence cannot ever be used as evidence of an explanation like this. In fact, if you look at the history of science, you'll see that these sorts of purpose-based explanations were the norm before modern science. Modern science grew out of previous superstitious beliefs precisely by discarding such purpose-based explanations (e.g. astrology became astronomy, alchemy became chemistry). And as we have learned more and more about science, people have always tended to be biased towards such purpose-based explanations anyway, and they consistently come up with the wrong answers.

So given our experience with science, it makes good sense to be highly, highly skeptical of any purpose-based explanations.

That should be stickied.
 
  • #19
jimjohnson
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OK... lets back up. IS that what Kaku believes, or is that what he believes IF the universe is finite... IF MWI is wrong, if... if...

May I suggest a perusal of this?... it's just an example of some different thinking around the "fined-tuned universe" conjecture.
http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Cosmo/FineTune.pdf [Broken]

I'm far more impressed by Tegmark, Smolin, Weyl, and others cited, than whatever show Kaku was on this week.

You recommended a good article which challenges fine tuning (however with limited parameters) and an intelligent designer based on religion.
But you may have missed the point of my "proposal". I was just providing a framework for the possibilities. Stenger would probably support source = space/time and TOE or multiple universes both with no purpose. That is the point - to catagorize responses.
 
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  • #20
jimjohnson
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You referenced a good article that argues against fine tuning (however with limited parameters) and argues against any source based on religion.
But you have missed my point which was to provide a framework for discussing options. Stenger (author of article) would argue for options TOE or muliuniverse with source = space/time and no purpose. Thus, he fits into the framework.
 
  • #21
nismaratwork
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I'm sorry, what framework does he fit into? I'm not entirely clear on that point.
 
  • #22
jimjohnson
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I'm sorry, what framework does he fit into? I'm not entirely clear on that point.
The options for explaining the existence of our universe go into a chart with purpose on one side and source on the other, a simplistic framework. I am not trying to prove any option. Two other points. If the fine tuning concept were dropped the chart is still valid but the options might change depending on how intelligent life is viewed. Second, not sure this framework adds more unknowns (post 13), if space/time or membranes (for multi-universes) just "existed" and are the source, how did they originate? Thus, the ultimate source is still a mystery.
Thanks for your comments.
 
  • #23
Chalnoth
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As I said, purpose isn't a reasonable option without very good evidence to support it. And since the hypotheses in this regard so far presented cannot even have any evidence in support of them, they are completely worthless.

The search for fundamental purpose in the universe in spite of its complete and utter failure to explain anything is fundamentally an anti-science view.
 
  • #24
nismaratwork
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As I said, purpose isn't a reasonable option without very good evidence to support it. And since the hypotheses in this regard so far presented cannot even have any evidence in support of them, they are completely worthless.

The search for fundamental purpose in the universe in spite of its complete and utter failure to explain anything is fundamentally an anti-science view.

I agree.. this seems like a cheap way to sneak god into the conversation, or "something" (hey, lets call it "gawd").
 
  • #25
jimjohnson
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As I said, purpose isn't a reasonable option without very good evidence to support it. And since the hypotheses in this regard so far presented cannot even have any evidence in support of them, they are completely worthless.

The search for fundamental purpose in the universe in spite of its complete and utter failure to explain anything is fundamentally an anti-science view.

You are right, purpose is a human not scientific concept. If a TOE is developed would you say it "might" prove a purpose? If scientific discoveries can not show purpose, then I agree with you.
 
  • #26
nismaratwork
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You are right, purpose is a human not scientific concept. If a TOE is developed would you say it "might" prove a purpose? If scientific discoveries can not show purpose, then I agree with you.

Why would a TOE have anything to with why? You can learn exactly HOW an intricate clockwork is made, even to the point of replicating it. You can't know why it was made, or if there was a reason. In the case of generalizing to the universe, that means nothing to create it in the first place, and no source of a purpose.
 
  • #27
Chronos
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Of course the universe is 'fine tuned', it would not otherwise have existed for billions of years. It's like asking why a slug has eyestalks.
 
  • #28
nismaratwork
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Of course the universe is 'fine tuned', it would not otherwise have existed for billions of years. It's like asking why a slug has eyestalks.

Right... the very debate this country (USA) can't seem to settle on. See 'Kansas'. I'm not arguing... I'd say even more: why is the universe fine tuned? I don't know that it is, but if it were not, no observers would exist to comment. With a slug, there was something that had just eye-SPOTS... so there was obviously some selection pressure... although apparently stalk-eyes are enough. Myself, I would have demanded eyes like Katy Perry's or George Clooney's. :biggrin:

The universe, as far as anyone can show, just is... if there is any tuning it's done by chance or repetition... at least, that's what it looks like.
 
  • #29
thorium1010
178
6
Of course the universe is 'fine tuned', it would not otherwise have existed for billions of years. It's like asking why a slug has eyestalks.

I still do not get this fine tuned thing always thrown at us. why can't it be that universe is just the way it is for billions of years.

we have measured, derived constants, made models that explain the universe. There need not be fine tuning . Can we ask why an atom has a nucleus that contains particles - it is just the way it is and we are able to make measurement of it. To call it fine tuned, perhaps is the onlyway humans can understand the world or universe through a purpose driven thinking.
 
  • #30
jimjohnson
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As I said, purpose isn't a reasonable option without very good evidence to support it. And since the hypotheses in this regard so far presented cannot even have any evidence in support of them, they are completely worthless.

The search for fundamental purpose in the universe in spite of its complete and utter failure to explain anything is fundamentally an anti-science view.

Is this response an opinion? Many scientist support the anthropic principle which has life as a purpose.
 
  • #31
Chalnoth
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Is this response an opinion? Many scientist support the anthropic principle which has life as a purpose.
That's just completely false. The anthropic principle says nothing even close to that.

The anthropic principle, in the form it is generally used by scientists, is just a selection effect: it says that the only sort of universe observers will ever observe is one where they can exist. For example, intelligent observers will never observe themselves living on an uninhabitable planet, because if it were uninhabitable, they couldn't survive there.

This is the way the anthropic principle is used within science, and it is the only way that it is even a coherent statement.
 
  • #32
jimjohnson
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You are quoting the weak principle. The "final" principle states "intelligence must develop wihin the universe and then never die out." Also, the strong principle "the universe must have the properties for life..." This is purpose.
 
  • #33
Chalnoth
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You are quoting the weak principle. The "final" principle states "intelligence must develop wihin the universe and then never die out." Also, the strong principle "the universe must have the properties for life..." This is purpose.
Yeah, you won't find any significant support for that within the scientific community. A good summary of what most scientists think of this sort of thing can be summed up by the last sentence in the Wikipedia page on the subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_anthropic_principle
Martin Gardner dubbed FAP the "completely ridiculous anthropic principle" (CRAP).
 

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