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    16 Sep '09 09:242 edits
    In Thread 117452, jaywill submitted the following video as demonstration of physical science support for intelligent design.

    YouTube&feature=related

    The video captures a talk by Lee Strobel, in which he presents a particular version of the design argument which relates to the "finely tuned" physical and cosmological properties of the universe. Strobel's basic argument is as follows. The universe contains a number (Strobel claims >30) of physical and cosmological constants that are extremely finely tuned. These constants are "finely tuned", he maintains, in the sense that if any one of them were to differ even minutely from its actual value intelligent life in the universe would be impossible. Stroble insists that this is extremely good evidence for an intelligent designer. The basic idea here is that since the conditions for life are so extraordinarily stringent (all these constants must be tuned just so to make life possible); and since nevertheless we exist and our universe therefore must have just these right conditions; and since the probability that this all just arose by chance is presumably insanely small; then we should endorse intelligent design because it offers greater plausibility.

    The first-order intuition that Strobel is trying to push is the idea that the probability of a finely-tuned universe given intelligent design is much larger than the probability of a finely-tuned universe given chance. But he fails to account for observational selection effect. If you watch the video, Stroble himself maintains that if the universe were not finely-tuned, then intelligent life would be impossible. (And, of course, Strobel also maintains that intelligent life does exist in the universe.) Thus, we should also be conditioning on essentially a (weak) anthropic principle – one that is actually entailed by Strobel's own position. That is, Strobel's own position entails that intelligent life exists and therefore that the universe must be finely-tuned. But when we account for this in our conditioning (again, we are just conditioning on Strobel's own entailment), his argument no longer makes any sense. The probability that the universe is finely tuned given the conjunction of [intelligent design and that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must be finely tuned] is of course the same as the probability that the universe is finely tuned given the conjunction of [chance and that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must be finely tuned].

    The point here is that such "fine tuning" arguments seem to fail when we account for weak anthropic principle. Depending on the form of weak anthropic principle, the "finely tuned" line of thought only seems to, if anything, undermine the notion of intelligent design. For example, check out the following article that discusses this in much more depth (and there is also a pertinent work by Sober that is referenced in the article):

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/super.cfm
  2. Joined
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    16 Sep '09 09:54
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    In Thread 117452, jaywill submitted the following video as demonstration of physical science support for intelligent design.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN2oc7l1mPU&feature=related

    The video captures a talk by Lee Strobel, in which he presents a particular version of the design argument which relates to the "finely tuned" physical a ...[text shortened]... that is referenced in the article):

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/super.cfm
    If I want to do a statistical survey of some sort, then I have to have much more samples than just one.

    If I want to see the persentage of grey pebbles in a beach, compared with red pebbles, then I cannot just take one, and one only, up and say, "Well, this one is gray, so I am perfectly sure that 100% of all pebbles ar grey on this beach." I have to take up a bucket of them, perhaps I have also to take a bucket from several places on the beach. And then count them and assume these pebbles are representative collection of all bebbles on the beach. Right?

    Okay. We have one universe. We can examin this one.
    We say that because the constants are what they are we can have life in the universe. Fine. But wrong.
    If we take som hundreds of universes and make a statistical survey, we might (I say 'might'😉 find out that even with higher or lower of these constants life can evolve. Live as ours? No, probably not, but life.

    What would this professor say if there wasn't life in our universe, despite of our constants? Whoudl he say "No, life cannot exist." Or do he say - nothing? Yes probably. He wouldn't even exist.

    So he says that "There is life in our universe because I'm alive to tell you." Surprising, isn't it?

    So because there is life in our universe, it has to be created according to the biblical legend? Or by an intelligent being?

    No, the existance of life in the universe doesn't prove anything. Other than there is life in this universe. Nothing more.
  3. Joined
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    16 Sep '09 10:033 edits
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    If I want to do a statistical survey of some sort, then I have to have much more samples than just one.

    If I want to see the persentage of grey pebbles in a beach, compared with red pebbles, then I cannot just take one, and one only, up and say, "Well, this one is gray, so I am perfectly sure that 100% of all pebbles ar grey on this beach." I have to t se doesn't prove anything. Other than there is life in this universe. Nothing more.
    If we take som hundreds of universes and make a statistical survey, we might (I say 'might'😉 find out that even with higher or lower of these constants life can evolve. Live as ours? No, probably not, but life.

    Of course there are other criticisms of "finely tuned" arguments that I would agree with apart from the one I brought up in the opening post (several, actually). One that you touch on here is that we can dispute how tight the life-friendly band on the physical and cosmological constants actually is; and we can make a case for ignorance on whether or not there are possible life-friendly sets of values that differ even markedly from ours.

    But this really doesn't have anything to do with the particular criticism I bring up in the opening post (and which is developed in the article I linked). I brought up only this particular criticism for discussion. Of course, if you want to bring up others, that's good for discussion too.
  4. Joined
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    16 Sep '09 10:371 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    [b]If we take som hundreds of universes and make a statistical survey, we might (I say 'might'😉 find out that even with higher or lower of these constants life can evolve. Live as ours? No, probably not, but life.

    Of course there are other criticisms of "finely tuned" arguments that I would agree with apart from the one I brought up in the opening or discussion. Of course, if you want to bring up others, that's good for discussion too.[/b]
    I like this discussion too. It's important.

    Now I want to give my opinion about "Life as ours":

    With the current gravitational constant we have a good balance between lighter elements and heavier elements.
    With a little higher gravitational constant we would have more heavier elements and not so much lighter elements. The age of stars would be lower, and their temperature and radiation would be higher.
    Meaning that carbon based organisms, like life as ours, would have problem.

    But life forms based on heavier elements, like silica, could be more abundant...

    Life forms as ours couldn't survive, but the poser of life is strong. May we hypothize about life forms relying not on carbon but in other elements? Or not in chemical life, but something other than chemical? Or not in ***, but in ***?

    Life adapts to its environment.
  5. Joined
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    16 Sep '09 12:562 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    In Thread 117452, jaywill submitted the following video as demonstration of physical science support for intelligent design.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN2oc7l1mPU&feature=related

    The video captures a talk by Lee Strobel, in which he presents a particular version of the design argument which relates to the "finely tuned" physical a that is referenced in the article):

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/super.cfm
    ==================================
    Thus, we should also be conditioning on essentially a (weak) anthropic principle – one that is actually entailed by Strobel's own position. That is, Strobel's own position entails that intelligent life exists and therefore that the universe must be finely-tuned. But when we account for this in our conditioning (again, we are just conditioning on Strobel's own entailment), his argument no longer makes any sense. The probability that the universe is finely tuned given the conjunction of [intelligent design and that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must be finely tuned] is of course the same as the probability that the universe is finely tuned given the conjunction of [chance and that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must be finely tuned].

    The point here is that such "fine tuning" arguments seem to fail when we account for weak anthropic principle. Depending on the form of weak anthropic principle, the "finely tuned" line of thought only seems to, if anything, undermine the notion of intelligent design. For example, check out the following article that discusses this in much more depth (and there is also a pertinent work by Sober that is referenced in the article):
    =====================================


    I am still not sure what your objection actually is.

    The first thing which gives me concern is whether you are representing the video talk accurately. To ascertain this I will have to watch it again.

    If you want to help me understand your objection you can start here:
    Where did Strobel mention "anthropic principle" strong or weak in the video ?

    Are you raising objections to this particular talk or are you drawing up some larger generalizations to take shot at some other weaknesses in other presentations you have heard?

    Did you think "intelligent life" was that much emphasized by Strobel as the result of this "fine tuning" or simply "life"?


    ===================================
    That is, Strobel's own position entails that intelligent life exists and therefore that the universe must be finely-tuned. ============================


    That is an over simplification and misrepresentation of the argument, even when I consider it in context of your surrounding paragraph.


    ======================================
    The probability that the universe is finely tuned given the conjunction of [intelligent design and that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must be finely tuned]
    =====================================


    This sounds like a subtle recasting of the argument to me. This sounds to me like erecting of a strawman argument not representative of the actual video's point.

    ======================================
    is of course the same as the probability that the universe is finely tuned given the conjunction of [chance and that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must be finely tuned].
    ==========================================


    This doesn't make too much sense to me yet.

    It sounds to me like a weak and unsuccessful attempt to recast the argument or look at it from some other angle to exploit a weakness.

    Other than the fact that you are clever and have a fertile imagination, I don't see yet a serious counter argument.

    Can we agree that there are more than one paramaters that somehow have been exquisetly set just right for life (any life) to develop?

    Can we agree that the setting of one of them is unusual enough, let alone the combined novelty of several of them being set just right for the development of life ?

    Now here is where you argument loses me.

    You seem to be saying "Well, the probabilty of these paramaters being fine tuned intelligently is the same as the probability that they by chance just happened to come out that way. So then, Strobel's argument is invalid."

    I don't follow you here. And I seriously doubt that you would transfer such logic to fields of forensic evidence as applied to things like insurance fraud, archeology, and crime detection.
  6. Joined
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    16 Sep '09 13:141 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    In Thread 117452, jaywill submitted the following video as demonstration of physical science support for intelligent design.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN2oc7l1mPU&feature=related

    The video captures a talk by Lee Strobel, in which he presents a particular version of the design argument which relates to the "finely tuned" physical a that is referenced in the article):

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/super.cfm
    I am readng through your link which seems to be a rebuttal to another discusion by Hugh Ross.

    As I see points dealt with in Strobel's video, I may point that out.

    Your talk origins paper says here:

    ==================================
    Moreover, "fine-tuning," in the sense that "life-friendly" laws are claimed to represent only a very small fraction of possible universes, can even undermine the hypothesis of a supernatural origin of the universe; and the more "finely-tuned" the universe is, the more this hypothesis can be undermined.
    ========================================


    Okay. This possible multiple universes thing was mentioned in Strobel's talk. Ane he said there was no evidence of such theorized multiple universes.

    So unknown, unfound, unsubstantiated, "possible" multiple universes, I think, does not undermind Strobel's concept.

    I will read your article and look for what I think is relevant to Strobel's talk. Fair enough ?
  7. Joined
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    16 Sep '09 15:491 edit
    Going on the Talk Origins says:

    ===================================
    Others have argued against the assumption that the universe must have very narrowly constrained values of certain physical constants for life to exist in it. They have argued that life could exist in universes that are very different from ours, but it is only our insular ignorance of the physics of such universes that misleads us into thinking that a universe must be much like our own to sustain life. Indeed, virtually nothing is known about the possibility of life in universes that are very different from ours. It could well be that most universes could support life, even if it is of a type that is completely unfamiliar to us. To assert that only universes very like our own could support life goes well beyond anything that we know today.

    Indeed, it might well be that a fundamental "theory of everything" in physics would predict that only a very narrow range of physical constants, or even no range at all, would be possible. If this turns out to be the case, then the entire "fine-tuning" argument would be moot.

    While recognizing the force and validity of these arguments, the main points we will make go in quite different directions, and show that even if Ross is correct about "fine-tuning" and even if ours is the only universe that exists, the "fine-tuning" argument fails.
    ==========================================


    My question would then be are the objectors will to apply this same argument to invalidate the supposedly known properties of light, gravity, chemical reactions, electro-magnetism ?

    Shall we say, "Well because it could be that in other possible unverses gravity may have developed along totally different OTHER lines, THEREFORE, we really cannot say anything conclusive about the nature of gravity."

    Does our "insular ignorance" of how gravity, light, chemical reactions, physics might have developed in other universes, cast serious doubt on our understanding of the nature of these things?

    This seems a terribly defeatist attitude that no scientific knowledge is secure. Our "insular ignorance" casts doubt of our comprehension of the true nature of anything in the natural world.

    What these objectors seem to fail to realize is that this proposed "fine tuning" is by no means isolated to only to emergence of life.

    ==================================
    Indeed, virtually nothing is known about the possibility of life in universes that are very different from ours. It could well be that most universes could support life, even if it is of a type that is completely unfamiliar to us. To assert that only universes very like our own could support life goes well beyond anything that we know today.
    ============================================


    This statement, to me, could take out the word "life" and substitute any number of other phenomenon in that are known by science, and immediately casts doubts that we understand anything of their true nature.

    The laws of physics may behave totally different in any one of these supposed other universes. So how can we really know that our understanding of the laws of motion, mass, gravity, etc. are reliable at all ?

    We have here one known universe to deal with. Our science is limited to that one realm. Should we give up scienctific study because an insular ignorance of other universes renders all knowledge about this known universe suspect ?
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    16 Sep '09 16:372 edits
    Okay LemonYellow, I waded through one pass of this dense response to SOME article by Hugh Ross.

    And there is some interesting probability theorems there and some argumentation with some Davide Kwon who responded to this discussion (on Ross and not Lee Strobel's video).

    In this conclusion they wrap it up:

    ================================
    Conclusion: Kwon's "proof" is fatally flawed. He incorrectly asserts that the only way to keep P(N|F&L) from being very small is to assume naturalism a priori. Quite the contrary, the only way to make P(N|F&L) small is to assume supernaturalism a priori. Kwon apparently does not understand the significance of some of the Bayesian probabilities we use; this is forgiveable in a sense since Bayesian probability theory is still misunderstood by most people, even those with some training in probability theory...but it means that Kwon should withdraw these comments until he understands Bayesian probability theory well enough to criticize it. ======================================


    Do you LemonYellow have enough Bayesian probability theory under your belt that you can understand what they are talking about?


    I am asking about you personally. This clearly goes beyond my level of knowledge of statistical pobability. And they claim in essence "Well, most people don't understand this."

    So we are to trust them on it ?

    Thanks for the article. But I think what is going on here is a rigorous commitment to symbolic language for the sake of refuting an idea which they wish to refute having casted it in terms of that language.

    I don't know enough to say that they have actually expressed the thoughts of (once again Hugh Ross) fairly in that symbolic language. Maybe they have. But maybe they have not but have framed it so that it possesses logical weaknessess which they wish to exploit.

    Do you have the knowledge of Bayesian probability theory to understand what they are saying ? I do not.

    On a wink and a smile that we should just trust these writers, I don't think I will regard this article as reason to doubt that the fine tuning of the universe for life is strong evidence for purposeful intelligent design.

    I don't think this kind of rigorous objection would be applied by them to areas where the evidence might lead to human design. I think they apply only because they do not like that fact that the evidence might lead to God a Creator as the designer.

    I suspect that an a prior commitment to there being no God is probably the underlying motivation of this rigorous objection.

    I am opened to learn more and visit the article again, more than once, when I learn some more.
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    16 Sep '09 17:262 edits
    Hey, this guy Thomas Bayes, responsible for Bayes's Theorem was an 18th century English clergyman.

    What a let down. I thought for sure he was more likely to be a card carrying atheist.

    Mark up another point for men of faith contributing to scientific knowledge.
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    16 Sep '09 19:242 edits
    jaywill, I am really not sure to which of your multiple posts to repond first or foremost.

    I never claimed that Strobel explicitly uses the term 'anthropic principle' in the video; I claimed that he is committed to a weak version of it. This fact (that Strobel is committed to a weak version of the anthropic principle) should hardly be surprising. If you read his work The Case for a Creator, Strobel in fact explicitly states that the "anthropic principle" (of which he presents there a weak version of it) is good positive evidence for the existence of the creator. And if you have some familiarity with the anthropic principle by name, then you know that his talk in your video deals centrally with it. His argument is an anthropic design argument.

    The reason I bring up the paper by Ikeda and Jefferys (by the way, I don't know why you keep referring to 'talk origins' -- I gave you a talkreason link so you can access the paper, but I may just as well have given you a link to the paper from Jefferys' UTexas departmental site) is because it aims to refute exactly the sort of argument that Strobel presents -- namely, an anthropic design argument that maintains that a weak version of the anthropic principle supplies good evidence for intelligent design. Yes, the Ikeda and Jefferys paper includes some math, but I think it is a straightforward argument, and I do not think it is prohibitively complicated or dense for our purposes here.

    Your posts so far seem pretty scattered to me, and I am not sure what you want me to address first. How should we focus our discussion?
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    16 Sep '09 20:10
    If intelligent life exists any where in the universe, it certainly does not exist on earth!
  12. Joined
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    17 Sep '09 21:563 edits
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    jaywill, I am really not sure to which of your multiple posts to repond first or foremost.

    I never claimed that Strobel explicitly uses the term 'anthropic principle' in the video; I claimed that he is committed to a weak version of it. This fact (that Strobel is committed to a weak version of the anthropic principle) should hardly be surprising. I nd I am not sure what you want me to address first. How should we focus our discussion?
    The paper from Talkreasons was read by me. And I have spent a fair amount of time reading up on probability algebra and Bayes's Theorem because if possible I want to understand, what I consider the bulk of their objection.

    It may be while before I can comment on my own thoughts of their probability algrebra objection.

    They received one response to it from Mr. David Kwon. I would like to better understand his points as well. To me the crux of your suggested paper centered around this Probability Algerbre refutation of something Hugh Ross wrote. I gather that they also would agree.

    I do know that Ross is a Phd. in Astronomy and also would like to find his response to the paper. I have at least one book by him, The Creator and the Cosmos, which is endorsed by a department head of Mechanical Engineering as Texas A&M, and a Phd. from Yerkes Observatory, as well as another Phd. in Physics from Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    I have no further thoughts on the discussion right now.
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    17 Sep '09 23:04
    Now you've done it - this thread is shot.
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    17 Sep '09 23:50
    Originally posted by TerrierJack
    Now you've done it - this thread is shot.
    I don't know why you say that.

    I am right now trying to contact Dr. Ross for his response to the submitted article.
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    Does mathematical probability factor in to this argument?







    Manny
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