1. Joined
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    28 Apr '05 04:22
    scientists and theoreticians who are a lot smarter than i am say that the operational window for life as we know it is extremely small -- that is, if any of the main cosmological or physical constants (such as charge of an electron, gravitational constant, etc) were even slightly different, then carbon-based life would not be possible.

    in this sense, the universe we live in seems remarkably fine-tuned for the existence of man.

    i have seen the above bolded statement used to advance several different (competing) viewpoints:

    1. the odds of such a finely tuned environment occurring by chance are so exceedingly small that it implies creationism and the existence of a divine creator.

    2. it implies very little and does not imply creationism. this is because of the Anthropic Principle which roughly says 'If the conditions weren't suitable for life, then we wouldn't be asking why they are as they are' (these are Stephen Hawking's words from his Life in the Universe public lecture, http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/lindex.html).

    in other words, the fact that man does exist in the universe implies that the conditions for man's existence are met, and therefore we should not be surprised at all that the universe is so finely tuned.

    3. i'm not so clear on this argument, but some argue that it implies that man is actually the 'creator' of the universe because everything in the universe tends towards man, and because it is only man's observations that bring the universe into real existence. again, i'm not so sure i understand this position -- most of my knowledge on it comes from http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/design.shtml.

    i was just wondering if any of you have an opinion on what the above bolded statement implies.

    it seems that a creationist could use it to his advantage by invoking 1.), but at the same time, someone who didn't believe in creationism can evoke 2).

    personally, i think it lends credence to creationism, but at the same time, i cannot ignore the self evidence of the Anthropic Principle.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Joined
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    28 Apr '05 04:40
    The Anthropic principle is very powerful (and, IMO, valid) for explaining these seemingly unlikely occurences. Unfortunately, many people pass it off as rubbish, citing that it is too easy to dispel evidence using this principle. Also, it is a difficult principle to genuinely understand, leading to misunderstanding.

    This is the analogy I use to explain it:

    Various people of my generation have said to me that they find it amazing that both their Grandfathers attended and survived the Second World War. "Out of all the millions that died at the hands of the world bloodiest conflict, both my grandads survived. Isn't that amazing?"

    Of course, it is amazing in a way, but the grandchild stating this isn't in a special position, because if one or both of their Granddads had died, they wouldn't be here questioning the odds. Some other person would be instead.

    And so with the universe - if those unlikely conditions for carbon-based life had not occured, it is conceivable that the prevailing conditions would have lead to some other form of life e.g. jam-based life.....
  3. Joined
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    28 Apr '05 05:16
    Originally posted by Pullhard
    The Anthropic principle is very powerful (and, IMO, valid) for explaining these seemingly unlikely occurences. Unfortunately, many people pass it off as rubbish, citing that it is too easy to dispel evidence using this principle. Also, it is a difficult principle to genuinely understand, leading to misunderstanding.

    This is the analogy I use to explain i ...[text shortened]... at the prevailing conditions would have lead to some other form of life e.g. jam-based life.....
    i think your analogy is a great example of the Anthropic Principle (AP).

    i agree with you that the AP makes perfectly good sense and is difficult to ignore...
  4. Arizona, USA
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    28 Apr '05 05:17
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    ... the operational window for life as we know it ...
    I suspect that a Universe with different physical constants or even different physical laws could be very nurturing of life--just not life as we know it. Rather, life of some sort that would seem utterly strange to us.
  5. Not Kansas
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    28 Apr '05 05:181 edit
    Here's a link to another view of this:
    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/21st_century_science/lectures/lec28.html

    It contains an overview of the "many worlds" theory, and suggests that there are other universes that do not have the conditions to produce life; ours just happens to be one outcome of many possibilities. The section titled "Anthropic Principle and Inflation" shows one way this could happen.
  6. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    28 Apr '05 07:17
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    scientists and theoreticians who are a lot smarter than i am say that the operational window for life as we know it is extremely small -- that is, if any of the main cosmological or physical constants (such as charge of an electron, gravitational constant, etc) were even slightly different, then carbon-based life would not be possible.

    [b]in this sen ...[text shortened]... the same time, i cannot ignore the self evidence of the Anthropic Principle.

    Any thoughts?
    IMHO
    1) Nobody even seems to want to try to calculate what the odds are for a devine creator to exist, until they do and it becomes more probable than 2) ,,I'll stick with 2) because 3) is just another 1)

    2) is what we know as fact ,,the Universe exists and man is part of it.

    3) implied man existed before the universe , thats tough to do ,, i.e. exist inside something that doesn't exist .

    1) has the same problem as 3)

    for 1) to have any validity The Universe Itself is God , and that would make man part of God .
  7. Subscriberno1marauder
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    28 Apr '05 07:431 edit
    We discussed this in another thread, but personally I believe that if:

    A) A small difference in the forces of the universe would have made life impossible (the gravitional force in particular); and
    B) There are no other universes.

    If the premises are true, then the possibility that the universe was intentionally "designed" in some sense to be life friendly must logically increase. I am unimpressed with the "well it had to happen sometime" argument IF the chances were small and in one roll of the die it came up. It's not a proof (which is impossible) but I think a fair minded person must admit it makes some kind of design more likely.
  8. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    28 Apr '05 08:59
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    We discussed this in another thread, but personally I believe that if:

    A) A small difference in the forces of the universe would have made life impossible (the gravitional force in particular); and
    B) There are no other universes.

    If the premises are true, then the possibility that the universe was intentionally ...[text shortened]... mpossible) but I think a fair minded person must admit it makes some kind of design more likely.
    doesn't the condition B) rule out the need for a creator

    since it forces condition A ) to form only one universe

    the only known fact in this matter is the universe exists as it is.
  9. Standard memberjimmyb270
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    28 Apr '05 10:281 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    in this sense, the universe we live in seems remarkably fine-tuned for the existence of man.
    I refer you (again - I've posted this in numerous similair threads!) to the words of the late, great Douglas Adams, who compared the wonder people feel at how perfectly adapted this universe is for us to the puddle who wonders at how perfectly the hole it is in fits it's shape.
  10. Joined
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    28 Apr '05 15:061 edit
    As nicely as it seems that the universe (at least our little corner of it) is set up to sustain and nuture humankind, let us not forget that this arrangement is of (relatively) brief duration. Once our Sun begins its inevitable death process, we do as well. Then again, maybe we will at that time already have "flown the coop" as it were, residing in another hospitable clime in our galaxy or another.
  11. Standard membertelerion
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    28 Apr '05 15:481 edit
    Hey Lemon, here is the thread to which no1 was referring. We discuss (1) from your post quite a bit. I don't recall if we discuss (2). We definitely did not look at (3).

    Anyway the thread is still relatively short if you want to look at it.

    http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=22381
  12. Joined
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    28 Apr '05 16:10
    To base a theistic faith on the idea that a creation must have a creator myth is to rest faith on a very thin ethical concept.
  13. Subscriberno1marauder
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    28 Apr '05 16:51
    Originally posted by eagles54
    As nicely as it seems that the universe (at least our little corner of it) is set up to sustain and nuture humankind, let us not forget that this arrangement is of (relatively) brief duration. Once our Sun begins its inevitable death process, we do as well. Then again, maybe we will at that time already have "flown the coop" as it were, residing in another hospitable clime in our galaxy or another.
    The argument isn't that the solar system or Earth is particulary suitable for life; the argument is that even small deviations from the strengths of the basic forces of the universe (i.e. gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces) would have made the entire universe inhospitable to life. The argument is discussed in detail in the thread Telerion cited. Pithy quotes from Douglas Adams (who's stuff I love) aside, it seems to be an interesting argument for some kind of "design" even if it is essentially unprovable.
  14. Standard memberColetti
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    28 Apr '05 17:00
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    .... Pithy quotes from Douglas Adams (who's stuff I love) aside, it seems to be an interesting argument for some kind of "design" even if it is essentially unprovable.
    Have you seen the movie!! I really want to see it. Love his books!
  15. Joined
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    28 Apr '05 17:10
    The inherant difficulty of this question comes from the fact that we are here and do indeed exist.

    If life didn't yet exist in our galaxy, and outside spectator could say "intelligent life has horrible odds of forming in this galaxy". Yet given enough galaxies, life will form, despite the poor odds.

    When intelligent life does form, the intelligent life then recognizes the great odds of its own existence. The intelligent life then says "Wow, what are the odds of that?!? There must be more to it."

    But the life has no comprehension of how many times this experiment of c hance has been repeated. The odds could be 1 in 100,000. yet the test had been repreated a million times. The odds of it happening were actually pretty good.

    The higher the odds, the more incredible it seems. In reality though, we don't know how many times this trial has been repeated. The universe could have collapsed and expanded 1 billion times already.

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