Home » Cosmology » To be fine tuned for life, the universe should have been tuned differently?

To be fine tuned for life, the universe should have been tuned differently?

At Slashdot “News for Nerds.Stuff that Matters” we learn:

eldavojohn writes
“A common argument one might encounter in intelligent design or the arduous process of resolving science with religion is that the physical constants of our world are fine tuned for life by some creator or designer. A University of Alberta theoretical physicist claims quite the opposite when it comes to the cosmological constant. His paper says that our ever expanding universe has a positive cosmological constant and he explains that the optimum cosmological constant for maximizing the chances of life in the universe would be slightly negative: ‘any positive value of the constant would tend to decrease the fraction of matter that forms into galaxies, reducing the amount available for life. Therefore the measured value of the cosmological constant, which is positive, is evidence against the idea that the constants have been fine-tuned for life.’” [Links at site.]

Well, when we find a good many of Stephen Hawking’s other universes, we can see whether any are negatively constanted, and if so, whether they have more life.

Thoughts?

More from Colliding Universes, my blog on competing theories of our universe:

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

15 Responses to To be fine tuned for life, the universe should have been tuned differently?

  1. Actually the amount of matter in the universe is finely tuned to the dark energy (cosmological constant) of the universe:

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007682

    And if you mess with one constant it throws the other constants out of whack:

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.” Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    In fact the mass of the universe is balanced to within one grain of sand with the other constants:

    Evidence for Belief in God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Isn’t the immense size of the universe evidence that humans are really insignificant, contradicting the idea that a God concerned with humanity created the universe? It turns out that the universe could not have been much smaller than it is in order for nuclear fusion to have occurred during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang. Without this brief period of nucleosynthesis, the early universe would have consisted entirely of hydrogen. Likewise, the universe could not have been much larger than it is, or life would not have been possible. If the universe were just one part in 10^59 larger, the universe would have collapsed before life was possible. Since there are only 10^80 baryons in the universe, this means that an addition of just 10^21 baryons (about the mass of a grain of sand) would have made life impossible. The universe is exactly the size it must be for life to exist at all.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ntro2.html

    I think this following music video sums up nicely what these transcendent universal constants are telling us about reality:

    My Beloved One – Inspirational Christian Song – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200171

    further note:

    As well as the universe having a transcendent beginning, thus confirming the Theistic postulation in Genesis 1:1, the following recent discovery of a ‘Dark Age’ for the early universe uncannily matches up with the Bible passage in Job 38:4-11.

    For the first 400,000 years of our universe’s expansion, the universe was a seething maelstrom of energy and sub-atomic particles. This maelstrom was so hot, that sub-atomic particles trying to form into atoms would have been blasted apart instantly, and so dense, light could not travel more than a short distance before being absorbed. If you could somehow live long enough to look around in such conditions, you would see nothing but brilliant white light in all directions. When the cosmos was about 400,000 years old, it had cooled to about the temperature of the surface of the sun. The last light from the “Big Bang” shone forth at that time. This “light” is still detectable today as the Cosmic Background Radiation.
    This 400,000 year old “baby” universe entered into a period of darkness. When the dark age of the universe began, the cosmos was a formless sea of particles. By the time the dark age ended, a couple of hundred million years later, the universe lit up again by the light of some of the galaxies and stars that had been formed during this dark era. It was during the dark age of the universe that the heavier chemical elements necessary for life, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and most of the rest, were first forged, by nuclear fusion inside the stars, out of the universe’s primordial hydrogen and helium.
    It was also during this dark period of the universe the great structures of the modern universe were first forged. Super-clusters, of thousands of galaxies stretching across millions of light years, had their foundations laid in the dark age of the universe. During this time the infamous “missing dark matter”, was exerting more gravity in some areas than in other areas; drawing in hydrogen and helium gas, causing the formation of mega-stars. These mega-stars were massive, weighing in at 20 to more than 100 times the mass of the sun. The crushing pressure at their cores made them burn through their fuel in only a million years. It was here, in these short lived mega-stars under these crushing pressures, the chemical elements necessary for life were first forged out of the hydrogen and helium. The reason astronomers can’t see the light from these first mega-stars, during this dark era of the universe’s early history, is because the mega-stars were shrouded in thick clouds of hydrogen and helium gas. These thick clouds prevented the mega-stars from spreading their light through the cosmos as they forged the elements necessary for future life to exist on earth. After about 200 million years, the end of the dark age came to the cosmos. The universe was finally expansive enough to allow the dispersion of the thick hydrogen and helium “clouds”. With the continued expansion of the universe, the light, of normal stars and dwarf galaxies, was finally able to shine through the thick clouds of hydrogen and helium gas, bringing the dark age to a close. (How The Stars Were Born – Michael D. Lemonick)

    Job 38:4-11
    “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched a line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed my limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!”

    History of The Universe Timeline- Graph Image
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/.....meline.jpg

    As a sidelight to this, every class of elements that exists on the periodic table of elements is necessary for complex carbon-based life to exist on earth. The three most abundant elements in the human body, Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, ‘just so happen’ to be the most abundant elements in the universe, save for helium which is inert. A truly amazing coincidence that strongly implies ‘the universe had us in mind all along’. Even uranium the last naturally occurring element on the period table of elements is necessary for life. The heat generated by the decay of uranium is necessary to keep a molten core in the earth for an extended period of time, which is necessary for the magnetic field surrounding the earth, which in turn protects organic life from the harmful charged particles of the sun. As well, uranium decay provides the heat for tectonic activity and the turnover of the earth’s crustal rocks, which is necessary to keep a proper mixture of minerals and nutrients available on the surface of the earth, which is necessary for long term life on earth. (Denton; Nature’s Destiny). These following articles and videos give a bit deeper insight into the crucial role that individual elements play in allowing life:

    The Elements: Forged in Stars – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003861

    Michael Denton – We Are Stardust – Uncanny Balance Of The Elements – Fred Hoyle Atheist to Deist/Theist – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003877

    The Role of Elements in Life Processes
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/LifeElement.php

    Periodic Table – Interactive web page for each element
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/MIIperiodicChart.html

  2. Here’s a quote from the paper:

    Although one could make the fraction of baryons condensing into structures larger by a negative cosmological constant, the ?ip side is that if ? < 0, the entire universe will recollapse , putting a limit on how much time there is for life to develop, and therefore on what fraction of baryons actually form life.

    I looked at the paper because just a little thought makes the above statement clearly evident: without a positive cosmological constant, the universe would recollapse. Happily, the author admits this.

    The fact that stars have to first form and explode so that the higher atomic elements can form, and that “intelligent life” needed 5 billion years to form on earth (in toto), flies in the face of the author’s assertion.

    Everything exists in tension. Without a positive cosmological constant—balanced as it is by gravity—this tension wouldn’t exist in the cosmos.

    Physicists have now lost their heads; not just evolutionary biologists. Where will it end?

  3. The third sentence of the quote is this:

    ” . . . cosmological constant, the flip side is that if Lambda [the cosmological constant] < 0, the . . . "

  4. Of course, the presupposition in all of this is that God wants “life” to happen everywhere. Well, how does this scientist know this?

    Isn’t it amazing that scientists know God better than God knows Himself? Where in the Bible do we read anything about God creating life somewhere else in the universe, or that He intends life elsewhere in the universe? I read instead, “there will be a new Heaven, and a new Earth.” St. Peter says that all the elements will be burnt up as God prepares the New Heavens.

    We’re now dealing with know-it-alls. It’s shameless.

  5. PaV, but if he just ‘wishful thinking’ from a naturalistic perspective, and just wants to increase the available amount of mass so as to increase the chances of life spontaneously arising, he is going to need a WHOLE LOT MORE MASS!

    baryons = 10^80

    Probabilities Of Life – Don Johnson PhD. – 38 minute mark of video
    a typical functional protein – 1 part in 10^175
    the required enzymes for life – 1 part in 10^40,000
    a living self replicating cell – 1 part in 10^340,000,000
    http://www.vimeo.com/11706014

    DID LIFE START BY CHANCE?
    Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias)
    http://members.tripod.com/~Black_J/chance.html

    further note:

    Does the Probability for ETI = 1?
    Excerpt: In another book I wrote with Fuz, Who Was Adam?, we describe calculations done by evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala and by astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler for the probability that a bacterium would evolve under ideal natural conditions—given the presumption that the mechanisms for natural biological evolution are both effective and rapid. They determine that probability to be no more than 10-24,000,000.
    The bottom line is that rather than the probability for extraterrestrial intelligent life being 1 as Aczel claims, very conservatively from a naturalistic perspective it is much less than 10^500 + 22 -1054 -100,000,000,000 -24,000,000. That is, it is less than 10-100,024,000,532. In longhand notation it would be 0.00 … 001 with 100,024,000,531 zeros (100 billion, 24 million, 5 hundred and thirty-one zeros) between the decimal point and the 1. That longhand notation of the probability would fill over 20,000 complete Bibles. (As far as scientific calculations are concerned, determining how close a probability is to zero, only Penrose’s 1 in 10^10^123 calculation, for the initial phase-space of the universe, is closer)
    http://www.reasons.org/does-probability-eti-1

    Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis – Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean.
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers.....fault.html

  6. 6

    In my eyes the fine tuning of the laws of nature or the laws of the universe is an argument against ID or more specifically against the intelligent design of living things.

    It is not really plausible that the laws of nature would be fine tuned to produce intelligent life if in the end they are still not capable of producing life and thus intelligent agency should be necessary.

  7. second opinion: The key word is “production”. No one in ID argues that the universe, no matter how fine-tuned, could “produce” life. The fine-tuning is required to have a universe that it is actually possible to live in. ID never expected it to produce life, that’s what we are arguing against. I think you must be thinking of the other guys.

  8. 8

    But a universe that is habitable can’t be evidence that it can’t produce life. It is the other way round. If you found out that a universe was specifically made to be habitable you would naturally assume that it also can produce life. Why else should it be made habitable?

  9. second opinion:

    If you found a house that was habitable, would you expect it to produce life?

    From the ID perspective, the universe is the house that the designer made to put the life into. But its the designer that creates the life. (Unless you believe that the impetus or potential for life is buried in the initial conditions, but that is not necessary by the line of reasoning above.)

  10. 10

    The thing is what is fine tuned is not a house but the constants of laws of nature or even the laws itself. And these laws govern the processes that make life possible and that sustain life. But these processes are, if what the ToE says is true, the exact same processes that are responsible for the creation and the evolution of life.

  11. F/N: Cf. remark and link here in the later thread on the topic. In aggregate, we are discussing dozens of finely tuned parameters, making the cumulative case that the universe is set up to an operating point for life. Dr Torley’s original post is well worth the read, and so are several onward links.

  12. additional note:

    Indeed, math is not kind to Darwinism in the least when considering the probability of humans ‘randomly’ evolving:

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God. William Lane Craig

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

  13. second opinion:

    But these processes are, if what the ToE says is true, the exact same processes that are responsible for the creation and the evolution of life.

    And that, in a nutshell, is why the TOE is not true. It is exactly because the processes are demonstrably incapable of producing life that there is a design inference. That is, in fact, the design inference. You do understand what ID is about, after all.

  14. As we go along discussing the specifics, I would like to point out what’s going on in the background. (Dr. Cornelius Hunter should appreciate this.)

    The argument being made is a theological one. As I pointed out earlier, here is a scientist who wants to tell us what God’s plans are. Then he wants to tell us that a positive lambda (COSM. CONST.) is inconsistent with a God that is trying to bring about life everywhere. Thus, a God who ‘created’ a universe in which lambda is positive is NOT a perfect God. Hence, God doesn’t exist. Q.E.D.

    This is just what Darwin does: there are parasites that cause disastrous effects in animals and humans—how could a (“loving”) God have “created” these? Therefore, life created itself.

    That physicists have now jumped into the game simply tells us how fashionable atheism has become, and how scientists work from this first principle to deduce ‘scientific’ conclusions without any notice given as to what their first principles are. It is, as Dr. Hunter has written, certainly the case that science is fast becoming a religion—and only atheists/agnostics need apply. Science, as I pointed out, is being spoiled by its practioner’s biases, and so, becoming corrupt. This is exactly what “science” was to help humanity overcome.

  15. F/N: I discuss prof Page’s paper here.

    It is to be noted that in fact one of his key claims is:

    I would suspect that the value of the cosmological constant that maximizes the fraction of baryons becoming life is between zero and – LO ~ 3.5 * 10^- 122, with a somewhat lower magnitude than the observed value but with the opposite sign. [EAFTL, p. 5]

    Yup, he is really proposing a different life-friendly fine-tuned range for the constant; i.e. more or less a negative on the positive value he says. And between the two and their marginal difference from zero, we are talking of 0 +/- 4 to 4 * 10^-122.

    I think he has over stated the claim, and has failed to recognise that what he has in effect done is to suggest a second fine tuned range; to accommodate his favoured model assumptions.

    But, either way, we are looking at extreme fine tuning. [We could never tune or set any variable thing to that precision.]

    GEM of TKI

Leave a Reply