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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Anthropic Principle/fine tuning of the Universe

Scientists in many different disciplines realize that design is all around us. Suppose for a moment that all scientists had no worldview at all but simply looked at the evidence, what would they say? Well, they try to avoid "design" so they say "order" or "functional" and yet the very specific and very precise design of the massive Universe and the simple cell both are obvious examples of design. What excuse will scientists who deliberately ignore the obvious evidence give to God at the end of it all? They will not be able to say that God hid Himself. His signature is everywhere. DNA, duh. Fine tuning of the Universe and the laws of physics and on and on and on...




Our Finely Tuned Universe

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. and Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

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Imagine donning a gown and mask, and walking into the operating suite of a Level One trauma center. That cool, sterile environment exudes extreme order and neatness—after all, surgeons need to have instant access to a multitude of surgical supplies. Lives are at stake, and time is of the utmost importance. Now, consider for a moment if someone were to suggest that this precisely ordered surgical suite happened by mere chance, and that every single item just “happened” to find its way there by chance. Sound ludicrous? Well, then, consider for a moment how ludicrous it is for men dressed in starched white lab coats to stand before college students and proclaim that this finely tuned Universe just “happened” without any intervention. It is an undeniable fact that the Universe is delicately ordered and intricately complex—far more so than any operating room. Yet, we continue to be told that we, and the Universe around us, are the end result of some vast, inexplicable cosmological accident that occurred 13.7 billion years ago.

How can this be—in light of the impressive amount (and quality) of design that we routinely see all around us? Australian astrophysicist Paul Davies, in his book, The Cosmic Blueprint, opined:

There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all.... It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe.... The impression of design is overwhelming (1988, p. 203, emp. added).

Our Universe is indeed “fine-tuned” in such a way that it is impossible to suggest logically that it simply “popped into existence out of nothing” and then went from the chaos associated with the inflationary Big Bang Model (as if the Universe were a giant firecracker!) to the sublime order that it presently exhibits. Nancey Murphy and George Ellis discussed this very point in their book, On the Moral Nature of the Universe:

The symmetries and delicate balances we observe in the universe require an extraordinary coherence of conditions and cooperation of laws and effects, suggesting that in some sense they have been purposely designed. That is, they give evidence of intention, realized both in the setting of the laws of physics and in the choice of boundary conditions for the universe (1996, p. 57, emp. added).

The suggestion that the Universe and its laws “have been purposely designed” has surfaced much more frequently in the past several years. For example, the late British cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle wrote:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question (1982, 20:16).

In his book, Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature, Davies made this amazing statement:

If nature is so “clever” as to exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the universe? If the world’s finest minds can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance? (1984, pp. 235-236, emp. added).

Eight years later, in 1992, Davies authored The Mind of God, in which he remarked:

I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.... Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor by-product of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here (1992, p. 232, emp. added).

That “we are truly meant to be here” is reminiscent of the statement made by physicist Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. In his semi-autobiographical book, Disturbing the Universe, Dyson stated:

...[T]he universe is an unexpectedly hospitable place for living creatures to make their home in. Being a scientist, trained in the habits of thought and language of the twentieth century rather than the eighteenth, I do not claim that the architecture of the universe proves the existence of God. I claim only that the architecture of the universe is consistent with the hypothesis that mind plays an essential role in its functioning.... The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming (1979, pp. 250,251, emp. added).

The idea that in some sense the Universe “must have known that we were coming,” is the same sentiment expressed by two prominent cosmologists, Frank Tipler and John Barrow, in their 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, which discussed the possibility that the Universe seems to have been “tailor-made” for man. Interestingly, a mere eight years after that book was published, Dr. Tipler authored another book, The Physics of Immortality, in which he professed:

When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics (1994, preface).

In 1995, NASA astronomer John O’Keefe stated in an interview:

We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.... If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 200).

Then, thirteen years after British molecular biologist Michael Denton published his 1985 book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, he shocked everyone—especially his evolutionist colleagues—when he published his 1998 tome, Nature’s Destiny, in which he acknowledged:

Whether one accepts or rejects the design hypothesis...there is no avoiding the conclusion that the world looks as if it has been tailored for life; it appears to have been designed. All reality appears to be a vast, coherent, teleological whole with life and mankind as its purpose and goal (p. 387, emp. in orig.).

Fred Hoyle, in addressing the fine-tuning of the nuclear resonances responsible for the oxygen and carbon synthesis in stars, observed:

I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not, then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents (1959, emp. added).

When we (to use Hoyle’s words) “examine the evidence,” what do we find? Michael J. Murray answered:

Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe—for example, the fundamental laws and parameters of physics and the initial distribution of matter and energy—is balanced on a razor’s edge for life to occur.... Scientists call this extraordinary balancing of the parameters of physics and the initial conditions of the universe the “fine-tuning of the cosmos” (1999, p. 48, emp. added).

But what is the evidence for that “fine-tuning of the cosmos”? Consider just a small sampling of the many pieces of evidence that are available.

Our Universe operates in accordance with exact scientific laws. The precision of the Universe, and the exactness of these laws, allow scientists to launch rockets to the Moon, with the full knowledge that, upon their arrival, they can land within a few feet of their intended target. Such precision and exactness also allow astronomers to predict solar/lunar eclipses years in advance, or to determine when Halley’s Comet can be seen once again from the Earth. Science writer Lincoln Barnett observed:

This functional harmony of nature Berkeley, Descartes, and Spinoza attributed to God. Modern physicists who prefer to solve their problems without recourse to God (although this seems to be more difficult all the time) emphasize that nature mysteriously operates on mathematical principles. It is the mathematical orthodoxy of the Universe that enables theorists like Einstein to predict and discover natural laws, simply by the solution of equations (1959, p. 22, parenthetical item in orig.)

While many evolutionists willingly concede complexity—and even order—they are not prepared to concede design because the implication of such a concession would demand a Designer. Is there evidence of design? The person who does not believe in a Creator claims no such evidence exists. The individual who acknowledges the existence of that Creator, affirms that it does, and offers the following information in support of such an affirmation.

We live in an incredibly large Universe. While its outer limits have not been measured, it is estimated to be as much as 20 billion light-years in diameter. [A light-year is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one year at a speed of slightly more than 186,000 miles per second. Distances expressed in light-years express the time that light would take to cross that distance.] There are an estimated one billion galaxies in the Universe (Lawton, 1981), and an estimated 25 sextillion stars. The Milky Way galaxy in which we live contains over 100 billion stars, and is so large that even traveling at the speed of light would require 100,000 years to cross its diameter. Light travels approximately 5.88 x 1012 miles in a single year; in 100,000 years, that would be 5.88 x 1017 miles, or 588 quadrillion miles just to cross the diameter of a single galaxy. Without doubt, this is a rather impressive Universe.

Yet while the size itself is impressive, the inherent design is even more so. The Sun, which is like a giant nuclear engine, gives off more energy in a single second than mankind has produced since the Creation. It converts eight million tons of matter into energy every single second, and has an interior temperature of more than twenty million degrees Celsius (see Lawton, 1981). The Sun also produces radiation, which, in certain amounts, can be deadly to living things. The Earth, however, is located at exactly the correct distance from the Sun to receive the proper amount of heat and radiation to permit life as we know it. We should be grateful that we live so far from the Sun, because the 93 million miles of empty space between the Earth and the Sun help stop the destructive pressure waves produced by the Sun as it converts matter to energy. If the Earth were much closer to the Sun, human life could not survive because of the horrible heat and pressure. If the Earth were moved just 10% closer to the Sun (about 10 million miles), far too much radiation (and heat) would be absorbed. If the Earth were moved just 10% farther from the Sun, too little heat would be absorbed. Either scenario would spell doom for life on the Earth.

Fortunately, creatures living on Earth receive some protection from the Sun’s radiation because in one of the layers of the atmosphere (known as the mesosphere—about 12 to 18 miles above the Earth), there is a form of oxygen known as ozone, which filters out most of the ultraviolet rays from the Sun that would be harmful (or fatal) in larger amounts. In addition, the Sun constantly sends out an invisible wind that is composed of protons and electrons. These particles approach the Earth from outer space at an extremely high speed, and could be very dangerous to humans. Fortunately, most of these protons and electrons are reflected back into space because the Earth was created like a giant magnet that pushes away the solar wind and makes life on this planet both possible and comfortable.

The Earth is rotating on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour at the equator, and moving around the Sun at 70,000 miles per hour (approximately 19 miles per second), while the Sun and its solar system are moving through space at 600,000 miles per hour in an orbit so large it would take over 220 million years just to complete a single orbit. This rotation provides periods of light and darkness—a phenomenon necessary for sustaining life as we experience it. If the Earth rotated much faster, fierce cyclones would stir over the Earth like a kitchen food-mixer. If the Earth turned significantly slower, the days and nights would be impossibly hot or cold. Venus, for example, turns only once every 243 days—a fact that accounts in part for daytime temperatures reaching as high as 500 degrees Celsius (water boils at 100° C). The Earth’s orbital speed and tilt are “just right.” Just by accident? The Earth completes its orbit roughly once every 365.25 days—the time period we designate as a year. This, together with the fact that the Earth is tilted on its axis, allows for what we refer to as seasons.

The Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle, however, but is elliptical. This means that sometimes the Earth is closer to the Sun than at other times. In January, the Earth is closest to the Sun; in July, it is farthest away. When it is closer, the Earth “speeds up” to avoid being pulled into the Sun; when it is farther away, it “slows down,” so that it remains in a position in space that is “just right.” How does the Earth “know” to do all of this?

Interestingly, as the Earth moves in its orbit around the Sun, it departs from a straight line by only one-ninth of an inch every eighteen miles. If it departed by one-eighth of an inch, we would come so close to the Sun that we would be incinerated; if it departed by one-tenth of an inch, we would find ourselves so far from the Sun that we would all freeze to death (see Science Digest, 1981). What would happen if the rotation rate of the Earth were cut in half—or doubled? If it were halved, the seasons would be doubled in their length, which would cause such harsh heat and cold over much of the Earth that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to grow enough food to feed the Earth’s population. If the rotation rate were doubled, the length of each season would be halved, and again it would be difficult or impossible to grow enough food to feed the Earth’s population.

The Earth is tilted on its axis at exactly 23.5 degrees. If it were not tilted as it is, but instead sat straight up in its orbit around the Sun, there would be no seasons. The tropics would be hotter, and the deserts would get bigger. If the tilt went all the way over to 90 degrees, much of the Earth would switch between very cold winters and very hot summers.

The Earth is poised some 240,000 miles from the Moon. This, too, is just right. The Moon helps control the movement of the oceans (tides). This movement is very beneficial to the Earth, because it provides a cleansing of shorelines, and helps ocean life to prosper. Tides are an important part of ocean currents. Without these currents, the oceans would stagnate, and the animals and plants living in the oceans and seas soon would perish. Our existence as humans depends upon the Moon’s tides as they help balance a delicate food chain in nature. If the Moon were moved closer to the Earth by just a fifth, the tides would be so enormous that twice a day they would reach 35-50 feet high over most of the surface of the Earth.

The Earth’s oceans are another good example of perfect design. Water covers about 72% of the Earth’s surface, which is good because the oceans provide a reservoir of moisture that constantly is evaporating and condensing. Eventually, this causes rain to fall on the Earth. It is a well-known fact that water heats and cools at a much slower rate than a solid land mass, which explains why desert regions can be blistering hot in the daytime and freezing cold at night. Water, however, holds its temperature longer, and provides a sort of natural heating/air-conditioning system for the land areas of the Earth. The Earth’s annual average temperature (56°F; 13.3°C) is closely maintained by the great reservoir of heat contained within the waters of the oceans. Temperature extremes would be much more erratic than they are, were it not for the fact that approximately three-fourths of the Earth is covered with water. In addition, humans and animals inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. On the other hand, plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. We depend upon the world of botany for our oxygen supply, yet we often fail to realize that approximately 90% of our oxygen comes from microscopic plants in the seas (Asimov, 1975, 2:116). If our oceans were appreciably smaller, we soon would be out of air to breathe.

Wrapped around the Earth is a protective blanket we know as the atmosphere. It is composed of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and carbon dioxide (0.03%), in addition to water vapor and small levels of other gases. The proper balance of these gases is essential to life on the Earth. The atmosphere of Venus is too thick to sustain life; that of Mars is too thin. But the Earth’s atmosphere does several things. It scatters light waves so that you can read the words on this page. It captures solar heat so that it does not escape too rapidly. Without atmosphere, the heat would escape as soon as the Sun set each day, and nights would be unbearably cold. Frequently, meteors fall from space. Were it not for the fact that most of them burn up (from friction) when they strike the atmosphere, the Earth would be pounded almost daily by these unwelcome visitors. And, electronically charged particles (ions) in the upper atmosphere (referred to as the ionosphere) help make radio communications on the Earth possible. The Earth has an atmosphere that is “just right.” Just by accident?

Richard Dawkins once remarked: “The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially, the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer” (1982, 94:130, emp. added). Twenty years later, in an article on Nature’s August 13, 2002, on-line Science-Update, Philip Ball wrote: “Our Universe is so unlikely that we must be missing something.” We agree: evolutionists are “missing something.” But that “something” is actually a “Someone”—the intelligent Designer!

REFERENCES

Asimov, Isaac (1975), Guide to Science (London: Pelican).

Ball, Philip (2002), “Is Physics Watching Over Us?,” Nature, [On-line], URL: www.nature.com/nsu/020812/020812-2.html, August.

Barnett, Lincoln (1959), The Universe and Dr. Einstein (New York: Mentor).

Davies, Paul (1984), Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Davies, Paul (1988), The Cosmic Blueprint (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Davies, Paul (1992), The Mind of God (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Dawkins, Richard (1982), “The Necessity of Darwinism,” New Scientist, 94:130-132, April 15.

Denton, Michael (1998), Nature’s Destiny (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Dyson, Freeman (1979), Disturbing the Universe (New York: Harper & Row).

Heeren, Fred (1995), Show Me God (Wheeling, IL: Searchlight Publications).

Hoyle, Fred (1959), Religion and the Scientists (London: SCM), as quoted in Barrow, John and Frank Tipler (1986), The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), p. 22.

Hoyle, Fred (1982), “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20:1-35.

Lawton, April (1981), “From Here to Infinity,” Science Digest, 89[1]:98-105, January/February.

Murphy, Nancey and George F.R. Ellis (1996), On the Moral Nature of the Universe (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress).

Murray, Michael J. (1999), Reason for the Hope Within (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Science Digest (1981), 89[1]:124, January/February.

Tipler, Frank (1994), The Physics of Immortality (New York: Doubleday).



Copyright © 2003 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

40 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

The anthropic principle is an interesting philosophical problem, but it has little real-world meaning or consequence. You can't generalize from a sample of one.

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://businesseshome.net

Hawkeye® said...

Radar,
Your article reminded me about another facet of the earth that is "just right", that is, that it acts as a giant heat engine. See here...

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

Anonymous said...

The inescapable question of course is: "Who designed the designer?"

Anonymous said...

As coincidence would have it, Common Sense Atheism has just released a podcast that deals with the Fine-Tuning Argument:

CPBD 040: Luke Barnes – 11 Responses to Fine-Tuning

island said...

Hi, I happened across this post during a search and I have to tell "Hawkeye" that is a very interesting article:

This is also known as "The Goldilocks Enigma" as it relates to Gaia theory... and this is only one of an uncountable number of similarly balanced conditions that conspire to enable carbon based life to arise at a specific time and place in the universe.

The universe itself is similarly balanced, and that is the commonality that indicates that there is a link between our existence and the mechanism that constrains our universe to the completely unexpected form that we observe.

Jon Woolf said:
You can't generalize from a sample of one.

Nope... you haven't got a clue

Anonymous said...

"Nope... you haven't got a clue"

How does that link make the point you're trying to make? How does it relate to generalizing from a sample of one?

island said...

Well, within the text of that article is a reference link to this scientific paper which explains why we DO have a most natural expectation for what the universe *should* look like per our most well tested theories:

Is Our Universe Natural?
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0512148

... and that's what the text of the article that you read was saying as well...

But it is an unavoidable fact that the anthropic physics is directly observed to be uniquely related to the structuring of the universe in a way that defies [5] the most natural expectation for the evolution of the universe in a manner that is also highly-pointed toward the production of carbon based life at a specific time in its history, (and over an equally specific, fine-layer or region of the Goldilocks Zone of the observed universe).

Jon Woolf said...

a most natural expectation for what the universe *should* look like per our most well tested theories:

And yet, the Universe doesn't actually look like that. It doesn't look like what you expect, and it doesn't look like what scientists expect. So maybe our theories are wrong.

All our theories.

And you still can't generalize from a sample of one. That's statistics 101. Well, maybe 102.

AmericanVet said...

Ernst Chain (1906–1979), joint Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine with for discovering penicillin, on Darwinian evolution, 1945:

‘a very feeble attempt it is, based on such flimsy assumptions, mainly of morphological-anatomical nature that it can hardly be called a theory.’

‘I would rather believe in fairies than in... such wild speculation.’

[Clark R.W., The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond, 1985.]

AmericanVet said...

What the atheists miss is that stuff like "organisms" don't "happen." Reproduction is a very complex process. Also, if organisms developed traits they wanted to have, which simpletons making History Channel or Animal Planet or Discovery Channel specials seem to think, man would have a money production gland and we could all stay up late and make all the money Obama is spending that doesn't exist.

AmericanVet said...

"And yet, the Universe doesn't actually look like that. It doesn't look like what you expect, and it doesn't look like what scientists expect. So maybe our theories are wrong.

All our theories."

That is because you leave out the "God created it all" part. If God created the Universe, fine tuning makes sense and spectacularly cool looking nebulas make sense. We have managed to discover so much about organisms that we have found them wonderfully designed. If anyone just throws the atheist concepts away, the Universe makes a lot of sense.

radar said...

Hawkeye, the Thermostat Hypothesis is a great read! I think that it is complex as it is but if you want to get more granular you can add in snow cover to the mix. It is a minor player in what clouds form and how much heat is absorbed versus reflected as well. The comments thread will burn your brain but it is worth it!

What is ridiculous? NAS just put out a press release saying John Kerry's cap and tax bill is much needed, ha! I ought to post on that tonight as a codicil to this post.

radar said...

This is funny. I clicked on Island's profile and he/she doesn't have one. So I suppose I have to say it. "No man is an island!"

island said...

AmericanVet, you are an extremely rare breath of fresh air.

What you refer to is the missing cosmological principle**, or a law of nature that explains why the structure of the universe has the described bio-orientation... from first physics principles.

A bio-oriented cosmological structure principle.

**Scientists have been searching for fifty years for this principle, finally resigning themselves to "bolder explanations" that cop-out on first principles, like, multiverses.

Take note of how much of this that John Woolf had to willfully ignore in order to make is lame statements:

And yet, the Universe doesn't actually look like that. It doesn't look like what you expect, and it doesn't look like what scientists expect.

But what DOES it look like?... dear Copernicanism practicing religious zealot.

What gives it the OBSERVED bio-orientation, dear believer in the god of mediocrity?

You can't generalize from a sample of one.

From now on I will simply give you a hint, and then make you go back to the article to get the whole answer yourself, dear fanatic.

And you still don't get it... lol Try one out of every other possible configuration. We don't need to observe them to know what the physics does to them.

island said...

Nah... we're all islands in this stream, regardless of sex.. ;)

I'm just the inconvenient one that's smack in middle of the damned channel.

Jon Woolf said...

But what DOES it look like?

Itself, of course. What else?

If anyone just throws the atheist concepts away, the Universe makes a lot of sense.

I tried that once. Didn't work. Like I said: all our theories fail to fit Reality. The scientific ones, and the religious ones.

Well, all except one. I'll confess to a sneaking liking for the tales of Coyote. A Trickster as Creator, or even as the Creator's helper, would definitely answer a lot of questions...

Island, you should be aware that evidence indicates "AmericanVet" is a sockpuppet for our host.

Anonymous said...

Radar, is there a reason you use a sockpuppet?

Anonymous said...

"Well, within the text of that article is a reference link to this scientific paper which explains why we DO have a most natural expectation for what the universe *should* look like per our most well tested theories:"

Again, how does it relate to generalizing from a sample of one? That's what you were referring to when you accused him of "not having a clue"?

Seems like an unfounded accusation.

creeper said...

There seem to be two aspects to fine-tuning presented here. One is that our planet is fine-tuned for life, the other is that there are cosmological constants that make our entire universe fine-tuned for life.

Re. our planet being fine-tuned for life... well yes, that's why life happened to evolve here. How many gazillion planets are there in the universe? Given the number of planets in the universe, the odds of some of them having optimal conditions for life are actually fairly high. Some were bound to have optimal conditions for life. This happens to be one of them. Not much of a fine-tuning argument here.

Re. cosmological constants: an interesting question, but it needs to be pointed out that the entire concept is based on the assumption that such factors are actually subject to being varied, which is quite an assumption...

... and even if they are subject to being varied, the problem posed is based on the assumption that there is a more or less even distribution of probability, again quite an assumption. I haven't seen any evidence for either assumption. Is anybody here aware of any?

As Jon said at the outset, it's an interesting philosophical problem - but it's based on such unsupportable assumptions that it's not proof of anything at all, or even a convincing argument.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Creeper: Given the number of planets in the universe, the odds of some of them having optimal conditions for life are actually fairly high. Some were bound to have optimal conditions for life.

You don't even need to say "optimal." "Suitable" is good enough. Once life got started here, it adapted to the conditions that were present, and even modified them to a large extent -- an oxy-nitrogen atmosphere, soil for land plants, etc. The same would happen on any planet where life appeared and achieved more than mere survival. And there's nothing at all to suggest that life on other worlds would bear any resemblance to life on Earth.

island said...

"But what DOES it look like?"

Jon Woolf said:
Itself, of course. What else?

And Jon still can't read.

What a surprise... NOT!

Anonymous said...

island, you're not being coherent.

island said...

Anonymous, try to keep up with the whole conversation.

Anonymous said...

I did. You're still not being coherent.

island said...

Anonymous, thanks for being so specific, but don't expect me to answer you again if you continue your game.

island said...

Jon Woolf said:
And there's nothing at all to suggest that life on other worlds would bear any resemblance to life on Earth.

Yes, there is. It's called the Anthropic Principle. Find life of any kind, (even carbon based life) anywhere outside the galactic or intergalactic habitable zones, (which are also clearly depicted in the previously referenced article, and you will falsify the commonly balanced "enigma" that carbon based life shares uniquely with both, the values of the forces, and the structure of the universe itself.

This "enigma" makes very specific and equally falsifiable predictions about exactly where life will and will not be found elsewhere in the universe, so no, your wild imagination about "odds for life" that you got via your assumed not observed extension of the mediocrity principle to attain random probabilities is not even applicable to the speculation.

Course, as usual, you could have got this from the previously linked article if you weren't a perfect example of the dogma that Brandon Carter was talking about when he formalized the principle.

You guys that want to play the denial game should not pre-assume that I can't slam you with the facts before you throw out your stereotypically lame assertions from ignorance.

I'm not in the least bit motivated to go back and correct all of them that I've seen in this thread, but consider it safe to say... you don't have a clue, even though I've already given you the means to overcome your ideological sickness.

Have a nice fantasy...

Jon Woolf said...

And you, island, shouldn't pre-assume that others here haven't seen your arguments before.

For that matter, it appears you shouldn't even pre-assume that you understand others' actual arguments, as you certainly missed the thrust of mine.

The Anthropic Principle is philosophy, not science. It's one of several attempts to explain why we haven't encountered EBE's yet. The discussion over the Anthropic Principle, "habitable zones," and the evitability of life all amount to mental wheel-spinning, because we don't know how accurate our models are. It's possible that Brandon Carter is entirely right. It's equally possible that he's entirely right. We don't know, because we have no dataset by which to judge. It's all just speculation. Until we go out and look at planets in other star systems, we have only one data point: Earth. And that's just not enough to reach any general conclusions.

creeper said...

"It's possible that Brandon Carter is entirely right. It's equally possible that he's entirely right."

I'm assuming that was meant to read "entirely wrong" in one of those instances.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"This "enigma" makes very specific and equally falsifiable predictions about exactly where life will and will not be found elsewhere in the universe"

How can we falsify them?

-- creeper

island said...

"The Anthropic Principle is philosophy"

No, it is an observation... duh.

island said...

"i" wrote:
"This "enigma" makes very specific and equally falsifiable predictions about exactly where life will and will not be found elsewhere in the universe"

creeper asked:
How can we falsify them?

Well, one self evident prediction is already being tested... and hows that going BTW?:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/94/Habitable_zone-en.svg/491px-Habitable_zone-en.svg.png

... that life, (past or present), will not be found on Mars nor Venus, even though Venus, Earth, and Mars are approximately at the same distance from the Sun and formed out of the same material and had approximately the same initial temperatures 4.5 billion years ago. I mean, what more "likely" place is there in the entire universe to find similarly formed life in the entire universe than this?

And yet, science zero for all attempts to date, opting instead for unjustified speculation about "exotic life forms" that you also cant produce...

http://www.astronomynotes.com/solarsys/s9.htm

Venus suffers from the runaway greenhouse effect, whereas Mars represents the cold stagnate proof of what will happen if extremist environmentalists get things all their way too.

Does that conflict with your left winged worldview?... I hope so.

island said...

Just to head off the rambling dissertation that sure to come about variant interpretations, I'll say this to Jon:

It is science, not speculation to note that the commonly balanced "enigma" that carbon based life shares uniquely with both, the values of the forces, and the structure of the universe itself is directly observed to be indicative of a connection between the finely balanced tuning of the forces, and our existence.

It doesn't have to be true, if you can produce the missing cosmological principle that shows why we are just an accidental consequence of this otherwise highly pointed physics... but that sure as hell ain't "what it looks like"... sonny.

More likely we'll find out that there is an energy conservation law at play that simply requires life to arise and evolve at a specific time and region of the observed universe as a function of the thermodynamic process... like this:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2004/09/30/2003204990

If fanatics ever learn to think like a FEW scientists scientists do, that is...

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=3533936

creeper said...

"I mean, what more "likely" place is there in the entire universe to find similarly formed life in the entire universe than this?"

Not sure what your point is. Because they're made of the same material, they should be seen as likely to have similarly formed life?

"Venus suffers from the runaway greenhouse effect, whereas Mars represents the cold stagnate proof of what will happen if extremist environmentalists get things all their way too.

Does that conflict with your left winged worldview?... I hope so."


Wait, are you attempting some kind of parody?

-- creeper

island said...

Not sure what your point is. Because they're made of the same material, they should be seen as likely to have similarly formed life?

Same material, same evolutionary process, (that's cosmological evolution), with the exception only of the goldilocks enigma, which is precariously balanced between the diametrically opposing runaway tendencies that are expressed respectively by these two sister planets, where runaway means FAR away from these conducive conditions, not anywhere close:

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/%7Ejs/images/instability.gif

Just like the universe, precariously balanced between *runaway* expansion and near instantaneous recollapse.

This commonality does not APPEAR to be a coincidence.

The observed balanced structure is known as the cc problem, and was resolved by Steven Weinberg via the anthropic principle and he is the only physicist to ever resolve this problem.

Unfortunately, Weinberg has already gone to the fantasy land of String theory and multiverses, so his solution isn't from the first principles that "the appearance of design" demands.

Look man, the whole point of the AP was that no physicist even dares to attempt to resolve the problem from life-oriented first physics principles even though they are the ones that use these creationist terms, and have failed forever and a day to do it any other way. This stands out like a sore thumb that nobody wants to recognize. Like a solution BEGGING a question that EVERY LAST ideologically warped scientist that matters ONLY finds god in, instead of facing the implication and doing honest physics.

'I must say, that as things stand now, without any other explanation of nature's fine-tunings, we will be hardpressed to answer the ID critics'

The appearance of design is undeniable
-Leonard Susskind,
("father" of string theory and advocate of the multiverse "landscape")

Jon Woolf said...

Thanks for the correction, creeper. Damn, I really shouldn't try to write complicated posts when I'm in a hurry.

Nomani-san, I'm afraid you still miss the point. The Anthropic Principle is like Drake's Equation: an attempt to answer a question that we don't even know how to ask properly. There's no way to test any result that we do get, and so it can't be science. Yet. Maybe someday we'll be able to go Out There and look for other life-bearing worlds. Then it will be science. But right now it's just mental wheel-spinning. Ride the painted pony, let the Spinning Wheel turn ... but don't expect me to take your posturings seriously.

even though Venus, Earth, and Mars are approximately at the same distance from the Sun

Venus - 108,000,000 km (0.7 AU)
Earth - 150,000,000 km (1 AU)
Mars - 230,000,000 km (1.5 AU)

Yup. Practically side by side with us, they are.

Does that conflict with your left winged worldview?

Left-winged worldview? ME?

[jokerlaugh.wav]

Jon Woolf said...

Oh, one other thing that occurred to me: the phenomenal, cosmic irony of the position that Radar and Nomani-san Island have taken.

There's tons of evidence (literally!) for an old Earth, the geologic column, and conventional historical geology, while there's none for a young Earth.

There are three separate and independent lines of evidence for a Tree of Life: biochemical and genetic data, anatomy and physiology, and the fossil record. Each has huge masses of supporting data, and they all agree with each other, almost perfectly.

Radar and Island reject all of this data, simply because it contradicts their religious beliefs.

Yet let someone come along with a bit of armchair speculation, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, that supports their religious beliefs, and they leap to his side, sword and shield ready, trumpet it from the hilltops, and vehemently defend its veracity against all comers.

I don't know what you'd call that, but it's certainly not science.

radar said...

I reject your so-called "tons" of evidence on scientific bases and not religion. Furthermore I have made a point of almost exclusively using science rather than religion in making posts about science, which makes sense.

BTW the background radiation of the Universe appears to be completely the same throughout. This is possible if the entire Universe was made at once but otherwise sends Big Bangers racing back to the chalkboard to invent new things that they have not yet thought up...like Dark Matter, for instance. Or I could say macroevolution, since the evidence for that is zero zip nada. No transitional forms. No phylogenic continuity. No observed information gain in organisms nor any comprehensive concept that suggests how it might happen. "On the backs of crystals?" Wow.

Jon Woolf said...

I reject your so-called "tons" of evidence on scientific bases and not religion.

Radar, by your own testimony you didn't start questioning evolutionary theory until after you were born again, and began getting your science from preachers who insist that you can only be a real Christian if you accept a literal interpretation of Genesis.

Furthermore I have made a point of almost exclusively using science rather than religion in making posts about science, which makes sense.

Radar, science is a process, not a job title. If you are working toward a pre-assumed conclusion, as all creationists do, then you aren't doing science. When you say that the Bible must be assumed true as a precondition of any theorizing about Earth's history, that's religion, not science.

Or I could say macroevolution, since the evidence for that is zero zip nada. No transitional forms.

The question of whether transitional forms exist was answered conclusively by the discovery of Archaeopteryx lithographica, 150 years ago. Since then, the examples have piled higher and higher. Protoceratops, Diarthrognathus, Tiktaalik, Hyracotherium, Sphecomyrma, Pachyrachis, Protocetus, Ardipithecus, Nectocaris ... the list goes on and on.

No observed information gain in organisms nor any comprehensive concept that suggests how it might happen.

[yawn] BTDT. Insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. Cecal valves in wall-lizards. Citrate metabolization in Escherischia coli. Toxin resistance in garter snakes. Neurotoxins in rattlesnake venom.

creeper said...

And of course your examples will continue to be ignored, Jon, and Radar will continue to claim as fact that there is no evidence for macroevolution while refusing to address the actual evidence.

The entire fossil record depicts macroevolution having occurred through the ages. To pretend otherwise, Radar would have to:

- falsify all dating methods (radiometric, ice core layers, tree rings); Radar hasn't come close to falsifying even one of them, and his only approach has been to attempt to sprinkle doubt on them instead of looking at the evidence itself and drawing conclusions from that;

- come up with an explanation for the consistent sorting of fossils in rock layers. The theory of evolution explains it perfectly; according to any YEC scenario, it would be impossible;

- explain why the examples presented by Jon above are not transitional forms without resorting to a strawman caricature of what transitional forms are.

There is plenty of other evidence, but those would be good (and essential) for a start.

-- creeper