Monday, October 8, 2012

Isn't Fine-Tuning of the Universe a Result of Chance + Time?

Regarding the Fine-Tuning Argument of the Universal Constants (explained here, also in Course 101 chapter 1 Appendix), even if the probability for a fine-tuned universe to happen by chance is small, if there's a large enough amount of time, wouldn't the event eventually happen?  So this argument doesn't seem to have any religious implications.


Daniel Kim said...

I think there is a misunderstanding here regarding the fine-tuning argument. The question (fine-tuning = chance + enough time) assumes that there are different "tries" that the universe got to get the universal constants just right.

The fine-tuning in the universe is NOT like evolution, where one could argue that the apparent design is a result of small chance and a very long time. In biological design, people make this argument all the time, saying that given enough time, even very unlikely events can occur, because you would get trillions of tries and failed attempts.

But with the universe, the constants don't give birth to other constants. As far as we know, there is just one universe, and so we can't invoke "time" to explain away the unlikely event happening, because all the time in the world doesn't help us if we only got one try.

Now, in order to get around this problem, motivated scientists have come up with theories of the multiverse (infinite parallel universes), or other forms of universes giving birth to other universes. Now, if THAT's true, then it DOES resolve the fine-tuning mystery. But if you buy the infinite # of universes theory, then you run into a whole host of logical and pretty ridiculous problems. But I won't get into that.

If I take it at face value that the universe I live in is the only one, and that there haven't been an infinite # of other "Big Bangs", then that means we only got one try, which makes the finely-tuned constants extremely mysterious.

Dan Copeland said...

It was said that the "fine-tuning" doesn't have religious implications, but in fact it does. The fine-tuning is a matter of purpose. It goes back to Paley's original watch-maker argument; if we see such incredible detail and precise tuning, we can logically assume a creator. Further, this is not an impersonal creator, but one who has designed things in such a way as to reveal himself to us. The gods of many religions are not personal at all, but our God not only made "fine-tuned" the universe for human life, but fine-tuned it to be discovered! Our position in the galaxy gives us the best view we could possibly have! The properties of light allow us to see things that are incredibly small and incredibly huge - all just a reminder that God is in total control at every level!