Skip to comments.The self-made universe (Paul Davis tries to explain the fine-tuned universe without God)
Posted on 06/20/2009 10:04:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Why does the universe seem so fine-tuned for the emergence of life including intelligent life capable of asking that why question? Believers simply say that God did it, while scientists are trying to come up with complicated extradimensional multiverse theories to explain our lucky break.
Theoretical physicist Paul Davies takes a completely different tack in a new book titled "Cosmic Jackpot." He argues that the cosmos has made itself the way it is, stretching backward in time to the very beginning to focus in on bio-friendliness.
Davies admits that the idea has theological overtones - but that's nothing new for the London-born deep-thinker. He's perhaps best-known for provocative books such as "The Mind of God" and "God and the New Physics," and for holding forth on speculative topics such as whether physical constants are actually inconstant.
After years of teaching at universities in Britain and Australia, Davies moved to Arizona just last year to start up Beyond, a research center devoted to fundamental scientific questions: How did the universe begin? How did life arise? Where do humans fit into the grand scheme? What does it all mean?
"We've been up and running for only about three months, so its early days," he told me Wednesday. "But we have high hopes that this will become one of the worlds leading think tanks for confronting these foundational questions."
He's currently on a cross-country tour to promote the book; on Wednesday, he lectured at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., and tonight he's giving a talk in "the other Washington," at Town Hall Seattle (and I'm planning to see him there). During a half-hour telephone interview, Davies touched upon his key theme of the universe's curious bio-friendliness. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW...
(Excerpt) Read more at cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com ...
He lost me when he called it "our lucky break".
It's not inane. It's a vexing problem. If certain physical constants differed by even a percentage point from their measured values, planets never could have formed from the cosmic dust, much less you and me. This is not a problem for young-Earth creationists, but for everyone else it is a real conundrum. And I would say it's a bigger problem for strict atheists than for anyone else.
That would be a good idea.
That theory is about 50 years behind the times. The big bang (creation) really occurred around 15.7 billion years ago (from our perspective).
Read SeekAndFind's post #12.
I think everyone from the stoutest atheist to the most devout believer can agree that we are extraordinarily lucky that the characteristics of the physical world are as they are.
parsy who wonders about stuff like this
We are only "lucky" if the universe and everything else came about by pure chance.
If it was a creation, then the skills required would border on true omnipotence.
And no, it's not a problem, it's an "unknowable": unknowables are not necessarily "problems".
And before that there was nothing?
What if that's true but whatever caused it has no relation to our concept of religion? What if it's something completely different? Could be anything, right?
In other words, he's trying to, by using twisted logic, imply God was created...by us, not the other way around...
There are three popular responses to the fact that the universe does seem to be weirdly fine-tuned for life. And I think all three are found wanting.
The three are the intelligent-design argument; the idea that if we had a final theory of physics, then all of the undetermined parameters in the laws would be fixed by that theory; and the third is the multiverse the notion that there is a multiplicity of universes, with laws that vary from one to the other.
And now we have his new "jackpot" theory, that we are the cause of our own universe. That makes 4.
Of the 4, I personally am partial to #3, the multiverse view. I think it satisfies the Occam's Razor test (for those of us who don't accept #1, anyway).
As for #2 and #4... caca... and double caca. At least in my view.
I would much sooner accept #1 than either 2 or 4, which seem like slithering mental gymnastics with an aim more to impress the viewer than to get at the truth.
But like I said, I believe the truth lies in #3.
Alan Guth says that a universe is just something that happens once in a while and over an infinite time span (outside the confines of our current BigBang universe) there are an infinite number of universes. Some are going to be "just right" for life. We are in one of those. Pretty simple, when you think about it.
In essence, what happens when we make measurements or observations of the universe today, were resolving some of the quantum ambiguity that exists in the past, as part and parcel of quantum uncertainty. Stephen Hawking has made this very explicit just in the last few months in a paper published with Thomas Hertog, in which he says that the way to apply quantum mechanics to the universe as a whole is to project backwards in time from our present observations. This brings in the role of the observer in a very fundamental way.Like I said. Double-caca.
Of course, cuz if the universes existence keeps going back
into the infinite past, we would not have arrived at this
present time. Therefore, because we ARE here(aren’t we?),
the universe must have had a beginning,at a time slightly
after it did not exist.
The Big Trigger?
But absolutely unscientic. Since Guth cannot get to those
epochs, and “spaces” there is no way to prove he is correct.
He may not be able to exist in those spaces, so he could
not even observe them with his 5 senses or augmented
senses(i.e. machines) since those things wouldn’t exist or
work in a space with different physical constants...
I think it was Godel who showed that all science is based
on axioms which are accepted on faith and unprovable...
This is my point .... the human mind is incapable of comprehending an infinite past.
Yes, you are right.
If it all was created, then we are lucky beyond measure to have a Creator who loves us.
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