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Old 19th October 2017, 05:12 AM   #321
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
...snip...

In China, the strict rules against corruption and crime are enabling them to rise dramatically. If they relax to permit "Western capitalism" with it's lack of restraint then they may also have chaos.
Of all the factless stuff you spew that has to be amongst the funniest ever - you think corruption in China is less than in "Western capitalism"!!
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Old 19th October 2017, 05:22 AM   #322
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post

Silicon is very limited in chemical properties. Organic chemistry has a huge branch all to itself.

.
I don't know, how it is relevant but in one system, silicon based agent is related to majority of disorders.
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Old 19th October 2017, 05:52 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
You seem to have a huge misunderstanding of the law of causality. It says for every effect there must be a cause. Not that every piece of matter requires a creator. In fact, there is EVERY reason to believe that all the matter and energy in the universe is a constant and has ALWAYS existed and the form of the universe is just the result of that interaction between that matter and energy.

As Laplace said 'Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là'
Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
That is old world scientific thinking that got a real jolt when it turned out the the Big Bang happened. Atheists were thrown into turmoil by a "creation-type" event.

EVERY? Why I have I not come across one reason for your belief?

ALWAYS? Define always. Some say time did not exist before the Big Bang.
Sorry, you're wrong. And your inability to come up with reasons for the belief that energy/matter is a constant demonstrates either a lack of education or imagination or both. Start with the law of conservation of matter and think about it some more.

Quote:
How was the universe created if physics states matter can neither be created nor destroyed?
http://www.physicscentral.com/experi...20120221015143
There are a significant number of physicists that believe that the universe is a closed system with an energy/matter constant.

BTW, there is no reason to believe the Big Bang is a creation event any more than mitosis is a creation event.

Time is trickier. Time as we know it. It is the proverbial tree in the forest as the concept of time requires perspective.

Also, the possibility of creation doesn't throw atheists into turmoil. I currently don't believe in a supernatural being, but if proof of one is provided I certainly won't deny it. But, I would like to point out one thing though. Even if creation is proved, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that any human's present concept of that creator is correct. It's no more likely to be say Yahweh then it is Zeus.
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Old 19th October 2017, 06:06 AM   #324
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
What the fine-tuning argument says that if the initial conditions are just right (a glass formed with the right internal stresses) and the glass is dropped just so, then the shards produced could be amazing shapes that would not otherwise be seen in gazillions of glass dropping experiments. That is what is "remarkable".
So are you acknowledging that every single shard of a dropped glass is intelligently designed? Even if the glass fell over because of a gust of wind?
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Old 19th October 2017, 06:23 AM   #325
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
You continue to insult me with rude ad hominems that contribute nothing to the debate. Do you have some sort of anal/excrement fixation?

You prefer a deistic creator because you can attack it better using the argument of perfection. Using the argument of perfection is useless against my hypothesis that the Ultimate Creator is neither good nor evil and has created two opposing super-entities - God and Satan.

My hypothesis fits the facts better than a deistic creator.
Please, I'm not insulting you. Only your practice of making it up.

Also, I'm not sure what your hypothesis for a creator is. Perhaps you have posted it, but I may have missed it or I simply don't recall. If it is the Abrahamic or any God I studied in my comparative religions course than no, your hypothesis doesn't fit the facts better.

Maybe I should have been more specific. I don't believe in a creator at all. I think it is a human fabrication. I prefer the idea of a deistic creator as opposed to the theistic creators that are claimed by the different religions I'm familiar with. But not for the reasons you propose.The Abrahamic God is horrible....as well as stupid. Yes..stupid. so are the other gods I've read about. For example, let's consider the story of Jesus. God comes down in human form as his son (wth?) to sacrifice himself to himself (for a weekend) for rules that he made up. DUMB!

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
With regard to misery, the anti-deistic stance can be equated to "Without God, everything is permitted." On what do you base your high-horse moral stance?
This of course nonsense. Morals don't come from on high. Not even from you. If you think Jews, Christians or Muslims or frankly any religion get their morals from their concept of God, you are deluded.

For the sake of this argument, let's say you believe in the Abrahamic God. My bet is you don't keep slaves, you wouldn't stone someone for laboring on the Sabbath and you wouldn't kill your child for being unruly. I'd bet you don't keep more than a couple of God's 613 laws handed to Moses. Every religious person I have ever met picks and chooses which laws they will obey and which ones they will disregard. Out of the decalog only 2 are actual laws.

If we get are morals from God, why are man's laws so different? No morals come from the need to live cooperatively.
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Old 19th October 2017, 06:44 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
A lizard (or any other creature) lacks all the attributes needed to evolve intelligence. Humans are supremely adaptable, versatile, able to use the environment. Lizards are able to survive and procreate and not much else
False. What makes you think that lizards lack intelligence and are incapable of thought? What about dogs, dolphins, whales, elephants, chimpanzees or crows?
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Old 19th October 2017, 08:46 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
A lizard (or any other creature) lacks all the attributes needed to evolve intelligence......
You have no idea that this is true. No one does. Evolution works with what it has got, and if there is a niche, it will be filled, and it will be filled by whatever is available to fill it. Intelligence is expensive in energy terms, and that may be why our version of it appears to have only evolved once, but the "wouldn't start from here" argument NEVER, but never, applies to evolution.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:17 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by Fast Eddie B View Post
Are you opining that intelligence equal to ours was only possible in the path actually taken? That seems to require a lot of hubris.
Once parted from being skeptical, hubris abounds.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:30 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Funny, but that is my position. That you (and others) have fixed beliefs and cannot see other possibilities.
I will happily take a possibility that ends in "I don't know" over your exhausted platitudes.

All your pomp and bluster ends in the same swamp: It's all anecdote. It requires faith. Special exceptions. Flaw and fallacy.

You post only over the dead body of your cause. Every time you reply to divert attention, you must stab it one more time.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:40 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
False. What makes you think that lizards lack intelligence and are incapable of thought? What about dogs, dolphins, whales, elephants, chimpanzees or crows?
And Octopii. (Octopusses? Octopie ? ) Very cool watching one of those massively alien creatures open a jar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG6JebW63f4

Clever boy!

I imagine you PS will move the goalpoasts though and claim that is not 'real' intelligence.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:13 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by The Sparrow View Post
And Octopii. (Octopusses? Octopie ? ) Very cool watching one of those massively alien creatures open a jar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG6JebW63f4

Clever boy!

I imagine you PS will move the goalpoasts though and claim that is not 'real' intelligence.
Good one. They are so cool!

And sadly, probably yes.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:15 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Clearly I feel that the trend away from a fear of the possibility of judgment in the afterlife may very well result in the situation that everything is permitted and society will tear itself apart.
The valid underlying concept that you're likely thinking of is that if one takes away an artificial restraint, things will likely become less constrained. The distinct irrationality in your fear, though, is that there are many other and much better supported restraints in play. You fear throwing the baby out with the bathwater and have chosen to effectively object to even taking the baby out of the bathwater. Feel free to consider bathing the baby with bathwater to have been a good thing, though, however much leaving a baby in bathwater indefinitely would be bad for the baby.

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
In China, the strict rules against corruption and crime are enabling them to rise dramatically. If they relax to permit "Western capitalism" with it's lack of restraint then they may also have chaos.
Well... the thing about corruption and China is that it's still really bad. Better than it was, perhaps, but still bad. Your hypothetical about "Western capitalism" is of remarkably limited value, though, given the many other relevant factors in play, not least being the various cultural and governmental differences. For example, the actual soft power that government officials hold outside their direct area of employment tends to be notably different.
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Old 19th October 2017, 12:28 PM   #333
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
The valid underlying concept that you're likely thinking of is that if one takes away an artificial restraint, things will likely become less constrained. The distinct irrationality in your fear, though, is that there are many other and much better supported restraints in play. You fear throwing the baby out with the bathwater and have chosen to effectively object to even taking the baby out of the bathwater. Feel free to consider bathing the baby with bathwater to have been a good thing, though, however much leaving a baby in bathwater indefinitely would be bad for the baby.
The idea promoted by the religious that the world will go to hell in a handbasket without God is simply not supported by the evidence. In fact, all the available evidence proves exactly the opposite. That by far, the best thing humanity could do for itself is to shake off the shackles of silly superstitions.

When it comes to pretty much all measurements of well being, the nation's that are the least religious are better off. They are happier, healthier, wealthier, live longer and have the lowest mortality rates. So frankly, I've grown a certain degree of animus towards the religious of their claims to moral superiority as the facts say something else entirely.
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Old 19th October 2017, 02:09 PM   #334
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The idea promoted by the religious that the world will go to hell in a handbasket without God is simply not supported by the evidence. In fact, all the available evidence proves exactly the opposite. That by far, the best thing humanity could do for itself is to shake off the shackles of silly superstitions.

When it comes to pretty much all measurements of well being, the nation's that are the least religious are better off. They are happier, healthier, wealthier, live longer and have the lowest mortality rates. So frankly, I've grown a certain degree of animus towards the religious of their claims to moral superiority as the facts say something else entirely.

Couldn't agree more. If fact you don't even need to look at other nations because the different states in the USA illustrate this also. Down in those Bible Belt states the murder rates are the highest. The incarceration rates are the highest also, in spite of the fact they maintain the death penalty to get rid of some.
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Old 19th October 2017, 08:44 PM   #335
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
A lizard (or any other creature) lacks all the attributes needed to evolve intelligence. Humans are supremely adaptable, versatile, able to use the environment. Lizards are able to survive and procreate and not much else

You've clearly never met my sister.
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Old 19th October 2017, 09:35 PM   #336
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
And yet it's Western capitalism, not the explicitly atheist Chinese communist system and its population that recently polled as 61% 'convinced atheist,' that's strongly informed by Christianity and its explicit promise of judgment in the afterlife. Strange.

Dave
Yes, it is strange - at the moment.

In my opinion, the Chinese system is working very well because the nation is fairly homogeneous, and the leaders are determined to have the nation grow stronger through cooperative effort. Corruption undermines that effort, and they execute such people rather quickly. I think you would have a problem with that.

One does not need individual morality to forge ahead rapidly in the survival of the fittest race. Cold logic will work just fine for short spurts.

And in my opinion, Western nations ignore some basic tenets of Christianity when they initiate wars and stir unrest to further "national interest".

Will the Chinese success lead to a better world without Christian morality in the long run? I am not so sure after my experience rooming in the house of a Chinese woman in New Zealand.

If she could beat the system or break the law without getting caught she would and did. In raising her two boys, she had no qualms about abandoning the older one because it suited her.

And having sex with any man because it suited her was also not a problem.

Some of the other Chinese I came across there had no problem sleeping with men to get them to help them break the law regarding immigration status. It was common for Chinese immigrants to lie to the authorities and to pay others to lie to get into the country.

There are some Chinese there who are Christian. Some Churches have Chinese services at one time and English services at other times.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:25 PM   #337
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
When considering the "fine tuning" variation of the argument from design I think there's an important consideration that often leads people to error.

The various equations and formulas, and the constants that are used in those formulas, that we call "laws of nature" are just descriptions. They aren't causes. We observe and measure the universe, and we come up with these descriptions, and we express them as mathematical relationships that include constants such as the gravitational constant, or the speed of light, which is itself a consequence of two other constants, the magnetic and electric permeability of free space, and all those other constants that are found in our physics textbooks.

Because we have those numbers, we have a strong tendency to try and imagine what would happen if those numbers are different, but that is confusing cause and effect. The numbers are a description of the universe. If the universe were different, then we would need different equations that used different numbers. We can't just imagine tweaking the numbers and seeing what sort of universe there would be, because all of those numbers are as they are because the universe is as it is. If we have the atoms and particles and photons that we have, they are described by these numbers. If the numbers were different, then the universe wouldn't be described by them. Atoms wouldn't hold together. Matter and energy wouldn't interact as they do. The equations we use wouldn't be the same equations.

Because we use these numbers to describe the world, it is psychologically simple to imagine if the numbers were different, and we realize, in that case, that the universe simply wouldn't "work". At that point, we might begin to thank our lucky stars that those numbers are exactly what they are, and we might even be tempted to assign some sort of "probability" to those numbers being what they are, but such an exercise is meaningless. If the universe didn't work the way it did, the numbers and the equations that use them wouldn't be useful.

James Maxwell came up with a set of four equations that describe electromagnetism, and the elements in those four equations have elements that can be related to each other using two constants, for electric and magnetic permeability. What is the probability that those four equations would be useful to describe the universe? The question borders on the nonsensical. However, the "fine tuning" variation of the argument from design asks us what is the probability that those constants would be what they are. That question is equally nonsensical, but it doesn't "feel" quite as nonsensical.

We can't talk about probability in such cases. The question has no meaning. The equations and the constants therein are what they are because the universe is as it is. If the universe were different, there would be different equations, not just different constants.

Thanks for a really great well reasoned point that I can address.

My reading of the various articles on the internet is that there is a scientific consensus that the universe IS fine-tuned for life. Some say it is just so and is unremarkable. Some say it has the appearance of being engineered.

There is a simple equation for velocity of a falling object due to gravity on Earth. Vf = Vi + gt where g is the gravitational constant on Earth, and is proportional to the universal gravitational constant G.

If g is larger or smaller by 10 percent then science can use the equations to predict what life would be like. It would be different, but there is no obvious reason that LOCALLY life could not evolve.

That is not true to other constants. Changing them only slightly will result in a total lack of functionality. There are many of these constants.

The other aspect is that a change to a constant governing quantum level effects makes a huge impact on the cosmology of the universe. Using the equations the Big Bang can be modeled. A small change leads to a universe that is unstable.

Because of modeling, one no longer needs actual examples of different universes to exist to compare them.

So change a constant slightly and things no longer function. One would not get elements heavier than iron, or the universe would expand so fast that galaxies could not form to make the elements heavier than iron, or the universe would implode before star formation.

The question asked is a philosophical one, but is not unscientific. Why are the constants what they are? If a child asks an adult this question and gets the answer "Because it just is", that is not a scientific debate.

Now what if the equations are different as well. Let see:
Vf = Vi + a*t might become what? Vf = Vi + a*t + a^2 *t^2 + a^3*t^3? It gets messy, and beyond the ability to model at present.

Scientists accept that we are indeed fine-tuned. But they get around this by postulating multiverses in the order of 10 to the power 500. That very large number is needed to get one of our universes.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:27 PM   #338
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
You've clearly never met my sister.


But I have a sister-in-law who might be similar to your sister!
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:33 PM   #339
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
False. What makes you think that lizards lack intelligence and are incapable of thought? What about dogs, dolphins, whales, elephants, chimpanzees or crows?
You miss my point which was that mental intelligence and physical versatility go hand in hand. Einsteins brain in a jar would not evolve or achieve anything.

We need manual dexterity for fine motor skills needed for writing and for assembling tools. There is the added benefit of sport and the arts.

A dolphin can do a back flip and juggle a ball. How does that help it make a fire? Even our closest primate relative would suck at that task.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:41 PM   #340
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Of all the factless stuff you spew that has to be amongst the funniest ever - you think corruption in China is less than in "Western capitalism"!!
Give me an example of a Chinese Bernie Madoff who was not tried and executed in short order. (After being exposed.)
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:46 PM   #341
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Originally Posted by Fast Eddie B View Post
Can you think of any experiment or observation that would falsify your hypothesis?

Asking on behalf of Karl Popper

You may be behind the times in using Popper and falsifiability ...


Quote:
https://phys.org/news/2014-04-scienc...-universe.html

The glory days of Karl Popper, who argued that falsifiability was a hallmark of good science, and Thomas Kuhn, who noted the phenomenon of paradigm shifts, are long gone—in science, if not in the humanities.

For many years, scientific philosophy as practised by scientists has languished, punctuated only by lapses such as the Sokal hoax, when NYU physicist Alan Sokal wrote a tongue-in-cheek article with a lot of scientific nonsense that was accepted by a leading journal in the postmodern science studies field (and launched a cottage industry of similar hoaxes).

But maybe the tide is finally turning. Perhaps modern science really needs philosophy after all.
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Old 19th October 2017, 10:59 PM   #342
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Scientists accept that we are indeed fine-tuned.
Scientists do indeed accept that the universal constants are in the range they need to be for our existence. It would be extremely remarkable if they weren't, would it not? Given that we do indeed exist.

Quote:
But they get around this by postulating multiverses in the order of 10 to the power 500. That very large number is needed to get one of our universes.
Scientists do not postulate multiverses in order to "get around" something that does not need to be got around. They postulate them because that is what their observations and discoveries lead them to suspect is the case. The fact that they also solve the so called "fine tuning problem" in a way that people who can't grasp why puddle thinking is erroneous can understand is a bonus.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:24 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Give me an example of a Chinese Bernie Madoff who was not tried and executed in short order. (After being exposed.)
Now you're assuming that the Chinese have a free press! Remarkable.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:32 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
.......In my opinion, the Chinese system is working very well..... Corruption undermines that effort, and they execute such people rather quickly. I think you would have a problem with that.
Do you think everyone who is executed in China has had a fair trial? Don't you think that anyone who has been found guilty of corruption might perhaps have just have been removed by a political enemy? Indeed, don't you think the Xi Jin Ping's crusade against corruption was/ is merely a way of consolidating his hold on power, as it gives him an easy way to remove anyone who he considers to be some sort of a threat?


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Will the Chinese success lead to a better world without Christian morality in the long run? I am not so sure after my experience rooming in the house of a Chinese woman in New Zealand..............
Will you never learn? Personal anecdotes are useless. This one, extrapolating from 1 person living abroad to one billion people living in China, is particularly hilarious. How about I tell you about the South African in our village who is an atheist and critical thinker, and extrapolate that to the whole of South Africa? Yeah, what you've just done is equally ridiculous.
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Old 20th October 2017, 12:10 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
In my opinion, the Chinese system is working very well because the nation is fairly homogeneous, and the leaders are determined to have the nation grow stronger through cooperative effort. Corruption undermines that effort, and they execute such people rather quickly.
*snerk*

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
And in my opinion, Western nations ignore some basic tenets of Christianity when they initiate wars and stir unrest to further "national interest".
The current USA conservative Christianity that involves itself in politics tends to seem like they don't care about a lot of Jesus' teachings in the NT, whether it be with regards to war, the poor, and more. This is hardly news to just about anyone other than them, though.

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Will the Chinese success lead to a better world without Christian morality in the long run? I am not so sure after my experience rooming in the house of a Chinese woman in New Zealand.
Well... it might be worth remembering why there are so many Chinese atheists, regardless. The main reasons aren't especially "nice" ones, after all. It also might be worth remembering the history that religion and China have, in general, in all its horrible splendor. The Christians of the Taiping Rebellion, for example, may well have caused more death than WW2.


Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
My reading of the various articles on the internet is that there is a scientific consensus that the universe IS fine-tuned for life. Some say it is just so and is unremarkable. Some say it has the appearance of being engineered.
Kinda sorta. As long as the claim is that the universe simply has constants that allow for life, that is safe ground and is what a few too many people have called fine-tuned. Anything past that, though, runs into a nasty problem that is neatly summarized by the phrase "lack of relevant data." We have a sample size of 1 to work with for practically all of the parameters that are presented or, for the more contrived local ones, we have an effective sample size of one planet or one solar system (sorta, the solar system could well have a lot more information to add to the table, we've mostly only dealt with the stuff that we can observe directly from Earth after all, with a couple notable probes added to the mix). That's entirely insufficient to draw pretty much any actual meaningful conclusions about how likely or not it is for the parameter to be that way. If we had a working Theory of Everything, that might be able to give some reasonable insight into at least some of it, but... we don't, so that route is also entirely inconclusive currently.

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
The question asked is a philosophical one, but is not unscientific. Why are the constants what they are? If a child asks an adult this question and gets the answer "Because it just is", that is not a scientific debate.
When there's insufficient data/understanding available, "because it just is" is a common answer, though.


Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Scientists accept that we are indeed fine-tuned.
For that to be correct in general, a loose definition of fine-tuned that does not require either intelligence or designer would need to be used. Some scientists, of course, do postulate such a designer, though the reasoning that I've generally seen them put forth has been inherently fallacious.

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
But they get around this by postulating multiverses in the order of 10 to the power 500. That very large number is needed to get one of our universes.
Multiverse theories tend to be proposed as potential solutions for entirely different problems, if I recall correctly, but can indeed have the convenient side effect of being able to be used like this.

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
A dolphin can do a back flip and juggle a ball. How does that help it make a fire?
That just begs the question of what motivation would they have to make a fire and how much benefit could aquatic species actually derive from it, regardless of how intelligent they might be? Part of the reason why fire (and clothes) is meaningful to humans is that human bodies are just not good enough at temperature regulation in most of the places where we live now.
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Old 20th October 2017, 12:12 AM   #346
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
The question asked is a philosophical one, but is not unscientific. Why are the constants what they are? If a child asks an adult this question and gets the answer "Because it just is", that is not a scientific debate.
The correct answer is that we don't know. We don't even know if there is a reason.

"Because God and Satan are simulating intelligent life in their cosmic dreams" is by far a worse answer than "We don't know". If you posit that your answer is better than the other religious answers for why the world exists, you need to be able to show it. Even in philosophy and theology, you're expected to support your claims.

Your pseudo Christian New Age hypothesis is just as well supported as the hypothesis that three gods sculpted the Universe from the corpse of a giant, that we came from a goose egg that fell into the lap of a goddess, or that a Semitic storm god separated the wet bits from the dry bits and took up gardening.

The idea that because we happen to exist, the Universe must have been finetuned by an intelligence for us to emerge, is completely unsupported.
First of all, it invents the need for some kind of intelligent agent for which there is no evidence.
Secondly, if the Universe was finetuned for life as we know it, then why is almost all of the Universe completely inhospitable to life?
Thirdly, your reasoning is backwards. You're trying to derive a premise from a conclusion.
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Old 20th October 2017, 03:31 AM   #347
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Scientists do indeed accept that the universal constants are in the range they need to be for our existence. It would be extremely remarkable if they weren't, would it not? Given that we do indeed exist.

If they were not, we would not exist. That much you and I (and others) agree on.

It is not just that the universal constant are in the right range, it is the degree of precision that is remarkable. Your viewpoint on this seems to be that because the birth of the universe from the Big Bang was a one time event and no-one was there to predict the probability of the choice of constant, it is then a moot question. That is not so.

Consider a scientist who has been raised somewhat in isolation so that he has never experienced coin tosses in practice or theory. He is shown a table with a ruler and a coin. Under the middle of the ruler is an eraser. He is told that someone hit one end of the ruler to flip the coin on the other end into the air to land on the table.

He observes the coin standing on its edge. He is then asked to use his knowledge of the laws of physics to work out what the probability is that such an event would happen.

His conclusion is that it is a highly unlikely event. His reasoning is that there are so many variables that have to be "just right".

So here we have one event only to analyze. The odds of it happening are not 1:1. The man thinks that the event was "engineered" so that it happened. He has no proof, because they never let him try again.

Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Scientists do not postulate multiverses in order to "get around" something that does not need to be got around. They postulate them because that is what their observations and discoveries lead them to suspect is the case. The fact that they also solve the so called "fine tuning problem" in a way that people who can't grasp why puddle thinking is erroneous can understand is a bonus.

Tell me one observation or discovery that indicated that multiverses exist - other than the uncomfortable discovery of fine-tuning, or the search for a mathematical formula to explain the mysteries of why some of our theories fail. Which came first, the postulation of possible multiverses or the string theory?

While I understand the Puddle-Hole example, I am claiming it is so disparate and disconnected from fine-tuning as to be useless except to mislead the masses. The fact that an otherwise brilliant man proposed it does not mean it cannot be seriously flawed as an analogy. And the fact that so many people proclaim it to a "great and wonderful" story, does not make it so.

Douglas Adams just causes confusion for serious debaters who then are faced with a mantra of being guilty of "Puddle-Thinking". Give me a break.
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Old 20th October 2017, 03:48 AM   #348
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Consider a scientist who has been raised somewhat in isolation so that he has never experienced coin tosses in practice or theory. He is shown a table with a ruler and a coin. Under the middle of the ruler is an eraser. He is told that someone hit one end of the ruler to flip the coin on the other end into the air to land on the table.

He observes the coin standing on its edge. He is then asked to use his knowledge of the laws of physics to work out what the probability is that such an event would happen.

His conclusion is that it is a highly unlikely event. His reasoning is that there are so many variables that have to be "just right".

So here we have one event only to analyze. The odds of it happening are not 1:1. The man thinks that the event was "engineered" so that it happened. He has no proof, because they never let him try again.
The odds that it will happen are small, the odds that is has happened after the fact are 1.
Tell me, are you suggesting that a coin landing on its edge implies that an intelligent actor outside the physical realm has manipulated the coin so it would land on its edge?
And how about all the times coins land on one of its faces? Is that also by divine mandate?
If you don't believe every coin toss if determined beforehand by a god with a set goal in mind, then why do you think it is the most likely explanation for life?
Also, remember, that if you do believe in the existence of chance and probability, that the scientist in your example is wrong.
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Old 20th October 2017, 04:01 AM   #349
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
If they were not, we would not exist. That much you and I (and others) agree on.

It is not just that the universal constant are in the right range, it is the degree of precision that is remarkable.

But it isn't all that remarkable at all. The values of those constants are a description of the universe, derived from observations of the universe, just as those equations where those constants appear. They are not the universe itself. They are descriptions of the existing universe. It is not remarkable that the constants in those equations are exactly what have to occur for the universe to exist.

Consider Maxwell's equations again describing electromagnetism. Constants found while measuring strength of the forces described in those equations can be used to calculate the speed of light, which seems to be pretty much related to everything, including time itself.

One of those equations is sometimes described in English as "There are no magnetic monopoles." (It's expressed in terms of gradients of a magnetic field being 0, but the implication is that there are no magnetic monopoles.) Well, it's a good thing that equation works, because it is fundamental to the workings of the universe.

What is the probability that that equation would work? It has to work in order for the universe as we know it to exist. Isn't it fortunate that it actually does work? Can we make computations about how improbable the universe must be, based on how improbable it was that there be no magnetic monopoles?

Such an exercise does not even make sense. However, it is no less sensible than imagining the speed of light had a different value. Both come from observations of the universe as it exists. It somehow feels less outrageous to imagine having a different speed of light than it does to imagine a universe that had magnetic monopoles. We can somehow imagine the number being a little bit different, as if that number was just a coincidence, and we feel like we ought to be able to assign a probability that it should be what it is. It somehow seems much more awkward to describe the nonexistence of magnetic monopoles and talk about a probability for that. In reality though, it's exactly the same thing. The equation that happens to have a zero in it is a description of the universe. So is the value of c in E=mc2. If the value of c were something other than what it is, it wouldn't describe the universe that really exists. It makes no sense to talk about what the probability is that c would have a certain value.

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Old 20th October 2017, 04:13 AM   #350
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
It is not just that the universal constant are in the right range, it is the degree of precision that is remarkable.
Consider Euler's IdentityWP, which relates the five fundamental mathematical constants. Is it remarkable that five constants, two of them irrational and one of them imaginary, can be related by three mathematical operators to give an absolutely precise equality, with no error bars at all, despite the fact that the values of three of the constants can't even be written down?

We don't know that the values of the universal constants are arbitrary and independent. We have no reason to suppose that a universe with different universal constants is even logically possible. We simply have a theory that explains our observations of the universe, and that requires certain numerical values in certain places, and the ability to speculate whether some or all of those constants could hypothetically take different values. There will probably be a theory in future that supplants the one we have at present that requires fewer starting assumptions, and may well demonstrate that some fundamental constants are no more independent or arbitrary than zero, one, pi, e and i. At present, then, it seems to me that the fine tuning argument boils down to "Our theories aren't perfect, therefore God."

But as I said, you should ask six cosmologists and get seven different answers.

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Old 20th October 2017, 04:13 AM   #351
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
If they were not, we would not exist. That much you and I (and others) agree on.

It is not just that the universal constant are in the right range, it is the degree of precision that is remarkable.
1. The degree of precision is debatable (in some cases the range is quite large)

2. We have no idea how many possible combinations would work just as well. Changing the size of bolt in an engine might stop it working, but change the nut as well ...

3. No, it's not remarkable, because we're here so it's certain that the universal constants are in the right range for our existence

Quote:
Your viewpoint on this seems to be that because the birth of the universe from the Big Bang was a one time event and no-one was there to predict the probability of the choice of constant, it is then a moot question. That is not so
Again, although that's true, it is not the most important point.

Quote:
Consider a scientist who has been raised somewhat in isolation so that he has never experienced coin tosses in practice or theory. He is shown a table with a ruler and a coin. Under the middle of the ruler is an eraser. He is told that someone hit one end of the ruler to flip the coin on the other end into the air to land on the table.

He observes the coin standing on its edge. He is then asked to use his knowledge of the laws of physics to work out what the probability is that such an event would happen.

His conclusion is that it is a highly unlikely event. His reasoning is that there are so many variables that have to be "just right".

So here we have one event only to analyze. The odds of it happening are not 1:1. The man thinks that the event was "engineered" so that it happened. He has no proof, because they never let him try again.
Is the scientist's existence contingent on the coin ending up on its edge? No? Then that's not a suitable analogy.

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Tell me one observation or discovery that indicated that multiverses exist - other than the uncomfortable discovery of fine-tuning, or the search for a mathematical formula to explain the mysteries of why some of our theories fail. Which came first, the postulation of possible multiverses or the string theory?
Quantum theory, cosmology and string theory all suggest the existence of different types of multiverse. AFAIK all were suggested before the fine tuning argument raised its ugly head.

Quote:
While I understand the Puddle-Hole example, I am claiming it is so disparate and disconnected from fine-tuning as to be useless except to mislead the masses. The fact that an otherwise brilliant man proposed it does not mean it cannot be seriously flawed as an analogy. And the fact that so many people proclaim it to a "great and wonderful" story, does not make it so.

Douglas Adams just causes confusion for serious debaters who then are faced with a mantra of being guilty of "Puddle-Thinking". Give me a break.
It is an exact analogy for the only point for which it needs to be an exact analogy. The hole was not fine tuned for the puddle, and the universe is not fine tuned for us.
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Old 20th October 2017, 05:21 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Scientists do indeed accept that the universal constants are in the range they need to be for our existence. It would be extremely remarkable if they weren't, would it not? Given that we do indeed exist.


Scientists do not postulate multiverses in order to "get around" something that does not need to be got around. They postulate them because that is what their observations and discoveries lead them to suspect is the case. The fact that they also solve the so called "fine tuning problem" in a way that people who can't grasp why puddle thinking is erroneous can understand is a bonus.
No, I'm not sure that scientists posit the multiverse possibility based on any observation or discovery since man simply cannot see beyond its own universe.

I do agree though that they aren't trying to get around God another totally unobserved and undiscovered idea.
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Old 20th October 2017, 05:26 AM   #353
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Consider a scientist who has been raised somewhat in isolation so that he has never experienced coin tosses in practice or theory... He observes the coin standing on its edge.... His conclusion is that it is a highly unlikely event. His reasoning is that there are so many variables that have to be "just right".
Then he'd be wrong. The actual reason why it's unlikely is because most of the possible prior states would have resulted in a coin flat on the table or floor and most of those possible prior states are about equally likely to each other. He knows what other options exist and has some way to try to estimate their likelihood. With universal constants, we have neither of those; there is no way to tell what other universe configurations were ever possible or how likely those alternatives ever were. All you have is other things that you hope people will mistake for those.
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Old 20th October 2017, 05:33 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
No, I'm not sure that scientists posit the multiverse possibility based on any observation or discovery since man simply cannot see beyond its own universe.

I do agree though that they aren't trying to get around God another totally unobserved and undiscovered idea.
I had the impression that the whole “multiverse” idea was to get around some apparent paradoxes in Quantum Theory.

As an example, if Schroedenger’s cat exists in an indeterminate state until observed, then at the moment of observation the universe branches into two universes, one with a live cat and one with a dead cat.

Sounds bizarre, and is perhaps a cartoonish representation, but that’s how I visualize it.
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Old 20th October 2017, 05:58 AM   #355
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Originally Posted by Fast Eddie B View Post
I had the impression that the whole “multiverse” idea was to get around some apparent paradoxes in Quantum Theory.

As an example, if Schroedenger’s cat exists in an indeterminate state until observed, then at the moment of observation the universe branches into two universes, one with a live cat and one with a dead cat.

Sounds bizarre, and is perhaps a cartoonish representation, but that’s how I visualize it.
That's one, yes. The "many worlds" interpretation of quantum theory.

Inflationary cosmology also seems to imply multiple universes, each in its own "pocket" with potentially different laws and universal constants. So does string theory, I believe, though I know very little about that.
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Old 20th October 2017, 06:01 AM   #356
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Originally Posted by Fast Eddie B View Post
I had the impression that the whole “multiverse” idea was to get around some apparent paradoxes in Quantum Theory.

As an example, if Schroedenger’s cat exists in an indeterminate state until observed, then at the moment of observation the universe branches into two universes, one with a live cat and one with a dead cat.

Sounds bizarre, and is perhaps a cartoonish representation, but that’s how I visualize it.
I think you're right that they are trying to make it all fit. And I think it is fine that they posit the multiverse hypothesis. But using the terms observation or discovery might be stretching the definitions of those words.

I always thought the Schroedinger's cat analogy as kind of silly. The cat is like the proverbial tree in the forest. Both require observation as in fact does time...(well sort of)
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Old 20th October 2017, 06:09 AM   #357
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I think you're right that they are trying to make it all fit. And I think it is fine that they posit the multiverse hypothesis. But using the terms observation or discovery might be stretching the definitions of those words.
Well quantum theory, cosmology and string theory are all attempts to account for actual observations and discoveries ...

OK, I might have put it a little too strongly. But the suggestion that the idea of multiverses was invented to get around the fine tuning argument is ludicrous.
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Old 20th October 2017, 06:21 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Well quantum theory, cosmology and string theory are all attempts to account for actual observations and discoveries ...

OK, I might have put it a little too strongly. But the suggestion that the idea of multiverses was invented to get around the fine tuning argument is ludicrous.
But they aren't really about observations or discoveries of the cosmos but of particle physics.

And yes, I agree with you that the creation of the multiverse hypothesis has nothing to do with fine tuning.
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Old 20th October 2017, 06:31 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
But the suggestion that the idea of multiverses was invented to get around the fine tuning argument is ludicrous.
As far as I'm aware, the idea of the multiverse was first outlined by Schrödinger in 1952, and the fine tuning argument was first articulated by Dicke in 1961, which rather undermines the suggestion that the former was a response to the latter.

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Old 20th October 2017, 11:33 AM   #360
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
Your viewpoint on this seems to be that because the birth of the universe from the Big Bang was a one time event and no-one was there to predict the probability of the choice of constant, it is then a moot question. That is not so.
This is a strange way to try to take the things that have been said that completely ignores the actually important concepts that had been invoked.


Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
While I understand the Puddle-Hole example, I am claiming it is so disparate and disconnected from fine-tuning as to be useless except to mislead the masses.
Your choice of objections to raise rather suggests that you don't actually understand it, or, if you do, you're so desperate to try to dismiss it that you're willing to present arguments without substance to try to do so.

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
The fact that an otherwise brilliant man proposed it does not mean it cannot be seriously flawed as an analogy. And the fact that so many people proclaim it to a "great and wonderful" story, does not make it so.

Douglas Adams just causes confusion for serious debaters who then are faced with a mantra of being guilty of "Puddle-Thinking". Give me a break.
It sounds like you just don't like the fact that the weak anthropic principle quite effectively negates any and all logical persuasiveness from the universal fine-tuning arguments, which, given the lack of valid facts that actually support them, leaves them as little more than empty rhetoric. It's entirely fine to do thought experiments and calculations about "What if things were otherwise" questions. It's not fine to try to claim that we should believe things about reality based on such thought experiments entirely absent of any real indication that they even could have been otherwise in the first place. Incidentally, the many worlds interpretation and such scientific multiverse theories are presented as potential explanations for actual phenomena, which is notably different than a "What if things were otherwise" thought experiment.
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