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Fine Tuning and Alien Poker

Wnope
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1/3/2013 1:53:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
There is a common analogy given for the specificity of life on this planet. It goes as follows:

Four men are playing poker. One starts to get a royal flush every other hand. Isn't it reasonable for the other three to assume the fourth is stacking the deck?

My addition is as follows:

Say there is a spaceship full of aliens who love to gamble on the outcome of human games. They use stealth technology to walk around the room unnoticed. They bet by choosing multiple players and adding up the combined value of all the cards involved (with a value given to suits and face cards). Like poker, there is a hierarchy of how good a result can be (pair, two pair, three of kind...royal flush) in terms of number attributes (even number, double digits...prime number).

After a few rounds, three aliens notice the fourth keeps getting a prime numbers. Isn't it reasonable that they assume the winner is using stealth technology to stack the deck?

They play a few more rounds, each winning with the expected statistical probability. However, the men they are watching start acting strange. They accuse each other of cheating.

Though the cards match perfectly with the expected probability of the aliens game, in the human game it lead to one person getting three royal flushes in a row.

The reason the aliens and humans don't agree on when someone is cheating is because they are viewing statistics through a normative schema. If the point of the game is "get a royal flush" then it appears to be cheating when royal flushes appear. If the point of the game is "get a prime number" then it appears to be cheating when prime numbers appear.

To point to the specificity of the universe for life on earth only indicates design with the presupposition that the point the universe is for life to evolve. But we can just as easily specify ""universe alpha", which has a unique set of "fine-tuned constants" that leads to a specifically organized universe full of black holes. Change the constants slightly and you will not get that specific arrangement.

With the presupposition that the universe was made for a specific arrangement of black holes, the discovery of universe alpha would indicate a designer.

Why should life indicate design in a universe while black holes do not?
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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1/3/2013 2:07:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/3/2013 1:53:12 AM, Wnope wrote:


Why should life indicate design in a universe while black holes do not?

Strawman.

"Design implies designer", goes for any intricate exact design.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

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tBoonePickens
Posts: 3,266
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1/3/2013 2:31:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/3/2013 2:07:43 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 1/3/2013 1:53:12 AM, Wnope wrote:


Why should life indicate design in a universe while black holes do not?
Strawman.
How so?

"Design implies designer", goes for any intricate exact design.
Question begging.
WOS
: At 10/3/2012 4:28:52 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
: Without nothing existing, you couldn't have something.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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1/3/2013 5:32:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think this is the strongest argument against the argument for design from fine-tuning. But I don't think it's as strong as you make it out to be. According to what I've read, the constants of the universe would have to be finely tuned just to get any kind of complex chemistry at all. For example, if the gravitational constant were different by some crazy small factor, then the universe would either be composed of diffuse hydrogen, or else nothing but black holes. In either case, you'd get nothing interesting. I think the fact that the universe has complex chemistry, and is therefore capable of producing far more interesting things than most other universes, needs a better explanation.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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1/3/2013 5:45:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/3/2013 5:32:21 PM, philochristos wrote:
I think this is the strongest argument against the argument for design from fine-tuning. But I don't think it's as strong as you make it out to be. According to what I've read, the constants of the universe would have to be finely tuned just to get any kind of complex chemistry at all. For example, if the gravitational constant were different by some crazy small factor, then the universe would either be composed of diffuse hydrogen, or else nothing but black holes. In either case, you'd get nothing interesting. I think the fact that the universe has complex chemistry, and is therefore capable of producing far more interesting things than most other universes, needs a better explanation.

You are bound in your definition of complexity by how you know the natural universe to exist as it is. "Complex Chemistry" or "interesting things" as you state it, could be random and unintelligible given comparison to an alternate universe with completely different components of existence.

This is the problem with most people who try to support fine-tuning. Fine-tuning is reasonable to those with common sense because we have a universe to compare things to. To truly grasp arguments against fine-tuning, one must necessarily be able to envision and understand what it means to have an alternative to the universe we know.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Franz_Reynard
Posts: 1,227
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1/3/2013 6:11:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/3/2013 5:32:21 PM, philochristos wrote:
I think this is the strongest argument against the argument for design from fine-tuning. But I don't think it's as strong as you make it out to be. According to what I've read, the constants of the universe would have to be finely tuned just to get any kind of complex chemistry at all. For example, if the gravitational constant were different by some crazy small factor, then the universe would either be composed of diffuse hydrogen, or else nothing but black holes. In either case, you'd get nothing interesting. I think the fact that the universe has complex chemistry, and is therefore capable of producing far more interesting things than most other universes, needs a better explanation.

The complex chemistry in this universe derives from large-scale catalysts, such as the death of a sun.
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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1/3/2013 11:52:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/3/2013 2:31:32 PM, tBoonePickens wrote:
At 1/3/2013 2:07:43 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 1/3/2013 1:53:12 AM, Wnope wrote:


Why should life indicate design in a universe while black holes do not?
Strawman.
How so?
It assumes that black holes in a specific design don't indicate a designer.

"Design implies designer", goes for any intricate exact design.
Question begging.
How so?
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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1/4/2013 1:43:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/3/2013 11:52:51 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 1/3/2013 2:31:32 PM, tBoonePickens wrote:
At 1/3/2013 2:07:43 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 1/3/2013 1:53:12 AM, Wnope wrote:


Why should life indicate design in a universe while black holes do not?
Strawman.
How so?
It assumes that black holes in a specific design don't indicate a designer.

"Design implies designer", goes for any intricate exact design.
Question begging.
How so?

So, your argument is that a world full of black holes in a specific design DOES indicate a designer?
Cognosium
Posts: 2
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1/4/2013 2:47:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The evidence for "fine tuning" is actually very strong. However, it in no way supports "Intelligent Design" or any other fictions arising from the superstitious myths of religions.

The physical parameters are but the tip of the iceberg. There is actually a much greater body of evidence to support fine tuning to be found in fields of science far better established than cosmology.

After all, perhaps the earliest proponent of fine-tuning was the biochemist Lawrence Henderson. In "The Fitness of the Environment", published in 1913, he observed that ""the whole evolutionary process, both cosmic and organic, is one, and the biologist may now rightly regard the universe in its very essence as biocentric"

Geology, biology and particularly chemistry provide many examples of "just right" prevailing conditions that enable and, indeed, make virtually inevitable, the strong directionality we observe in evolutionary processes.

The most recent part of this evolutionary continuum is that most familiar to us and of which we have the best knowledge: The autonomous evolution of technology within the medium of the collective imagination of our species.

But the commonly held assumption that IF fine tuning is a valid phenomenon THEN it favors theism is flawed.

Because it predicated by the very common and entirely intuitive belief that it suggests a "designer".

But it can be very plausibly argued that, except in a very trivial sense, the concept of a "designer" is but an anthropocentric conceit for which there is no empirical basis.

An objective examination of the history of science and technology bears this out.

To quickly put this counter-intuitive view into focus, would you not agree that the following statement has a sound basis?

We would have geometry without Euclid, calculus without Newton or Liebnitz, the camera without Johann Zahn, the cathode ray tube without JJ Thomson, relativity (and quantum mechanics) without Einstein, the digital computer without Turin, the Internet without Vinton Cerf.

The list can. of course be extended indefinitely.

This broad evolutionary model , extending well beyond the field of biology, is outlined, very informally, in "The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?" which is a free download in e-book formats from the "Unusual Perspectives" website.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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1/4/2013 3:16:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/4/2013 2:47:00 AM, Cognosium wrote:
The evidence for "fine tuning" is actually very strong. However, it in no way supports "Intelligent Design" or any other fictions arising from the superstitious myths of religions.

The physical parameters are but the tip of the iceberg. There is actually a much greater body of evidence to support fine tuning to be found in fields of science far better established than cosmology.

After all, perhaps the earliest proponent of fine-tuning was the biochemist Lawrence Henderson. In "The Fitness of the Environment", published in 1913, he observed that ""the whole evolutionary process, both cosmic and organic, is one, and the biologist may now rightly regard the universe in its very essence as biocentric"

Geology, biology and particularly chemistry provide many examples of "just right" prevailing conditions that enable and, indeed, make virtually inevitable, the strong directionality we observe in evolutionary processes.

The most recent part of this evolutionary continuum is that most familiar to us and of which we have the best knowledge: The autonomous evolution of technology within the medium of the collective imagination of our species.

But the commonly held assumption that IF fine tuning is a valid phenomenon THEN it favors theism is flawed.

Because it predicated by the very common and entirely intuitive belief that it suggests a "designer".

But it can be very plausibly argued that, except in a very trivial sense, the concept of a "designer" is but an anthropocentric conceit for which there is no empirical basis.

An objective examination of the history of science and technology bears this out.

To quickly put this counter-intuitive view into focus, would you not agree that the following statement has a sound basis?

We would have geometry without Euclid, calculus without Newton or Liebnitz, the camera without Johann Zahn, the cathode ray tube without JJ Thomson, relativity (and quantum mechanics) without Einstein, the digital computer without Turin, the Internet without Vinton Cerf.

The list can. of course be extended indefinitely.

This broad evolutionary model , extending well beyond the field of biology, is outlined, very informally, in "The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?" which is a free download in e-book formats from the "Unusual Perspectives" website.

How are you defining "fine tuning" if not with a presupposition of "tuning for" some particular empirical result (e.g. life, evolution, etc)?
Cognosium
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1/4/2013 3:39:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/4/2013 3:16:19 AM, Wnope wrote:

How are you defining "fine tuning" if not with a presupposition of "tuning for" some particular empirical result (e.g. life, evolution, etc)?

Fine tuning representing the underlying structure of our universe such that the observed strong directionality of the "life" process ratchets forward as a result of largely stochastic inputs.

This evolutionary "life" process not being restricted to the field of biology.

In my writings I deal with the better established phases of nature's machinery that extend from the formation of the chemical elements in stars and supernovae right through to the evolution of technology within the collective imagination of our species. Also an extrapolation to the imminent emergence of a new predominant cognitive entity from what is at present the Internet and the general nature of the subsequent phase.