The Basic Fine-Tuning Argument For God’s Existence

Before I delve into writing some more technical articles on fine-tuning, I wanted to give an overview of what the argument means and the general point the argument is attempting to convey. 

What is Meant by Fine-Tuning?

If I’m attempting to fine-tune a vehicle, I’m doing so with a certain goal in mind.  I’m attempting to get a certain characteristic out of the vehicle.  Either fuel economy, horsepower, top-end speed or whatever my goal happens to be.  I’m using my intelligence to tweak the characteristics of the vehicle to accomplish my goal.

Although the above was a poor attempt by a mechanical ignoramous to use a mechanical analogy, the fine-tuning argument for God’s existence claims that the universe was tweaked in such a way, with a goal in mind.  That goal was human life.  There are two equally important parts to this argument . . .

1.  The characteristics, forces, and phenomena of the universe are fine-tuned to such a degree that human life is possible.  That is to say that if any characteristics were any more than slightly (and in some cases even slightly) changed, human life would be impossible.

2.  The characteristics, forces and phenomena didn’t HAVE TO be this way.  There is no law governing why these characteristics, forces, and phenomena turned out the way they are.  They could have been different. 

The second part of the argument is important in describing the significance of the first part.  If the argument only consisted of the first part, the easy answer would be, “Well of course the characteristics, forces and phenomena of the universe are fine tuned for life, because we are here.”  The second part suggests that the forces were designed for a certain goal in mind, which can only be accomplished by an Intelligence.

Let’s give an example . . .

The Forces of the Universe

Physicists recognize four fundamental forces of nature.  These four determine the characteristics of the universe.  The interesting part, is that they vary greatly from each other over many orders of magnitude.  These forces are the force of gravity, the weak force, the strong or nuclear force and the electromagnetic force.  They are given below in international standard units:  (if only I knew how to do subscripts)

Force of Gravity                    =   5.9 x 10 -39th power

Weak Force                           =  7.03 x 10 – 3rd power

Strong or Nuclear Force        =  15

Electromagnetic Force          =  3.05 x 10 -12th power

The gravitational force is an unimaginable thirty-nine orders of magnitude smaller than the nuclear force.  If it was a mere (in comparison) trillion times larger than it is now, then the universe would be far smaller than it is now.  The average star would have a mass a trillion times smaller than our sun and the lifespan of about a year.  Far too short for life to develop in any meaningful way if at all.  If the force of gravity had been any less powerful, the universe would not be able to hold itself together (and therefore never would have formed at all). 

The other forces are no less essential and precariously positioned in their values.  If the strong force had been slightly weaker, the only substance that would be stable would be hydrogen.  No other atoms could exist. 

As Paul Davies in his Accidental Universe summarizes it:

The numerical values that nature has assigned to the fundamental constants, such as the charge on the electron, the mass of the proton, and the Newtonian gravitational constant, may be mysterious, but they are crucially relevant to the structure of the universe that we percieve. . . . Had nature opted for a slightly different set of numbers, the world would be a very different place.  Probably we would not be here to see it. . .And when one goes on to study cosmology – the overall structure and evolution of the universe – incredulity mounts.  Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in it’s motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision.

The laws of physics are exteremely fit for life and the universe has given every appearance of having been specifically set in motion with that goal in mind.

The Force-Dial Analogy

To put this in perspective, there is a great analogy that is in Lee Strobel’s A Case for a Creator.  Lee is interviewing a physicist by the name of Robin Collins.  Let’s say I go to Mars and I find a biosphere there.  Let’s forget for a second about how the biosphere got there.  In the control room of this biosphere, there are 12 dials that control the various forces and constants found in the biosphere.  Note that these dials have an exteremely large range of possible force or constant values.  As you leave the biosphere, you leave all the dials in random positions so that life is not possible in the biosphere.

Let’s say you come back a year later and find that all of the dials are set differently than you left them, all set precisely for the optimal conditions for life.  The word amazement wouldn’t begin to describe it.  The headlines all over the world would be Proof of Intelligent Life Found on Mars.  This would be the conclusion because only an intelligent being would be able to set all 12 dials for all 12 forces or constants to be optimal for life, random would not even be considered a viable answer. 

The situation is actually worse than that for atheists.  Let’s consider the force values table above.  If I were to set all of the possible force values on a linear dial, from the strong force to the force of gravity and everything in between, with one inch increments, each inch representing a possible force value.  There would be billions upon billions of inches that would stretch across the entire universe.  Let’s say I wanted to increase the force of gravity by a single inch increment on this linear dial; the effect would be catastrophic.  It would increase the force of gravity by a billion fold!  Human life would be impossible.  In fact, a planet with a gravitational pull of only one thousand times that of Earth would have a diameter of forty feet.  Multiplying our current gravitational force by one thousand times may seem like a large number.  However, taking into account the entire range of possible force values, as seen in the chart, a thousand fold increase is miniscule!

The Big Picture

In order for this article to be concise enough, it will suffice to say that am I excluding the names and explanations of several ratios, constants, forces, biological and chemical interactions ect. that need to be precisely the way they are to allow human life.  I will gradually get into many of these fine-tuned phenomena. 

Taking into account the many phenomena that need to be precisely the way they are, and considering the possible range of values they COULD HAVE, the probablity of fine-tuning for human life has been conservatively estimated to be at least one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion.  That would be a ten followed by fifty-three zeroes. If you were to randomly throw a dart at some part of the Earth, that would be like hitting a bullseye that’s less than one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter.  That’s less than the size of a single atom.  It’s unbelievably precise, and the universe NEEDS this precision in order for human life to be possible.  Chance cannot begin to explain this precision, it’s like throwing darts an atom.  Only Intelligence explains this precision.

The Atheistic Response

I’m open to an atheist offering me an explanation I haven’t thought of, but the only one I can come up with, based on my understand of their worldview, is, “We just got lucky”.  Really?  One part in a ten with fifty-three zeroes after it lucky?  As in, we hit that atom with a dart lucky?  Along those lines is the explanation of, “Well, of course the universe is fine-tuned that precisely, because we’re here.”  Is that really a valid explanation?  Isn’t it along the same lines as “God did it”?.  Aren’t you just saying, “Chance did it”?  This is basically admitting that the atheist has no explanation for why or how the constants became the way they are.  It becomes an “It is because it is” argument.  But if that isn’t the only answer the atheist has, then I’m open to discussion.

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49 Comments on “The Basic Fine-Tuning Argument For God’s Existence”

  1. sofismando Says:

    “Along those lines is the explanation of, “Well, of course the universe is fine-tuned that precisely, because we’re here.” Is that really a valid explanation? Isn’t along the same lines as “God did it”?. ”

    You seem to misunderstand the Anthropic Principle. The idea in this case is that we only think it’s “fine-tuned” because it fits our requirements. Given other parameters we wouldnt be here, but perhaps something else would; and that something else would be saying “why is the universe fine-tuned as it is?”

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Sofismando

    When I say “human life”, I mean large warm-blooded mammal. As in, animals capable of thinking “why are we here?” wouldn’t be possible if life would be possible at all. I’ll make that case in more detail in a later post.

    However, to say, as you are, that, “Well maybe WE wouldn’t be here but some other lower life form MIGHT be here therefore God is not needed” begs the question and ignores the problem. The problem is, YOU ARE HERE. If you don’t want to question why these contants allow you to live or how they came to be the way they are precisely so that allows you to live is tantamount to sticking your head in the sand or sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “La La La, I can’t hear you!”. Is that the kind of scholar you want to be?

  3. Lucy Lowe Says:

    “Along those lines is the explanation of, “Well, of course the universe is fine-tuned that precisely, because we’re here.” Is that really a valid explanation? Isn’t along the same lines as “God did it”?. ”

    i don’t think it is along the same lines as you say because of course we have proof of our own existence whereas proof of the existence of a God is still something we’re waiting for.

    To be honest, as well written as this post is I don’t think it offers anything new on the fine-tuned argument.

    An important point to remember about the “One part in a ten with fifty-three zeroes after it lucky?” is that on the scale we’re talking about this level of luck isn’t really that extreme. Our Galaxy is comprised of perhaps 20 billion planets, with 100 billion Galaxies in the Universe. We have evidence for only ourselves as life in the Universe, (And the Bible, Koran etc haven’t mentioned anybody else).

    I wonder, if there is a God who has some kind of purpose for life on this planet, why did she make the Universe so incomprehensively vast, with so much seemingly wasted space? (And an answer of “We can’t as mortals conceive of God’s paln” I would consider along the same lines as “God did it”) 🙂

  4. Becky Says:

    I for one do believe that there is a god who created everything here on this earth using scientific methods. There are scientists out there who also believe that science and god do coexist. For example, I just stumbled across a website http://healingtheriftbook.com/ . Leo Kim, a scientist of 25 years, is coming out with a new book explaining his theories. The book is titled, “Healing the Rift,” and is scheduled to come out sometime in October- not quite sure what date. I can’t wait to read it.

  5. Viggy Says:

    Sofismando- you state “The idea in this case is that we only think it’s “fine-tuned” because it fits our requirements. Given other parameters we wouldn’t be here, but perhaps something else would; and that something else would be saying “why is the universe fine-tuned as it is?’”

    Eric already stated a good rebuttal to your statement but I also feel that I need to say something. Your statement is an offshoot answer that doesn’t answer the question that was given in the first place. You state that something else would be here, so that means we shouldn’t answer the fine tuning question about ourselves? I believe that founding yourself with that logic will lead to other foul thinking that comprises of “what ifs.” We aren’t talking about fantasy and things that “could have” happened, we are talking about what did happen, and you don’t seem to want to answer that question.

    Lucy Lowe- You state “An important point to remember about the “One part in a ten with fifty-three zeroes after it lucky?” is that on the scale we’re talking about this level of luck isn’t really that extreme.”

    First, give me proof that the level isn’t that extreme? You gave me more numbers of billion planets and galaxies which almost make the number seem more ridiculous to occur. Secondly, you state that it is “luck.” So I take it that you believe that luck occurs that easily? And if that type of luck isn’t so extreme, why hasn’t happened again?

    Here is a different way in explaining a fine-tuning argument and this is from a MIT physicist-“The human eye is enormously complicated- a perfect interrelated system of about 40 individual subsystems, including the retina, pupil, iris, cornea, lens and optic nerve. For instance, the retina has approximately 137 million special cells that respond to light and send message to the brain. About 130 million of these cells look like rods and handle the black and white vision. The other seven million are cone shaped and allow us to see in color. The retina cells receive light impression, which are translated to electric pulses and sent to the brain via the optic nerve. A special section of the brain called the visual cortex interprets the pulses to color, contrast, depth, etc., which allows us to see ‘pictures’ of our world. Incredibly, the eye, optic nerve and visual cortex are totally separate and distinct subsystems. Yet, together, they capture, deliver and interpret up to 1.5 million pulse messages a millisecond! It would take dozens of Cray supercomputers programmed perfectly and operating together flawlessly to even get close to performing this task.” –Vera Kistikowsky, MIT physicist, Cosmos, Bios Theos, 1992, p52.

    So, I will ask you this: maybe you “think” (because I haven’t really heard any other atheist say that it wasn’t extreme) that the creation of our entire universe wasn’t that extreme to make, but how can you say that the further creation of life, animals, and beings known as humans with acute senses and body parts that can do what the eye can do is not extreme?

    “Our Galaxy is comprised of perhaps 20 billion planets, with 100 billion Galaxies in the Universe. We have evidence for only ourselves as life in the Universe, (And the Bible, Koran etc haven’t mentioned anybody else).”
    What is your point with statement? This statement is like hinting that the Bible is false because it doesn’t talk about a person that learns about his father that is half human and half machine that uses the dark side of the force to control an empire and the son must use the light side of the force to convert his dad and defeat the empire! Wait a second; I know why we don’t have evidence for that, because it only exists in a galaxy far far away.

    “I wonder, if there is a God who has some kind of purpose for life on this planet, why did she make the Universe so incomprehensively vast, with so much seemingly wasted space? (And an answer of “We can’t as mortals conceive of God’s paln” I would consider along the same lines as “God did it”)”

    HE made the Universe the way it is for things to be the way it is as we see it. You may see seemingly wasted space, but there is gravity and other forces between these “wasted spaces” that keep things where they are. This is a very simple answer, but I think it should suffice.

  6. John Says:

    Possible types of logical fallacies found in this article:

    1. Non-Sequitur
    2. Ad ignorantum
    3. Confusing currently unexplained with unexplainable
    4. False Dichotomy
    5. The Moving Goalpost

    I bet others can identify more.

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    John

    Evoking logical fallacies without evidence of where those logical fallacies were perpetrated doesn’t lend itself to rational discussion.

    If you’d like defend and give examples of your accusations then we could have a rational discussion.

    Eric Kemp

  8. Eric Kemp Says:

    Lucy

    “i don’t think it is along the same lines as you say because of course we have proof of our own existence whereas proof of the existence of a God is still something we’re waiting for.”

    That’s actually not what we’re talking about, and you’ve missed the point. I’m GIVING you evidence for God’s existence. And that is that the our universe is fine tuned to such a precise degree that only an intelligence could have accomplished it. Are you saying that, keeping in mind the numbers I gave you, chance is a more likely explanation? If so, why?

    “To be honest, as well written as this post is I don’t think it offers anything new on the fine-tuned argument.”

    Hence the title of the post. However, since you haven’t offered up any argument to refute the basic fine-tuning argument, it seems that I don’t need to offer “anything new” to stump you.

    “An important point to remember about the “One part in a ten with fifty-three zeroes after it lucky?” is that on the scale we’re talking about this level of luck isn’t really that extreme. Our Galaxy is comprised of perhaps 20 billion planets, with 100 billion Galaxies in the Universe.”

    This isn’t the situation at all Lucy. This is important: The universe didn’t have billions of tries to get it right. It had ONE TRY! At the onset of the beginning of the universe, Big Bang or God’s Word, it had to have all of those fine-tuned forces, contants and properties that allow for life. It had to have them at the beginning. How does the gravitational constant evolve? Nope, it had to exist at the instant the universe began, just as all the fundamental forces, constants and properties had to.

    So the chances are STILL and LITERALLY one in 10 with 53 zeroes. You can’t explain it away with pointing out how large the universe is. Those two things have NOTHING to do with each other.

  9. sofismando Says:

    Viggy,

    “Your statement is an offshoot answer that doesn’t answer the question that was given in the first place.”

    You didnt pay attention. Eric mentioned the Anthropic Principle (although he didn’t use its title), and asked if it wasnt the same as “God did it”. It isn’t, and I tried to explain.

    The Anthropic Principle has many holes, and whether you agree with it or not is another issue. But if one refers to its logic and attempts to criticize it, first it should be understood correctly.

  10. sofismando Says:

    “The universe didn’t have billions of tries to get it right. It had ONE TRY!”

    According to whom?

  11. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    The Anthropic Principle is part of what I’m talking about . . .kinda, but I didn’t mention it because it’s not really what I’m talking about. Please, lets discuss what I’m talking about.

    “According to whom?”

    It’s pretty simple actually. There is one universe therefore it had one chance, you know, cause it only formed once. Wait, are you suggesting that there are multiple universes??

  12. sofismando Says:

    “The Anthropic Principle is part of what I’m talking about[…] Please, lets discuss what I’m talking about.”

    You mentioned one possible explanation (“the universe is fine-tuned that precisely, because we’re here”) then criticized it (“Isn’t it along the same lines as ‘God did it’?”). My point was you misunderstood the Anthropic Principle, so the criticism was unfounded. That is not to say AP is *the* answer.

    “it only formed once.”

    Again, according to whom? The Cyclic Model has at least 80 years.

  13. Critic Says:

    Eric,

    Your initial, and most glaring error, is the assumption that the forces in the universe could be different.

    I’ll give you a simple task. Prove that the gravitational force could have a different value.

    Gravity is gravity. It is not something that needed to be or could be “tuned”.

  14. Lucy Lowe Says:

    hi Viggy,

    You said: “First, give me proof that the level isn’t that extreme? …Secondly, you state that it is “luck.” So I take it that you believe that luck occurs that easily? And if that type of luck isn’t so extreme, why hasn’t happened again?”

    Life only had to appear once, one time only, as a single cell lifeform. Therefore the appearance of something once in a Universe of 100 billion galaxies doesn’t seem that unreasonable. This single event was “luck”. You ask why it hasn’t happened again, but perhaps it has. If there’s other life in the Universe then it obviously has – but of course (as with any of the Gods) we don’t have any evidence for life in the rest of the Universe.

    you discuss the complexity of the human eye but there are two points you seem not to understand. The human eye did not spontaneously appear but developed over the period of millions of years. It wasn’t one single event that created it, but millions and millions of subtle, slight differences have improved the eye over millions of generations. This can be noticed in nature; for example, a worm’s eye is substandard to the human eye, a bat’s eye for example is superior.

    Secondly, the human eye, whilst undeniably incredible, is not perfect. Blind spots for example, or the various diseases which can damage the eye. I think both of these points actually point against their being a creator. Why would a God make something not perfect? And more importantly, isn’t it easier to imagine something as complex as the eye developing gradually rather than just “poofing” into existence as you suggest.

    As for your last “simple answer” as you put it: “there is gravity and other forces between these “wasted spaces” that keep things where they are.”

    gravity is the natural attraction between objects, based both on their respective masses and the inverse square law. i don’t quite see how the enormity of space would be required for this or “other forces” and I suspect you don’t either.

    Anyway, have a lovely day,

    Lucy

  15. Lucy Lowe Says:

    Hi Eric,

    You said: “I’m GIVING you evidence for God’s existence. And that is that the our universe is fine tuned to such a precise degree that only an intelligence could have accomplished it. Are you saying that, keeping in mind the numbers I gave you, chance is a more likely explanation? If so, why?

    You’ve given what you regard as evidence and I’ve refuted it. in regards to chance please see my earlier comment addressed to Ziggy but very quickly: Life only had to begin once with a single cell. Unlike Evolution (a series of millions upon millions of slight changes) the appearance of life was one single event, once. Something occuring once on a planet when there are billions of planets in the Universe isn’t, on a Universal scale, all that hugely unlikely.

    You say I offered nothing to refute the fine-tuning argument – I’m afraid this is because you don’t actually have an argument. To quote Douglas Adams: Imagine a puddle of water remarking on how amazing it was that the hole it was in was so perfectly formed to contain it.

    Your “argument” is a tautology. Any universe whose properties for supporting life such as ours we could marvel at would have to be one in which we existed in the first place.

    The World has not been fine-tuned for us. We (through Evolution) have been fine-tuned for it.

    Finally, you seem to think the Universe required all the “fine-tuned forces” at the “beginning” and that this somehow proves there to be or have been a creator. However, the elements did not all appear spontaneously but developed over millions and milions of years.

    Feel free to believe I haven’t refuted your argument, but bare in mind it has been refuted on numerous occasions before, and, of course, continue to feel free to believe in whichever of the Gods best suits you.

    Have a lovely day,

    Lucy

  16. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    I said: “it only formed once.”

    You said: “Again, according to whom? The Cyclic Model has at least 80 years.”

    I’m confused to what you are referring here, can you explain?

  17. Eric Kemp Says:

    Critic

    “I’ll give you a simple task. Prove that the gravitational force could have a different value.
    Gravity is gravity. It is not something that needed to be or could be “tuned”.”

    The task you have just given me is an impossible one. It would be like me asking you, “Prove that God doesn’t exist.” You could not do so. The asking is also curious because of your previous admittance that you cannot prove that matter exists, and yet you demand proof from me.

    However, I will answer the question, “Give me evidence that the gravitational force could have been different.” Now THAT is a fair question and one that can give an honest answer to.

    The answer is within my post, and I’m wondering if you read the whole thing, but I’ll bring it out more clearly.

    Let’s consider the chart of the ranges of forces.

    Force of Gravity = 5.9 x 10 -39th power

    Weak Force = 7.03 x 10 – 3rd power

    Strong or Nuclear Force = 15

    Electromagnetic Force = 3.05 x 10 -12th power

    Notice how the strong force is 39!!!! orders of magnitute bigger than gravity. This suggests, nay proves, that there is a MASSIVE range of possible forces in the universe. Why is gravity the exact value that it is considering the range of values that exist? Is there some sort of law governing the law of gravity that forces it to stay the way it is? If so, why did this law keep gravity as it is? These are the questions a scientist has to answer.

    I will ask you another: why do you think gravity couldn’t be any different?


  18. ““Well, of course the universe is fine-tuned that precisely, because we’re here.” Is that really a valid explanation? Isn’t it along the same lines as “God did it”?. Aren’t you just saying, “Chance did it”? This is basically admitting that the atheist has no explanation for why or how the constants became the way they are. It becomes an “It is because it is” argument.”

    I haven’t read through all the comments, but I find the last bit of the post a little ironic in light of your views on evolution.

    You essentially espouse a view saying diversity of life “is because it is”, or “It is because God did it that way”. You say that the evidence for evolution really is just evidence for similarity (which is really backwards as I’ve pointed out before–evolution explains the similarity, the changes we see over time, etc). Thus, organisms are simply similar because God made them that way. There is no other reason.

    You say atheists have no explanation for constants being the way they are, and it comes across in a rather derogatory manner, as if saying that this sort of argument from atheists is not good enough. Yet you have basically admitted you have no explanation for the diversity of life on earth other than “God did it”, which cannot be tested or proven anymore than saying “An invisible purple dragon farted everything into existence the way it is”.

    I find it ironic that you will turn to science to prove the existence of God but you will doubt science when it’s convenient for you because you think it threatens your belief structure–even though it doesn’t.

  19. Eric Kemp Says:

    Lucy

    “You’ve given what you regard as evidence and I’ve refuted it.”

    Lucy, I must confess myself incredulous about this statement. You have not even formed an argument that addresses a single point in my post. You have mentioned the Anthropic Principle, and you’re the only one doing so, and claimed I’ve got it wrong but have not shown me where. Can you please show me exactly what you have refuted and where you refuted it? Slowly and clearly please because I’m obviously missing something.

    “Something occuring once on a planet when there are billions of planets in the Universe isn’t, on a Universal scale, all that hugely unlikely.”

    This is a perfect example of the fact that you have not addressed a single point of mine. When did I EVER, ONCE mention the chances of life forming? I’m talking about the forces, constants and phenomena that must precisely be the way they are in order to ALLOW life to form. You have not begun to address this issue. You beg the question by giving a scenario in which life forms on a planet, all the while ignoring why life has a chance to form on that planet in the first place!

    “However, the elements did not all appear spontaneously but developed over millions and milions of years.”

    When did I talk about elements? I am talking about the fundamental forces of the universe. Did THOSE evolve? THAT is the question I asked you.

    Please, Lucy, stop regurgitating the same arguments you’ve read from your favorite scholars and start thinking through the questions I’ve asked and the points I’ve made.

    Your sarcasm and condescension is not lost on me, and some how you think it makes your argument more valid. Anyone, and I mean anyone, reading this exchange can see that you are responding to some general idea of some ID argument you’ve seen elsewhere and not addressing the particular argument I’ve made here.

  20. sofismando Says:

    “I am talking about the fundamental forces of the universe. Did THOSE evolve?”

    As far as current science goes, yes.

  21. sofismando Says:

    Eric,

    “I’m confused to what you are referring here, can you explain?”

    You said two things that are questionable: #1 “The universe didn’t have billions of tries to get it right. It had ONE TRY!”, and #2 “there is one universe therefore it had one chance, you know, cause it only formed once.” Both sentences deal with the same assumption: that this universe is the only that is and the only that ever was.

    Perhaps this assumption comes from another inaccuracy. You mentioned “big bang” as “onset of the beginning of the universe”. But BBT deals with *this* universe starting from the moment t+1 plank time. It’s not the beginning, and the theory doesn’t make assumptions about what happened before. Other theories speculate about the “before”, but they are independent from the BBT.

    Even assuming only one universe (no multiverse here), we dont know if it only formed once. The Cyclic Model, the idea that the universe collapses and expands and collapses again many times, is talked about since the 1920s. It gained more popularity recently with quantum theory and its branes. So from “there is one universe” you cant conclude “it only formed once” or “it had one try”. We just don’t know.

    We could be living in the billionth version of the universe, each with its own set of cosmological constants. This idea is as plausible and possible as the one-universe-one-attempt idea, so one cannot be disregarded in favor of the other.

  22. Lucy Lowe Says:

    Hi Eric,

    You said: “Can you please show me exactly what you have refuted and where you refuted it? Slowly and clearly please because I’m obviously missing something.”

    Your entire argument is a tautology. Please read back over my previous comments in regard to this and feel free to ask me if you need clarification on what a tautology is.

    My comments on the chances of life forming were in response to a question you posed to me in your earlier comment post: “Are you saying that, keeping in mind the numbers I gave you, chance is a more likely explanation? If so, why”

    You say: “I am talking about the fundamental forces of the universe. Did THOSE evolve?” No, they didn’t evolve, they are what they are. If they were different we wouldn’t be alive in order to wonder why they are what they are.

    If you wish to think the laws of gravity are held as they are by some other law and that this law is some form of God that’s absolutely fine. I would love to hear or see some evidence for this but obviously wouldn’t expect any.

    Finally, I apologise if you thought I was being sarcastic. While your argument is flawed I hope your faith will compensate for the lack of proof and have a great day 🙂

    Lucy

  23. Critic Says:

    Eric,

    I have to say that your replies are much like your posts: rambling and never to the point. That includes the weak attempt to say I did not read your diatribe. I did. And it hurt. Also, it would be much better form if you provided references to the table of force strength values. Also, what is the SI unit of force strength to which you allude?

    You wrote:

    Notice how the strong force is 39!!!! orders of magnitute [sic] bigger than gravity. This suggests, nay proves, that there is a MASSIVE range of possible forces in the universe.

    So what? It does not prove that there a is range of values for the individual forces of the universe – which is what you are arguing. Here is your logical fallacy. You assume that because the strong force and gravity have different values, therefore gravity could have different values. That simply does not follow. Your whole argument is based on a false assumption.

    Why is gravity the exact value that it is considering the range of values that exist?

    Again you boldly state your illogical premise. You have not shown that there is, or could be, a range of values for gravity – you just assume it with no justification.

    Is there some sort of law governing the law of gravity that forces it to stay the way it is? If so, why did this law keep gravity as it is? These are the questions a scientist has to answer.

    Obviously, I don’t know the answer to those questions. They cold be interesting avenues of inquiry as long as one did not decide at the outset that god did it, then go about trying to prove that he did. For that is not science.

    I will ask you another: why do you think gravity couldn’t be any different?

    In my experience, which is limited, and in the experience of western science, which is not as limited, the “strength” of gravity is constant. That includes examination to a great distance across the universe. There is no evidence that gravity is, or could be, anything other that what it is. Therefore, assuming that it could be different is based on nothing other than fantasy. Again, an interesting mind game, but not science.

  24. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    I said: “I am talking about the fundamental forces of the universe. Did THOSE evolve?”

    You said: “As far as current science goes, yes.”

    sofis, this is impossible. The fundamental forces of the universe must have been present at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form. Please study some cosmology on this subject.

    “So from “there is one universe” you cant conclude “it only formed once” or “it had one try”. We just don’t know.”

    The universe is still expanding. There is ZERO evidence that it will begin retracting at ANY point. There is no evidence to support your position, only speculation. What we do know, as much as we can know something, is that this universe exists and that it’s expanding which points to a singularity. You know this and are merely attempting to give me this unevidential drivel because you see the danger of my argument and can’t refute it.

    “We could be living in the billionth version of the universe, each with its own set of cosmological constants. This idea is as plausible and possible as the one-universe-one-attempt idea, so one cannot be disregarded in favor of the other.”

    There is evidence of one universe and ZERO evidence of multi-verses. THAT is the reason to pick one over the other. The only reason you aren’t doing so is because you can’t refute my argument with believing in one universe.

    But, I want to ask you a question: So if there ARE multiple universes that have been created billions of times. Then don’t you have to believe in some cosmic universe-forming machine? Something with the capability and power to form universes and set their constants at a certain value?

  25. Eric Kemp Says:

    Lucy

    “Your entire argument is a tautology. Please read back over my previous comments in regard to this and feel free to ask me if you need clarification on what a tautology is.”

    *sigh*, I asked for a clear explanation of where you have refuted me and how. And instead what I get is “your argument is tautology” with absolutely NO explanation of HOW and WHERE my argument is redundant. Can you please show me where I’m being redundant and exactly how this makes my argument invalid. And yes, I’m expecting you to write more than a sentence in response.

    “My comments on the chances of life forming were in response to a question you posed to me in your earlier comment post: “Are you saying that, keeping in mind the numbers I gave you, chance is a more likely explanation? If so, why””

    Right, and as you’ve done this entire conversation you completely missed the point. I was talking about the fundamental forces of nature that allow life to form, not about the chances of life forming. The chances of all the fundamental forces being exactly the way they are (which is required for life) is one part in 10 with 53 zereos after it. I’ll ask again, is this more likely than Intelligence?

    “If you wish to think the laws of gravity are held as they are by some other law and that this law is some form of God that’s absolutely fine. I would love to hear or see some evidence for this but obviously wouldn’t expect any.”

    Do you have an explanation for why the law of gravity is just as it is to allow for life?

    “Finally, I apologise if you thought I was being sarcastic. While your argument is flawed I hope your faith will compensate for the lack of proof and have a great day”

    Perhaps you don’t realize how sarcastic and condescending your apology sounded but I find that hard to believe.

  26. Eric Kemp Says:

    Critic

    Diatribe? Oh c’mon, that’s low. I was fairly concise!

    “Also, it would be much better form if you provided references to the table of force strength values. Also, what is the SI unit of force strength to which you allude?”

    Certainly. The chart was gleaned from Paul Davies’ “Accidental Universe”. Correct my if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that the international standard unit for force was Newton.

    “So what? It does not prove that there a is range of values for the individual forces of the universe – which is what you are arguing. Here is your logical fallacy. You assume that because the strong force and gravity have different values, therefore gravity could have different values. That simply does not follow. Your whole argument is based on a false assumption.”

    Stating that something doesn’t follow doesn’t make it so. You must provide me a reason for why it doesn’t follow.

    But here is why it DOES follow. Your statement of “It does not prove that there a is range of values for the individual forces of the universe” is some how trying to say that these forces are made of a different substance, that they are some how independent of one another. The problem is that they are the same force, the only difference is the order of magnitude. The force of gravity is called that because that’s what we called it. The word “gravity” doesn’t decide it’s magnitude. If it’s magnitude was different it would still be a force, we just wouldn’t be here to call it gravity or observe it’s magnitude.

    Your argument falls apart at your inability to answer this question: Why are the forces exactly the way they are? And why do those forces just HAPPEN to be EXACTLY the way they need to be for life to form? Coincidence?

    “Again you boldly state your illogical premise. You have not shown that there is, or could be, a range of values for gravity – you just assume it with no justification.”

    I have clearly shown it by showing the ranges of forces that exist. Gravity is just a force, and there are a range of forces. It’s really that easy. I honestly want you to answer this question. Which of the following is more logical? Assuming, as you are, that gravity MUST be the way it is with no explanation OR considering it POSSIBLE, as I am, that gravity could have been different given the different orders of magnitude of forces. Which is a more philosophically and scientifically honest and logical position?

    “In my experience, which is limited, and in the experience of western science, which is not as limited, the “strength” of gravity is constant.”

    No one is arguing otherwise. The question is, WHY is it constant? And WHY is it constant at the exact value that it needs to be in order for large mamallian life to exist? These are questions you haven’t begun to answer and it almost seems like you aren’t even pondering those questions.

  27. Lucy Lowe Says:

    Hi again Eric,

    I apologise if I haven’t been as astounded by your findings as you think I ought to be. You asked about how and where your argument is redundant. Any universe whose properties for supporting life such as ours we could marvel at would have to be one in which we existed in the first place. Your comments about the forces of the Universe are irrelevant. The World has not been fine-tuned for us, and to think so is extremely blinkered. We (through Evolution) have been fine-tuned for the World.

    It does seem you’ve refined your argument a little now to the “if there’s something we don’t understand it must therefore be God”.

    As you have your conclusions clearly set out I wish you luck on making the evidence conform to them 🙂

    Besides that be well and have a fab day.

    Lucy

  28. Critic Says:

    All the best Eric.

  29. Eric Kemp Says:

    Lucy

    Firstly, these aren’t my findings. Secondly, my desire is only that you would address my points directly instead of arguing a strawman Creationist argument you’ve hoisted upon me.

    “Any universe whose properties for supporting life such as ours we could marvel at would have to be one in which we existed in the first place.”

    Your statement here shows your absolute ignorance about what is being discussed here. The point I have made clearly is that without the precise forces that we find in our universe large, mammalian, life WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE in order to consider it’s surroundings. Your “what if” situation falls apart with this simple, obvious, and empirical fact.

    “The World has not been fine-tuned for us, and to think so is extremely blinkered. We (through Evolution) have been fine-tuned for the World.”

    This is naturalistic presupposition at it’s most blatant. Without these fine-tuned forces we, even through evolution, would NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO be fine-tuned to the world. This is a point you have seemingly flat-out refused to consider.

    “It does seem you’ve refined your argument a little now to the “if there’s something we don’t understand it must therefore be God”.”

    Actually, my argument is that we DO understand. We understand that without the forces precisely as they are we, and any other large mamallian life, wouldn’t exist.

    Eric

  30. Viggy Says:

    Lucy,

    As always you never give a “how” or “why” statement. You make a statement like “you’re wrong,” without giving a because.

    “Your comments about the forces of the Universe are irrelevant.”
    Why? Give reasons please.

    “The World has not been fine-tuned for us, and to think so is extremely blinkered.”
    Really? Please give examples oh one of such knowledge.

    “We (through Evolution) have been fine-tuned for the World.”
    We have? What evidence do you have to support that? Please give me a macro-evolutionary answer that supports your statement. Actually, when you say “we” is that humans, all life forms, and what type of evolution are we talking about?
    I am confused because the topic was about the creation and you jump to evolution. Please give clear statements to back up your comments so that they do not seem like empty statements.

    And thanks for “wishing luck” I didn’t know that you could bestow that type of force to us that may, and you said it yourself, create a new universe.

    Have a Fab day back at ya

    V

  31. Viggy Says:

    Lucy-
    “Life only had to appear once, one time only, as a single cell lifeform. Therefore the appearance of something once in a Universe of 100 billion galaxies doesn’t seem that unreasonable”

    Whoa, wait a second. Let’s look at the topic…..it was about the forces for creating life. You seem to be off topic. I think Eric said it best “This is a perfect example of the fact that you have not addressed a single point of mine. When did I EVER, ONCE mention the chances of life forming? I’m talking about the forces, constants and phenomena that must precisely be the way they are in order to ALLOW life to form. You have not begun to address this issue. You beg the question by giving a scenario in which life forms on a planet, all the while ignoring why life has a chance to form on that planet in the first place!” I don’t think I need to add more to what he said. Life forming was not the topic, you brought it there. Also, I thought the creation of the universe has the incredibly “lucky number” for occurring, and I guess you would state that it was unreasonable too?

    “You ask why it hasn’t happened again, but perhaps it has. If there’s other life in the Universe then it obviously has – but of course (as with any of the Gods) we don’t have any evidence for life in the rest of the Universe.”
    Perhaps there are werewolves, vampires, and all the other things from fiction, but WE don’t have evidence for them. Therefore, by your logic, they perhaps are real and should be posited as rationally being true in existence.

    “The human eye did not spontaneously appear but developed over the period of millions of years. It wasn’t one single event that created it, but millions and millions of subtle, slight differences have improved the eye over millions of generations. This can be noticed in nature; for example, a worm’s eye is substandard to the human eye, a bat’s eye for example is superior.”

    Give me evidence of the first cells that continuously evolved the eye from what it was. You also don’t’ make sense in your statement. First, you state that the eye didn’t spontaneously appear but developed, well from what? Then you state it was millions of subtle differences that improved the eye. So now you state that There was no eye that was spontaneously created, then you say we have an eye that evolved millions of millions of times over to make it into the eye we have today!?!?!?!?! What evidence do we have of that? Please show me, that is amazing stuff that I didn’t know we had actual, truthful evidence of. And how can you jump from no eye, to an eye with millions of subtle changes? Why don’t we have actual proof the processes from the different stages? Next, you compare a worm’s eye to a human’s eye………what was the point of that? Are you postulating that a human’s eye was actually a worm’s eye at one point that had millions of millions of changes that became our eye?

    “Secondly, the human eye, whilst undeniably incredible, is not perfect. Blind spots for example, or the various diseases which can damage the eye. I think both of these points actually point against their being a creator. Why would a God make something not perfect? And more importantly, isn’t it easier to imagine something as complex as the eye developing gradually rather than just “poofing” into existence as you suggest.”
    This also makes no sense. So if the eye is imperfect, that means there is no God? I would love to get into a theological debate with you, but you seem to be very ignorant on the Judeo-Christian God, and the concepts so the point would most likely be mute.
    It is not easier to “imagine” the gradual process because I don’t believe that our existence and creation should be based on imagination, but facts. There is not truthful facts/evidence of gradual development. You should go research paleontology if you would like to know the many flaws of gradual process to understand this concept.
    I hope you have a pleasant day researching and understanding how much there is to learn about your flawed logic. Please, give reasons for your answers in the future with evidence so that this discussion may continue further.

    V


  32. […] Eric Kemp (he of the rather poorly named ‘Intelligent Science’ blog) has posted a foundational description of the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. If you don’t know what that is, read Eric’s explanation, because it covers all of the […]

  33. Lucy Lowe Says:

    Hi Viggy,

    On my previous comments: ““Your comments about the forces of the Universe are irrelevant.”

    Eric commented on the forces of the Universe. The fact that they are as they are is not evidence for a God. It’s only evidence that the forces allow for life to exist.

    “The World has not been fine-tuned for us, and to think so is extremely blinkered.”

    The vast, vast majority of the Universe does not support life. For the first several billion years this planet did not support life. The dinosaurs spent more time on the planet than us humans have. For all these reasons and more besides I consider it blinkered to think the World was fine-tuned for us.

    In regards to my comments on all life forms being fine-tuned for this World I would refer you to natural selection. If you have any evidence to refute Evolution I would be delighted to hear it.

    You said: “Perhaps there are werewolves, vampires, and all the other things from fiction, but WE don’t have evidence for them. Therefore, by your logic, they perhaps are real and should be posited as rationally being true in existence.”

    I fail to see how you reach this conclusion by my logic, it seems a position much more reasonable for a theist such as yourself to hold.

    I’m sorry you got so confused by my comments on the Evolution of the human eye, the following may help you;

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html

    And also this one:
    http://evolution.suite101.com/article.cfm/evolution_of_the_human_eye

    Good luck looking into all of this and learning about Science and I hope you’re able to reconcile reality with your particular version of God.

    Have a lovely day,

    Lucy

  34. Sirius Says:

    Eric,

    Yes, it seems “forknowledge” has taken a go at you. He has already tried his arguments on me, but he suffers a deficit from his own admitted and willful ignorance as to what Creationists and Christians actually believe. In fact, he appears to have gleaned his views of Christendom from the distorted arguments of our detractors and thus attacks a straw man of his own suppositions. This is a slap in the face of reason, for it is only logical that if one wants to debunk the arguments of your opponents that you should at least know what they actually claim!

    In his post, he has admittedly not responded to your argument, but argues rather that the universe is not so finely tuned after all. In doing so, he forgets to account for the effects of the Fall and the Noachim Catastrophe.

    His response is no different from other atheists. That is, he gives no alternative to “chancedidit.”

    -Sirius Knott

  35. Eric Kemp Says:

    Sirius

    Absolutely. He was even unable to show even slightly that the Earth is coarsely-tuned. His argument is basically that since we don’t live in a perfect world, a utopia where death doesn’t exist, therefore God doesn’t exist. It’s almost hilarious in it’s ridiculousness. Not to mention, as you said, he is unable to respond to the evidence in my post, and in fact rests his own argument upon it.

  36. Viggy Says:

    Lucy-

    This will be my last post directed to you because as it seems, and anyone can tell me if I am wrong, that you will not answer any of my questions that I am asking and you are completely missing the big picture of the main post. You continue to work on the parts of the eye from my argument and feel that it is the only flawed part and must attack it. You can’t answer any of my questions and are using nonfactual articles as a crutch.

    You say “I fail to see how you reach this conclusion by my logic, it seems a position much more reasonable for a theist such as yourself to hold.” Please show me how a theist such as me would believe in those things, give me evidence, which you haven’t done for any of your statements that you have given me.

    I can’t find any factual statements from either of your articles. The evolution of the eye article states that the Zoologist can only “demonstrates how the complex human eye could have evolved through natural selection acting on small variations.”
    The key words here are “could have”. Secondly, the video he shows states that he has to “postulate the steps” to which the eye would be made. That means “to think” or “create.” Some may even say he “imagined.” The article isn’t boasting facts or truths, but ideas of how the eye could have evolved. This has no grounding concrete evidence. Please show articles that don’t state could have or might have, but facts. Also, answering my questions from my previous posts would be nice too…..if you think you can.

    The second article you sent is actually something that derives amazing leaps and bounds in macro-evolution……. So I will let a person who commented on the article do my comment towards the article, not because I can’t but because I like what she said and I will give her the credit with what she said.

    Rachael Shoemaker :

    “I am not an expert on placoderms, sharks, and modern fishes, but I think it could be debated that this find, though fascinating, is not really the intermediate form of the human eye. Although the placoderm eye reveals an intermediate form between jawless fishes and sharks, the connection to bony fishes is missing. The theorized relationships between these animals may have changed since I researched them, but the last I knew placoderms were considered an unrelated offshoot in the evolutionary tree of life. They were not considered the direct ancestors of bony fishes and not in a direct line of evolution to land-dwelling vertebrates or bony fishes at all.

    The structure of their eyes would indicate that they have connections to sharks and jawless fish, but not indisputably to bony fish and through them us.”

    Summation: 1) You still haven’t answered any of my questions from previous statements. 2) You haven’t brought factual evidence about the eye and only “guesses” and “could haves” 3) You sent an article about the evolution of a fish eye to a human eye!!!……..I don’t even know if I should really respond to that other than, Really!?!?!?!

    In fact, you haven’t given any responses that were yours at all. Most the time, and Eric has stated this too, you are just regurgitating what professors have stated and then won’t debate anything yourself and would rather give me fairy tale-esc articles to make a point that isn’t made.

    V

  37. sofismando Says:

    Eric,

    “sofis, this is impossible. The fundamental forces of the universe must have been present at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form. Please study some cosmology on this subject.”

    🙂 Thank you for the tip, but as far as current theory goes you are incorrect. Search “eletroweak interaction” or “symmetry breaking” to learn how in the very early stages of the universe some of these forces were unified and later broke apart.

    “The universe is still expanding. There is ZERO evidence that it will begin retracting at ANY point.”

    There is theoretical evidence that the Universe could contract. The fact that it *is* expanding tells little about what *will* happen, unfortunately. Search “big crunch” to learn how we dont know enough about what is driving the expansion, and how gravity force is the key for a possible future contraction.

    “There is evidence of one universe and ZERO evidence of multi-verses. THAT is the reason to pick one over the other.”

    You didnt understand.

    I was talking about the Cyclic Model, where the same universe contracts and expands; not multi-verses (which are separate, parallel universes hidden in other dimensions. That’s a whole different ballgame). The Cyclic Model is entirely theoretical, and there is no evidence in favor or against: there simply isnt any information about what happened in the first plank time after the Big Bang or before that.

    However, this idea places a big question mark on one of your “facts”: the concept that those constants had only “one chance to get it right”, that the universe “had one try”. Maybe that is true, maybe it isnt, we just dont know. The point is, the one-try-universe argument is not a certainty, it is as speculative as the many-attempts argument.

    “So if there ARE multiple universes that have been created billions of times. Then don’t you have to believe in some cosmic universe-forming machine?”

    No. Maybe there is indeed a universe-maker machine. But it is also possible that the universe, including everything that is part of it, is a self-organizing dynamic system, in which case there would be no need of a platonic demiurge.

  38. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    On both points, the Cyclical Model and the evolution of laws you provide me with no evidence. On the evolution of laws, you explain nothing, content to name theories without explaining how they apply to our conversation. With the Cyclical Model you admit there is no evidence and yet you still believe it has the ability to refute my argument. I provide you with evidence, you provide me with only theory.

    It would be like me saying, “I have a theory that sofismando is actually controlled by an reptilian alien race called the skrull”. I could say it all I want, but I shouldn’t expect it to hold any water in a discussion.

    What we know is that the universe is expanding. We can speculate all we want that one day it will contract but I thought that as scholars we would want to go with what we know rather than what is pure speculation.

    “But it is also possible that the universe, including everything that is part of it, is a self-organizing dynamic system, in which case there would be no need of a platonic demiurge.”

    Are you now suggesting that either the universe has always existed or that matter can create itself out of nothing?

  39. sofismando Says:

    “On both points, the Cyclical Model and the evolution of laws you provide me with no evidence. On the evolution of laws, you explain nothing, content to name theories without explaining how they apply to our conversation. ”

    Man, I gave you the *names* used in the scientific world to refer to those theories. They apply here by contradicting some “facts” or correct some misunderstandings that you have stated.

    I would think that you would be interested, do some research, google around, read some papers, buy some books, learn by yourself. You dont really expect to learn cosmology in the comments section of a blog, do you?

    When you say #1 “the universe had only one try” and #2 “the fundamental forces of the universe must have been present at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form”, can you name one published scientific paper or book supporting that?

    Last time I asked, you answered with “It’s pretty simple actually”. I should have stopped then.

  40. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    “The universe had only one try” comes from the fact that we only have evidence of one universe. In refutation of this fact you offer speculation about a Cyclical Model that there is no evidence for. If you expect me to argue with speculation you’ve got the wrong guy.

    “The fundamental forces of the universe must have been present at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form” is evidenced by some deductive logic.

    Let me explain: As I said in my post, if the force of gravity was any lower than it is now then the solar systems would not have enough force to hold themselves together a.k.a. the universe would never have formed. If the force of gravity was any higher, the largest star would have a life-span of only 2 years and life would be impossible. In fact, if the gravity of Earth was only one thousand times larger than it is now (which is miniscule compared to the possible range of forces that I gave in the article), the largest planet would have a diameter of forty feet.

    And that’s ignoring what would happen if the other 3 forces were any different. So considering what the universe would be like if the force of gravity was any different, we know what the force of gravity had to be set at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form in the first place.

    In response to this evidence, you gave me names of theories, expecting me to do research on my own. This is an unofficial logical fallacy that I call “Appealing to a Smarter Power”. What in essence you are saying is this, “Well I don’t know how or don’t care to explain how this theory refutes your argument but these smarter guys know how so look it up yourself.” Name all the theories you want, but at least explain to me how it refutes my argument / give me a reason to do research on the topic.

    Yea, it looks like perhaps we won’t get passed this point but I’m always willing to try!

  41. sofismando Says:

    I asked for one published scientific paper or book supporting that. None was given (at this point even Scientific American counts). It seems you came up to these “facts” on your own.

  42. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    The fundamental forces stuff came from Paul Davies’ “Accidental Universe” as I stated to Critic. Would you like to now explain how your speculations and theories refute my argument?

  43. Viggy Says:

    Sofismando- “Man, I gave you the *names* used in the scientific world to refer to those theories. They apply here by contradicting some “facts” or correct some misunderstandings that you have stated.”

    How can you argue against facts with “could have” “might have” statements and theories? Eric gives factual seen evidence and you give imaginative ideas. Please explain how “imagination” can contradict facts.

    Also, you are caught up with only one thing that Eric supposedly didn’t give any published articles (which he mentioned in the blog post already). It would seem that you are grasping at straws to maintain some sort of point, which I don’t see what you are making. Rational Logic would tell me that speculated could haves based on guesses cannot refute Facts.

  44. Pat Says:

    Hi Eric,
    The different strength of the 4 forces is an interesting question with a fascinating answer, if you are interested. The answer is essentially that all the forces have the same strength at high energies but the effective strength of the forces appears different at low energies (equivalently, long distances) where most processes you are used to happen. The reason the forces appear to be different in strength is because of screening effects. For example, the electron is charged under the electromagnetic force, and every electromagnetic interaction involves virtual electron-positron pairs due to quantum mechanics. The effect of these virtual particles depends on the distances and energies involved, and what happens is that the strength of the electromagnetic force is not just a number like the one you quote in your post but in fact a number that changes as the energy of your experiment decreases. The weak forces has different particles charged under it (for example the Z boson) and the strong force as well (for example, gluons). This energy-dependence of the strength of the forces has been measured extremely precisely in collider experiments. If you look at the strengths of the forces as a function of energy and take into account virtual particle contributions, you find that the strong force, electromagnetic force, and weak force all all the same strength at a certain scale (about when a single particle carries kinetic energy of 10^6 Joules) that is referred to as the “Grand Unification Scale”. If you then look at even higher energies, gravity becomes the same strength as the other three forces around a scale referred to as the “Planck scale” (which is about 10^9 Joules of kinetic energy on a single particle). So in fact, what appears to be a mysterious range of strengths of forces is due to forces of *exactly the same strength* but different virtual particles charged under those forces leading to different amounts of screening at low scales (there are further differences in the case of gravity but I think this is enough detail already).

  45. Eric Kemp Says:

    Pat

    I’m confused to what your point is. It seems that you are saying that you can force the forces to become equal when adding massive amounts of kenetic energy. Do I have that right?

    So what’s the point?

    Also, if you look at a reply I gave, I think to sofismando, I elaborated that these forces are the same force with just diffent magnitudes.

  46. Pat Says:

    Well, a couple of things. You can’t force the strength of the forces to be anything you want by adding kinetic energy. In a rough sense, the more kinetic energy you use to shoot two particles at each other, the closer they get and you can start to see inside the cloud of virtual particles that cause the screening effects. There are different particles charged under the electromagnetic force and the weak force so the screening effects are different, and turn out to be a little stronger for electromagnetism. As a result, as you go to higher energies the electromagnetic force becomes stronger more quickly (because you are seeing past stronger screening effects) and at high enough energies it is the same as the weak force. If there were for example 20 additional particles that were charged under the weak force but not the strong force, then the screening effects for the weak force would have been stronger and at higher energies the weak force and electromagnetic force would get farther apart, not closer together. The story for the strong force is even more interesting. In this case, it turns out that virtual gluons cause an anti-screening effect, so the strong force actually looks weaker at short distances. My point of this somewhat long explanation is that you can’t force the forces to do whatever you want, all you can do is look at the force between particles at much shorter distances in order to observe what the screening effect is. Once one does this, one finds that all the forces are the same at very short distance but they look different at long distances because they have different screening effects.

    As to whether or not they are the same force but with different magnitudes, you have to be careful to define what you mean here. One of the fascinating consequences of the anti-screening effect of gluons is that the strong force gets stronger at long distances, and at a certain scale called the Quantum ChromoDynamic (QCD) scale essentially becomes infinite. At this length, the force between objects with strong charge looks very different from the electromagnetic force between electrically charged objects. The electromagnetic force at long distances is a F~1/r^2 force where r is the distance between the objects, and so the force between two objects very far away is very small. However, the strong force at long distances continues to grow and is roughly more like a F~r force. There is another important detail that I have glossed over so far which is that the force carriers for the weak force have mass, in at long distances they have an F~ e^(-mr) /r^2 force where m is the mass of the force carriers (the W and Z bosons). So these forces look totally different at long distances. It is only at short distances where you can start to observe the screening and anti-screening effects that you can start to see they are actually unified.

    Anyway, apologies for the very long post. I think unification is a fascinating story but perhaps I have gone into too much detail for the present context.

  47. sofismando Says:

    “How can you argue against facts with “could have” “might have” statements and theories?”

    Viggy, those are not facts. 🙂

    “The fundamental forces of the universe must have been present at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form” is not a fact. It contradicts the current theoretical understanding of the early universe. If Eric read it in a book, then either the book is wrong or he misunderstood it. A quick search online would give out dozens of links explaining the theory in various levels of detail.

    “The Universe had only one chance” is not a fact. The fact that we are here in this universe and cant detect any other doesnt say anything about the singularity of the universe, or if this universe bounced back from previous big crunches before the big bang. The evidence does not support that conclusion, which Eric came up by himself. But very good theoretical work spanning over 80 years has differents conclusions through different means. And it’s no crazy-lone-scientist work either: from Brian Greene to Scientific American, it’s rather mainstream, available to anyone’s criticism and review.

    One problem here is that you misunderstand “theory” for “imagination”. Those theories that I mentioned have a strong mathematical background to give them basis. The sad thing is this would be obvious after just 10 minutes of googling around. But it seems you prefer to stick to your choice, label it “fact”, and refuse to even try to understand the actual science.

  48. Eric Kemp Says:

    sofismando

    “Viggy, those are not facts.”

    You have been unable to show that the statistics I gave about the fundamental forces of the universe and how they are fine-tuned for life at those values are not facts. In fact, you haven’t even tried.

    ““The fundamental forces of the universe must have been present at the beginning of the universe in order for the universe to form” is not a fact. It contradicts the current theoretical understanding of the early universe.”

    Again, you haven’t even tried to explain this, you have only asserted it, continuing your fallacy of “Appealing to a Smarter Power”. I’ve given an explanation for why the forces must have been there at the beginning and all you have said in response is “Nope” with no explanation.

    But here is the main point:

    “The evidence does not support that conclusion, which Eric came up by himself. But very good theoretical work spanning over 80 years has differents conclusions through different means.”

    You said it yourself “theoretical work”. As I’ve been attempting to tell you this whole time, you are refuting my statistics that points to fine-tuning with pure theory. As you’ve admitted yourself that “we can’t know” wether those theories are correct or not, yet you still subscribe to them. In short, you are believing in pure speculation in order to deny the design implications of the evidence.

    You also seem to be giving the theories an age of 80 years to give credibility to them. The idea that the universe was created specifically for humanity is as old as the Torah which is thousands of years ago.

    “The sad thing is this would be obvious after just 10 minutes of googling around. But it seems you prefer to stick to your choice, label it “fact”, and refuse to even try to understand the actual science.”

    I actually happen to know a bit about the Cyclic Model’s mathematics. And if I’m not mistaken, it was first figured out by Hawking, correct? And in his formulas he used the imaginary number “i” did he not?

    I was under the impression that studying the forces of nature and finding the results of variation WAS science. Silly me.


  49. […] latest episode is “The Fine-Tuning Argument“. The post itself contains a good review of the idea, although it slowly transfigures into a […]


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