Monday, December 11, 2006

sim planet

Why is the Universe Fine-Tuned?

First, there’s a very, VERY weird thing about the place we live in – something so weird and profound it sends shivers down your spine. For in fact, the Universe seems to be ‘fine-tuned’ to make life possible!

It has to do with the stuff most people find boring in school: the laws of physics. Ultimately, all of these laws are founded upon the ‘physical constants’. Such as the force of gravity, the ‘strong force’ that glues atomic nuclei together and the electromagnetic force, the driving hand behind stuff like lightning and computers. But why do these fundamental ‘presets’ have the values they have? Why aren’t they a little bigger, or smaller?

The British cosmologist Fred Hoyle was the first to realise this is no coincidence. A very peculiar thing about the fundamental constants is that they appear to have exactly the right values. If they were slightly smaller or bigger, atoms, stars, planets and people simply wouldn’t exist!

Take the strong force inside atomic nuclei. If the force were just slightly stronger, it would boost up the burning of stars so much, that they would explode only seconds after they were formed. We wouldn’t have a sun – or even a planet. If on the other hand the force were a tad weaker, it would be too weak to hold together elements like the heavy hydrogen isotope deuterium. Stars wouldn’t light up. And we wouldn’t be here either.

Astonishingly, the same goes for all other constants. As the famous British astronomer Martin Rees put it: “Wherever we look, we see examples of fine-tuning. Most of the physical constants and the initial conditions of the Universe examined so far appear to be fine-tuned to some extent.”

That leaves us with a gnawing, unsettling question: Why? Why are all physical contants exactly the way they are? Every cosmologist agrees that this can hardly be a coincidence. So what, or who, set the rules?

Er..Duh. This blurb is from Exit Mundi (see link in sidebar, or above title). I am amazed at the extreme explanations people will come up with to avoid saying God exists. Oh why didn't I think of this before, I'm a Sim in a game tweaked by aliens.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

There seems to be something wrong with this logic. Somehow it seems wrong to have an explanation prior to asking a question. For any set of facts you can establish an insightful question for which you already have an answer. This is sort of like having a menu for breakfast because the breakfast is already served. So the question: "What is for Breakfast", is not really a question. It is a statement of fact, proved by the obvious breakfast before you. It is possible to deduce some probable explanation for the question and its answer. One might deduce that the individual is at a restaurant. Assuming that the independent observer is male, once might also infer that he lives on a farm or is in the honeymoon period of marriage. There are actually many examples of the error in logic where when the outcome is known, all sorts of questions can be asked which are obviously meaningful because the answer is assumed to be given. The problem is that the question posed for which the answer is known a priori is in danger of only be based upon unsubstantiated assertions that the answer and the question are actually related positively to one another. I call this error in logic: A posteriori cannot preceed a priori.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.