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No longer take comments. Post's 'labels' are unreliable for linking or searching. Use the INDEX OF POSTS instead. A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview and understanding of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. IF YOU GET A MESSAGE THAT THE POST IS MISSING - LOOK FOR IT IN THE INDEX or search or the date is found in the address.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Proof of God from Fine Tuning

Updated thru 5/12/2019

Consider the Sun. If it was much closer to the Earth there could be no life on Earth. It is claimed that if various other distances or physical constants such as the charge of an electron were different life could not exist. The conclusion is a Fine Tuner (God) has fine tuned the Universe for Life.

I consider this argument for God one of the least compelling and will not spill much ink discussing it. The argument may be  refuted based on theology, science, reason and logic. Professor of Physics Victor Stenger devotes an entire book The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning on this topic and his refute includes much science. The interested may read his book.

{ETA  5/12/2019  Stenger seems to claim the constants of nature are not 'fine tuned' for life, and moreover  a range of the constants would allow life to exist. However, other Scientists disagree. Because Stenger (RIP)  died in 2014  he can no longer respond and defend his thesis. Also, I have subsequently learned that there are scientists and philosophers who think the Fine Tuning argument is the strongest argument for God, so my original comment  "I consider this argument for God one of the least compelling and will not spill much ink discussing it" is too dismissive. I have written additional posts on the argument from Fine Tuning and will continue to study it.}


The implication of the argument is the Universe is designed for life, in particular Humans. Rambam puts this vanity to rest.

The following two paragraphs are quotes from Rambam's book Guide to the Perplexed. My copy is  translated from the original Arabic text M. Friedlander,second edition, revised throughout.

Page 268 What we have, in truth, to consider is this : The whole mankind at present in
existence, and a fortiori, every other species of animals, form an infinitesimal
portion of the permanent universe. Comp." Man is like to vanity’(Ps.cxliv. 4) ;
" How much less man, that is a worm ; and the son of man, which is a worm "
(Job xxv. 6) ; " How much less in them who dwell in houses of clay"
(ibid. iv. 19) ; “Behold, the nations are as a drop of the bucket”(Isa. xl. 15).
There are many other passages in the books of the prophets expressing
the same idea. It is of great advantage that man should know his station,
and not erroneously imagine that the whole universe exists only for him.
We hold that the universe exists because the Creator wills it so ; that mankind
is low in rank as compared with the uppermost portion of the universe,
viz., with the spheres and the stars ; but, as regards the angels, there cannot
be any real comparison between man and angels, although man is the highest
of all beings on earth ; i.e., of all beings formed of the four elements.

Page 274 Those who hold this view, namely,
that the existence of man is the object of the whole creation, may be asked
whether God could have created man without those previous creations, or
whether man could only have come into existence after the creation of all
other things. If they answer in the affirmative, that man could have been
created even if, e.g., the heavens did not exist, they will be asked what is the
object of all these things, since they do not exist for their own sake but for
the sake of something that could exist without them ? Even if the Universe
existed for man's sake and man existed for the purpose of serving God, as has
been mentioned, the question remains, What is the end of serving God ?
He does not become more perfect if all His creatures serve Him and comprehend
Him as far as possible ; nor would He lose anything if nothing existed
beside Him. It might perhaps be replied that the service of God is not
intended for God's perfection ; it is intended for our own perfection, it
is good for us, it makes us perfect. But then the question might be repeated,
What is the object of our being perfect ? We must in continuing the inquiry
as to the purpose of the creation at last arrive at the answer, It
was the Will of God, or His Wisdom decreed it ; and this is the correct

{Rambam is one of the most respected Theologians. This is not to say all Theologians would agree with Rambam}

Logic and Reason

Does it not seem extremely inefficient  to 'create' billions of planets just so the conditions for life are appropriate on some planets ?

Why start the Universe and then wait billions of years to ‘make’ Earth and then wait billions of years more to 'make' life ?

It is not that the Universe is fine tuned for life, rather life is fine tuned to the Universe. If the Universe conditions were sufficiently different, then life as we know would not exist. Perhaps some other form of life would emerge.

In general the Universe is inhospitable to life. In the long run many Scientists write life in the Universe will end. Even on Earth the environment was hostile to life for billions of years. It is still hostile to living things.

There may be scientific reasons why certain physical constants must be what they are. Scientists tell us the laws such as conservation of energy, mass, momentums are a consequence of certain symmetries. For example there is no privileged place regarding when and where physics experiments are performed. Perhaps a principle will be discovered that will explain why the physical constants are what they are. It may be discovered some of the physical constants need to be correlated with each other, meaning they are not independent.

{ETA 8/10/2018 Physics calculus by Eugene Hecht 1996 page 144 "Conservation of Linear Momentum arises from the homogeneity of empty space. " Page 300 "Conservation of Angular momentum arises from the isotropy of free space." Isotropy - physics indifferent to orientation. Page 347 Homogeneity of time - temporal displacement symmetry provides for conservation of Energy.}
{ETA 12/19/2016 Page 38 Quantum Field Theory In  A Nutshell by A. Zee 2003. "So you can say that in some sense ultimately the inverse square law comes from rotational invariance !"

[The implication is the inverse square law as found in the force of repulsion or attraction of electrical charges is not given by God. It has to do with certain symmetries.]

Lets assume the unlikely premise that the Universe is fine tuned for life. Plugging God in to explain why it is Fine Tuned is known as the God of the Gaps fallacy.

A Little Science 

{ETA 11/13/2018 From the 2010 Book The Void by Frank Close Professor of Theoretical Physics Oxford

Beginning on Page 152 - According to Quantum Theory Universe could be a huge vacuum fluctuation. If this is so then who is to say that ours is the one and only Universe.

Beginning Page 158 “So our best data are consistent with the theory that out large-scale Universe erupted thru inflation.”  “There is no reason to believe that our inflationary Universe is, was, a one off event. There could be many other such Universes that have erupted in similar fashion to this but which are beyond our awareness.”

[The reason I mention the possibilities of 'other Universes' is that they are suggested by certain scientific models of physics and cosmology or at least consistent those models.  Those other Universes may or may not ever existed or come into existence.  All you need is the possibility that a single Universe can erupt by chance and that it can result  in our particular Universe by chance. Low probability for our particular sort of Universe does not rule out that our Universe is chance. In other words, just because an event has low probability, even an extremely low probability does not mean it can not occur or did not occur by chance.]}

{ETA 1/18/2019 Per the book there could be  many Universes. If so, even if life permitting Universes are improbable, if there are enough experiments then the chance of a life permitting Universe become much higher.}

{ETA 1/14/2019 - Theologians may cite 'low probabilities' for various 'constants' in the Universe. These should be taken with a grain of salt. Some theologians assume a uniform probability distribution which would give rise to a tiny probability for any result. However, such a distribution has little scientific support. Cosmology is in it's infancy and  basing an argument on assumed or weakly supported  probability distributions does not provide a good basis for an argument.

Sometimes to support Fine Tuning  Theologians cite from page 121-122 in Hawking's book A Brief History of Time (!990) page 121 that explains that if the rate of expansion of the Universe at one second after the big bang had been smaller by one part in a hundred thousand million million the Universe would have collapsed before it reached the present state.  However on page 128 the book is discussing an inflation model of the Universe and writes we do not have to assume the initial expansion rate was carefully chosen.}

Continued  Fine Tuning Argument (Part II) - Using Probability or Chance Part  II and III are deleted. Continued in Part IV

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