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Untrue Reason -- re Naturalism - Comments

canadian_right's Avatar Comment 1 by canadian_right

Russell's teapot doesn't need a solution. Russell's teapot is meant to illustrate that you don't need mountains of evidence to refute claims that are very unlikely given our current knowledge of the way the universe is.

There is so much evidence, that in fact, there is nothing supernatural I would have to say that anyone claiming anything could be supernatural is going to have to have some pretty impressive evidence. Of course, we can't say we know 100% for sure there is nothing supernatural, but that goes for pretty much any claim, even the claim that I have an invisible pink unicorn in my room.

The fact that there is a universe is not in anyway evidence for any deities. The "first mover" problem is akin to the lady who claimed "it's turtles all the way down" when asked what was holding up the turtle that holds up the elephant that holds up the world. If all things need a creator, what created god? If god doesn't need a creator, then you are admitting a creator is not required for all things.

The fine tuning problem is just not understanding physics that well.

We may not know how abiogenesis first happened, but evolution explains all the biological diversity in the world.

Consciousness obviously arises from our physical brains. Drugs, injury and illness that affect the brain all affect consciousness. There is so much evidence "we" are our brains I'm surprised anyone argues otherwise.

There is no problem with reason and logic.

I've never heard of the problem of natural uniformity. Last time I checked nature was NOT uniform, but quite happy to suddenly change, for example an asteroid hitting the earth.

Where do our values come from? Most Christians get their values from the same place atheists do: modern secular values that have arisen since the Enlightenment. This is why "moderate" Christians cherry pick from the bible, rejecting stoning to death people who don't observe the Sabbath, and keeping "do unto others as you would have done to yourself".

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 23:51:29 UTC | #929127

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 2 by Neodarwinian

The problem of the jebeus argument. No evidence.

Mr Wood commits countless fallacies and misinterpretations of concepts with his " problems. " In his defense none of the " problems " he puts forward seem to be conceptualized by Mr Wood. All these " problems " were manufactured in some theologians mind somewhere, sometime and rather stink worse than three day old fish being quite unwelcome in intellectual circles.

The Problem of Consciousness. Wood's " solution " to this " problem " is a non sequitur, for instance. It does not follow.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 00:20:51 UTC | #929134

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 3 by Schrodinger's Cat

This a an important distinction that I have been writing about for some time. I hold to Methodological Naturalism exactly because there is no way to show the absence of the Supernatural. Yes, I know there are those who want to define the Supernatural out of existence, but you can't do that without complete knowledge of the Universe.

I find myself baffled.

Any phenomenon that occurs in nature is, by definition, a natural phenomenon. Even a 368 dimensional hyperverse that's so far beyond our grasp that science may never find evidence of it, is a natural phenomenon.

Of course you can rule out the supernatural......because it is impossible for anyone to argue that anything on par with the 368 dimensional hyperverse cannot be a natural phenomenon. How on Earth could any such argument be made ? If there are things that are beyond the scope of science to even detect naturally......then by what conceivable means could anyone argue they were supernatural as opposed to natural ?

I hope you grasp my logic. I consider it a proof that the supernatural cannot exist.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 01:21:15 UTC | #929144

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 4 by Cartomancer

Yes, I know there are those who want to define the Supernatural out of existence, but you can't do that without complete knowledge of the Universe. If you could, you would have the solution to Russell's Teapot.

In order to define the supernatural out of existence one would first have to define it INTO existence. "Supernatural" is a meaningless term unless we have some notion that nature actually has ends, we know roughly where those ends are, and we have some means to tell which side of this putative divide a phenomenon resides on.

Otherwise we're just stuck with another natural phenomenon. It is fundamentally perverse to posit the existence of two somehow distinct types of phenomenon (natural and supernatural) in the absence of any valid way to distinguish between them, or any understanding of what the one might consist in apart from not being the other one. That isn't a valid approach to ontology, that's a somewhat garbled restatement of the concept of difference.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 01:21:51 UTC | #929145

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 5 by VrijVlinder

@The Problem of Natural Uniformity

When he uses those words I understand as if he refers to Natural Uniformitarianism, fractals, geology , or is trying to use the occurrence in nature to attach some meta scientific meaning in patterns that repeat so often we call them naturally occuring patterns. However they are only uniform to the eye (microscope)at a molecular level. After that everything behaves erratically .

The String Theory

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 01:42:59 UTC | #929146

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 6 by rrh1306

I agree with your logic completely. But sometimes it seems like you hate this particular non-sense concept so much that you seem to forget the fact that theist use it all the time. I've certainly heard it numerous times in my life. Are you really just mad because we Atheist seem to keep beating a dead horse here?

Comment 3 by Schrodinger's Cat :

This a an important distinction that I have been writing about for some time. I hold to Methodological Naturalism exactly because there is no way to show the absence of the Supernatural. Yes, I know there are those who want to define the Supernatural out of existence, but you can't do that without complete knowledge of the Universe.

I find myself baffled.

Any phenomenon that occurs in nature is, by definition, a natural phenomenon. Even a 368 dimensional hyperverse that's so far beyond our grasp that science may never find evidence of it, is a natural phenomenon.

Of course you can rule out the supernatural......because it is impossible for anyone to argue that anything on par with the 368 dimensional hyperverse cannot be a natural phenomenon. How on Earth could any such argument be made ? If there are things that are beyond the scope of science to even detect naturally......then by what conceivable means could anyone argue they were supernatural as opposed to natural ?

I hope you grasp my logic. I consider it a proof that the supernatural cannot exist.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 02:23:07 UTC | #929161

jackpup's Avatar Comment 7 by jackpup

"True Reason: Christain Responses to the Challenge of Atheism"

You dont think like we do, ergo its a Challenge. What an excellent point of departure for understanding.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 02:35:31 UTC | #929164

mmurray's Avatar Comment 8 by mmurray

If Naturalism were true, we would expect all effects to have natural causes.

We don't know that all effects have causes, natural or otherwise. It seems that way on our normal size scale, but not so at the quantum scale. There may be other special cases. We would have to have complete knowledge of the entire Universe to rule that out. Mr. Wood is trying to work his way to:

When are they going to learn that the days of making philosophical comment about the natural world without understanding it are over. He might as well declare that it is impossible for a heavier than air machine to fly because it is heavier than air.

Michael

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 02:40:42 UTC | #929167

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 9 by aroundtown

I have felt for quite some time that we burden ourselves unnecessarily with over complications when we examine or define proposition because "we can". Staying close to an initial Hypothesis allows one to clearly define a proposition and the chances for a working theory are greatly simplified and more prone to success. We think in the abstract so the prospect of our endless imagining can bring forth a chrome butterfly or fantastic purple monster but simple percentages of actual sightings for these, being zero, can attest to a fairly certain speculation regarding their existence. Should a chrome butterfly show up then I will concede it's existence but I will not attach a supernatural explanation for it's emergence. We cannot as yet confront or confirm our imaginings but hopefully that day is not to far away and the clarity we inherit on that day will serve a grand purpose for a reduction in speculation in purporting imaginings as truths.

I am a blues guitarist and fan so I will use a blues euphemism regarding the "God has nothing left to do" quote early on in this post and it is this - You can't loose what you never had.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 02:41:22 UTC | #929169

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 10 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 6 by rrh1306

Are you really just mad because we Atheist seem to keep beating a dead horse here?

I think atheists keep falling into the trap of trying to refute theological reasoning.....when theology doesn't have any reasoning.

Do not wrestle a theological pig in the mud. You will only end up waist deep in pig shit, and the pig enjoys it.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 03:32:01 UTC | #929182

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 11 by rrh1306

I'm not sure if Shakespeare could have said it better.

Comment 10 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Do not wrestle a theological pig in the mud. You will only end up waist deep in pig shit, and the pig enjoys it.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 03:56:15 UTC | #929189

Al Denelsbeck's Avatar Comment 12 by Al Denelsbeck

Comment 4 by Cartomancer

In order to define the supernatural out of existence one would first have to define it INTO existence. "Supernatural" is a meaningless term unless we have some notion that nature actually has ends, we know roughly where those ends are, and we have some means to tell which side of this putative divide a phenomenon resides on.

Bingo! A lot of people fall for the fallacy that, because we have words and concepts that have existed for a long time in our language, they had a useful, meaningful origin. But the very word "supernatural" implies a dichotomy that cannot be demonstrated and serves no purpose.

In fact, I suspect it originated long after most organized religions, as we discovered that space, as one example among hundreds, wasn't a roof ("vault") but actually empty space [it might well have been about this time that the word "space" started being used for this purpose, rather than the "heavens" or simply the "sky"]. In order to retain the idea of a realm where gods and angels sat, it could not be "up there" and had to be somewhere else.

I just looked it up, actually. According to Merriam Webster Online, the first known use of the word "supernatural" was in the 15th century. That might say a lot, really.

On a related note, there's another mistake from the OP, where he says:

I hold to Methodological Naturalism exactly because there is no way to show the absence of the Supernatural.

But there is no way to show the absence of anything. There are two choices: positive evidence, and bupkiss. With a lack of positive evidence, you are left only with absence, the null hypothesis.

People don't like definitive statements such as, "There is no god," but such statements are only invalid if we believe that they imply omniscience; "You can't say that for sure!"

Yet, the only way to demonstrate that it's wrong is to produce positive evidence to the contrary.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 04:01:31 UTC | #929190

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 13 by VrijVlinder

@Al Denelsbeck: "But there is no way to show the absence of anything."

This got me thinking......We must be able to show the absence of something. Of everything. How ? it has to be there before to be absent now. Does this apply to the natural world or the supernatural or both. Maybe this apples to belief in the supernatural more. If we were never told there was a god, we would not have a reason to disbelieve. I am not suggesting there was a god or supernaturals, only that the belief of these was present. Those who a recovering from indoctrination may understand my point better.

Earthquakes were thought to be caused by the supernatural. Why the shift. Evidence to the contrary.

Is the cat dead , or alive, or dead and alive. That we do not yet fully understand the Universe and it's elegant weirdness does not justify to be called supernatural.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 05:09:49 UTC | #929202

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 14 by VrijVlinder

@ Quine: How do you not go insane with high blood pressure reviewing this stuff? I guess someone has to or they would get away with it all too easy next thing you know it becomes standard instead of metric and you are missing the right socket for the Nut.

@rrh1306: The horse/pig is not dead yet, it keeps resuscitating itself and pretending to be Jesus. whap whap whap take that you f*&%()^

@aroundtown: Lets record some supernatural music. The set list is as follows:

"God has nothing left to do" "You can't loose what you never had" "Deep in pig Shit and she likes it" "Heavier than Air my fart won't fly" "You don't think like we do WTF" "Dead Horse with a name" "Absence ? Hadn't noticed (till ya brought it up hmm." "Supernatural Funk"

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 05:45:03 UTC | #929206

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 15 by susanlatimer

Point by point, the review is spot-on and highlights the flaws in Wood's "reasoning". He seems to go out of his way to avoid addressing the best questions and evidence available on every issue and non-issue he raises. Fine-tuning? Cosmology? Consciousness? He's just making stuff up in order to throw the reader off the path, rather than to face the subjects head-on.

I'm only confused by the suggestion that we have to understand all there is to know about the universe in order to reject the idea of the "supernatural". I'm trying to figure out what it has to do with teapots. I know what a teapot is. I've asked and asked and asked and I still have no idea what "supernatural" is. If it's not coherent, it's not like a teapot.

Does "supernatural" mean outside of our particular universe? Does it mean whatever can't in principle be tested by the scientific method? If so, it could be like some sort of elusive teapot. But it's never so clearly defined as that. So, I have to think it's not like Russel's teapot at all. It's a non-word that means "not natural". I'm still not even sure what "natural" could mean. I don't quite understand what value it has as a modifier.

I wish I could put the last paragraph in the form of a question. I tried, but it turned into too many questions. So, I left it as it is.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 06:17:43 UTC | #929209

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 16 by Alan4discussion

After all the assertions, question begging and usual obfuscation:-

@Wood ...... ...the reliability of our cognitive faculties, our access to logical laws, the Uniformity of Nature, or the values we hold. But since science presupposes and depends upon these features of our world,

(Anthropomorphic backside first theist thinking as usual)

The underlying science is in no way dependent on human perceptions of nature. Science is a human description of how nature works to testable levels of accuracy.
Science does not have all the answers and humans are fallible! (therefore [unspecified] theists without evidence, are infallible!!!) - Classic theist alleged logic! - Epic fail!

@Wood - Naturalism provides no foundation for science, and scientific discovery is an enormous problem for Naturalism.

Ha! ha! ha! - Go to the bottom of the class and re-commence the induction course in infant science!

@Quine - Put all of this together, and Mr. Woods has no justifications for his conclusions.

Quite! !! - Blah! blah! blah! - found a few gaps, concocted a heap of waffle, and knotted up some contorted, tangled, semantic, brain knitting - therefore god-did-it!

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:34:42 UTC | #929242

This Is Not A Meme's Avatar Comment 17 by This Is Not A Meme

I admire your charity and taking the tougher, worthwhile battles.

'Anyone who claims to understand quantum physics is a liar.' Searle makes this Feynman reference in a lecture where he submitted the humblest assumption that many people hold, that randomness exists (free will = agent without antecedent). I ran this lecture through a physics forum and they were pointing and laughing. It seemed a demonstration of philosophers not understanding the language of science. The models of physics incorporate randomness, but this is not a statement about the Universe. Randomness is an absence of Information (in the physics sense), and even that is purely epistemic and not ontological. To assert or deny randomness is a departure from science, into the realm of metaphysics. I recommend asking a few physicists to make sure they understand you.

Spinoza denies randomness, so I've always considered Naturalism a causal worldview. I'm not convinced the argument can't be made.

To risk hubris.... In physics there is the Conservation of Information. The particles in a puff of smoke indicate their previous position, and thus can be traced back to their origin. This seems to deny randomness. The true loss of information is debated, as physics doesn't subscribe to metaphysics. Hawking lost a bet a few years ago over whether information was lost in black holes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_information_paradox

I say go for it. No Randomness, No Masters! The Universe is knowable!

I'd also like to know how you can concede randomness and affirmatively deny that god is possible. Actually, if there is an acceptance of randomness in the Dawkins liturgy, I may have to break off and form my own sect, the A+theists, aka the A-Team. I look forward to years of bloody warfare over this intractable sectarian divide.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:41:03 UTC | #929244

foundationist's Avatar Comment 18 by foundationist

Yes, I know there are those who want to define the Supernatural out of existence, but you can't do that without complete knowledge of the Universe.

As a member of the fraction that does define the supernatural out of existence (coincidentally we were just having a discussion about this here) I object to that. Defining the supernatural out of existence doesn't imply that, say, people can't walk on water, it just says we are always entitled to ask the question how people walk on water and try to find an answer to that. That's of course just semantics, but I find it important.

That's why I have a certain respect for medieval theologians. They were the first to try to make sense out of a mythological world view. One might disregard them for holding this world view in the first place, but if you believe in the existence of angels, then the question what they are like, or, more poetically, how many of them can dance on a pinhead, is a very good question. Indeed, I think that we owe a lot of the breakthroughs of the enlightenment to these folks. You can only realize that it's impossible to square the circle of making sense of a worldview that was never intended to make sense of anything when you try and fail.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 15:00:00 UTC | #929298

JoxerTheMighty's Avatar Comment 19 by JoxerTheMighty

The Fine-Tuning Problem

This is a false problem based on confusion of Physics as model and the physical world which can't be shown to have tuning "knobs" at all. (see my other discussion that goes into this, and this great video)

If you don't mind explaining, isn't the Multiverse(which many accept as plausible and is indeed offered as one of the refutations of Fine-Tuning) the hypothesis that there are indeed "knobs", and that each twist of each knob produces another universes/realities, which are described by permutations of our model? How come the multiverse then isn't considered a fallacy? It seems to me the only difference is that "Fine-Tuning" asserts that the other universes are just hypothetical realities that were never materialized but just exist as probabilities. Multiverse hypothesis, OTOH, asserts that all of those universes are real. Seems to me that, if Fine-Tuning faces the problem you describe, so does the Multiverse hypothesis, even more so.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:07:02 UTC | #929335

foundationist's Avatar Comment 20 by foundationist

Comment 19 by JoxerTheMighty :

If you don't mind explaining, isn't the Multiverse(which many accept as plausible) the hypothesis that there are indeed "knobs", and that each twist of each knob produces another universe/reality, according to our model? How come the multiverse then isn't considered a fallacy?

The multiverse hypothesis was not primarily considered as a solution to the fine tuning problem, the existence of many universes follows form certain theories about the nature and the beginning of our universe, its a consequence of certain aspects of quantum field theory. And the footing of this hypothesis is rather poor compared to the attention it gets. I think the best answer to the question why the fundamental constants are the way they are is "We don't know. Yet."

I wouldn't advice any theist younger than 70 to write a book based on the fine tuning argument, because there is a large chance he will live to see at least part of it come apart, when we start understanding it.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:17:06 UTC | #929337

JoxerTheMighty's Avatar Comment 21 by JoxerTheMighty

Comment 20 by foundationist :

Comment 19 by JoxerTheMighty :

If you don't mind explaining, isn't the Multiverse(which many accept as plausible) the hypothesis that there are indeed "knobs", and that each twist of each knob produces another universe/reality, according to our model? How come the multiverse then isn't considered a fallacy?

The multiverse hypothesis was not primarily considered as a solution to the fine tuning problem, the existence of many universes follows form certain theories about the nature and the beginning of our universe, its a consequence of certain aspects of quantum field theory. And the footing of this hypothesis is rather poor compared to the attention it gets. I think the best answer to the question why the fundamental constants are the way they are is "We don't know. Yet."

Yes, I know the Multiverse hypothesis wasn't developed as an asnwer for Fine-Tuning. But I'm under the impression that it does say that our model can predict other universes/realities which are also real, no? Which quine seems to say that it's a fallacy(the model driving the reality).

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:36:18 UTC | #929340

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 22 by ZenDruid

It's hard not to be angry at the theologically afflicted for the obvious bullshit they spew.

They have nothing but an impulse to tell fairy stories with some supposed moral point, and they assume that scientists and analytical philosophers have exactly the same agenda. The stories they tell are designed for emotional impact, and they have no qualms whatsoever about changing facts or even the definitions of words mid-stream. They like to use fancy phrases simply because they sound impressive.

Like I said, it's hard... However, it is fitting to understand that preachers, and theologists, and the purveyors of that mysterious 'sophisticated theology' are all nothing more than mediocre storytellers. To confront the likes of Plantinga, Craig, the Archbish et al with that bald statement of fact, would be incredibly satisfying to my peculiar sense of humor.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:51:45 UTC | #929346

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 23 by VrijVlinder

@ ZenDruid It's hard not to be angry at the theologically afflicted for the obvious bullshit they spew.

I get angry, frustrated, baffled and amazed . Sometimes feel I'm in a bad Movie thinking, who wrote this Fracking nonsense?!? The use of that language is cruelty aiding the conclusion to be god by using what we already know to back up this crap.. Assimilation veiled in nonsensical language.

Who said : Anyone who claims to understand quantum physics is a liar.?

Some aspects are understood some are theoretic in nature. But all derive from scientific data and point of view. In this case the absence of something leads to the discovery of the existence of something else.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 19:17:58 UTC | #929379

This Is Not A Meme's Avatar Comment 24 by This Is Not A Meme

Pardon, the paraphrase is from Feynman. It is often stated, 'if someone tells you they understand quantum mechanics, you know you are speaking to a liar.' Attempting to google the exact quote, I now fear it may be apocryphal, but I found these:

"Anyone who says that they understand Quantum Mechanics does not understand Quantum Mechanics"-Richard Feynman

"Nobody understands quantum theory." -Feynman

Quantum does work with predictive models, so it is a coherent science, but of the sciences it seems most prone to misunderstanding and abuse. To take quantum as a basis for metaphysical assertions (randomness exists) is perhaps as foolish as Deepak Chopra's chicanery, and he's not the only person using quantum to sell woo.

There is a tendency to reduce physics to metaphysics, and even Newton becomes a basis for Determinism. Philosophy can not run in contradiction to physics, which forces philosophers to address the field. I fear they are ill equipped, but so are scientists when they approach philosophy. Trying to straddle the shoulders of different giants may be a bit perilous. People dedicate their lives to these fields. When someone steps out of their field to dabble in another, expect error.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 00:30:05 UTC | #929476

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 25 by VrijVlinder

@This Is Not A Meme: "Nobody understands quantum theory." -Feynman

"Quantum does work with predictive models, so it is a coherent science, but of the sciences it seems most prone to misunderstanding and abuse. To take quantum as a basis for metaphysical assertions (randomness exists) is perhaps as foolish as Deepak Chopra's chicanery, and he's not the only person using quantum to sell woo."

"There is a tendency to reduce physics to metaphysics,"

Agreed, however I believe the concept of quantum can be comprehended. If gravity and relativity can be comprehended by causality . Cause and effect. There is some meat on that bone to chew.

The metaphysical has no meat or bone and requires the acceptance of it's existence to exist. Riding the coat tails of genuine science.

The brain has capabilities that have not been 100% utilized . Maybe what we don't understand is the brain.

I can say for certain that it is easier for me to understand quantum than metaphysics . Both try to explain something we may not see is there, one uses scientific methods to arrive at hypothesis. The other uses superstition .

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 01:43:19 UTC | #929485

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 26 by susanlatimer

I can say for certain that it is easier for me to understand quantum than metaphysics . Both try to explain something we may not see is there, one uses scientific methods to arrive at hypothesis. The other uses superstition .

The significant difference is that one makes predictions with breathtaking accuracy about reality. The other makes stuff up, and when its predictions inevitably fail, just makes new stuff up and says, "That's what we meant all along."

The quantum case is that there's something there beyond our intuition but it's there to comprehend with better models, and it adds up to something being there.

The superstitious case is that our intuition believes something is there when there isn't and it provides no functional model whatsoever. There is nothing there.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 03:55:49 UTC | #929511

AgriculturalAtheist's Avatar Comment 27 by AgriculturalAtheist

"Supernatural" is a mistake of a concept. It is misapplied to phenomenon whose physics are currently beyond our understanding. Either it involves an area of physics we do not yet know, or is sufficiently complex such that it prevents us from accurately predicting outcomes. More stubborn versions assert AROUND the complex physics issue and state that such events are UNCAUSED (except by - surprise! - a deity). But this of course assumes it is always unnatural for an event to be uncaused, or indeed what might be, er, the CAUSE (i.e. the principal or "law" in physics which permits acausality) of uncaused events.

AT BEST we can only ever state that we simply do not understand a particular baffling phenomenon. How could we ever "prove" such a thing were "supernatural"? What TEST would allow us to conclude that what was happening operated outside the laws of physics?

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 05:01:16 UTC | #929523

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 28 by susanlatimer

Comment 27 by AgriculturalAtheist

"Supernatural" is a mistake of a concept.

That's a charitable way of putting it.

"Supernatural" is the adjective. The noun is "god of the gaps".

I think Cartomancer put it best.

In order to define the supernatural out of existence one would first have to define it INTO existence.

When someone makes claims about the supernatural, they're claiming to have an answer because nobody has an answer yet.

"Supernatural" seems to mean "what we don't know about nature yet". It has no definition, no meaning. I'd be deeply grateful if someone would provide one instead of just exploiting our traditional assumptions on the subject, based on our ignorance.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 05:17:18 UTC | #929525

AgriculturalAtheist's Avatar Comment 29 by AgriculturalAtheist

I like the fine tuning video, but it is a little unfair. After all, one could simply say that the universe was not fine-tuned to contain, say, gold. Given MOST matter is hydrogen and helium, with less than 1% being left for all other elements, we can see that ANY other element, including gold (an element not required by life as we know it) does not exist in a universe fine-tuned for it. But then step back and consider that matter itself is a minority compared to the amount of DARK MATTER theorized to dwarf it. So the universe is not fine-tuned for ANY/ALL known elements? Wait again - MOST of the universe is empty space - not even including the majority of space that comprises an atom - so ANY sort of matter, dark or otherwise, is so insignificant that the universe cannot be fine tuned for it. Why, if we twiddled the knobs JUST RIGHT the whole universe would be one 13.7 billion LY wide hunk of solid gold, if it were so "fine tuned." What sort of rubbish talk is this anyway?

All this arguing begs the question: what percentage of ANYTHING must a universe contain to be alleged to be fine-tuned for it? At least 1%? 10%? 50%? Would life exist on every single rock and speck of dust?

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 05:22:54 UTC | #929527

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 30 by Laurie Fraser

I don't find this so much a science problem, Q, as a semantic one. It seems to me that that theists too readily borrow the language of reality (i.e. 'meaning') and shoehorn it into a conceptual superstructure they call 'theology', whose language sounds like it is describing things that are real, but which in fact have no substantive base. I recall a conversation you and I had last year about this, but, for the life of me, I can't recall the specifics! I blame Decius and his goddamn Italian wine! :)

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 05:25:29 UTC | #929529