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  1. #41
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Danske View Post
    Taken as a percentage, the number of planets around us with no known life actually makes this one, with life, seems like an accident.
    Um, using your argument 1 in 8 (9 if you count pluto) planets have life on them...lol. To use this as an example and then claim no other planets in the universe have life is a bit silly. Not that I'm claiming life in the universe is that abundant... just pointing out that your example suggests the universe is overflowing with life. Therefore it is hardly a good argument against life elsewhere.

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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    I wonder what it is that is being meant by precision here, when I see your comments to the effect that the fact that there is both red and blonde hair colors is imprecise. On the other hand, it could be said that "there are precisely that many hair colors". But I think the heart of the issue here is "precision towards what end"? What is precision?

    Since the conclusion drawn is that the universe appears to have such intent involved in its events and construction, that it must have been designed by a creator and not have happened naturally. They argued that there is too much precision for natural causes to create. But precision is to make things "right" if people were made "right" would they not all be the same? There is no "precision" in variations.
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

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  4. #43
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Danske View Post
    Taken as a percentage, the number of planets around us with no known life actually makes this one, with life, seems like an accident.
    Ok...so, as a percentage of the number of planets around us with no known life there is about a 1/9 (I count Pluto and will until the day I die) chance that any given planet has life on it (according to your logic here) Considering that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe that means that as a percentage there should be about 1.1111e+23 planets with life on them, right?

    Also, please do not think I am picking on you. That is not my intention in the slightest. We like to challenge ideas around here. It helps everyone develop their ideas and we, as a group, benefit from them.
    Last edited by Someguy; April 17th, 2013 at 08:23 PM.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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  6. #44
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter2Ego View Post
    For the average person, precision indicates that an intelligent person guided the outcome.

    .....

    The reverse of precision is imprecision/inaccuracy/inexactness, which is always the result of an accident or a spontaneous event that happens by chance with no one guiding the outcome. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines an accident as:

    .....

    Notice that an accident, by definition, is something unplanned aka it "happened by chance." Notice the similarity of the definition for "spontaneous" (as in "spontaneous event")
    The premise of your argument is flawed. Precision, in no way, shape, or form, implies any sort of intelligence. I will be talking about your invalidation of evolution later, but this point is pertinent here: you are precisely who you are, without any conscious thought involved. Your father's sperm impregnated your mother's ovum, and the resulting combination produced you. Your mother did not concentrate on which genes you got during meiosis when her genetic code underwent recombination, nor did your father decide which genotypes would transfer in his sperm. The "accident" of you, - that is, the exact copy of you that was eventually produced - required no intelligence whatsoever. Physical forces acted upon matter and combined in a unique way.

    Scientific evidence shows there is extreme precision in everything around us in the natural world.
    It very much does not. You are confusing your place in the universe with the universe's properties that made you possible. This is called the Anthropic Principle. The universe was not designed in such a specific way so as to support you. Rather, you are the result of how the universe naturally is. If the universe were any different, you would not exist as you; you would exist as something else. The matter that you are currently made out of would be part of some other combination of matter. This may not be a comfortable thought, but the universe was not made for you; you are merely allowed by the natural laws that govern the universe.

    This precision renders the evolution theory and Big Bang theory mere fiction, because both theories rely on accidents or spontaneous events. Precision leaves no room for error or for accidental events. Rather, precision requires deliberation.
    This would be a reasonable conclusion given your premise, but your premise is horribly flawed. Thus, this conclusion is erroneous. Just as your specific genetic combination happened "by accident", deliberation is not a requirement of this "precision".

    Further, there is a stunning lack of precision in the natural world that completely validates the Theory of Evolution. If all of creation represents the precision of a perfect God, then why do whales have hip bones? Why do flightless birds have wings? Why do blind cave animals have eyes? Why do humans have an appendix? Why do men have nipples?!?

    It seems to me that you are using an erroneous definition of the word "accident" in this line of logic. While the recombination of genes during sexual reproduction is a random occurrence, the fact that genes separate and recombine is most certainly not an accident. Meiosis is a chemical reaction that follows the physical laws of the universe. Likewise, calling the Big Bang an accident is a complete misnomer, as physical laws dictate that, given certain conditions, that is exactly what would have happened.

    Now, I used the phrase "given certain conditions." This is key. As a note in the debate about Theory vs Law, there is gross public misunderstanding as to what "theory" actually represents to the scientific community. Some physical principles in use today, such as the Theory of Gravity and the Theory of Relativity, are based on older (and sometimes competing) theories, but with access to greater information. Aristotelian physics ruled that vacuums were impossible. We know this is false, but the ancient Greeks had no concept of "the zero," nor of infinity. To them, a vacuum represented a void, and thus could not exist. Their mathematical understanding was geometric and practical; there was no such thing as "none" or "negative," because one could not own a negative amount of land. If they had a problem that wound up at zero or below, they would simply dismiss the problem as nonsensical and without merit. But the zero certainly exists. It is a fool's errand to attempt to disprove it. Even so, they were still able to make some predictive assumptions about the physical world that ended up being true. Their entire basis of knowledge was not flawed, merely incomplete. You could make a hamburger without using any meat, but could you really call it a hamburger? It would still have a bun, and any condiments you usually associate with a hamburger, but it would be missing a vital piece. Science works in much the same way, in that missing pieces often form a completely different picture, but not all of the component parts of the previous theory are thrown out.

    This retooling of physical models based on greater knowledge does not invalidate all previous knowledge, nor even the entire theory that becomes disproved. Newtonian physics described the physical universe far better than Aristotle was able to, and yet even then we have formulas and even "laws" that could be considered incomplete. Newton's theory of gravity was not disproved, but it has been refined and added to numerous times. But before Newton, many people believed that god tied strings to everybody and pulled them down. Since Newton, we have discovered that scale matters quite a bit. You may calculate something taking place within a meter, but you need a different formula to describe the same event taking place over a billion meters, or a billionth of a meter. Does the fact that scale changes outcome invalidate the laws/rules at any given scale? Of course not. We just know that there are more pieces to the puzzle hiding somewhere. And just because we may not know what those pieces are, that does not mean those pieces don't exist. Even given Newton's contributions to the scientific world, we were largely ignorant about the goings on outside of our solar system until the Theory of Relativity came along, which filled in some of the deeper holes. Galilean transformations, which were fine in an absolute universe, were replaced by Lorentz transformations that explained the relative universe. But at no time were Galilean transformations giving us incorrect answers; there were simply answering the wrong questions.

    How does this fit in with your supposed debunking of evolution? Speciation fits into an evolutionary paradigm, and is observable. The Galapagos islands are just geographically separated enough to have similar species close by with small changes. The average length of a finch's beak differs from island to island. Evolution explains why this happens, and we can even see it in our own children. A baby might have it's mother's eyes and it's father's chin, for example. We pass on traits. This is a fact. Traits combine to form other traits, also a fact. Given a long enough timeline, several small changes become large changes. This is also a fact. The argument that "micro evolution is true but macro evolution is false" is absurd. Allowing for change at all allows for any size of change. If humans can allopatrically speciate (which was starting to happen in our not-so-distant past) to have different colors of skin, different types of hair growth, different mean height, etc, in such a short amount of time, what is possible on the geologic timescale?

    You can talk about shaking the parts of a watch together in a jar and never getting a watch, but what will happen? Eventually, random chance is going to arrange the parts together into something, even if that something just happens to be a gear stuck in between two links on the band. This new "creation" will not be a watch, but it will be a "gear-in-band" thing. And given enough attempts at the shaking, you're going to produce some examples that sticks a gear between the third and forth links, and maybe even one that sticks a gear between the fourth and fifth links. But, this is again the Antropic principle. If you believe human beings are the goal of the universe (the watch), then the odds are incredibly against random chance making this specific combination. But here we are. We exist. Our component parts were not put in a jar and shaken for 4.5 billion years. We exist precisely because it is not random chance in charge, but physical law. The analogy is flawed, as the systems in question are unalike. Random chance is involved in the details (why you may have blue eyes or brown), but not in the broad strokes. I mean, after all, you might have an incredibly high chance of getting brown eyes, or you may have a 50% chance of getting blue eyes.... but those chances are governed by rules that have been observed and documented countless times.
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  7. #45
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    The premise of your argument is flawed. Precision, in no way, shape, or form, implies any sort of intelligence. I will be talking about your invalidation of evolution later, but this point is pertinent here: you are precisely who you are, without any conscious thought involved. Your father's sperm impregnated your mother's ovum, and the resulting combination produced you. Your mother did not concentrate on which genes you got during meiosis when her genetic code underwent recombination, nor did your father decide which genotypes would transfer in his sperm.
    To be fair, that isn't the argument being made here. You are engaging in the lottery fallacy here I believe. IE, even if we didn't win the lottery, someone would have (if you hadn't been born from the union, someone would have). In this fallacy any particular possible outcome is a valid one and the fact that one of those valid ones happens to be the outcome is not to be seen as remarkable. But that isn't the fine tuning argument. The fine tuning argument is that there are trillions and trillions and trillions of possible states, only a small, small portion of them produce a valid result (life), so in that case the result of life is remarkable.

    To use another example. Lets say we have a bag filled with billions of chips. We draw one out with an X on it. If the bag is filled with Xs then the event is unremarkable (even if that particular tile was unlikely), but if the bag is filled with Ys and only, say, a thousand Xs, then an X is a remarkable event.

    We are not talking about a small set of states amongst any set of trillions of successful states, we are talking about a small set of successful states amongst trillions of possible states, all of which that are not part of the successful are unsuccessful.
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  8. #46
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    I've missed you, Squatch (slayer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    To be fair, that isn't the argument being made here. You are engaging in the lottery fallacy here I believe. IE, even if we didn't win the lottery, someone would have (if you hadn't been born from the union, someone would have). In this fallacy any particular possible outcome is a valid one and the fact that one of those valid ones happens to be the outcome is not to be seen as remarkable. But that isn't the fine tuning argument. The fine tuning argument is that there are trillions and trillions and trillions of possible states, only a small, small portion of them produce a valid result (life), so in that case the result of life is remarkable.
    The fine tuning argument implies this particular version of the universe requires intelligence to have ordered it just so. This is the Anthropic principle in action, which exposes the most extreme sort of confirmation bias available to thinking beings. The universe does not reflect a fulfillment of our needs; our needs are derived from what the universe had to offer. It is not just so because of us; we are just so because of it.

    To use another example. Lets say we have a bag filled with billions of chips. We draw one out with an X on it. If the bag is filled with Xs then the event is unremarkable (even if that particular tile was unlikely), but if the bag is filled with Ys and only, say, a thousand Xs, then an X is a remarkable event.

    We are not talking about a small set of states amongst any set of trillions of successful states, we are talking about a small set of successful states amongst trillions of possible states, all of which that are not part of the successful are unsuccessful.
    Human beings do not represent a "successful state". That is the problem. If you shook the bag out once and got X,X,Y,X,Y,Y,X, and called that "homo sapiens," it doesn't matter how many more times you shook the bag. The fact is, you only shook it once (or, rather, you shook the bag a billion times and kept adding the previous results to the next result). XXYXYYX was not the goal of shaking the bag, it's just what happened to come out, so it really doesn't matter if that's what you were trying for in the first place.

    Trying to pit "all possible outcomes" against the one outcome we got - the universe as it is - is fallacious itself. If those other outcomes were possible, they would have happened, ergo what we have is the only possible outcome because that is what actually happened in this particular single sample. It would be just as meaningless to claim that my blue jeans are not blue, simply because they could literally be any other color that is possible! The vacuum of space, how gravity works, the speed of light, all of these are features of our universe, but the absence of a designer does not relegate these things to mere chance. Probability (from the statistical point of view) is completely meaningless in this case. If we flip a coin just one time, and it lands on heads, the probability that that coin landed on heads that one time is 100%. Likewise, if we use our single sample experiment and let amino acids stew in a great big pot for 4.5 billion years, they are going to combine (because that's what happened), which will lead to simple organization (which is what happened), which will lead to more complex organization (which is what happened), which will eventually lead to upright hominids with greatly developed frontal cortex (which is what happened!). Hence, my blue jeans are blue because they are blue and not any other color that they could have been.

    We are the result of chance, billions upon billions of die rolls, but there was no "goal" of us in mind when all of this chance happened. This is why it is a fallacious argument to say that a tornado will never assemble a 747, nor will you ever assemble a Rolex if you shake a mason jar containing watch parts. "Human Beings" were not the goal of the last 4.5 billion years, like the jet or the watch, but merely the result of a linear chain of events that actually happened. If you repeated the "Earth Experiment" for another 4.5 billion years, starting with a cooling hunk of rock in space made up of the exact same chemical composition, you might end up with life. This life might end up complex at some point, and you may even end up with bipedal lung-breathers that give live birth. But the odds are against this happening on the exact same timeline, and the odds are against the exact same combinations, and the odds are against the exact same end result (end result being a bit of a misnomer; we are by no means any kind of end result; we are still evolving and the universe continues to grow). If you repeated this experiment 100 times, you're probably going to get 100 vastly different combinations. If you repeated this experiment a million times, you'd probably have some patterns that repeated, and others that were a statistical rarity. Hell, maybe life itself is a rarity and only happens 1/1,000,000 of the time, or even less! So let's do the experiment a billion times. Might you get homo sapiens, or something of a close approximation? Who knows. We literally have no statistical data to make such an inference. But my point stands: the universe is not the way it is to accommodate us, but rather we are the way we are because that's the only way we can be given the state of the universe (and the results of countless genetic variations). There is no "watch", but if we shake the jar enough we are going to end up with a near infinite combination of unique spatial locations for all of the parts inside. Go ahead and call one particular arrangement "Rolex" if you like. It doesn't even have to look like a watch, but it will be unique.
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  9. #47
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    I've missed you, Squatch (slayer)
    Excellent, well then let us begin.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    The fine tuning argument implies this particular version of the universe requires intelligence to have ordered it just so. This is the Anthropic principle in action, which exposes the most extreme sort of confirmation bias available to thinking beings. The universe does not reflect a fulfillment of our needs; our needs are derived from what the universe had to offer. It is not just so because of us; we are just so because of it.
    This is the Richard Dawkins organization of the argument, not the traditional theist version.

    The argument is more properly stated:

    P1: the fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
    P2: It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
    C: Therefore the fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

    The mistake Dawkins makes when rewriting the argument is the assumption that life would have arisen in some other form in the other possible universes. IE, if the constants were different we wouldn't have human life, but we would have some other type of life asking these same questions. That however isn't true. The fine tuning argument relies on the fact that a small change in either the physical constants of the universe or the initial conditions and quantities would have resulted in a universe inhospitable for any life at all. The fact that we are observing it doesn't alleviate the need to explain why it is this particular value over any other particular value.

    Imagine this analogy (that I stole from William Lane Craig). You are in front of a firing squad with a hundred marksmen. They all fire. You realize they haven't hit you and wonder why. Now you can only pose that question if they all missed, but that doesn't remove the question of why they actually missed does it? It doesn't remove the need to explain why they didn't hit you.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    Human beings do not represent a "successful state". That is the problem. If you shook the bag out once and got X,X,Y,X,Y,Y,X, and called that "homo sapiens," it doesn't matter how many more times you shook the bag. The fact is, you only shook it once (or, rather, you shook the bag a billion times and kept adding the previous results to the next result). XXYXYYX was not the goal of shaking the bag, it's just what happened to come out, so it really doesn't matter if that's what you were trying for in the first place.
    If you are going to posit a complete model of the universe, you need to explain why they did come out XXYXYYX as opposed to XXXXXXX or even no chips falling out at all. Or are you saying that the particular constants are simply chance? That would seem to be a more remote option than a designer and therefore less satisfactory.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    Trying to pit "all possible outcomes" against the one outcome we got - the universe as it is - is fallacious itself. If those other outcomes were possible, they would have happened, ergo what we have is the only possible outcome because that is what actually happened in this particular single sample.
    Wait, I'm not sure I understand your support for this statement. What about a state having been possible means that it would have been realized as a universe? Are you saying that this is the only possible universe because it was realized? Are you saying then that the the winner of the lottery was the only possible winner before they drew the numbers? Because something did happen does not remove the necessity to explain why it happened.

    Because two amino acids combined into a protein in fact does not remove the necessity to explain why and how they did so.


    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    If we flip a coin just one time, and it lands on heads, the probability that that coin landed on heads that one time is 100%. Likewise, if we use our single sample experiment and let amino acids stew in a great big pot for 4.5 billion years, they are going to combine (because that's what happened), which will lead to simple organization (which is what happened), which will lead to more complex organization (which is what happened), which will eventually lead to upright hominids with greatly developed frontal cortex (which is what happened!). Hence, my blue jeans are blue because they are blue and not any other color that they could have been.
    The question isn't whether or not your jeans are blue, its why are they blue. Why are things arranged in such a way as to lead to them being blue? Asking that question does not presuppose that blue was the goal, solely that it requires an explanation of its state. I can be completely neutral or even hostile to blue as a goal, but that wouldn't remove the fact that we need to explain the process that led to blue's arising as the state of fact.


    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    But my point stands: the universe is not the way it is to accommodate us, but rather we are the way we are because that's the only way we can be given the state of the universe (and the results of countless genetic variations).
    Just to be clear, this isn't the fine tuning argument. The fine tuning argument asks why are the specific quantities present at the beginning of the universe and the physical constants what they are as opposed to something else.
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  10. #48
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Excellent, well then let us begin.



    This is the Richard Dawkins organization of the argument, not the traditional theist version.

    The argument is more properly stated:

    P1: the fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
    P2: It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
    C: Therefore the fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

    The mistake Dawkins makes when rewriting the argument is the assumption that life would have arisen in some other form in the other possible universes. IE, if the constants were different we wouldn't have human life, but we would have some other type of life asking these same questions. That however isn't true. The fine tuning argument relies on the fact that a small change in either the physical constants of the universe or the initial conditions and quantities would have resulted in a universe inhospitable for any life at all. The fact that we are observing it doesn't alleviate the need to explain why it is this particular value over any other particular value.

    Imagine this analogy (that I stole from William Lane Craig). You are in front of a firing squad with a hundred marksmen. They all fire. You realize they haven't hit you and wonder why. Now you can only pose that question if they all missed, but that doesn't remove the question of why they actually missed does it? It doesn't remove the need to explain why they didn't hit you.
    Unfortunately, this is not my argument. Dawkins may have reworded the theist argument, but the theist argument is not the "traditional" one.

    The Anthropic Principle was originally forwarded (as the modern, formal cosmological argument) in 1973 by theoretical astrophysicist Brandon Carter. He originally coined two variants, the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP) and the Strong Anthropic Principle (SWP) to explain the inevitable selection bias of the act of observing that the Copernican Principle did not pay any attention to. The Copernican Principle states that the Earth is not in a central, specially favored position in the Universe; both the WAP and the SWP state that the Earth may be in a privileged position only insofar as the fact that observers exist. Neither variant makes the claim that the universe exists in such a way in order to allow the existence of observers (intelligent life), but that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must necessarily exist in just such a way, evidenced by the fact that we exist. The SAP contains the deductive claim and applies it to the fundamental constants of the universe (we think, therefore we are, therefore must be the universe) and is a truism, while the WAP merely advocates that we are privileged only insofar as our position in space-time allows us to exist (it is, therefore we may be).

    In 1986, a theoretical mathematician named John Barrow and a mathematical physicist named Frank Tipler wrote a book called The Anthropic Cosmological Principle which shoehorns Carter's principle into a creationist manifesto. Barrow is the author of the "Groucho Marx Paradox" (A universe simple enough to be understood is too simple to produce a mind capable of understanding it) and a number of books relating to intelligent design and teleology. Tipler, on the other hand, was a fellow of the ISCID and has published various works on the mechanism for resurrecting the dead (pseudoscience and junk science) . Their version of the WAP assumes the fundamental constants are restricted in order to allow carbon-based life (life as we know it; in a general sort of way, us), while their version of the SAP claims that intelligent life is the inherent goal of the universe, and as such, this must be evidence of an Intelligent Designer (God).

    When I lay the accusation out that something is exhibiting extreme conformation bias by invoking the Anthropic Principle, I am referring to Barrow and Tipler's Strong Anthropic Principle. This is a perversion of an earlier body of work, and is by no means the evidence of ID that people seem to want to abuse it as. Yet, this is what people think when you bring up the topic - the "Finely Tuned Universe" argument. In order for this to be the case, we must accept that the universe has a goal to generate observers (and that this goal was imparted by a designer), the universe could not exist without observers, and that our universe can not exist without the existence of the multiverse. Now, Carter's SAP also contiditions the existence of the multiverse, but this is where the similarities end. One has to assume a designer exists for Barrow and Tipler's version, meaning one must believe in a designer in order to accept Barrow and Tipler's argument that a designer is required. In short, their support for the need of a designer rests on the tautology that a designer must exist.

    If that sounds circular to you, that's because it is.

    If you are going to posit a complete model of the universe, you need to explain why they did come out XXYXYYX as opposed to XXXXXXX or even no chips falling out at all. Or are you saying that the particular constants are simply chance? That would seem to be a more remote option than a designer and therefore less satisfactory.
    First of all, no, I do not have to explain the specific outcome. All I have to do is recognize the specific outcome. Given a large series of random selections and a few billion years, this universe in which you and I live, up to and including both you and I, just so happens to exist in this way. All of the matter is arranged just so at this given moment, and that is simply a fact. Now, in all of those billions of years, some pieces of matter are where they are because you or I may have put them there. Some atoms have been split because human atomic scientists split them, some boxes are stacked in a warehouse because that's where some humans put them, and some cheese may be missing from the pantry because some mice have eaten it. These types of actions all had agents responsible for them, so they don't really fall under the realm of "chance". But some atoms were fused in the cores of stars, and some boxes have fallen over in a warehouse, and some milk may have curdled after being left out on accident. THESE actions had no agents in the sense that an intelligent life form decided to act and the resulting actions reflect the agents' wishes. The explanation for the second set of "actions" were the results of the nature of the physical universe, and as such ALSO are not the result of "chance". However, "chance" is involved in some of the ways the physical universe acts on matter; meiosis, for example, creates genetically unique haploid cells at random. But I allow for the possibility that perhaps the mechanism of genetic recombination may be explained one day... with a greater understanding of physical laws. Even so, when we break it all down, there does not need to be an agent consciously acting to bring about change.

    The physical constants may be the result of chance, but I really don't think they are. I do, however, find the concept of an intelligent designer a much more remote and less satisfactory option simply because one must apply "agenticity" to the actions of a designer (who ostensibly uses physics to design), whereas "physics" itself is a simpler answer. Allowing for a persistent, omnipresent deity is quite a bit more of a logical stretch than a set of persistent, omnipresent forces that do not think. Why must there be a reason? And if there must be a reason, why is the existence of a designer excluded from this requirement (why doesn't God have to have a reason to exist)?

    There does not need to be a reason for us to exist, either, nor a reason for a specific combination of lettered tiles drawn out of a bag. We have a factual statement that yes, we do indeed exist, but there is nothing in all the universe (I almost said "in all creation", haha) that suggests life is the designated purpose of the universe, or that life is the expected and planned outcome of the universe, or that life is the reason for the universe (or that "XXYXXYX" was the goal). If we postulate that life is indeed the reason or "goal," then we could make up all sorts of cockamamie theories as to why that may be... but no reason exists in the first place. We just happen to be. That's it. The "why" is answered by "the laws of the universe", which is also consequently the "how" as well. "Why" we exist is because the laws of the universe allow it (i.e., we are not impossible); "how" we exist is because the laws of the universe made possible the changes that took place and eventually led to you and I. (This is answered more clearly in the response to the lottery below)

    Wait, I'm not sure I understand your support for this statement. What about a state having been possible means that it would have been realized as a universe? Are you saying that this is the only possible universe because it was realized? Are you saying then that the the winner of the lottery was the only possible winner before they drew the numbers? Because something did happen does not remove the necessity to explain why it happened.

    Because two amino acids combined into a protein in fact does not remove the necessity to explain why and how they did so.
    If you ask, "what were the odds that lottery winner Sheila actually won the lottery last week," the only true answer is, "100%." Because Sheila did win the lottery ("actually won", simple past tense, is different than asking "what kind of odds was she facing", past perfect continuous tense , keep in mind). We are describing an event that already happened, and therefore there are no odds... P=1. However, if you ask, "What are the odds that Sheila will win the lottery next week, now probability comes into play, and the odds are against Sheila winning. And not just because she already won last week; these events are independent so each have the same likelihood if they are both future events. The odds of her winning two specific weeks in a row, however, are even lower than just predicting a single win in a given number of trials. This doesn't mean that Sheila will not win the lottery, nor that she could not possibly have won in the past (due to the overwhelming odds against her). It can also not be impossible for her to have won last week, because she did win; the only possibility for last week's lotto drawing was Sheila, and it would be impossible for her to have not won. Ladyphoenix could explain this much better than I.

    Likewise, if we ask the question, "what were the odds that Squatch was actually born (insert your age in years) ago," the only true answer is "100%". Because you were born (this many) years ago. We are describing an event that already happened, therefore there are no odds... P=1. However, if you ask, "What are the odds that a baby will be born in (pick a number) years with the exact genetic makeup that Squatch has?" Well now. Probability comes into play, and the odds are very much against the proposition. This doesn't mean that Squatch can't possibly exist (because the odds of his exact genetic makeup are so slim); it merely means that Squatch is special and unique, like a snowflake.

    Now, "why" did Sheila win the lottery? Because someone pulled her numbers... not because an intelligent designer decided Shelia deserved the money. And "why" does Squatch have his exact genetic makeup? Because meiosis recombined his parents DNA into haploid gametes with unique genetic coding... not because an intelligent designer pulled specific genes and made sure they were like no one else's. (I still think you're special, though)

    This is why the "Rolex in a Jar" and the "Tornado Assembling a 747" arguments fail. If you put a bunch of watch parts in a jar and shake them up for a billion years, and you get a seemingly random arrangement, and then name that arrangement "Wibberjoo", the odds are very unlikely that another billion years of shaking will yield another Wibberjoo that resembles the first Wibberjoo with any kind of accuracy... but this does not mean that the first Wibberjoo was impossible. It just means that the first Wibberjoo was an unlikely probability that ended up realized. It also doesn't mean that the specific physical constants of the universe were created specifically so that a Wibberjoo could come about; it just means that a Wibberjoo was only possible under the constraints of the physical universe. Under different constraints, the Wibberjoo most likely would not have even been possible.

    The question isn't whether or not your jeans are blue, its why are they blue. Why are things arranged in such a way as to lead to them being blue? Asking that question does not presuppose that blue was the goal, solely that it requires an explanation of its state. I can be completely neutral or even hostile to blue as a goal, but that wouldn't remove the fact that we need to explain the process that led to blue's arising as the state of fact.
    I wasn't that clear here. I am rusty, so bear with me.

    I was trying to say that my jeans are blue, because they are not black, nor brown, nor red, nor green, nor grey. They are no other color than blue. Now, a person dyed them blue, this is true, but we know that blue jeans are a man-made construct. They obviously need an agent to act on them in order to be blue (or to exist in the first place, for that matter). But there is no human being in charge of what wavelengths in the visible spectrum are interpreted by the human eye as "blue", nor why a light wave is able to repeat a sinusoidal wave every 460nm, nor why light even travels in waves, I'm sure you will agree. In fact, there is no agent responsible for "why" blue is, you know, blue, nor is there a need for such an agent. Light acts in accordance with the laws of the physical universe.

    So, why do you have Squatch's DNA, and not someone else's?
    Last edited by Dr Gonzo; April 17th, 2013 at 12:59 AM.
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  12. #49
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    Unfortunately, this is not my argument. Dawkins may have reworded the theist argument, but the theist argument is not the "traditional" one.
    But none of those arguments are the ones being forwarded here, either by the OP or by me.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Neither variant makes the claim that the universe exists in such a way in order to allow the existence of observers (intelligent life), but that intelligent life exists and therefore the universe must necessarily exist in just such a way, evidenced by the fact that we exist.
    That is only a deduction that the values are X based on the evidence that we exist. It does not explain why they are X as opposed to Y. This principle doesn't mandate the the universe must have taken that form, only that we must recognize that it did given the evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Yet, this is what people think when you bring up the topic - the "Finely Tuned Universe" argument.
    Perhaps, perhaps not, I think you are underestimating Theists here. Given that I laid out the fine tuning argument, is there a premise or structural problem you have with it specifically?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    First of all, no, I do not have to explain the specific outcome. All I have to do is recognize the specific outcome. Given a large series of random selections and a few billion years, this universe in which you and I live, up to and including both you and I, just so happens to exist in this way.
    There are a couple of problems with this argument. The first is that there were no selections or time period during which the physical constants of the universe were decided or created. They were a one shot deal. The reason they are what they are as opposed to any other particular set of values (life creation aside) is something that bears explanation because:

    Second, then we don't need evolution. There is no specific reason to ask why a sparrow is a sparrow, given the time and random selections then we will have a sparrow. The fact that we need to be able to explain the process that gave rise to a sparrow as opposed to a gretchen or any non-existent creature applies to the universe as well. What is the process that gave rise to the physical constants present in the universe at its beginning?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    THESE actions had no agents in the sense that an intelligent life form decided to act and the resulting actions reflect the agents' wishes. The explanation for the second set of "actions" were the results of the nature of the physical universe, and as such ALSO are not the result of "chance".
    First let me say that the argument isn't that change requires a sentient agent, no one has made that argument here. The argument is that there is a process that led to the division of the cell or the box falling that is explainable. It didn't just happen. The fact that the box fell is an insufficient explanation, we must be able to say that it fell because it was broken or place to closely to the edge, etc. We must be able to explain why the box fell as opposed to not fell right? The same argument applies to the constants of the universe. There is some mechanism that decides what they were (necessity, chance or design), the question being posed here is which mechanism led to their existence?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    The physical constants may be the result of chance, but I really don't think they are. I do, however, find the concept of an intelligent designer a much more remote and less satisfactory option simply because one must apply "agenticity" to the actions of a designer (who ostensibly uses physics to design), whereas "physics" itself is a simpler answer.
    Physics is an insufficient answer, unless by physics you mean they are necessarily what they are, is that the argument you are making?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    Why must there be a reason? And if there must be a reason, why is the existence of a designer excluded from this requirement (why doesn't God have to have a reason to exist)?
    Because if something did not require a reason to exist it would have always existed. IE, if the effect is self sufficient it needs no cause for it to be and therefore exists in all states. God is not excluded from this requirement at all, He is a necessary being (one of the three categories labelled above).

    Quote Originally Posted by MrG
    If you ask, "what were the odds that lottery winner Sheila actually won the lottery last week," the only true answer is, "100%." Because Sheila did win the lottery ("actually won", simple past tense, is different than asking "what kind of odds was she facing", past perfect continuous tense , keep in mind).
    Yes, what are the odds right now that she won the lottery last week. P=1. We agree. But that isn't the question being asked. It is what were the odds last Tuesday of Shiela winning the lottery on Wednesday?

    We are asking what are the chances that the universe would have the specific constants it did when it began, not what are the odds right now that it has those constants.

    This argument seems to be a bit sophist. Because we use the tense does not mean we cannot place ourselves in the shoes of the situation pre-decision. That seems to be your idea, that because something has happened, it is impossible to consider what the probability was of the event occurring when it actually occurred.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Now, "why" did Sheila win the lottery? Because someone pulled her numbers... not because an intelligent designer decided Shelia deserved the money.
    Yes, there is a mechanism that explains why Shiela won as opposed to anyone else. In this case it is the lottery drawing, which is more or less chance. So chance is the explanation for her win right?

    But we agree (you did earlier anyway) that chance is an insufficient explanation as to the specific constants we see in this universe. So we are left with two other possible mechanisms, Design and Necessity.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Now, a person dyed them blue, this is true, but we know that blue jeans are a man-made construct. They obviously need an agent to act on them in order to be blue (or to exist in the first place, for that matter). But there is no human being in charge of what wavelengths in the visible spectrum are interpreted by the human eye as "blue"
    So they are blue (as opposed to black, or whatever) because a designer, a person, decided to die them blue right? Its irrelevant that we label a specific wavelength blue (as opposed to "fhghgfr" or "73737"), what is relevant is that the specific color that they are has a mechanism that determines why it is what it is as opposed to any other particular color.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    But none of those arguments are the ones being forwarded here, either by the OP or by me.
    In relation to the OP, the corrupted SAP variation is the one being invoked here. The OP forwards that there is precision in existence, and as such, this precision requires a designer. This IS the nut of Barrow and Tipler's Strong Anthropic Principle. My argument specifically pins this as the faulty reasoning in play.

    That is only a deduction that the values are X based on the evidence that we exist. It does not explain why they are X as opposed to Y. This principle doesn't mandate the the universe must have taken that form, only that we must recognize that it did given the evidence.
    It does not have to explain "why" Xs are not Ys. The deduction is that the universe obviously exists in such a way as to allow observers. It does NOT make the claim that the universe must exist in this way because observers must exist. This is why the B&TSAP represents a corruption and faulty reasoning - because it assumes agenticity is a must, and then uses this need for agenticity to qualify the claim that some agent must have been responsible. It has injected all of this "need for the why" into a problem that really does not need a "why". A "how," sure, but not a "why". I get more in depth on this later.

    Perhaps, perhaps not, I think you are underestimating Theists here. Given that I laid out the fine tuning argument, is there a premise or structural problem you have with it specifically?
    I have several issues with this theistic fine tuning argument as it is laid out. Namely, P1 is unsupported and does not include every single possibility to be eliminated. P2 makes a bold and unsupported claim that physical necessity can't be the reason, even though we don't know that much about fundamental physics because we can't manipulate the laws of gravity to test them, for example. If one of the other constants suddenly changed, would the others change in response? Are the constants even able to change (is it a possibility or an impossibility), or does the existence of the others perpetually hold the entire lot in perfect balance? Physical necessity also implies a need, which implies a designer, which cannot be summarily thrown out if the "Design" is accepted. Chance is also summarily dismissed, even though the way "chance" is used here is completely irrelevant, seeing as how whatever happened did, in fact, happen... odds are meaningless when "explaining" past occurrences. The exact genetic makeup in your genes, for example, is an incredibly unlikely longshot to have happened... yet, it happened and here you are, just like you and no one else. Odds are not deterministic, but merely label a certain outcome's position in the herd of other possible outcomes. To say it is "unlikely" that we happened by chance is technically accurate, but seeing as how we did acutally happen, "we" are not impossible and that means we were possible, which means we can't summarily dismiss chance, no matter how overwhelming the odds seem to be. Winning the lottery is a low-probability event, yet it does get won. In order to begin to explain the different possible combinations of human DNA, using estimates on the conservative end of the spectrum, you need a number with over 12,000 zeros after it... yet, your exact DNA "happened", despite the overwhelming odds against that combination out of all possible combinations. The odds that an exact match of your DNA will be born into this world again is minuscule, yet that very thing did happen once in the past. The "chance" argument is used and summarily dismissed without taking the fact of the past into account. "Oh, the odds are so against life happening by chance that it more than likely didn't go down that way"... yeah, but the specific combination of your DNA is that rare, and it did happen!

    There are a couple of problems with this argument. The first is that there were no selections or time period during which the physical constants of the universe were decided or created. They were a one shot deal. The reason they are what they are as opposed to any other particular set of values (life creation aside) is something that bears explanation because:
    Hold on right there. I know that colon relates this point to the point below, but there is one major contention I have with reasoning in play here. The exact values for the fundamental constants do indeed deserve explanation... but that is no reason to assign an agent responsible. They exist, this we know, but how they exist is a large unknown, and why they exist only matters to that part of our brains that seek agenticity. Sometimes deer run into the road and wreck cars and kill babies in the back seat. Even though you may scream, "WHY GOD, WHY?????", this doesn't mean the deer intended to kill your family, nor that some cosmic power wanted you to learn a life lesson about loss and appreciation. This just means that sometimes things happen, and there is no agent responsible (unless you anthropomorphize dumb luck). All I am saying is that perhaps the constants operate under this paradigm.

    Second, then we don't need evolution. There is no specific reason to ask why a sparrow is a sparrow, given the time and random selections then we will have a sparrow. The fact that we need to be able to explain the process that gave rise to a sparrow as opposed to a gretchen or any non-existent creature applies to the universe as well. What is the process that gave rise to the physical constants present in the universe at its beginning?
    There are many reasons to ask why a sparrow is a sparrow and not a gretchen. Human curiosity for one. But you are confusing a "why" here for what is actually a "how." "Why" implies that a decision was made and that we would like to know the reasons for that decision; "How" implies that a mechanism operated, and we want to know how that mechanism does what it does. "Why" a sparrow is a sparrow is because certain traits survived through countless genetic recombinations in a chain lasting over 4 billion years. "Why" are you white/European as opposed to black/African? Because your parents decided you would be white? Or because your parents' gonads operated under a certain set of conditions and worked with what they had available?

    First let me say that the argument isn't that change requires a sentient agent, no one has made that argument here. The argument is that there is a process that led to the division of the cell or the box falling that is explainable. It didn't just happen. The fact that the box fell is an insufficient explanation, we must be able to say that it fell because it was broken or place to closely to the edge, etc. We must be able to explain why the box fell as opposed to not fell right? The same argument applies to the constants of the universe. There is some mechanism that decides what they were (necessity, chance or design), the question being posed here is which mechanism led to their existence?

    .....

    Physics is an insufficient answer, unless by physics you mean they are necessarily what they are, is that the argument you are making?

    .....

    Because if something did not require a reason to exist it would have always existed. IE, if the effect is self sufficient it needs no cause for it to be and therefore exists in all states. God is not excluded from this requirement at all, He is a necessary being (one of the three categories labelled above).
    The argument in play is absolutely that change - fundamental change - requires an agent. A box falls because of gravity (physics), not because a Designer decided the box should be on the floor. The human agent who placed the box may not have wanted it to fall, yet it fell anyway. All on its own? Because someone or something wanted it to move? No! Because gravity acted upon it, without thought or reason. Seriously, when Newton was performing his early experiments, do you think he postulated that the apple fell simply because he let go of it? Do you think the act of "hand, open" is the cause of bodies of mass to be attracted to one another?

    When we extrapolate this question to the fundamental constants themselves, we don't have an answer. Science has not advanced to the point to be able to explain it yet. Then again, the explanation may be that the laws themselves are persistent and eternal. If you believe in God, you at least acknowledge that this principle - persistence and eternalness - is possible, because these are attributes you assign to God. If we are going to go with reasoning of the gaps like this, it is far less complicated to assume the universe itself contains these properties, because agenticity is not needed for the explanation. Indeed, there are far more leaps required to believe in such agenticity, and the only support for this agenticity resides in ancient folklore. But science is not halting its inquiry into the "how". Religion already has; the foregone conclusion in the theist mindset is "God did it" based on the principle of irreducible complexity. God, in this case, is the source, the prime mover, the uncaused cause. But if you don't apply any agenticity (or anthropomorphization) to such a concept, what are you left with?

    Yes, what are the odds right now that she won the lottery last week. P=1. We agree. But that isn't the question being asked. It is what were the odds last Tuesday of Shiela winning the lottery on Wednesday?

    .....

    We are asking what are the chances that the universe would have the specific constants it did when it began, not what are the odds right now that it has those constants.
    And these are irrelevant questions. The conservative estimate of the odds that your DNA is arranged in its particular way is somewhere on the order of 1.6 x 10^12,000. We don't even have a name for that number, it is so large. Yet, your DNA exists, arranged in its particular way. The odds are irrelevant when the outcome actually happened. This is a fallacious argument through and through that the odds of life happening are so astronomical that it couldn't possibly have happened without an agent, or that the fundamental constants couldn't possibly allow life unless some agent placed constraints on them to do so. This is the "Rolex in a Jar" and "Tornado Assembles a 747" argument, and happens to be a staple of the Intelligent Designer argument. It also happens to be easily refuted with the "Odds that you got your DNA" argument.

    This argument seems to be a bit sophist. Because we use the tense does not mean we cannot place ourselves in the shoes of the situation pre-decision. That seems to be your idea, that because something has happened, it is impossible to consider what the probability was of the event occurring when it actually occurred.
    It is absolutely possible to consider what the probability was before the event occurred. It just doesn't matter (and cannot form the basis of an argument from improbability) when the event actually did occur. That's like saying "I bet Sheila didn't really win the lottery last week, because the odds were against it. Someone must have chosen her specifically." If that sounds strangely like an unfounded conspiracy theory to you, that's because it is. Our brains are wired to seek reasons and agents responsible for events that we do not control. This is why (HOW) people can think that easily explainable phenomena like contrails are actually a secretive government plot to affect the weather and ultimately control our minds. This is why (HOW) people can think that 9/11 was a carefully orchestrated inside job, even though those same people couldn't smuggle WMD into Iraq to make their case legitimate there. Angenticity. There is always some shadow government, secret society, or deity pulling the strings behind the curtain, and we are all helpless to do anything about it, and that's why I have thousands in student loan debt while others have private jets at my age. With a slim amount of facts and several leading questions, people can watch a documentary that "really made them think," and then believe all sorts of nonesense about the world.

    Yes, there is a mechanism that explains why Shiela won as opposed to anyone else. In this case it is the lottery drawing, which is more or less chance. So chance is the explanation for her win right?

    But we agree (you did earlier anyway) that chance is an insufficient explanation as to the specific constants we see in this universe. So we are left with two other possible mechanisms, Design and Necessity.
    I said that I don't personally believe that the fundamental constants are the result of chance alone, but that is an unqualified belief for me at this point. I could have an informal discussion about it, but I have no real evidence to hang my hat on. That being said, I also did not rule out chance as a possibility. I also do not accept the premise that there are only three possibilities. I don't even agree that Necessity can be considered a premise, seeing as how Necessity necessitates a need, namely us, and "us" requires a designer to create the need for. It's a backdoor way of packing the jury.

    So they are blue (as opposed to black, or whatever) because a designer, a person, decided to die them blue right? Its irrelevant that we label a specific wavelength blue (as opposed to "fhghgfr" or "73737"), what is relevant is that the specific color that they are has a mechanism that determines why it is what it is as opposed to any other particular color.
    All I've said in this thread is that the mechanism is important. What I am arguing against is a need for that mechanism to have specific purpose imparted by a designer. I don't know why light travels in waves; maybe there is an as-yet unknown particle that interacts with gravity of which we are unaware; perhaps there is another force of physics that we do not yet know about; perhaps light travels in waves because it always has. I simply don't know. But it does not need a reason to travel in waves, anymore than I needed a reason to wake up this morning, or to chose bacon over ham for breakfast.
    The Signature Religion is the one true religion. I know this is true, because it says so right here in this signature.

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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    In relation to the OP, the corrupted SAP variation is the one being invoked here. The OP forwards that there is precision in existence, and as such, this precision requires a designer. This IS the nut of Barrow and Tipler's Strong Anthropic Principle. My argument specifically pins this as the faulty reasoning in play.
    Fair enough for the OP. What about my position however?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    I have several issues with this theistic fine tuning argument as it is laid out. Namely, P1 is unsupported and does not include every single possibility to be eliminated.
    Such as?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    P2 makes a bold and unsupported claim that physical necessity can't be the reason, even though we don't know that much about fundamental physics because we can't manipulate the laws of gravity to test them, for example.
    Not at all, necessity cannot be the case because we can certainly imagine a universe with different physical quantities. Virtually no physicist or Atheist philosophers holds that they are true (I recognize the appeal to popularity here). But indeed, I don't think you really hold this view from what you've said earlier. Because in essence to reject this premise in favor of necessity is to maintain that the universe must be life permitting.

    We know that the laws of physics cannot be the determinative factor since those exist within our universe and therefore cannot be the causal agent during its beginning. It really only moves the question back a bit if we went with them as well. Why were the laws of physics the laws that they are? The current laws of physics offer no predictive power here, M theory predicts a large number of possible universes given our physical laws for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Chance is also summarily dismissed, even though the way "chance" is used here is completely irrelevant, seeing as how whatever happened did, in fact, happen... odds are meaningless when "explaining" past occurrences.
    I think we dismiss this fallacy a bit later, but I would also take issue that it is summarily dismissed. It is dismissed because it is incredibly implausible that it would have arisen solely on chance, such an appeal is far, far less likely than an appeal to a designer.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    The exact values for the fundamental constants do indeed deserve explanation... but that is no reason to assign an agent responsible.
    No, it is a reason to assign a causal factor. We have to explain the mechanism that gave rise to the fundamental constants. The mechanism can be of one category, design, chance or necessity. We are exploring which of those it is above.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    There are many reasons to ask why a sparrow is a sparrow and not a gretchen.
    I think that is a bit of sophistry, why or how, you agree that we need to assign a mechanism to the determination of constants right?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    The argument in play is absolutely that change - fundamental change - requires an agent.
    That is the OP's argument perhaps, but not mine. Please don't tie me to another debater's position.

    We agree that there is a necessity to explain the mechanism that resulted in the box being on the floor. We have three options, design, chance, necessity.

    I would argue that it is necessity. The law of physics in question (gravity) does not operate by chance so that is an unacceptable mechanism. If I accept your premise that the person who placed the box there didn't want it to fall and no one pushed it I can reject design. Therefore necessity would be the explanation, which makes sense. Given the placement of the box where it was, there is no possible set of states with those facts where the box does not fall.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    When we extrapolate this question to the fundamental constants themselves, we don't have an answer. Science has not advanced to the point to be able to explain it yet. Then again, the explanation may be that the laws themselves are persistent and eternal.
    If that were to be true, then we would have an eternal universe. Since we do not, that is not a possible explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    And these are irrelevant questions.
    So you are maintaining that because an action did happen there was never a chance of it not happening? IE at no time in the past was there ever a chance I would not be born because at this time I have been born?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    It is absolutely possible to consider what the probability was before the event occurred.
    This is a strawman. I didn't make the argument that because Shiela was picked, there must be someone wanting her to pick. The analogy is also inaccurate. Rather we have a situation where Shiela buys a ticket and I buy about a trillion tickets. Shiela then wins the lottery. We have to explain how that happened. It either happened by design, by chance or by necessity. We cannot just say "well Sheila won, so therefore she had to win." We have to seek out an explanation and eliminate the three possibilities. If we are given no other possible information here, what would say is the most likely explanation of her 1 in a trillion win?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    I don't even agree that Necessity can be considered a premise, seeing as how Necessity necessitates a need, namely us, and "us" requires a designer to create the need for. It's a backdoor way of packing the jury.
    That comes from a lack of understanding of the philosophic term "necessity." It doesn't imply a designer as such.
    necessity, in logic and metaphysics, a modal property of a true proposition whereby it is not possible for the proposition to be false and of a false proposition whereby it is not possible for the proposition to be true. A proposition is logically necessary if it instantiates a law of logic or can be made to instantiate a law of logic through substitution of definitionally equivalent terms. Examples are “It is raining now or it is not raining now” and “All women are human beings” (assuming “women” can be replaced with “female human beings”). Necessary propositions are sometimes said to be true or false (as the case may be) in all possible worlds. A contingently true or false proposition is thus one that is true in some possible worlds and false in others (e.g., “France is a democracy”). According to a traditional view, all true necessary propositions are analytic (tautologous) and knowable a priori (knowable independently of experience). Some philosophers recognize a second category of “metaphysically” necessary propositions that are not analytic and generally not a priori; examples include identity statements such as “Water is H2O.”
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/...7654/necessity

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    But it does not need a reason to travel in waves, anymore than I needed a reason to wake up this morning.
    But it does travel in waves because of necessity right? It follows the laws of physics which dictate its form of travel. It doesn't travel because an agent wishes it to nor does it do it by chance.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    So you are maintaining that because an action did happen there was never a chance of it not happening? IE at no time in the past was there ever a chance I would not be born because at this time I have been born?
    This is the point were misunderstanding lies. While it is true that past successes (completed events) have a probability of 1, this isn't the germane point here. The germane point is: while there are great odds against you being born, and against your specific combination of DNA out of all the combinations, YOU still happened, and YOU still got your DNA. These events happened in the face of astronomical odds. When viewed probabilistically, YOU are a near impossibility. The chances of your DNA being selected at random from all of the combinations possible is one-in-a-kagillion, yet here you are. This is the one point you have ignored several times now, and it pretty much cinches my argument up. Astronomical odds are achieved every day. The argument that the universe or life itself could not have happened by chance because the odds are so against it is a faulty argument.

    Now, don't be confused about the meaning of "chance" here. There are forces at work, and I am sure there are more forces or mechanics out there that we have yet to explain. I find it the height of hubris to proclaim that we know everything there is to know about the physical universe, and since there is no mechanic or repeatable experiment at this point to explain the rise of life or the ordering of the cosmos, that must mean one shall never exist; a designer must be the only answer. The odds against any event happening are irrelevant when that even has already happened. It is a god-of-the-gaps type reasoning at the heart of the "Chance" argument. "Chance" still bows to the natural laws of the universe. Your DNA may compile by chance, but it follows a strict set of parameters while it does it. Now, how those parameters were organized/organized themselves, I don't know. And neither do you.

    If you want to argue with the facts we know about the mechanics of biochemistry and genetics, and make a leap that such nearly impossible odds must mean that God personally hand-selected your DNA as a determinist, then we are done speaking here. However, if you allow that the process of meiosis mixes up the parents genes into a unique genetic code for their offspring, then you must concede that "impossible odds" are really quite possible. As such, the premise that states "...it could not be chance" is defunct, which invalidates the framework you laid out earlier.

    P1: X, Y, or Z
    P2: Not X, and not Y.......................................(X has not been ruled out, premise invalid)
    C1: Therefore, Z.............................................(Err oneous conclusion)
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    This is the point were misunderstanding lies. While it is true that past successes (completed events) have a probability of 1,
    Technically they have a probability of one at all temporal points after the completed event has occurred.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    The germane point is: while there are great odds against you being born, and against your specific combination of DNA out of all the combinations, YOU still happened, and YOU still got your DNA. These events happened in the face of astronomical odds. When viewed probabilistically, YOU are a near impossibility.
    Even if we stick with the DNA analogy for a moment, the same argument applies. My specific DNA is the result of a mechanism that is either Design, Chance or Necessity, right? So which mechanism is it? You seem to be arguing chance, and saying "if we can accept that, we should accept the chance that the universe arose by chance." Except that isn't what we would be forced to do, that isn't the fine tuning argument. I'm not arguing that since we got this universe as opposed to, say, universe 88676 we should remove chance, I'm saying that off the two categories of universes we could either have been one that fell into the life permitting or one that fell into the life prohibiting category. Again, the question isn't which (equally probable) universe was chosen, it is why a particular category of universe happened.

    The chances of the former are so infinitesimally remote that it makes the a randomly created solar system seem probable by comparison (Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005) 762-5). So we are certainly still free to pick chance as an option, but we are bordering on irrationality to do so.

    Now, to be clear, the DNA analogy fails because a) we aren't talking about this particular universe out of any other, b) there isn't a proposed mechanism that mandates the category of universes being used (ie I might have gotten slightly different DNA, I wouldn't have been born a cat) and c) we are only talking about one draw from the barrel, not a continuously generating, self selecting vehicle like evolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    There are forces at work,
    Which forces are at work here? Please be specific.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    I am sure there are more forces or mechanics out there that we have yet to explain.
    This is an "Atheism of the Gaps" argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    However, if you allow that the process of meiosis mixes up the parents genes into a unique genetic code for their offspring, then you must concede that "impossible odds" are really quite possible.
    You realize that I am talking about the beginning of the universe right? Not the evolutionary process?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Even if we stick with the DNA analogy for a moment, the same argument applies. My specific DNA is the result of a mechanism that is either Design, Chance or Necessity, right? So which mechanism is it? You seem to be arguing chance, and saying "if we can accept that, we should accept the chance that the universe arose by chance." Except that isn't what we would be forced to do, that isn't the fine tuning argument. I'm not arguing that since we got this universe as opposed to, say, universe 88676 we should remove chance, I'm saying that off the two categories of universes we could either have been one that fell into the life permitting or one that fell into the life prohibiting category. Again, the question isn't which (equally probable) universe was chosen, it is why a particular category of universe happened.

    The chances of the former are so infinitesimally remote that it makes the a randomly created solar system seem probable by comparison (Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005) 762-5). So we are certainly still free to pick chance as an option, but we are bordering on irrationality to do so.

    Now, to be clear, the DNA analogy fails because a) we aren't talking about this particular universe out of any other, b) there isn't a proposed mechanism that mandates the category of universes being used (ie I might have gotten slightly different DNA, I wouldn't have been born a cat) and c) we are only talking about one draw from the barrel, not a continuously generating, self selecting vehicle like evolution.
    This is absolutely the fine tuning argument. The chances of your specific DNA being selected out of all the possible combinations is infinitesimally remote, yet your DNA exists. Likewise, even if the possibility of a life-permitting universe is infinitesimally remote in a chance model, we have already proven that infinitesimally long odds are no barrier to the existence of unique outcomes. Chance may not be dismissed on the basis of long odds, but that is the only argument in favor of their dismissal. This is where the Anthropic Principle (the S&T SAP, the faulty one) comes into play, because "why" we have this universe in unimportant and totally irrelevant to the question you are asking. "How" is the actual question under scrutiny. Even if you accept that a Designer must have caused the universe, the question of "how" the designer did it is still laying there in the open. "Snap of the fingers" does not explain the early universe, nor the forces in play, rendering this answer useless. It's the human instinct to assign agenticity to events that even makes a Designer plausible in the first place. Remove "why," and remove the need for an agent. But allow for an agent, and the "why" still doesn't even get answered unless you invent a religion to explain the Designer's motives!.

    Which forces are at work here? Please be specific.

    This is an "Atheism of the Gaps" argument.
    I concede that you are technically correct here. It is a gaps-type reasoning. However, the difference between religious gaps and scientific gaps are their positions in the causal chain. For religion, the gap, "God", is the answer to the question and the end of the chain. "God did it." Case closed. Got our answer. For scientific gaps, such as dark matter and dark energy, these are placeholders. The question is still on the table, and these placeholders are not answers with any sort of finality attached. The process continues, and will become more refined over time. This is the beginning of the chain.

    You realize that I am talking about the beginning of the universe right? Not the evolutionary process?
    They are both results of physical forces upon matter. They both reflect the advent and role of the physical constants. Just as the rules of chemistry are dependent on a system's environment (heat, pressure, energy, etc), so might the fundamental constants act differently in a different universal environment (including time, relative position, entropy, etc). As it pertains to the argument at hand, we routinely observe astronomical chance play out on a daily basis. Astronomical chance in chemistry, as relates to the biochemistry of cells and DNA, is a perfect analogy to the chance involved at the universal scale. After all, we are talking about forces here. They are the same forces operating in both systems. There is literally no difference at the super-macro level.
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo
    For religion, the gap, "God", is the answer to the question and the end of the chain. "God did it." Case closed. Got our answer.
    It does not follow that simply because we know who did it, that we would not also seek to understand why He did it. To think otherwise would be to ignore the historical underpinnings of scientific inquiry, which gained traction not in spite of but because of support and encouragement from the religious establishment.

    The problem with "scientific gaps" as you describe it is not that these placeholders are at the beginning of the chain, but rather that the argumentation itself asserts--a priori--materialism to be true. That is, the only possible answers to things we do not fully understand will come from observation and investigation of the material world, and be the result of materialistic forces. This is a pretty bold assertion, especially if you are a physicist or are familiar with quantum mechanics/theory.

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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    This is absolutely the fine tuning argument. The chances of your specific DNA being selected out of all the possible combinations is infinitesimally remote, yet your DNA exists.
    I think you are mistaking a separate ID argument for the fine tuning argument.

    I presented the fine tuning argument above, it is:

    P1: the fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
    P2: It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
    C: Therefore the fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

    We are specifically referring to the physical constants and quantities present at the beginning of the universe, not the laws within that universe.

    You are free to debate the ID argument, but that isn't the Fine Tuning argument that most theists put forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Likewise, even if the possibility of a life-permitting universe is infinitesimally remote in a chance model, we have already proven that infinitesimally long odds are no barrier to the existence of unique outcomes.
    I agree. The fine tuning argument does not have a necessarily true conclusion, it has a reasonably certain conclusion. Holding that pure chance alone created the current universe borders on the irrational.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    I concede that you are technically correct here. It is a gaps-type reasoning. However, the difference between religious gaps and scientific gaps are their positions in the causal chain. For religion, the gap, "God", is the answer to the question and the end of the chain. "God did it." Case closed. Got our answer. For scientific gaps, such as dark matter and dark energy, these are placeholders. The question is still on the table, and these placeholders are not answers with any sort of finality attached. The process continues, and will become more refined over time. This is the beginning of the chain.
    This is a special pleading fallacy and just incorrect. The Theory of Everything, for example, isn't a placeholder in a sense any different from God, it is a theoretical model that would explain the connection between all observable phenomenon. Science would like to understand that connection in full. Just as theists would like to fully understand (or at least understand better) the idea of God. We don't simply wash our hands and go home for summer after this argument is made and the implication of such is more the result of a lack of understanding of theist philosophy.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    They are both results of physical forces upon matter.
    What physical forces were in play on matter at the beginning of the universe that give rise to the physical constants? Please be specific here.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    Just as the rules of chemistry are dependent on a system's environment (heat, pressure, energy, etc), so might the fundamental constants act differently in a different universal environment (including time, relative position, entropy, etc).
    Physical laws are dependent on the physical state they are applied in? That would seem to be a big revelation.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrG
    As it pertains to the argument at hand, we routinely observe astronomical chance play out on a daily basis. Astronomical chance in chemistry, as relates to the biochemistry of cells and DNA, is a perfect analogy to the chance involved at the universal scale. After all, we are talking about forces here. They are the same forces operating in both systems. There is literally no difference at the super-macro level.
    It isn't an accurate analogy however. There is a physical force that dictates the outcome when it comes to DNA. To the extent chance does exists, it does so over a small range of possibilities. Like I said, two lizards breeding have a range of outcomes within their offspring. But they aren't going to come out with a cat outside of some incredibly bizarre set of circumstances right? That is the kind of change this analogy would need.

    This argument seems to be as if I were to show you two iguanas and a kitten and say, wow, that was an incredible set of odds that led to that kind of genetic sequence. And you were to say, you're right, we can't rule out chance here in favor of fraud. Note: I'm not talking about evolution here, just using reproduction as an analogy.

    The range of my specific DNA is within a large set of likely outcomes for my conception known as "human," but there is a range of outcomes called "non-human." The process is such that the latter set is incredibly rare, so much so that it is virtually never witnessed (or hasn't been to my knowledge). If we were to encounter the latter set we shouldn't just say "wow, chance." We should seek an explanation as to why such a small set of outcomes was present. This becomes even more obvious if we only had one case, ever. One breeding pair, one offspring and it came out a cat. Certainly we wouldn't just say "well chance" and walk away would we?
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    It does not follow that simply because we know who did it, that we would not also seek to understand why He did it. To think otherwise would be to ignore the historical underpinnings of scientific inquiry, which gained traction not in spite of but because of support and encouragement from the religious establishment.

    The problem with "scientific gaps" as you describe it is not that these placeholders are at the beginning of the chain, but rather that the argumentation itself asserts--a priori--materialism to be true. That is, the only possible answers to things we do not fully understand will come from observation and investigation of the material world, and be the result of materialistic forces. This is a pretty bold assertion, especially if you are a physicist or are familiar with quantum mechanics/theory.
    The problem that Squatch and I are discussing at the moment concerns, at its root, the a priori assumptions that we need a reason and not just the knowledge of the mechanics involved, and that chance cannot be one of these mechanisms because the odds are far too long. We are discussing the nature of the fundamental forces of physics, the constants, and this lies entirely in the realm of the materialistic. Scientific inquiry is fairly worthless in this case if we are using it to discuss anything other than the material realm. Science only deals in falsifiable claims; the non-materialistic aspect to this discussion is defined wholly unfalsifiable through material observation. Science is quite literally worthless when the answer your are trying to get back to says "A non-observable designer must have done it".

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I think you are mistaking a separate ID argument for the fine tuning argument.

    I presented the fine tuning argument above, it is:

    P1: the fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
    P2: It is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
    C: Therefore the fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

    We are specifically referring to the physical constants and quantities present at the beginning of the universe, not the laws within that universe.

    You are free to debate the ID argument, but that isn't the Fine Tuning argument that most theists put forward.
    The premise in this argument is that fine tuning must be the result of something. The conclusion of this argument is that it is the result of Design.

    How is this not the ID argument?

    I also broke this argument in post #52 by showing your second premise to be untrue.

    I agree. The fine tuning argument does not have a necessarily true conclusion, it has a reasonably certain conclusion. Holding that pure chance alone created the current universe borders on the irrational.
    You obviously DO NOT agree if you remain planted in the idea that the long odds in play are bordering irrationality. I made the case several times that long odds (even "close to irrational" ones) come about every single day. The odds against an event happening are completely and wholly irrelevant when that event has already occurred. These long odds do not preclude the existence of the event, nor do they have the slightest influence on whether or not that event occurred. P2 from your argument stands untrue, because you have no sufficient reason to rule out chance. None.

    This is a special pleading fallacy and just incorrect. The Theory of Everything, for example, isn't a placeholder in a sense any different from God, it is a theoretical model that would explain the connection between all observable phenomenon. Science would like to understand that connection in full. Just as theists would like to fully understand (or at least understand better) the idea of God. We don't simply wash our hands and go home for summer after this argument is made and the implication of such is more the result of a lack of understanding of theist philosophy.
    Again, we are asking two different questions here. You can think Design is the right answer, but you still haven't answered the questions about what forces were in play ("how" Design did what it did). But I am only asking "How". The Theory of Everything is seeking to answer "How". Theists seeking to more fully understanding the idea of God is a "Why". And when you focus on the "Why," you get the circular reasoning behind the B&TSAP. This is the faulting reasoning in play in Freund's argument as well, because allowing for a Designer is required for the Design argument, which itself is an a priori assumption about the nature of the universe - that life was somehow the goal of the universe, or that the universe exists solely to allow life, and this is why the specific narrow window is the way that it is in order to accommodate us.

    All of these arguments are linked, and all suffer from the same reliance upon the assumption that a designer must exist, so therefore a designer exists. It is a circular argument pinned to a special pleading for an uncaused cause.

    What physical forces were in play on matter at the beginning of the universe that give rise to the physical constants? Please be specific here.
    No clue.

    Where does God live? Please be specific.

    Physical laws are dependent on the physical state they are applied in? That would seem to be a big revelation.
    Did you know that H2O acts like a gas above 100c, but like a solid below 0c, and liquid in between? And did you also know that ice can sublimate directly to a gaseous phase without having to be liquid first?

    There are numerous laws in place for every given condition. What the conditions were at the beginning of the universe, we don't know. But it's folly to assume that there must necessarily have been a time when there were no laws in place, when no forces acted on anything in a single way. There may have been such a time, but there is nothing to suggest this time must necessarily have happened. We may not know what those forces were or how they acted, but we just as surely do not know if there was a complete absence of them either.

    Just to be clear, I am not arguing that the universe is the result of chance and chance alone. I am, however, arguing against the assertion that it must necessarily be the result of Design. I have literally nothing to prove in this argument beyond the mere possibility of any other method. This I have done.

    It isn't an accurate analogy however. There is a physical force that dictates the outcome when it comes to DNA. To the extent chance does exists, it does so over a small range of possibilities. Like I said, two lizards breeding have a range of outcomes within their offspring. But they aren't going to come out with a cat outside of some incredibly bizarre set of circumstances right? That is the kind of change this analogy would need.

    This argument seems to be as if I were to show you two iguanas and a kitten and say, wow, that was an incredible set of odds that led to that kind of genetic sequence. And you were to say, you're right, we can't rule out chance here in favor of fraud. Note: I'm not talking about evolution here, just using reproduction as an analogy.

    The range of my specific DNA is within a large set of likely outcomes for my conception known as "human," but there is a range of outcomes called "non-human." The process is such that the latter set is incredibly rare, so much so that it is virtually never witnessed (or hasn't been to my knowledge). If we were to encounter the latter set we shouldn't just say "wow, chance." We should seek an explanation as to why such a small set of outcomes was present. This becomes even more obvious if we only had one case, ever. One breeding pair, one offspring and it came out a cat. Certainly we wouldn't just say "well chance" and walk away would we?
    Your analogy of my analogy is incorrect. I am not comparing a system with unknown rules to a system with known rules and assuming the rules from the second system apply to the first. I never once made the claim that life would appear differently if any of the constants were even slightly off, like Dawkins suggests. Your analogy suggests this is what I am attempting to argue. This "kittens from humans" scenario breaks known rules. However, Squatch with blue eyes vs Squatch with brown eyes does not break any rules. Squatch with any combination of attributes vs Squatch with any other combination of attributes does not break any rules. This argument demonstrates that, out of an incomprehensible amount of possible combinations, single outcomes are not impossible.

    Again, it is putting the cart before the horse to assume that the universe fits us, as opposed to us fitting the universe. This narrow range for life is neither an expected nor a required outcome, just like the color of your eyes is neither an expected nor a required outcome. If we follow your reasoning, a recessive trait like blue eyes is impossible because the odds state that brown is more likely.
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    I also broke this argument in post #52 by showing your second premise to be untrue.
    No you didn't. You are using circular reasoning. You are saying here that "It is false that we can't be here by physical necessity or chance because we are here." That we ARE here in no way answers the issues of whether or not we ARE likely to be here due to physical necessity or chance.

    In post #52 you may have raised somewhat of a valid objection to the argument you were responding to, but in no way did you show that P2 is necessarily false. It only answers the question of "possibilities" not "plausibility" and in no way does it even scratch whether or not physical necessity or chance is likely or even reasonable.
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    No you didn't. You are using circular reasoning. You are saying here that "It is false that we can't be here by physical necessity or chance because we are here." That we ARE here in no way answers the issues of whether or not we ARE likely to be here due to physical necessity or chance.

    In post #52 you may have raised somewhat of a valid objection to the argument you were responding to, but in no way did you show that P2 is necessarily false. It only answers the question of "possibilities" not "plausibility" and in no way does it even scratch whether or not physical necessity or chance is likely or even reasonable.
    P2 states that chance is unequivocally ruled out. My argument states that chance is not unequivocally ruled out. I have defeated the argument by proving the premise unsupported and untrue.
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    Re: Precision in Nature = Evidence of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    P2 states that chance is unequivocally ruled out. My argument states that chance is not unequivocally ruled out. I have defeated the argument by proving the premise unsupported and untrue.
    Was P2 supported by him? That is, did he explain why chance is not the likely cause? If so, then all you are doing is disagreeing, and the truth of P2 is still being discussed/debated. If not, then I'd agree with you, for if there are no reasons offered, then all that really needs to be done is to challenge P2 or just offer an explanation as to why P2 isn't necessarily true. Admittedly, I did not read the entire conversation so I honestly don't know.
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