Fine-tuned universe

Fine-tuned universe

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The fine-tuned universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

 in the Universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 can only occur when certain universal fundamental physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be unlikely to be conducive to the establishment and development of matter
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

, astronomical structures, elemental diversity, or life as it is presently understood. The existence and extent of fine-tuning in the universe is a matter of dispute in the scientific community.

Physicist Paul Davies
Paul Davies
Paul Charles William Davies, AM is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science...

 has stated that "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However he continues "...the conclusion is not so much that the universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires". He also states that "... 'anthropic
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

' reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because biogenesis occurs frequently ..." Among scientists who find the evidence persuasive, a variety of scientific explanations have been proposed, e.g., the anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 along with multiple universes
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

. The proposition is also discussed among philosophers, theologians, creationists
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 and intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

 proponents.

Premise



The premise of the fine-tuned universe assertion is that a small change in several of the dimensionless
Dimensionless quantity
In dimensional analysis, a dimensionless quantity or quantity of dimension one is a quantity without an associated physical dimension. It is thus a "pure" number, and as such always has a dimension of 1. Dimensionless quantities are widely used in mathematics, physics, engineering, economics, and...

 fundamental physical constants would make the universe radically different. As Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

 has noted, "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life."

If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e., if the coupling constant
Coupling constant
In physics, a coupling constant, usually denoted g, is a number that determines the strength of an interaction. Usually the Lagrangian or the Hamiltonian of a system can be separated into a kinetic part and an interaction part...

 representing its strength were 2% larger), while the other constants were left unchanged, diproton
Diproton
A diproton is a hypothetical isotope of helium nucleus consisting of two protons and no neutrons, and is predicted to be less stable than 5He...

s would be stable and hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium
Deuterium
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. It has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in of hydrogen . Deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% of all naturally occurring hydrogen in Earth's oceans, while the most common isotope ...

 and helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

. This would drastically alter the physics of star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. However, many of the fundamental constants describe the properties of the unstable strange, charmed, bottom and top quarks and mu and tau leptons which seem to play little part in the universe or the structure of matter.

The precise formulation of the idea is made difficult by the fact that physicists do not yet know how many independent physical constants there are. The current standard model of particle physics has 25 freely adjustable parameters (there is an additional parameter for gravitation, the cosmological constant
Cosmological constant
In physical cosmology, the cosmological constant was proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe...

). However, because the standard model is not mathematically self-consistent under certain conditions (e.g., at very high energies, at which both quantum mechanics and general relativity are relevant), physicists believe that it is underlaid by some other theory, such as a grand unified theory, string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

, or loop quantum gravity
Loop quantum gravity
Loop quantum gravity , also known as loop gravity and quantum geometry, is a proposed quantum theory of spacetime which attempts to reconcile the theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity...

. In some candidate theories, the actual number of independent physical constants may be as small as 1. For example, the cosmological constant may be a fundamental constant, but attempts have also been made to calculate it from other constants, and according to the author of one such calculation, "the small value of the cosmological constant is telling us that a remarkably precise and totally unexpected relation exists among all the parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics, the bare cosmological constant and unknown physics."

Martin Rees formulates the fine-tuning of the universe in terms of the following six dimensionless constants:
  • N = ratio of the strength of electromagnetism
    Electromagnetism
    Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

     to that of gravity;
  • Epsilon (ε) = strength of the force binding nucleon
    Nucleon
    In physics, a nucleon is a collective name for two particles: the neutron and the proton. These are the two constituents of the atomic nucleus. Until the 1960s, the nucleons were thought to be elementary particles...

    s into nuclei
    Atomic nucleus
    The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

    ;
  • Omega (ω) = relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the universe;
  • Lambda (λ) = cosmological constant
    Cosmological constant
    In physical cosmology, the cosmological constant was proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe...

    ;
  • Q = ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass;
  • D = number of spatial dimension
    Dimension
    In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it. Thus a line has a dimension of one because only one coordinate is needed to specify a point on it...

    s in spacetime
    Spacetime
    In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted with space as being three-dimensional and time playing the role of a fourth dimension that is of a different sort from the spatial dimensions...

    .

Disputes regarding the existence and extent of fine-tuning


Computer simulations suggest that not all of the purportedly "fine-tuned" parameters may be as fine-tuned as has been claimed. Victor Stenger has simulated different universes in which four fundamental parameters are varied. He found that long-lived stars could exist over a wide parameter range, and concluded that "... a wide variation of constants of physics leads to universes that are long-lived enough for life to evolve, although human life need not exist in such universes".

Fred Adams
Fred Adams
Fred C. Adams is an American astrophysicist who has made contributions to the study of physical cosmology.- Biography:Fred Adams is professor of physics at the University of Michigan, where his main field of research is astrophysics theory focusing on star formation, background radiation fields,...

 has done a similar study to Stenger, investigating the structure of stars in universes with different values of the gravitational constant
Gravitational constant
The gravitational constant, denoted G, is an empirical physical constant involved in the calculation of the gravitational attraction between objects with mass. It appears in Newton's law of universal gravitation and in Einstein's theory of general relativity. It is also known as the universal...

 G, the fine-structure constant
Fine-structure constant
In physics, the fine-structure constant is a fundamental physical constant, namely the coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. Being a dimensionless quantity, it has constant numerical value in all systems of units...

 α, and a nuclear reaction rate parameter C. His study suggests that roughly 25% of this parameter space allows stars to exist. Harnik, Kribs and Perez have argued for the viability of a universe with no weak interaction
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

 at all. However, they noted that their analysis does not extend to the supposed fine tuning
Fine Tuning
Fine Tuning was the name of XM Satellite Radio's eclectic music channel. The program director for Fine Tuning was Ben Smith and the tag line was, "The World's Most Interesting Music"....

 of the cosmological constant
Cosmological constant
In physical cosmology, the cosmological constant was proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe...

, and concluded that "the fine-tuning problems associated with the electroweak breaking scale and the cosmological constant appear to be qualitatively different from the perspective of obtaining a habitable universe."

The validity of fine tuning
Fine Tuning
Fine Tuning was the name of XM Satellite Radio's eclectic music channel. The program director for Fine Tuning was Ben Smith and the tag line was, "The World's Most Interesting Music"....

 examples is sometimes questioned on the grounds that such reasoning is subjective
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

 anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is any attribution of human characteristics to animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities. The term was coined in the mid 1700s...

 applied to natural
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

 physical constants. Critics also suggest that the fine-tuned universe assertion and the anthropic principle are essentially tautologies
Tautology (logic)
In logic, a tautology is a formula which is true in every possible interpretation. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein first applied the term to redundancies of propositional logic in 1921; it had been used earlier to refer to rhetorical tautologies, and continues to be used in that alternate sense...

. The fine-tuned universe argument has also been criticized as an argument by lack of imagination
Argument from ignorance
Argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance" , is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is "generally accepted"...

 because it assumes no other forms of life, sometimes referred to as carbon chauvinism
Carbon chauvinism
Carbon chauvinism is a neologism meant to disparage the assumption that the chemical processes of hypothetical extraterrestrial life must be constructed primarily from carbon , as carbon's chemical and thermodynamic properties render it far superior to all other elements.-Concept:The term was used...

. Conceptually, alternative biochemistry
Alternative biochemistry
Hypothetical types of biochemistry are forms of biochemistry speculated to be scientifically viable but not proven to exist at this time. While the kinds of living beings we know on earth commonly use carbon for basic structural and metabolic functions, water as a solvent and DNA or RNA to define...

 or other forms of life are possible. In addition, critics argue that humans are adapted to the universe through the process of evolution, rather than the universe being adapted to humans (see puddle thinking). They also see it as an example of the logical flaw of hubris
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

 or anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism describes the tendency for human beings to regard themselves as the central and most significant entities in the universe, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective....

 in its assertion that humans are the purpose of the universe.

Possible naturalistic explanations


There are fine tuning arguments that are naturalistic. As modern cosmology developed, various hypotheses have been proposed. One is an oscillatory universe
Cyclic model
A cyclic model is any of several cosmological models in which the universe follows infinite, self-sustaining cycles. For example, the oscillating universe theory briefly considered by Albert Einstein in 1930 theorized a universe following an eternal series of oscillations, each beginning with a...

 or a multiverse
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

 where fundamental physical constants are postulated to resolve themselves to random values in different iteration
Iteration
Iteration means the act of repeating a process usually with the aim of approaching a desired goal or target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called an "iteration," and the results of one iteration are used as the starting point for the next iteration.-Mathematics:Iteration in...

s of reality. Under this hypothesis, separate parts of reality would have wildly different characteristics. In such scenarios the issue of fine-tuning does not arise at all, as only those "universes" with constants hospitable to life (such as what we observe) would develop life capable of contemplating the question of the origin of fine-tuning.

Based upon the Anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

, physicist Robert H. Dicke
Robert H. Dicke
Robert Henry Dicke was an American physicist who made important contributions to the fields of astrophysics, atomic physics, cosmology and gravity.-Biography:...

 proposed the "Dicke coincidence" argument that the structure (age, physical constants, etc.) of the universe as seen by living observers is not random, but is constrained by biological factors that require it to be roughly a "golden age".

Multiverse



The Multiverse hypothesis assumes the existence of many universes with different physical constants, some of which are hospitable to intelligent life (see multiverse: anthropic principle). Because we are intelligent beings, we are by definition in a hospitable one. Mathematician Michael Ikeda and astronomer William H. Jefferys
William H. Jefferys
William H. Jefferys is an American astronomer. He is a Harlan J. Smith Centennial Professor of Astronomy of astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin, and an adjunct professor of statistics at the University of Vermont....

 have argued that the anthropic principle resolves the entire issue of fine-tuning, as does philosopher of science Elliott Sober
Elliott Sober
Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sober is noted for his work in philosophy of biology and general philosophy of science. Sober taught for one year at Stanford University and has...

. Philosopher and theologian Richard Swinburne
Richard Swinburne
Richard G. Swinburne is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Over the last 50 years Swinburne has been a very influential proponent of philosophical arguments for the existence of God. His philosophical contributions are primarily in philosophy of religion and...

 reaches the opposite conclusion using Bayesian probability
Bayesian probability
Bayesian probability is one of the different interpretations of the concept of probability and belongs to the category of evidential probabilities. The Bayesian interpretation of probability can be seen as an extension of logic that enables reasoning with propositions, whose truth or falsity is...

.

This approach has led to considerable research into the anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 and has been of particular interest to particle physicist
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

s because theories of everything
Theory of everything
A theory of everything is a putative theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena, and predicts the outcome of any experiment that could be carried out in principle....

 do apparently generate large numbers of universes in which the physical constants vary widely. As of yet, there is no evidence for the existence of a multiverse, but some versions of the theory do make predictions which some researchers studying M-theory
M-theory
In theoretical physics, M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. Because the dimensionality exceeds that of superstring theories in 10 dimensions, proponents believe that the 11-dimensional theory unites all five string theories...

 and gravity leaks hope to see some evidence of soon. The existence of additional universes in a multiverse, other than the observable universe
Observable universe
In Big Bang cosmology, the observable universe consists of the galaxies and other matter that we can in principle observe from Earth in the present day, because light from those objects has had time to reach us since the beginning of the cosmological expansion...

, is not falsifiable, and thus some are reluctant to call the multiverse idea a "scientific" idea. UNC-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

 professor Laura Mersini-Houghton
Laura Mersini
Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton is a theoretical physicist-cosmologist and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since January 2004. In 2009 she is on a sabbatical at DAMTP, University of Cambridge....

 claims that the WMAP cold spot may provide testable empirical evidence for a parallel universe
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

.

Variants on this approach include Lee Smolin
Lee Smolin
Lee Smolin is an American theoretical physicist, a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo. He is married to Dina Graser, a communications lawyer in Toronto. His brother is David M...

's notion of cosmological natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

, the Ekpyrotic
Ekpyrotic
The ekpyrotic universe, or ekpyrotic scenario, is a cosmological model of the origin and shape of the universe. The name comes from a Stoic term ekpyrosis meaning conflagration or in Stoic usage "conversion into fire"...

 universe, and the Bubble universe theory.

Critics of the multiverse-related explanations argue that there is no evidence that other universes exist.

Bubble universe theory


The bubble universe
Chaotic inflation theory
The Chaotic Inflation theory is a variety of the inflationary universe model, which is itself an outgrowth of the Big Bang theory. Chaotic Inflation, proposed by physicist Andrei Linde, models our universe as one of many that grew as part of a multiverse owing to a vacuum that had not decayed to...

 model by physicist Andrei Linde
Andrei Linde
Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde is a Russian-American theoretical physicist and professor of Physics at Stanford University. Dr. Linde is best known for his work on the concept of the inflationary universe. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Moscow State University. In 1975, Linde was...

, postulates that our universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is one of many that grew from a multiverse
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

 consisting of vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 that had not yet decayed to its ground state
Ground state
The ground state of a quantum mechanical system is its lowest-energy state; the energy of the ground state is known as the zero-point energy of the system. An excited state is any state with energy greater than the ground state...

.
In standard inflation
Cosmic inflation
In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation or just inflation is the theorized extremely rapid exponential expansion of the early universe by a factor of at least 1078 in volume, driven by a negative-pressure vacuum energy density. The inflationary epoch comprises the first part...

, inflationary expansion occurred while the universe was in a false vacuum
False vacuum
In quantum field theory, a false vacuum is a metastable sector of space that appears to be a perturbative vacuum, but is unstable due to instanton effects that may tunnel to a lower energy state. This tunneling can be caused by quantum fluctuations or the creation of high-energy particles...

 state, halting when the universe decayed to a true vacuum state
Vacuum state
In quantum field theory, the vacuum state is the quantum state with the lowest possible energy. Generally, it contains no physical particles...

. The bubble universe model proposes that different parts of this inflationary universe (termed a Multiverse
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

) decayed at different times, with decaying regions corresponding to universes not in causal contact
Causality (physics)
Causality is the relationship between causes and effects. It is considered to be fundamental to all natural science, especially physics. Causality is also a topic studied from the perspectives of philosophy and statistics....

 with each other. It further supposes that each bubble universe may have different physical constants.

Top-down cosmology


Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

, along with Thomas Hertog of CERN
CERN
The European Organization for Nuclear Research , known as CERN , is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border...

, proposed that the universe's initial conditions consisted of a superposition
Quantum superposition
Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. It holds that a physical system exists in all its particular, theoretically possible states simultaneously; but, when measured, it gives a result corresponding to only one of the possible configurations.Mathematically, it...

 of many possible initial conditions, only a small fraction of which contributed to the conditions we see today. According to their theory, it is inevitable that we find our universe's "fine-tuned" physical constants, as the current universe "selects" only those past histories that led to the present conditions. In this way, top-down cosmology provides an anthropic explanation for why we find ourselves in a universe that allows matter and life, without invoking the existence of the multiverse.

Alien design


One hypothesis is that the Universe may have been designed by extra-universal alien
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

s. Some believe this would solve the problem of how a designer or design team capable of fine-tuning the Universe could come to exist. Cosmologist Alan Guth
Alan Guth
Alan Harvey Guth is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Guth has researched elementary particle theory...

 believes humans will in time be able to generate new universes. By implication previous intelligent entities may have generated our universe. This idea leads to the possibility that the extraterrestrial designer/designers are themselves the product of an evolutionary process in their own universe, which must therefore itself be able to sustain life. For instance, Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 maintains that an alien designer or designers are more plausible than a supernatural designer or designers because there is a known mechanism to produce them. He calls it the “crane
Crane (machine)
A crane is a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally. It uses one or more simple machines to create mechanical advantage and thus move loads beyond the normal capability of...

” of Natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

. Dawkins' claims, though, are criticized among philosophers (e.g. Richard Swinburne
Richard Swinburne
Richard G. Swinburne is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Over the last 50 years Swinburne has been a very influential proponent of philosophical arguments for the existence of God. His philosophical contributions are primarily in philosophy of religion and...

, Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher and the emeritus John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics, and Christian apologetics...

, Nancey Murphy
Nancey Murphy
Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA. She received the B.A. from Creighton University in 1973, the Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 1980, and the Th.D...

) to just push back the problem further
Infinite regress
An infinite regress in a series of propositions arises if the truth of proposition P1 requires the support of proposition P2, the truth of proposition P2 requires the support of proposition P3, .....

 (now it would be no more the case to explain this universe, but the universe in which those aliens live), and it could be argued that the resulting universe where the aliens live calls even more for a designer that would be eternal and uncreated (that is God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

). Further, in Richard Dawkins' ultimate Boeing 747 gambit
Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit
The Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit is a counter-argument to the modern form of the argument from design. It was introduced by Richard Dawkins in chapter 4 "Why there almost certainly is no God" of his 2006 book The God Delusion.- Context and history :...

 he explains that evolution is an even more plausible "crane".

The Simulation hypothesis
Simulation hypothesis
The Simulation Hypothesis proposes that reality is a simulation and those affected are generally unaware of this. The concept is reminiscent of René Descartes' Evil Genius but posits a more futuristic simulated reality...

 promoted by Nick Bostrom
Nick Bostrom
Nick Bostrom is a Swedish philosopher at the University of Oxford known for his work on existential risk and the anthropic principle. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics...

 and others suggests that our universe may be a computer simulation by aliens.

The Biocosm hypothesis and the Meduso-anthropic principle both suggest that natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 has made the universe biophilic
Biophilia Hypothesis
The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book entitled Biophilia.- Love of living systems :...

. The universe enables intelligence because intelligent entities later create new biophilic universes. This is different from the suggestion above that aliens from a universe which is less finely tuned than ours made our universe finely tuned.

The Designer Universe theory of John Gribbin
John Gribbin
John R. Gribbin is a British science writer and a visiting Fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex.- Biography :John Gribbin graduated with his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Sussex in 1966. Gribbin then earned his master of science degree in astronomy in 1967, also...

 suggests that the universe could have been made deliberately by a member or members of a technologically advanced civilization in another part of the multiverse
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

 and that this advanced civilization may have been responsible for causing the big bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

.

Religious opinions



As with theistic evolution
Theistic evolution
Theistic evolution or evolutionary creation is a concept that asserts that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution...

, some individual scientists, theologians, and philosophers as well as certain religious groups argue that providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

 or creation are responsible for fine-tuning.

Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher and the emeritus John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics, and Christian apologetics...

 argues that random chance, applied to a single and sole universe, only raises the question as to why this universe could be so "lucky" as to have precise conditions that support life at least at some place (the Earth) and time (within millions of years of the present).

This fine-tuning of the universe is cited by theologian and philosopher William Lane Craig
William Lane Craig
William Lane Craig is an American analytic philosopher, philosophical theologian, and Christian apologist. He is known for his work on the philosophy of time and the philosophy of religion, specifically the existence of God and the defense of Christian theism...

 as an evidence for the existence of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 or some form of intelligence
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

 capable of manipulating (or designing) the basic physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 that governs the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

. Craig argues, however, "that the postulate of a divine Designer does not settle for us the religious question."

Intelligent design


Proponents of Intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

 argue that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

, not an undirected process such as natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

. The fine-tuned universe argument is a central premise or presented as a given in many of the published works of prominent intelligent design proponents, such as William A. Dembski
William A. Dembski
William Albert "Bill" Dembski is an American proponent of intelligent design, well known for promoting the concept of specified complexity...

 and Michael Behe
Michael Behe
Michael J. Behe is an American biochemist, author, and intelligent design advocate. He currently serves as professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and as a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...

.

Other religious creation views


Most religions have some kind of account of the creation of the universe, although they generally differ in detail from the ones listed above. Some of these may be compatible with known scientific facts, others are either incompatible with, or indifferent to, scientific understandings. For example scientist-theologians such as John Polkinghorne
John Polkinghorne
John Charlton Polkinghorne KBE FRS is an English theoretical physicist, theologian, writer, and Anglican priest. He was professor of Mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge from 1968 to 1979, when he resigned his chair to study for the priesthood, becoming an ordained Anglican priest...

 emphasize the implications of Anthropic Fine-Tuning within an orthodox Christian framework whilst fully accepting the scientific findings about Evolution and the age of the Universe. This is also the position of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and of most Anglican theologians. The Jewish physicist Gerald Schroeder
Gerald Schroeder
Gerald L. Schroeder is an Orthodox Jewish physicist, author and lecturer at Aish HaTorah's Discovery Seminar, Essentials and Fellowships programs and Executive Learning Center, who focuses on what he perceives to be an inherent relationship between science and spirituality.-Education:Schroeder...

 argues that the apparent discrepancy between the "days" in Genesis and the billions of years in a scientific understanding are due to the differences in frames of reference. Other scientists with similar views are physicist Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

 and astronomer Owen Gingerich
Owen Gingerich
Dr. Owen Jay Gingerich is a former Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University, and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory...

.

Counter argument to religious views


Victor Stenger argues that "... The fine-tuning argument and other recent intelligent design arguments are modern versions of God of the gaps
God of the gaps
God of the gaps is a type of theological fallacy in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God's existence. The term was invented by Christian theologians not to discredit theism but rather to discourage reliance on teleological arguments for God's existence.-...

 reasoning, where a God is deemed necessary whenever science has not fully explained some phenomenon".

The argument from imperfection
Evolutionary argument against naturalism
The evolutionary argument against naturalism is a philosophical argument regarding a perceived tension between biological evolutionary theory and philosophical naturalism — the belief that there are no supernatural entities or processes...

 suggests that if the universe were designed to be fine-tuned for life, it should be the best one possible and that evidence suggests that it is not. In fact, most of the universe is highly hostile to life.

Additionally Stenger argues, "We have no reason to believe that our kind of carbon-based life is all that is possible
Carbon chauvinism
Carbon chauvinism is a neologism meant to disparage the assumption that the chemical processes of hypothetical extraterrestrial life must be constructed primarily from carbon , as carbon's chemical and thermodynamic properties render it far superior to all other elements.-Concept:The term was used...

. Furthermore, modern cosmology indicates that multiple universes
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

 may exist with different constants and laws of physics. So, it is not surprising that we live in the one suited for us. The universe is not fine-tuned to life; life is fine-tuned to the universe."

In fiction and popular culture

  • Robert J. Sawyer
    Robert J. Sawyer
    Robert James Sawyer is a Canadian science fiction writer. He has had 20 novels published, and his short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Amazing Stories, On Spec, Nature, and many anthologies. Sawyer has won over forty awards for his fiction, including the Nebula Award ,...

     discusses the fine-tuned universe at length in his novel Calculating God
    Calculating God
    Calculating God is a 2000 science fiction novel by Robert J. Sawyer. It takes place in the present day and describes the arrival on Earth of sentient aliens. The bulk of the novel covers the many discussions and arguments on this topic, as well as about the nature of belief, religion, and science....

    (2000).
  • Author Neal Stephenson
    Neal Stephenson
    Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

     discussed the issue of fine-tuning in the conclusion to his essay In the Beginning... was the Command Line.
  • Puddle thinking is a satirical illustration of the "life is fine-tuned to the universe" argument above coined by Douglas Adams
    Douglas Adams
    Douglas Noel Adams was an English writer and dramatist. He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a "trilogy" of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television...

     to satirize the Fine-tuned Universe argument for supernatural creationism. As quoted in Richard Dawkins
    Richard Dawkins
    Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

    ' eulogy for Douglas Adams:


... imagine a puddle
Puddle
A puddle is a small accumulation of liquid, usually water, on a surface. It can form either by pooling in a depression on the surface, or by surface tension upon a flat surface...

 waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

See also

  • Clockwork universe theory
    Clockwork universe theory
    The clockwork universe theory compares the universe to a mechanical clock wound up by God, or initiated by the Big Bang. It continues ticking along, as a perfect machine, with its gears governed by the laws of physics, making every single aspect of the machine completely predictable...

  • Fine-tuning
    Fine-tuning
    In theoretical physics, fine-tuning refers to circumstances when the parameters of a model must be adjusted very precisely in order to agree with observations. Theories requiring fine-tuning are regarded as problematic in the absence of a known mechanism to explain why the parameters happen to...

  • Origin of life
  • Rare Earth hypothesis
    Rare Earth hypothesis
    In planetary astronomy and astrobiology, the Rare Earth hypothesis argues that the emergence of complex multicellular life on Earth required an improbable combination of astrophysical and geological events and circumstances...

  • Teleology
    Teleology
    A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

  • Ultimate fate of the universe
    Ultimate fate of the universe
    The ultimate fate of the universe is a topic in physical cosmology. Many possible fates are predicted by rival scientific theories, including futures of both finite and infinite duration....


Further reading

  • John D. Barrow
    John D. Barrow
    -External links:****** The Forum-Publications available on the Internet:************...

    , 2003. The Constants of Nature, Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-375-42221-8
  • Bernard Carr, ed. (2007) Universe or Multiverse? Cambridge University Press.
  • Paul Davies
    Paul Davies
    Paul Charles William Davies, AM is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science...

    , 1982. The Accidental Universe, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-24212-6
  • Paul Davies
    Paul Davies
    Paul Charles William Davies, AM is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science...

    , 2007. Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 0618592261. Reprinted as: The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life?, 2008, Mariner Books, ISBN 0547053584.
  • Alister McGrath
    Alister McGrath
    Alister Edgar McGrath is an Anglican priest, theologian, and Christian apologist, currently Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at Kings College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture...

    , 2009. A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology, Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 0664233104.
  • Simon Conway Morris
    Simon Conway Morris
    Simon Conway Morris FRS is an English paleontologist made known by his detailed and careful study of the Burgess Shale fossils, an exploit celebrated in Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould...

    , 2003. Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Peter Ward
    Peter Ward (paleontologist)
    Peter Douglas Ward is a paleontologist and professor of Biology and of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, and has written popular science works for a general audience. He is also an adviser to the Microbes Mind Forum....

     and Donald Brownlee, 2000. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. Springer Verlag.

External links


Defend fine-tuning:
  • Gerald Schroeder
    Gerald Schroeder
    Gerald L. Schroeder is an Orthodox Jewish physicist, author and lecturer at Aish HaTorah's Discovery Seminar, Essentials and Fellowships programs and Executive Learning Center, who focuses on what he perceives to be an inherent relationship between science and spirituality.-Education:Schroeder...

    : Fine-turned universe.
  • The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life at the talk.origins index to creationist claims.
  • Interview with Charles Townes discussing science and religion.
  • Home page of Templeton Foundation project on fine-tuning.


Criticize fine tuning: