On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 10:18 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Brent and 1Z,
> The paper you referenced says the following:
> "No doubt life, as we know it, depends sensitively on the parameters of our
> universe. However, other forms of life might exist under different
> conditions."
> I agree with that statement.  Certainly there are other arrangements of laws
> which would permit life to exist.  The question is how often is it, among
> all possible structures, that intelligent life is possible?  It does not
> appear easy.  Try inventing your own set of physical laws which if followed
> from the beginning to the end which would permit life to evolve and exist.
> It takes a lot of consideration and thought for people to design virtual
> realities which support artificial life (alife), even when it is very simple
> compared to the life we know.  Consider what is necessary just to support
> evolution:

Why does life have to evolve?  Rather than fine-tune the laws, why not
fine-tune the initial conditions?

Life could be present in the first instant...no need for evolution.

> 1. An chemistry rich enough to construct self-replicating machines

Why does life need to replicate?  It's present in the first instant.
Just arrange things so that it stays safe.

Mating, children, alimony, child support payments...all unnecessary.

> 2. The ability for life to reliably encode, read and copy information
> (necessary to record results of natural experiments, as DNA does for us)

Why experiment?  You got your life in the initial conditions.  Also
arrange things so that our new life believes that it has interesting,
meaningful, fulfilling stuff to do.

> 3. Unreachable entities (in our case stars) which provide limited
> energy/resources at a fixed rate for life forms to compete over during the
> course of trillions of generations

Competition.  That's for losers.

Just build an unlimited energy store into the initial conditions.

> 4. This energy source must not easily attainable or duplicated by life (if
> fusion were biologically possible life would consume all the potential
> energy long before it could evolve intelligence)

Evolution is for losers.  Initial conditions or bust.

> 5. No easy shortcut to get an unlimited or infinite amount of energy
> (Something like the laws of thermodynamics, otherwise life has no incentive
> to increase in complexity once it discovers such a trick)

Build incentive and complexity into the life-form's initial
configuration.  No need to evolve it via fine-tuned "incentive and
complexity increasing" laws.

Hey, we're fine-tuning either way.  Go for broke.

> 6. Re-usability or resupply of materials used by life (If biological
> material or waste can't be broken down to be reused by other life forms then
> such material or resources would run out)

Screw other life forms.

> 7. Long term stability of environment and constancy of physical laws,
> otherwise life would be quickly wiped out or the validity of the information
> recorded from natural experiments becomes invalidated

Okay.  Stability is good.  We'll keep that.

> I think the above rules are necessary not just for life as we know it in
> this universe, but life anywhere.  Our own universe seems just complex
> enough, but no more complex than is necessary, to provide each of these
> requirements.  What do you think the chances are that any random object in
> Plato's heaven, or any random Turing machine will support intelligent life?
> 1 in 10, 1 in 1000, 1 in a billion?

We can make the laws much less complex if we make the initial state
more complex.

And why shouldn't we?  Why are you prejudiced against initial states?

> I think the universe's apparent Fine-Tuning is controversial only to a few
> general types of audiences:
> 1. Physicists who believe in a grand theory of everything which will explain
> logically why this universe has to have the physical laws it does, and why
> no other physical laws are possible

A necessary being who creates only the best of all possible worlds
should do the trick.

> That the Anthropic Principle + Mathematical Realism explains the appearance
> of Fine Tuning is just one of its many attractions.  Among the other appeals
> of mathematical realism are that it answers some longstanding questions:
> Eugene Wigner's "The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of
> mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift
> which we neither understand nor deserve."

If I were a materialist I'd say that math is related to our evolved
ability to detect causal patterns and extrapolate from those to
predict future events.  Once you have that a well developed form of
that ability, then any rule-following system would seem to be, in
theory, comprehensible.

> Einstein's "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at
> all comprehensible."

I like Wittgenstein's version better:

"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists."

> John Wheeler's "Why these particular equations, not others?"

Simple enough.  There is no reason for that.

Though if someone were so inclined they could probably make up a good
story to explain it.  And then another story to explain their first
story.  And then a third story to explain their second story.  And so

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