On 2/11/2011 12:17 PM, Jason wrote:

On Feb 11, 1:39 pm, 1Z<peterdjo...@yahoo.com>  wrote:
On Feb 10, 3:18 am, 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
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
1. An chemistry rich enough to construct self-replicating machines
2. The ability for life to reliably encode, read and copy information
(necessary to record results of natural experiments, as DNA does for us)
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
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)
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)
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)
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
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
It's much *bigger* than necessary.

I think there are probabilistic reasons for this.  Imagine there were
3 universes, one with 10 conscious observers in it, one with a 100
billion observers in it, and one with a Gogol observers in it.  If you
were one of those observers, which one do you think you would find
yourself in?

There seems to be a general problem that people can't grasp the idea of probability except in a frequentist sense. This universe and it's characteristics could be more or less probable even if it's the only universe. Probability is relative to some theory of measure, whether the other universes exist or not.

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?


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.
2. Those who consider the idea that there are multiple universes to be
ridiculous or unscientific.

The universe can have whatever it characteristics it has independent of the existence of other universes. I don't consider the idea of multiple universes to be unscientific - most theories of cosmogony allow that arbitrarily many universes can exist. But they seem to be like "God did it."; they can explain most anything but they're weak on prediction. And if you don't insist on a frequentist interpretation of probability they don't really add anything.

I think "fine-tuning" is problematic in another way which Stenger didn't discuss: in general there's no measure for the parameters alleged to be fine-tuned. If I showed that X, which is observed to be18, must be between 19 and 20 for life-as-we-know-it to exist, is X fine-tuned? Suppose it can be between 10 and 30? Is that fine-tuned - after all the interval [10, 30] is of measure zero on the real line. Any finite range of values is of measure zero - so everything is "fine-tuned" - which is the same as saying nothing is.

3. Those who consider it only as a justification for intelligent design
Fine-tuning is a direct consequence of the anthropic principle once one
assumes multiple universes.

That depends on what measure you assume for parameters in generating your multiple universes.

Do you limit "anthropic" to humans? to carbon based life? What about plasma based life? or life based on nuclear chemistry (see Bob Forward's "Dragon's Egg")? Could dark matter be alive? Dark energy? Maybe almost all possible universes can support intelligent life - just not us.


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