On 8/16/2012 7:42 AM, Roger wrote:
Hi Bruno Marchal
Nothing is for sure, all I can quote are probabilties.  The improbability of 
life (based on
Hoyle's argument about the humungous improbability of the C atom being created 
by chance)

Hoyle's argument had nothing to do with carbon being produced by chance. Hoyle predicted that C12 must have an excited state 7.7Mev above the ground state in order that carbon have been produced in stars (Hoyle et al, "A State in C12 Predicted From Astronomical Evidence" PhysRevLtrs 92, 1953). The value was confirmed by experiment to be 7.656Mev. It is often incorrectly asserted that this value is 'fine-tuned'. In fact any value between 7.337Mev and 7.933Mev would result in the production of carbon (Livio et al "The Anthropic Significance of the Existence of an Excited State of C12" Nature 340, 1989 pp281-84).

suggests to me at least that a comp is highly improbable if it is to emulated a living brain.
But maybe there still exist simpler possibilities. Unlikely, but I'll grant 
I thought that Hoyle's argument, succeeded by the fine-tuning of the universe argument, was well known.
Here's just one version of it, from
*The Big-bang*

  * The explosive-force of the big-bang had to be fine-tuned to match the 
strength of
    gravity to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 
00000 00000
    00000 00000.
  * This is one part in 10^60. The number 10^60 = 1 followed by 60 zeros.
  * This precision is the same as the odds of a random shot (bullet from a gun) 
    a one-inch target from a distance of 20 billion light-years.
  * Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 
00000 00000
    00000 00001

Gerard t'Hooft has shown that the holographic principle implies that the energy density of the universe must (to a good approximation) have the critical value (arXiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9310026 Mar 2009). This does not explain the observed acceleration of the expansion of the universe, which may be due to a form of dark energy different from a cosmological constant, but it explains why the factor 10^60 is actually a number of order 1.

I refer you to Vic Stenger's book "The Fallacy of Fine-tuning".

The usual atheist argument against the above is that God just kept inventing 
universes until

 he got one that worked.

Actually that's physicist Don Page's view, and he's a devout Christian who argues that this would be an elegant way for God to have created universe, by just creating all possible universes.

I think it odd that only such an improbable universe would support life (which needs carbon in our case).

Before you can say something is improbable you have to define a measure that assigns 1 to the set of all possibilities. I don't think anyone has done that. No one knows what the actual possible range of values of physical constants is. So long as it's finite, then it has measure zero relative to -inf to +inf.

And besides, improbable things happen all the time.

Further, that the more improbable something is, the more likely it is that it was more likely created

by some sort of intelligence rather than by chance.

So you reject evolution and because and Ebola virus is improbable, someone must have created it??

The fact that our universe contains life also is in accord with Leibniz's Best Possible Universe aregument.

It's also evidence against an omnipotent God.


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