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Creation. Accident or Design? Login/Join 
Picture of Eric
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Taken from: http://www.godandscience.org/a...getics/designun.html


According to naturalism, the universe has no purpose and no interest whether or not there is life in it. Logically, we should not be here. In fact, modification of laws of physics almost always results in universes that don't even contain matter! Our presence in the universe suggests that we are not here by accident. In fact, the atheist must address the question of why there is anything at all. Why should there be a universe instead of nothing?


Fine Tuning of the Physical Constants of the Universe Parameter Max. Deviation

Ratio of Electrons:Protons 1:1037
Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity 1:1040
Expansion Rate of Universe 1:1055
Mass of Universe1 1:1059
Cosmological Constant 1:10120

These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.

One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037.

Fine Tuning Parameters for the Universe

strong nuclear force constant
if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry
if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry

weak nuclear force constant
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible

gravitational force constant
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form

electromagnetic force constant
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry

ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support
if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements

ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry
if smaller: same as above

ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
if larger: electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation
if smaller: same as above

expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxies would form
if smaller: universe would collapse, even before stars formed

entropy level of the universe
if larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxies would form

mass density of the universe
if larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements

velocity of light
if faster: stars would be too luminous for life support if slower: stars would be insufficiently luminous for life support

age of the universe
if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would exist in the right (for life) part of the galaxy
if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed

initial uniformity of radiation
if more uniform: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
if less uniform: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space

average distance between galaxies
if larger: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
if smaller: gravitational tug-of-wars would destabilize the sun's orbit

density of galaxy cluster
if denser: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt the sun's orbit
if less dense: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material

average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
if smaller: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life

fine structure constant (describing the fine-structure splitting of spectral lines) if larger: all stars would be at least 30% less massive than the sun
if larger than 0.06: matter would be unstable in large magnetic fields
if smaller: all stars would be at least 80% more massive than the sun

decay rate of protons
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
if smaller: universe would contain insufficient matter for life

12C to 16O nuclear energy level ratio
if larger: universe would contain insufficient oxygen for life
if smaller: universe would contain insufficient carbon for life

ground state energy level for 4He
if larger: universe would contain insufficient carbon and oxygen for life
if smaller: same as above
decay rate of 8Be
if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
if faster: no element heavier than beryllium would form; thus, no life chemistry

ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
if higher: neutron decay would yield too few neutrons for the formation of many life-essential elements
if lower: neutron decay would produce so many neutrons as to collapse all stars into neutron stars or black holes

initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons
if greater: radiation would prohibit planet formation
if lesser: matter would be insufficient for galaxy or star formation

polarity of the water molecule
if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too high for life
if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too low for life; liquid water would not work as a solvent for life chemistry; ice would not float, and a runaway freeze-up would result

supernovae eruptions
if too close, too frequent, or too late: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
if too distant, too infrequent, or too soon: heavy elements would be too sparse for rocky planets to form

white dwarf binaries
if too few: insufficient fluorine would exist for life chemistry
if too many: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life
if formed too soon: insufficient fluorine production
if formed too late: fluorine would arrive too late for life chemistry

ratio of exotic matter mass to ordinary matter mass
if larger: universe would collapse before solar-type stars could form
if smaller: no galaxies would form

number of effective dimensions in the early universe
if larger: quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity could not coexist; thus, life would be impossible
if smaller: same result

number of effective dimensions in the present universe
if smaller: electron, planet, and star orbits would become unstable
if larger: same result

mass of the neutrino
if smaller: galaxy clusters, galaxies, and stars would not form
if larger: galaxy clusters and galaxies would be too dense

big bang ripples
if smaller: galaxies would not form; universe would expand too rapidly
if larger: galaxies/galaxy clusters would be too dense for life; black holes would dominate; universe would collapse before life-site could form

size of the relativistic dilation factor
if smaller: certain life-essential chemical reactions will not function properly
if larger: same result

uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
if smaller: oxygen transport to body cells would be too small and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
if larger: oxygen transport to body cells would be too great and certain life-essential elements would be unstable

cosmological constant
if larger: universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars


All of this has to be met for the Universe to simply exist. This does not even address all of the factors that have to be present for life.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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To me the design argument isn't really a fruitful one. Christian theologians do say certain features of the universe indicate God exists (and some have tried to use this to develop a proof of God's existence) however the design argument also runs into problems. One is that the structure of the universe doesn't necessarily prove the God of Christian monotheism exists.

Thomas Aquinas wisely made the distinction between revelation and natural reason or intellect. Aquinas believed it was possible for the human mind to know God exists, but not that he is a Trinity in Oneness. For that, Biblical revelation is essential. Similarly, the argument from design is based on certain analogies between human beings and their activities and God; this connection however is not a proof of God's existence.

The main problem I have with the argument from design is that other explanations for the constants of nature and other features can be forwarded from the domain of natural science. It is somewhat like saying the fusion process in the heart of the sun is inscrutable because it was 'designed', and also a designer God who merely 'winds up' the clock and then leaves things running is simply the uninterested deity of Deism.
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Perth, Australia | Registered: 09 March 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It does not prove or disprove the Christian God, one way or another. It only shows the probability of a universe that spontaneously appeared from nothing in such a fined tuned way.

While it may be possible for that to happen it is highly improbable.

IMO. For all the Forces of Science to be so finely tuned as to even allow the existence of matter hints at design. I say hints and not prove. To say this force is God and to make definitions of his personality is pure assumption. This would be more theological and philosophical in nature.


Also, it seems very improbable that inorganic material could spontaneously turn into organic material. The odds of a gene sequence forming the simplest strand of DNA to jump start life by accident can be compared to dumping a box of scrabble letters on the ground and it spelling out a chapter of Shakespeare.

To attribute all of this to accident is just lunacy in my opinion.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Creation. Accident or Design?

The real question starts by asking the question: What does "accident" mean in the context of the whole universe? We might sit at a poker game and think it a grand "accident" if we are dealt four aces. We'd call that a case of random chance. But what does "random" or "chance" mean in the context of the whole universe? Doesn't chance inherently require a larger context? There is a chance that this card or that card is going to come out of the deck. There's a chance of this universe or that universe coming out of�coming out of what? Is that "what" another thing, a chance thing or otherwise? Forget about the problem of infinite regression. I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about chance or randomness making any sense at all except in a system that already exists.

The idea of god is rock solid enough in my opinion, and I would say a logical necessity. By definition, whatever is the cause of everything is god. Tautology or not, I see this as logically sound. All that's left to do is quibble over the details of this god. Trying to prove that this god is a personal, Christian god is another thing entirely. I don't think one can do that using just logic. But good luck trying to prove that "randomness" produced something from nothing. If this is so then it seems that logically the universe should be quite unstable since "randomness" would surely still be in effect. Why don't we see whole swaths of the universe pop into and out of existence? Why don't whole regions of space disappear? How can this universe have been stable for 14.7 billions years if the cause of it was randomness? Couldn't it un-cause itself at any time, in whole or in part? What holds it stably in place?

And can a process of "randomness" (however it works) produce an intricate system that itself is random? Down at the smallest level of things, at the quantum level, everything is spoken of, and can only be spoken of, in terms of probabilities. But with our most sophisticated computers and algorithms, we (Las Vegas, in particular) find it a real chore to simulate randomness. It just seems not to be possible. There's always some vestige of order left over, no matter how small, that some motivated hi-tech thief, for instance, can take advantage of and use to win big at the slot machines. So how then does a random process that supposedly pops things into existence randomly itself produce what appears to be perfect randomness at the quantum level? When we look at what this quantum randomness looks like on the macro level (a level farther removed from the source), on the level of busses, airplanes, pool tables, and bananas, we see that the behavior that ensues is far from random. Instead, order is produced. There is a change of state, so to speak. I would think, conversely, that only order itself of some kind at an ontologically more basic level than the quantum level could produce the quantum randomness itself.

And as far as quantum probability itself is concerned, I think that would only be the case from our perspective inside of space-time. Yes, we may be able to speak only in terms of probabilities as to the chance of an individual particle decaying. But from a perspective outside of space-time would this necessarily be true? To our instruments these things look random, but I don't think that means that they need be intrinsically random. And if the possibility exists that they are not, at least from another perspective, then the whole randomness or chance argument for creation is unworkable again. And aren't we privileged to suppose that randomness itself is not random from another perspective if the rules of randomness itself are to suppose that this can be so, or that can be so, or another thing can be so? In effect, isn't randomness a wildcard that explains nothing because it can mean anything?

And let's not be so arrogant or unimaginative to imagine that our universe of space-time, matter, forces, and energy is the only possible "thing" that can "exist". I must put "exist" in quotation marks because to speak of existence is to speak of a universe like ours with matter and energy. But surely other types of things are possible that are different from existence. We can't imagine them directly but we can imagine them in theory. And so even if the universe, however improbably, blinked into existence through random chance, one must presume first of all that a near infinite number of different types of "things" could have been popped into "existence", not just a space-time universe like ours. And then even if we are to grudgingly admit that a space-time universe could just pop into existence out of all the possible other "things" that could have "existed" instead, we then have to explain how out of perhaps an infinite variety of space-time universe possibilities (ones with different forces, different strengths to the forces, different masses, etc, all the stuff Eric originally listed) that we got one so improbably and perfectly balanced to produce life.

And then let us try to figure out how consciousness was produced from nothing by squiggly superstrings and bouncing quarks, both basic elements that show no signs of life or a capacity for anything but being a squiggling superstring (in theory�no one has seen one of those things yet) or a bouncing quark.

Of course, one is left with the problem of where god came from. That's no small problem, but at least the attributes of intelligence, order, existence, love, consciousness, and a host of other things make some kind of sense with a god hypothesis. One does not make a cake out of sand, no matter how clever one is. One needs the raw ingredients. One needs flour, water, sugar, etc. One may be able to make something from nothing through randomness. Maybe. But how does a dumb, lifeless "nothingness" spawn consciousness and life? Does it make any sense to say it could? Which really sounds more superstitious and irrational, a conscious, intelligent god or a dumb, random, lifeless god-of-chance?
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hi Brad}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

If I only had a brain....

http://www.peterkreeft.com

This fellow seems to have thought it through...
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Kreeft�s "Love Sees with New Eyes" has been a favorite of mine, MM, ever since you pointed him out.

quote:
When we see the stars we do not hear "the music of the spheres," but only silence. When we think of gravity, we do not think of it as the body of love or the material expression of love, as Dante did. We do not see God's love at work in the very structure of matter.

�We can see the same principle at work on every level: gravity and electromagnetism on the inorganic level; a plant's attraction to the sun and to water and nutrients in the soil on the plant level; instinct on the animal level; and love on the human level. And within the human sphere there is also a hierarchy beginning with the sexual desire (eros) and affection (storge) that we share with the animals up to the friendship (philia) and charity (agape) that we share with the angels. The universe is a hierarchy of love. This is not a myth. This is the splendid and glorious truth. Look! How can you miss it? It's all around us.

Science's reductionistic method fails to see cosmic love. Modern science requires the use of the simplest possible explanation. This is the principle called "Occam's Razor." The modern mind always tends to reduce the greater to the lesser rather than seeing the lesser as reflecting the greater. It thinks of human love as only complex animal instinct, or even complex electrochemical attraction, rather than thinking of these subhuman attractions as love on a lesser level. Premodern thought saw lust as confused love. Modern thought sees love as rationalized lust. This is reductionism.
We�re probably richer if we do both, if we see the lesser as reflecting the greater, and vice versa. We can enjoy the beach and the fact that is made up of individual grains of sand. But bring an individual grain of sand to someone who has never experienced a beach before and tell them "A beach is just like this, just many more grains." Will that suffice as an explanation of a beach? No. And if a person never looks closer at a beach and never sees the individual grains, can he or she still enjoy the beach? Yes, but the beach is just one dimension of a world that is full of wonder. There are other things one can see and appreciate such as looking at the individual grains through a microscope.

The real battle though, and why we probably care about such distinctions at all, is because we�re concerned with bragging rights, over who�s outlook has the real explanatory power of the world. And here we see where some larger "thing" or state of being splits up and splits off and thus the poetic (I�ll call it) and the technological emerge as more distinct entities and also thus diverge from each other at the same time. And that is why our science can become dull and lifeless, even pessimistic, in its outlook on life. And it is why perhaps that our religious outlooks can become superstitious, fundamentalist, and hostile to reason.

There�s both a "fine grained" aspect to that beach where, because we understand the existence of the individual grains, we may thus understand things like beach erosion better. And there is the larger quality that we experience when we lounge on the beach in the sun, build sand castles out if it, or dig for clams in it. Science isn�t ever going to explain these human experiences. All it can try to do is to take them apart and, like any good joke, for instance, destroy it or miss the point completely through the analysis. But nor should we be hostile to those who understand the beach as being made up of many individual grains. A beach-ologist (if there is such a thing) may boldly and arrogantly (and wrongly, but only partially so) proclaim that they "understand" the beach, and that everyone before this discovery was living in ignorance. Indeed, when new discoveries are made it does show that there is more to be learned. But science does not now "own" the beach, even though often they�d very much like to think that they do.

Science is wonderful, but it falls way short when it assumes that its metaphysical statements about the world are superior. They are not. Science is part of the whole, as is the more sensual or poetic experience of lying on the beach and reading a good book. But I think each of us, whether coming from a religious or scientific perspective, are always in danger of erring if we aim for certainty when we really ought to have figured out by now that we ain�t gonna know or understand probably 99.99% of what is in this universe. And then we fall back on (or probably should fall back on) the idea that it�s the journey, not the destination that is the thing. And then it becomes important how we comport ourselves on this journey more than whatever facts or insights we happen to dig up on the beach.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Science is wonderful, but it falls way short when it assumes that its metaphysical statements about the world are superior. They are not. Science is part of the whole, as is the more sensual or poetic experience of lying on the beach and reading a good book.

Sorry to pick out just this little snippet of your posts above, Brad, but I think it does point out that there are limitations as to what science can say about reality. Its explanatory data can never exceed what the empirical data can support, and so it has no business, really commenting on questions and issues that belong more to the disciplines of philosophy and theology (so long as these aren't conflicting with scientific perspectives). Science knows what it knows, but it also doesn't know what it doesn't know. ;-)

Remember this thread? Exhibit A, based on Daniel Helminiak's work, does a nice job sorthing things out, I believe.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Remember this thread?

Yes. It seems there�s the dimension of looking at things in ever-smaller bits through a microscope (aka "science"). And then there is this ascending scope (and slope!) of the philosophic/theistic/theotic. This latter slope is in one�s head and heart. It�s at the source of our senses. It is already in the eye that looks through the microscope. It is near impossible for me to quantify, but I do think it�s something. I�ll have to read Helminiak�s book one of these days. Add it to the pile.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's the book, Brad. And it's not a book on Christian theology, but is more about showing the validity of these different perspectives. Helminiak does a great job demonstrating their validity in terms of areas of concern and explanation. As to whether they conform to reality, one must eventually wonder why we ask philosophical and theological questions in the first place if there's not some dimension of reality yearning to yield its secrets to us in these ways.
 
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As to whether they conform to reality, one must eventually wonder why we ask philosophical and theological questions in the first place if there's not some dimension of reality yearning to yield its secrets to us in these ways.

Nice thought. I'm of the "it's there for a reason" mentality. I'm not a fine art connoisseur by any means. Not even an advanced amateur. But I've been in contact with a lot of artists in my life through my job and have gotten to know a bit about what makes them tick. They are very much analogically a priesthood of sorts. They are seers. They reach down into their imaginations and souls and pull out something that they're often not sure where it comes from. Just go to one of the online art galleries and look at some Rembrandt, Monet, or Van Gogh. This is pure, raw creativity on display. They (as well as many other artists) make creativity look like a fundament element of the universe, as fundamental as quarks and gravity.

It's hard to imagine what a universe would look like if we 100% for sure knew there was no god. I�m of the same mind as C.S. Lewis that, for instance, our sense or morality (which is becoming ever-refined as the centuries pass) shows that there is a moral Ultimate, a master template, for such a thing. Now, try to imagine a world without god, if we could know such a thing for sure. (I'm not sure how we could, but this is just a thought experiment after all). Would we have feelings of guilt at all, or would human society instead look as automaton-ish, programmed, unconscious, and mechanistic as a drop of water under a high-powered microscope with swarms of amoebas and such swimming around eating each other? Would there even be such things as feelings? Where do feelings come from anyway? How is that possible in a "dumb" random world of no god, of no Master Template?

We tend to take for granted such basic components of the universes as logic and reason. We, ironically, use them to both prove the existence of god and disprove the existence of god. But ask yourself how such primaries as logic and reason could just appear from nothing, from a random process? Randomness ought to produce nothing but incoherence, chaos, and instability. Yes, I know I�m preaching to the choir at the moment, but I do find this interesting.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very thought provoking, Brad. Glad to see you around again.

I like the deck of cards analogy. It seems improbable to get a royal flush on the first deal. But it's not impossible. But would it be possible to get the same hand from a deck of cards that do not exist? I wonder what the odds are of a deck of cards popping into existence and dealing you a royal flush. Such things sound like nonsense but it seems perfectly normal to apply the same idea to the formation of our universe.

The idea of the existence of God is a no-brainier for me. While it certainly feels like there is no God at times. Especially when horrible things happen in our life. It makes more sense to me that everything is organized and has a system.

While given that anything is possible given an infinite amount time. Does our universe have an infinite amount of time? Not from my understanding. Our universe is dated. It has an estimated age in the billions of years. The real question would be what is the probability of our universe turning out the way it did given the amount of time it had?

This includes all of the forces and all of the sciences. All the way up to the emergence of intelligent life.

I could say anything is possible when it is given an infinity. But do we exist inside of infinity? If not then it becomes very improbable indeed that everything exist the way it does today by chance alone.

Then even given an infinite amount of time is it even possible for existence to appear from non-existence? That even depends on our understanding of what existence even is and what is even really possible or even impossible.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
And let's not be so arrogant or unimaginative to imagine that our universe of space-time, matter, forces, and energy is the only possible "thing" that can "exist". I must put "exist" in quotation marks because to speak of existence is to speak of a universe like ours with matter and energy. But surely other types of things are possible that are different from existence.
Existence and non-existence may not be the only possibilities. There may be even a third possibility or maybe even more.

Existence appears to be created from non-existence. But how is this so? How can you make something from nothing? One possible solution would be that there is something other than existence and non-existence.

We seemed to be locked into a universe where nothing makes sense because everything has a dualistic reality.

The amazing thing is that this dualistic reality allows for things to happen. Action allows re-action. This allows us to do things. Time seems to be the medium for all this.

Maybe everything that is possible is contained within our existence. Since there may be something other than existence and non-existence. Could there be something other than possible and impossible?

If you removed time from our universe you would remove the possible. Leaving only the impossible?


I think I lost my mind.
 
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