Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
20-05-2017, 02:50 PM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(19-05-2017 08:07 PM)Cosmo Wrote:  I agree that life would likely be rare but I am uncertain as to whether it is as rare as we think it is. I recently posted research into the role of rocks and clays catalyzing the reactions of lipids into vesicles, for instance. It's in the resource thread. If I may continue to speculate on origins, since that seems to be where the conversation has turned Smile, if rocks and clays can catalyze biologically meaningful reactions under certain circumstances, then life might not be as rare as we think it is.
Well I don't think life generally is likely to be vanishingly rare but just life that's recognizably intelligent, self aware, and sentient. I would expect single celled plant life to be infinitely more ubiquitous than any sort of sentient civilization, particularly post-hunter-gatherer level of development.

I expect that just as life will not evolve in some places, it will not evolve to the level of variety and complexity that it has on earth in most of the places life evolves at all. I expect us to find simple life forms to be, maybe not ubiquitous but not rare either on other worlds. More complex forms would be increasingly rare. The development of life will start later and be slower on some worlds than on others; when it gets to the level of creatures like we humans who begin to influence and even direct their own evolution, then many of those civilizations will self-destruct, which introduces yet more rarity.

There are of course factors that could change this equation. For example, some sort of inadvertent or deliberate mechanism or program of panspermia could make very rare life forms far more plentiful and distributed than would otherwise be the case. In other words it may take just one civilization to achieve interstellar travel (even slow, sublight methods) and take it upon itself to seed life on other worlds, to greatly increase the ubiquity of life at least within a single galaxy. Even we are not that far from perfecting self-directed, self-repairing vessels that could be seeding life on other worlds long after we die out for whatever reason in our own solar system. We are in fact just a generation away from photonic propulsion of small (cell phone sized) robotic craft to a significant percentage of light speed, which will allow us to gather data from star systems in our local group. The first data from the nearest system (Proxima Centauri) could be returning scientific data to regale the grandchildren of millennials. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine those capabilities being perfected and inexpensive enough to eventually have an incidental panspermia component to them in the next hundred years or so -- if we had the vision for it, and found no evidence of native life in nearby star systems, we might find meaning in giving life a chance on more worlds.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes mordant's post
22-05-2017, 10:25 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
The puddle thinks the pothole was designed for it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like ResidentEvilFan's post
24-05-2017, 10:14 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
houseofcantor Wrote:A lot of people do the same shit without conscious realization, they interpret the world while conveniently forgetting the interpreter.

Precisely Smile

Quote:Well I don't think life generally is likely to be vanishingly rare but just life that's recognizably intelligent, self aware, and sentient. I would expect single celled plant life to be infinitely more ubiquitous than any sort of sentient civilization, particularly post-hunter-gatherer level of development.

I expect that just as life will not evolve in some places, it will not evolve to the level of variety and complexity that it has on earth in most of the places life evolves at all. I expect us to find simple life forms to be, maybe not ubiquitous but not rare either on other worlds. More complex forms would be increasingly rare. The development of life will start later and be slower on some worlds than on others; when it gets to the level of creatures like we humans who begin to influence and even direct their own evolution, then many of those civilizations will self-destruct, which introduces yet more rarity.

Well said.

Quote:There are of course factors that could change this equation. For example, some sort of inadvertent or deliberate mechanism or program of panspermia could make very rare life forms far more plentiful and distributed than would otherwise be the case. In other words it may take just one civilization to achieve interstellar travel (even slow, sublight methods) and take it upon itself to seed life on other worlds, to greatly increase the ubiquity of life at least within a single galaxy. Even we are not that far from perfecting self-directed, self-repairing vessels that could be seeding life on other worlds long after we die out for whatever reason in our own solar system. We are in fact just a generation away from photonic propulsion of small (cell phone sized) robotic craft to a significant percentage of light speed, which will allow us to gather data from star systems in our local group.

I am so excited about this. I would love to see more research into wormholes as well so we can go there ourselves. I remember being disheartened in school when I realized that apart from a space ark filled with cryogenically frozen life (maybe suspended-animation), or serious research into traversable wormholes, the prospect of humans actually getting anywhere in the Universe are slim to none. Dodgy

Quote:The first data from the nearest system (Proxima Centauri) could be returning scientific data to regale the grandchildren of millennials. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine those capabilities being perfected and inexpensive enough to eventually have an incidental panspermia component to them in the next hundred years or so -- if we had the vision for it, and found no evidence of native life in nearby star systems, we might find meaning in giving life a chance on more worlds.

I actually never thought of that. A micropod filled with bacteria that we eject onto planets during a flyby/gravitational assist or something.

Cool. Cool

Quote:The puddle thinks the pothole was designed for it.

Great analogy. Smile

~ The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you ~
-Neil Degrasse Tyson
[Image: stairway_to_heaven_by_tomtr.png]
~ 0 ~
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-05-2017, 11:47 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(18-05-2017 06:52 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(15-05-2017 03:49 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I have a few questions then. The theistic assumption is that certain "fine tuned" properties and relationships were established by God to guide the evolution of the universe. Isn't it possible that in the big bang everything happened but only those properties and relationships which could achieve a kind of stability continued to exist beyond the very beginning? Couldn't the rest have self-annihilated and disappeared early on? In other words, couldn't the "fine tuned" properties and relationships be self-organized simply by what worked -- just like everything else we know is self-organized?
This is basically the principles of natural selection applied to the universe itself. In the case of living things, the driver of natural selection is that the better adaptations lead, over time, to more of the organisms with those traits surviving long enough to reproduce.

It is a little dicey whether this can be applied to universes or the evolution of a universe (or of any non-living thing), because absent reproduction I'm not sure what exactly is providing the "driver" to a process that is, after all, mindless. Then you open the door to theists bellowing "therefore, god".

I understand that you're suggesting that some characteristics will "self-annihilate" but I don't see why there couldn't have been a universe with no life in it or a universe with a very different sort of life. The universe is indifferent to its contents and their status. I am not aware of any evidence that 100% of anything not suited to life would self-annihilate.

To me the more powerful argument is that if the universe had somewhat different constants, any life that resulted from that would be just as justified in crowing that the universal constants are precisely fitted to THEIR existence. It is simply confusing association with cause. Inherently no conscious observer capable of doing the physics could see anything BUT a universe "perfectly suited" to itself, and that is no reason to suggest it is "tuned", finely or otherwise.

There's more. We look poised to start a colony or at least a planned permanent human presence on Mars, a planet with about 40% of earth's gravity, 1% of its atmospheric density and 0.6% of Earth's atmospheric oxygen content. This and the knock-on effects therefrom make this a huge technological challenge, particularly to make living there self-sufficiently in anything but a relentlessly hardscrabble way feasible. No one reading this post the day it's written will probably live to be a fourth-wave Martian colonist and regard it as a better quality of life than could be had on Earth. And yet, if our situations were reversed and we had evolved on Mars, we'd be making similar statements about Earth -- too hot, terribly dense atmosphere deficient in CO2 and methane, most of the surface buried in roiling seas of toxic Dihydrogen Oxide, and teeming with a bewildering diversity of hostile life.

The truth is that we have evolved to suit our environment, not the inverse.

This is exactly the point I make over and over when a theist trots out "fine tuning." Compared to what?

And you can't look at the end result and reverse engineer the bounding parameters as if that end result is the only possible outcome. If the parameters were different, the outcome would, of course, be different but you can't judge that hypothetical outcome a success or failure.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Stefan Mayerschoff's post
24-05-2017, 03:20 PM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(24-05-2017 10:14 AM)Cosmo Wrote:  
Quote:There are of course factors that could change this equation. For example, some sort of inadvertent or deliberate mechanism or program of panspermia could make very rare life forms far more plentiful and distributed than would otherwise be the case. In other words it may take just one civilization to achieve interstellar travel (even slow, sublight methods) and take it upon itself to seed life on other worlds, to greatly increase the ubiquity of life at least within a single galaxy. Even we are not that far from perfecting self-directed, self-repairing vessels that could be seeding life on other worlds long after we die out for whatever reason in our own solar system. We are in fact just a generation away from photonic propulsion of small (cell phone sized) robotic craft to a significant percentage of light speed, which will allow us to gather data from star systems in our local group.

I am so excited about this. I would love to see more research into wormholes as well so we can go there ourselves. I remember being disheartened in school when I realized that apart from a space ark filled with cryogenically frozen life (maybe suspended-animation), or serious research into traversable wormholes, the prospect of humans actually getting anywhere in the Universe are slim to none. Dodgy
You are forgetting a simpler (relatively speaking) solution: multi-generational spacecraft. I can imagine space stations with centrifugal artificial gravity will be ubiquitous within the next century; people might consider them home before long. Once we figure out how to make those self-sustaining (growing their own crops, 3d printing of replacement components, getting more raw materials from asteroids) it's not a stretch to add an ion drive to it and let it work its way out of the solar system. I can see an expanding cloud of humanity several light years out eventually. Who is to say it's even necessary for all of those to have a destination, they could BE destinations. Of course some would eventually explore other star systems. So rather than going out, say, 6 light years to check out Barnard's Star, and being that far from the rest of humanity and any sort of trading or supply chain, one could get to that destination by visiting stations at, say, half light year intervals along the way. Just a thought. I suppose it is my programmer's mind, breaking big problems down into smaller ones all the time ;-)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes mordant's post
24-05-2017, 09:23 PM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
Quote:You are forgetting a simpler (relatively speaking) solution: multi-generational spacecraft. I can imagine space stations with centrifugal artificial gravity will be ubiquitous within the next century; people might consider them home before long. Once we figure out how to make those self-sustaining (growing their own crops, 3d printing of replacement components, getting more raw materials from asteroids) it's not a stretch to add an ion drive to it and let it work its way out of the solar system. I can see an expanding cloud of humanity several light years out eventually. Who is to say it's even necessary for all of those to have a destination, they could BE destinations. Of course some would eventually explore other star systems. So rather than going out, say, 6 light years to check out Barnard's Star, and being that far from the rest of humanity and any sort of trading or supply chain, one could get to that destination by visiting stations at, say, half light year intervals along the way. Just a thought. I suppose it is my programmer's mind, breaking big problems down into smaller ones all the time ;-)

Ah, yes, I did forget the space-arks filled with the living. Touché! I read over a few different varieties as well. Some of them are gorgeous.

Centrifugal artificial gravity, and a mastery of nuclear energy. The only problem is the resources involved in such an endeavour. From what I've read about multigenerational space arks, the big problem specifically is water access. It's very heavy, and we would need a lot of it if everyone was awake the whole time.

Quote:Who is to say it's even necessary for all of those to have a destination, they could BE destinations

This is plausible. Then docking spacecraft could bring water resources. I was thinking they'd be great ports for miners between asteroids or other space-industry, hovering over or around water-rich planets maybe?

~ The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you ~
-Neil Degrasse Tyson
[Image: stairway_to_heaven_by_tomtr.png]
~ 0 ~
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-05-2017, 12:36 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(24-05-2017 11:47 AM)Stefan Mayerschoff Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 06:52 AM)mordant Wrote:  This is basically the principles of natural selection applied to the universe itself. In the case of living things, the driver of natural selection is that the better adaptations lead, over time, to more of the organisms with those traits surviving long enough to reproduce.

It is a little dicey whether this can be applied to universes or the evolution of a universe (or of any non-living thing), because absent reproduction I'm not sure what exactly is providing the "driver" to a process that is, after all, mindless. Then you open the door to theists bellowing "therefore, god".

I understand that you're suggesting that some characteristics will "self-annihilate" but I don't see why there couldn't have been a universe with no life in it or a universe with a very different sort of life. The universe is indifferent to its contents and their status. I am not aware of any evidence that 100% of anything not suited to life would self-annihilate.

To me the more powerful argument is that if the universe had somewhat different constants, any life that resulted from that would be just as justified in crowing that the universal constants are precisely fitted to THEIR existence. It is simply confusing association with cause. Inherently no conscious observer capable of doing the physics could see anything BUT a universe "perfectly suited" to itself, and that is no reason to suggest it is "tuned", finely or otherwise.

There's more. We look poised to start a colony or at least a planned permanent human presence on Mars, a planet with about 40% of earth's gravity, 1% of its atmospheric density and 0.6% of Earth's atmospheric oxygen content. This and the knock-on effects therefrom make this a huge technological challenge, particularly to make living there self-sufficiently in anything but a relentlessly hardscrabble way feasible. No one reading this post the day it's written will probably live to be a fourth-wave Martian colonist and regard it as a better quality of life than could be had on Earth. And yet, if our situations were reversed and we had evolved on Mars, we'd be making similar statements about Earth -- too hot, terribly dense atmosphere deficient in CO2 and methane, most of the surface buried in roiling seas of toxic Dihydrogen Oxide, and teeming with a bewildering diversity of hostile life.

The truth is that we have evolved to suit our environment, not the inverse.

This is exactly the point I make over and over when a theist trots out "fine tuning." Compared to what?

And you can't look at the end result and reverse engineer the bounding parameters as if that end result is the only possible outcome. If the parameters were different, the outcome would, of course, be different but you can't judge that hypothetical outcome a success or failure.

That's exactly right. Let's face it, "success" is "humans" in their eyes. All of this vast reality is supposed to be centered around us, an inexplicably important species of talking ape. Never mind that most of it is deadly to us and we can't move any significant distance away from this rock we've been glued to; or that the entire lifespan of our species is going to be relatively insignificant. And this is after all this supposed fine tuning. What an utterly useless designer must have been behind all that.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-05-2017, 05:43 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(20-05-2017 02:50 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(19-05-2017 08:07 PM)Cosmo Wrote:  I agree that life would likely be rare but I am uncertain as to whether it is as rare as we think it is. I recently posted research into the role of rocks and clays catalyzing the reactions of lipids into vesicles, for instance. It's in the resource thread. If I may continue to speculate on origins, since that seems to be where the conversation has turned Smile, if rocks and clays can catalyze biologically meaningful reactions under certain circumstances, then life might not be as rare as we think it is.
Well I don't think life generally is likely to be vanishingly rare but just life that's recognizably intelligent, self aware, and sentient. I would expect single celled plant life to be infinitely more ubiquitous than any sort of sentient civilization, particularly post-hunter-gatherer level of development.

I expect that just as life will not evolve in some places, it will not evolve to the level of variety and complexity that it has on earth in most of the places life evolves at all. I expect us to find simple life forms to be, maybe not ubiquitous but not rare either on other worlds. More complex forms would be increasingly rare. The development of life will start later and be slower on some worlds than on others; when it gets to the level of creatures like we humans who begin to influence and even direct their own evolution, then many of those civilizations will self-destruct, which introduces yet more rarity.

There are of course factors that could change this equation. For example, some sort of inadvertent or deliberate mechanism or program of panspermia could make very rare life forms far more plentiful and distributed than would otherwise be the case. In other words it may take just one civilization to achieve interstellar travel (even slow, sublight methods) and take it upon itself to seed life on other worlds, to greatly increase the ubiquity of life at least within a single galaxy. Even we are not that far from perfecting self-directed, self-repairing vessels that could be seeding life on other worlds long after we die out for whatever reason in our own solar system. We are in fact just a generation away from photonic propulsion of small (cell phone sized) robotic craft to a significant percentage of light speed, which will allow us to gather data from star systems in our local group. The first data from the nearest system (Proxima Centauri) could be returning scientific data to regale the grandchildren of millennials. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine those capabilities being perfected and inexpensive enough to eventually have an incidental panspermia component to them in the next hundred years or so -- if we had the vision for it, and found no evidence of native life in nearby star systems, we might find meaning in giving life a chance on more worlds.

the top three rows of the pt will be everywhere. Life is more abundant then you are stating here I think. The numbers for less lifes just don't past the common sense test.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-05-2017, 05:49 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(25-05-2017 12:36 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(24-05-2017 11:47 AM)Stefan Mayerschoff Wrote:  This is exactly the point I make over and over when a theist trots out "fine tuning." Compared to what?

And you can't look at the end result and reverse engineer the bounding parameters as if that end result is the only possible outcome. If the parameters were different, the outcome would, of course, be different but you can't judge that hypothetical outcome a success or failure.

That's exactly right. Let's face it, "success" is "humans" in their eyes. All of this vast reality is supposed to be centered around us, an inexplicably important species of talking ape. Never mind that most of it is deadly to us and we can't move any significant distance away from this rock we've been glued to; or that the entire lifespan of our species is going to be relatively insignificant. And this is after all this supposed fine tuning. What an utterly useless designer must have been behind all that.

This assumes they have a point, they don't. So your claim of "utterly useless" is based on them being wrong. The universe is here and it was not designed by their god. But we can't claim much past that.

Our lives will be as unimportant as the dinosaurs. Or as unimportant as a 1 inch square on your butt.

I hope anyway.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-05-2017, 07:33 AM
RE: Why nothing is cosmologically fine-tuned.
(25-05-2017 05:43 AM)AB517 Wrote:  the top three rows of the pt will be everywhere. Life is more abundant then you are stating here I think. The numbers for less lifes just don't past the common sense test.
It is more than just having the requisite elements, but also having the requisite conditions for abiogenesis, for long enough, and stably enough. In our solar system we are currently aware of one planet that has, or has had, life. It may turn out that there are living things under the crust of Enceladus for instance, or living or at least fossilized remains of living things on Mars. It is possible that there are living things in the cold tholin lakes on Titan, right on the surface, although it would likely be something we might not recognize as life at first. If all these things prove out, the most likely finding would be simple, single-celled or perhaps primitive multicellular life.

Our solar system is apt to be typical in this regard so if we don't find life despite assiduously seeking it out within the next hundred years, that will confirm the only thing we can say with certainty today: in any given solar system, somewhere between one and zero planets will be flourishing with life to the point that it could be seen from a distance through a telescope. On the other hand if we find simple life anywhere else in our system and particularly if it's verified not to be some sort of genetic cousin of life on Earth, it would be reasonable to assume that simple life forms tend to evolve on most worlds at least where there's enough water and some kind of thermal source, but that, again, abundant ecosystems are far less common. We will never know HOW much less common for sure until we have surveyed a large sample of solar systems, maybe a hundred. Until that (likely distant) future time, the ubiquity and density of life throughout the galaxy will be nothing but guesswork.

In the meantime I prefer to have a conservative guess rather than one that pleases my own biocentricity.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes mordant's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: