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Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 01 Dec 2011 12:41 am

An examination of the “fine-tuning” idea – fine-tuning of the universe as evidence for the existence of God

An interesting article looking at the fine-tuning of the universe as evidence for the existence of God:

Response to Rayna: Fine Tuning

It seems that this idea of “fine tuning” can be traced more-or-less to one guy, a mathematician named Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) who is also infamous for his rejection of The Big Bang, and also for his rejection of chemical evolution – he believed life originated not on Earth but somewhere in space, and was deposited here by a meteorite. Regarding fine-tuning, Hoyle calculated the chances of life evolving on Earth to be 1040,000 to 1, and based on this figure, he concluded that the only possible explanation is that an intelligent designer must have been responsible for manipulating the conditions.

This figure, known as Hoyle’s Fallacy, is universally rejected by statisticians and evolutionary biologists because, to put it simply, he made a rather obvious error: He was calculating the odds that a modern cell, rather than a primordial one, could come together out of non-living ingredients, which is a straw-man fallacy – that is, he was attacking a misrepresentation of the scientific view of the origins of life, a view that no evolutionary biologist actually advocates. Evolutionary biologists, by the way, do agree with him on this point – the chances of a modern cell coming together out of primordial ingredients is ineffably slim. But that’s not even close to what evolutionary biologists actually think happened, so in the end, it doesn’t apply.

34 Responses to “An examination of the “fine-tuning” idea – fine-tuning of the universe as evidence for the existence of God”

  1. on 01 Dec 2011 at 9:10 pm 1.Dez said …

    “that is, he was attacking a misrepresentation of the scientific view of the origins of life, a view that no evolutionary biologist actually advocates.”

    I pulled the quote from above.

    What is the scientific view of the origin of life?

    How has Hoyle misrepresented it?

    Share with me the facets of the primordial cell with the new and improved cell of modernity?

  2. on 01 Dec 2011 at 10:55 pm 2.Anonymous said …

    Life began with a planetary mega-organism

    “So LUCA had a rich metabolism that used different food sources, and it had internal organelles. So far, so familiar. But its genetics are a different story altogether.

    For starters, LUCA may not have used DNA. Poole has studied the history of enzymes called ribonucleotide reductases, which create the building blocks of DNA, and found no evidence that LUCA had them (BMC Evolutionary Biology, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-383). Instead, it may have used RNA: many biologists think RNA came first because it can store information and control chemical reactions (New Scientist, 13 August, p 32).

    The crucial point is that LUCA was a “progenote”, with poor control over the proteins that it made, says Massimo Di Giulio of the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics in Naples, Italy. Progenotes can make proteins using genes as a template, but the process is so error-prone that the proteins can be quite unlike what the gene specified. Both Di Giulio and Caetano-Anollés have found evidence that systems that make protein synthesis accurate appear long after LUCA. “LUCA was a clumsy guy trying to solve the complexities of living on primitive Earth,” says Caetano-Anollés.”

  3. on 02 Dec 2011 at 12:59 am 3.Dez said …

    Anonymous

    So you are claiming Hoyle didn’t buy into LUCA? Do you have a quote? Do you believe all evolutionary biologist now promote this theory as fact?

    Can you share with me the facets of the primordial cell with the new and improved cell of modernity?

  4. on 02 Dec 2011 at 3:40 am 4.Zed said …

    Dez, under different circumstances that might be an interesting question.

    However, questions such as yours tend to be raised by theists, Christians in particular, as a way of diverting attention away from the lack of evidence for their imaginary god.

    What detail can you share with us regarding the process by which the universe was created either from a deist or theist perspective? What would be particularly interesting would be an explanation that doesn’t utilize either double-standards or special pleading

  5. on 02 Dec 2011 at 4:16 am 5.Xenon said …

    Zed

    So your idea of a blog is to ignore the thread and zero in on your phobias? Why don’t you answer the question posed by Dez? It is a good one as you acknowledged and is actually on topic with the thread.

  6. on 02 Dec 2011 at 4:36 am 6.Anonymous said …

    Horatio, as ever, you come up with one of your aliases and attempt to divert attention away from your failure to provide the evidence you claim to have.

    It’s no wonder you need to make up false positions to attack. You’ve failed miserably to convince anyone that your delusion is anything but an emotional crutch for a scared and angry old man.

    Got nothing? Then continue to prove your desperation with your childish posts and your feeble attempts to post red-herrings.

    It’s been said before. Your postings are some of the best adverts possible for the lack of coherent arguments from Christians. But, then, you think think that the fireside stories of uneducated and illiterate goat herders are actually some kind of universal truth.

    LOL!

  7. on 02 Dec 2011 at 11:18 am 7.Anonymous said …

    Introduction, what’s wrong with creationists’ “abiogenesis is so improbable” calculations

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

  8. on 02 Dec 2011 at 2:40 pm 8.Lou (DFW) said …

    5.Xenon said …

    “So your idea of a blog is to ignore the thread and zero in on your phobias? Why don’t you answer the question posed by Dez? It is a good one as you acknowledged and is actually on topic with the thread.”

    No, it’s not a “good one.” It’s simply another form of the god of the gaps argument.

    The topic of the thread is not whether or not Hoyle believed LUCA or comparing “facets of the primordial cell with the new and improved cell of modernity.” The topic of the thread is how theists falsely “fine-tune” the universe as evidence for god.

  9. on 02 Dec 2011 at 2:41 pm 9.Ben said …

    Dez

    Hoyle’s argument of “fine tuning” is still as relevant today as it was when he help propose it. Simply put, it is evident

    If there is no intelligence behind the universe we should see no laws and chaos. However we observe design, laws and “fine tuning”. Its not a difficult concept, but many men must attempt to explain this away to maintain their worldview.

  10. on 02 Dec 2011 at 2:50 pm 10.Ben said …

    This from anonymous link on LUCA”

    “”It’s a plausible idea,” agrees Eric Alm of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But he says he “honestly can’t tell” if it is true.”

    I guess this idea actually has less traction than “fine tuning” after all.

  11. on 02 Dec 2011 at 3:49 pm 11.Lou (DFW) said …

    9.Ben said …

    “Hoyle’s argument of “fine tuning” is still as relevant today as it was when he help propose it. Simply put, it is evident”

    Right it’s just as relevant and evident that every year, without fail, Santa Claus delivers presents to children at xmas time.

    “If there is no intelligence behind the universe we should see no laws and chaos.”

    According to who, you?

    “However we observe design, laws and “fine tuning.”

    No, “we” don’t.

    “Its [sic] not a difficult concept, but many men must attempt to explain this away to maintain their worldview.”

    Correct, it’s not a difficult concept to understand, but it is now because false religions have perverted rational and logical thought for so many people, as is so evident here by the Hors of this blog.

  12. on 02 Dec 2011 at 4:13 pm 12.Anonymous said …

    If only we could get the same level of contribution from the believers when it comes to them providing evidence for their imaginary god as we see when it comes to them raising red herrings and other diversions.

  13. on 02 Dec 2011 at 4:32 pm 13.Lou (DFW) said …

    12.Anonymous said …

    “If only we could get the same level of contribution from the believers when it comes to them providing evidence for their imaginary god as we see when it comes to them raising red herrings and other diversions.”

    But that’s impossible because there is no evidence for their god because it’s imaginary. It’s that simple.

  14. on 02 Dec 2011 at 5:06 pm 14.DPK said …

    I’ve stayed out of this discussion because I know practically nothing about the research into the origins of life on Earth. I actually had to google “LUCA” to find out what it meant.
    Nevertheless, this is a common tactic theist use to divert attention away from their complete lack of evidence for their mythical, superstitious beings. The “you can’t explain exactly…..” argument, otherwise known as god of the gaps.
    Why is it impressive that a scientist will admit truthfully, that there is no way to “prove” what a primordial cell, or the actual origins of life from some 4 billion years ago actually looked like? So what? All a scientist today is look at what evidence we have and try to explain in a way that makes sense what happened. Even if there were 100 different possible pathways to the origin of life and you can’t “prove” any of them… so what> That DOESN’T therefore mean some invisible, magical being, (who’s origin ALSO cannot be explained) somehow poofed everything into existence through some magical process that can NEVER be understood.
    Pointless. Even if everything mankind has learned about evolution, the origin of the building blocks of matter, chemistry, biology and the life sciences was somehow, someway, demonstrated to be totally, completely wrong (not that it IS… but IF) that STILL would not provide any compelling evidence that the myths and legends of primitive tribesman from thousands of years ago are, in fact, reality.
    Please… give it up.

  15. on 02 Dec 2011 at 6:34 pm 15.Dez said …

    So DPK you would agree the argument of the tread is bogus? From the thread’s article would you be able to answer:

    How has Hoyle misrepresented origins?

    Share with us the facets of the primordial cell with the new and improved cell of modernity?

    I can’t figure how I get off point when my entire discussion has been related to the above article.

  16. on 02 Dec 2011 at 7:23 pm 16.DPK said …

    I think it would be fair to say that a good argument has been made that Hoyle’s calculations regarding the improbability of life originating on Earth were vastly overstated and were based on assumptions not in evidence.
    I think a good argument has been made that those using Hoyle’s calculations as “evidence” of intelligent design are presenting a very flawed perspective.
    So no, I don’t think the argument of the thread is “bogus”. It was simply “An examination of the “fine-tuning” idea – fine-tuning of the universe as evidence for the existence of God”.
    As I’ve said before, the “fine tuning” argument, no matter what set of probabilities you offer, is not an argument for god. Even if the probability of life originating in any particular place are slim, you ignore the size and age of the universe, the possibility of perhaps infinite other universes, the possibility of perhaps an infinite progression of universes, and the Anthropic Principal, which states that if life had been impossible to originate, we wouldn’t be here thinking about it. Kind of like telling the lottery winner it’s impossible to win the lottery.

  17. on 02 Dec 2011 at 8:15 pm 17.Suh said …

    Dawkins better explains the process

    “Nobody knows how it happened but, somehow, without violating the laws of physics and chemistry, a molecule arose that just happened to have the property of self-copying—a replicator. This may seem like a big stroke of luck… Freakish or not, this kind of luck does happen… [and] it had to happen only once… What is more, as far as we know, it may have happened on only one planet out of a billion billion planets in the universe. Of course many people think that it actually happened on lots and lots of planets, but we only have evidence that it happened on one planet, after a lapse of half a billion to a billion years. So the sort of lucky event we are looking at could be so wildly improbable that the chances of its happening, somewhere in the universe, could be as low as one in a billion billion billion in any one year. If it did happen on only one planet, anywhere in the universe, that planet has to be our planet—because here we are talking about it” (Dawkins, 1996, pp. 282–283).

  18. on 02 Dec 2011 at 11:43 pm 18.Zed said …

    So, Dez, what’s your explanation then?

    From the style of questioning you’ve put forward, it seems likely that you are of the opinion that a magic man in the sky simply poofed the universe into existence and placed us on this insignificant planet so that we could love and adore him.

    If that’s not your take, what is? Either way, let’s understand what it is and with the level of detail and proof that you were looking for with your earlier questions.

  19. on 03 Dec 2011 at 4:02 am 19.Horatiio said …

    Dez

    I can explain. The blogmaster puts up many threads that are as you say bogus. Hoyle never went against any conventional argument for origins because there is not one. Hoyle used observational science to put forth a hypothesis.

    Suh,

    Great quote! LOL!!I like “somehow without violating the laws of physics it happened”. It is sad that passes for science.

    LOL!! I wonder why the atheist don’t ask for proof of that event! They have no proof but they believe.

  20. on 03 Dec 2011 at 1:54 pm 20.Anonymous said …

    So, in other words, neither Dez, Horatio, Curmudgeon, or any of the theists have any proof, or even logic, to back up their superstitious goat-herder “magic man in the sky who loves us, and needs our adoration” hypotheses, so they must post diversionary argument after argument, so that they don’t have to face up to the total lack of any evidence of their claim.

  21. on 04 Dec 2011 at 7:55 pm 21.Lou (DFW) said …

    19.Horatiio, ever the troll said …

    “I like “somehow without violating the laws of physics it happened”.

    Who cares what you like.

    “It is sad that passes for science.”

    Once again, Hor quotes out of context to produce a non sequitur. The relevant quote is “Nobody knows how it happened but…” Dawkins statement was an attempt at “science.”

    “I wonder why the atheist don’t ask for proof of that event!”

    Of course you do, because you’re making an empty argument.

    “They have no proof but they believe.”

    How can there be “proof” of that event that you would accept? But why isn’t there any “proof” of your god who you claim exist and intervenes in the lives of people and natural events today?

    You claimed to have such proof, you were obviously lying about that. Now, back your “Broadway In The Basement” fantasy with you.

  22. on 04 Dec 2011 at 8:36 pm 22.Lou (DFW) said …

    21.Lou (DFW) said …

    Correction: Dawkins statement was NOT an attempt at “science.”

  23. on 27 Dec 2011 at 2:09 am 23.Dane Beam said …

    I think it is sad and amazing that you do not give people a way to contact you to discuss your opinions towards Yeshua Messiah. I did see some topics that I totally agree with, such as Christmas, religiosity, and the pope not knowing his bible. Cornering true Christianity into a corner and saying all Christians are one way and we all think the same way is extremely ignorant, I would also like to here why you think that God could not possibly be real. I saw some of your proofs and could find nothing that would lead someone to believe that there was no God; in fact if you look at statistics, which is all science really is; an observation of perceived probabilities, then it would be more rational to believe in a creator. There is actually quite a bit of scientific evidence for creationism over evolution. Anyway, I will say that Christianity today is not what God intended, and I would encourage you to look at Romans 1 and Romans 9. God has not created all people for salvation, but He did create all things for His glory.

  24. on 27 Dec 2011 at 3:40 am 24.Anonymous said …

    Dane, instead of complaining just provide proof, unequivocal proof, of this god of yours being real. You clearly believe he’s real, but that’s not the same as it being real.

    You need to take a course in science, because you clearly don’t know what science is. You write of ignorance, but if you think there is any scientific proof at all for creationism then you are either stupid, delusional, misinformed, or you’re being willfully ignorant to believe that any of that creationism fantasy could possibly be true.

    I mean, really, an invisible man in the sky created everything by magic. Really?

    So, lets see you take on the challenge. Provide proof that this god of your is real and provide a sensible answer for why he helps Tim Tebow win football games (sometimes) but he won’t heal amputees. Go on, try it.

    If you can’t do that, then the most obvious, most blatant, most clear, most simple, most direct, most sensible answer is that he is imaginary. It’s that simple. It really is.

  25. on 27 Dec 2011 at 3:54 am 25.ZZZ said …

    >There is actually quite a bit of scientific evidence for creationism over evolution

    What is your source of information about creationism? How old do you believe planet earth is?

  26. on 27 Dec 2011 at 4:26 am 26.Anonymous said …

    “23 – Anyway, I will say that Christianity today is not what God intended”.

    First, how do you know what your god intended? Did he speak to you and tell you?

    Second, from your comment, your god clearly is not omniscient nor all powerful. Which, based on your beliefs, means you are also not a true Christian, right?

  27. on 27 Dec 2011 at 4:28 am 27.Lou (DFW) said …

    23.Dane Beam said …

    “There is actually quite a bit of scientific evidence for creationism over evolution.”

    And yet another kook joins the fray.

  28. on 27 Dec 2011 at 4:30 am 28.Q said …

    http://m.quickmeme.com/meme/35ky8x/

    What’s up with this?

  29. on 27 Dec 2011 at 5:04 am 29.Anonymous said …

    Yes, what is it when the very same people who challenge you to describe some complex biological process in minute detail are the same ones that think that women spontaneously form out of a man’s rib.

  30. on 28 Dec 2011 at 3:13 am 30.Biff said …

    “I saw some of your proofs and could find nothing that would lead someone to believe that there was no God”

    Dane

    You are being kind even calling them proofs. They are not proofs but more opinion, ignorance and misinformation. Although this is a blog that supposedly promotes atheism as true, in reality it does no more than give atheists a place to rant.

  31. on 28 Dec 2011 at 4:24 am 31.Anonymous said …

    And once again, Biff spectacularly fails to make any attempt at all at providing proof that his god is anything but a delusion, a mental aberration that exists only in his tormented mind.

    Thank you Biff for making my point for me and for also demonstration how much of your prattle is pure projection.

    Still, feel free at any time to provide the proof that this god thing of yours is anything more than a psychological security blanket.

  32. on 28 Dec 2011 at 9:16 am 32.Anonymous said …

    Has anyone else noted that Biff’s posts consist solely of his spilling his hatred for anyone who doesn’t hold his position. No proof for his position, he doesn’t ever show where others are wrong – sure he says they are but conveniently never explains why, all he posts are just negative emotions.

    Biff, that’s not very “Christian” of you at all. It must be sad to be so scared to be wrong that all you can do is point fingers at other people and call them names. Is your fear of being wrong so great that all you can think to do is act like your great god Yahweh and say mean things but not actually be able to affect the real world?

    Were you able to offer proof of the existence of this god, then many people would convert and follow your lead. Isn’t that what you want, or do you really just want a venue for your bile?

    But what do you think it is when even the followers of someone can’t produce one shred of evidence that what follow actually exists?

    What do you think it means when it’s obvious that this deity doesn’t intervene in the real world – at all?

    What do you think it means when you theists need to make special exceptions for your beliefs, ones you wont make for other religions in order to keep your hopes of being right alive?

    What do you think it means when people who claim that a supernatural being cares about them, makes all kind of excuses to hide its absence, and then demand that people prove them wrong whilst essentially claiming this god of theirs is both detectable and non-detectable at the same time.

    Sorry to say that I think it shows that the being they follow is either imaginary, or no longer intervenes in this world, what do you think it means?

  33. on 28 Dec 2011 at 11:18 am 33.Lou (DFW) said …

    30.Biff said …

    “You are being kind even calling them proofs. They are not proofs but more opinion, ignorance and misinformation.”

    Said Biff in another one of his rants about atheists wherein he NEVER, EVER provides any evidence of his imaginary god.

    “Although this is a blog that supposedly promotes atheism as true…”

    Actually, “This blog accompanies the site and explores God and religion in our world today.”

    “…in reality it does no more than give atheists a place to rant.”

    As opposed to a place where theists constantly attack atheists, evolution, Big Bang, and other ideas that have nothing to with god or religion – id est, rant.

  34. on 28 Dec 2011 at 1:13 pm 34.Anonymous said …

    As opposed to a place where theists constantly attack atheists, evolution, Big Bang, and other ideas that have nothing to with god or religion – id est, rant.

    And they attack with the same defeated arguments and the same irrelevancies, all designed to either shift the burden of proof or divert attention away from their having to substantiate their claim of this [non-existent] god of theirs. Considering that, those regular posters are most likely either Poes or trolls.

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