Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mapping the Fine-Tuning Argument: Why Did God Create A Physical Universe?

This is the eighth installment in my series "Mapping the Fine-Tuning Argument" which critically examines the Fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. Click here to read my formulation of the argument, or here to read a simplified statement of it.

In this installment we will examine premise B-2: "The hypothesis that God exists predicts a life-friendly universe."

Does the God hypothesis predict a life-friendly universe? If there is a God, would he create a physical universe, and if he did, would he create one with life? Why wouldn't God simply create a spiritual world?

I have searched for possible theistic answers to this question and have not been able to find any adequate ones. I did find an answer on page 31 of this kabbalistic book, but it didn't really make sense to me. I found the question asked on Yahoo! Answers and the best answer to it, as chosen by Yahoo Users, was simply "Good Question."

If anyone can think of a possible answer to this question, please write it in the comments.

Why is all of this important? Because when someone comes up with an explanation for the fine-tuning, they must be able to show why fine-tuning would be likely (given the existence of God). If no one can show this, then God isn't even a possible explanation for the fine-tuning and the whole argument falls apart.

You know, at first I didn't think this objection was a big deal, and I was almost sure that I could find something somewhere which would give a plausible reason for God creating a physical universe with life in it. But now my mind has fully absorbed the ultimatum theists face: they must give a plausible reason for the creation of a fine-tuned physical universe or they must give up this argument. And they don't seem to have made much progress in coming to terms with the former.

35 comments:

Michael said...

There is an easy answer to this question, which is simply this: There is in fact NO EVIDENCE that God (or anyone/anything) created a "physical" universe, in the sense that people normally assume. The universe could, for all we know, be simply a mathematical structure - in essence, an abstract computation, like a computer simulation. From within such a structure, it is impossible to tell the difference between this scenario, and the scenario where the described universe "physically exists" (whatever that is supposed to mean). So, what we call the "physical" world could be considered to actually be an ethereal "spiritual" world.

AIGBusted said...

Hi Michael,

When I say "physical" or "natural" I mean essentially unthinking. It's pretty obvious that the atomic particles and various forces in the universe are unthinking.

So, why did God create a world of so much unthinking, unfeeling stuff, when he could have only created things which think and feel (which were immaterial)?

yuzem said...

You said:

"Why is all of this important? Because when someone comes up with an explanation for the fine-tuning, they must be able to show why fine-tuning would be likely (given the existence of God)"

What you are saying is that we need an explanation of the explanation. I recommend you to watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id9c9HWqcTA

AIGBusted said...

No Yuzem, I didn't say anything about asking for an explanation of the explanation, and my comment had nothing to do with Richard Dawkins' argument against the existence of god.

I recommned you read what the hell I say and comprehend it before leaving a comment.

yuzem said...

I have read the post and quoted the part that I wanted to address.

With all due respect:
Dawkins says that the explanation in which God creates the order or a life permitting universe is invalid if God can't be explained.

You said that it is invalid if you can't explain why fine-tuning would be likely (given the existence of God)

And I quote:
"Why is all of this important? Because when someone comes up with an explanation for the fine-tuning, they must be able to show why fine-tuning would be likely (given the existence of God)."

Then you say: "If no one can show this"
which is almost the same as "If no one can explain this"

Therefore, asking and explanation for the explanation.

I hope you can take this as a friendly objection and not as enemy fire.

AIGBusted said...

Yuzem,

Here's what I'm saying:

If I have a kitten, and I ask for an explanation of why the kitten exists, and someone replies "because dogs exist" then their "explanation" would be pretty worthless unless they could show how the existence of my kitten followed from the existence of dogs.

Likewise, the explanation "God exists" for the fine-tuning of the universe is worthless if no one can show why the God hypothesis entails a fine-tuned universe.

I'm not asking for an infinitely regressive explanation of the explanation. I'm not asking who created God. I'm asking proponents of this argument to tell me how the existence of God would make fine-tuning probable. In other words, they need to show that their proposed explanation is an explanation, and not simply a non-sequitor.

yuzem said...

But the argument is not "because God exist", that is the conclusion.

Here it is the argument:

1. The fine-tuning of the Universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3 Therefore, it is due to design.

AIGBusted said...

Yuzem,

The argument is that the existence of God best explains the fine-tuning.

But it doesn't, as I've shown in this post.

yuzem said...

If design isn't the best explanation as you said, then which is it?

The odds makes it almost impossible to happen by chance and there is no physical law that enforces the fine-tuning...

As I see it, to ask for the reason for which the designer have designed, is to ask for an explanation of the explanation.

Anyway, here are some possible answers to your questions:

1. Does the God hypothesis predict a life-friendly universe?
If the Universe was designed we could say that it has a purpose. The life-friendly quality is required to fulfil that purpose.

2. Why wouldn't God simply create a spiritual world?
To compare this world with an spiritual world would require to know the proprieties of an spiritual world but just as an hypothesis: to direct the souls towards the truth.

AIGBusted said...

"If design isn't the best explanation as you said, then which is it?"

First of all, its a false trilemma. It excludes options like Smolin's Cosmological Natural Selection which does not clearly fall under "law" or "chance".

Secondly, even if law and chance were bad explanations, it would not follow that design was a good explanation. One could just as easily elimate design by using the argument I gave, then eliminate chance, and then say that it must some natural law.

"As I see it, to ask for the reason for which the designer have designed, is to ask for an explanation of the explanation."

Then the way you see it is wrong. Reread the response I've written to that and understand it. Think about it, reread it, then think about it some more. I made a point, but you simply haven't gotten it.

"If the Universe was designed we could say that it has a purpose. The life-friendly quality is required to fulfil that purpose."

But what is the purpose, and how is creating a physical universe necessary to that purpose? How does this specific purpose follow from the hypothesis that God exists?

yuzem said...

It excludes options like Smolin's Cosmological Natural Selection
That hypothesis has some serious problems on its own.
Here there is a video about it, only in case you are interested, it is not intended as an argument since we are not debating Smolin's hypothesis.

One could just as easily elimate design by using the argument I gave
Back on track, the argument you gave, since I don't think that you can eliminate design using that argument.

Then the way you see it is wrong. Reread the response I've written
I'm trying, help me a little.
This is how I see it:
You say that if it can't be explained why someone supposedly did something, then you can't say that someone actually did it.
Is it this what you are saying? ...or what is it?

But what is the purpose, and how is creating a physical universe necessary to that purpose? How does this specific purpose follow from the hypothesis that God exists?
I will suppose that you would disagree if I tell you that you are asking for an explanation of the explanation of the explanation.

1. Design is proposed as an explanation.
You ask: Does the God hypothesis predict a life-friendly universe?
2. I answer, it could be necessary to fulfil a purpose.
You ask: But what is the purpose... etc.

Don't get me wrong I think that it is great to ask all those question I just disagree in that no having an answer invalidates the hypothesis.
There are a lot of theories that have unanswered questions, but here I go anyway...

But what is the purpose
As I said before: it could be to direct the souls towards the truth.

and how is creating a physical universe necessary to that purpose?
It could be because a physical reality restrains the soul, it attaches the soul to an experience and that experience provides knowledge.

How does this specific purpose follow from the hypothesis that God exists?
It could be that if God is good then he wants the best for us.

AIGBusted said...

Hi yuzem,

I emailed Dr. Smolin about Dr. Craig's criticisms and this is what he said:

"Dear Ryan,


"Thanks for writing to me. There are answers to both of these issues.


"The issue of primordial black holes was directly addressed in the first paper I published on the subject in 1992, which can be found here: http://iopscience.iop.org/0264-9381/9/1/016/. It is discussed briefly also on p 310 of The Life of the Cosmos, which is the book I wrote on cosmological natural selection, published in 1997. Dr. Craig is apparently not doing his homework, had he read the original sources, as a scholar should, he would know about this.


"The point can be put this way: in a one parameter, single field inflation model, which so far accords well with observation, there is a parameter that would have
to be tuned up a lot to make a lot of primordial black holes. But this parameter also controls how long inflation goes on and so how large the universe is. It turns
out that to get a large production rate of primordial black holes you need a very small universe so the overall number of primordial black holes is never higher than the
number of stellar black holes.


"Thus CNS requires that if inflation is true, it is single field, single parameter inflation. This is one of the predictions I published in the 1992 paper above.


"The second issue is dealt with in detail in a recent paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/0901.3156, published in physical review. Unfortunately, Hawking is wrong, indeed,
his paper related to this was not very convincing. There is no inconsistency between what we know about quantum gravity and the possibility that there are baby
universes made in black holes. Baby universes are in fact a viable solution to the information loss problem. The reasons why are discussed in detail in that paper.


"I am happy if you pass this message on or post it on the web site raising the issue, but only if you post in full what I wrote.


Thanks,


Lee" [End of email]

AIGBusted said...

"This is how I see it:
You say that if it can't be explained why someone supposedly did something, then you can't say that someone actually did it.
Is it this what you are saying? ...or what is it?"

Yes, that is basically what I'm saying. Of course there may be exceptions. For example, if we find a security camera recording an otherwise upstanding citizen robbing a bank, we would have to conclude that the upstanding citizen robbed the bank in spite of the fact that we would have a hard time explaining why he did.

But the above example is miles away from the fine-tuning issue, because we don't have any video camera recordings showing that God did it or even anything similar.

I don't see why it is so difficult for you to understand that in order to say that God did something, you need to show why God would be likely to do it. The same principle applies to just about every other explanation we can think of: In order to use blind chance to explain the fine-tuning, you would first have to show that chance would be likely to produce the universe we have (in other words, you'd have to show that fine-tuning wasn't so unlikely after all.) In order to say that the universe's fine-tuning is due to physical necessity, you'd have to show that it is likeley (if not certain) that some kind off physical necessity would lead to our kind of universe.

Do you accept the above examples (from chance and necessity explaining the fine-tuning) as valid and correct? If not, why not? If so, why is so difficult to see that the same thing applies to your explanation?

"Don't get me wrong I think that it is great to ask all those question I just disagree in that no having an answer invalidates the hypothesis."

Having no answer doesn't prove that the hypothesis is wrong. But having no answer to these questions means that what you're proposing isn't really an explanation for the issue. It's like if you asked, "Why does the Earth exist" and I told you, "It exists because of the sun" And you ask, "How did the sun cause the earth to exist? How does the existence of the sun explain the earth" And I said "I don't have a clue, but I don't have to tell you. The sun is still a satisfactory explanation." Would you feel I had provided you with an explanation at all? Would you accept it? If not, then why can't you see that the same reasoning applies to your explanation?

"It could be because a physical reality restrains the soul, it attaches the soul to an experience and that experience provides knowledge."

I have no idea what you mean by "restrains the soul." And why would having an experience be exclusive to a soul in a physical body?

yuzem said...

Thank for posting Smolin's email, it is very interesting, It is still a very controversial hypothesis.
I will try to tell Craig about Smolin's response.
But even if we include CNS as a possible explanation it would lead to:
Therefore, it was either by design or by CNS.

I also thank you for making a further effort in explaining your perspective.
I think now I can see better what you mean.

You say that if it can't be explained why someone supposedly did something, then you can't say that someone actually did it. [...]
Yes, that is basically what I'm saying.

That gave me hopes but then you gave me the bank robbery example.
When I said "someone" I didn't meant a specific person but any person.
For example: If a statue of a man is found on Mars, even if it can't be explained why someone would do it we will still think that somebody (an intelligent entity) did it.

But the above example is miles away from the fine-tuning issue, because we don't have any video camera recordings showing that God did it or even anything similar.
Again, it isn't about identifying the author. The hypothesis says that it is a design an it follows that there is a designer (or more than one). Then it is proposed that this designer is God. But the main proposition isn't about "who" did it but about somebody, anybody, an intelligence as the author.

Do you accept the above examples (from chance and necessity explaining the fine-tuning) as valid and correct? If not, why not? If so, why is so difficult to see that the same thing applies to your explanation?
Ok, I assumed that it was self-evident. For example, when chance is discarded as an option it is done on the basis that chance doesn't have any preference on a specific result over the available possible results.
An intelligence or a conscience can have a preference.
As the nature of this intelligence is unknown, the possible reasons to prefer a specific result are many.
We could say that he was bored or that he did it just for fun or to manifest his nature. Any reason that applies to the known intelligences could apply to him. A painter creates, an architect creates, a teacher creates exercises, politicians creates laws, etc...
We could even say that he is a sadistic but that wouldn't be compatible with the idea that the designer is God.

It's like if you asked, "Why does the Earth exist" and I told you, "It exists because of the sun" And you ask, "How did the sun cause the earth to exist?
Ok, from my perspective it was like this:
Why is it so hot? It is because of the sun.
The "how" question is valid, but even if you don't know how, it is also valid to propose that in some way the sun is the cause in this case.

I have no idea what you mean by "restrains the soul."
Sorry, I meant "restricts"

And why would having an experience be exclusive to a soul in a physical body?
Isn't this to ask for an explanation of the explanation?
Anyway, I never said that it is exclusive, the purpose is to attach the soul to a specific experience to learn an specific lesson.
As I said before, there are many possible explanations of the explanation.

AIGBusted said...

"For example: If a statue of a man is found on Mars, even if it can't be explained why someone would do it we will still think that somebody (an intelligent entity) did it."

Yes, but the reason we assume a statue would be designed by an intelligent agent is because we have always only observed statues to be created by intelligent agents. And the reasons that some being might want to create a statue are extremely obvious. Why do people make statues on earth? To honor some person or some event.

"Again, it isn't about identifying the author. The hypothesis says that it is a design an it follows that there is a designer (or more than one). Then it is proposed that this designer is God. But the main proposition isn't about "who" did it but about somebody, anybody, an intelligence as the author."

I assume that you are thinking of identifying a thing as "designed" using something like William Dembski's explanatory filter. Is that correct? If so, I have issues with that that I want to bring up.

"Ok, I assumed that it was self-evident. For example, when chance is discarded as an option it is done on the basis that chance doesn't have any preference on a specific result over the available possible results.
"An intelligence or a conscience can have a preference.
"As the nature of this intelligence is unknown, the possible reasons to prefer a specific result are many.
"We could say that he was bored or that he did it just for fun or to manifest his nature. Any reason that applies to the known intelligences could apply to him. A painter creates, an architect creates, a teacher creates exercises, politicians creates laws, etc...
We could even say that he is a sadistic but that wouldn't be compatible with the idea that the designer is God."

But don't you see that the bare hypothesis of some sort of intelligent agent does little better than chance in explaining things?

Think about it: Chance could, at least possibly, cause any state of affairs we can think of. But for every possible state of affairs we could also postulate an intelligent agent, who, for whatever reason, just wanted things to be that way.

Intelligent Design is a bad explanation because it cannot predict anything unless it is specified in a very ad-hoc way to predict the results that we observe. And making a hypothesis extremely specific only lowers its a priori (or initial) probability.

Of course people often point out that we use ID to explain artifacts that we find. But we only use ID to explain things when our backround information already allows us to postulate a designer. For example, when we find an arrow head we postulate that ancient human beings did it because other information that we have tells us that human beings probably existed there in the past and would have had cause to make sharp arrowheads. But we don't have any other evidence that tells us that it is likely that some cosmic designer exists.

I noticed that you didn't really answer my sun and earth question.

And no, for the last time, I wasn't asking for "an explanation of the explanation". I've already answered that accusation before. And just so you know, the answer will be the same no matter how many times you ask. But you didn't answer my question, you just tossed out some speculations which didn't even show anything about why a God would be likely to create a universe.

yuzem said...

Yes, but the reason we assume a statue would be designed by an intelligent agent is because we have always only observed statues to be created by intelligent agents.
Yes, as we always observed complex and organized systems to be created by intelligent agents or by other complex systems. (At least those that we know for sure)

And the reasons that some being might want to create a statue are extremely obvious. Why do people make statues on earth?
But a statue of a man on Mars where there is no civilization... Of course you can find a reason just as I can find a reason for someone creating the Universe but suppose that you can't think of any reason. Wouldn't you still believe that an intelligence is responsible?

I assume that you are thinking of identifying a thing as "designed" using something like William Dembski's explanatory filter. Is that correct?
I can't say so since I am not familiarized with Dembski's explanatory filter.

Think about it: Chance could, at least possibly, cause any state of affairs we can think of. But for every possible state of affairs we could also postulate an intelligent agent, who, for whatever reason, just wanted things to be that way.
I disagree, you need an organized and meaningful state of affairs in order to postulate an intelligent agent, entropy is the opposite and almost all possible combination for the fundamental physical constants of the Universe lead to entropy.

Of course people often point out that we use ID to explain artifacts that we find. But we only use ID to explain things when our backround information already allows us to postulate a designer. For example, when we find an arrow head we postulate that ancient human beings did it because other information that we have tells us that human beings probably existed there in the past and would have had cause to make sharp arrowheads. But we don't have any other evidence that tells us that it is likely that some cosmic designer exists.
Again on the statue on Mars example: we don't have any evidence of any intelligence on Mars but even more important, we would take the statue as evidence of an intelligence that was on Mars sometime in the past.

I noticed that you didn't really answer my sun and earth question.
I have answered it with an argue, in the example I gave I would accept the explanation even if he does not tell me how but I can give you a direct answer if you want to:

Would you feel I had provided you with an explanation at all? Would you accept it? If not, then why can't you see that the same reasoning applies to your explanation?
I think that it isn't a good example because I already know that it is a false proposition but ok, the answer would be no, but I think that the same does not apply to my explanation and I already told why: I thought that it was self-evident and I have explained in the previous post why.

And no, for the last time, I wasn't asking for "an explanation of the explanation". I've already answered that accusation before. And just so you know, the answer will be the same no matter how many times you ask
I did ask the same question more than once but it applied to different cases.

But you didn't answer my question, you just tossed out some speculations which didn't even show anything about why a God would be likely to create a universe.
I have no idea why you say this, even if I complained, I think that I have answered all of your questions. If I have missed one, tell me which.

AIGBusted said...

"Yes, as we always observed complex and organized systems to be created by intelligent agents or by other complex systems. (At least those that we know for sure)."

Just because something is complex and organized doesn't mean it was designed. For example, it could've evolved (if it reproduces, that is). But there is no set of criteria that can allow us to figure out when something is designed if we have no relevant backround information that already suggests a designer and what he or she would be likely to design. More on this later.


"I can find a reason for someone creating the Universe but suppose that you can't think of any reason. Wouldn't you still believe that an intelligence is responsible?"

No.


"I disagree, you need an organized and meaningful state of affairs in order to postulate an intelligent agent,"

No you don't, if you observe a state of chaos you could simply postulate a designer who liked chaos and set it up that way.


"almost all possible combination for the fundamental physical constants of the Universe lead to entropy."

I don't know how you're using the word "entropy" here. Maybe you're using it to mean "disorder" in the everyday sense? If that's the case, then you can't say that every other combination leads to entropy because a lifeless universe doesn't imply a disorderely one.


"Again on the statue on Mars example: we don't have any evidence of any intelligence on Mars but even more important, we would take the statue as evidence of an intelligence that was on Mars sometime in the past."

Yes, but there we do have a small amount of backround info: we know that our planet is home to intelligent agents, which gives some reason to suspect other planets might have them too. And we all about the preferences of evolved intelligent agents, because we are such agents!


"I have answered it with an argue, in the example I gave I would accept the explanation even if he does not tell me how but I can give you a direct answer if you want to."

You didn't answer it, you brought up another example in which someone said that it was hot because of the sun, and you said you would accept that even if you didn't know how the sun could make it hot. But that's a bad example: It's pretty easy to grasp the general mechanisms by which a giant fireball could heat an object relatively close to it. A more difficult example to answer would be the previous one about the sun causing the earth to come into existence without any postulated mechanism. I'd like you to answer that one, please.


"I think that the same does not apply to my explanation and I already told why: I thought that it was self-evident and I have explained in the previous post why."

What is it that is self-evident? Is it "self-evident" that an intelligent agent could have a preference for a specific result? If that's what you mean, then of course it is obvious. I understand that completely.

However, I think that there is one thing that you're missing, and it concerns reasoning. You'll probably need to read the first few paragraphs of this before continuing:

http://aigbusted.blogspot.com/2010/03/simple-case-for-nonexistence-of-god.html

And a warning: what I'm about to write requires maximum attention to follow:

AIGBusted said...

OK, so how do we determine the a priori probability of the existence of a God who wants to create a life-bearing universe? Well, think about all the possibilities: there could be no god. Or a God who doesn't want a life-friendly universe. Or an insane spiritual who likes creating big-bang explosions, etc. There are trillions of possibilities. And since we don't have any reason to suppose that any one of these possibilities is more likely than any other, we ought to consider them all equally probable. This is known as the principle of indifference. It is controversial, but I have defended it before on my blog (search 'principle of indifferene') and, in any case, the fine-tuning argument depends upon using the principle, so it cannot be denied without denying the fine-tuning argument any validity (in my series on 'Mapping The Fine Tuning Argument' I have a post about the principle of indifference explaining how the fine-tuning argument depends upon using this principle).

Back to what I was saying: If each possibility has an equal probability and a God with a preference for a habitable physical universe is just one possibility out of trillions, then it follows that the a priori probability of God's existence is extremely low (one out of trillions).

The hypothesis would gain support, of course, by being able to explain the fine-tuning (since we have specified in advance that this being wants to create a habitable physical universe).

So it is, initially, a highly unlikely hypothesis. However, it predicts a life-friendly universe, which increases its overall likelihood. Its a priori probability is low, its a posteriori probability is relatively high.

Now compare it to the chance hypothesis: the a priori probability that chance is responsible for constants of the universe is relatively high, since chance is responsible for many things. But its a posteriori probability is low, because there is only a small probability that a random process would lead to the specific result of a fine-tuned universe.

AIGBusted said...

In other words, the Chance explanation initially has a high probability, but predicts the data poorly. The specific design explanation offered above has a low initial probability, but does a good job predicting the data.

Since we have to take into account both a priori (or initial) probability and a posterior probability (how well a hypothesis predicts the data we have) to determine the overall likelihood of a hypothesis, we can only come to the conclusion that design and chance are about equal.

Of course, people often disagree with what I've stated above. They see it as counterintuitive and come up with analogies to try to show where they think it goes wrong. You've provided an analogous situation: the statue on Mars. You see the statue as being just like fine-tuning, and so you think it is OK to infer design in both cases. I disagree. In the fine-tuning example we have no backround information that gives any hypothetical designer a greater probability than any other.

However, in the Mars example, we do have relevant backround information that increases the probability of intelligent agents with our basic preferences and habits: the fact that our planet has intelligent agents is backround information which raises the likelihood that they will exist on other planets, and since we evolved by natural selection, we can expect that they will have too, and that the results maybe similar.

AIGBusted said...

Two more things:

1. In my above analysis, I examined the hypothesis that a God exists AND that he would want to create a life-friendly universe. But that's kind of ad-hoc. Why is the universe life-friendly? Becuase it was created by something that wanted it to be life-friendly. It's like explaining someone's car choice by simply saying that they must have liked that type of car. Of course they did. But why did they like that kind of car?

2. I don't feel like you have addressed the issue of why God would want to create a physical universe. A lot of the answers you've written previously make little sense because of your grammar, and you tend to give explanations that don't answer gaping questions that they raise. For example, you say God created a physical universe because he wanted to attach souls to a body to have experiences and "learn lessons". But why would one need a body to have experiences or learn lessons? And why does God want us to have those experiences and learn those lessons? Your answers are vague and unsatisfying. And if you think I'm asking for "an explanation of the explanation" refer back to the answer I've already given:

"I'm not asking for an infinitely regressive explanation of the explanation. I'm not asking who created God. I'm asking proponents of this argument to tell me how the existence of God would make fine-tuning probable. In other words, they need to show that their proposed explanation is an explanation, and not simply a non-sequitor."

Don't leave me hanging with a non-sequitor. Show me exactly how your explanation logically follows from the hypothesis that God exists.

yuzem said...

Just because something is complex and organized doesn't mean it was designed. For example, it could've evolved (if it reproduces, that is).
I said: At least those that we know for sure.
We don't know for sure about evolution, the odds are completely against it and guided evolution is not evolution. If there was guided evolution then there was a designer.

"I can find a reason for someone creating the Universe but suppose that you can't think of any reason. Wouldn't you still believe that an intelligence is responsible?"

No.

I asked about the statue.

No you don't, if you observe a state of chaos you could simply postulate a designer who liked chaos and set it up that way.
When I said "an organized and meaningful state of affairs" I didn't meant chaos as in a war, but as in the big crunch theory, complete dissipation of energy or matter.
But let me put it this way, when the probabilities are very low the chance option losses strength just as when the result has no complex order or intelligible meaning the ID option also losses strength.

I don't know how you're using the word "entropy" here. Maybe you're using it to mean "disorder" in the everyday sense? If that's the case, then you can't say that every other combination leads to entropy because a lifeless universe doesn't imply a disorderely one.
Yes, I meant a higher entropy but it is a bad approach. I rectify myself: Any other combination leads to a lifeless universe.

Yes, but there we do have a small amount of backround info: we know that our planet is home to intelligent agents, which gives some reason to suspect other planets might have them too.
As we know that this dimension is home to intelligent agents, which gives some reason to suspect other dimensions might have them too.

But that's a bad example: It's pretty easy to grasp the general mechanisms by which a giant fireball could heat an object relatively close to it.
As it is easy to propose different reasons for why a conscience would want to create the Universe.

A more difficult example to answer would be the previous one about the sun causing the earth to come into existence without any postulated mechanism. I'd like you to answer that one, please.
What is the question?
If the question is if I would accept it I have already answered it.

What is it that is self-evident? Is it "self-evident" that an intelligent agent could have a preference for a specific result? If that's what you mean, then of course it is obvious. I understand that completely.
Yes, and therefore it is evident why an intelligent designer would want to create the Universe and that is what you were asking.

However, I think that there is one thing that you're missing, and it concerns reasoning. You'll probably need to read the first few paragraphs of this before continuing:

http://aigbusted.blogspot.com/2010/03/simple-case-for-nonexistence-of-god.html

I read it all. I responded there. My response is waiting for approbation.

OK, so how do we determine the a priori probability of the existence of a God who wants to create a life-bearing universe?
Probability does not apply to God. If we knew a physical law that could cause the fine-tuning we would not talk about probability neither.

Well, think about all the possibilities: there could be no god. Or a God who doesn't want a life-friendly universe. Or an insane spiritual who likes creating big-bang explosions, etc. There are trillions of possibilities
It is not proposed a God that doesn't want a life friendly universe neither an insane God but an intelligence that creates the universe. Because an intelligence is the only known thing that could cause that specific result.

yuzem said...

And since we don't have any reason to suppose that any one of these possibilities is more likely than any other
Yes we have: the fine-tuning of the universe.

I am sorry but I have to insist, once and again you ask for an explanation of the explanation.

An intelligence is proposed as the explanation for the fine-tuning. Your reasoning is related to the existence of this intelligence, but has nothing to do with this intelligence explaining the fine-tuning.
Therefore, when questioning his existence you are asking for an explanation of this intelligence and the intelligence is proposed as the explanation of the fine-tuning.
Therefore, asking an explanation of the explanation.
And again, you can do so, but having no answer does not refute the hypothesis.

Now compare it to the chance hypothesis: the a priori probability that chance is responsible for constants of the universe is relatively high, since chance is responsible for many things.
No: it is very improbable for someone to win the lottery, yet someone does win the lottery, but it is not reasonable to say that an specific person will win the lottery because it is very improbable.

Even if your argument is right (I strongly disagree) it would refute your previous argument about God being improbable.

If chance is a reasonable cause, since as you said "chance is responsible for many things" I could say that this intelligence wants a life friendly universe by chance.

the fact that our planet has intelligent agents is backround information which raises the likelihood that they will exist on other planets
The fact that our dimension has intelligent agents is backround information which raises the likelihood that they will exist on other dimensions.

It's like explaining someone's car choice by simply saying that they must have liked that type of car. Of course they did. But why did they like that kind of car?
This actually supports my point. Even if you don't know why you still believe that he did choice it.

I don't feel like you have addressed the issue of why God would want to create a physical universe
Correct me if I am wrong but you have already recognized that there could be plenty of reasons.

A lot of the answers you've written previously make little sense because of your grammar
You are right about my grammar, my main language is not english but if something doesn't make sense because of my grammar just ask me.

But why would one need a body to have experiences or learn lessons?
I already answer this one: I never said that a body is needed. The point is to give the souls an specific experience.

And why does God want us to have those experiences and learn those lessons?
I already answer this one too, the same reason a teacher want his students to learn. If God is good, then he wants the best for us.

Your answers are vague and unsatisfying
I really don't see how my answers can be clearer, simpler or more parsimonious.

And if you think I'm asking for "an explanation of the explanation" refer back to the answer I've already given
Yes I still think that, but anyway, it seems that we don't agree.

AIGBusted said...

"I said: At least those that we know for sure.
We don't know for sure about evolution, the odds are completely against it and guided evolution is not evolution. If there was guided evolution then there was a designer."

The odds are completely against evolution? What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. But we do know that evolution can produce complexity, since we've seen cases where specified complexity has evolved before our very eyes (in bacteria, for example, or in evolutionary algoithms) I've written about this in my book, on my blog (search it!) and people all over the web (talk.origins, for instance) have covered it.

But that's not even the half of it, because just because something is complicated and is "specified" for some function means nothing. Any complex object can be subjectively thought of as having a function. A "function" is just what something does, and pretty much everything "does" something. There's no criteria that can detect design. We only that some things are designed if we've seen designers craft them (and don't mean things of "complexity" or somesuch, I mean very specific things like watches, hammers, and so on).

"But let me put it this way, when the probabilities are very low the chance option losses strength"

No, because any very specific state of affairs, whether orderly or disorderly, has an extremely small chance of obtaining. "Chance" is not a bad option unless some other option can predict the specific state of affairs and come out with a good overall likelihood.

"just as when the result has no complex order or intelligible meaning the ID option also losses strength."

No it doesn't, because for any state of affairs you can postulate a designer who wanted that specific state of affairs to obtain. Just because human designers seem to prefer order doesn't mean all designers do, nor does it mean that all designers are even at all likely to desire order.

"As we know that this dimension is home to intelligent agents, which gives some reason to suspect other dimensions might have them too."

We don't know that there are other dimensions. They are postulated by string theory, but of course even then these MATERIAL spatio-temporal dimensions and God is a spiritual entity, so he couldn't exist in those. Maybe you're thinking of a spiritual dimension of some sort, but I don't see any evidence for that and certainly don't see why anything in the physical dimensions would imply anything at all about a hypothetical spiritual dimension.

AIGBusted said...

"As it is easy to propose different reasons for why a conscience would want to create the Universe."

No it isn't, because you haven't given any.

"Yes, and therefore it is evident why an intelligent designer would want to create the Universe and that is what you were asking."

Well, no. I meant that it was self-evident that agents have preferences for certain results, but not that it was self-evident that God would prefer a habitable universe. Just like it's not self-evident that I would have a preference for tuna fish peanut butter sandwiches.

"Probability does not apply to God. If we knew a physical law that could cause the fine-tuning we would not talk about probability neither."

I suppose you think that because God is supposed to be a necessary being. I get that. But then how do we know that there is a being with omniscience, omnipotence, etc. who also possesses the characteristic of necessary existence? We don't know that. Any possible being we can think of could be the necessary one, or maybe no beings are at all. Or maybe more than one is, in which case God cannot exist because he is supposed to have created all things and if even one other thing existed necessarily then he couldn't have created and so his existence would be a logical contradiction.

"It is not proposed a God that doesn't want a life friendly universe neither an insane God but an intelligence that creates the universe. Because an intelligence is the only known thing that could cause that specific result."

I know that no one is proposing that. But what you can't seem to see is that when you have to come up with an explanation which is just as improbable as what it purports to explain, then the explanation is worthless, because you could just as well explain whatever it is by chance.

Me: "And since we don't have any reason to suppose that any one of these possibilities is more likely than any other"

You: "Yes we have: the fine-tuning of the universe."

What I meant was that we have no A PRIORI reason to think God is more likely than any other option. I allowed that fine-tuning might increase the overall likelihood of the God hypothesis A POSTERIORI.

"This actually supports my point. Even if you don't know why you still believe that he did choice it."

But in that case we have direct evidence that the person bought the car, and so we could deduce the explanation. In the fine-tuning case we don't have direct evidence; no one saw God creating the universe. God is a theoretical entity brought up to explain the evidence.

"Correct me if I am wrong but you have already recognized that there could be plenty of reasons."

WHAT?!?! I never recognized any reason.

"I already answer this one too, the same reason a teacher want his students to learn. If God is good, then he wants the best for us."

No you didn't already answer it. But the analogy doesn't hold: Teachers aren't all powerful, and they could not instantly will their students to learn something that they want the student to know. God could.

AIGBusted said...

"I really don't see how my answers can be clearer, simpler or more parsimonious."

Really. C'mon. You haven't shown how the desire to create a physical universe rather than a spiritual universe or no universe at all is directly deducible from the hypothesis that there is a perfect all powerful being. Saying the being might have a purpose in creating a physical world is not directly deducible from the hypothesis that there is a perfect all powerful being. Saying the being might want to use the physical universe to "teach souls" is not directly deducible from the hypothesis that there is a perfect all powerful being. If you can prove otherwise, write a syllogism which begins with "A perfect all powerful being exists" and ends with "Therefore, he created a life-friendly univers" and make each step between rigorously justified by logic and/or evidence, and make sure the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises.

AIGBusted said...

Yuzem,

Let me see if I can put to you this way:

In a court of law, it is very important to establish that the defendant had motive, especially in a circumstantial case.

"Constance Cunningham, a nurse, was charged in connection with the theft of the controlled substance Demerol, a pain killer, from a locked hospital cabinet. The drug had been contained in syringes.

"In police interviews, Cunningham and the other four nurses who had
access to the cabinet all denied tampering with the syringes.

"Cunningham admitted, however, that she had once been addicted to
Demerol, and a urine test result was consistent with recent Demerol
use.

"At trial, the court permitted the prosecution to present evidence that four years earlier, Cunningham had been addicted to Demerol,that she had stolen the substance from the hospital at which she then worked, that as a result of her theft, her nurse’s license had been suspended,
that her license was reinstated subject to her agreement to
submit to periodic drug tests, and that she had falsified the results of some of those tests. The court excluded evidence that she had been
convicted of the Demerol theft.13 The prosecution’s theory was that
Cunningham remained addicted to the drug, and had stolen it to feed
her addiction. The evidence of her earlier addiction, theft of Demerol, suspension from practice, and falsification of test results was offered to demonstrate that Cunningham’s addiction gave her a motive to steal the drug, that she is more likely to have acted on that motive than one who did not suffer such addiction, and that she was therefore the person who stole the drug from the locked cabinet."

Cunningham later appealed but her conviction was affirmed (p.444):

http://llr.lls.edu/volumes/v34-issue2/leonardevidence.pdf

AIGBusted said...

Anyway, what I'm arguing is that in order for someone to do something, they have to have a motive. This is entailed by my theory of free will, which I've written about on this blog and which can be read about in "Freedom Evolves" by Daniel Dennett and "Sense and Goodness without God" by Richard Carrier.

Thus, God must have had a motive IF he created the universe life-friendly, and he would not have created it that way if he did not have a motive to do so. But we don't know what that motive is or if he would've had one. If he didn't then he cannot be used to explain the fine-tuning. And there is no more evidence that he did than that he didn't. And if you're going to appeal to some unknown motive, why is not permissible for someone to say that the universe's laws are the result of some deeper, more fundamental law, but we simply aren't able to see that?

yuzem said...

The odds are completely against evolution? What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
There are many scholars that support that claim but ok, in the other post you made it clear that there are also good objections against it and we can't figure out the real odds, but this does not contradict my argument since I said: "At least those that we know for sure"

About your objection regarding the strengths of ID and chance
Suppose that you find a lot leafs at your house door forming the word "hello".
It is ok to believe that someone arranged the leafs but it is also possible that it was just chance.
Now if you find the same leafs no forming anything meaningful you would not think that someone arranged the leafs even if it can be the case that someone actually arranged in that specific way.

In one case ID has more strength, in the other, chance.

We don't know that there are other dimensions.
As we don't know that there are other planets with life. This ain't going anywhere.
We both think that it is ok to propose ID for the statue but we disagree that it is ok to propose ID for something incredibly more complex.

"As it is easy to propose different reasons for why a conscience would want to create the Universe."

No it isn't, because you haven't given any.

I thought that we have agreed in that a conscience can have a specific preference. Any reason that applies to anyone who creates can be applied to this conscience.

Well, no. I meant that it was self-evident that agents have preferences for certain results, but not that it was self-evident that God would prefer a habitable universe.
Then your argument against ID only applies if this ID is God?

I suppose you think that because God is supposed to be a necessary being
No at all. It doesn't apply as it wouldn't apply to a physical law.

What I meant was that we have no A PRIORI reason to think God is more likely than any other option
Yes we have, the options are ID, chance, physical necessity and if you want CNS.
But of course we don't agree in the validity of the options.

But in that case we have direct evidence that the person bought the car, and so we could deduce the explanation. In the fine-tuning case we don't have direct evidence; no one saw God creating the universe. God is a theoretical entity brought up to explain the evidence.
Exactly, an as such it must be taken as a possibility.

WHAT?!?! I never recognized any reason.
You said that it can have a preference.
The problem here is that you seem to be talking of an specific God. I didn't realize that. From my perspective, if we have a conscience that created the Universe we are almost talking of a God despite his qualities.

But the analogy doesn't hold: Teachers aren't all powerful, and they could not instantly will their students to learn something that they want the student to know. God could.
How do you know?
That is only an objection to an specific God and even in that case, almighty doesn't mean to be able to do anything including the impossible, because that would be contradictory.

You haven't shown how the desire to create a physical universe rather than a spiritual universe or no universe at all is directly deducible from the hypothesis that there is a perfect all powerful being. Saying the being might have a purpose in creating a physical world is not directly deducible from the hypothesis that there is a perfect all powerful being [...]
I don't have to show that anything is directly deducible, I only have to show that it is possible.
I quote:
"they must give a plausible reason for the creation of a fine-tuned physical universe or they must give up this argument"

Almost any reason that apply to any creator is a plausible reason or why is it that those reasons arbitrary don't apply to this creator?

yuzem said...

what I'm arguing is that in order for someone to do something, they have to have a motive.
Of course and in the robbery case even if we have or not a motive be still believe that someone (anyone) took the controlled substance.
It didn't evolved and walked out the door.
It wasn't a thunderbolt that hit it by chance.
There are no physical law that tells that it can suddenly cease to exist without reason.

he would not have created it that way if he did not have a motive to do so. But we don't know what that motive is or if he would've had one. If he didn't then he cannot be used to explain the fine-tuning.
I agree, if he didn't we can't use him to explain the fine tuning but as you have said we don't know.

why is not permissible for someone to say that the universe's laws are the result of some deeper, more fundamental law, but we simply aren't able to see that?
We know that intelligence exist but we can't say much for this law.
And even if you say that, the problem is that if this law determines things in a preferable way it would be very similar to an intelligence.

AIGBusted said...

Yuzem,

Do you know what A PRIORI means?

"We know that intelligence exist but we can't say much for this law."

Invalid. You are comparing something very general to something very specific. You ought to be comparing the general and the general and the specific and the specific. For example:

We know that intelligence exists and we also know that laws exist.

We don't that this specific intelligence (God) exists and we also don't know that this specific law (a hypothetical superlaw of nature) exists.

Anyway, I'm getting tired of this "debate" and I'm probably not going to participate anymore. You're not getting the points that I'm making and you don't seem to have a very good handle on philosophy or science. But that's what you get when all you do is watch William Lane Craig videos on youtube.

AIGBusted said...

"There are many scholars that support that claim but ok, in the other post you made it clear that there are also good objections against it and we can't figure out the real odds, but this does not contradict my argument since I said: 'At least those that we know for sure'"

No, there aren't many scholars who support the claim. Over 99% of biologists accept evolution. And it isn't so much that "we can't figure out the real odds" the issue is that creationists propose estimates that make questionable and demonstrably false assumptions. Estimates that make reasonable assumptions have always shown that evolution is completely possible, and the overwhelming evidence for it makes it a near certainty. Read "The 29 Evidences for MacroEvolution" by Douglas Theobald.

yuzem said...

Do you know what A PRIORI means?
I thought that you have explained it very well in your other entry.

"We know that intelligence exist but we can't say much for this law."

Invalid. You are comparing something very general to something very specific. You ought to be comparing the general and the general and the specific and the specific. For example:

We know that intelligence exists and we also know that laws exist.

If you prefer it:
We know that specific intelligences that would prefer the existing fine tuning of the Universe exist but we can't say much for this law.

Anyway, I'm getting tired of this "debate" and I'm probably not going to participate anymore.
I'm sorry to hear that, I guess then, this is my last reply. It was, at least for me, a productive experience. Thanks for your time. :)

You're not getting the points that I'm making and you don't seem to have a very good handle on philosophy or science. But that's what you get when all you do is watch William Lane Craig videos on youtube.
There is no need to be offensive. I do like Craig's videos very much but I don't know how it follows that that is all that I do.

No, there aren't many scholars who support the claim. Over 99% of biologists accept evolution
The data I have points to 99.9% but I wasn't talking about acceptance of evolution.
The claim was that the odds are against evolution (point that I already granted), you can accept evolution even if you think that the odds are against it.
When I said "many scholars" I wasn't talking about percentages. In the link that you gave me in the other thread there were many objections to many claims that seemed to be from many scholars, that is why I said "many scholars".
"many" as a subjective term.

Estimates that make reasonable assumptions have always shown that evolution is completely possible, and the overwhelming evidence for it makes it a near certainty.
We are not debating evolution but even if that is truth (I disagree), it doesn't contradict my argument because near certainty is not certainty and I said:
"At least those that we know for sure"

Hendy said...

This came up in a book I just read, Letters to a Doubting Thomas by Stephen Layman. You probably won't find the answer satisfying -- essentially, he lists things he finds wonderful about his existence as the reasons, of course, that god would have wanted to bring such goods into the world.

Anyway, you can read my comments about it on my blog.

P.S. I emailed you in response to your comment but have not heard back, yet. Did you receive the email?

AIGBusted said...

Hi Hendy,

I don't think I did recieve it. Email me again. It's ncovington89 "At" yahoo.com

It may have been in my spam folder. Just put "Atheism and Naturalism" in the subject line and I'll know it when I see it.

brother thomas said...

I am coming from a position of believing in a Creator God so I may be prejudiced in my thinking but here goes:
I once read that a king i s a ruler until he dies. Therefore, his son cannot experience being a king until after his father is dead. The only instance I've read of a son becoming a king before his father died was when the king of portugal set his son as king over Brazil. While in Brazil , the son enjoyed the experience his father was enjoying and only became subservient to another king was when he went back home to Portugal but while in Brazil the son was the highest potentate.
My thinking in looking at the above scenario is this;
perhaps God is king in the spiritual universe and wanted his children to experience His type of kingship prior to his death(and most if not all Biblical scholars agree that God will not die so that's a non-issue) so ,,,,,,,
God created a 'universe' apart from the spiritual wherein he placed his 'sons/children/heirs/man made in God's image' or whatever words or tags needed to attempt to define a man, and ... What IF this was/is the reason 'God' created an-other universe? It would make the point of what were His intentions or motives would it not>