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ETpro's avatar

Was Earth designed carefully for man, or man designed carefully for Earth?

Asked by ETpro (34472points) September 2nd, 2010

Dr. Steven Hawking now says that, given the laws of physics as currently known, the Universe had to spontaneously erupt out of nothing. He says there is no need of a God model to explain the Big Bang, that quantum gravity would compel it. He goes on to state that the discovery of planetary systems with multiple planets deals a heavy blow to human chauvinism. No longer may we logically believe that the great fortune of solar mass, planetary mass, liquid water, Earth’s orbital location in the habitable zone and the presence of massive gas giants to sweep up space debris and protect the planet from catastrophic impacts is so unique that it had to have been laid out just so by an intelligent designer intent on producing man. Instead, there are almost certainly numerous planetary systems with the right conditions for the development of life, and life on them would evolve to uniquely fit the conditions where it arose.

For those that insist that only the God model is supported by evidence, does the fact that premise is false do anything to alter your view? Or do you feel Dr. Hawking is just wrong, or not as well informed as you are?

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108 Answers

zen_'s avatar

You’ve outdone yourself with this one, kiddo. GQ!!!

I’m going to enjoy this thread: I think there is a higher power, and I don’t mind how He is called – more importantly, I don’t think He minds either.

Having said that, the Holocaust, Rwanda, The Congo lately (have you read this week’s Time issue about the 70 raped women, girls and male babies???!!! there) Armenia – should I go on? – these have given me doubts and food for thought – horrific thought.

I tend to be one of those who pray when everything sucks, forget to when things are good. Feeling guilty about it all the while.

But I believe in science completely. Well, not completely, but then I am not that bright anyway – I have almost a three figure I.Q.

Now to the punchline: I think the world was designed – we joined rather late – we’re fucking it up. I hope we get our shit together fast – as I’d like to leave a nice place for my kids – and I’ve seen enough movies to know what the future could look like. Hell, just read Matt Browne’s book . Or 1984.

jazmina88's avatar

made for us…and we abuse the heck outta it.

Rarebear's avatar

Aren’t you basically asking about the strong and weak anthropic principles?

ragingloli's avatar

Neither Earth nor humans were designed.
Life evolved, adapting to the environment and changing the environment, shaping the planet that we know today.

Ivan's avatar

Neither, really. Earth certainly wasn’t designed for man. The Earth has been here for over 4 billion years; we’ve been here for a very small fraction of that. If you were going to pick something that the Earth was designed for, maybe it’s bacteria. But really, it’s the organisms that have adapted themselves to Earth. If our planet were different, the life on it would be different. However, you couldn’t say that life (man included) is “carefully designed” for Earth. Rather, you could say that life evolved such that it’s “good enough” for Earth.

marinelife's avatar

I accept that the latter is true.

Dewey420's avatar

No no no, “MAN” is merely the product of our alien fore-fathers cross-bred with australopithecus.

zen_'s avatar

I like @Ivan ‘s answer – and I’d have written the same had I been born with a few more IQ points.

Rarebear's avatar

Right. @Ivan has the answer spot on.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear wrote: “Aren’t you basically asking about the strong and weak anthropic principles?”. Yes, that and whether the new evidence Dr. Hawking provided in his book, The Grand Design had changed any minds. Judging from @jazmina88 answer, I will guess the answer to the second point is no.

@ragingloli & Ivan I can see that I should have specified in the details that I was using “designed” figuratively in the second case. I was speaking of evolution, steered by natural selection, as a kind of automated “design”. At least @marinelife followed my poetic wording. :-)

@Dewey420 Riiiight. Doesn’t that screwball postulate just beg the question, “And who designed ET”?

Rarebear's avatar

I haven’t read Hawking’s book (I don’t like his writing, actually), so I can’t comment on it.

Dewey420's avatar

@ETpro If they had just given him a damn phone he could have called home and we would have found out.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It seems like the potential for gods has shrunk even further. There is no chance that Earth is the result of careful design – it is far too chaotic for that. Life has evolved in a way that fits Earth very well, but I wouldn’t call the process of evolution ‘careful’ when the majority of variations cause death, and only a small proportion increase survival potential. Thanks for the question!

ETpro's avatar

@Dewey420 Ha! So many lost opportunities. :-)

@FireMadeFlesh Excellent point. THe end result seems to be what we would expect of careful design, but when we consider all the iterations that failed, and the mass extinctions, it looks anything but careful, particularly to those that lose any given spin of the roulette wheel of natural selection.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ETpro Well said. I work with disabled people. I cannot ignore how wrong evolution gets it some times.

ETpro's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I understand. If there is a God, s/he doesn’t seem to be the loving Father we keep hearing preached to us.

Ron_C's avatar

Look at the brutality in the world, 99% of the creatures that have lived on earth are extinct and tell me that this is a design.

If there is a god that designed such a system it is a horrible, horrible creature that we should work to eradicate.

That’s all I have to say on this matter, the question is just ridiculous. Just because you quote Hawking doesn’t hide that you are looking for people to support creation myths.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C You talking to me? I am a confirmed agnostic and if I were forced to chose theist or atheist it would be a very easy choice—atheist. A creationist I am most definitely not.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro I’m sorry, I went off on a rant without looking too closely at the question. I’ve faced a lot of stupidity in the last couple days and have now added my own bit to the case load. Sorry.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C No problem. I was just puzzled because I[‘ve been beat up for lots of things, but being a creationist is a new one.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, you and all fellow jellies.

Ron_C's avatar

Thanks @ETpro unfortunately I’m on a job in Mexico and there will only be labor for me no holiday.

Rarebear's avatar

ETPro a creationist? That’s a new one!

Ron_C's avatar

@Rarebear ok, ok, I screwed up I admit it. How long must this suffering go on?

Rarebear's avatar

@Ron_C LOL! I’m just kidding around.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C It is enough to know you’ll be sweating through a day’s work while I enjoy the holiday. I hereby grant you absolution of your sin, my son. :-)

zen_'s avatar

@ETpro is an evangelical creationist? That’s a new one.

ETpro's avatar

@zen_ Oh Lord, you promised you would keep my secret hidden. :-)

Rarebear's avatar

See he said “Lord!” I told you!

plethora's avatar

The former, earth designed carefully for man. I do not accept Dr Hawking’s pronouncements as having come down from the mountain on tablets of stone. Dr Hawking has a bias (and I do too). His is that God does not exist. Mine is that God does exist. While he is a genius, that does not mean he is infallible. Further, I do not hold that Earth is the only planet which God has created for human life. The odds or so slim as to be non-existent, but then we are talking about the universe, so “odds” dont mean much.

Jabe73's avatar

What a slanted question. I guess Hawkings words are written in stone, Hurray! The term “god” does not have a defined meaning like some of you imply. I’m not a creationist either by the way.

@ETpro Why not just call yourself an atheist then and get it over with?

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora So your point of view is that God specifically and actively designed the Earth so that homo sapiens can exist as a species? I’m not going to enter in a debate, but I’m just getting clarification.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro I will certainly sweat. The temperature during the day, outside is about 27 C, inside it goes up to about 31. Fortunately, they also gave me an office that’s air conditioned.

Thanks for absolving me of my sins.

Ivan's avatar

@plethora

When you say that Dr. Hawking’s is biased, you’re implying that he assumes outright that God doesn’t exist and then goes from there. I don’t think that’s the case.

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora Okay, one last question, and then I’ll leave you alone about this. If God created the world specifically so homo sapiens can exist, is there a reason in your eyes why God put homo sapiens on the planet only in the last 250,000 years or so from the 4 billion years of Earths existence? Or do you not believe that the Earth is that old? (I promise not to be critical and debate, I’m just trying to understand clearly your position)

plethora's avatar

@Rarebear Not a problem. Actually I believe the earth is about 14 billion years old. (I’m just a layman, but that is what I have gathered reading about new discoveries just in the last ten years, primarily by Dr Hugh Ross. Also in an article I read in Time about three years ago on the Big Bang. It was the cover article). I’m way out of my depth in speculating as to why God may have waited until the last 250,000 years (or less) to bring about homo sapiens. One possibility is that the earth may not have been in a state to support life until then.

@Ivan That is what I believe about Dr Hawking, as I have never seen any statement by him regarding a belief in God. I could be wrong.

Ivan's avatar

@plethora

I think you can see how there are other options besides “I assume outright that God exists” and “I assume outright that God does not exist”.

In any case, Hawking refers to God all the time, albeit as a sort of metaphor for the universe in the same sense that Einstein used the word.

plethora's avatar

@Ivan I’m thinking that referring to God as a metaphor for the universe is not quite the same as believing that God exists….“quite” being an understandment…:)

ETpro's avatar

@plethora I’m giving you a Great Answer not because I agree with your opinion but because I am glad you injected it so that we had some open debate on the topic. You are quite right that Dr. Hawking held a view about the existence of God well before becoming a cosmologist. His mother was a Communist in the 1930s in England, and he grew up to embrace the ideas of the brilliant atheist, Bertrand Russell. If one has the time for a 10 minute read, see this. It’s a fine rebuttal to Hawking’s earlier work, A Brief History of Time. It was penned by Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III, himself a Nobel nominated Chemist and a dedicated theist.

About Earth’s age, the best current evidence pegs it at a bit younger than our Sun. The Universe is indeed nearly 14 billion years old, 13.75 billion to be more exact. The Sun was formed about 4.57 billion years ago. The Earth, according to radiometric dating, is around 4.54 billion years old. And the Moon is a mere 4.53 billion years old. It is thought to have been hurled from the Earth into orbit when a large planetoid in near Earth orbit around the sun smashed into us. That explains its being composed of the same elements as Earth despite its much smaller size, and also why it does not rotate about its axis respective to Earth.

@Jabe73 How is the question “slanted”? I did not defend or refute Dr. Hawking’s book. I meerly asked if his conclusions would sway anyone, and if not, why not. As to whether to self identify as atheist, why have the word agnostic if it can’t ever be applied? It describes me exactly. Atheist does not. I’m just looking at what the dictionary says each word means, and selecting the one that best fits me.

Ivan's avatar

@plethora

And I agree, but I was hoping you would respond to my first statement.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro You’re right on age of universe and earth. I must have been spaced out.

@Ivan Looked back. Which first statement?

Ivan's avatar

@plethora

I think you can see how there are other options besides “I assume outright that God exists” and “I assume outright that God does not exist”.

plethora's avatar

@Ivan Yes, I would agree with that now.

@ETpro That was an excellent piece on Hawking

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora Thanks for clarifying.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora I thought you would enjoy that. I did. I am still an agnostic though. :-)

plethora's avatar

@ETpro I did enjoy it. He references Dr Hugh Ross several times, whom I have found to be a fountain of scientific info, written so it is interesting to me, and whom is also an atheist who became a Christian solely because of his exposure to scripture and his scientific knowledge.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora I have not read Dr Ross. Can you recommend a work that you would say should be my first to catch his drift?

plethora's avatar

@ETpro Hugh Ross The first 25 books on this Amazon list are by Ross. Hard to tell which might be best for a start. Browse the list and pick the one that catches your interest. I started with “Creation and Time”. “The Fingerprint of God” is also good, as is “Why The Universe Is The Way It Is”. “Creation and the Cosmos” might be of interest. Much to pick from.

Heading for the beach. Out for a few days.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Roger that. Thanks.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I don’t think that something begins from nothing, as Hawking professes, and that includes the Universe. We don’t always need science to explain things; as a matter of fact, I think all scientific fact, natural laws, and being are the product of a Higher Power, namely God, or Whoever you’d like to call Him. ;)

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES That cuts to the heart of the mystery of the Universe. We do not,in our human experience, ever expecct something to spontaneously erupts from nothing. And yet we are faced with a Universe that certainly seems to be here. Either it erupted from nothing, it has existed for eternity, God erupted from nothing and created it or God has existed eternally. In any case, we are faced with something that defies human experience.

Ron_C's avatar

Even if Dr. Hawking is wrong and it took a trigger to initiate the big bang, there is no reason that the earth was designed for us. The it is plain that we adapted to the earth. Maybe we were created to keep the earth company until an intelligent species comes along.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C The weight of evidence showing that is so mountainous that idle speculation that maybe it was the opposite, even though there is no evidence to support it, seems silly.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@ETpro I don’t believe there is such thing as “nothing”. Something can’t possibly arise from nothing.

Well, perhaps there was nothing, except God, who can’t be quantified or measured or seen. And He created something that led to the Universe.

Ron_C's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES not to be facetious but if god can’t be quantified, measured, or seen, isn’t god nothing? It is like someone tells you that he gave you a lot of money but won’t say how much, where he put it, and you can’t find it. Isn’t the hope for something that is unobtainable worse than being ignorantly poor?

An indefinable, insubstantial god is, to me, worse than no god at all.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES You’re right, there is no such thing as nothing. Space itself has vacuum energy, which drives the rapid acceleration in the expansion of the universe. In fact the only hypotheses I know of that says something came from nothing are the various Creation myths.

Ron_C's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh you make a good point. I was reading a little of Hawking and he indicates that we all, on a quantum level are a combination of energy waves. When you brake up the the parts of the atom, nothing is left except waves.

In that sense, we are all just standing waves, liable to pop in and out of existence based on the other wave energy around us.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Ron_C Exactly. As the mass of an object increases, it starts to possess more particle properties than wave properties, which is why we started out thinking electrons are particles and photons are waves. We as humans are huge, but we are still just an extremely complex summation of matter waves.

Ron_C's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh then it follows that it is more likely that something was created out of wave energy with no mass than something took existing mass and created the universe. Something from nothing without even following all the math involved. Excellent.

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I accept that you “don’t believe there is such thing as ‘nothing’.” But how do you know that. .

@MRSHINYSHOES & @FireMadeFlesh What is outside current space time. Don’t tell me it doesn’t exist, because space time keeps expanding into it. Is it not nothing till space time invades?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ETpro You may be interested in this video. My own knowledge in this area is extremely limited, so it explains it better than I could.

ETpro's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Cool video. But poorly formed wuestion though it may be, the thought experiment remains. It’s expanding into nothing. It has been since the Big Bang.The only alternative is that is is infinitely big, and expands just by stretching the distance between each particle in it, which doesn’t cause it to grow at all. Both ideas stagger the imagination.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ETpro I think this is where science goes somewhat beyond the linguistic capabilities of English. If the universe is infinite and unbounded, meaning we can run around on the surface of a balloon without reaching a boundary but never escape the surface, then it certainly isn’t expanding into anything like itself. Whatever is “out there” is beyond our abilities to describe and to measure, so we may never really know.

ETpro's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh We are of a like miond on that. :-)

ETpro's avatar

Interesting link. Thanks.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@Ron_C No. Just because something can’t be measured, quantified, or seen, doesn’t mean it’s nothing. Again, that is the misconception of the rational, scientific thinker.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@ETpro You think in the same way as Ron_C., in a way that all scientists and rational thinkers think. I don’t need to KNOW. I just need to have faith. It’s another realm, a realm that eludes all science, measurement and rational thinking. ;)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Just because something can’t be measured, quantified or seen doesn’t mean it is nothing, but it means there is no reason to assume it is something. A concept that cannot interact with the observable world in any way might as well not exist, because it cannot be relevant to our circumstances.

plethora's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh @MRSHINYSHOES I hope this is a clarification on what you are both saying.This question cannot be proved, nor can the answer be taken on faith. The question deals with the physical universe, so, at the least, I would want to see a preponderance of evidence supporting one position or the other.

Beyond this point, we are in the field of philosophy. I believe, on the basis of reason and emotion and critical consistent thinking that there is a God and that He created the universe, and that He created it specifically for habitation by human beings, none of which is provable, but all of which can be supported by substantial evidence.

One might say that this is a concept that does not interact with the observable world, and you would be consistent in thinking that only if you are agnostic or atheist.

One who believes that there is a God would say that God does interact with the observable world and is very relevant to our circumstances. On that point we are probably not going to come to agreement.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@plethora If gods exist, they either interact with the observable world, or their existence is totally irrelevant. If they interact with the observable world, then their existence should be able to be measured and quantified by observing the effects they have on the world. The less they interact with us, the less relevant they are. Since Christians say we are here to worship God, and he is the purpose of our being, the Christian God is said to interact with our world on a day to day level, and his effects on us should be patently obvious.
If gods do not generally interact with us, they are largely irrelevant to our existence and might as well not exist. By this reasoning, I think it is theoretically (but not technologically) possible to directly measure if there is or is not a god.

ETpro's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Yes, I am probably of a like mind with @Ron_C. I am an agnostic. I share @FireMadeFlesh‘s conclusion that if a deity routinely intervenes in the day-to-day affairs of man, we would routinely observe cause = effect not to work, or to work in reverse or unpredictable ways. We simply don’t see that. The things we try to attribute to miracles are perfectly consistent with cause and effect, and with the fact that coincidences occur.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro @FireMadeFlesh Let’s dispense with “the gods”. I have no idea who they are, and can make no comment on them.

As for The God, I would suggest that your chances of demanding and succeeding in getting The God to cooperate with your quantitative measures are doomed to failure. He will simply ignore you. Should you have an encounter with The God, it will be on His terms, not yours. And should it happen it, it will happen when you are ready to recognize it for what it is.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@plethora I refer to gods because my opinion does not only refer to yours.

Tell me, does your God heal sick people? (No, I’m not going to push the Epicurean Riddle argument here). If so, there should be some people out there who get better when there is no medical reason why they may have got better. That is what I mean when I say God should be directly observable. If he does not cause such effects on our day to day lives, then he is irrelevant at best. If he does cause such effects, then it should be patently obvious to every person that there are some things only able to be attributed to God.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Those who believe firmly in a Christian God who intervenes in human affairs in answer to prayer have no better a recovery rate from terminal diagnosis than those who have people praying to some other god they happen to believe in. Take out the placebo effect, and there is no epidemiological difference in recovery rates. If miracles were involved, there would be. Believe whatever you wish on a foundation of faith or your personal epiphany. It simply isn’t supported in observable fact. If it were, faith (the absolute requirement for Christian Salvation) would be unnecessary. People would believe not by faith but because they see the proof.

plethora's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh @ETpro I agree with both of you (GA to both) on the quantifiable level. I’m simply suggesting that “quantifiable” has its own limitations. For one it deals with only four dimensions, the fourth being time. What if, and this comes from Dr Hugh Ross, the astrophysicist who is also a Christian, God exists in 12 or more dimensions. That broadens the spectrum a bit on what is and isn’t possible and the ways in which it might be measured.

Not wishing to “prove” anything to either of you. I have no proof. I’m talking possibililities, one of which I read today in The Economist (on the plane, and did not bring it with me, but it is the current issue and can get it). I do not pretend to understand the article. It was way too deep for me. I did grasp the summary though…that being that the “alpha number”, thought to be constant throughout the universe, may vary. The significance is that if that is so, as has been scientifically observed and documented on two occasions, then it would appear that our solar system may very well be the only place in the universe (Earth specifically) that human life could possibly exist.

So things that can be quantified can and do change and I believe that it behooves us not to cram all of human life and experience into our beakers and scales and formulas.

To sum up, I’m all for quantifying and measuring anything that can be quantified and measured. That includes matters of “faith”. I’m also open to the possibility that relying exclusively on quantifiable measures, as noted above, has its own limitations.

Rarebear's avatar

Just jumping back in here, as I read @plethora‘s responses with interest. I’m obviously an atheist, but I’m perfectly willing to accept an idea of a god or God—I don’t reject out of hand like other atheists do. My issue as @plethora so aptly pointed out is one of proof. If someone can show me peer-reviewed accepted scientifically verifiable evidence that a supreme being exists, I’ll be happy to “convert” to theism. In my view, though, since there is none, and most things can be explained perfectly well by natural laws I’m perfectly happy with my atheist point of view. I have no “faith”, per se, in anything any more. I am a confirmed skeptic.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora The article you were reading and the 12 dimensional Universe are both drifting into string theory. String theory has little in evidence to support it as far as I know, other than the fact that it is mathematically consistent and could be used to explain multiverse theory and an eternal universe that drifts in and out of various branes (and brains).

The Fine Structure Constant, indicated by the Greek character Alpha or α, has been measured at great distances in the Universe and until 1999 had been found to be consistent at all points of measurement. In 1999, a team led by John K. Webb of the University of New South Wales thought they detected variances while using the Keck telescope to study 128 quasars at redshifts 0.5 < z < 3. That data seemed to show a slight variance for α between 10 and 12 billion years ago and now. However in 2008 using more sophisticated measuring it was discovered that there were errors in the measurements accounting for that seeming difference, and that the Fine Structure Constant seems to truly be a constant for any part of the Universe we can observe and for at least 12 billion of the 13.75 billion years the Universe has existed.

So yes, there could be multiverses, and 12 dimensions. Even the Plank Constant could vary. But strike one more for the Standard Model. So far, it’s holding up pretty well compared to all its competition. There is certainly nothing in our current ability to measure the Fine Structure Constant that suggests Earth is uniquely qualified for life.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro True, until the comments in The Economist today.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@plethora I tend to think that that which is not scientific is philosophical, and I am yet to come across a scientific or philosophical reason to believe. Sure, there might be a god, maybe even your God, but according to the knowledge and understanding I have that is so unlikely as to be impossible. However I am perfectly willing to accept that you have different reasons, and that mine will not be adequate for everyone.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora I haven’t read the article. I’ve got to make a trip to the library tomorrow because I’ve been reading Toxic Talk and it is due. I’ll check it out. But I would caution that the last time we thought new observations had proved that the Fine Structure Constant varies by environment in the Universe, it took 9 years to find out that we had just made some very minor errors in the observations.

Here is a good discussion of how it can vary due to localized conditions, but that is separate from the idea that it’s fundamentally different depending not on Quantum Electrodynamics (but simply according to locality.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro Just an item of interest.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Thanks for the link. The research cited is the same paper I mentioned wihic was found to be in error in some of its measurements 2 years ago. The Economist is rehashing old, debunked research. See this.

plethora's avatar

I don’t have the article now and am unfamiliar with the studies. Is The Economist that careless?

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora Is your point that because the universe is finely tuned that therefore it couldn’t be natural?

plethora's avatar

@Rarebear I may be missing your point, but I do not see “finely tuned” and “natural” as mutually exclusive.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Yes, it would appear The Economist is that sloppy when it comes to science.

At risk of speaking out of turn from @Rarebear the Alpha constant is a fortunate number. Like the Plank constant, if it were just a little bit larger or smaller, the Universe we live in wouldn’t support life. If the Plank constant was a bit off of 6.626068 × 10–34 m2 kg / s matter and atoms wouldn’t have condensed out of the cosmic cloud of the Big Bang. If the Fine-structure constant were off, stars could not support the type of nuclear reaction that forms the heavier elements such as Carbon and Oxygen. But the two constants are related. The Plank’s constant is used in calculating the Fine-structure constant. All the constants of the Universe we observe are related. They have to be what they are, because they create each other.

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora Okay, what I meant was do you see the Economist article as evidence that because the universe is finely tuned, therefore it had to have been designed by an intelligence?

plethora's avatar

@Rarebear No….I would say it was evidence that it was designed by an intelligence, but not that it “had to be” so. Although I believe that the universe was designed and created by an Intelligence, when I say that, I am reasoning from the other end, starting with a creator because no other argument makes any sense at all. I do not take any single of piece of evidence and say that it proves intelligent design.

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora Fair enough. Then our points of view, interestingly enough, aren’t too far from each other. As I said before, I’m perfectly willing to accept the idea of an intelligence creating the universe. But if an intelligence DID create the universe, then that should be a scientifically testable hypothesis.

Ron_C's avatar

I would say that the universe is as it is because those constants are what they are. No designer is necessary and the constants work because we are here. That is no different from seeing green as opposed to purple as natural and restful color. We do because we evolved in that environment. I am sure that if we evolved on Mars, we would see rust red as a peaceful, restful color.

plethora's avatar

@Ron_C That would be a statement of religious faith. You are now into philosophy, not science.

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora Well, not really. What he’s articulated is kind of a different way of saying the weak anthropic priniciple, which basically says, “We exist in the universe because the universe has the correct mileau for our existence.” It’s a bit of a tautology, though, I admit.

Ron_C's avatar

@plethora Oh no! Not philosophy again! If this turns philosophical, I’ll have to leave.

I got into a philosophical discussion, by accident, a short time ago. It turns out that we were arguing from two reference points, neither of which coincided in the real world.

plethora's avatar

@Rarebear @Ron_C It’s a gray area, just straddling the line between philosophy and science. I would claim it for religion. You may equally as reasonably claim it for science.

Rarebear's avatar

@plethora There is a mathematical/cosmological model called the Multiverse Theory that string theorists like. What the MT says is that there are an infinite number of universes with an infinite number of number of constants. If that theory is true, then a universe like ours is a statistical certainty. But this is just pretty math without any any shred of evidence right now—so you’re right, it’s sort of faith based at that.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora This isn’t an article of faith with me, just speculation based on logic. I expect we will discover at some point the Grand Unification Theory. When we do, it will tie all the constants of the Universe together, because they all had to arise as they did out of it. So the Universe is as it si because it has to be that way.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro So noted. You are entitled to call it what you wish, and this is one where you can do so, and I can call it what I wish, and we are both pretty close to right.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora That may turn out to be the case/

Ron_C's avatar

@Rarebear math is the language that describes our universe so it is more than just “pretty math”

Modern science, especially physics works first by developing the math, the devising experiments to prove, refine, or disprove the math. I would hate to see the math summarily dismissed and go back to alchemy experiments.

Rarebear's avatar

@Ron_C I think you may have me misread. I’m a hard science geek, atheist, and skeptic. I’m not discounting string theory because it has “pretty math” although the math is pretty. String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity both are beautiful mathematical representations of a GUT. My point is that despite all the mathematics there is no hard experimental evidence of either. Does that mean that they are discounted? Not at all. But to give a nod to @plethora I’m willing to accept the existence of a God if that God is subjected to the same experimental rigor that other GUT theories are.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rarebear Perhaps I did misread you. My point was that now that physics requires high-energy reactions and is no longer confined to the planes and falling objects of Galileo, we need to use the math before we start a major endeavor.

If there is a god that eludes the math, it then is possible to zero out god. Either it once existed and is no longer relevant or as Hawking states, it was not necessary.

My math stopped at trig, so my admiration of “pretty math” is that of the observer not the participant.

Rarebear's avatar

@Ron_C Of course we need the math to guide the physics. And that’s why I give GUT such as String Theory and LQG more credence than a God hypothesis. My point, though, is that you can have all the math you want, that looks as good as you want, but if you don’t have experimental evidence, then it’s just a fancy theoretical hypothesis.

The problem with String Theory is that it requires 11 dimensions (including time) to make the mathematics work, and it is impossible with any current technology to create energies high enough to test the theories.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rarebear that’s right “current technology ” I think that we will actually become able to address the additional dimensions in the future, we’re just waiting for the right wiz kid to be born.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C & @Rarebear I’m planning to test String Theory just as soon as I complete my Dyson’s Sphere and have the energy required. Now if only I can find the energy to build a Dyson’s Sphere. :-)

plethora's avatar

@Ron_C @ETpro You guys have too much time on your hands….:)

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro what about that round thing on the Dyson Vacuum?
@plethora My grandmother used to tell me “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, usually after I took an important machine apart to see how it worked.

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