RE: [asa] Many Worlds Interpretation and ID

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Thu Aug 16 2007 - 11:53:38 EDT

The real question is, if a particular set of parameters gives rise to life, consciousness, etc., then how sensitive are these values for these parameters to develop life, etc. If the values of the parameters are extremely sensitive for the occurrence of life, then fine-tuning is there. The latter is so regardless of how low the probability for such values of the parameters.

 
Moorad

________________________________

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu on behalf of David Heddle
Sent: Wed 8/15/2007 5:11 PM
To: David Campbell
Cc: asa
Subject: Re: [asa] Many Worlds Interpretation and ID

David C:

"I think this merely moves the presumed low probability back a step.
Habitability being built into the fabric of spacetime is an indicator
of ID only if that has a low probability of happening without
intelligent involvement."

No--in some multiverses (SS landscape) the constants are effectively a random draw. So their small probability (if it is small) doesn't favor design any more than it favors a multiverse--indeed the lack of an explanation for the constants, I would say, favors the multiverse. If the constants have probablility unity (from a fundamental theory), the multiverse is dead--at least the SS landscape is--since it more or less predicts that the search for such a fundamental theory is a fool's errand, likened by Susskind to religion. Derived constants, from a fundamental theory, do not push low probability back one level unless the next claim is that the fundamental theory itself is obtained from a random draw. It pushes design back one level (and makes it more elegant)--to designing the laws that determine the constants for which habitability is sensitive-- rather than just cleverly choosing the constants,

but Idon't think it can be appealed to as a scientific conclusion or as
proving anything, rather than suggesting plausibility.

Agreed, even in the best case scenario ID is not science, in my opinion.

David Heddle
Associate Professor of Physics
Christopher Newport University &
The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

On 8/15/07, David Campbell <pleuronaia@gmail.com> wrote:

>But low probability is, in my opinion, the wrong way to look at
        cosmological ID anyway. Fine-tuning arguments should not be based on
        assumed low probabilities of the constants--something that cannot be
        calculated. It should be based on the sensitivity of habitability (for
        any kind of life) to those values, which is quite different. In fact,
        the best possible case for cosmological ID is the high probability
        scenario. If we uncover a fundamental theory that derives the values
        of the constants (so that they have probability unity) and the
        sensitivity of habitability stands the test of time, then we must
        conclude that habitability is built into the fabric of spacetime.
        Short of God appearing on earth, this would be the strongest possible
        argument in favor of cosmological ID. <
        
        I think this merely moves the presumed low probability back a step.
        Habitability being built into the fabric of spacetime is an indicator
        of ID only if that has a low probability of happening without
        intelligent involvement.
        
        I should also note that I am talking about scientific "proof". I
        would certainly agree that it seems unlikely that all the different
        physical parameters necessary for intelligent life just happened to
        end up at the right values in this universe. It is thus not
        unreasonable to suppose that this reflects intelligent agency, but I
        don't think it can be appealed to as a scientific conclusion or as
        proving anything, rather than suggesting plausibility.
        
> For example "survival of the fittest" isn't clear-cut with probability 1.
> Better adapted species are more likely to reproduce/ propagate genes etc.
> But in some universes the arguably less fit will still outnumber the more
> fit. That way highly implausible evolutionary sequences become possible.
        
        Actually, the probability of absolutely fittest permanently surviving
        is near zero. Unless a particular feature is either essential to or
        completely prevents surviving and reproducing, the odds of its
        establishment in a population are a probabilistic function of the
        population size, the frequency of the feature in the population, and
        its effect on survival. Because DNA copying is imperfect, minor
        fluctuations that theoretically increase or decrease the fitness by a
        miniscule amount are happening all the time. Also, most traits
        involve tradeoffs between advantages and disadvantages, such that
        extreme selection for one feature often yields problems in other areas
        (think of artificial selection and the problems of, e.g., many
        purebred pets or grocery tomatoes selected for durability rather than
        flavor or roses selected for color rather than aroma). Again, some
        features would convey evolutionary fitness advantages only in unusual
        circumstances. Numerous situations exist in which rapid running would
        convey an advantage, yet track stars show no sign of taking over the
        human race. Thus, "fittest" is a rather complex concept. In
        addition, the environment rarely holds still enough for a particular
        unchanging form to continue to be highly fit-even in relatively
        constant physical environments, your competitors, predators, prey,
        etc. have an inconvenient habit of evolving. Survival of the fit
        enough is a much more accurate description.
        
        --
        Dr. David Campbell
        425 Scientific Collections
        University of Alabama
        "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
        
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Received on Thu Aug 16 11:54:10 2007

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