Re: [asa] Many Worlds Interpretation and ID

From: David Heddle <heddle@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Aug 16 2007 - 13:05:01 EDT

Moorad,

That is *exactly* right and yet a point often missed. The stength of the
fine tuning argument is so-often incorrectly linked to the probability of
the constants. That, in turn, leads to obfusacting and irrelevant
discussions about how we possibly could, a priori, estimate those
probabilities. Well, we can't.

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

On 8/16/07, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu> wrote:
>
> 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 13:05:40 2007

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