[asa] Re: Lorenz equations and fine tuning (was Results of Cameron's Survey)

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 02:35:46 EDT

Hi, Don,

OK, so in this particular case (Lorenz) it is a poor analogy.
However, the point I was trying to make still, I think, stands. One
may think of chaotic systems that are sensitive to initial conditions
and also to other mathematical parameters of the system. George's
point (as I understand) is that the accuracy of specification of
initial conditions (e.g. momentum, position) is limited by the
uncertainty principle. My point was that the values of fundamental
constants were not subject to that limitation.

It occurs to me also that the original point was about whether the
specification of the initial conditions of the universe amounted to a
designer's input of information. However, it would perhaps be better
to say that the specification of fundamental constants is an input of
information (if one wants to argue front-loading - which I'm not sure
I do). On the one hand, it could be said that the Lorenz attractor is
sensitive to initial conditions. But on the other hand, you could
just as well say that in terms of the behaviour of the system, even
though it's not predictable microscopically, it always ends up on the
Lorenz strange attractor - in terms of the general behaviour, provided
rho is fixed at 28 (which it certainly is in the simulations that
generate the attractor). In real life, rho, as you say, can vary -
but in order to demonstrate the attractor in a simulation, the
programmer has to choose precisely the value to make that happen. A
fine-tuning ID advocate might well argue that Planck's constant, fine
structure constant, ratio of gravity to EM force etc were also
deliberately chosen to make life inevitable.


On Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 2:16 AM, Don Nield<d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> wrote:
> Sorry, Iain, but you are off the beam. The parameter rho that appears in the
> Lorenz equations is not  a  fundamental constant that can be thought of as
> being fine tuned. Rather, it is a parameter like a Reynolds number that can
> be varied continuously. In the original Lorenz paper on convection in the
> atmosphere it appears as a sort of Rayleigh number that measures the ratio
> of factors associated with the causes of convection (a temperature
> difference between the top and bottom a  layer of fluid, expansion ,
> gravity) and properties. of the fluid that hinder convection (viscosity,
> conduction). For small values of rho one has no convection, for intermediate
> values one has laminar convection, and for large values one has turbulence.
> The value 28 (in conjunction with the values of sigma and beta) is a typical
> value for the the transition to turbulence.
> Don N.
> Iain Strachan wrote:
>> Ah yes, of course I'd forgotten the quantum uncertainty.  But that
>> only applies to things like position and momentum (which would of
>> course apply to my Lorenz Attractor example - initial conditions).
>> However it would not apply to the fine-tuning of the constants of the
>> universe.  Hence there are constants in the Lorenz attractor (this
>> from the Wikipedia page):
>> ## Lorenz Attractor equations solved by ODE Solve
>> ## x' = sigma*(y-x)
>> ## y' = x*(rho - z) - y
>> ## z' = x*y - beta*z
>> function dx = lorenzatt(X,T)
>>    rho = 28; sigma = 10; beta = 8/3;
>>    dx = zeros(3,1);
>>    dx(1) = sigma*(X(2) - X(1));
>>    dx(2) = X(1)*(rho - X(3)) - X(2);
>>    dx(3) = X(1)*X(2) - beta*X(3);
>>    return
>> end
>> Note that the line starting rho = 28 specifies not the initial
>> conditions, but the constants of the system.  One might imagine there
>> is much greater scope for fine adjustments of these.  Different values
>> of rho give very different behaviour of the system.
>> So generalising to the Universe, maybe the Creator has much more fine
>> choice over things such as Planck's constant , or the Fine Structure
>> Constant than would be allowed by Quantum uncertainty.
>> Iain
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Received on Tue Jun 30 02:36:57 2009

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