RE: [asa] Multiverse math

From: wjp <wjp@swcp.com>
Date: Tue Sep 01 2009 - 19:34:03 EDT

Bernie:

I personally don't see why the narrow range for life as we know it to exist
is relevant. The "intuition" of the argument is that there appears to be no
reason why any value should obtain and not others, whether or not life should
arise or not. This is why I have intentionally posed the argument as not
anthropic.

bill

On Tue, 1 Sep 2009 15:07:54 -0700, "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:
> "3) Since it is possible that these parameters can take on other values,
> they will."
>
>
>
> Maybe a different way to state it is like this:
>
> 3. Since these values fall within a small range, the actual numbers aren't
> special but appear to be randomly selected.
>
>
>
> For example, let's say a certain constant is 1.5667 and it must be between
> 1.5000 and 1.6000 for existence to be viable. Amazing, it is 1.5667! Yes,
> but it could have been 1.5571 or 1.5001, etc. The actual number is in the
> life-giving range, but other than that, it is special in no way. I think
> that makes a compelling argument.
>
>
>
> ...Bernie
>
> -----Original Message-----
>
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
> Behalf Of wjp
>
> Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:14 AM
>
> To: asa@calvin.edu
>
> Subject: [asa] Multiverse
>
> Importance: Low
>
>
>
> In the latest edition of PSCF, Robert Mann in
>
> his article on the Puzzle of Existence, speaks of the
>
> possibility of a multiverse.
>
>
>
> He says, "Biophillic selection and cosmic fine-tuning
>
> are coming to be regarded as indirect evidence that we
>
> live in such a multiverse."
>
>
>
> He does not describe in any detail the reasoning or
>
> intuition that supports this conclusion.
>
> So I attempt to do so crudely here in an attempt to
>
> lay bare the force of the conclusion.
>
>
>
> 1) Our universe can be characterized by a finite set of
>
> independent parameters.
>
> 2) If any of these parameters are altered, a vastly different
>
> universe exists.
>
> 3) Since it is possible that these parameters can take on
>
> other values, they will.
>
> 4) Therefore, there are multiverses (either in the past, present,
>
> or future, if such temporal indices make any sense at all)
>
>
>
> It seems to me that there are reasons to be suspicious about
>
> all of these premises. For example, I have no reason to believe
>
> that the parameters are independent. How would I know if by
>
> changing the mass of a neutron, I would also change the speed of
>
> light, or that perhaps all masses would scale accordingly.
>
> However, I will concentrate my attention on the third.
>
>
>
> Notice that I have wholly neglected any mention of an anthropic
>
> principle. I think it irrelevant to the argument. All the
>
> anthropic principle suggests is that there are some universes where
>
> people are aware of the apparent "fine tuning" of their universe.
>
>
>
> Mann spends considerable time speaking of possibility, but he never
>
> clearly defines it. The question begins to sound like the endless
>
> debates over the ontological status of possible worlds. We must
>
> even begin to wonder what a "world" is.
>
>
>
> It seems that we must first get straight what kind of possibility
>
> we are speaking of. At least two kinds come immediately to mind:
>
> conceptual possibility and physical possibility.
>
>
>
> So in (3) if we are speaking of conceptual possibility, we mean that we
>
> know of no logical reason that universes cannot logically take on
>
> different parametric values, which is only to say that we can conceive
>
> of different universes. We didn't need science or universal parameters
>
> to argue that. I would say that it is certain that we can.
>
> If so, then the antecedent of (3) is true, but does the consequent follow
>
> from that. No. Since we have suddenly shifted from conceptual reality
>
> to physical reality.
>
>
>
> The only way that (3) can be true is if you adopt some form of Idealism
>
> or Platonism. That Mann, or certainly others, have adopted such a
>
> metaphysical stance is indicated by Mann's introduction:
>
>
>
> "We now have enough knowledge about our universe, at both macroscopic
>
> and microscopic scales, to ask whether it as typical specimen out of all
>
> possible kinds of universes one might imagine. What has emerged from the
>
> scientific body of knowledge is that the answer appears to be negative:
> our
>
> universe is atypical in a number of respects that are connected in
>
> unexpected and perhaps profound ways with our own existence."
>
>
>
> It seems that he too easily proceeds from what we can imagine to what is,
>
> from what is conceptually possible to what is physically possible.
>
>
>
> I don't believe we have any idea of what is physically necessary, and
>
> we certainly have no idea of what is physically possible in worlds other
>
> than our own.
>
>
>
> I will not comment on what appear to me to rather questionable theological
>
> conclusions regarding the impact of a multiverse, but I do wonder whether
>
> you all have a clearer understanding of the "compulsion" to a multiverse
>
> (other than perhaps escaping the force of the anthropic principle).
>
>
>
> thanks,
>
>
>
> bill
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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Received on Tue Sep 1 19:34:58 2009

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