[edit: I did not mean to sound exclusive; anyone can chime in of course!]
I could not resist. I decided to pull out some Victor J. Stenger and other scientists to weigh in on fine-tuning and the origin of the cosmos. Once I get going on a topic, I cannot stop. Ideas are like drugs, leaving me wanting more depth and breadth.
Physicists don’t seem to be in agreement on how to interpret the appearance of fine-tuning. I do not want this to be another piece that confirms someone’s atheism. I want it to be an evenhanded assessment of the evidence.
So the purpose of this post is to get qualified others to comment on these points before I follow up on a post.
- According to Stenger, an example of something not having a cause is radioactive decay and photon emission. These phenomena are modeled by statistical mechanics and are not predetermined but rather random. These phenomena have “no evident cause”, and do what they do spontaneously. Some, however, call this probabilistic causality. For photon emission, if an electron is in a higher energy state and moves to a lower state, then the emission of a photon occurs. This looks predetermined to me. There are plenty of phenomena modeled as stochastic processes that still have causes. A coin toss, for example, has a random binomial distribution, but it still has a cause. Can atheists say that these two processes, namely radioactive decay and photon emission, are not deterministic? I get the feeling that this is an unsettled issue as debate rages if the universe is deterministic or indeterministic.
- Is the following true in regard to the topic of the appearance of fine-tuning? “Constants, such as the speed of light and Planks constant, are irrelevant since these are arbitrary units that define the system of units being used. Only “dimensionless” numbers that do not depend on units, such as the ratio of the strengths of gravity and electromagnetism, are meaningful.” Furthermore, these constants are not independent of one another, so if we change one, then we would have to change another. But constants are inseparable properties of the relationship of interest. That is, if they are not there, the relationship doesn’t hold true. How can Stenger claim that they are “irrelevant”?