In one of my funniest and most useful episodes yet, I interview astronomer Luke Barnes about the plausibility of 11 responses to the fine-tuning of the universe. Frankly, once you listen to this episode you will be better equipped to discuss fine-tuning than 90% of the people who discuss it on the internet. This episode will help clarify the thinking of anyone – including and perhaps especially professional philosophers – about the fine-tuning of the universe.
The 11 responses to fine-tuning we discuss are:
- “It’s just a coincidence.”
- “We’ve only observed one universe, and it’s got life. So as far as we know, the probability that a universe will support life is one out of one!”
- “However the universe was configured, evolution would have eventually found a way.”
- “There could be other forms of life.”
- “It’s impossible for life to observe a universe not fine-tuned for life.”
- “Maybe there are deeper laws; the universe must be this way, even though it looks like it could be other ways.”
- “Maybe there are bajillions of universes, and we happen to be in one of the few that supports life.”
- “Maybe a physics student in another universe created our universe in an attempt to design a universe that would evolve intelligent life.”
- “This universe with intelligent life is just as unlikely as any other universe, so what’s the big deal?”
- “The universe doesn’t look like it was designed for life, but rather for empty space or maybe black holes.”
- “Fine-tuning shows there must be an intelligent designer beyond physical reality that tuned the universe so it would produce intelligent life.”
Download CPBD episode 040 with Luke Barnes. Total time is 1:16:31.
Luke Barnes links:
Links for things we discussed:
- Fine-tuned universe
- Cosmological constant
- Miss Marple
- Other forms of life and Daleks
- Elliot Sober
- Cosmic inflation
- The graceful exit problem
- Carr and Rees, “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle and the Structure of the Physical World” (1979)
- David Lewis’ modal realism
- Boltzmann’s multiverse
- Roger Penrose argues that some modern multiverse theories face the same problem that Boltzmann’s multiverse faces in The Road to Reality.
- Everett’s multiverse
- Wheeler – At Home in the Universe
- Thorne-Hawking-Preskill bet
- Edward Robert Harrison
- Luke responds to PZ Myers
- You can find some good talks by Polkinghorne and Ellis on fine-tuning at the Faraday Institute’s multimedia page.
- William Lane Craig, “Design and the Anthropic Fine-Tuning of the Universe“
- Robin Collins, “The Teleological Argument“
- Good stuff: Davies – The Goldilocks Enigma; Rees – Just Six Numbers; Barrow – The Constants of Nature; Barrow & Tipler – The Anthropic Cosmological Principle; Leslie – Universes; George Ellis articles.
- Fred Adams and Luke’s critique
- Luke’s critique of Hector Avalos
- Luke’s critique of Victor Stenger: part 1 and part 2
- Luke’s critique of Hugh Ross
- Luke’s critique of William Lane Craig: part 1 and part 2