God vs The Multiverse

Click here for God vs The Multiverse: a rational argument for the Existence of One God who intelligently designed one universe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God vs The Multiverse (Part 25: Fine Tuner)


This post is predicated upon a person knowing and accepting the historical argument that God gave the Torah at Mount Sinai, or having some other foundation for accepting the event at Sinai.  We have stated many times that we are not going to prove Divine Providence, and hence we are not going to prove Sinai.  We have only included this post because we have many readers who do know and accept the veracity of the Torah, and they can thereby benefit from this post.  If you do not accept the Torah as true, please skip this post, as it is not for you, and we are not trying to convince you about it.  The proof of God that this series establishes is in no way contingent on this post.

The different names that God is called, teach important ideas about God.  The names are not mystical lucky charms.  They convey concepts about God that human beings can rationally understand.  One of the names of God which is found in the Torah is  ש-די.  The Talmud in Chagiga 12a (written about 1600 years ago) explains that ש-די is a contraction of  ש (that) and די (enough).

The Talmud expounds upon the introductory verse where God comes to Abraham to seal an eternal covenant that He will forever be identified to Abraham's offspring as the God of Abraham.  In that verse, God identifies Himself to Abraham by saying "I am the God, ש-די".  The Talmud explains that the concept of the name is "I am the One who said to the universe 'enough'."  This is used to explain a particular aspect of God's creation of the world.  Specifically, the sea covered the entire world until God told the sea to reduce itself to a precise lower level that would allow life to develop on land.

The Talmud sees the name ש-די as expressing that God is responsible for the specific quantities in nature, such as the sea level.  The name ש-די is, of course, a reference to the One Existence which sets the proper limit for all the quantities in the universe, not just the sea level.  It refers to the One Simple Necessary Existence who fine tuned the exact numbers for the constants of nature.  ש-די means Fine Tuner.  God appeared to Abraham with the name Fine Tuner.

The great philosopher King David wrote:

כִּי אֶרְאֶה שָׁמֶיךָ,  מַעֲשֵׂה אֶצְבְּעֹתֶיךָ
יָרֵחַ וְכוֹכָבִים,  אֲשֶׁר כּוֹנָנְתָּה

  מָה אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי-תִזְכְּרֶנּוּ;  וּבֶן-אָדָם, כִּי תִפְקְדֶנּוּ

When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers;
The moon and the stars that You gave structure to.
(I say) What is man that You should remember him; a human that Your providence should relate to him.

Notice how David calls the universe the work of God's fingers, not His hands.  Fine motor skills are performed by fingers, not hands.  David's reaction to seeing the fine tuning in the works of  ש-די is wonder and astonishment that the King of the Universe relates to man at all.  David does not conclude that the universe was made only for man.  Rather, he is amazed that a human even registers as something significant enough to be remembered before the King of the Universe.

Maimonides begins the first chapter of Laws of the Fundamentals of the Torah, by establishing the Reality of One Simple Necessary Existence.  He begins the second chapter by defining the path to loving and fearing God:
What is the path to loving God and having an awe of Him?  When a person contemplates God's great actions and wondrous creations, and sees from them God's incomparable and infinite intelligence, he immediately loves, praises, glorifies, and is passionately drawn to know the Great Name, as David said "My soul thirsts for the Living God".
Simultaneously, as he contemplates these very same great actions and wondrous creations, he is overcome with a sense of awe and fear at the recognition that he is a tiny lowly creature, standing with a puny little intelligence before a Perfect Intelligence.  As David said "When I see the heavens, the work of Your fingerWhat is man that You should remember him?"
The true anthropic principle that the Torah advocates is awe and fear of God.  While we are amazed by the awesome wisdom manifest throughout the creation, we should be even more astounded that God relates to us.  Abraham said before the King of the Universe, "I am dust and ashes".  Before the God of Modern Science we should say, "We are electrons and quarks".

It boggles the human mind that the King of the Universe, ש-די who fine tuned the universe with infinite intelligence, with great kindness gave the Torah at Mount Sinai to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob .  Approximately 3300 years ago, amid the loud blasts of a shofar with millions of their offspring as eye witnesses, God spoke these words:
אָנֹכִי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים.  לֹא יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱ־לֹהִים אֲחֵרִים עַל פָּנָי
"I, One Simple Necessary Existence, am your God who took you out of Egypt from the house of slavery.   You should not have faith in any other gods except for Me."
These two fundamental principles of the Torah, the recognition of One Real God and the denial of all false gods, are in fact two sides of one coin, and form the cornerstone of the entire Torah.  The Wise Men of Israel encapsulated the essence of this concept when they said: "Anyone who attributes reality to false gods, denies the entire Torah and everything the prophets ever prophesied.  And anyone who denies false gods, acknowledges the truth of the entire Torah."

When primitive man was still bowing down to idols, the Real God's prophets continuously reinforced this foundation of the Torah.  They warned against making any physical form or image of God, as that ultimately leads man to incorrectly conceive of God as a complex existence.  While even modern man has difficulty rejecting any complexity associated with God, the Torah has always insisted that man relate to the idea of God only as One Simple Necessary Existence.  God's Torah is the book that He gave us which instructs man how to lead a true and real life.  To this day, it is not only current, but remains far ahead of its time.

11 comments:

  1. While it is true that fine tuning has always been clear to those who thought about the role of quantity in the universe, the modern version of fine tuning has many great advantages over how it appeared in the past. While it was present for Abraham to see, and it was there for the Sages of the Talmud to see, the proof from fine tuning has taken on a whole new level of clarity in the context of modern science.

    The great revolutionary discovery that laid the groundwork for a new model of science was made by Galileo Galilee, who lived one generation before Issac Newton. Galileo realized that the best language for understanding the physical universe was that of mathematics. He wrote: "Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe... It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures..."

    The new scientific revolution introduced rigorous quantitative representations of our universe in place of the old method of qualitative description. Based upon this revolution, we can now describe and analyze the fine tuning of our universe in the best language for expressing it: mathematics. Because of Galileo's great discovery, and the advances made by modern science, we can quantify much more precisely just how fine tuned the universe truly is. We can also see how ubiquitous fine tuning is throughout all of modern physics.

    The essential quantitative nature of the physical universe is that which lends itself to such precise descriptions in mathematics. It is very likely that scientific knowledge will progress in the future, and physicists will arrive at even simpler mathematical equations that accurately describe the universe; but all indications tell us they will indeed be mathematical and will therefore be susceptible to a rigorous analysis of fine tuning.

    We conclude with one disclaimer: As we stated in the introduction, any proof from science is subject to the radical doubt that the entire scientific model will be largely overthrown, much like modern science replaced Aristotle's science. Should science, at some point in the future, undermine the role of quantity and mathematics in describing the natural world, through entirely replacing quantitative descriptions with only qualitative descriptions, then fine tuning of quantities would obviously not apply. Arguments from order would still apply, just not from the fine tuning of quantities.

    Modern science obviously thinks that this type of description will never happen, and it has very good reasons for believing that to be the case. It is hard to imagine any language besides mathematics that could allow the same rigorous and precise description of various complex phenomenon from simple principles. It is only because of mathematics that we are able to derive the far reaching consequences of simple laws. Mathematics allows us to accurately calculate a chain of reasoning over an incredibly large number of steps, and it is therefore hard to imagine anything that could totally replace it.

    We doubt Aristotle realized what would happen to his system of physics, and it is important to be honest about the degree of certainty one attributes to their own scientific knowledge as whole. However, we think that this skeptical doubt is not something that a reasonable person acts based upon. It is one thing to recognize the fallibility of man's knowledge, but it is another thing to live like a fool. An intelligent person realizes that the only type of scientific knowledge one has, is the science of his generation. As such, it behooves us to study modern science and learn from it the truth that it has revealed about the universe and its Creator.

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  2. If this is the last post - thanks for all the effort and time you put into it. It is greatly appreciated and the ideas will be shared with others!

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    1. There's still the conclusion, bonus post 4.5, and the summary of Stage Three.

      We're glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. NOW I see the zichronos and shofros! Very nice, very nice.

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    1. They're both there, as they follow from the previous post. It's subtle.

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    2. Would anyone care to elaborate for me? I don't know what you are referring to.

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    3. The idea of Malchiyos, the King of the Universe, in the previous post is entirely predicated on the concept of One Simple Necessary Existence. It is not necessary to know that God relates to man in particular to derive and understand that He is the King.

      In fact, the proper recognition of God as the King, leads one to view God as exalted and above, far from being related to a small seemingly insignificant creature like a human being. Nevertheless, God does relate to man, and even enters into an eternal covenant with him, like the bris that God made with Abraham.

      The blessing of Zichronos, that the King remembers man, is something that we derive only from the observation that it occurs. It is not something we would expect. God made a covenant with Noah that includes all mankind, but he also made more limited covenants with Abraham and his descendants.

      The request we make in the blessing on Rosh Hashana, is for God to remember the covenant He made with our forefathers and with us, and it ends in the statement that God remembers the covenants He makes with man.

      The third and final theme of Shofaros, that the King reveals himself openly to man, is an even further development of this idea. It is based upon the mass revelation at Sinai that established a system of Torah and mitzvos, and also the prophesied future revelation in the days of the messiah.

      The open revelation to us is even more incredible that a covenant. It is a spontaneous intervention into human history that completely redirects its future evolution to the ultimate state of human society. God did this in order to give the Torah and mitzvos, which completely revolutionized the ideas of the world. If you study what the nations of the world believed 3300 years ago, you will see that the Torah introduced an entirely new way of thinking that set up the basic framework for all future knowledge.

      This is in contrast to a covenant which is a permanent and stable relationship between God and man. Shofaros is a sudden, spontaneous revelation that occurs once (and one more time in the future) and forever changes the course of mankind.

      It is even more astounding that the King of the Universe should write a book of life and give it to man, than He should seal a covenant. Again, it is something we would never expect were it not for our observations that He did.

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    4. Thank you, that is an astounding thing to think about.

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