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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

God vs The Multiverse (Part 4.5: Intelligent Design)

In order to give more clarity and precision to the proof, we would like to define how we are using design, orderfine tuning, and intelligence. We will also elaborate on the various areas in which modern physics indicates design, order, and fine tuning. We will thereby show why the fine tuning in the universe truly points to an Intelligent Designer.

The word 'intelligence' derives its meaning from the Latin verb inter-legere, which means to "pick out" or discern.  An intelligent creative act is one that selects one possibility from among many, for the purpose of producing its intended object.  
We define an object as designed, when the qualitative nature of its parts is such that the emergent entity is significantly greater than the sum of its parts.  When this is due to a specific arrangement of its parts, we say that the object is ordered.  When discussing the specific quantitative components of an object that allow the greater entity to emerge, we refer to the fine tuning of its design.

When an object is designed (ordered or fine tuned), one must find the cause that "picked" these parts and their specific arrangement (assuming a situation where randomness doesn't suffice as an explanation).   Since intelligent means "to pick out", we say that the cause of a designed object is an intelligent designer.  If the nature of the design is quantitative, then we can also say that the cause of the fine tuning is an intelligent fine tuner.  For convenience, throughout this proof we will often use 'design' to refer to all the various concepts, as it is also a general term that includes all these ideas.

In order to fully grasp what Intelligent Designer really means when applied to the constants and initial conditions, it is beneficial to have a good idea of how the constants and initial conditions fit into the current framework of fundamental physics.  The more you understand the different components of fundamental physics and their relationship to one another, the greater will be your sense of what the fine tuning really means.  We know this might seem like a daunting task, but we think that a simple analogy can help you appreciate the different components in a very general way.

For our analogy, we are going to extend Richard Feynman's comparison of the laws of nature to the rules of a chess game.  It is an oversimplified analogy, but it will serve to help you conceptually place the fine tuning of the constants and initial conditions.  The video also mentions the concept of simplicity, an important notion in science which we will come back to in Stage Three of the proof.

In chess, there are three things that all have to be fine tuned just right in order to have an official game of chess

(1) The rules for the movement of the piece, which can be divided into qualitative and quantitative components:
  • (a) The qualitative rules for how each piece moves. For example, a king or queen can move in any direction; a castle can only move horizontally or vertically; a bishop can only move diagonally.  This naturally includes the idea that there are different fundamental chess pieces.
  • (b) The quantity of each piece's movement.  For example, while a king and queen can each move in any direction, the king can only move one space at a time, while a queen can move any number of vacant spaces.
(2) The properties of the chessboard, which also have qualitative and quantitative components: 
  • (a) The qualitative properties of the chessboard.  The board is in the shape of a square, which consists of a finite number of spaces (individual squares).
  • (b) The quantitative properties of the chessboard.  It has a specific number of squares (eight by eight, for a total of 64 spaces).
(3) The initial setup of the chess pieces that begins the game.  There is only one specific arrangement of the chess pieces that can begin an official game.

The fine tuning in chess can be seen by realizing that all three major components need to have the correct quantities and proper order, or the game won't be played properly.  If the quantities are too far off, the game won't make sense at all.

An example of fine tuning necessary regarding the rules (1b) can be seen by imagining what the game would look like if we changed some of the quantities that govern how the pieces move.  For example, if pawns were required to move 6 spaces in a single move, the game would quickly break down. Each pawn would be prevented from moving by the opposing pawn 5 spaces away. Similarly, if castles and bishops could only move 2 spaces at a time, the depth and complexity of the game would be compromised, as this restriction would curtail many interesting strategies.

An example of fine tuning of the chessboard (2b) can be seen by imagining what the game would look like if we changed the quantity of spaces on the board.  If the board was a trillion by a trillion spaces, the pieces would never interact, and we would have a very boring game.  Likewise, if the board had too few spaces to fit the number of pieces, we wouldn't even be able to play a boring game, but would be left with no game at all.

An example of special ordering of the initial setup (3) can be seen by imagining other random arrangements of the pieces to begin the game.  Almost every arrangement will not allow an official game to start (which demands one very specific setup). Most other arrangements will certainly not allow a competitive game, which is the essence of the game to begin with, as one side will have an unfair advantage.  Some arrangements will lead to no game at all, such as the game beginning with one king in checkmate or stalemate position.

In an analogous way, fundamental physics can be broken down along these same three categories:

(1) The laws which describe how energy acts, which can be divided into qualitative and quantitative components:
  • (a) The qualitative laws of Quantum Mechanics describe the way that energy acts.  Energy comes in specific forms, which are analogous to the specific pieces of chess.  Instead of the basic chess pieces like castles or bishops, physics has fundamental particles like electrons and quarks.
  • Quantum Mechanics has been beautifully unified in the Standard Model of particle physics.  The Standard Model unifies three of the four fundamental forces of physics (the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force) that govern the behavior and interaction of matter.  The idea of these forces is similar to the rules for how each chess piece moves and interacts with the other pieces.

  • (b)  The constants of the Standard Model (which we mentioned in post 2) determine the quantities of the fundamental particles and forces.  This is (crudely) analogous to determining the quantity of spaces that each chess piece can move, like the rule that a pawn can move 2 spaces on its first turn, but only 1 space thereafter.  Just like in the chess example, if these constants were different, the universe would be completely different in a very boring and uninteresting way.  It would lack any hierarchy of complex structures greater than particles.

(2) The properties of the space-time framework, which also has qualitative and quantitative components:

  • (a)  The qualitative laws of Einstein's Relativity determine the space-time framework within which the different particles interact.  The space-time framework is roughly analogous to a board.  The space-time of Special Relativity is very much like a chessboard with a fixed background for the events to occur in.
  • Special Relativity is superseded by General Relativity, in which gravity (the fourth fundamental force) is seen to change the geometric shape of the framework itself.  This would be like the spaces of the chessboard changing during play, which you can imagine as adding or subtracting spaces in between pieces as they move around the board.  The space-time framework changing is an abstract concept, but it's important to have some idea of it for the next point.

  • (b)  The free constant of General Relativity is called the cosmological constant (mentioned in post 3).  This determines how fast space itself expands.  This is analogous to a rule that says that the spaces between pieces double after every 100 turns.  If the cosmological constant was bigger, space would expand too fast (say 10 squares a turn) for there to be any interactions between particles, and hence nothing interesting would be produced.  If the cosmological constant was negative, space would contract too quickly (say losing half the squares every turn) and there wouldn't be enough space for anything to exist.

(3) The initial conditions of the big bang are analogous to the initial setup of the chess pieces.  Just as we wouldn't expect a random arrangement of the pieces to produce a fair and competitive game, we wouldn't expect a random arrangement of the initial state of the big bang to lead to an ordered universe.  We describe the highly ordered initial arrangement by saying it has low entropy. In post 4, we mentioned that this has the probability of occurring by chance alone of approximately 1 out of 1010123.

Based upon these three categories, modern science has spoken in the clearest possible language that everything in our universe is fine tuned.  Energy, space-time, and its initial conditions are all fine tuned to mind boggling degrees.  In fact, there is no fundamental aspect of the physical universe which is not fine tuned.  Additionally, because of the precision of mathematics, the language of nature, we can clearly see how slight changes to these quantities would result in a chaotic, meaningless, boring universe (i.e., nothing more than many fundamental particles in a state of chaos, which is the sum of its parts).  This is something which might have been intuitively recognized in previous generations, but can be stated in a much more rigorous manner because of modern science.

Based upon these insights from modern physics, we can clearly see that the various components of the fundamental laws of nature truly merge to form a whole entity which is much greater and richer than the sum of its parts.  Novel existences form a hierarchy of complex structures rising from the level of fundamental particles, to complex life, all the way to the galactic scale of the cosmos.  There is order and beauty in our universe everywhere we look, in every way that we look.

We therefore conclude that the universe is designed.  Since the nature of the design we are focusing on in this proof is largely quantitative components of the universe, we also say that the universe is fine tuned.  (See the first comment on post 5 for an example of qualitative design in the laws themselves.)  The design and fine tuning of the universe points to the existence of an Intelligent Designer (an Intelligent Fine Tuner) who picked out the features of the various qualitative laws and particles of the universe, set the proper quantities, and ordered the initial conditions so that the universe evolved to form a whole which is much greater than the sum of its parts.


  1. Can you change the timestamp on this so it will show up in the right place in the sequence.


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