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Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life?

In what is becoming to be one of the worst misuses of science since electronics ended up in Sammy the Singing Sea Bass, defenders of „Intelligent Design“ increasingly abuse both words and the anthropic principle to „prove“ the existence of God.

Many of our greatest scientists have been asking why does the universe appear to fe „fine-tuned“ for life? The logic behind this question, sometimes known as the anthropic principle, says that we are here today, able to study the universe and learn about its laws. But if any of these were much different, we could never have come in to exist in the first place.

Scientists study why fundamental values of the universe like the gravitational constant or the mass of an electron are what they are. The anthropic principle states that these values can only be observed if they’re such that observers can exist to do so.  You’ll notice that this is perfectly true but doesn’t actually advance the issue, and certainly isn’t proof that an invisible man spent a few millenia tuning the basic interactions of physics to eventually create something that looked like him thirteen billion years later, in the most complicated bio-cosmic Rube Goldberg machine possible.
The way the values are exactly those required for life as we know it unnecessarily surprises far too many people. Of course any life will be perfectly suited to the universe it’s in – almost as if that’s where it bloody happened, and in fact every process leading to anything called life is utterly dependent on succeeding in the local environment.  It’s like being amazed how well water fits into gills – surely the structure of H2O is perfectly engineered by an omnipotent fishgod for his faithful marine subjects!

People who say slightly different values would prevent life only betray their total lack of imagination: they can conceive of an entirely alternate universe with fundamentally different physics, but the idea that maybe different things would happen in a different universe?  Madness!  Insisting on carbon constructions when there’s an infinity of possible existences to play with?  It’s like going to the Library of Congress and maintaining that something’s only a book if it’s about Peter Rabbit, because that’s the first one you read..
This is where we’re usually accused of being anti-religion.  We’re not.  Faith provides a wonderful support for countless millions, as well as parts of a moral system which would probably be really good if people would use it right.  But we are against religion interfering with science.  No lab-coated lunatic has ever burst into a church towing a mass spectrometer demanding to analyze the Eucharist. So sermonizers shouldn’t stuff up the gears of actual progress because they’ve decided their faith isn’t actually strong enough to withstand other people thinking differently.

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Januar 20, 2010 Posted by | Presse | | 1 Kommentar

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