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Archive for April, 2016

An emailer asked for my comments on this video, so I thought I’d post them here. It’s a video by William Lane Craig, with help from some nifty graphics and a narrator. Craig here defends the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God, as he has been doing for some time.

While Craig has done his homework on fine-tuning, the video has problems. I’ll be commenting here on the physics of fine-tuning, not the fine-tuning argument for God. I’ll leave the metaphysics to the philosophers, for now. (The previous two sentences will be copied and pasted into the comments section as many times as necessary.)

Before addressing the video, I’ve heard Craig say a few times that “there are about fifty constants and physical quantities simply given in the Big Bang themselves that if they were altered even to one part in a hundred million million million the universe would not have permitted the existence of life.” There can’t be 50 fine-tuned constants. There aren’t even 50 fundamental constants of nature, including cosmic initial conditions. There are, in the usual count, 31. (I have a sneaking suspicion that Craig is thinking of the large numbers of fine-tuning criteria compiled by Hugh Ross, which are of varying quality.)

Let’s look at the video; all quotes are from the transcript.

From galaxies and stars, down to atoms and subatomic particles, the very structure of our universe is determined by these numbers.

So far, so good.

Speed of Light: c = 299,792,458 ~ m ~ s^{-1}
Gravitational Constant:G = 6.673 \times 10^{-11} ~  m^3~ kg^{-1} ~ s^{-2}
Planck’s Constant: 1.05457148 \times 10^{-34} ~ m^2 ~ kg ~ s^{-2}

The final value is actually the reduced Planck constant (h / 2 \pi ), and the units are wrong; it should be m^2 ~ kg ~ s^{-1}. But there’s a bigger problem here. (more…)

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