Friday, August 15, 2008

Our unique solar system is less probable than our universe? - a reader writes

Reader Chris Beling offers some thoughts in response to philosopher William Lane Craig's view that millions of universes (the multiverse) are incompatible with the naturalism (materialism) the theory tries to save:
This argument for William Lane Craig's is very interesting and stimulating. Two points that come to mind however:

[1] I am doubtful if the probability "of our universe's low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1:10^(10^123)" is the same thing as the probability of getting all the fundamental universal constants fine-tuned for our universe - which astronomers such as Hugh Ross put at around 1:10^50 [sorry the number may not be up-dated]. I think this distinction needs to be clarified.

[2] I am not sure how much muster this argument has against naturalism:

Based on Penrose the probability of a universe by chance is 1:10^(10^123) - a naturalist, due to lack of specific scientific theory on how universes are formed (universe generators), can easily speculate on as much probabilistic resource as he/she wishes - for example 10^(10^123) universes (or an uncountable number of universes). Alternatively he/she could say - we just got lucky [single shot thinking]

With regard to the Solar System, however, things are different. The probability of a solar system popping into existence by chance 1:10^(10^60). Things are different here because the naturalist is limited to our known universe - where there certainly are not 10^(10^60) settings for such an event to take place [10^80 is the number of fundamental particles in the universe]. I would think he/she could argue against solar systems popping up out of nowhere just based on this fact alone. Alternatively he/she could just say - we didn't get lucky [again single shot thinking].

A naturalist would thus have a valid explanation (based on the multiverse premise) for why we don't see solar systems popping up from random assemblies of particles?
Lost in the cosmos, are you? The photo is from my front garden in Toronto, where cosmos self-seed.