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Brian Greene: Why is our universe fine-tuned for life?

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posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 10:23 PM
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reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 


Although you make a valid point, yes, there is a philosophical element to it. However our current philosophical conversation needs to change as science has push the old boundaries of that conversation further than we have ever thought possible through recent scientific discoveries.




posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 10:53 PM
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reply to post by Ericthenewbie
 


A merger (or re-merger?) of science and philosophy would be great and is perhaps inevitable, but we may have to accept that there are things we are incapable of knowing; this may be one of them.

Does life depend on the universe or the universe on life? Perhaps there is no cause and effect but some kind of symbiosis. What if the nature of the universe is malleable and non-static? What of quantum mechanics and the observer effect? Can the universe exist without someone to observe it? If not, the makeup of the universe is no accident and the observer might as well be God, for all of creation exists in his or her mind.

As I said, it's a great topic and is certainly a discussion worth having. It blurs the lines between empirical science, philosophy, and mysticism, but it's still not science in the traditional sense. We cannot expect to derive some truth of intelligent design, creationism or even a random meaningless universe. Who knows, maybe it's better that way.
edit on 23-4-2012 by Orwells Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 11:54 PM
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reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 


Not to take away from the points you are making because there's validity in them but can I ask if you even watched his presentation? I would like to hear your thoughts on the ideas and theories presented in order to see if you can appreciate not only how the philosophical components but also how the scientific components of the conversation change?



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 12:06 AM
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reply to post by Ericthenewbie
 

Because some people like to think about something for a while before watching what an expert says. Things make more sense when you invest your own thoughts in a matter beforehand.

I tink that the fact our universe has to have perfect arrangements for life to exist is not much different than how certain characteristics of cells and biology must also be "perfect" or it would collapse into inanimate goo. This suggests to me the possibility that there're multiple universes. The reason I say this is how did biology know the perfect construction to function as it does? Evolution! The idea that evolution only exists inside the universe and not outside is also hard for me to accept, given that we haven't actually wrapped our mind around the entire universe yet.

Somehow this universe knew how to put oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen and phosphorous and sulphur and carbon (over 99% of that which constitutes known life) together to form lifeforms. Think about that for a moment. Those're just elements, they're not conscious. For some reason, when they're in certain constructions, they bring about life and hence, intelligence. That's strange.

JMHO.
edit on 24-4-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 01:25 AM
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Originally posted by jonnywhite
reply to post by Ericthenewbie
 

Because some people like to think about something for a while before watching what an expert says. Things make more sense when you invest your own thoughts in a matter beforehand.


Taking the time to think about things on your own is great and I'm all for that but in this thread, your above statement is the equivalent of handing in a book report to a teacher without having read the book. In this case, I feel it's more worthwhile to see the information presented..then take the time to think about it and develop your own perspective whether it be in agreement or not with the information presented... then share that perspective with the ATS audience. In my opinion that makes for a more relevant conversation on the topic that brings more meaningful value to the community as a whole.



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 08:02 AM
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reply to post by Ericthenewbie
 


the universe is not fine tuned for life - life is fine tuned for the universe - the existance of exclusivly aquatic and terrestrial speciese demonstrates this



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 10:33 AM
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Originally posted by ignorant_ape
reply to post by Ericthenewbie
 


the existance of exclusivly aquatic and terrestrial speciese demonstrates this


That's only if you don't include the aquatic and terrestrial species in your definition of "life"...after all we aren't talking solely about humans here.



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by VonDoomen
reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 


reply to post by roadgravel
 


Because its not just life we are talking about, but existence. There are 100's of factors that could make our universe "unlivable". These factors are things like, the specific weight of electrons and protons, the strength of their charges, the strength of gravity, ect. If i remember correctly, the weight of a proton if it was even .0000001% smaller or bigger would have very dramatic effects on a universe. So its not necessarily just life we are talking about, but even the ability of the universe to exist. if you google this stuff you will find hundreds of these little tidbits that are essential for a universe to survive and not collapse or expand to quickly.


This is an interesting concept. I can see it now! Signs on all the Micky D's throughout the universes XXX NO Atoms Allowed XXX



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by Ericthenewbie
 


I saw the videos now and he is an amazing talker making some very hard subjects 'easy' to understand. But thinking about multiverses and 11 dimensions, string theory and all, just makes me dizzy
The idea of multiverses reminds me a bit about the idea of zero point energy where energy is created and annihilated all the time around us. A simmering sea of energy where the combined amount equals zero so it won't break any laws of nature. Thinking about the possibility of other universes where there exist other laws of nature and therefore I would assume, other elementary particles, it just makes my head hurt


All the ideas of how come the universe is fine tuned for life is very easy to explain. If it wasn't, we wouldn't exist and therefore not be able to even think about it. We exist so we won the big lottery in life. Of all the possible ways this universe could work, it works in our advantage. Like he says, they were asking the wrong question. Like the fact that our earth is in the habitable zone from the sun. If it was not, we would not be here. Again, out of all the possibilities in our universe, our galaxy, our solar system, our earth, this point in time, our mother and father meeting, that one sperm cell that won the race, we exist, so we can ask those questions. In all the other possibilities, we don't exist..

Just my 2 cents..



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 01:48 PM
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reply to post by scarystuff
 


I like your sense, I posted back a bit that I though the ancients did just fine saying the earth was the center of the Universes.
I think they were even more simplified by using the word ALL instead of all that other nonsense. Just so much more 2sensible.lol
BTW I did not have watch the film. You poor thing.
But since you did. Did he figure out an event horizon for each universe and alter dimention?? lol
edit on 4/24/2012 by longjohnbritches because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 02:33 PM
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reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 


Again, Im not really talking about life per say, but the ability for a universe to even sustain itself and thus life.

Also, I would disagree that this is a philosophical question. This is stuff being investigated in the realms of science right now.

we know that if whatever particles a universe decides to make, if they are to heavy, the universe collapses on itself. If they are to light, the universe expands at too fast of a rate causing cold death. A universe has to be stable enough to be around long enough for life to begin.
regardless, I believe most if not all universes, especially the ones that survive, would have characteristics very similiar to ours. Math for example, is something that can be extrapolated to any universe. No matter what universe you are in, 1 unit will always be 1 unit. If a universe has life, it must be built up from fundamental matter. A universe wouldnt have sophisticated matter that devolves into life, but rather fundamental matter that evolves into life.

Also, if there is a meta-verse that spawns new universes, then each spawn is coming from the same universe spawning mechanism, which would be another example of how these different universes would share some common characteristics.
edit on 4/24/2012 by VonDoomen because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by ignorant_ape
 


Then you didnt really understand the question and movie. As i said earlier, there are many characteristic inherent to our universe that allows life to exist.





As Stephen Hawking has noted, "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life." If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e., if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger), while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable and hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium. This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The existence of the di-proton would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all of the Universe's hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang

edit on 4/24/2012 by VonDoomen because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 03:27 PM
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"The universe/life exists because it is here" is circular reasoning, as the premise depends on the conclusion. The universe obviously exists, it supports life, that cannot be reasonably refuted, but it proves absolutely nothing of origin or intent.

The cosmos is here because of intelligent design or random happenstance; or it's always been here and always will be. Likely there are other possibilities, some simply inconceivable to us (or to me). Any which way, the possibility of multiple universes still exists. Some might be similar to ours but lifeless, others could be radically different yet teeming with life unlike any that we know.

Can we piece together the physics to explain the mechanics of these possibilities? Perhaps; String Theory appears to hold promise, though it is by no means the only explanation. Can we deduct from science where it all came from and why? Not likely. The only thing that is certain is that we can ask the question.
edit on 24-4-2012 by Orwells Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 05:00 PM
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reply to post by VonDoomen
 


i do understand the question , and the " fine tuned universe " is an absurdity which ever approach you subscribe to

special creationism , always assumes that life was ` injected ` into the universe by the creator - not the universe designed around life

evolutionary theory posits that life adapts to is environment - and must both withstand that environment or die , further it only has its environment for rescources no " magic presents "

thus this is the basis for my contention that life tunes itself to the universe



posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 07:26 AM
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I'm only part way through the video but I felt the need to comment.

What Greene is talking about is the fact that under our definition of life, our universe seems to be tailor made to support it. Out of the millions, or billions, of variables, if you smudge any around, life as we know it can't exist.

He's not just talking about planets being in the right area compared to their sun. He's talking about the very laws of physics.

Now, to us, the "universe" is all, it is everything in this reality. So we see that, in the universe, life can exist.

But here's the thing, one of the theories states that the answer to the question of:

"Why this set of laws, and not some other"

Is: All sets of laws are in place, somewhere. Think of our universe as a bubble. A single bubble containing everything in our reality. Physics allows for an infinite space for us on the inside, while allowing it to be contained in a finite area from the outside. A bubble. We see endless space, but from the outside looking in, it's a bubble.

Now imagine that 1 bubble is in a sink full of soap bubbles. Each one of them, a separate, yet infinite, universe. Each one containing different laws of physics.

This suggests that, much like a snowflake is unique yet only a single entity amount countless, our universe is unique. It's the only universe that can support our form of life, so we inhabit it. there are others, that can't support our way of life, there are others that would be extremely close.

String theory suggests that what we see as tiny points, particles, are infact tiny vibrating strings of energy, the rate / frequency at which they vibrate determines what type of particle that string appears to be.

There are two types of strings. Closed loops, and open loops.

Now it gets even funkier, as one of these types of loops can travel from our "universe" to another, they can float between them freely, while the other string is stuck within our universe.

The strings vibration, according to theory, is determined by the shape of extra dimensions that occupy every point in space at the tiniest possible level.

Keep in mind. All of this isn't just dreamed up by some hippy. ALL of this comes from the MATH. That's the scary part, it's the math that points to this, and math is a universal truth.

I'm fascinated by this stuff, and I honestly think the multiverse theory is the one to put your money on, but again, we might not ever be able to prove it.



posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 07:35 AM
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reply to post by roadgravel
 





"Why does our universe appear so exquisitely tuned to create the conditions necessary for life" Maybe it is the other way around. Life is tuned to exist within the conditions of the universe.


You guys are all missing the point. The point is that the universe is not tuned for life, it's merely 1 of an infinite amount of universes, all containing different physical laws.

You've got to stop thinking of "life" as meaning plants and animals on earth. It's more of a general thing, the laws of physics that allow our reality to function as it does, which eventually leads to life, is merely the effect of a different combination of physical laws.

This isn't to say these other universes would be devoid of life, ours isn't, neither would theirs. BUT, according to our laws of physics, we couldn't classify it as life, because "life" is determined by our universes physical laws, like certain atoms binding together, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, etc.

Why this set of laws and not another? Because we are in this universe, that's why, all other combinations of physical laws are played out in other, separate, universes, all of which sprang from the big bang and cosmic expansion.

When you think of life, you probably think of an organism that requires water, oxygen, sunlight, stuff like that. In the context of this video, you need to consider that "life" is determined by the laws of physics, which aren't necessarily the same in alternate universes. The conditions that support life here are:

electromagnetism
gravity
strong nuclear force
weak nuclear force

you can, for the most part, boil it down to those 4 laws. That is what determines the definition of "life" here, any of those laws get changed, even just by a miniscule amount, and what we know as reality simply doesn't exist. Molecules don't form, atoms don't bind together, the fission reaction in stars doesn't function.

Much like moving earth closer or farther away from the sun would change the variables and destroy life as we know it on earth, changing the basic physical laws of reality would change the entire universe.
edit on 25-4-2012 by phishyblankwaters because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 07:57 AM
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Thanks for the recent contributions from the posters who watched the presentation..truly appreciated.

What are your thoughts on the accelerated rate of expansion of the universe from our initial scientific theories and how at some point in the future, we might not have the capability to know that it is even there? If true, it brings into the equation the interesting question of did our ancestors know something we don't and will our future generations think of us as nuts because they aren't able to see what we saw?



posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by Ericthenewbie
Thanks for the recent contributions from the posters who watched the presentation..truly appreciated.

What are your thoughts on the accelerated rate of expansion of the universe from our initial scientific theories and how at some point in the future, we might not have the capability to know that it is even there? If true, it brings into the equation the interesting question of did our ancestors know something we don't and will our future generations think of us as nuts because they aren't ab le to see what we saw?


Hi Eric
Let me work this backwards for you.
The future is totally unknown. Similar to what is beyond the Event Horizon

Event horizon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_horizon - Similarto Event horizon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman's terms it is defined as "the ...

I find the event horizon similar to a point of faith.
Either you accept that there is something beyond the end of what is known as the Universe.
Or you remain with in it's confines by what the past tells you.
Our ancestors used every thing at their disposal to explain every thing possible.
To the point of forced acceptance and the need for astral transcendence.
You can goggle your preference for that.
You see eric it all boils down to" what is, IS"
Man has just evolved his means to more thoroughly OBSERVE infinity.
Our ancestors have known infinity( 8 ) for a long, long time.
Will our descendants be able to improve on this concept???
But it will have to be in the future or you will have to take a leap of faith into it.
cheer ljb
PS perhaps this is your point and I am just being redundant?



posted on Apr, 25 2012 @ 03:50 PM
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Originally posted by Ericthenewbie
Thanks for the recent contributions from the posters who watched the presentation..truly appreciated.

What are your thoughts on the accelerated rate of expansion of the universe from our initial scientific theories and how at some point in the future, we might not have the capability to know that it is even there? If true, it brings into the equation the interesting question of did our ancestors know something we don't and will our future generations think of us as nuts because they aren't able to see what we saw?


I think we are all dead and gone before the expansion rate is like that. Stars will burn out, atoms will decay and either we will be so advanced at the time that we will find a way to sustain life somehow or already be dead long before this happens. I also do not believe that what we know now, will be lost in time. Bar some cataclysmic event that destroys all life on earth, our knowledge will continue ( and properly be laughed at soon enough ). Even if earth would be destroyed, there are still all the other worlds with intelligent life out there, that probably know a lot more about the universe than we do and already have it all figured out. I do believe our ancestors ( on earth ) knew a whole lot more than we give them credit for, but not more than we do today.



posted on Apr, 26 2012 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by longjohnbritches
 


Although you have formed a somewhat intelligent response, in my opinion it misses the entire point of my post you responded to but that is understandable knowing you didn't watch the presentation and are missing how my questions developed from the information presented. You are either using antiquated scientific theories or your own philosophical view but neither address the questions from the perspective of the new scientific theories presented. The idea of an "event horizon" does exist however not as you have presented it. What I mean by that is current knowledge and observation of our universe through the newly discovered ever increasingly faster expansion of the universe would dictate in theory that what we know today could one day be this so called "event horizon" you discuss, where "the boundary in space time beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer" is in reality something we in fact observed and affected us at an earlier point in history.


reply to post by scarystuff
 


Some good points scarystuff...I agree with what you have posted. That being said, there is an area of assumption in your post that you lean towards the positive outcomes of those assumptions which I hope is the sequence of events as well.
Let's look at if those assumptions took the negative outcome (information is lost or not well preserved and we haven't advanced as much as needed to maintain/expand our knowledge as the universe expands away from us) ...we would be back at the beginning in our space knowledge/exploration and space wouldn't be as easily available to them as it is to us now...what would our future generation think of space and how would their belief system be different from ours today as a result? (I understand this is more a philosophical question but an interesting one nonetheless)

reply to post by phishyblankwaters
 


I think you have presented the information in the best possible light...thank you for articulating the elements that I was not able to.

edit on 26-4-2012 by Ericthenewbie because: (no reason given)




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