Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: A Review


Since I've written one actual review already I thought I'd write another and help promote this excellent book.

This latest book by Victor J. Stenger, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us, is one I've been waiting to be published for many months and I've just recently finished it. I loved it.

With my very limited knowledge of physics it seems to me that Mr. Stenger has written a knock-out response to fine-tuning proponents. He explains in much detail why so many of the so-called examples of fine-tuning are not actually cases of fine-tuning at all. The book is very well-written and, even though it uses quite a bit of math which boggled my mind, this addition would be useful for more knowledgeable individuals who want more proof of Stenger's claims. However, this does not subtract from the book at all since he also does an excellent job of explaining what the math means for those (like me) who do not have a background in physics.

One of the interesting parts of the book was near the end in the chapter on “quantum consciousness.” He specifically targets Robert Lanza's theory and book of the same name, Biocentrism, which I've actually touted on my blog because it seemed to lend evidential support for the grounding principle of my friend's philosophy called Prime. After reading Stenger's critique I want to research this subject a bit more and possibly revise my post if what Lanza said was indeed very wrong. I love it when I gain new information that disproves (or potentially disproves) a belief I have and I find out I'm wrong after doing more research. In this way, I get ever closer to the truth.

Another part of the book I found to be very interesting was his use of a Bayesian argument against the fine-tuning argument that was proposed by Michael Ikeda and Bill Jefferys. I don't want to repeat it here because I don't want to include any spoilers in my review. I'd like my readers to read the book to find out the arguments for themselves, but it is a very interesting argument and one I hadn't heard before.

In closing, I'd highly recommend this book and I'm curious what responses might be made against it, though it seems that he's made a pretty good case against fine-tuning so we'll see.

Update – 12-16-11: After looking into Lanza's claims I retract my statements about him and his book. It's nothing but New Age nonsense.

1 comment:

  1. No doubt in my mind that I'd love this book.

    I think that the Fine-tuning Argument is an attempt by the religious intellectuals to 'sciencify' God. Just another attempt to take both sides of the issue.

    You 'know' it's really a circular argument when proponents such as Dinesh D'Souza start off, "Imagine God sitting at a bank of knobs and dials, having the power to change physical constants at will and choosing to set those physical constants in such a way that life is possible, if not likely."

    No matter how many examples you give, of scientific laws and physical constants you have to 'imagine God' in the first place, right?

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