Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Theory of Everything and Cosmic Fine-tuning

It has become overwhelmingly apparent that the universe is fine-tuned for life. It is astronomically more likely for a universe to exist which prohibits life, but here we are nonetheless. I will write more about this at a later time, but for now I just want to comment on attempts to develop a theory of everything (T.O.E.).

String theory is arguably one of the more promising T.O.E.'s circulating among physicists and cosmologists. What this theory, if successful, would show is that the four main forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak atomic forces) are all expressions of a single force and type of particle: tiny vibrating strings. String theory proposes eleven dimensions of space and time.

What strikes me as odd is how some allude to string theory as an explanation for the universe's fine-tuning. While the theory would hypothetically explain the forces of nature, it simply pushes the question of the origin of fine-tuning back a step. Why, for example, does there have to be eleven dimensions of space and time? As Craig aptly notes, this just shifts the problem to one of "geometrical" fine-tuning.

The multiverse hypothesis is multiply flawed, as well. I will only mention here, because I am short on time, that even if there is a multiverse, the mechanism that produces the multiverse still needs to be explained. If the mechanism itself is fine-tuned, then the fine-tuning is still quite plausibly explained by intelligent design.

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