Is the Universe fine-tuned for discoverability?

“Yes, after all…
  • Laws of nature are elegant in general

    This fact is often recognized by specialists.1 There are multiple ways to make the point, but consider one way as argued for here by philosopher-physicist Robin Collins:

    When scientists investigate and measure how things work in the world, they accumulate “data points,”  like these, and they look to discern patterns in nature and thereby discover the natural laws which can be used for future predictions.

    We can represent the simplified example pattern by this simple purple line which will be described by a simple mathematical function (those equation-like things we all had to learn in physics class).

    And if you’ll look at these three new highlighted dots, this simple functional law has allowed us to extrapolate from the past or examined data to make predictions about future or unexamined data.

    But here is the problem for naturalism: this whole endeavor requires the all-important assumption that the laws of nature are simple and elegant. For example: deficiencies in our measuring instruments, make it normal for the functional line to not precisely go through every data point, even though those points are our measurements.

    Since that’s what we measure, technically, an ugly complex law, like this blue function, fits our data better. But naturalists won’t accept the blue line, because they go in expecting simplicity and elegance in nature. Like the purple law.

    1. Steven Weinberg (Nobel Laureate in high energy physics): “I have to admit that sometimes nature seems more beautiful than strictly necessary.” [Dreams of a Final Theory (Vintage, 1994), 250.]
    2. Paul Davies: "Let us accept, then, that nature really is ordered in a mathematical way that 'the book of nature,' as Galileo said, 'is written in mathematical language.' Even so, it is easy to imagine an ordered universe that nevertheless remains utterly beyond human comprehension, due to its complexity and subtlety. For me, the magic of science is that we can understand at least part of nature-perhaps in principle all of it-using the scientific method of enquiry. It is utterly astonishing that we human beings can do this-why should the rules on which the universe runs be accessible to humans? The mystery is all the greater when one takes into account the cryptic character of the laws of nature. When Newton saw the apple fall, he saw a falling apple. He did not see a set of differential equations that link the motion of the apple to the motion of the moon. The mathematical laws that underlie physical phenomena are not apparent to us through direct observation; they have to be painstakingly extracted from nature using arcane procedures of laboratory experiment and mathematical theory. The laws of nature are hidden from us, and are revealed only after much labor. The late Heinz Pagels-another atheistic physicist- described this by saying that the laws of nature are written in a sort of cosmic code, and that the job of the scientist is to crack the code and reveal the message-nature's message, God's message, take your choice, but not our message. The extraordinary thing is that human beings have evolved such a fantastic code-breaking talent. This is the wonder and the magnificence of science: we can use it to decode nature and discover the secret laws the universe follows." ["Physics and the Mind of God", Templeton prize address: Online
  • Laws of nature are time-elegant

    In a similar vein to the argument above, imagine setting the Y-Axis as the value of the gravitational constant, and the X-Axis as time. If the law describing gravity is simple, then the constant will remain. . .  constant (as predicted by the purple law). But it does not have to be simple. If the strength of the constant changed tomorrow, again, all that would mean is that the law governing gravity is a more like a complex blue law.

  • The age of the universe is fine-tuned for discovery

    Irregardless of technology, as the expansion of the universe continues to accelerate the distant objects currently observable (carried by light) will start disappearing from view (as we start diverging faster than light). So if we arrived here any later in cosmic history, we would have a sub-optimal view of the universe (obviously if we had arrived earlier the universe would have been smaller with much less to see).

    Scientific American '08: We are led inexorably to a very strange conclusion. The window during which intelligent observers can deduce the true nature of our expanding universe might be very short indeed. [Lawrence Krauss, The End of Cosmology? An accelerating universe wipes out traces of its own origins (2008)]

  • Observing the Universe

    • Most all planets do not allow observation of the Universe. They are contained in spiral arms and are faced with walls of interstellar debri.
    • We reside between the Sagittarius and Perseus spiral arms. ... our location within the Galactic Habitable Zone offers the best overall location to be a successful astronomer and cosmologist. Even though we’re near the mid-plane, there’s very little in the way of dust in our neighborhood to absorb light from nearby stars and distant galaxies. We’re far enough from the Galactic center and the disk is flat enough that it doesn’t excessively obscure our view of the distant universe. We have access to a striking diversity of nearby stars and other Galactic structures, as well as a clear view of distant galaxies and the unique cosmic microwave background radiation, both essential for discovering the astonishing facts that the universe is expanding and finite in age.