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The Goldilocks Enigma by Paul Davies

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Oct 06, 05:58 PM

goldilocks203logo.jpgProfessor Paul Davies' The Goldilocks Enigma tackles fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it. Scientific breakthroughs, he argues, have brought us to the brink of comprehending the underlying structure of nature or "a final 'theory of everything'" to replace all previous models - both theological and scientific. Central to finding this solution, he says, is answering the Goldilocks Enigma - why is it that "the universe seems 'just right' for life"?

Read extracts from The Goldilocks Enigma and leave your comments and reviews below.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:49 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Neil Golightly wrote:

There are several possible answers to this "Enigma", including but not limited to:

- the Universe appears to be fine tuned because it *was* - by a divine creator. As an atheist, I'm not in favour of this one when there are answers that don't posit divine intervention.

- the Universe is only one of uncountably many Universes in a Multiverse, each of which has different physical constants, and therefore for each Universe where life intelligent enough to wonder why the Universe is "just right", there are 10^500 others where life never evolved. I'm not keen on this either as it relies rather too heavily on the anthropic principle ( ).

- a modification of this, where the Universe undergoes a continuous cycle of birth and death, each time emerging (tunnelling through the phase space of physical laws) with different properties. A nice idea, but what if it evolves into a state where life isn't possible but the Universe will last forever?

- finally, maybe there is no "Enigma" at all. Last week's NewScientist reported ( : full article subscribers only) on research into a model of a Universe with no weak nuclear force which found that nucleosynthesis and stellar evolution were still able to proceed, albeit in radically different ways. Maybe lots of Universes are capable of life - it just might be very different from ours.

The last idea is most appealing of these to me, as it is an extension of the "Copernican Principle" ( ) - that there is nothing special about our location in the Universe. We should have no reason to suppose there is anything special about our Universe as a whole.

  • 2.
  • At 08:59 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Martin Liddament wrote:

If we heard a raindrop ask the question, "why is it that the cloud was formed just right to create me?" we would tell it that, contrary to what it thought, its existence was a natural result of a cloud being in a particular state and not to be so raindrop-centric.

We ask the Goldilocks question because we are here to ask it. If the universe was not in the correct state for us to be here, we could not ask the question. The question can only arise when a universe is in the correct state to support life, therefore a lifeform such as humans can only ever ask the question "why is the universe in the correct state to support our existence?" and can never ask "why is the universe not in the corrrect state to support our existence?"

Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'

This is a perfect example of a loaded question and depressing coming from a scientific viewpoint. The universe is perfectly designed to form and contain black holes. If it was designed specificaly with organic life in mind, why would there be a vacumous space, black holes, or neutron explosions?

This is realy just silly, and a segway to a religious or faith based frame of thinking rather than one based on reason and logic.

Since the universe is so 'perfectly' 'designed' for organic life, how come we are the only life in this huge galaxy called the Milky Way? If there was other intelligent life in this galaxy, we certainly would have detected something by now, radio waves, etc. No, there is no other intelligent life in this galaxy and that would lead me to beleive that the universe is less than .001 percent living organic material. If thats a perfect design, I hate to see your master plan.

  • 5.
  • At 10:35 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Ian Kemmish wrote:

One of the published extracts contains the key - we don't actually know if all of the "fundamental" parameters are independent. In fact, like Donald Rumsfeld, we don't even know whether we know what all of the parameters are yet.

One experiment to try is a Monte-Carlo simulation: model universes with billions of different combinations of these parameters, and see just what the probability of a life-ready universe really is. (Having first decided on just what manifestations of intelligent life we are prepared to accept - let's not be carbon-polymer-centric.)

Only after this can we decide just how special our particular universe is. After all, Goldilocks only found the "just right" porridge on her third attempt....

  • 6.
  • At 10:52 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Jay wrote:

I personally think the human race is getting a little bit ahead of itself concerning these issues.
At this point in time we are confined to our planet and solar system.
Until mankind actually has the capabillities to go beyond our solar system, and research beyond our solar system, then I see these issues as pointless speculation.
The nature of the universe is most probably inconceiveble to the early 21st century mind.

Heard somewhere that a telescope is in production to launch into space in the next 20 years that will enable us to see into neighbouring galaxies and to the edges of the known universe.
Dont know if its true, but if it is, then the following decades could be rather interesting, with maybe alot of our speculative questions concerning the mysteries of life, answered.

  • 7.
  • At 11:24 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • anne elk wrote:

In the interview, Mr Davies summarises by saying the universe must be 'about' something.

From our perspective, the universe is spectrotemporal information - forms that exist in a complete state at any given moment, and those which only unfold through time.

There's no other form of information.

Information must be 'about' something - without a given context, "110010" could be decimal or binary, a colour or a tone, a line or a curve etc.

Understanding our place in the universe means resolving informational binding and will require an emergent model of computational neurodynamics capable of expressing all partial and prior information in all domains and modalities.

The point of the anthropic principle is surely that the way we process information is a reflection of the nature of that information.

Information is 'about' causal spectrotemporal relationships.

Only in a universe which "worked" could such questions be asked; so why is it so amzing that the tuning is correct? If it wasn't correct, there would be no-one to ask the questions.
BTW It is appropriate that Paul Davies was interviewed at the National Maritime Museum. Had Paul wandered a few feet from your shoot's location he would have stumbled accross John 'Longitude' Harrison, who may well have known and written the "equations" which answer the mathematical/scientific quest.

for more info. go to:

I believe that in a different Universe with other laws of physics life may evolve in different ways. The basis for life is effectively just organized information and if our universe had different laws of physics, life would just find another unique way to exist. So I really don't see the problem here. If the laws of physics just changed overnight we would all disappear but something new may arise that can exist within those new laws. All life, the Universe and everything is is just information and energy to bind it, all existing in a timeless spaceless state machine!

  • 10.
  • At 11:26 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Andrew Campbell wrote:

Paul Davies has studied for years and come to the conclusion that the universe is so finely tuned that it is able to sustain seems like a fix! When is he going to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE! ..."In the beginning God created the world..." Because this doesn't fit with his atheist mindset he now wants to theorise himself out of his conclusion by finding a unifying theory. I think there is a thin line between clever and stupid!

  • 11.
  • At 11:27 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Craig Fowler wrote:

A fascinating subject.

There was an article recently in New Scientist stating that the laws of Physics may not be as we think they are, they may in fact be evolving in time. For example the value of constants may subtly change over time. Additionally the actual laws themselves are not currently integratable, ie Theory of Everything!!, especially Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. Maybe these theories are not quite right, especially as they depend upon initial conditions. No wonder we physicists come up with various scenarios to try and explain the perhaps unexplainable. Furthermore, the various forms of String Theory may be leading us down a blind alley, maybe we should develop a theory that takes into account the realities of the Universe, such as the fact that there were probably no initial conditions and maybe these conditions could fluctuate wildly, like chaos theory at the start.

Final thoughts:-

Maybe we are simply asking this question because we are in the Universe that habours life, or maybe there is just one universe that must have these rules, and evolved just like biology states in Darwins theory of evolution.

  • 12.
  • At 11:30 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Science&religion wrote:

This bridges the gap between science and religion:

And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Qur'an, 51:47)

That Day We will fold up heaven like folding up the pages of a book. As We originated the first creation so We will regenerate it. It is a promise binding on Us. That is what We will do. (Qur'an, 21:104)

Do those who disbelieve not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not believe? (Qur'an, 21:30)We did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them, except with truth. The Hour is certainly coming, so turn away graciously. (Qur'an, 15:85)

Everything in the heavens and everything on the earth and everything in between them and everything under the ground belongs to Him. (Qur'an, 20:6)

We did not create heaven and earth and everything in between them as a game. (Qur'an, 21:16)
He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any discrepancy in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Qur'an, 67:3-4)

He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Qur'an, 67:3-4)

Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers? (Qur'an, 71:15)

He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs. He does not have a son and He has no partner in the Kingdom. He created everything and determined it most exactly. (Qur'an, 25:2)

Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate. (Qur'an, 41:11-12)

  • 13.
  • At 11:31 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Jacqui wrote:

I have not read the book, but know the answer. I had no desire or belief in any God and was happy not to know - but had an amazing encounter when He called me and showed me His existence and I know there is no question no doubt He created the universe and everything in it - I would like to challenge you Paul to ask the one true God into your life so that He can himself show you the truth too. No man could convince me of His existence, only He could do it by His Holy Spirit! What have you got to lose, give it a go! This is what you need to say: "Lord Jesus Christ I am sorry for all the wrong things I have done in my life" (if anything comes to your conscience, ask His forgiveness, and turn away from anything which you know is wrong). "Thank you that you died on the cross for me that I could be forgiven and set free, thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Spirit and eternal life. I now receive that gift. Please come into my life and show me the truth by your holy Spirit that will be with me forever" Believe it and you will be amazed! Please if you do this life saving decision let me know what happens - then tell the world! May God truly bless you with the revealed truth!

  • 14.
  • At 11:32 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • anon astron wrote:

The universe must exist as one which develops life otherwise the question cannot be posed! Therefore the question is quite untestable, and I might add therefore unworthy of this scientist.

This seems to the cynical a convenient channel for cosmologists with pet multiverse theories and creationist 'scientists' who try to muddy the fundamental basis of science, testability. This question is better suited to philosophy.

A mention of the strong and weak anthropic principles might have helped broaden the debate and placed it in some context.

  • 15.
  • At 11:33 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Nick Gypps wrote:

God made the elephant and the turtles.

  • 16.
  • At 11:38 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • brian Wicker wrote:

Paul davies is right to think of the universe as a co-ordinated whole that lacks an over all designer. This is because it is nonsense of think of God as a being who designs something. For God makes all the kinds of things there are, and so cannot himself be a being of any kind. As Aquinas said, God is not in any genus. He is simply the answer to the question: how come there is anything rather than nothing?

  • 17.
  • At 11:39 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Duncan wrote:

Here is one possible solution;
The universe is born,intelligence life gradually evolves on various planets;Although some civilisations will perish due to natrual or self inflicted catastrophes eventually one will emerge whose technology and understanding of the univerese allow them to transcend their physical bodies and exist as pure energy;A gestalt which is gradually enlarged by succesive
"mature" species;Such an organism,all pervasive,all knowing,able to manipulate space/time as easily as we manipulate electro-magnetism and nuclear fission would be ,for want of a better word,god like;As the universe expands and cools,the stars gradually fading out as entropy follows its inevitable course,our "Gestalt God" ,in order to ensure the continuation of life in a future universe,releases its gigantic pent up force in a single
incomprehensibly large explosion;A big bang.A universe is born(again)
This could lead to a causal looped
universe or perhaps succesive universes which are subtley different;
Comments please!
In a similar vein read Fred Hoyles book"The intelligent universe"

Thanks for at least reporting on our "Perfect, contrived parameters for Life & Universe", as even recognised by scientists - wow, what, no Infinite numbers of Universes [now there's a contradiction], or, 'orrible thought, Dawkinsis all the way down?
Oh, those over-scientific fools, we couldn't do science UNLESS we had
all those incredibly fined tuned laws, order & coherence!! And as for Davisisis "self-sustaining loop" answer - sans Mon Dieu, !? No way.....
For in his other work he honestly presents Evoloonyshoddy Theory's worst & most intractable problem - where did all that INFORMATION & ORDER come from, necessarily
BEFORE any fined-tuned, highly designed Universe or Life?!
Impossible - as in NO Cell = No DNA, & No DNA = No CELL! [All the many living fossils & distant galaxies show DNA & Systems UNCHANGED from the very beginning.]
In the beginning was the Word - Information, Intelligence, Conversation etc - all the so-called theoretical scientists should be investigating is Where did it all go Wrong?! Social Entropy, as even in Dawkin's ridiculous rants
that even many other so-called atheists don't like! [No such thing, as to know there is no god means knowing everything! And Agnostic means Ignoramus ....]
Romans 1 v 20 say that "Creation & Creator are clearly visible in us & in Creation - & there is no excuse" for not believing.
It is wonderful to see that the world is waking up to the fact that it has been hoodwinked by the greatest scientific hoax of all time - macro-Evolutionary theory, now applied to everything from the Cosmos to Life & Religion.
So, bye-bye, endless Darwinists all the way down, for the days when
people could actually believe that the Universe & Life actually,
accidentally, blindly resulted from "First there was Nothing & then it exploded", Chance chemical Soup & Endless genetic mistakes - are numbered!
You've had your laugh, but now its wake up time, folks....
Philip Snow
"The Design Origin of Birds", DayOne Books.

  • 19.
  • At 11:53 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Will Heap wrote:

I am unable to judge the relative merits of these arguments raised with regards to Paul Davis' book. To be honest I'm always content just to wonder at these different possiblities; and maybe that's what we sentient beings are best equipt to do. Especially on a day such as today when we demonstrated how our knowledge of the universe is used to such effect as to explode bits of it from existance.

  • 20.
  • At 11:56 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • MR D A Stewart wrote:

Another brain dead scientist eager for a soundbite... A human being saying, "Wow! This planet seems made perfectly for life!" is so utterly stupid... It's really not worth the title "Goldilocks Enigma". Bin it, its, "... ridiculous and hopelessly inadequate..." and a lot of hot air.
You will not find out why the flower, by dissecting it.

  • 21.
  • At 11:57 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • ken wrote:

The meaning of the universe, whether there is or isn't one, can only ever be understood by the subjective one doing the understanding. This one who understands, agrees or disagrees, must exist. All knowledge, how ever exulted, must come home to roost in our conciousness. Therefore conciousness must preceed all knowledge accumulated by it. Is conciousness changed in essence (not content) by knowledge?
While we seek answers outside ourselves, as something to aquire, we will only ever infinitely extend the horizon of our knowledge, unless you believe in a flat world (universe) with an edge to fall off. The answer to this problem lies as it ever has in the essence of our own being. Frustratingly nontransferable, spectacularly obvious, universally overlooked.

  • 22.
  • At 11:59 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Phill Firmin wrote:

When we consider all the evidence from all the angles, including the historical records of the ancients, we can but arrive at one conclusion; there must be a creator God. The modern scientist will often conveniently overlook historical accounts in favour of their own un-proven theories. Much of what we are told today, is merely a clever idea, not a theory. A theory is something that can be proven, not assumed. We use the word 'infinite' to explain something that is without end - this is the area in which we find the God of the universe. If you can find a scientist who can explain the expanse and extent of the universe, then this would indeed be a beautiful mind! It is impossible for humans to work God out based on logic, that does not mean that God does not exist! Humans simply give up trying, as they always have done - they will never find the right porridge, the Bread of Life, even if it was put under their noses!
To believe in something outside of yourself, is to some considered foolish, but there are many who do believe in God, because they know that God is true - how do you explain this?

  • 23.
  • At 11:59 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Mvere wrote:

Its interesting to note how when even scientific evidence points towards unity and order in the universe a lot of people get upset because it sounds familiar, like religion has been saying all along.
Scientific revelations are not there to wipe away belief in God but blessed are they that begin to see God through their scientific discoveries.

  • 24.
  • At 12:00 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Tom McMaster wrote:

An 'intellegent' tadpole might conclude that things are 'just right' in the pond where it happens to have found itself - and of course, it is!.

The straw man enigma -- if I may put it this way -- that Paul Davies constructs, serves only his own ego (and book!), but alas it does not further humanity one iota. To talk about a self-explanatory 'theory' (as he does) is really to miss the enormous point that standing naked on the edge of the unknown (as in reality we all do) is itself the very pinnacle of human experience and existence, and the search for a so-called 'rational' explanation defeats the very purpose of our beings in the worlds we inhabit. I am not promoting any religion, however, like Professor Davies I am interested in finding explanations for what this 'thing' is we see before us.

Tom McMaster

This universe was engineered in a lab it has to have been. One day in the beginning out of the blue, a singulum containing an entire complete linear time analogue universe just happens to appear from nowhere ? Then as luck would have it, it exploded and after billions of years life just happened to come into existence on a planet called Earth ? Luckily Earth just happened to have an iron core, water, volcanoes under the sea, and lightening. All very special features indeed.

Like I said this universe just has to have been engineered by someone in a lab. God is probably a computer.

I have even written my own insane theory of the universe. It does rely on time travel though !

  • 26.
  • At 12:12 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • robert clarke wrote:

I listened to the Goldilocks Enigma & also Richard dawkins interview. There are scientists & cosmologists who believe that a 'finely tuned universe' is a path from science toward God, i.e. John Polkinghorne, Owen Gingerich etc. Perhaps we could hear from one of them?

  • 27.
  • At 12:18 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Tom McMaster wrote:

An 'intellegent' tadpole might conclude that things are 'just right' in the pond where it happens to have found itself - and of course, it is!.

The straw man enigma -- if I may put it this way -- that Paul Davies constructs, serves only his own ego (and book!), but alas it does not further humanity one iota. To talk about a self-explanatory 'theory' (as he does) is really to miss the enormous point that standing naked on the edge of the unknown (as in reality we all do) is itself the very pinnacle of human experience and existence, and the search for a so-called 'rational' explanation defeats the very purpose of our beings in the worlds we inhabit. I am not promoting any religion, however, like Professor Davies I am interested in finding explanations for what this 'thing' is we see before us.

Tom McMaster

  • 28.
  • At 12:19 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Mvere wrote:

The "bad" thing about their being a grand plan within the existance of the universe is that we may have to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.The Intelligent plan behind all this is responsible for all the love in the world .Whats wrong with believing that there is an Intelligent Designer of the Universe?

I made what I thought was a reasonable, rather lenghy contribution to the debate. Unfortunatel my entry disapeared from this 'Comment' box before I had finished. I do not have the time to rewrite it, save to say, that there is no Universe, there is no 'Life', there is no past, there is no future. There is no Superior 'Being' responsible for what is 'perceived'.
There is only 'NOW', and that now is the creation of a single, self perpetuating, advanced 'Brain' / Computer, that projects one thought, one, scene, and one perception. There is no 'We', there is only 'IT'.

  • 30.
  • At 01:11 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Hamish wrote:

Davis is on the right track for a 'final' theory of everything when, from memory of the interview on Newsnight he said something like "the universe is a universe that somehow is capable of talking about itself". This violates the whole Judaeo Christian tradition of objective analysis and depiction, i.e. the employment of a dispassionate, evaluateive standpoint outside of the object 'looking in' on it. The model of science at play therefore shadows Jehovah on the outside 'looking in', and while Jehovah might 'look in' on His creation 'AS A WHOLE' and therefore expect to take the inter-relation of purely mechanical, inorganic matter and living matter into account along with the associated feelings and self account of this interaction, science cannot. This 'Jehovah task' in which science must fail would presumably recognise that the inter-relationship of inorganic, organic and living matter within the historical process under observation is the source of feeling, language and culture. Science simply isn't tooled up for this altogether more complex task.

Science is restricted, (restricts itself) to the simpler task of furnishing a a purely quantitative account of merely mechanical functioning. For these reasons science can never, even in principle produce 'a theory of everything' and should stop using such misleading terminology. That said, a universe that can talk about itself is the soulution. A universe that rejects it's restrictive Judaeo Christian antecedents will recognise that outside 'looking in 'isn't the only rigorous model of explanation available.

Passionate, inside 'looking out' while simultaneously,(in imagination)dispassionately 'looking in' is the real basis of all or any self-consciousness, of the thinking process as such, of all possible thought therefore, and the real basis of the species Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens in other words is the material vehicle of nature talking about itself--Homo sapiens in short is the self-conscious brain of the material universe.

Davis is on the right track, but gives no sign of having to hand the requsite methodology of inside looking out while simultaneously outside looking in. It so happens that an account of this sort is 'in press' under the title of 'New Unified Theory'. New Unified Theory in short, among other altogether more important things is an account of the material uniiverse talking, or rather writing about itself. It might make a rather good 'Horizon' documentary because it is rigorously assembled and quite unequivocally, the final theory of everything that to date has been so elusive.

  • 31.
  • At 01:30 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • roger wrote:

What Paul is saying is nothing new, it all does sound very mind boggling and raises more questions than it answers, but it has ALL been discovered and wrote many centuries before with much greater proofs. The great Doctor Maximus, Mystic,philosopher, poet, also known as Sheihk Ibn Arabi born in 1165 AD Andulucia and passed away in 1240 AD mentions in his great work the "Meccan Revelations" that we are the copy of our original which is in the parallel universe. That we as a human race are a copy of the original which is in another dimension and we its reflection, and this universe is the shadow of the original, paul using the term "stimulation" for the world as we know it.This is exactly what paul is saying.Anyone interested in these "new" concepts should try to get the full picture by reading both paul`s and the Ibn Arabi books.

'Oneness of Being' (wahdat al-wujûd) and 'Perfect Man' (al-insân al-kâmil). These translations first appeared in Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi - A Commemorative Volume, ed. S. Hirtenstein and M. Tiernan, Element Books, Shaftesbury, 1993.

It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.

Futûhât al-Makkiyya

  • 32.
  • At 02:36 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • A wrote:

I believe there is God. As Isaac Newton said once:
‘This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.’
quote from (Timothy R. Stout, Tim Stout's Creation-Science Page.)

All viewers visit website below :


  • 33.
  • At 02:52 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Steve (Lincoln) wrote:

I despair! All the old rationalists came pouring out of their neat intellectual conflations scorn upon the weakly put case for the intimate parental involvment of the Universe in human existence. Such poetic 'myth' is efficient and therebye challenging. Parental indeed - an efficient statement of fact! The rationalists almost adopt an air of weary superiority to 'the brute universe' heritage of mere existence. Alas does it never shake their self-intoxication one iota that stars simply achieve the most complex formulations of matter second time round so that life might come about: oh the stupid, blind universe, of course the poor silly thing doesnt know what it does! But we, we it's unfolding 'offspring' of self observation; we, we alone are intelligent and purposive! Alas this local, sutured, self-regarding rationality has to one day break free its intellectual straight jacket and once more breathe the air of freedom where a truly creative intuition apprehends as a transcendental category all that is.

No, not some dogmatic, 'populist' textual simplification of mystical phenomena; nor some crude dissective paragon of puritan vacuity leading to a decadent id onanism of despair on its anarchised streets; no, rather the powerful, medicinal, inspirational, confirmational, realisational, concentrational apprehension of fundamental reality attainable only by our most fundamental intelligence. Such gleanings as are gleaned and attested by such greats of the 20thC as Einstien and Picasso, and beyond them into a transcendental poise and familial universal bearing....

i beleive we were put here for a reason, though we dont need to know that reason because we were put here for the fact that what ever sent us here already knew and put us here for that reason. so theres no need for us too know. because its already known. and impossible to find out even if we did want to know. but what ever the reason we were put here we are the conseqense and only we know the

lemme explain...

say i took a monkey, for example, out of the jungle and placed it in the desert. i have my reasons for doing that. maybe itll be pondering for a while the possibilitys on why it was put there in the first place. maybe it could come up with theorys n all the likes but fact has is, it is never going to know unless i tell it the truth, tho thats impossible on itself as i have noway of communicating with it. so it jus does what it does, n lives its life. tho, 1 thing the monkey has over me is the experience of being in the position where it got taken from the jungle ,and put in the desert, which is something i havnt personally experinced myself, all i know is what its like to take a monkey out of the jungle and put it in the desert.

if i were to say my reason for doing that is too see how the monkey reacts after being put in the desert, then what we are both learning, though from diffrent personal experience and perspective, is all for the same cause. so becasue my reason to do it was to find out what happens when its done, i didnt previously know the outcome but so neither did the monkey.

so it needed the input of both me and the monkey to find the conseqeunce so were both play equal parts.

you may think im talking rubbish. tho some of you may have already got the jist of what im trying to say.

n what im trying to say is...

we are the monkey. we are here to learn because thats all we can do we were given these senses to take on board things that are going on around us (eyes, nose, touch, taste and sound) and a brain to save, store n process all of this information. an given a soul for emotion an sense of induviduality so we lead our own induvidual lives n take things on in our own induvidual way. so we get a broader knowledge of our surroundings with billions of diffrent perspectives . so we are all equal, because we are all learning things, no matter what they are, for the same cause. and what ever sent us here sent us here because they, it or what ever it was was unsure of the consequnce or outcome so it sent us here to find out. so the so called "greater being" some call it "god" isnt greater atall. we both play n equal part in our being here. as he had a reason to send us here but we are the reason he sent us here... and only he knows what ts like to send us here and only we know what its like to be here. and in being here all we can do is learn so there your evidence to back up my theory. peazze.

check out my music @

  • 35.
  • At 02:56 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • A wrote:

There must be a intellectual being who has created earth.

Take this for example.

'There was a large explosion in france and it had formed the aifle tower'
Now everyone here would say that is crazy. Well that the exact same principle and thought for athiesm. We all know that the aifle tower was made by a group of architects, same as how the world was created by God. Think about it.

we are the truth.

  • 37.
  • At 03:11 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • A wrote:

fossils prove that we hadnt evolved from monkeys.


im not satying that. i used monkeys as an example. it was just an analogy :)

  • 39.
  • At 05:45 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Alex Bunker wrote:

Paul Davies falls for what I like to refer to as "the original conceit" that lies at the heart of all western religion, and shoehorns it into something that is sold as a scientific worldview: that the universe is made for, and all about, us humans. Its not. We are just a bunch of monkeys that evolved some cognitive abilities as a survival trait and as a result carved out an evolutionary niche that is somewhat more elaborate than that of most species. We should get over ourselves. The anaology involving the raindrop put forward in a previous post is brilliant.

  • 40.
  • At 09:18 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • John Pen wrote:

The Earth is far from being an Ideal place to live.It is 8000 miles diameter yet 0.1 % above or below its surface there is not much life.
We are living in the hardly perceptible outer skin which is a freak condition on a red-hot ball of matter in an atmosphere at about minus 50 degrees Centigrade !

John Pen

But suppose that there were almost immoveable barriers to to developing a universal explanatory theory.

So that it's not that such a theory would be too complex for the human intellect to grasp, but that it could be essentialy too simple and, at the same time, too different from existing theories in physics for physicists to take seriously or attempt to develop themselves.

Such, I suggest, would be an account that would examine enough natural and experimental evidence together so as to find justify and describe enough details of a cause that would act universally in addition to the forces.

And, rather than the "Goldilocks problem" the cenytal problem that this theory of everything would address would be that of the general natural organisation of matter and the energy it radiates, and both on the smallest and the astronomical scale.

  • 42.
  • At 10:30 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Green, Southampton UK wrote:

Its funny how the principle of parsimony is the only way of interpreting evidence in an unbiased way, apart from when the use of that principle would point toward the existence of a creator. As a physicist and a Christian, I would say that all dialogue is incredibly meaningless when loaded with a priori emotion. Maybe this is why I am an applied physicist and not a theoretician - because I find the problem of the wickedness of man's heart (eg look at the stories that were actually worthy of broadcasting on Newsnight) overrides any quest for transcendence that ignores this issue. Maybe, if my funding didnt require me to do research into useful things, I could write a book called "The transcendence delusion," based on the notion that mankind actually thinks it is more intellectually sophisticated than it used to be because of a couple of hundred years of unbiased(!) empirical studies into the material(!) world. Come on guys, admit that you hate the notion of God and deal with it, but dont commit the very error you accuse theists of - of bringing emotion into science.

  • 43.
  • At 10:37 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • David Jones wrote:

It seems to me that Paul Davies is NOT saying that the world was made for us, but that if the conditions were slightly different (everything from the Earth and the solar system to the fundamental laws of nature) then we could not exist in our current form - and it is worth asking why this should be.

The raindrop/puddle analogy is really just a restatement of the Anthropic principle, which is just one of the possible explanations.

'in the beginning God created the world' doesn't make sense, because where did God come from? And if He existed already then it wasn't 'in the beginning' was it?

Occam's razor says that if you don't need to introduce new factors in order to explain a phenomenon then don't!

all the creationist stuff that people are posting here is just wilful misinformation: the principles of natural selection needed to explain the emergence of different forms of life is understood to a remarkable degree...

  • 44.
  • At 11:22 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Carlo Superbio wrote:

I am amused by the so called enigma nearly as much as the comments from the participants above. Think about it for one moment. Goldilocks had three bowls of porridge. One was too cold, one was too hot, the other was just right. Now think about the universe. You can't live in space. You can't live on a star. You can't live on any other planet bar Earth. This is hardly 'just right' - it would be like Goldilocks finding one adequately heated porridge oat in a vast vat of horse manure.

  • 45.
  • At 11:52 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Suzanne Barry wrote:

Advances in technology have allowed us to be able to view the earth and the universe at a different scale from our ancestors, which is why we are able to observe the earth in relation to the other planets in our solar system and wonder about the possibility of other life outside of it. Our technological advancement, however is not yet great enough to be able to stand far outside our own solar system, galaxy or universe and to see whether other earth-like planets exist, and until which time i believe we will not have the perspective to judge whether a "purpose" or an "about" exists uniquely for us.
If you view a stone covered in algae at arms length, it appears as a slimy stone. Scape off the slime and view the slime at a microscopic scale and the slime is quite beautiful and diverse. Is not the purpose of the slime, simply to decay the rock? Maybe life is mearly an accelerated means of decay relative only, temporaly and spatially at a universal scale which we find hard to comprehend.
The fact that we exist only because we are situated at a distance from the sun which allows the temperature range for life, is universal prescision in terms of scale, but we are not yet in a position to judge whether or not this is unique to our planet or whether there is a higher order to which we are a microscopic, but important component. After all we are a slave to the sun as the moon is to us. Maybe one day we will have to redefine the term Life.

  • 46.
  • At 12:28 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Samir Tappouni wrote:

Lets call this "complete" scheme that explains everything reason. Then there is reason why life evolved. There is reason why the universe exists. And if the big bang did happen, then there is reason why the big bang happened. We may or may not understand all of reason. Human beings are finite, in the sense that we have a limited number of brain cells that can deal with information. I cannot help get the feeling that this scheme is infinite. So we will always have a partial understanding of it. I really dont think we can be arrogant enough to think that our understanding is anywhere near enough to explain everything. Does it mean we shouldn't try?

  • 47.
  • At 12:40 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Steve Terry wrote:

So, after all that, the bottom line is that Paul Davies doesn't know. No decent scientific explanation that withstands any intergrous scrutiny has ever been proposed as to our origins. I believe God created us all - and a beautiful universe at that - and that appears to us to be no accident. God has told us that he did it. It isn't surprising that when we dismiss that possibility out of hand, no other explanation makes any sense either. - - And still we wonder about our origins. Why?

  • 48.
  • At 12:50 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • James Q wrote:

If the parameters had been different, the results would have been different.

It's as simple as that.


  • 49.
  • At 01:16 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Matt Batchelor wrote:

A supreme being? It is just as believable that we are our own experiment. Our view of the past and our future is spectaculary short term. What will our technological capabilities be in 10,000 or 200,000 years? We might so technologically advanced by then (if our planet isn't dead), that it might be easy to mistake ourselves for gods. If we had the capability to create a universe with us in it, one of the things you would do is create a planet with life on it to see how it develops (as we are now). Perhaps we are one of many experiments. We simply don't know. Our current view is more goldfish bowl than goldilocks.

  • 50.
  • At 01:54 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Nick Gypps wrote:

If our universe is the 'lottery winner' of the multiverse, then where did this universe-generating mutiverse come from?
I am here... I believe someone created me.

  • 51.
  • At 02:48 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Colin Baker wrote:

So...if multiple areas of science are now pointing to a designed universe with tolerances so fine as to make any other assertion a statistical absurdity...

...why do so many deny such overwhelming statistical evidence?

The ironic thing too is that science is supposed to be about evaluating the evidence.

It's not supposed to be about whether you like the answer or not.

But when the scientific answer is "God did it" then apparently that can be ignored.

Colin Baker

  • 52.
  • At 02:48 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Alex Lindsay wrote:

When there's an almost infinite array of stars and galaxies in a concoction we call a Universe such as ours it can't be beyond ALL probablilty that somewhere might be, coincidentally, the right ingredients to produce a string of DNA from this unfathomable soup. Maybe we are the only ones lucky enough to have benefited from those extraordinarily rare but benign conditions. Maybe if a God was in charge there would be more life about, and a lot happier!

  • 53.
  • At 03:03 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Sam Mangham wrote:

How bizzare. Surely one major thing to draw from the tale of Goldilocks would be that all the porridges were 'just right', but for other people? To use the idea that different environments are suited for (and would result in) different forms of life to 'prove' life was intentionally designed for one type is a very high degree of lunacy.

As usual the fundamentalist religious and the fundamentalist believers in scientism all show how well they can miss the point completely. God save us from extremists who think they know it all!

Those who start bringing arguments against evolution and natural selection (in terms of special rather than laws) into an argument about cosmology should try to learn enough of the science to know what the discussion is about. Maybe then you would realise that science makes a lot of sense in its own (empirical and material) domain and doesn't contradict Genesis! It contradicts old scientific theories that have been refuted for over a century. Have the humility to realise that maybe its you who doesn't understand the Bible - rather than scientists who are so fundamentally wrong about an issue of physical mechanism.

And to the followers of the cult of scientism, a large portion of you here miss the nature of the fine tuning issue altogether. Perhaps the "Goldilocks" reference can confuse - but the reality of the situation is that if the laws were slightly different it would NOT lead to a slightly different universe in which life may have been different. The issue is that there would be no universe of any significance whatsoever. Matter would not have formed at all, or the universe would have immediately collapsed on itself, or spread itself so thin that stars would never have formed and thus none of the essential elements.

And those who want to say that its against Occams razor to say there could be a conscious creator, because of multiplication of entities (i.e. then "who created him"... all down through the turtles...) are being wilfully ignorant of what scripture actually says about God. They create what they think God should be like and then argue against their own primitive imaginings. Christians (for example) believe that God is uncreated. He always has been and always will be. Simply because so many 'lay' scientists are still stuck in a deterministic, causal universe, does not mean there are not other types of reality, such as an absolute one. Of course Quantum mechanics points to some reality neither classical nor absolute, but the fact its not classical should have made people realise things are not as they seem. Instead it seems to have made people think that the universe is weird (a la Aspects experiment) but we've almost sussed it.

Of course its possible to believe that there are billions upon billions of other universes, and we just happen to be in the one that had any chance of sustaining life. But it would be something you believe as a personal belief - not based on evidence. So which is closest in terms of Occams Razor;

- Believing in a creator God that is in some ways in our image (i.e. conscious).
- Believing in billions upon billions of other universes, when the only evidence we have whatsoever is for our own 'little' universe.



  • 55.
  • At 04:00 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • James Q wrote:

Life on earth is ideally suited to earthly conditions because those conditions constrained the evolution of life on earth.

We might as well be astonished that hats fit heads and spectacles fit noses.


  • 56.
  • At 04:48 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Austin Amadasun wrote:

Is it rather not interesting to read Martin Liddament and Douglas Adam paraphrase the anthropic principle by giving consiousness to a raindrop and a water puddle respectively?

The debate is about Life - and why those items you have listed above do NOT ask those questions.

If a raindrop/puddle COULD ask/ponder such questions, then it becomes imperative that an answer is sought.

That exactly is why humans do this and to cite inanimate objects doing animate things is missing the point under consideration.

Is this postion based enough on logic and reason for the contributors?

Only the BBC may decide; or maybe it is built into the atomic-laws that it shall [or not] be posted.

The existence of consiousness and the will is not to be confused with rationalisations based on non-living things as this is a basic fallacy.

  • 57.
  • At 05:08 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • David wrote:

Asking why "the universe seems 'just right' for life" is like asking "why is the Earth-Moon system just right for total eclipses".

Oh brother...

This is the science that leads to the anthropic principle and the Goldilocks Enigma:

The observed structure of the universe occurs in **dramatic contrast** to the modeled expectation... so many fixed balance points that are commonly or "coincidentally" pointing directly toward carbon-based life indicate that there is some good physical reason for it that is somehow "specially" related to the existence of carbon-based life.

Now, figure out for yourselves why so many of the statements made here are basically driven by cluelessness.

The Goldilocks Enigma also makes testable predictions about the observed universes from the average of opposing runaway extreme tendencies.

  • 59.
  • At 06:32 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Hillbilly2... wrote:

My Hillbilly2 Theory (which has been around for about 5 years) ask the question "is it possible that man created the universe"?

Man + 200,000000 years = man and technology = Creates Big Bang.

Man evolves from this big bang, creates another big bang destroying the man that went before.
This is cyclical.

I have been talking about this for about 5 years, to great abuse from the scientific community.

Man - Big Bang - Man - Big Bang..

If we have the technology to do one at the point of our own destruction Why Not?

Outside new york, some scientists were worried about creating a big bang, when not knowing the results of a experiment.

The Growth of technology over the last 100 years can never discount the possibility that we at some point will be able to create a exact replica of the big bang that created us - in the future..

If we can create a big bang, then we (humans) more than likely created the big bang that created us.

  • 60.
  • At 06:54 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Craig wrote:

Tired of the "it's so perfect it must have been designed argument". It's a self defeating argument.

You have to assume that a designer is more perfect than the design - so your own argument implies that the designer must have been designed by something superior still...

The Intelligent design argument doesn't answer a question, it just moves the question to a different place.

  • 61.
  • At 07:27 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Hillbilly2 wrote:

I don't know if your replying to me...but:-

My Hillbilly2 theory gives a very possible answer to who created "our universe"....

If we can reach a point where we can create a big bang - with the use of human technology, then the logical answer is

"it is highly likely that we created the big bang that created us, and we are the result of a man made big bang"..

The Question - who created the one before that or the one before that (or the very first one)is a different question, but a possible credible answer too who created our universe - must be fairly important in the grand scheme of things.

Who created the first one can only be reasonably tackled - if we know we can create a man made big bang, and get a realisation of how easy it is - to create one. Once we realise this endless possiblities open up.

  • 62.
  • At 08:08 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • tony wrote:

nick gypps:
So you are here...
You say some one created you...
I wonder...
Was it your parents? or their parents.
Dont tell me you believe in Magic, Nick.

I find it hard to believe you can believe God MADE you happen. Well, i suppose we are two different people. We might as well be droids, wouldnt we? God created us, so we have no free will.

So, the universe is finetuned. Of course it would be. Or is it...
Is a tuning fork fine-tuned?

The way we measure is obviously part of this. I am 5ft8. Why am I fine tuned to be five foot eight??? What if I used a different measuring system?

Why am I fine-tuned to be 8 owls?? Why am I fine tuned to be 900 thumbs??
The way we use measurements is obvious.
This is totally circular.

  • 63.
  • At 08:17 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Maurice wrote:

Give us a break! How long have we had electric light?

  • 64.
  • At 09:18 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Charles Crawford wrote:

'Life developed to fit in with the universe, the universe wasn’t designed to accommodate life'. (This point can be extended to say that life would have occurred any way, it just would have been different, we don’t know what other possibilities there are). The first part can neither be proved or disproved, all we can say is that the only life system we know about fits incredibly well with the universe and within very small (theoretically impossible in some cases) margins of error. So it comes down to a matter of faith. The second part is entirely hypothetical but assumes that life is inevitable which is an assumption of gigantic proportions and if it were so would only confirm that there is a driving force urging life to exist.
Options for mankind:
1. Wilful ignorance… I don’t know how I’m here, but I’m here so I’ll just live my life and that’s fine
2. Faith… either religious faith or an atheist faith, but faith is being sure of things that we can’t see and letting this belief affect your life

  • 65.
  • At 10:18 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • W J Doherty wrote:

How can an experienced scientist ask us to jump in advance of any actual results to what he prejudges to be the facts about the origin of life?

If Darwin or Newton had done that they would have been condemned by their peers, and rightly so!
When he says we are close to all the answers, again poor science. How does he know?

Has he got a magical resolution of the incompatibility of Quantum Mechanics with Relativity? Answers on a postcard please!

  • 66.
  • At 10:47 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Dan Lofting wrote:

Whatever the arguments for or against the theory,I thought it impressive that Newsnight presented such a complex puzzle in so clear a manner.

For every force theres a equal and opposite.

everything is balanced. EEVVEERRYYTTTINNGG!!

  • 68.
  • At 09:03 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Yeldham wrote:

This sounds like the 'back to front' classroom science currently under public scrutiny, and is another example of arrogant dogmatism usually associated with religion. Paul Davies starts with the precept that life on Earth is the only life possible and therefore the universe has been aiming at this one point in time and space as if by design. Has he not considered the possibility of life 'but not as we know it' somewhere else. The problem with much tunnel thinking, resultant of evolution and culture, is that the truly unbelievable expanse of time in which the universe, as we know it has existed, has the potential to permit the development and failure of many life forms unimaginable to us. The preclusion of the possibility of any other biological or different existance outside of Earth merely demonstrates Davies' narrow minded, and arrogant belief in Man as a superior being.

  • 69.
  • At 09:19 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • andy wrote:

another nut, we have found one planet with life, and that is us. the man is not worth reading.
superbeings, god, come on the universe is not perfect for life. it is a harsh and deadly place.

what kind of god makes a place where his children cant breath?
full of radiation and blackholes.

he just wants to stir the pot and sell a book full of crap...

  • 70.
  • At 11:21 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • john atkinson wrote:

I would like to point out that
the truth about this universe is so
utterly simple even a small child can understand it.

The biggest problem is that we think
we have grown up. We start listening to the explanations of grown ups, and
then we get confused and forget why
we are all here.

Your heart knows why you are here.
it needs no book, no explanation, no
religion. Our Heads have been filled
with confusion, anger, fears and guilt.

But the Heart has been filled with
clarity, delight, knowledge and freedom.
Accept it, embrace it. All your answers are there. The Answers have always been there since the MOMENT! you took your first breath.

The purpose of life is to discover
your self, the core of your own being. Without attempting that discovery, all we have is just a bunch of words. All we are doing every day is eating food with no taste.
It really is up to every person
to recognise the need of their own
heart. to feel contentment.
nothing less than that!

"The mental speculator may fly through the sky of speculation with the velocity of the mind or the wind for thousands of millions of years, and still he will find the Universe inconceivable." - Brahma Samhita.

  • 72.
  • At 11:52 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • John wrote:

Scientific law is normally developed from hypothesis following rigorous testing during the intervening theory stage; with the testing being carried out using the tools and observations available to the testers.
Newton's laws of motion were confirmed in this way but were found to be inadequate when applied to particle physics.
I fear that it is childish and arrogant to believe that our increased ability to observe behaviour etc. of the more remote parts of the universe will be sufficient to fill the gaps in our knowledge and lead to universal laws that explain everything.
I do not believe that man will ever do that. The goal posts will keep shifting for ever!

  • 73.
  • At 12:01 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

The universe would be FAR easier to understand if it simply didn't exist. The fact that it does at all is mind-bogglingly incomprehensible. Science cannot explain why the universe exists as I will now show.

Between Earth and the Sun we have space. Scientists tell us that space consists of "nothing". However, it has "existence". You can measure it, travel through it and build things in the middle of it. Clearly it exists.

Now imagine that in the universe only space existed. Not too big a stretch of the imagination. Just take out everything from Higg's Bosons to galaxies and you shuold be left with empty space. Now ask yourself - in this version of the universe, does 1+1=2? Clearly it does not. The concept of 1+1=2 is only meaningful where you have objects that you can count.

Science uses two tools to explain the universe. One of these is direct observation, the other is mathematics. I have easily demonstrated that mathematics is a human construct that only has meaning when used to explain the obeserved universe. The fact that we can sometimes extrapolate mathematical constructs out to explain as yet unobserved physical phenomena is fortuitous - but it would obviously be wrong to rely solely on mathematics to explain the universe since it is clearly an arbitrary human construct created with the express purpose of explaining pre-observed physical effects.

Now the other tool we could use is direct observation. Direct observation relies on using electro-magnetic waves to "see" the components that are the building blocks that make up the universe. We can do this right down to the atomic level but not beyond this. This is because electro-magnetic waves are themselves a macroscopic effect of the sub-atomic "particles".

In order to try and understand sub-atomic particles we know we cannot observe them directly so we try and observe then indirectly by smashing them together. This is rather like trying to work out how the internal combustion engine operates by smashing cars into each other and weighing the bits. Since this is clearly a ham-fisted approach we need mathematics to get it to work. But we have trouble getting the mathematics to fit. Hardly surprising since the mathematics was constructed to predict events at the macroscopic level on the basis of known observations of what happens at that level.

Deprived of the ability to make direct observations, and gradually realising that the maths will never fit because it actually needs the observations themselves for the maths to develop correctly, it seems science has reached an impasse - it perhaps will never progress beyond that impasse.

Of course mathematicians will go on to develop mathematical proofs of how the universe might exist - but many proofs can be equally valid. Given that the mathematics was in itself developed to explain the known universe at the level of obervation it is very likely that all those mathematical theories will be wrong. In the same way the mathematics that was used to show that the Big Bang theory was correct because the 90% of missing matter was unnecessary because the universe was folded in 12 dimensions was replaced when the "Dark Matter" theory was considered a better fit.

Humans train their minds to think along particular lines so it is very hard for physicists and mathematicians to think truly "out of the box". That was what made Einstein special.

  • 74.
  • At 12:16 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • JP Floyd wrote:

The fact is that a universe that is fundamentally intelligible - i.e. capable of being intellectually understood - just happens to have produced beings (ourselves) with the intellect necessary to understand it.

Is it theoretically possible that this took place through a series of lifeless, impersonal, undirected and ultimately meaningless random processes? Perhaps. But seriously, is it likely?

  • 75.
  • At 12:31 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Aaron Turner wrote:

So many people, so little logic...

  • 76.
  • At 01:22 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • James Q wrote:

"Is it theoretically possible that this took place through a series of lifeless, impersonal, undirected and ultimately meaningless random processes? Perhaps. But seriously, is it likely?"

If you roll a die, you know there are 6 equally possible outcomes. If you see thunderclouds when you leave home, you know that you probably need to take your umbrella.

Unfortunately, in the case of the origin of life, we have insufficient data to assess its likelihood, since a) we only know of one example b) we have very little information about events during the 10 billion years that preceded it.


  • 77.
  • At 01:38 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Alan James wrote:

An entire book about the anthropomorphic principle. It's a bit over-indulgent really. I would point people to either of Brian Greene's books about String Theory for a matter-of-fact, easy to digest, and extremely well told description of String Theory, or the TOE, as it may become.

It's pointless to have an entire book on the so called Goldilocks theory, which is sheer conjecture, when there isn't any need for the conjecture.

Someone mentioned Okkam's Razor (sp). Well the simplest explanation is that the Universe is what it is, and there are possibly endless multiverses. The time dimension may even be part of our universe, but not part of another, it depends largely on probability. Hey - some universes may have more than one time dimension - work that one out!

The problem of trying to understand that a universe may go on "forever", and "how is that possible" may not apply in another universe. I think it's a moot point, and not even worth puzzling over, the fact is we will never get a satisfactory answer. We might as well simply accept that universes exist, end of story. There are "ideas" that say that a universe can spring out of nothing, and frankly that is easier to believe than there being an all seeing "God". We have to stop asking the question "out of what?", when the very notion "out of something" may only mean anything in our own universe. Any way, it leads to the question "where did God come from?". Got ya!

The important thing is, and anyone who reads Brian Greene's books will conclude for themselves, that humans have evolved in a universe where the conditions have allowed a series of probability-lead events that have so far got to a point where there is human life on Earth. It isn't the other way round.

Once you accept that our universe is not "special", and that the birth of a universe is a probabilistic event in its own right, such that no one universe is "special" because they can pop into existence at any "time", then it is a long haul to turn all that around and somehow say that the humans came first! To think the latter is to take Mr. O's Razor and blunt it severely, then smash it into a million pieces.

Goldilocks Shmoldilocks! And please, don't even get me started on religion! All you need to do, is say to yourself that Religion is a human invention (inc. God), and follow the above train of thought again. You will find that God comes last, along with the humans, and no, God did not come first.

  • 78.
  • At 02:05 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Dale wrote:

If the universe was created by a god ("God"), then it follows there must be something much bigger "outside" the universe - otherwise pity poor old God squeezed into an environment smaller than himself. If on the other hand God is smaller than the universe, then he's not God in the divine sense, but merely a super intelligent entity with time on his hands (probably a bit bored too). If we compromise and say God IS the universe and that is everything, then the whole argument is reduced to definitions and semantics: eg. divine intelligence = chance; children of god (mankind) = part of god. that would imply God can no more affect our lives than we can choose to grow an extra finger. The conclusion from which is nothing actually matters, nor does it have a reason, it just is - so enjoy it!

  • 79.
  • At 02:07 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Mvere wrote:

At the end of the day everyone will realise that There is God after all.
What will you do with your theories?
If you are intelligent enough to design a computer, send robots to Mars how is it that all the order you have can come out of chaos.What is the probability that somewhere in outerspace or a distant galaxy is a floating computer that was fromed by the Big Bang? In otherwords what is man trying to do puting laws and order where there is no meaning for existance.We might as well be rocks which ask no questions because whatever the answer to its origin is it will be so meaningless to its existance.If there is no God then you are wasting your time asking where life came from.

  • 80.
  • At 02:51 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

@Alan James:

I'm sorry but you have totally misunderstood the principle behind Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor only stated that if two theories are equally good at predicting then you should choose the simpler one. In other words - shave off the bells and whistles with Occam's Razor.

You have mader the common mistake of turning this principle on its head - you have said the universe must be simple because the theory that predicts it must be simple. That does a disservice to Occam, who would never have believed that the universe was simple (he was about as devout a Christian as you can get).

Also, in the theory that there are multiple universes some of which may be far older than ours and which exist in other dimensions that may be concurrent with our own there would indeed be plenty of room for a pan-dimensional intelligence capable of manipulating matter as we perceive it in our rather complex and peculiar universe. In fact that fits rather nicely with philosophy since the universe that "god" first appeared in may be much simpler than the one he created - no gravity, no electro magnetism, no periodic table etc.

  • 81.
  • At 03:35 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • AHamlin wrote:

The answer to life the universe and everything could be in this article - but I couldn't be bothered to read more than the first line - summary anyone?

  • 82.
  • At 04:28 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Austin Amadasun wrote:

THE BEARS COOKED THE PORRIDGE (who made the multiversator machine?)

According to James Q:

We might as well be astonished that hats fit heads and spectacles fit noses.

Sir, is it not the case that these are purpose-built items shaped for their specific use?

Your analogy is apt sir; however, if the hat fits the head and the spectacles fit the nose not by accident, but rather by careful design and production techniques, how much so the complex machinery called the universe.

The astonishment is not that this particular universe is fine-tuned for life being a cause of ponderous wonder, but that that one could presume that you could have a design and purpose without a willful designer.

It would astonish me to no end if a hat or a spectacle were to myseriously appear out of random events and fit my anatomy snuggly.

Therein lies the astonishment behind the claim that Goldilock somehow finds a porridge right fonr consumption in every way and yet has no chef.

  • 83.
  • At 04:50 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Neil Broderick wrote:

It seems to me that Paul Davies is falling into exactly the same trap as the intelligent design people - namely a lack of imagination. His argument goes alongs the lines:

This is the only way I can imagine life forming.
These universe needs these parameters to fit my imagination.
The universe has these parameters
Therefore the universe was designed.

similarly the ID argument goes along the lines

I cann't imagine X being the result of natural selction.
X exists in nature
Therefore evolution is wrong.

In both cases a more plausable conclusion would be "I need a better imagination"

Paul Davies' latest book is not science it is meaningless speculation.

  • 84.
  • At 05:03 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

The universe is only 10billion years old, or about 142million lifetimes. That's not long is it really? Not a lot of time to go from a single point of energy to the development of a creature with a brain so powerful it dwarfs the entire capability of the internet. 250,000 years ago we were using that enormously powerful supercomputer to work out the best way to kill a bison with spears. Bit of overkill perhaps? It's a funny old 10 dimensional universe we live in.

The "lack of imagination"...

...comes from the inability of people to conceive of some good physical reason why the implication for specialness might be true...


"human arrogance"...

...enables "free-thinkers" to believe that they are disconnected from the physical process.

This allows them to believe that the physics means that the universe was created for life, rather than the other way round, which is quite obviously going to be the actual case.

The idea of this universe being specifically designed for life is, of course, the basis of the Bible. Modern ideas of parallel universes take the idea a little further. However there is an alternative way of looking at these ideas. We may not be living in one of a series of universes that just happen to have the right conditions for matter, stars and life to form. Nor are we living in a universe that has just the right balance between cosmic expansion, gravity and atomic forces. We may be living in a tiny, tiny part of the only universe where the time, the place and the conditions just happen to be right for all those things to happen. There may be many other parts of the universe where they were not right in the past and may never be right in the future and hence life (or even matter itself) will not form. Although the universe may be infinitely large, matter may not last forever and may eventually decay back to its original components. Hence the mathematical probability of infinite parallel universes becomes impossible and the idea for this universe being the only one comes full circle.
Have a look at for some more ideas.

Those who consider the fine tuning issue to be irrelevant seem to be saying that those who think otherwise have little imagination. I would say its actually a broader kind of imagination. The nay sayers can only think in terms of this universe, and not in terms of an eternal being. And so they keep repeating the strawman nonsense "then who created God".

The reality of the situation is that two things seem to be fairly fundamental aspects of this universe - time and finite space. At some stage (even if you want to follow speculative theories about the big bang being the other side of a black hole, or imploding virtual particles, or colliding branes etc), you have to have both time and space originating from something that is neither spacial nor temporal. Now this doesn't necessarily mean the time and space of this universe. They could possible have originated in other universes or (more credibly) in extra dimensions. But at some stage there had to be some form of 'energy' or 'potential' that was not present in either time or space.

To call that 'energy' a brane is to jump on the "then what created the brane" roundabout. To suggest that represents a conscious, ETERNAL, ABSOLUTE being that has a more fundamental existence than anything we know or can imagine, is no where near that roundabout (if you have imagination).

Its certainly not scientific to claim this eternal being as the current hypothesis. The whole idea of science is never to accept any solution that says "God did it". But science must realise the epistemological consequence of this and realise that its also unscientific to claim there is no eternal being behind it all. Science has to at least be agnostic about the 'acausal cause' of the appearance of energy/time/space from a singularity. The fact so many claim to know otherwise with certainty shows that they are not following science and its process - but the cult of scientism.


And if there is only one finite universe, then the physics takes on drastically different meaning, because the AP becomes a cosmological principle.

A literal anthropic constraint on the forces explains why the forces can't be unified, which defines a theory of everything, so anthropic relevance rides heavily on which cosmological model is actually ultimately proven to be in effect.

The arrogance of scientists astounds me. They don't know anything much about anything yet some claim to almost have the complete (String) theory of everything.

No scientist can create any new matter nor destroy any, yet it exists. They themselves are made of matter and therefore a subset of the universe. Surely more humility is required.

Nor do they know anything about what goes on in the zone between the plank length (1.6X10^-33 cm) and atomic sizes (10^-13 cm). This is a huge unchartered space if the fundamental building blocks of the universe are of plank size.

What percentage of total knowledge do the scientists possess? Is it 10%, 1%, or what? They don't know.

Speculations like the Goldilocks Enigma are likely pointless. The true answer is unreachable, we simply don't know. So why bother wasting time keep looking.

Science can never provide full knowledge nor is it a belief, it's use lies in practical applications.

"Speculations like the Goldilocks Enigma are likely pointless. The true answer is unreachable, we simply don't know."

No, you don't know that, but your automatic reaction is to reject investigatable possibilities out of hand, because you think that the mere idea is arrogant.

What if life is cumulatively required by the physics over a vast area of the universe, like black holes, to make real, massive particles from vacuum energy?

Did you know that the physics isn't restricted to one earth-planet?

Have you honestly investigated the physics enough to know that the "Goldilocks Enigma" changes the equation in the above paper, since it erroneously extends the mediocrity principle instead?

Do you know that this combination makes pin-point testable predictions about where life will and will-not be found in the universe, so you can either verify or disprove your assertions that we don't know enough without throwing it out because you misinterpret the need for a specialized tool as "human arrogance".

"Surely more humility is required."

Indeed, don't assume that you aren't just here to work, and you start to get a real clue.

Questions like "why are the laws of nature as they are?" and "why does anything exist?" are not scientific questions.

It is useful to stand back and consider what kind of question is being asked, and what sort of approach is appropriate to finding an answer. It is ill-advised to go looking for "evidence" of something that is either necessarily true or necessarily false. It is equally ill-advised to try to reason a priori about something that is a matter of empirical fact.

For example, "Occam's razor" has been frequently invoked as a possible guiding principle for addressing these questions. But is this appropriate?

Ockham's original principle was directed at the area of ontology - a quite different sphere of explanation from the scientific one. Whether or not it is a good principle, it is easy to see that it might give false results if applied to empirical disciplines. For example: we might consider some empirical fact (e.g. that ten consecutive taxis turned left at junction J) and come up with an explanation that postulated the least number of entities (e.g. that one roadblock forced them to) that is simple and elegant, but (alas) false. The true explanation might involve a huge number of entities.

So, before applying rules of thumb like Ockham's, we ought (if we want to claim to be taken seriously) to have at least some ground for suspecting that they are appropriate to the matter at hand.

It is easy to be dazzled by the linguistic similarity of questions whose answers lie in quite different realms. For example: "Why can a diamond scratch glass, while a piece of lead cannot?"; "Why does water boil at 100 degrees centigrade, and not at -say- 50 degrees?"; "Why does the square root of 4 equal 2 and not 3?"; "Why did John choose a grey tie rather than a blue one?"; "Why does anything exist, rather than nothing?" The linguistic form of the question tells us nothing about how we should go about answering it.

One kind of "why" question is a question about goals: "Why?" can be translated as: "to what end?" Another kind of "why" question is about physical causes: "why?" can be translated as: "what physical mechanism accounted for this result?"

Sometimes the meaning of "why" can be ambiguous. For example: "Why does the ermine's fur turn white in winter?" One kind of explanation involves the physical causes for the change of coat. Another involves the purpose of the change, in terms of its benefit to the animal. These two different senses of the question involve two quite different explanation frameworks.

Obviously, answers to any question might be wrong. But could an answer be worse than wrong - could it be "illegal"? Yes, clearly, if a question is misunderstood. For example, if the person asking the question about the ermine's coat was expecting a physiological explanation, then an answer in terms of survival tactics will simply miss the mark. This is the classic fallacy of ignoratio elenchi - the right answer to the wrong question. An answer might equally miss the point of the question entirely - as when we answer the question "What is the meaning of life?" with the answer "43".

More important: can a question ever be "illegal"?

Yes. For example, if I ask "Why is Mrs Thatcher a man?" I am asking an illegal question because I am asking for an explanation of something that is not the case. Likewise, if I ask: "how many people would have to agree that two plus two is five before they changed the rules of arithmetic?" - a question like this raises all sorts of problems, and may perhaps indicate misapprehensions of what is and is not the case.

Earlier in this discussion we have seen people comparing the question "why is the material universe such that it supports 'life'?" to the puddle's question "why is the earth such as to exactly fit my contours?"

What mistake is the puddle making when it asks this question? Clearly, it isn't making a factual mistake. The laws of nature require that the earth does indeed fit the puddle's contours.

Is the puddle being stupid because the answer is "obvious"? - But what, precisely, is "obvious"? If I have been locked in prison for twenty years, the sudden opening of the door will be blindingly obvious. But does that make it stupid or somehow "illegal" to ask "why is the door open"? If the puddle were asking "does the earth fit my contours?" then it would be (stupidly) asking the equivalent of "is the door open?" But that is not the puddle's question.

A more serious critique of the puddle's question is that it is implicitly mistaking the effect and the cause: it is asking "why does the earth fit me?" when it should be asking "why do I fit the earth?" The latter is a sensible (scientific) question. (Is the former not?)

Does the question "why does the world support life?" resemble the puddle's question "why does the world fit my shape?" Does it embody the same (possible) confusion of cause and effect?

  • 92.
  • At 11:43 AM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Bryan wrote:

Without wishing to sound blunt or critical, the questions of why are pointless at the moment from a scientific point of view. Leave the speculation and philosophy to the philosophers and religions of the world.
How is where science should concentrate and always has, but then again I think this book is aimed at the 'popular science' market rather than the serious student of the way things are, and so seeks to create an interest or curiosity in what he has to say.
Religion and Science do need to have a certain dialogue at the moment but only as far as to agree that they stay out of each others business. Science should stick to looking at the universe and the way it functions and religion can look at the unanswerable questions and matters of belief that cannot be proved or disproved. Whist the philosophers can tell us it's pointless to do either! ;)

On a serious note this kind of speculation and loose-thinking is weakening the standing of science in our society, if we're not careful evolution will be banned from our schools and gravity will be a myth! :0)

  • 93.
  • At 11:51 AM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:


Great stuff there I thought.

There are two questions to answer here really:-

1] Why does the universe support hydro-carbon life?

To do that you need a very complex universe and the probability of complex universes is vanishingly small. (You could say an infinite number of universes times a vanishingly small probability of a specific complex universe = a finite
probability of a complex universe, but then you also have a finite probability of a universe with a god, or with giant flying pigs or whatever).

2] If other universes could exist could they support other forms of intellectual awareness?

For example, assume that the universe was born without gravity - could some sort of intellectual awareness develop in such a universe?

A computer works using on/off bit transitions. That could be simulated using energy present/not present transitions. Do you need gravity to make such a computer? No. In fact you don't need much at all.

[It follows from this that you could have a very simple universe with enormous intellect developing inside it. Or you could have two dimensions of a 10 dimensional string universe with a high intellect using minimal complexity in structure overlayed with 4 dimensions of the same universe with a highly complex structure in it. And the enormous two dimensional intellect might have created the complexity inside the three dimensional universe and pop in and out between the two generally spreading confusion and solving [1] in the process. Just a hypothesis.]

  • 94.
  • At 12:55 PM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • James Q wrote:

To: Austin Amadasun

I understand your point; but the analogy addresses only the "suitability" argument, i.e.

just as

1. Life on earth is ideally suited to earthly conditions because those conditions constrained the evolution of life on earth.


2. Hats are ideally suited to the shape of heads because the shape of heads constrained the evolution of hats.

You may then extract a further analogy, if you wish, following Paley, and say: "Since the hat has a designer, life must also have a designer".

But to this I would reply: "The place of the designer in human artefacts is taken in organic matter by the genome. And the genome is the product of environmental pressures."


  • 95.
  • At 06:41 PM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • vic wrote:

Earth is uniquely positioned to support life. There are no signs of life on similar size and temperate planets. Perhaps the controlling force is one that we have never expected - until now.

  • 96.
  • At 10:51 PM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

Why is the BBC publishing extracts from this book? It doesn't seem to offer anything beyond ordinary popular science.

Science is very good at describing things. However, a description is not an explanation. This is the fundamental divide between religion and science. Just to prove the existence of a Big Bang or a Big Bounce will not tell you anything about why it happened.

Or of course, it may not have happened at all. Scientific method is never conclusive, new evidence can always upset a firmly held thesis. So even as a description, science is not perfect. Which is why it should not rest as an conclusive explanation either.

Think about it.

  • 97.
  • At 08:59 AM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • Zax wrote:

I'd argue that we're paying too much attention to Goldilocks and not enough attention to the porridge. The porridge may appear to be 'just right', but it doesn't care whether Goldilocks eats it, or Baby Bear eats it, or whether it gets eaten at all, or indeed whether it ever got made in the first place. Life may think it has some sort of special relationship with the universe, but the universe simply regards life as just another variety of coagulated matter and treats it accordingly.

  • 98.
  • At 10:19 AM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • David Perry wrote:

The secret to life & the apparent observation of reality around us , is that reality as we think we perceice it does not exist. Things are not solid , vision is probably not what is there anyway but is interpreted that way through our sensory systems, eyes, smell , touch taste & intuition.
If according to the scientist matter is compoased of the atom, its sub componetns being , electrons, protons & neutrons. In effect not solid particles but electrical particles of energy like the string theory.Therefore by definition all perceived reality is a hologram or picture projection of images. We are indeed living in a virtual reality world. Probably Gods dream. Lets hope he dosent wake up & the image will close down like turning off a TV set.

  • 99.
  • At 10:46 AM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

@Vic: "Earth is uniquely positioned to support life. There are no signs of life on similar size and temperate planets."

Yes vic, and nor would I expect it. Even the Darwinists have only proposed abiogenesis to have happened once. The Earth is remarkably well suited to organic life, and yet with all the different locations and environments on earth, and with a dynamic in the seas and the atmosphere, it appears that it only happened once here. The probability that it ever happened on an inhospitable planet like Mars, for instance, is correspondingly smaller.

The puddle might indeed gasp at its good fortune. The planet it finds itself on is not a perfect geometric shape - it has bumps and hollows. It has gravity, and quite a lot of gravity, it has an atmosphere creating pressure that allows the water to condense. It might go on to realise that it is fortunate that the
chemistry of water allows the individual water molecule to coalesce when in close proximity, and that the molecule itself its built of two varieties of atom that fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.It might wonder what an atom is and marvel at its strange properties.

Come the winter part of the puddle might freeze. The frozen water will be less dense than the liquid water and will remain on the surface. "I wonder how that happens?" the puddle might say. "Less heat energy should mean more order which should mean higher density". And his friend the tadpole would reply "I don't know either, but I'm bloody grateful!"

I must get round to watching "The Matrix..."

  • 100.
  • At 11:50 AM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • peter birch wrote:

I haven't read all the replies so I apologise if this has been voiced before. It seems to me that there is no such special thing as 'life'. It's simply another arrangement of particles which produces certain effects. Particles arranged one way produce a tree, another way a rock, a third way a star, a fourth way a human being. It so happens that the particle and force arrangemnts in our universe allow our particular arrangement to exist and so here we are asking the question. But there's nothing special about our particle arrangment, it just happens to give rise to us. Seems obvious really.

  • 101.
  • At 12:51 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • Dan T.Hartley wrote:

I think it was the late Bernard Levin who joked that he never got beyond page 42 of "A Brief History of Time".Something about the meaningless of a universe with an absent God.Personally I only bettered the erudite Mr.Levin by about 11 pages.Journalist Tom Woolf made a similar point in his chilling essay-sorry,but your soul just died.As a practising Christian I am afraid that all of these theories have rather a remote relevance.However,I am enjoying the book as an intellectual exercise,and though I may never finish this book,have made it as far as 249.

The probability that it ever happened on an inhospitable planet like Mars, for instance, is correspondingly smaller.

Actually, the Goldilocks Enigma predicts that life will not be found on either, Mars nor Venus because Earth represents the balance of these extreme opposite runaway tendencies.

Think about it, and then figure out why you can use this to make other testable predictions about where life will and will not be found in the universe.

People around here don't pay much attention to the phrase, "testable predictions".

  • 103.
  • At 03:32 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

@David Perry.

I like your ideas. One day scientists will get to see inside the atom, and when they do they will see it has 300 lines of C-code and "Copyright Microsoft" at the bottom. That's why we have earthquakes and tidal waves - the operating system is full of bugs!

  • 104.
  • At 03:34 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • john atkinson wrote:

Your Universe began with a breath. It is sustained by a breath.
it will end with a breath.

Without a breath, who could pose the
question ?
Without a breath, what have you got ?
Without a breath, where is the universe ?

Humans put so much value on everything else, and never put any
value on a breath.

Embedded in your breath, is everything you could ever possibly need. There is nothing bad. It is
an ocean of answers. Your potential
is there. Everything is there, it is good, it is good, and it is good, and
it is good, and it is good.
because you are alive!

  • 105.
  • At 04:21 PM on 15 Oct 2006,
  • Denise Kettle wrote:

I’ve spent most of my life wondering about the universe & why we are here, how we got here & what is the purpose? Where did the universe start & where does it end? If it's endless, how can that be? What holds the endless universe/space & what’s beyond it?

Though I don't fill my head trying to find answers with mathematical/scientific solutions (simply because I can’t) I sometimes wonder if life came into existence by mistake/cosmic error. Perhaps the universe is not meant to hold life, which could explain why various forms of its survival is so hard or short lived on the big timescale of things?

The more I learn the less I know: Though I admire & envy scientists for their given time & ability to try & tackle these endless questions (I could only wish to be so capable & intelligent), my own experiences of life as a whole (including some unexplained) tell me that life is indeed mysterious and a mental & physical challenge (uncertain) for all in existence from start to finish. I then ask myself - why? Why do the challenges of life seem like an endless challenge? Leaving me to again wonder if perhaps life itself was really not meant to be, thus leaving us to make the most of it the best way we can.

If there is someone playing with the buttons of the universe – why? What pleasures would they get from it?

So, what is the purpose of life & the universe? Are the answers really out there somewhere or just held within each one of us, as we are every bit part of the universe?
WHAT DOES ALL THIS LEAVE ME WITH? I like to have some faith & hope that there is a God and so always keep an open mind about everything.

So, what is the purpose of life & the universe?

As it relates to our local environment, some scientists, like; James Kay, Eric Schneider, Dorion Sagan, and Scott Sampson think that this is to satisfy sharp energy gradients per the second law of thermodynamics, but the magnitude of the anthropic physics indicates that this effect would have to be universally affective, so there has to be something else that we do that makes this true, if the hypothesis is correct:

A literal anthropic constraint on the forces indicates that traits or characteristics are inherently evolved toward higher orders of the same basic structure.

Given the following, (which isn't even a scientific stretch, since Wheeler proved that number 1 is theoretically plausible, and nobody that can honestly read the writing on the wall is going to dispute number 2):

1) A literal anthropic constraint on the forces.
2) The basic tennents of evolutionary theory are correct.

Then there is a self-evident prediction that falls, because it would be utterly absurd to think that a true anthropic constraint on the forces would not *necessarily* include the human evolutionary process, so it is NOT unreasonable to ask in a scientific context if the INDICATED reciprocal connection means that there is a mechanism that scientists should look for, which would enable our universe to "leap" *relatively rapidly* to a higher odering of the same basic structure, which would explain a lot of stuff in perfect context with direct observation, including the asymmetry problem, the flatness problem, the horizon problem, etc etc etc... don't forget causality!

Number 2 is, of course, the well supported theory of evolution, and number 1 is supported by the fact that the actual structure of the universe occurs in **dramatic contrast** to the modeled **expectation**... so many fixed balance points that are commonly or "coincidentally" pointing directly toward carbon-based life, indicate that there is some good physical reason for it that is somehow "specially" related to the existence of carbon-based life.

  • 107.
  • At 11:37 AM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

I find it increasingly unnerving that more and more science is putting humans on the brink of extinction. New diseases rapidly spread by the technology of high-speed travel, ever superior weaponry, exploding populations from the growth of unsustainable modern agriculture and of course global warming.

If there is a God there would be a delicious irony in seeing mankind brought to its knees by the products of its earliest invention - fire. At the same time there is an added irony in that we have known about global warming for some 20 years or so and are doing precious little about it. It requires belief you see - belief that what someone else is telling you might be true even though there is little evidence to support it. To do something about global warming people have to counter their belief that material gain is the route to happiness on the basis. They show little sign of adopting such beliefs. They require "evidence" they can see with their own eyes - they don't want to have "faith" that the science is right. By the time such evidence exists it will be too late. If there is a God, he must be laughing his socks off at the irony of it all.

It is also worrying that increasingly scientists are claiming that the keys to the universe are within reach. Douglas Adam's stated in the hitch-hikers guide that "If anyone ever discovers why something as bizarre and inexplicable as the universe exists, it will at once dissappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable". If the worlds scientists find that the keys of the universe have God's fingerprints on them, perhaps that's when Douglas Adams' prophesy will come true. After all, God's experiment in "faith" will have come to an end at that point.

Warm for October isn't it?

  • 108.
  • At 12:31 PM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • b.copeland wrote:

Could it be that when we think we are doing science we are unknowingly exploring the architecture of our own minds?it would then be astonishing if we discovered that'mind' was unlikely. that of course puts us (mind that is) at the centre again.- a sort of pluralistic solipsism.

  • 109.
  • At 01:22 PM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • Austin Amadasun wrote:

According to James Q; " "The place of the designer in human artefacts is taken in organic matter by the genome. And the genome is the product of environmental pressures." "

Maybe you did not fully understand my argument, so kindly allow me re-state my position by substituting a phrase with one from your statement above thus:

It would astonish me to no end if a hat or a spectacle were to myseriously appear out of "environmental pressures" and fit my anatomy snuggly.

The point sir, is this; you wish to suggest that design and purpose can originate from that which is purposeless and undesigned. That, to me, is fallacious and even "unscientific".

Your suggestion that a human artefact- which is infinitely simpler than the most basic cell composition - needs an intelligent designer, while the more complex constructs we observe in the Universe all arise from random "pressures" stretches my intellect into the realm of the ridiculous.

  • 110.
  • At 01:41 PM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • Austin Amadasun wrote:

WHILE WE CONSIDER THE PORRIDGE, kindly excuse my absence of mind BUT...

1) Did anyone ever "discover" which came first; the chicken or the egg?

2) How suitable for survival is it that we have males and females? Are hermaphrodites not "superior" from a purely survival viewpoint?
And which one evolved first: the Man or the Woman?

3) Why do almost all living things "sleep"? How does being asleep and defenceless enahance survival? Is a thing not most vulnerable as it sleeps?

and the last but not the lease one:

4) What survival value has a sense of humour?

When will scientists - of which I am one - realise that to know HOW things work (even withing the Heisenberg constraints) is not to know WHY things are?

Alas, hubris is taking man beyond the clever being into the foolish animal.

  • 111.
  • At 02:50 PM on 17 Oct 2006,
  • James Q wrote:

To Austin Amadasun:

Your argument (as I understand it) is as follows:

"Hats have a designer. The simplest life form is more complicated than a hat. Therefore the simplest life form has a designer."

It's true that hats are subject to environmental pressures (the whims of Homo sapiens). It's even true that their design is subject to environmental pressures (the shape of Homo sapiens).

However, there the analogy ends. Hats do not have a genome. They do not produce little hats, which produce even more little hats. They do not repair themselves, on the basis of information which they themselves contain. They do not grow, replicate, and die.

That's why they're entirely dependent on an outside agent (i.e. a designer and a manufacturer) for their existence.

Living organisms, on the other hand, do have genomes. They do grow, replicate, and die. There is therefore no need for an outside agent: the genome in living organisms is the equivalent of the designer (and manufacturer) in human artefacts.

Of course, the relative success of a particular genome in terms of offspring will depend on environmental pressures; just as the relative success of a hat design will depend on suitability and changing fashions. But I think that's where we came in.


  • 112.
  • At 02:54 PM on 17 Oct 2006,
  • It's life Jim wrote:

It not perfect for life. Look at all the wasted planets with no life at all? Why does the sun give you cancer? why is there no air in space? etc. etc. It is what it is. Accept it.

  • 113.
  • At 03:59 PM on 17 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

I'm really glad that the early organisms didn't put the eye somewhere "sensible" like at the end of the limbs where it could be manouevered into different positions. The thing is that eyes produce the equivalent of 10Mbits/sec of data and the human central nervous system would have one hell of a job getting it routed around the human body. Similarly it is very convenient from an engineering point-of-view that all the major input and output devices are close to the brain. You would have expected them to be wherever and the processing to be right where the sensor is. One huge brain controlling the whole thing is quite bizarre really.

The sun would give you rather more cancer if there wasn't enough atmosphere between you and it - organic chemistry doesn't react too kindly to ionising radiation. Too much air and we would all fry - organic chemistry doesn't enjoy very high temperatures. In engineering terms it is not perfect - it is "fit for purpose".

You're a clever man James Q - how do you make a baby from a genome? Can I make a genome that will make a hat? I'm an engineer I'd like to know - we could make a lot of money. Think of it - hats that would produce baby hats. And each hat would grow with you.

In engineering terms it is not perfect - it is "fit for purpose".

Necessity is the mother of invention.

  • 115.
  • At 10:32 AM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • brad wrote:

Poor ‘Professor Paul Davies' – a mere child in the eyes of “El Shaddai”. He reminds me of a young child on a ‘robotic factory shop floor’, amazed at how all the machinery works. However he still can’t comprehend that it was created by mankind because the robots seem to have a life of their own. He then ignores the obvious and imagines fantastic fantasies of how it all came to be. Best to tuck him up in bed with a night cap & a good old simple read – Genesis perhaps?

  • 116.
  • At 04:20 PM on 18 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

Seems you have three basic hypothesese dicussed in this thread:-

1] An entirely determinisitic universe, where everything from the beginning to where we are now was bound to happen from the time of the big bang when t=0. Scientists like that one because it offers them the best chance of the ToE. The thing is you then have to ask what happened before t=0 to set off the big bang so it went through the necessary sequence. i.e. as Stephen Hawking says "Why did it bother?". Plenty of room for a god in there and precious little room for a scientific explanation.

2] A universe where the difficult bits happen by chance. Scientists don't like this much, especially evolutionists. This is because the steps between stable evolutions require mutations to combine together to make useful functions. If this relies on chance then from one end of evolution to the other you end up with a highly improbable sequence of events. Hence the ID proponents get a shot at squeezing god in there as a designer.

3] Then there is the infinite number of universes approach, where you have an infinite number of universes with an infinite probability of strange stuff happening in any one of them. Problem with that approach is that one of the possibilities in an infinite number of universes is the existence of god, and the possiblity of an intelligent designer in a relatively simple universe is higher than intelligent life in a complex many layered universe. Therefore the possibility that god created this complex universe from within his own simple universe is higher than the chance of it creating itself at random, i.e. god created this universe in much the same way as humans might create a "virtual reality" computer game. Given enough time software engineers might design a computer game where the computer generated characters have self-awareness and perceive themselves to be real and in a real universe.

So that's the problem with god - when science squeezes him out of one part of the universe he pops up somewhere else - the cheeky monkey.

  • 117.
  • At 12:03 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:

Had another thought about this anthropic principle. It equally applies to an idea I had years ago about the "convenient toolbox". As an electronics engineer I am always struck by the way the elements have very different behaviour even though they are made of just three different parts. It is as if you can build a nuclear power station just using Lego.

Without coal the industrial revolution could never have happened. Coal is an enormous store of solar energy compressed to a high density and held underground. How lucky is that? The same goes for oil, used not just for transportation but for plastics, insecticides and fetilizers.

Much of the science of the last hundred years was driven by the discovery of the properties of radiactive isotopes. We are just lucky that these radioactive isotopes are not too plentiful and usually are underground - but not a long way underground or we would never have found them. If earth was too radioactive we would never have evolved.

Electronics uses a plethora of bizarre elements: silicon, carbon, phosphorous, indium, gallium, arsenic, germanium, gold, aluminium, silver. Some of these elements are crucial for the development of electronics.

Without these tools we would never have got further than the ancient Greeks in understanding our universe.

However, the most bizarre thing for me are fossils. Somehow T-Rex died, his bones stayed together in one place, his bones were then buried in rock, the bones decayed but were replaced by another rock injected into the cavity, then all the rock appears on the surface in a convenient location for scientists to discover it, all still fairly intact. Someones having a laugh aren't they? Some of the key fossils would have been rare as hens teeth when they were alive but scientists seem to have found pretty much all of them 10s of millions of years later. If Inspector Morse had seen evidence like that he would have said "No Lewis, it's too obvious. Someone planted that evidence. They wanted to make use believe we know about our own past. Take those fossils down to forensics and see if they can find gods fingerprints". Ever get the feeling you are the victim of some elaborate practical joke?

Phil, there is an entropic interpretaton of the anthropic principle which notes that we are environmentally enabled to within the practical limitations of human capabilities.

This means that the energy that we can expend in the direction of survival is readily expendable *enough* to keep us evolving to progressively higher orders of entropic efficiency via technology that intelligence enables us to develop.

The idea is supported by time-line of human existence since we leapt from apes to harness fire, and beyond...

It also makes the testable prediction that we will have become technologically developed enough to take advantage of the next most difficult energy source, (path of entropic action), right *about* the same time that we run out of oil.

Other scientists, like, James Kay, Eric Schneider, Dorion Sagan, and Scott Sampson, think that this is to satisfy sharp energy gradients per the second law of thermodynamics, but the magnitude of the anthropic physics indicates that this effect would have to be universally affective, so there has to be something else that we do that makes this true, if the hypothesis is correct.

You can read more about their interpretation here, but they don't account for the fact that efficiency also demands conservation, in order to maximize work, and that's what a flat, yet expanding universe does that a wide-open expanding universe cannot:

  • 119.
  • At 10:26 PM on 19 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:


Surely this theory is a load of pap? Life is not inherently efficient. Photons arrive from the earth and are orderly in that they are travelling in one particular direction and at high velocity - they have high energy but low entropy (disorder). They reach a plant and photoreactive chemicals turn the energy from the photons into energy the plant uses to build more complex molecules. But the process is not 100% efficient - some of the energy is wasted and results in greater entropy. If the plant was burnt it would be clear that not all the energy from the photons has been extracted by photosynthesis and the energy wasted must have caused an increase in entropy. There is nothing special about this process - you could equally have a solar cell constructed to turn photon energy into electrical energy and then use the electrical energy to perform electro-plating (i.e. extracting ions from a disorderly solution to create an orderly metal coating). Clearly the second law of thermodynamics holds.

If the authors are trying to claim that plant life was forced to evolve to make best use of the available energy (i.e. to minimise entropy in the short term) they would have to explain why abiogenesis isn't something that happens all the time and why animal life works the other way around - i.e. destroying plant molecules to burn and do work creating more entropy in the process as waste heat. It seems that whilst traditional scientists would say that plant life could evolve because there was energy present to allow it to evolve, these scientists are saying that plant life HAD to evolve because the need to efficiently use the energy demanded it. I think that is a rather perverse view.

I think that it's your interpretation that's perverse, but hey, I've only been studying this for the last four years, so you're probably right.

  • 121.
  • At 10:01 AM on 20 Oct 2006,
  • brad wrote:

I once read a comment by a mathematician (dice-man). At the time I thought it was very blasphemous but now have decided to take him out of context to explain a very good point about the universe, impossibilities, and God (Jehovah):

“In the beginning was Chance, and Chance was with God and Chance was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Chance and without him was not anything made that was made. In Chance was life and the life was the light of men.” Amen

  • 122.
  • At 10:21 AM on 20 Oct 2006,
  • phil hoy wrote:


Please feel free to enlighten me with the details of your four years of study. Clearly 20 or so lines of text were not sufficient to get your ides across.

Brad, non-accidental occurrence doesn't imply god, nor intelligent design without proof that the "purpose" that you see is different from any other form of **natural bias**.

Neodarwinian's might buy that hype, but it's not correct.

phil, goto my website, www.anthropic-principle.ORG and have a look-see.

  • 124.
  • At 11:58 AM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Phil wrote:


Seems pretty speculative stuff to me Island. But then you are not alone. Most cosmology is based on obervations of a known universe that is the flotsam and jetsom of the big bang - all the "good stuff" has dissappeared over the event horizon, never to be seen by humans again. Similarly we can only detect sub-atomic particles if we happen to look for them because they fit our theories. We can't observe them directly as EM waves can't get down past the sub-atomic level.

Lots of science based on "finger in the air" observations.

Seems to me these questions can't be answered - unless we try and use our theories to create our own "big bang" sometime in the future. But then - maybe someone got there before us?

  • 125.
  • At 02:44 PM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • brad wrote:

Island - "non-accidental occurrence doesn't imply god ! "
Does this then mean; accidental occurance does imply a God ?
(where 'chance' = accidental occurance)
Had a look at your site - You sure are very intelligent :-)

  • 126.
  • At 03:46 PM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • brad wrote:

After all the deep thought on “goldilocks” above I have thought on a quite separate “simple analogy” that may put it all into perspective.

Two ‘Simms computer characters’ where talking at a bar in their virtual pub:
“Isn’t it weird how all the elements seem to be made out of pixels “says one to the other?
The other replies “That’s not all, what about those other dimensions? Where are they?”
The first also comments “I wonder where my soul and thinking originate from?”
“Well let’s make up some fantasist theory and then we’ll test it with theology and science!”

God looks at His monitor, taps His hard-drive and says; “Enough of this foolish talk. Its time for bed and tomorrow you will be in a different situation and a different environment” :-)

  • 127.
  • At 02:34 PM on 29 Oct 2006,
  • Felix wrote:

Its really pointless to say: we are here because its "right".

Dont be stupid!

Daddy bear has a bigger porridge. Mummy has a smaller porridge. The little has the smallest!

Its relative.

Hmmm. It seems obvious to me that we are designed for the universe, not it for us!

  • 129.
  • At 10:33 AM on 04 Nov 2006,
  • Wesley wrote:

God or No God
One universe our Multiverse
Fixed laws or dynamic laws

In the end it doesn't matter. Let's just try to all enjoy our lifes with respect for each other and the environment we life in. And honestly I think it's about time we start doing this or all our GREAT questions, theories and hypotheses will die with us eventually. If we can do that, we can spend all day thinking and brainstorming about these questions.

  • 130.
  • At 09:48 AM on 07 Nov 2006,
  • felix wrote:

Think about it this way:

Why isnt Mars habitable yet?
Why isnt the sun full of humans?

Why is the sun "designed" for the purpose in which humans cannot exist within???

Its like saying:
Why cant humans live underwater?
Why cant humans live in space without the presence of a gravitational field??

We adapted to the enviromnent. The environment chose us, and we chose the environment.

Why do people never ask: Why dont humans have wings?
If we did have wings, WOW! It must have been perfect.

  • 131.
  • At 10:52 PM on 04 Dec 2006,
  • stan wrote:

Even if you explain why our universe can allow life, you still have to explain how life spontaneously came to be, which no one is close to doing today.

And even if you explain that, you still have to explain the evolutionary mechanisms that through random mutations turned a cell into a being who can correctly explain how the universe and life came to be. This has not been done.

And even if you explain that, you still have to explain why - what's the evolutionary advantage of knowing these things?

And even if you explain that, what's the chance that random evolution would make us understand this correctly?

And if you manage to prove all this, you have proven that we are all biological robots with no free will, and there is no meaning to life. Do you belive this?

Only Jesus can save you. Seek him before it's too late.

  • 132.
  • At 01:41 AM on 19 Dec 2006,
  • Derek wrote:

Well, let's consider this statement:
there is an all-powerful creator of the universe with some benign interest in us.

If that statement is true:
then the phenomena of the universe must provide the most truthful, incorruptible communication we could receive from such a being;
in which case we surely should co-operate and do our utmost to understand the universe through unprejudiced research.

If that statement is false:
then we have to be able to rely upon our own resources;
in which case we surely should co-operate and do our utmost to understand the universe through unprejudiced research.

Paul Davies relies on the existence of Chance but there is no such thing. The ontological status of Chance is explained in "The Intelligent Design of the Cosmos" on the Philica Website, paper No. 50

Neil Golightly wrote:
"As an atheist, I'm not in favour of this one when there are answers that don't posit divine intervention."

What are these answers?


I suppose that comment #127 is very good. Because it is really so , we are not here because it is right.

  • 136.
  • At 08:12 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • John Elferink wrote:

Re: the puddle waking up in the hole. That misses the point. The questions is how did the hole happen when the likelihood of the hole is so remote. The puddle waking up is a remote outcome as the result of another remote outcome, (that would have been just as remote if the puddle was there or not).

As an article of faith I am attracted to the strong anthropic principle for no other reason than it suits my optimism. Michelangelo once postulated that the angel was always in the marble, he merely removed the excess stone to uncover it.

Davis had offered several examples in which he argues that the angel may be there or not, and has expressed a preference for it being there. I share his optimism. In both our cases it is an expression of faith (not necessarily a religious faith) in the untestable philosophies that all of the explained theories are in his work. The Goldilocks Enigma is a philosophical work not a scientific work.

Or is it some form of scientist heresy for a scientist to engage in a philosophical exercise? If it is then scientists had better remember where they came from.

  • 137.
  • At 04:14 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Vera Kashirtseva wrote:

Are we seeking patterns where there are none? We are too trained to recognize things and look for systematic explanations. How can we possibly seek for evidence that disproofs this hypothesis? A theory hold only if we can construct productive counterargument and prove it false, otherwise it is simply talk that can not be even put in the same category as science.

The Goldilocks Enigma has been solved. A paper "Resolving the Goldilocks Enigma" is on the website, Paper No. 87

  • 139.
  • At 07:42 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • jtd wrote:

It is obvious that most people that commented did not read the book, or even the book description.

When Davies asks, "Why the universe is perfect for life?", he is not saying that Earth is perfect for life, as many people have implied, but rather that the laws of physics are perfect for life. He cites Rees' "Just Six Numbers":

"Science writer and astronomer Rees summarizes the history of the universe, pointing out that six numbers related to basic physical constants (for example, the relative strengths of the gravitational and electromagnetic attraction) determine how the universe developed. In addition, he shows how, if these numbers were only slightly different, stars and galaxies would not form, complex chemistry would not be possible, and life could not evolve. This raises the interesting philosophical question, Why? "

Of course, this idea spawns some very radical theories such as the multiverse theory (there are an infinite number of universes with tweaked laws of physics, and we just live in that habitable one). Paul Davies thinks this explanation is not enough, not only because the multiverse theory is unprovable, but because it attempts to explain how our universe works through forces outside our universe, something that many scientists and people on this board call religious people irrational for for doing that same thing. He says that using Occams Razor, intelligent design seems more rational and less dogmatic that the multiverse theory.

Paul Davies, is not some simple quack. He is admired by many people in the field of science and even atheist Richard Dawkins (Dawkins expresses respect for him in 'The God Delusion')

Even then, he is skeptical of intelligent design, and gives his own theory which doesn't need a God or a multiverse. He doesn't believe that, as people are declaring on this commentary board, that God made the the universe just right for human life. He simply gives arguments for and against intelligent design and the multiverse theory, and believes his own theory to be superior. Get your facts straight.

TUU9vx A number of universities have awarded her honorary degrees, and she earned a prestigious job on the staff of Detroit congressman John Conyers. In 1988 Roxanne Brown noted: "Thirty-two years after she attracted international attention for sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Mrs. Parks's ardent devotion to human rights still burns brightly, like a well-tended torch that ignites her spirit and calls her to service whenever she is needed."

  • 141.
  • At 01:56 AM on 02 Mar 2008,
  • Vincent Bell wrote:

Well in problem solving it works well to identify x that is seemingly independent from y and give x & y a label creating a human made concept in a maths or a spoken language. Then to use this language, this tool, manipulating the concepts & matching them to experience and observation to understand & construct in our mind a model of the world around us.

But all human made concepts are not independent of humans – none of our theories are objective like we like to think – science’s objective theories are better defined as inter-subjective agreements on the nature of reality based on human’s perception of the results of repeatable experiments. If humans all die tomorrow, in say some horrific nuclear war, then this neural activity that holds these concepts as significant will die with us. So these conclusions do not exist beyond us however much we somehow feel they must do.

Nature itself does not necessarily correspond to the fragmented models of relationships we create in our minds - nature is I feel one - it is to the nth degree a whole entity in which we are transitory phenomena in the wash of that wholeness. We are not separate from everything or anything - the we we refer to does not really exist as a separate entity – human’s collective transitory neural system simply make this up when modelling the world around us.

If it helps our atoms are in a wash with everything on a milli-second by milli-second basis – except that the fragmentation of time idea is also a human construct as is that idea of atoms – I enjoy trying to get my head say quantum mechanics a much as anyone that’s interested in this but in the end it is just a very predictive mathematical model that works, that is not the same as saying it is even remotely close to an accurate description of reality.

You see we see the world beyond us and are puzzle at it because we are humans seeing us and nature in this divided up funny way but nature knows nothing of this dividing up business - nature just IS - it a whole integrated state not necessarily even in time - it just IS.

Now a cheetah on the Serengeti Plain or a monkey up a tree in the forest is not puzzled about why there is anything at all - he or she just is - is just one with the universe with out the need to question it - it just IS and I suspect inherently knows or assumes this.

May be if we can just realise this dividing up stuff pattern searching part of our frontal lobe has evolved to aid the survival of us a rather physically weak monkey be set by the problem of surviving in a hostile world..

And that it is this part of being human that leaves us feeling so puzzled when we assume we are separate from nature & not inextricably interwoven with the ethereal fabric of oneness of the whole.

Perhaps we would feel better if we related more to the view point of a cheetah or chimp say who has no problem with why there are all this phenomena & not nothing at all - because for the chimp there is no why and there is no problem & the chimp by accidental default is right – there is no problem beyond being a human.

So to conclude my thesis : The problem is with us humans who locked in their over developed brain think that the why type questioning can go on infinitely like the child who has learned to keep asking why. Humans with an over active brain that thinks that because dividing up the world is a successful problem solving strategy then nature itself must be actually divided up in a similar way to what the human’s mind imagines it to be. But it isn’t – were just an inherent part of the whole, a whole were not really equipped or in a position to full appreciate.

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