RE: algorithmic complexity of God

Weslake, Brad BG (
Mon, 12 Jan 1998 11:40:22 +1100

This discussion is quite amusing; akin to the sometimes-used creationist
argument for God that because the earth is at the very nice distance
from the sun which allows our type of life form, this was obviously by
design. The reason the argument is meaningless is because life is only
going to develop under conditions which enable this development. Now our
type of life, naturally, has evolved to be best suited to our proximity
to the sun. This reasoning can be extended to the universal constants:
of course they appear to us to be finely tuned - because we evolved
under their influence. Just because we find it hard to comprehend forms
of life which might exist under alternate conditions does not mean that
this is not so. But of course, this is moot, because even if our
conditions _are_ the only ones that allow life, of course the life which
does develop is going to do so under these conditions. If they were not
- we would not be here to ponder the question. Am I making sense? Is
this reasoning valid?


> ----------
> From: Wei Dai[]
> Reply To:
> Sent: Monday, 12 January 1998 11:00
> To:
> Subject: algorithmic complexity of God
> On Sun, Jan 11, 1998 at 09:17:00AM -0800, Hal Finney wrote:
> > One reason for believing in the existence of God is the fact that
> the
> > universe appears to be narrowly tailored for the existence of our
> kind
> > of life. Take a look at figure 5 on
> > and you see what a tiny fraction of the possible values for physical
> > constants would allow life as we know it to exist. One way to
> explain
> > this seeming coincidence is to say that our universe was
> intentionally
> > created to have parameters in this region.
> Which hypothesis is simpler, that the parameters of this universe are
> random, or that they was chosen by an intelligent being? I think this
> question can be formalized as "what is the shortest program that
> outputs
> the parameters of this universe?"
> Of course there are many such programs, but let's just consider two
> categories corresponding to the two hypotheses. A program of the first
> kind consists of the parameters stored as constants and a single Print
> statement that outputs them. A program of the second kind involves the
> evolution of an intelligent being which then does various computation
> to
> figure out the optimal parameters for a universe to have our kind of
> life.
> If the shortest program is of the first kind, it would mean that the
> parameters of this universe are essentially random and have no simpler
> explanation. If the shortest program is of the second kind, then the
> simplest explanation for the parameters being what they are is that
> they
> were chosen by an intelligent being.