Someone posted a link to this article with the above title, to which I gave this response:
This article annoys me. It attempts to claim that science is faith-based by distorting science. The idea that you are not allowed to speculate about the origin of the properties of physics is a complete lie, you are just expected to provide testable evidence if you come up with a hypothesis. And the idea that laws of physics are not allowed to be questioned is also a lie, many laws of physics have been “broken”, including many of the ones he mentioned, newton’s laws of motion and gravitation. He also said you’re not allowed to suppose that the speed of light “changes with the hour” when ALL scientists today knowledge that light travels at different speeds depending on the medium it is moving through, and that only the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. And if it is observed that that is not correct, the physics books will again be amended. A law of physics is not immutable, and isn’t supposed to be. It is an observation which has never been observed to not be constant, which is why they are today often called “Principles” of physics rather than the misleading “laws” because they are not laws, but properties which are in principle universally constant. The term “law” originated with the antiquated concept that “laws” are commands given by a creator which must unalterably be obeyed by the universe. The concept he is attacking is religious, not scientific, and was formed under christian theocracies toward the end of the middle ages and later abandoned by secular science as an unfounded assumption. He is attempting to portray science as faith-based, narrow and dogmatic to justify similar qualities in his own reasoning. Ironically the author is actually aware of the origin of the term and states it later in the article.
While it is true that “laws” of physics are axiomatic building blocks that science builds off of – for instance if you wanted to build a rocket and calculate where it will land if aimed at a certain trajectory, this is impossible without using constants in your equation – while this is true, the author acts as if science, if it found out the properties of physics had shifted, would just plug up their ears and go “la la la la, this contradicts my anti-god dogma, I don’t hear it”. Which is ridiculous if you know anything about how science works.
As far as the claim that the existence of life depends on “fine-tuned” laws, this notion is mostly held by physicists and engineers and rarely held by people who actually study life. Because anyone who studies life knows that not only is there no absolute definition of “life”, and that the forms of life that exist on earth are just some possible forms of life, they also know that what will make one organism thrive will instantly kill another. To suggest that “life” could not function without exactly the properties of physics we see around us (not just the forms of life we see around us, but all possible forms) because a certain group of organisms depend on those properties, is like suggesting that “vehicles” could not function without train tracks, because some vehicles need train tracks to function. “Life” is the broadest possible term for living things, and it includes far more than what you see on the discovery channel. “Life” is not specifically mammals or reptiles or fish or insects or plants any more than “vehicle” is specifically a train or plane, car, bicycle etc, these are forms of life we are familiar with. Life, in it’s broadest sense, is a self-replicating pattern. And that can, in principle, exist in any universe which has any properties which are stable at some level of magnification, just as a vehicle of some sort could exist in another universe with different properties, though it might not function like a Buick.
The concept of a multiverse, while it has been speculated by scientists, is not scientific and cannot be tested. To pretend an idea is a part of science and then pretend that science is un-scientific is a strawman.
And invoking a god who inexplicably has certain properties to explain how the universe inexplicably has certain properties is a waste of time. Not only does it lead to the same dead end – just push it back a step and pretend to “solve” the problem, and not only is it not supported by evidence (other than the fallacy of an argument from ignorance, the same argument that was used to support belief in Zeus and Thor when we didn’t understand what lightning was) but it doesn’t even explain anything. Just claiming that Yahweh created the universe “somehow” is as much an explanation of the origins of the universe as claiming fairies created it “somehow”. It doesn’t give any new information whatsoever. All it does is allow the believer to pretend they understand that which they do not and stop looking for an answer, which is actually harmful to human scientific progress.
The idea of a god is vague and completely useless, and if that passed for science then scientists would be saying they found a “god particle” that somehow popped protons and electrons and photons into existence and hold out their hand waiting for their nobel prize.