This is becoming an epidemic. First the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed column by a creationist who is also a fellow-traveler of the Discovery Institute — see More Creationism in the Wall Street Journal.
Now we see another formerly-trusted information source turning to the Dark Side. Look what shows up at the PhysOrg website: New evidence for anthropic theory that fundamental physics constants underlie life-enabling universe. They readily admit that their source for this item is a paper by “German scholar Ulf-G Meißner, chair in theoretical nuclear physics at the Helmholtz Institute, University of Bonn,” which is:
titled “Anthropic considerations in nuclear physics” and published in the Beijing-based journal Science Bulletin (previously titled Chinese Science Bulletin).
What do we know about either Meißner or the Chinese journal that published his paper? Here’s the website for the Science Bulletin. Wikipedia has an article about them using their former name: Chinese Science Bulletin, but it doesn’t tell us much.
We’ve heard rumors about that journal, but we won’t mention them because we don’t have reliable sources to cite, so it would be irresponsible to repeat them. That’s for other blogs, but not us. All we’ll do here is give you a few excerpts from the PhysOrg article about the “research paper” and then you can reach your own conclusions: The bold font was added by us:
For nearly half a century, theoretical physicists have made a series of discoveries that certain constants in fundamental physics seem extraordinarily fine-tuned to allow for the emergence of a life-enabling universe. Constants that crisscross the Standard Model of Particle Physics guided the formation of hydrogen nuclei during the Big Bang, along with the carbon and oxygen atoms initially fused at the center of massive first-generation stars that exploded as supernovae; these processes in turn set the stage for solar systems and planets capable of supporting carbon-based life dependent on water and oxygen.
Yes, everyone has heard of the anthropic principle. The Big Question is: Some things were unquestionably designed for the purpose of facilitating human life — your toilet seat, for example. So some people wonder whether the entire universe was likewise designed for a human-centered purpose. You know how it goes — if gravity were 10 times stronger or weaker than it is, then … well, never mind. Back to PhysOrg:
German scholar Ulf-G Meißner … adds to a series of discoveries that support this Anthropic Principle. In a new study titled “Anthropic considerations in nuclear physics” and published in the Beijing-based journal Science Bulletin (previously titled Chinese Science Bulletin), Professor Meißner provides an overview of the Anthropic Principle (AP) in astrophysics and particle physics and states: “One can indeed perform physics tests of this rather abstract [AP] statement for specific processes like element generation.”
“This can be done with the help of high performance computers that allow us to simulate worlds in which the fundamental parameters underlying nuclear physics take values different from the ones in Nature,” he explains.
“Physics tests” that involve running a computer simulation built on different fundamental physical laws? That sounds like fun. Let’s read on:
Professor Ulf-G Meißner, in explaining his new groundbreaking study, states: “The Universe we live in is characterized by certain parameters that take specific values that appear to be remarkably fine-tuned to make life, including on Earth, possible.”
“For example, the age of the Universe must be large enough to allow for the formation of galaxies, stars and planets, and for second- and third-generation stars that incorporated the carbon and oxygen propagated by earlier exploding stars,” he says. “On more microscopic scales, he adds, “certain fundamental parameters of the Standard Model of light quark masses or the electromagnetic fine structure constant must take values that allow for the formation of neutrons, protons and atomic nuclei.”
“Such extreme fine-tuning supports the anthropic view of our Universe,” he adds.
Hey, we can do a computer simulation on our toilet seat hypothesis that there was a Toilet Seat Designer — the TSD. Let’s see, yes — if the seat’s aperture were 10 times larger, we’d fall through; and if it were 10 times smaller — egad, no go! Therefore, our TSD hypothesis is experimentally verified! Maybe we can get our work published in the Chinese Science Bulletin and PhysOrg will do a writeup on it. If not, there’s always the Wall Street Journal.
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