Monday, February 16, 2015

Divine Fine-Tuning vs. Electrons in Love

My first Valentine's Day surprise was that Dylan Matthews had written a delightful article in Vox about "Possible Girls". The second was that the American Philosophical Quarterly had accepted "Divine Fine-Tuning vs. Electrons in Love"!

The fine-tuning argument says that since the physical constants are set at values that allow for nice life-permitting things like planets and carbon, God probably set them to make sure there would be intelligent life. I respond that intelligent life is possible even if the physical constants are set at values that don't allow for planets or carbon, if the laws about which physical things have minds are set in a much more mind-friendly way. Then maybe protons and electrons can fall in love with each other! This obviously requires minds to be metaphysically possible without big complex brains. But if the advocates of the fine-tuning argument are going to claim that God has a mind without even having a physical body, the door is wide open for proton-electron romance.

After writing the paper, I discovered Magnus Hyden's "Electrons in Love". It's good music for getting the feel of a world full of happy fundamental particles: