Fine-tuning argument

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In [[cosmology]], '''fine tuning''' refers to the precise balance of [[cosmological constant]]s that allow the [[observable universe]] to exist as it does.  These constants include the speed of light, the rate of expansion of the universe, the force of gravity, the nuclear strong force, the electromagnetic force, and many other parameters of the observable universe.  These constants exist in such a state of precise equilibrium that any variation to their values would have resulted in a drastically different universe.  The '''fine tuning argument''' states that these values occurring in such a precise state by mere chance is highly improbable, and that there must have been a creator to fine tune these values in order for our universe to exist as it does and for life to exist on Earth. This argument is the same as the anthropic theistic principle.
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In [[cosmology]], '''fine tuning''' refers to the precise balance of [[cosmological constant]]s that allow the [[observable universe]] to exist as it does.  These constants include the speed of light, the rate of expansion of the universe, the force of gravity, the nuclear strong force, the electromagnetic force, and many other parameters of the observable universe.  It is claimed that these constants exist in such a state of precise equilibrium that any variation to their values would have resulted in a drastically different universe.  The '''fine tuning argument''' states that these values occurring in such a precise state by mere chance is highly improbable, and that there must have been a creator to fine tune these values in order for our universe to exist as it does and for life to exist on Earth. This argument is the same as the anthropic theistic principle.
  
 
== Background ==
 
== Background ==
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6. Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that God exists.  
 
6. Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that God exists.  
 
   
 
   
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== Fine Tuning Argument for Atheism ==
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Some philosophers have noted that the fine tuning argument is not vastly good argument for the existence of God but rather a vastly good argument for the non-existence of God. Largely the argument itself hinges on the narrow range of properties for the universe to develop to allow for life. But, this narrow range are precisely the required range needed for life in this universe to occur naturally if there were no God.
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If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be need of one planet. Rather than having more planets than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. The only reason this universe needs to be this vast and this old is if life occurs randomly without any intelligent design. If life occurs only by happenstance, then any life that exists should exist in a amazingly vast universe just to allow the chemicals needed to kick up life enough chances to happen to kick up something as complex as life.
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If somebody claims to be psychic and they win the lottery three times in a row. That seems to be good evidence. However, if they bought every possible combination of numbers for each of those lotteries. That feat requires no psychic abilities at all.
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Only upon the assumption of atheism do we really need these exact values. For only these values allow the formation of life to occur without God and without any outside influences.
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The fine-tuning argument is actually therefore a great argument for atheism. Which theists are wrongly claiming as evidence for God.
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"The universe looks exactly as it should look if there is no God. How amazing is that exactness? Therefore God exists." -- If the universe looked as if it couldn't exist only by chance, theists would and do claim God exists in that case as well. The universe either cannot happen naturally and therefore God did it, or the universe can happen naturally and what an amazing feat that is and therefore God did it. Resulting in a [[Brian's Paradox]]
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=== Richard Carrier's Presentation ===
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Richard Carrier stated this argument in an interview with TheBestSchools[http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2011/12/31/richard-carrier-interview/]:
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<blockquote>
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:"Similarly the “fine tuning” of the universe’s physical constants: that would be a great proof—if it wasn’t exactly the same thing we’d see if a god didn’t exist. If there is no god, we will only ever find ourselves in a universe finely tuned (in that case, by random chance), because without a god, there is no other kind of universe that can produce us. Likewise, a universe that produced us by chance would have to be enormously vast in size and enormously old, so as to have all the room to mix countless chemicals countless times in countless places so as to have any chance of accidentally kicking up something as complex as life. And that’s exactly the universe we see: one enormously vast in size and age. A godless universe would also only produce life rarely and sparingly, and that’s also what we see: by far most of the universe is lethal to life (being a deadly radiation filled vacuum) and by far most of the matter in the universe is lethal to life (constituting stars and black holes on which no life can ever live). Again, all exactly what we’d expect of a godless universe. Not what we’d expect of a god-made one."
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:Thus, we have exactly the universe we’d expect to have if there is no god. Whereas a god does not need vast trillions of star systems and billions of years to make life. He doesn’t need vast quantities of lethal space and deadly matter. Only a godless universe needs that. I make a more detailed survey of this kind of evidence in “Neither Life Nor the Universe Appear Intelligently Designed” in John Loftus’s The End of Christianity. It also does no good to say such a random accidental universe is improbable, because the convenient existence of a marvelously “super-omni” god is just as improbable. Either way you are assuming some amazing luck. Which leaves the evidence. And the evidence is just way more probable if there’s no god. Thus, we’re forced to choose between which lucky accident it was, and the evidence confirms the one and not the other."
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</blockquote>
  
 
== Counter-apologetics ==
 
== Counter-apologetics ==
  
# Essentially this argument is just a variation on the [[argument from design]].  The key difference here is that it misrepresents actual scientific evidence in such a way to support an unscientific conclusion.  A more scientific conclusion would be to state that there is some unknown natural phenomenon to explain this apparent "fine tuning". See below.
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# Essentially this argument is just a variation on the [[argument from design]].  The key difference here is that it misrepresents actual scientific evidence in such a way to support an unscientific conclusion.  A more scientific conclusion would be to state that there is some unknown natural phenomenon to explain this apparent "fine tuning". It is also worth mentioning that a counter-argument to design, natural-law argument, and the anthropic principle is also a counter-argument to fine-tuning. See below.
 
# A problem arises from the premise that the cosmological constants are in fact 'fine tuned' at all. This premise assumes that there is a certain range of values that each constant could assume. The greater these ranges, the more unlikely that a given set of constants would have assumed the values we observe. However, to simply imagine a certain range of possible numerical values that each constant could assume and calculating the probability that this value would be arrived at by mere chance is fallacious for two reasons. Currently, we have no access to data that would tell us a) what range the constants could possibly assume in reality and b) how many trials there were in which the constants assumed certain values. If in a lottery one number were drawn from a pot of five numbers, then winning the lottery would become comparatively likely. Likewise, even if a trial with an extremely unlikely outcome - say winning an actual national lottery - were repeated a sufficient number of times, the outcome would become likely to occur overall. (See next point)
 
# A problem arises from the premise that the cosmological constants are in fact 'fine tuned' at all. This premise assumes that there is a certain range of values that each constant could assume. The greater these ranges, the more unlikely that a given set of constants would have assumed the values we observe. However, to simply imagine a certain range of possible numerical values that each constant could assume and calculating the probability that this value would be arrived at by mere chance is fallacious for two reasons. Currently, we have no access to data that would tell us a) what range the constants could possibly assume in reality and b) how many trials there were in which the constants assumed certain values. If in a lottery one number were drawn from a pot of five numbers, then winning the lottery would become comparatively likely. Likewise, even if a trial with an extremely unlikely outcome - say winning an actual national lottery - were repeated a sufficient number of times, the outcome would become likely to occur overall. (See next point)
 
# Scientists theorize that given the infinite nature of time and space, an infinite number of other unobservable universes could exist parallel to our own, each with infinite variations of constants.  This is known as the [[multiverse theory]].  Given infinite possibilities, the formation of a universe such as our own is not so inconceivable.   
 
# Scientists theorize that given the infinite nature of time and space, an infinite number of other unobservable universes could exist parallel to our own, each with infinite variations of constants.  This is known as the [[multiverse theory]].  Given infinite possibilities, the formation of a universe such as our own is not so inconceivable.   
# Another flaw with this argument is that it assumes our universe is finely tuned for the sole purpose of supporting life.  This is not the case at all.  Given the laws of our universe, scientists theorize that our universe is composed of less than 2% baryonic matter, that is matter consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  Dark matter is by far the most common form of matter in our universe.  Our universe, if anything, is far more suited for the creation of black holes than it is for supporting life.  Life on our planet constitutes only an insignificant portion of our universe.
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# Another flaw with this argument is that it assumes our universe is finely tuned for the sole purpose of supporting life.  This is not the case at all.  Given the laws of our universe, scientists theorize that our universe is composed of less than 2% baryonic matter, that is matter consisting of protons, neutrons or other particles equal or greater than that of a proton.  Dark matter is by far the most common form of matter in our universe.  Our universe, if anything, is far more suited for the creation of black holes than it is for supporting life.  Life on our planet constitutes only an insignificant portion of our universe.
# The Earth's total mass is [[wikipedia:Earth|5.9736×10^24 KG]] while the estimated total biomass on Earth is around [[wikipedia:Biomass_(ecology)|7×10^13 KG]]. This means that the percentage of life on Earth is 1.17182269 × 10^-9. That is .00000000117%. The Earth, let alone the universe, is hardly fine tuned for life. Man has [http://books.google.com/books?id=Bd0vzY1x2fYC&pg=PA39&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0 created and tested] much more finely tuned mediums for simple life in the form of specialized agar solutions that support life/medium ratios far greater than .00000000117%.  
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# The Earth's total mass is [[wikipedia:Earth|5.9736×10^24 kg]] while the estimated total biomass on Earth is around [[wikipedia:Biomass_(ecology)|7×10^13 kg]]. This means that the percentage of life on Earth is 1.17182269 × 10^-9. That is .00000000117%. The Earth, let alone the universe, is hardly fine tuned for life. Man has [http://books.google.com/books?id=Bd0vzY1x2fYC&pg=PA39&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0 created and tested] much more finely tuned mediums for simple life in the form of specialized agar solutions that support life/medium ratios far greater than .00000000117%.  
 
# In order for the probability argument to be valid, the fundamental constants under consideration have to be independent. That is, one cannot claim that the gravitational constant and the speed of expansion of the universe were individually tuned, since they are clearly related. The electromagnetic force is mediated by massless photons which travel at the speed of light, so therefore the strength of this force is likely related to the speed of light. Similar relationships may yet emerge between other constants.
 
# In order for the probability argument to be valid, the fundamental constants under consideration have to be independent. That is, one cannot claim that the gravitational constant and the speed of expansion of the universe were individually tuned, since they are clearly related. The electromagnetic force is mediated by massless photons which travel at the speed of light, so therefore the strength of this force is likely related to the speed of light. Similar relationships may yet emerge between other constants.
 
# If there were a creator who "fine tuned" the universe for our existence, who "fine tuned" the universe in order for said creator to exist?  The argument of a creator is infinitely paradoxical.  
 
# If there were a creator who "fine tuned" the universe for our existence, who "fine tuned" the universe in order for said creator to exist?  The argument of a creator is infinitely paradoxical.  
 
# The initial premise of the argument is that in order for life to exist, the universe must have such properties that warrant a designer. However in this line of reasoning, the designer of those properties would exist in a state where none of these properties were true. Therefore any properties deemed to require a designer can't be necessary for existence in the first place, as the designer can exist without them. The argument is self-refuting.
 
# The initial premise of the argument is that in order for life to exist, the universe must have such properties that warrant a designer. However in this line of reasoning, the designer of those properties would exist in a state where none of these properties were true. Therefore any properties deemed to require a designer can't be necessary for existence in the first place, as the designer can exist without them. The argument is self-refuting.
# If one starts with the assumption that humanity is an accident, the fine tuning argument makes no sense since if we are an accident, no fine tuning was necessary. For the fine tuning argument to make any sense, one has to start with the assumption that humanity is ''not'' an accident, which begs the question of a creator. But since the purpose of the argument is to prove that there is a god who created us, any such assumption renders the argument circular.
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# If one starts with the assumption that humanity is an [[accident]], the fine tuning argument makes no sense since if we are an accident, no fine tuning was necessary. For the fine tuning argument to make any sense, one has to start with the assumption that humanity is ''not'' an accident, which begs the question of a creator. But since the purpose of the argument is to prove that there is a god who created us, any such assumption renders the argument circular.
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# If we are to consider the chance of the universe existing the way it did, surely the same principle of chance can be reversed. What is the chance that a truly omnipotent God, as proposed by many religions, made the constants, factors and general details of the universe as he did? he would have infinite possibilities meaning the probability would be 1 in infinity - much less than the supposed calculations of those presenting the argument.
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# It may be useful to realize that the vast majority of the universe is uninhabitable by any form of life, albeit human life. If there are so many regions of space, and indeed our own planet, that are uninhabitable by life, then why should we call the universe "fine-tuned"?.
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# The argument also seems to call into question the omnipotence of the creator.  If he were infinitely powerful, why did he make life constrained to survive only in a tiny fraction of the universe?  The case for supernatural intervention would be much more plausible if humans found themselves floating in the vacuum of space, on a toxic planet with no oxygen, or somewhere else where our continued survival was a complete mystery to scientists.  As it is, we find life only in areas where the facts of biology tell us it can exist. This is exactly what we would expect if we were not the products of omnipotence.   
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# When considering the arguments fourth premise, which includes "...created out of nothing by a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, eternal...", the question must be raised of how does the God being posited as the creator of said universe gain the attributes stated by the argument? the argument is in no way structured to determine the precise attributes of the personal being of which the presenter asserts. It is not necessary for the creator to be all-loving, he could be making us with the notion of torturing us for all we know. It is not necessary for the creator to be eternal, he could have fizzled out in the creation or could have died of some unfathomable cause. And it is likewise unnecessary for the creator to be omniscient and/or omnipotent, there are logical arguments against the proposition of such attributes, and the being need not be all-powerful/knowing - he could just be really, really powerful and know a lot, but not everything.
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# It may be worth noting, also, that the some of the constants specified not not require arbitrary precision. With regards to the [[Goldilocks zone]], the amount Earth can be distanced from the sun is approximately 37%, right out to Mars (yes, our solar system has two planets in the Goldilocks zone). The point being that the so-called precision we find, is actually not that precise in reality (this is one of the more extreme cases, most others can be changed but the difference being not as much).
  
 
Firstly, it has to be pointed out that for an omnipotent God the fundamental constants would be irrelevant.  An omnipotent God could have created us in a universe with any set of constants had he chose to.  But this is not the line of thinking the theist takes.  The constants had to be what they are because, as they claim, if they were different we would have no life.  
 
Firstly, it has to be pointed out that for an omnipotent God the fundamental constants would be irrelevant.  An omnipotent God could have created us in a universe with any set of constants had he chose to.  But this is not the line of thinking the theist takes.  The constants had to be what they are because, as they claim, if they were different we would have no life.  
If the constants necessarily had to be what they are than that implies that there is some set of governing rules that even God must follow, that supercede his power.  If God HAD to fine-tune the universe to these particular set of constants because not doing so would not have allowed him to bring life into existence (and as they claim in their argument, a different set and theres no life) then God is indeed NOT omnipotent.
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If the constants necessarily had to be what they are than that implies that there is some set of governing rules that even God must follow, that supersede his power.  If God HAD to fine-tune the universe to these particular set of constants because not doing so would not have allowed him to bring life into existence (and as they claim in their argument, a different set and there's no life) then God is indeed NOT omnipotent.
  
 
Not withstanding the obvious fact that the universe really isn't very congenial towards life, as 99.999% of the observed universe is uninhabitable, Vic Stenger in his book God: The failed hypothesis, quotes a private communication with Martin Wagner in which he points out that:  
 
Not withstanding the obvious fact that the universe really isn't very congenial towards life, as 99.999% of the observed universe is uninhabitable, Vic Stenger in his book God: The failed hypothesis, quotes a private communication with Martin Wagner in which he points out that:  
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The "fine tuning" argument claims that it is, for all intents, impossible to randomly set the the values of the dials and, simply by chance, arrive at the correct combination that will open the safe. Only someone who actually knows the combination can open it. In the argument, this requires the existence of a god who knows the precise setting that will allow life to arise.
 
The "fine tuning" argument claims that it is, for all intents, impossible to randomly set the the values of the dials and, simply by chance, arrive at the correct combination that will open the safe. Only someone who actually knows the combination can open it. In the argument, this requires the existence of a god who knows the precise setting that will allow life to arise.
  
However, if this god is the creator of the universe and everything in it, then he is not limited to simply turning the dials on the safe. He must also have been responsible for building the safe itself, and setting the coimbination that allows it to be opened. This means he also has the ability to adjust the locking mechanism of the safe so that any combination he wants will open it. Therefore, it can no longer be said that only one combination is capable of opening the safe. Now, there is a literally infinite number of combinations that can open it.
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However, if this god is the creator of the universe and everything in it, then he is not limited to simply turning the dials on the safe. He must also have been responsible for building the safe itself, and setting the combination that allows it to be opened. This means he also has the ability to adjust the locking mechanism of the safe so that any combination he wants will open it. Therefore, it can no longer be said that only one combination is capable of opening the safe. Now, there is a literally infinite number of combinations that can open it.
  
 
Restated in the form of the argument itself: The (apparent) fact that only a specific combination of values of physical constants allows life to arise is, itself, an expression of a fundamental law of the universe. If God can change the values of those physical constants, there is no reason to believe he cannot also change the more fundamental laws that limit the conditions under which life will arise.
 
Restated in the form of the argument itself: The (apparent) fact that only a specific combination of values of physical constants allows life to arise is, itself, an expression of a fundamental law of the universe. If God can change the values of those physical constants, there is no reason to believe he cannot also change the more fundamental laws that limit the conditions under which life will arise.
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1) If God can, in fact, adjust the "combination" of the safe to any values he wants, this completely refutes the claim that life can only arise under a very specific set of circumstances. Rather, if such a God exists, life should be able to arise under any set of circumstances whatsoever, with infinite possibilities. The "fine tuning" argument, therefore, can no longer be used as evidence for the existence of such a God.
 
1) If God can, in fact, adjust the "combination" of the safe to any values he wants, this completely refutes the claim that life can only arise under a very specific set of circumstances. Rather, if such a God exists, life should be able to arise under any set of circumstances whatsoever, with infinite possibilities. The "fine tuning" argument, therefore, can no longer be used as evidence for the existence of such a God.
  
2) If, on the other hand, God cannot adjust the "combination", then this raises a situation that most theists would find unacceptable. It raises the question of who or what actually is reponsible for creating the safe, and deciding on its combination. God, in this scenario, is reduced to being a low-level employee of the bank, who is able to open the safe, but is not responsible for the operation of the safe itself, nor entrusted with the ability to set the combination of the safe. Those responsibilities must be taken over by some entity more powerful and important than God. This is incompatible with most theistic beliefs, particularly the Abrahamic monotheistic ones.
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2) If, on the other hand, God cannot adjust the "combination", then this raises a situation that most theists would find unacceptable. It raises the question of who or what actually is responsible for creating the safe, and deciding on its combination. God, in this scenario, is reduced to being a low-level employee of the bank, who is able to open the safe, but is not responsible for the operation of the safe itself, nor entrusted with the ability to set the combination of the safe. Those responsibilities must be taken over by some entity more powerful and important than God. This is incompatible with most theistic beliefs, particularly the Abrahamic monotheistic ones.
  
The theist can of course object that God is unchanging (as an appeal to his nature; the universe's laws are a part of his nature) and always chooses a certain combination (as a personal choice), but then the question ''why is the universe is the way it is?'' is the same as the question ''why is God the way he is?''- a meaningless statement.
 
  
"What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary". [Stephen W. Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989]  
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To restate the argument, in the form of the [[Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God]] :
  
"One does not have to appeal to God to set the initial conditions for the creation of the universe, but if one does He would have to act through the laws of physics". [Stephen Hawking, Black Holes & Baby Universes]
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Posit X and Y as features of human understanding. In the case of fine-tuning, X is "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily capable of sustaining life" and Y is "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily incapable of sustaining life".
  
Retrieved from "http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=A_Brief_History_of_Time"
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1.X is necessary or has a necessary part (the necessity of being capable of sustaining life).
  
== Affirming the consequent ==
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Y is necessary or has a necessary part (the physical necessity of being hostile to life).
  
The Fine Tuning argument presupposes that the phenomenon of life and it being ''presumably'' only possible in a universe with physical constants exactly like the ones in ours is what qualifies this as special or sublime, however, this is based entirely on nothing other than the entities that determine what qualifies this universe as special or sublime are living (humans). This is an [[affirming the consequent]] fallacy. It could also be seen as a [[confirmation bias]] fallacy. In a hypothetical universe with different physical constants, there may be an emergent natural phenomenon that is vastly more complex than the emergence of life, the evolution of life, and the ecology of life. This phenomenon, we will label "phenomenon x", would be impossible in our universe because our physical constants may not permit phenomenon x to occur. There is no objective reason why the possibility of life demands a fine tuner more than phenomenon x. There is also no objective reason why any natural phenomenon, no matter the complexity, should demand a fine tuner any more than another. Hypothetically, if it were shown that life of some kind is possible in most possible universes, but the phenomenon of lightning is only possible in this one, then an apologist might assert that because we occupy the only possible universe with lightning, this universe must have been finely tuned.
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2.If theism is true, then divine creation obtains.
  
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3.If divine creation is true, then all in the universe is contingent to God’s act of creation, and nothing in the universe is necessary.
  
== Other Counter-Arguments ==
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4.If theism is true, then no X or Y can be necessary or have a necessary part. (from 2 and 3)
  
'''Attribution:''' StrongAtheism.net
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5.Theism is false. (from 1 and 4)
[http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/]
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Science provides us with a sense of wonder about this vast universe. Perhaps the universe is being held together by a small number of physical laws, or maybe even one. For now, we know around twenty physical constants that are vital to our understanding of the universe (some scientists have proposed less). The speed of light and the mass of protons are two of these. At first glance, there is certainly a feeling that we are lucky to be alive and involved in this universe. Our lives are intertwined with these facts of physics.
 
  
The wonders of the universe, however, can be co-opted and perverted in the name of belief. The advantage for theologians is that they gain the credibility of science without being bound to its naturalist and empiricist methodology. In Christian apologetics, fine-tuning is seen as a more sophisticated, “scientific” kind of design argument. “Science finds God” is a common creed of these ideological thieves.
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The theist can of course deny premise 1, but doing so is a denial of the fine-tuning argument. The first premise of this argument is the same as the first premise of the fine-tuning argument.
  
I. This befuddlement in the face of facts seems to be the extent of how Christians view science. They view science not as a tool of discovery, but as a source of insolvable puzzles (that is to say, insolvable by science). To the theologian, science does not exist to give answers, but only to provide questions that only he can answer – by invoking his favourite god.
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The first premise of the fine-tuning argument is:
  
Swinburne, in this example, uses natural law instead of physical constants, but the principle is the same, as physical constants are part of the natural laws that we discover. Given that, explaining why the speed of light is the way it is, is no different than explaining E=mc2.
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1. "The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it".  
  
My answer in both cases is the same. To ask why constants are this way or why laws are that way is to presume that there is an ultimate reason to be found, an ultimate cause underlying them, something beyond the material. But if the existence of the universe is necessary, then no reason or cause is to be found.
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This means that:
  
The question of an ultimate cause or explanation for the way things are, is no more meaningful than to ask a theist why his god is the way it is. Given the necessary nature of existence, it cannot be the case that “some explanation is needed” for fundamental constants which are inherent to existence.
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The combination of physical constants in our universe -> necessarily capable of sustaining life as we know it (denoted by X).
  
We can also see the question as a scientific one, that is to say, look at the formation of the universe and how the constants arose from it. This is a scientific question, that Big Bang theory answers with symmetry breaks in the early universe. But in neither case is a non-natural explanation necessary, possible, or even relevant.
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And
  
II. To come back to the general argument, there is one gigantic objection, the kind of thing that does not seem obvious but seems that way after you understand it. That objection is simply that fine-tuning is not an argument for design, but rather an argument against design! The idea of an extreme fine-tuning beyond which the target cannot exist is indicative of a precarious natural system, not of intelligent planning.
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The combination of other physical constants -> necessarily incapable of sustaining life as we know it (denoted by Y).
  
To understand this, an analogy may be useful. Suppose that our breathing was dependent on a specific level of oxygen in the atmosphere, and that any other level would cause suffocation. That would certainly count as “fine-tuning” in the sense given by the argument. The atmospheric composition in question would be the only one capable of supporting life, and this would therefore demand “explanation”.
 
  
But even if that was true, how would this fine-tuning justify design explanations? A designer would not make it so that humans would constantly face the danger of suffocation! An intelligent designer would try, whether possible, to ensure that a given system could keep functioning under different conditions. Such is the case with humans, who can breathe in atmospheres thin or rich in oxygen. The precarity of a system’s functioning is not evidence of design, but rather of natural law.
 
  
III. Another objection to the fine-tuning argument is that we should not be surprised or befuddled that the universe is adapted to our needs, since we evolved within the universe and its parameters. Evolution tends towards adaptation of life to its environment. Therefore, we should no more be surprised of how well the universe fits us, than we should be surprised of how well a baked cookie fits its mold. This argument is also called the WAP.
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In a similar form of the argument:
  
A possible retort to WAP is that without the fundamental constants as they are, life simply could not evolve at all. But this is based on a misunderstanding: because we know only one possible way for life to evolve, does not mean that no other way is possible. Even the facts of carbon-based life are not a necessity. In many cases, life would have evolved differently, and we would be silicon life forms asking why the universe is so perfectly adapted to our existence. To think this way, without any scientific guidance at all, is nothing more than wish-fulfillment. We must start from the assumption that there is nothing special about the way we evolved, unless contrary evidence is presented.
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1. If theism is true, then divine causation obtains.
  
William Craig, in ‘Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design’, argues against this use of WAP by stating that:
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2. If divine causation obtains, then all facts of the universe are contingent upon God's act of creation.
  
“We should not be surprised that we do not observe features of the universe which are incompatible with our own existence.
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3. If theism is true, then life can arise under any possible physical condition. (from 1 and 2)
Does not justify:
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“We should not be surprised that we do observe features of the universe which are compatible with out existence.
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4. If theism is true, then fine-tuning is invalid. (from 3)
He gives the example of a man who is shot by a firing squad, but all the shots miss. Such a man should not be surprised at not being dead, since he can still reason and thus must be alive. But, Craig continues, he should be surprised at being alive, given that he should be dead.
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I see Craig’s example as illustrating the fallacy of his argument. He misunderstands that which we should be surprised about. In the case of the firing squad, the survivor should not at all be surprised at being alive, but rather at the firing squad missing all their shots. The fact that he is still alive, in itself, should not at all be surprising. It is the underlying causal link that is surprising, not the fact itself. In the case of the universe, these causal links are not surprising at all, and therefore his argument fails.
+
Maybe the transition from premise 2 to 3 requires further justification. Denote the physical constants by {X; Y; Z) and the obtainment of life by L and negation by ~.
  
+
A fact of the universe is that {X--> L; Y--> ~L; Z--> ~L}.
  
IV. We have good reason to object to a number of assumptions that are explicitly or implicitly held by theologians who use fine-tuning. The first assumption is contained in the following formulation:
+
Since the fact is contingent upon God's act of creation, then it is not necessary and so can be altered.
  
“2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.
+
If it can be altered then the following can be true {X--> L; Y--> L; Z--> L}. Basically, X, Y, and Z are irrelevant to God if divine causation obtains.
  
Now granted, some theologians do not explain this step at all, but they usually have no justification for their assumption that physical constants could be otherwise. So Drange’s formulation here is in fact a concession.
+
So as a shorthand one can say that “contingency implies the impossibility of principles and absolutes”.
  
At any rate, it is unclear why the fact that “other combinations of physical constants are conceivable” lead to the conclusion in (3) that:
+
One can of course deny that divine creation obtains, and deny that God created the laws of science. However, this means that God is not the Creator and that he is subject to these laws himself.
  
“some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one”
 
  
In fact, (3) implies that these “other combinations” could exist. But there is no way to deduce this from (2). The fact that something is conceivable does not make it possible! It only means that our imagination can encompass it. I can imagine plenty of things that are plainly impossible, such as alternate pasts.
+
Stephen Hawking on the Anthropic Principle:
  
The fact that something is conceivable does not make it magically possible. Possibility must be demonstrated with objective evidence.
+
"The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty."
  
V. Two other implicit assumptions can be addressed simultaneously. These assumptions are:
+
"What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary". [Stephen W. Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989]
  
Change in physical constants can be isolated.
+
"One does not have to appeal to God to set the initial conditions for the creation of the universe, but if one does He would have to act through the laws of physics". [Stephen Hawking, Black Holes & Baby Universes]
Change in physical constants necessarily brings about states where life is impossible.
+
The first assumption is committed by a lot of theologians, but our argument-type does not commit it. I will therefore only justify the second. I already noted that the assumption that our specific carbon-based evolution cannot be special in any way. We must assume that, given a sufficient lifespan for stars, some form of evolution is at least possible.
+
  
With this in mind, physicist Victor Stenger developed a program called “MonkeyGod”. This program generates universes using four of the physical constants we have discussed. While this is not as convincing as analyzing the twenty physical constants that we know, MonkeyGod still demonstrates that long-lived stars “occur in a wide range of parameters”. Given this preliminary result, there is no reason to assume a priori that any change would result in the impossibility of life.
+
Retrieved from "http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=A_Brief_History_of_Time"
  
VI. We have seen that the proponents of fine-tuning call divine creation a “hypothesis” or an “explanation”. And indeed, if it was not a hypothesis or an explanation, it would not answer the “problem” of fine-tuning at all.
 
  
There are three problems associated with calling divine creation a “hypothesis” or “explanation”:
+
The features of humanity have evolved as a result of our environment, rather than our environment being tailored to suit us - '''a flag points north because the wind blows north; the wind doesn't blow north to ALLOW the flag to point north.'''
  
Divine creation…
+
Douglas Adams c.1998:
  
i. cannot be a hypothesis because its specificity is not supported by any observation. The facts of fine-tuning, even if true, only justify the  
+
"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 such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for."
  
existence of a supernatural process or entity, not of a divine Creator.  
+
Furthermore, the "fine-tuning argument" is a logical fallacy of the "ex-post-facto statistics" type.  It applies in situations like this whenever we apply probability laws to past events.
  
ii. is not a complete hypothesis or explanation, and is not a proper working hypothesis or explanation.  
+
For example, we all know the probability of being dealt a bridge hand of, say, all thirteen spades is quite small.  But if we look at any bridge hand after we're dealt it, the probabilities of being dealt that exact hand are just as minuscule.
  
iii. as a hypothesis or explanation, is contradicted by many facts of the universe.  
+
Given, hypothetically, an array of 52 different universes, the probability of actualizing our universe is 1 in 52. But if we look at any universe after it has been actualized, the probability of that occurring is just as minuscule.
  
The first objection is more specific, since it only pertains to god-as-hypothesis, and I will not get into it. For more on this topic, the article ‘Process-Based Noncognitivism’, which discusses the impossibility of positing a god’s existence as a hypothesis, may be helpful.
+
-Life is just one of the possible things that may arise in the universe, and by itself is no more or less important than any of those other things. It's just that, as living beings ourselves, we tend to place a higher value on life than other aspects of the universe.
  
The second objection is critical. If divine creation, as expressed by theologians, is nothing but hollow words without any substance, then it cannot serve as a hypothesis or explanation. Does it mean anything to say “a god created the universe” and can we explain this process?
+
-We cannot assume that life as we know it is the only possible form that life could take. If the constants of the universe were different, that does not rule out the possibility that intelligent life could nonetheless still arise, albeit in a form currently unimaginable to us.
  
The answer is no. According to theologians, the only relevant elements of any divine action on the universe are that a god wills natural change, and that will becomes reality. But both these elements are meaningless.
+
-It is foolish to say the universe is exquisitely set for the existence of life, since any living thing would instantly die in almost any place in the observed universe.
  
First, the idea that a god wills natural change contradicts its infinity. It therefore cannot be the case that a god desires to intervene in the natural world. This point is discussed as a strong-atheistic argument in ‘No-reason argument'.
+
-The fine-tuning argument is an argument from design, so we can rightly ask, "who designed the designer?". The argument opens itself up for eternal regress. If god designed the universe to support life, this means that god itself has features that lead to the creation of life. The same argument therefore applies to the higher level - it follows that God was created in order to create life. And this God-creator was itself designed to create life, and so on and so forth.  
  
Secondly, if “a god’s will becomes reality” is to mean anything at all, then one must answer to the modus operandi problem, that is, how a supernatural being could possibly act in the natural world. Without an answer to this general problem, no instance of such a passage can be justified. And if no instance can be justified, then there is no meaning to discuss.
+
- The argument presupposes that there is a certain range of possible values the constants can take. We don't know whether this is true, we have no idea what values the constants can take or if they can take other values at all.
  
The third objection is perhaps the heaviest. If divine creation is impossible, either due to the nature of divine creation itself or the nature of this universe, then it cannot be used as an explanation for fine-tuning.
+
-The argument presupposes that there is no natural process of creating universes, or that if there is it isn't going to create a universe with our values of the constants. This is, again, just not something we know scientifically. There still isn't a well established scientific theory on how universes are naturally created, so we cannot say that it is unlikely for our universe to have been created naturally (indeed, many of the current hypotheses indicate that our universe was created naturally; but they are not yet proved). Nor are we in the situation where science has established that there is no natural way for a universe to be created. We just don't know enough about universes for this presupposition to be accepted.  
  
Many strong-atheistic arguments demonstrate the impossibility of divine creation. Here are some of them:
+
In this respect, this is an argument from ignorance. Saying that it is impossible for our universe to have been created naturally in this way is just like saying that the ordered shape of the hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway could not have been created naturally. That is, of course, false. One can understand that the basalt columns are natural when one understand enough about how basalt is created and formed naturally. One cannot rule out a natural explanation until one has an understanding of the subject matter's natural behavior. Similarly, since we don't know how universes are created we just don't know enough to determine that the values of the constants in our universe are indicative of an unnatural process.
  
Materialist Apologetics – based on the necessary nature of various features of human understanding, which contradict the idea that divine creation makes everything contingent.  
+
-The argument is too quick to assert that other values will not result in life. We haven't explored all the various possibilities thoroughly enough to make such a pronouncement. We know slight variations will produce radically different physics, but we're far from knowing that no other constellation of constants will produce complex structures or how common or naturally likely to occur are such combinations. These are two separate issues that should not be confused. Indeed, it is possible that there are values that are more supportive of life, with life more pervasive throughout the spacetime of the universe.
  
Problem of Evil – based on the existence of evil.  
+
-The argument implicitly assumes that it is possible for a universe to be artificially created with a certain choice of values. While this might sound plausible, it is not necessary. Certain theories on universe-creation, for example, posit that the values are determined randomly due to symmetry breaking, so that there is no way for their creator or the process that creates them to determine these values in advance.  
  
Atheistic Cosmological Argument – based on the inseparability of time and space.  
+
-Another problem is that the anthropic principle holds regardless of fine-tuning. Even if it would take fine-tuning not to support life, the fact that we live in a world that supports life is still not apparently necessary. God still chose just those constants that support life - he just had more choices. This raises the Argument from Contingency, the questions of why things are the way they are, but the evidential fine tuning of things becomes irrelevant.  
  
Argument from Scale – based on the scientific facts about evolution and the size of the universe.  
+
-Another reply could be that we cannot talk about there being lots of different possible causes, and the probability of the cause being the right one, because we have no way to know how to construct the reference class - the set of possibilities. This would be an absurd double standard. Remember, it was the theists who wanted to get into the probability business in the first place, and to stop playing when it is inconvenient is just hypocrisy. In the absence of any better way of constructing a reference class of possible causes we actually have an excellent reference class to use: Advocates of the fine tuning argument obviously have a reference class of "possible universes" in mind and we can simply use this, and assume that each of these possible universes has an individual possible cause. This, of course, leads us with as many causes as there are possible universes, and if advocates of fine tuning think that most universes are inhospitable to life then they must be claiming that most causes of universes are inhospitable to life. The only way round this is to claim that the reference class of causes is not constructed like that, but the this involves taking a preferential position with no justification: They are wanting to assume that all universes are equally possible, but not that all the causes of these universes are equally possible and they are just adjusting their reference class of causes to fit the answer they want. Furthermore, even if it turned out that the cause of our universe was somehow more likely than the causes of the other universes, this does not imply a designer: By adjusting the reference class like this to get round the problem, unless you can show that your adjustment follows from the cause being a designer, youa re actually admitting that there is no fine tuning problem, that the cause of the universe, for some reason, was more likely than all the other causes that might have occurred. If you lack any sound basis for this, you may as well just apply logic like that to the universe itself anyway.
  
Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God’s Nonexistence – based on the nature of the Big Bang.
 
  
And of course the Apathetic God Paradox, which I have already mentioned.
+
Also, to quickly spot the inadequacy of the fine-tuning argument, see the following videos on Youtube:  
   
+
  
VII. Finally, fine-tuning arguments lack specificity. If we look at our argument-type again:
+
Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life? [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCKqj-2JXZg]
  
 +
William Lane Craig 2 - Craig Harder (Refuting WLC's Proofs For God, Part II)
 +
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aixbI7qKNlg&feature=PlayList&p=E5D80EB3D7BAFD74&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1]
  
Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.
+
And to read an article which handily refutes the theistic anthropic principle, see [http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/anthropic.htm]
  
The very best explanation of the given fact is that our universe, with the particular combination of physical constants that it has, was created out of nothing by a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, eternal, and interested in sentient organic systems, and that he “fine-tuned” those constants in a way which would lead to the evolution of such systems.
+
== Affirming the consequent ==
  
But even if, for the sake of argument, we concede that C3 is true, there is no possible way to deduce that the explanation is “a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, eternal, and interested in sentient organic systems”. It is possible to imagine that a supernatural process or law causes the universe to come into existence, instead of a personal being. This would be perfectly in line with what we observe in our own universe.
+
The Fine Tuning argument presupposes that the phenomenon of life and it being ''presumably'' only possible in a universe with physical constants exactly like the ones in ours is what qualifies this as special or sublime, however, this is based entirely on nothing other than the entities that determine what qualifies this universe as special or sublime are living (humans). This is an [[affirming the consequent]] fallacy. It could also be seen as a [[confirmation bias]] fallacy. In a hypothetical universe with different physical constants, there may be an emergent natural phenomenon that is vastly more complex than the emergence of life, the evolution of life, and the ecology of life. This phenomenon, we will label "phenomenon x", would be impossible in our universe because our physical constants may not permit phenomenon x to occur. There is no objective reason why the possibility of life demands a fine tuner more than phenomenon x. There is also no objective reason why any natural phenomenon, no matter the complexity, should demand a fine tuner any more than another. Hypothetically, if it were shown that life of some kind is possible in most possible universes, but the phenomenon of lightning is only possible in this one, then an apologist might assert that because we occupy the only possible universe with lightning, this universe must have been finely tuned.
  
As I said before, imagination does not indicate possibility: but since we have no idea of what a supernatural process or entity would be like anyway, any discussion on its basis must necessarily be arbitrary. The assumption that a supernatural process can exist is not any more arbitrary than the assumption that a supernatural god can exist. In the end, any discussion of the supernatural is meaningless, but we assume that it is meaningful for the sake of discussing the argument.
+
A reductio ad absurdum can be constructed to demonstrate the weakness of the argument. If life is improbable then the existence of spaghetti is even more improbable.
  
+
1. The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining spaghetti as we know it.
  
VIII. Carrier has proposed the objection that the claim:
+
2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.  
  
The fact that life can exist demands explanation.
+
3. Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.  
  
Displays a mistaken prejudice that life, or human life, is somehow special and requires explanation. If we see life as a by-product of the universe being in certain states, then there is nothing left that requires explanation. The existence of any universe will have temporal consequences, and life is one of those possible consequences. It requires no more explanation than the pattern of raindrops falling on the sidewalk.
+
4. The very best explanation of the given fact is that our universe, with the particular combination of physical constants that it has, was created out of nothing by a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, and interested in spaghetti, and that he “fine-tuned” those constants in a way which would lead to the evolution of such foods.  
  
In this view, the fine-tuning argument assumes teleology in regard to life as a premise in order to prove teleology. It is, to a certain extent, a circular argument.
+
5. But such a being as described in (4) is what is meant by the "Flying Spaghetti Monster".  
  
To say that the fine-tuning argument is fallacious is a vast understatement. As generally expressed, it is false at its very core assumption – that fine-tuning, if it existed, would demonstrate design. Almost all of its other premises and assumptions are false in some way.
+
6. Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" exists.
  
It also demonstrates how pitiful the theological attempt to co-opt science for its own ends can be. From Biblical reinterpretation to design arguments, all that such arguments achieve is a complete misreading of both science and religion. The idea that the universe is fine-tuned should be especially offensive to believers who uphold intelligent design, as it is an egregious example of unintelligent design, at best.
+
== Other Counter-Arguments ==
  
The more we learn about the universe, the more we observe the power of natural law in developing existence into complex and wondrous forms. We do not, however, observe any divine agency. “God’s fingerprints” are nowhere to be seen. The fingerprints of the eternal laws of nature, however, fill the heavens. Believers would do well to open their eyes and take a look.
+
Important links that address the fine-tuning argument extensively:
  
'''Attribution:''' [http://phrenicphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/refuting-fine-tuning-cosmological.html]
+
StrongAtheism.net
 +
[http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/]
  
I. Fine-Tuning Argument (as stipulated by Richard Swinburne)
+
[http://phrenicphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/refuting-fine-tuning-cosmological.html Refuting fine-tuning]
 
+
== Links ==
1. The universe is finely tuned for intelligent life.
+
=== See also ===
 
+
2. If God existed, he would want to create Intelligent life.
+
 
+
3. The existence of Intelligent life is extremely improbable without God's existence.
+
 
+
4. Intelligent life exists.
+
 
+
5. Intelligent life is good and needs explanation.
+
 
+
Therefore, it is extremely probable (using Bayesian Probability) that God exists.
+
 
+
 
+
Swinburne uses Bayesian Probability (Hypothesis h being theism, evidence for theism e being intelligent life, and background knowledge k being facts of our natural universe) to compare to against the hypotheses of a universe suited to intelligent life with no god, as well as against the multiverse hypothesis.
+
 
+
One problem with this is that he presumes intelligent life needs explanation at all, thereby putting it into evidence for theism. A non-teleological explanation would simply say that it isn’t a logical necessity that anything needs explanation, thus denying there is any background information about our world that belongs in any sets of evidence for anything additional to its own existence.
+
 
+
Replying to the Fine-Tuning Argument:
+
 
+
1. The universe is finely tuned for intelligent life.
+
 
+
(1) The universe is highly hostile to all forms of life:
+
The hostile vacuum: Why don’t humans easily send a manned mission to mars and beyond? The cosmic radiation outside our atmosphere is incredibly fatal life as we know it after a relatively short duration of exposure.
+
 
+
The hostile past: The number of species that have ever existed but now have gone extinct is 99% of all life.
+
 
+
The barren whole: Proportion of the cosmos that is non-baryonic: 98%. That is, rather than being amazingly supportive and flourishing with “good” life, the universe is almost completely a barren void.
+
 
+
Our barren planet: the percentage of the earth that is actually biomass is only 0.00000000117%.
+
 
+
(2) In total reverse to Swinburne's above point, it is intelligent life that is finely adapted to the universe:
+
 
+
We fit the universe because we were formed by and within the universe. This is like Douglas Adam's sentient puddle who was amazed at how well he fit his hole. As far as the puddle is concerned, such a shapely fit must only be a miracle. If the laws of nature define our bounds and evolution formed our nature, we shouldn't be amazed at how necessary, desirable, or virtuous we find any of these things to be.
+
The cosmos bounded our only choice of feasible conditions for life, hence we formed within those guidelines.
+
Our biological environment literally shaped us to fit it, killing all non-adapted alternatives. It is no surprise that we find it to be so perfectly suited to us.
+
Lastly, our minds formed within the universe as it is, thereby ensuring that if we were to find anything intelligible then we (as intelligent observers) must find our universe intelligible. The alternative is creatures without working minds who find the universe unintelligible and die.
+
 
+
2. If God existed, he would want to create Intelligent life.
+
 
+
If humans really are the evidentiary product, e, of a personal God, h, then this might be fair. This is, however, an egocentric supposition rather than a necessary fact. As some say, it is no accident that people’s gods look like themselves. It is also no accident here that Swinburne defines himself as the evidence for a omni-Swinburnian god who would want to create things just like Swinburne.
+
After all, bats exist so why isn’t god a bat? You might argue that bats are more probable than humans. However, Apple iPods also require a cosmos that can support matter and life, human evolution to produce their inventors, and then a complex design tree of technological production plus the correct combination of sociobiological, cultural, economic, and marketing factors to produce them. They are at least as improbable and probably much more improbable than humans, therefore why isn’t god a Cosmic iPod?
+
Swinburne cannot presuppose that his hypothesis should assume the evidence for his own hypothesis without being circular.
+
 
+
3. The existence of Intelligent life is extremely improbable without God's existence.
+
 
+
This presumes:
+
 
+
(1) The combination of cosmological constants that we observe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it.
+
This isn’t the case: Victor Stenger’s “MonkeyGod” programme focuses on only four cosmological constants and shows that other life-sustaining universes are possible with other permutations of the constants.
+
Additionally, how many worlds even exist? Just our single cosmos? That would certainly provide the best sense of amazement at our fortuitous set of constants. If so, and if no other worlds can exist, then we have no other alternatives to our life-sustaining cosmos and the fact that we exist isn’t amazing at all. What is simply is what is.
+
However, it may be that other current cosmological theories are true, such as the oscillating universe, a higher-order multiverse, or “embedded” cosmoses. If so, then it is possible that the chance of a life-sustaining cosmos existing is very high. After all, if I have 99 boxes with dogs and one with a cat, then the chance of choosing a cat is only 1%. But if the number of boxes is infinite, then the number of boxes containing cats also tends towards infinity.
+
No matter how small the chances of getting a life-sustaining universe are, in a multiverse the chance of one existing is guaranteed.
+
Swinburne does not know how many possible worlds, if any, exist and therefore he cannot claim to know the relative probability of having a life sustaining universe without god.
+
 
+
(2) Similar to above, this argument assumes that other combinations of cosmological constants are possible.
+
We have no evidence for this. Cosmological constants may be non-contingent facts. The physical “laws” describing our universe simply mathematically describe what is and what happens, it doesn’t determine that which it describes. Equally, the constants are descriptions of what we observe and some of our values and constants are post-hoc fudged values that make our calculations work.
+
Simply because we can ascribe a number to a description that we have of our universe, that doesn't mean that it is feasible that this descriptive number value can change. It only means we can imagine it changing. However, just because something is imaginarily conceivable it doesn't mean that it is possible.
+
Who said the constants can change? Who said they could have been different to what they are now? How were they set in the first place?
+
To presume that they were ‘finely tuned’ as if by a purposive agent is a circular argument (from a theistic perspective) and an unwarranted presupposition that may actually be entirely imaginary and incoherent.
+
 
+
4. Intelligent life exists.
+
I wouldn’t argue with this. I would only qualify it with the fact that this need not necessarily be the case (except if we presuppose intelligent observers).
+
 
+
5. Intelligent life is good and needs explanation.
+
 
+
This teleologically presupposes that the big bang and evolution, if played through again, should re-produce humans. Otherwise, it is true that we are a unique fact of historical happenstance (Bayesian background knowledge k), but not evidence for anything (Bayesian evidence e for intelligence-creating theism, h).
+
If you don’t presuppose that we should exist, then you open yourself up to the fact that “history could have gone differently” and we simply wouldn’t have existed in an alternative situation. This robs the fact of our existence of anything that begs explanation, as we would simply be the one outcome of many possibilities that happened to occur.
+
 
+
== See also ==
+
 
*[[Anthropic principle]]
 
*[[Anthropic principle]]
 
*[[Habitable zone]]
 
*[[Habitable zone]]
  
== External links ==
+
=== External links ===
 
+
 
* [http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_uni.html Cosmology 101] at NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisortopy Probe website &mdash; This is an outstanding resource for understanding cosmological theory.
 
* [http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_uni.html Cosmology 101] at NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisortopy Probe website &mdash; This is an outstanding resource for understanding cosmological theory.
* ''[http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12282 Fine-Tuned Deception]: Say hello to the new stealth creationism'' by [[Sahotra Sarkar]]
+
* ''[http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12282 Fine-Tuned Deception: Say hello to the new stealth creationism]'' by [[Sahotra Sarkar]] (in ''The American Prospect'' magazine)
 
+
*[http://www.strongatheism.net/library/counter_apologetics/swinburnes_teleological_arguments/ Amazed by Necessary Facts : Swinburne's Teleological Arguments] by [[Francois Tremblay]]
http://www.strongatheism.net/library/counter_apologetics/swinburnes_teleological_arguments/
+
*[http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/ The Many Problems of the Fine-Tuning Argument] by [[Francois Tremblay]]
 
+
*[http://edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/refuting-craig-five-arguments/ Videos refuting William Lane Craig's five ''proofs'' for God] from ''Ed the Manic Street Preacher''
Swinburne, a theistic philosopher, displaying his naivete with the fine-tuning argument.
+
*[http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/anthropic.htm Theistic Anthropic Principle Refuted / A Survey of Arguments Against the Theistic Anthropic Principle] by Victor Gijsbers for ''Positive Atheism Magazine''
 
+
*[http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/05/why-the-universe-is-perfectly-set-up-for-life-is-a-terrible-argument-for-god.html Why "The Universe Is Perfectly Fine-Tuned For Life" Is a Terrible Argument for God] by [[Greta Christina]]
 
+
http://phrenicphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/refuting-fine-tuning-cosmological.html
+
 
+
 
+
http://edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/refuting-craig-five-arguments/
+
 
+
Videos refuting William Lane Craig's five ''proofs'' for God.
+
 
+
 
+
http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/anthropic.htm
+
 
+
 
+
http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/
+
 
+
The Many Problems of the Fine-Tuning Argument
+
 
+
  
 
{{Arguments for god}}
 
{{Arguments for god}}

Revision as of 14:49, 24 May 2012

In cosmology, fine tuning refers to the precise balance of cosmological constants that allow the observable universe to exist as it does. These constants include the speed of light, the rate of expansion of the universe, the force of gravity, the nuclear strong force, the electromagnetic force, and many other parameters of the observable universe. It is claimed that these constants exist in such a state of precise equilibrium that any variation to their values would have resulted in a drastically different universe. The fine tuning argument states that these values occurring in such a precise state by mere chance is highly improbable, and that there must have been a creator to fine tune these values in order for our universe to exist as it does and for life to exist on Earth. This argument is the same as the anthropic theistic principle.

Contents

Background

The argument of fine tuning is a rather new one. It has only become popular since the mid-1990s with recent observations about the observable universe and cosmological constants. Cosmologists have theorized that even minute variations in the values of these constants would have resulted in a radically different universe or one altogether unsuitable for supporting life as we know it.

  • Example 1: The rate of expansion of matter after the Big Bang had to occur at precisely the right rate to allow our universe to form as it has. If it had expanded any faster, matter would have dissipated too quickly for stars and solar systems to form. If it had occurred any slower, the universe would have collapsed upon itself shortly after the Big Bang, resulting in what is known as a Big Crunch.
  • Example 2: The strong nuclear force is the force which binds protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom. Scientists have calculated that variations in the strong force of as little as ±1% would have drastically affected the breakdown of naturally occurring elements in the universe, prohibiting the formation of stars, black holes, and other natural occurring phenomena.

There are studies of numerous other constants with similar results.

Apologetics

Deists cite this remarkable balance of cosmological constants as evidence of a creator, being a far too unlikely set of circumstances to have occurred naturally. This is quickly becoming the argument of choice of creationism proponents like Lee Strobel. Strobel presents this concept as incontrovertible empirical evidence of God in his book The Case for a Creator.


Formal Statement of the Argument

Here is Drange’s formulation:

1. The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it.

2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.

3. Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.

4. The very best explanation of the given fact is that our universe, with the particular combination of physical constants that it has, was created out of nothing by a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, eternal, and interested in sentient organic systems, and that he “fine-tuned” those constants in a way which would lead to the evolution of such systems.

5. But such a being as described in (4) is what people mean by “God.”

6. Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that God exists.


Fine Tuning Argument for Atheism

Some philosophers have noted that the fine tuning argument is not vastly good argument for the existence of God but rather a vastly good argument for the non-existence of God. Largely the argument itself hinges on the narrow range of properties for the universe to develop to allow for life. But, this narrow range are precisely the required range needed for life in this universe to occur naturally if there were no God.

If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be need of one planet. Rather than having more planets than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. The only reason this universe needs to be this vast and this old is if life occurs randomly without any intelligent design. If life occurs only by happenstance, then any life that exists should exist in a amazingly vast universe just to allow the chemicals needed to kick up life enough chances to happen to kick up something as complex as life.

If somebody claims to be psychic and they win the lottery three times in a row. That seems to be good evidence. However, if they bought every possible combination of numbers for each of those lotteries. That feat requires no psychic abilities at all.

Only upon the assumption of atheism do we really need these exact values. For only these values allow the formation of life to occur without God and without any outside influences.

The fine-tuning argument is actually therefore a great argument for atheism. Which theists are wrongly claiming as evidence for God.

"The universe looks exactly as it should look if there is no God. How amazing is that exactness? Therefore God exists." -- If the universe looked as if it couldn't exist only by chance, theists would and do claim God exists in that case as well. The universe either cannot happen naturally and therefore God did it, or the universe can happen naturally and what an amazing feat that is and therefore God did it. Resulting in a Brian's Paradox

Richard Carrier's Presentation

Richard Carrier stated this argument in an interview with TheBestSchools[1]:

"Similarly the “fine tuning” of the universe’s physical constants: that would be a great proof—if it wasn’t exactly the same thing we’d see if a god didn’t exist. If there is no god, we will only ever find ourselves in a universe finely tuned (in that case, by random chance), because without a god, there is no other kind of universe that can produce us. Likewise, a universe that produced us by chance would have to be enormously vast in size and enormously old, so as to have all the room to mix countless chemicals countless times in countless places so as to have any chance of accidentally kicking up something as complex as life. And that’s exactly the universe we see: one enormously vast in size and age. A godless universe would also only produce life rarely and sparingly, and that’s also what we see: by far most of the universe is lethal to life (being a deadly radiation filled vacuum) and by far most of the matter in the universe is lethal to life (constituting stars and black holes on which no life can ever live). Again, all exactly what we’d expect of a godless universe. Not what we’d expect of a god-made one."
Thus, we have exactly the universe we’d expect to have if there is no god. Whereas a god does not need vast trillions of star systems and billions of years to make life. He doesn’t need vast quantities of lethal space and deadly matter. Only a godless universe needs that. I make a more detailed survey of this kind of evidence in “Neither Life Nor the Universe Appear Intelligently Designed” in John Loftus’s The End of Christianity. It also does no good to say such a random accidental universe is improbable, because the convenient existence of a marvelously “super-omni” god is just as improbable. Either way you are assuming some amazing luck. Which leaves the evidence. And the evidence is just way more probable if there’s no god. Thus, we’re forced to choose between which lucky accident it was, and the evidence confirms the one and not the other."

Counter-apologetics

  1. Essentially this argument is just a variation on the argument from design. The key difference here is that it misrepresents actual scientific evidence in such a way to support an unscientific conclusion. A more scientific conclusion would be to state that there is some unknown natural phenomenon to explain this apparent "fine tuning". It is also worth mentioning that a counter-argument to design, natural-law argument, and the anthropic principle is also a counter-argument to fine-tuning. See below.
  2. A problem arises from the premise that the cosmological constants are in fact 'fine tuned' at all. This premise assumes that there is a certain range of values that each constant could assume. The greater these ranges, the more unlikely that a given set of constants would have assumed the values we observe. However, to simply imagine a certain range of possible numerical values that each constant could assume and calculating the probability that this value would be arrived at by mere chance is fallacious for two reasons. Currently, we have no access to data that would tell us a) what range the constants could possibly assume in reality and b) how many trials there were in which the constants assumed certain values. If in a lottery one number were drawn from a pot of five numbers, then winning the lottery would become comparatively likely. Likewise, even if a trial with an extremely unlikely outcome - say winning an actual national lottery - were repeated a sufficient number of times, the outcome would become likely to occur overall. (See next point)
  3. Scientists theorize that given the infinite nature of time and space, an infinite number of other unobservable universes could exist parallel to our own, each with infinite variations of constants. This is known as the multiverse theory. Given infinite possibilities, the formation of a universe such as our own is not so inconceivable.
  4. Another flaw with this argument is that it assumes our universe is finely tuned for the sole purpose of supporting life. This is not the case at all. Given the laws of our universe, scientists theorize that our universe is composed of less than 2% baryonic matter, that is matter consisting of protons, neutrons or other particles equal or greater than that of a proton. Dark matter is by far the most common form of matter in our universe. Our universe, if anything, is far more suited for the creation of black holes than it is for supporting life. Life on our planet constitutes only an insignificant portion of our universe.
  5. The Earth's total mass is 5.9736×10^24 kg while the estimated total biomass on Earth is around 7×10^13 kg. This means that the percentage of life on Earth is 1.17182269 × 10^-9. That is .00000000117%. The Earth, let alone the universe, is hardly fine tuned for life. Man has created and tested much more finely tuned mediums for simple life in the form of specialized agar solutions that support life/medium ratios far greater than .00000000117%.
  6. In order for the probability argument to be valid, the fundamental constants under consideration have to be independent. That is, one cannot claim that the gravitational constant and the speed of expansion of the universe were individually tuned, since they are clearly related. The electromagnetic force is mediated by massless photons which travel at the speed of light, so therefore the strength of this force is likely related to the speed of light. Similar relationships may yet emerge between other constants.
  7. If there were a creator who "fine tuned" the universe for our existence, who "fine tuned" the universe in order for said creator to exist? The argument of a creator is infinitely paradoxical.
  8. The initial premise of the argument is that in order for life to exist, the universe must have such properties that warrant a designer. However in this line of reasoning, the designer of those properties would exist in a state where none of these properties were true. Therefore any properties deemed to require a designer can't be necessary for existence in the first place, as the designer can exist without them. The argument is self-refuting.
  9. If one starts with the assumption that humanity is an accident, the fine tuning argument makes no sense since if we are an accident, no fine tuning was necessary. For the fine tuning argument to make any sense, one has to start with the assumption that humanity is not an accident, which begs the question of a creator. But since the purpose of the argument is to prove that there is a god who created us, any such assumption renders the argument circular.
  10. If we are to consider the chance of the universe existing the way it did, surely the same principle of chance can be reversed. What is the chance that a truly omnipotent God, as proposed by many religions, made the constants, factors and general details of the universe as he did? he would have infinite possibilities meaning the probability would be 1 in infinity - much less than the supposed calculations of those presenting the argument.
  11. It may be useful to realize that the vast majority of the universe is uninhabitable by any form of life, albeit human life. If there are so many regions of space, and indeed our own planet, that are uninhabitable by life, then why should we call the universe "fine-tuned"?.
  12. The argument also seems to call into question the omnipotence of the creator. If he were infinitely powerful, why did he make life constrained to survive only in a tiny fraction of the universe? The case for supernatural intervention would be much more plausible if humans found themselves floating in the vacuum of space, on a toxic planet with no oxygen, or somewhere else where our continued survival was a complete mystery to scientists. As it is, we find life only in areas where the facts of biology tell us it can exist. This is exactly what we would expect if we were not the products of omnipotence.
  13. When considering the arguments fourth premise, which includes "...created out of nothing by a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, eternal...", the question must be raised of how does the God being posited as the creator of said universe gain the attributes stated by the argument? the argument is in no way structured to determine the precise attributes of the personal being of which the presenter asserts. It is not necessary for the creator to be all-loving, he could be making us with the notion of torturing us for all we know. It is not necessary for the creator to be eternal, he could have fizzled out in the creation or could have died of some unfathomable cause. And it is likewise unnecessary for the creator to be omniscient and/or omnipotent, there are logical arguments against the proposition of such attributes, and the being need not be all-powerful/knowing - he could just be really, really powerful and know a lot, but not everything.
  14. It may be worth noting, also, that the some of the constants specified not not require arbitrary precision. With regards to the Goldilocks zone, the amount Earth can be distanced from the sun is approximately 37%, right out to Mars (yes, our solar system has two planets in the Goldilocks zone). The point being that the so-called precision we find, is actually not that precise in reality (this is one of the more extreme cases, most others can be changed but the difference being not as much).

Firstly, it has to be pointed out that for an omnipotent God the fundamental constants would be irrelevant. An omnipotent God could have created us in a universe with any set of constants had he chose to. But this is not the line of thinking the theist takes. The constants had to be what they are because, as they claim, if they were different we would have no life. If the constants necessarily had to be what they are than that implies that there is some set of governing rules that even God must follow, that supersede his power. If God HAD to fine-tune the universe to these particular set of constants because not doing so would not have allowed him to bring life into existence (and as they claim in their argument, a different set and there's no life) then God is indeed NOT omnipotent.

Not withstanding the obvious fact that the universe really isn't very congenial towards life, as 99.999% of the observed universe is uninhabitable, Vic Stenger in his book God: The failed hypothesis, quotes a private communication with Martin Wagner in which he points out that:

"In fact, the whole argument from fine-tuning ultimately makes no sense. As my friend Martin Wagner notes, all physical parameters are irrelevant to an omnipotent God. 'he could have created us to live in a hard vacuum if he wanted.'"


Bertrand Russell:

"Why did God issue just those natural laws and no others? If you say that he did it simply from his own good pleasure, and without any reason, you then find that there is something which is not subject to law, and so your train of natural law is interrupted. If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary."


We can view the universe as one of those massive safes that banks keep in their vaults, with a number of dials that must be set to specific values in order to open it. However, in our example, these dials can be literally set to any number, so that an infinite number of combinations are possible. The one combination that will open the safe is analogous to the values of the physical constants of the universe that allow the existence of intelligent life.

The "fine tuning" argument claims that it is, for all intents, impossible to randomly set the the values of the dials and, simply by chance, arrive at the correct combination that will open the safe. Only someone who actually knows the combination can open it. In the argument, this requires the existence of a god who knows the precise setting that will allow life to arise.

However, if this god is the creator of the universe and everything in it, then he is not limited to simply turning the dials on the safe. He must also have been responsible for building the safe itself, and setting the combination that allows it to be opened. This means he also has the ability to adjust the locking mechanism of the safe so that any combination he wants will open it. Therefore, it can no longer be said that only one combination is capable of opening the safe. Now, there is a literally infinite number of combinations that can open it.

Restated in the form of the argument itself: The (apparent) fact that only a specific combination of values of physical constants allows life to arise is, itself, an expression of a fundamental law of the universe. If God can change the values of those physical constants, there is no reason to believe he cannot also change the more fundamental laws that limit the conditions under which life will arise.

This has two fatal consequences for the "fine tuning" argument:

1) If God can, in fact, adjust the "combination" of the safe to any values he wants, this completely refutes the claim that life can only arise under a very specific set of circumstances. Rather, if such a God exists, life should be able to arise under any set of circumstances whatsoever, with infinite possibilities. The "fine tuning" argument, therefore, can no longer be used as evidence for the existence of such a God.

2) If, on the other hand, God cannot adjust the "combination", then this raises a situation that most theists would find unacceptable. It raises the question of who or what actually is responsible for creating the safe, and deciding on its combination. God, in this scenario, is reduced to being a low-level employee of the bank, who is able to open the safe, but is not responsible for the operation of the safe itself, nor entrusted with the ability to set the combination of the safe. Those responsibilities must be taken over by some entity more powerful and important than God. This is incompatible with most theistic beliefs, particularly the Abrahamic monotheistic ones.


To restate the argument, in the form of the Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God :

Posit X and Y as features of human understanding. In the case of fine-tuning, X is "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily capable of sustaining life" and Y is "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily incapable of sustaining life".

1.X is necessary or has a necessary part (the necessity of being capable of sustaining life).

Y is necessary or has a necessary part (the physical necessity of being hostile to life).

2.If theism is true, then divine creation obtains.

3.If divine creation is true, then all in the universe is contingent to God’s act of creation, and nothing in the universe is necessary.

4.If theism is true, then no X or Y can be necessary or have a necessary part. (from 2 and 3)

5.Theism is false. (from 1 and 4)


The theist can of course deny premise 1, but doing so is a denial of the fine-tuning argument. The first premise of this argument is the same as the first premise of the fine-tuning argument.

The first premise of the fine-tuning argument is:

1. "The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it".

This means that:

The combination of physical constants in our universe -> necessarily capable of sustaining life as we know it (denoted by X).

And

The combination of other physical constants -> necessarily incapable of sustaining life as we know it (denoted by Y).


In a similar form of the argument:

1. If theism is true, then divine causation obtains.

2. If divine causation obtains, then all facts of the universe are contingent upon God's act of creation.

3. If theism is true, then life can arise under any possible physical condition. (from 1 and 2)

4. If theism is true, then fine-tuning is invalid. (from 3)

Maybe the transition from premise 2 to 3 requires further justification. Denote the physical constants by {X; Y; Z) and the obtainment of life by L and negation by ~.

A fact of the universe is that {X--> L; Y--> ~L; Z--> ~L}.

Since the fact is contingent upon God's act of creation, then it is not necessary and so can be altered.

If it can be altered then the following can be true {X--> L; Y--> L; Z--> L}. Basically, X, Y, and Z are irrelevant to God if divine causation obtains.

So as a shorthand one can say that “contingency implies the impossibility of principles and absolutes”.

One can of course deny that divine creation obtains, and deny that God created the laws of science. However, this means that God is not the Creator and that he is subject to these laws himself.


Stephen Hawking on the Anthropic Principle:

"The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty."

"What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary". [Stephen W. Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989]

"One does not have to appeal to God to set the initial conditions for the creation of the universe, but if one does He would have to act through the laws of physics". [Stephen Hawking, Black Holes & Baby Universes]

Retrieved from "http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=A_Brief_History_of_Time"


The features of humanity have evolved as a result of our environment, rather than our environment being tailored to suit us - a flag points north because the wind blows north; the wind doesn't blow north to ALLOW the flag to point north.

Douglas Adams c.1998:

"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 such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for."

Furthermore, the "fine-tuning argument" is a logical fallacy of the "ex-post-facto statistics" type. It applies in situations like this whenever we apply probability laws to past events.

For example, we all know the probability of being dealt a bridge hand of, say, all thirteen spades is quite small. But if we look at any bridge hand after we're dealt it, the probabilities of being dealt that exact hand are just as minuscule.

Given, hypothetically, an array of 52 different universes, the probability of actualizing our universe is 1 in 52. But if we look at any universe after it has been actualized, the probability of that occurring is just as minuscule.

-Life is just one of the possible things that may arise in the universe, and by itself is no more or less important than any of those other things. It's just that, as living beings ourselves, we tend to place a higher value on life than other aspects of the universe.

-We cannot assume that life as we know it is the only possible form that life could take. If the constants of the universe were different, that does not rule out the possibility that intelligent life could nonetheless still arise, albeit in a form currently unimaginable to us.

-It is foolish to say the universe is exquisitely set for the existence of life, since any living thing would instantly die in almost any place in the observed universe.

-The fine-tuning argument is an argument from design, so we can rightly ask, "who designed the designer?". The argument opens itself up for eternal regress. If god designed the universe to support life, this means that god itself has features that lead to the creation of life. The same argument therefore applies to the higher level - it follows that God was created in order to create life. And this God-creator was itself designed to create life, and so on and so forth.

- The argument presupposes that there is a certain range of possible values the constants can take. We don't know whether this is true, we have no idea what values the constants can take or if they can take other values at all.

-The argument presupposes that there is no natural process of creating universes, or that if there is it isn't going to create a universe with our values of the constants. This is, again, just not something we know scientifically. There still isn't a well established scientific theory on how universes are naturally created, so we cannot say that it is unlikely for our universe to have been created naturally (indeed, many of the current hypotheses indicate that our universe was created naturally; but they are not yet proved). Nor are we in the situation where science has established that there is no natural way for a universe to be created. We just don't know enough about universes for this presupposition to be accepted.

In this respect, this is an argument from ignorance. Saying that it is impossible for our universe to have been created naturally in this way is just like saying that the ordered shape of the hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway could not have been created naturally. That is, of course, false. One can understand that the basalt columns are natural when one understand enough about how basalt is created and formed naturally. One cannot rule out a natural explanation until one has an understanding of the subject matter's natural behavior. Similarly, since we don't know how universes are created we just don't know enough to determine that the values of the constants in our universe are indicative of an unnatural process.

-The argument is too quick to assert that other values will not result in life. We haven't explored all the various possibilities thoroughly enough to make such a pronouncement. We know slight variations will produce radically different physics, but we're far from knowing that no other constellation of constants will produce complex structures or how common or naturally likely to occur are such combinations. These are two separate issues that should not be confused. Indeed, it is possible that there are values that are more supportive of life, with life more pervasive throughout the spacetime of the universe.

-The argument implicitly assumes that it is possible for a universe to be artificially created with a certain choice of values. While this might sound plausible, it is not necessary. Certain theories on universe-creation, for example, posit that the values are determined randomly due to symmetry breaking, so that there is no way for their creator or the process that creates them to determine these values in advance.

-Another problem is that the anthropic principle holds regardless of fine-tuning. Even if it would take fine-tuning not to support life, the fact that we live in a world that supports life is still not apparently necessary. God still chose just those constants that support life - he just had more choices. This raises the Argument from Contingency, the questions of why things are the way they are, but the evidential fine tuning of things becomes irrelevant.

-Another reply could be that we cannot talk about there being lots of different possible causes, and the probability of the cause being the right one, because we have no way to know how to construct the reference class - the set of possibilities. This would be an absurd double standard. Remember, it was the theists who wanted to get into the probability business in the first place, and to stop playing when it is inconvenient is just hypocrisy. In the absence of any better way of constructing a reference class of possible causes we actually have an excellent reference class to use: Advocates of the fine tuning argument obviously have a reference class of "possible universes" in mind and we can simply use this, and assume that each of these possible universes has an individual possible cause. This, of course, leads us with as many causes as there are possible universes, and if advocates of fine tuning think that most universes are inhospitable to life then they must be claiming that most causes of universes are inhospitable to life. The only way round this is to claim that the reference class of causes is not constructed like that, but the this involves taking a preferential position with no justification: They are wanting to assume that all universes are equally possible, but not that all the causes of these universes are equally possible and they are just adjusting their reference class of causes to fit the answer they want. Furthermore, even if it turned out that the cause of our universe was somehow more likely than the causes of the other universes, this does not imply a designer: By adjusting the reference class like this to get round the problem, unless you can show that your adjustment follows from the cause being a designer, youa re actually admitting that there is no fine tuning problem, that the cause of the universe, for some reason, was more likely than all the other causes that might have occurred. If you lack any sound basis for this, you may as well just apply logic like that to the universe itself anyway.


Also, to quickly spot the inadequacy of the fine-tuning argument, see the following videos on Youtube:

Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life? [2]

William Lane Craig 2 - Craig Harder (Refuting WLC's Proofs For God, Part II) [3]

And to read an article which handily refutes the theistic anthropic principle, see [4]

Affirming the consequent

The Fine Tuning argument presupposes that the phenomenon of life and it being presumably only possible in a universe with physical constants exactly like the ones in ours is what qualifies this as special or sublime, however, this is based entirely on nothing other than the entities that determine what qualifies this universe as special or sublime are living (humans). This is an affirming the consequent fallacy. It could also be seen as a confirmation bias fallacy. In a hypothetical universe with different physical constants, there may be an emergent natural phenomenon that is vastly more complex than the emergence of life, the evolution of life, and the ecology of life. This phenomenon, we will label "phenomenon x", would be impossible in our universe because our physical constants may not permit phenomenon x to occur. There is no objective reason why the possibility of life demands a fine tuner more than phenomenon x. There is also no objective reason why any natural phenomenon, no matter the complexity, should demand a fine tuner any more than another. Hypothetically, if it were shown that life of some kind is possible in most possible universes, but the phenomenon of lightning is only possible in this one, then an apologist might assert that because we occupy the only possible universe with lightning, this universe must have been finely tuned.

A reductio ad absurdum can be constructed to demonstrate the weakness of the argument. If life is improbable then the existence of spaghetti is even more improbable.

1. The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining spaghetti as we know it.

2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.

3. Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.

4. The very best explanation of the given fact is that our universe, with the particular combination of physical constants that it has, was created out of nothing by a single being who is omnipotent, omniscient, and interested in spaghetti, and that he “fine-tuned” those constants in a way which would lead to the evolution of such foods.

5. But such a being as described in (4) is what is meant by the "Flying Spaghetti Monster".

6. Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" exists.

Other Counter-Arguments

Important links that address the fine-tuning argument extensively:

StrongAtheism.net [5]

Refuting fine-tuning

Links

See also

External links


v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Argument from observed miracles · Personal experience · Consciousness argument for the existence of God|Consciousness argument · Emotional pleas · Efficacy of prayer
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers · Argument from the meaning of life
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes
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