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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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI301.html|The Anthropic Principle}}
 
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{{wikipedia|Fine-tuned Universe}}
== Background ==
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[[Image:138785main_image_feature_460_ys_quarter.jpg|thumb|right|250px|With different physical constants, the universe would look quite different.]]
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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. If the constants were slightly different, the universe would be significantly different. There are many such physical constants including: the speed of light, the rate of expansion of the universe, the force of gravity, the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force. 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.
  
 
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.
 
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]].
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{{quote|The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life. If any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, life would be impossible. (This claim is also known as the weak anthropic principle.)<ref>Ross, Hugh, 1994. Astronomical evidences for a personal, transcendent God. In: The Creation Hypothesis, J. P. Moreland, ed., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, pp. 141-172.</ref>}}
  
* ''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 &plusmn;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.
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{{quote|To believe that the facts and figures here detailed amount to no more than happy coincidence, without doubt constitutes a greater exercise of faith than that of the Christian who affirms the theistic design of the universe. <ref name="ce"/>}}
  
There are studies of numerous other constants with similar results.
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{{quote|In fact, the universe is specifically tweaked to enable life on earth-a planet with scores of improbable and interdependent life-supporting conditions that make it a tiny oasis in a vast and hostile universe.<ref name="enough-faith">[[I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist]]</ref>}}
  
== Apologetics ==
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Essentially this argument is just a variation on the [[argument from design]] but uses cosmology rather than biological problems. Just as biological mysteries were solved by scientists, so too might the mysteries in cosmology. Fine tuning heavily depends on the [[argument from ignorance]] fallacy, [[god of the gaps]] and [[shifting the burden of proof]]. Also, this argument is essentially the same as the [[anthropic principle|anthropic theistic principle]].
  
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]].
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== Specific fine tuned parameters ==
  
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There are many physical constants which, if varied, would result in a very different universe. These include:
  
== Formal Statement of the Argument ==
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* Strengths of the fundamental forces.
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** "Another finely tuned value is the strong nuclear force that holds atoms — and therefore matter — together." <ref name="ce">[http://crossexamined.org/the-argument-from-cosmic-fine-tuning/]</ref> 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 &plusmn;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.
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** Gravity <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* "The rate at which the universe expands must be finely tuned to one part in 10^55." <ref name="ce"/> 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]].<ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Lumpiness of the density of the universe, as seen in cosmic background radiation.<ref name="ce"/>
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* Ratio of protons and electrons. <ref name="ce"/>
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* The Earth-Sun distance. <ref name="earthsun"/>
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* The tilt of the Earth's axis (life could probably survive with less tilt) <ref name="earthsun"/><ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* The composition of the Earth's atmosphere. <ref name="earthsun"/><ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Atmospheric transparency (which is not even a real constraint to life) <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* The Moon stabilizing the Earth's rotation. <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Speed of light <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Jupiter protecting the Earth from many asteroid collisions <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Thickness of the Earth's crust <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Length of the Earth day (which is not even a real constraint to life) <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Lightning (which is not even a real constraint to life) <ref name="enough-faith"/>
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* Earthquakes (which is not even a real constraint to life) <ref name="enough-faith"/>
  
Here is Drange’s formulation:
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== The argument ==
  
1. The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it.  
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Here is [[Theodore M. Drange|Drange]]’s formulation: <ref name="drange">Theodore M. Drange, [http://infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/tuning.html The Fine-Tuning Argument], 1998, [http://infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/tuning-revisited.html The Fine-Tuning Argument Revisited], 2000</ref>
  
2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.  
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# The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of the "origin, development, and continuation of life as we know it".  
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# Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable and are just as probable.
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# Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.
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# The occurrence of life is "a very special feature" of our universe. This requires explanation.
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# The very best explanation of life in our universe is that it is "a product of [[intelligent design]]".
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# Therefore, there is very good evidence an intelligent designer exists.
  
3. Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.  
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Theists cite this remarkable balance of cosmological constants as evidence of a creator, being a far too unlikely set of circumstances to have occurred naturally. Some apologists set up a choice between types of explanations or causes and then rule out the alternatives to find the actual 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.
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{{quote-source|What is the best explanation for this astounding phenomenon? There are three live options. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design. Which of these options is the most plausible?|[[William Lane Craig]]<ref name="wlc"/>}}
  
5. But such a being as described in (4) is what people mean by “God.
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Fine tuning 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]].
  
6. Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that God exists.
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===The theistic hypothesis is more probable===
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== Counter-apologetics ==
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A version of the fine tuning argument is based on probabilities:
  
# 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.
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{{quote|our existence as embodied, intelligent beings is extremely unlikely under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis (since our existence requires fine-tuning), but not improbable under theism. <ref name="disc"/>}}
# 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)
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# 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. 
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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, 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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# 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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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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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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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.
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This argument fails because it pretends it can evaluate the probability of our universe having the properties it does by natural processes or chance. This information is currently unknown to humans.
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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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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===Argument from cosmic coincidences===
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A variant of the argument asks why various astronomical facts seem to be tailored to improve our appreciation of the universe, such as the apparent size of the moon making total eclipses possible. Along with the usual flaws in the argument, it also suffers from the [[projection fallacy]]. <ref name="fiction">Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, [http://edge.org/conversation/36-arguments-for-the-existence-of-god 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction], 2011</ref>
  
"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.'"
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{{quote|Today’s eclipse provides another example of this so called “fine-tuning”. <ref>[http://www.clarkeroberts.co.uk/2015/03/20/is-the-solar-eclipse-evidence-for-god/]</ref>}}
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{{quote|Why subscribe to the incredible odds that the tilt and position of our planet relative to the sun are merely coincidental?" <ref>[http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aiia/questions-for-skeptics.html]</ref>}}
  
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Arguably, this is more closely related to the [[argument from design]] than fine tuning of physical constants. Some examples also draw on the [[argument from aesthetic experience]].
  
Bertrand Russell:
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===Fine tuned for discovery===
  
"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."
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{{talk-origins|http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI302.html|Fine-tuned for discovery}}
  
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{{quote|the conditions most suited for life also provided the best overall setting for making scientific discoveries.<ref name="ce"/>}}
  
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.
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This is a fairly absurd statement, particularly to professional scientists. The universe is hard to explore and investigate. Many phenomena are far away, tiny, occurs over long time scales, only evident in rare circumstances, invisible or hard to detect. In any case, why would God want us to discover it when he could just tell us directly?
  
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.
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== Counter-apologetics ==
  
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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Most or all counter-arguments for [[argument from design]], the [[natural law argument]], and the [[anthropic principle]] are also counter-arguments to fine-tuning.
  
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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===False dichotomy, argument from ignorance===
  
This has two fatal consequences for the "fine tuning" argument:
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The fine tuning argument is based on the dichotomy of:
  
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.
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* The parameters of the universe are a "happy coincidence"
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* or God selected the parameters to fulfil some purpose.
  
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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This is a [[false dichotomy]]. A better fork would be:
  
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* The parameters of the universe are a "happy coincidence",
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* or God selected the parameters to fulfil some purpose,
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* or the universe could not be other than it is,
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* or some unknown natural process caused the universe to be as it is.
  
To restate the argument, in the form of the [[Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God]] :
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The problem is it is almost impossible to rule out the last two options, making the argument an [[argument from ignorance]] and [[god of the gaps]]. Apologists often confuse natural processes with random processes, which leads them to equate them. The argument is essentially the same as saying "lighting occurs and [[Thor]] is the best explanation" at a time before the understanding of electricity.
  
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 conceived to be necessarily incapable of sustaining life".
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{{quote-source|There will never be an Isaac Newton for a blade of grass.|[[Immanuel Kant]]}}
  
1.X is necessary or has a necessary part (the necessity of sustaining life).
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[[Sean Carroll]] pointed out there was a genius that did the same for grass, and biology generally: [[Charles Darwin]]. <ref name="carroll"/> It is not unreasonable to expect there would be a similar genius that might one day solve the cosmological mystery.
  
Y is necessary or has a necessary part (the physical necessity of being hostile to life).
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===Not evidence for God===
  
2.If theism is true, then divine creation obtains.
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Largely the argument itself hinges on the narrow range of properties for the universe to develop to allow for life. But, this narrow range is precisely the required range needed for life in this universe to occur naturally if there were no God.
  
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.
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{{quote-source|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.|[[Stephen Hawking]]}}
  
4.If theism is true, then no X or Y can be necessary or have a necessary part. (from 2 and 3)
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{{quote-source|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.|[[Richard Carrier]] <ref name="carrier">[http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2011/12/31/richard-carrier-interview/]</ref>}}
  
5.Theism is false. (from 1 and 4)
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{{quote-source|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.|[[Douglas Adams]]}}
  
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====Firing squad counter argument====
  
Or in a similar form:
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Apologists liken this response to surviving a firing squad execution because all the shooters "missed". They point out that it is more likely they never intended to kill rather than they all had poor aim. Similarly, we might ask what is the likeliest explanation for the universe.
  
1. If theism is true, then divine causation obtains.
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{{quote|Of course all of the shots missed, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to notice that I’m still alive!<ref>John Leslie, Universes (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), 13-14. Quoted in: Polkinghorne, "The Science and Religion Debate: An Introduction."</ref>}}
  
2. If divine causation obtains, then all facts of the universe are contingent on God's act of creation.
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This goes back to making probability claims about the universe, which the apologist has not yet established reliably (since it is currently beyond human knowledge).
  
3. If theism is true, then life can arise under all possible physical conditions. (from 1 and 2)
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Another problem is that the explanation that the shooters missed on purpose is a ''testable'' explanation, while the explanation of "God did it" is not. This applies to both God saving you from a firing squad or selecting the properties of the universe. <ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1xWikoa6Dc]</ref>
  
4. If theism is true, then fine-tuning is invalid. (from 3)
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===Invalid use of probability===
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{{quote|Premise 2. The existence of the fine-tuning is very improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. <ref name="disc"/>}}
  
So as a shorthand one can say that “contingency implies the impossibility of principles and absolutes”.
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{{quote|Astrophysicist [and creationism apologist] Hugh Ross has calculated the probability that these and other constants-122 in all-would exist today for any planet in the universe by chance (i.e., without divine design). Assuming there are 10<sup>22</sup> planets in the universe (a very large number: 1 with 22 zeros following it), his answer is shocking: one chance in 10<sup>138</sup>-that’s one chance in one with 138 zeros after it!<ref name="enough-faith"/>}}
  
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.
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The argument assumes that there is a certain range of values that each physical 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 ([[Texas sharpshooter fallacy]]). 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.
  
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To avoid an [[argument from ignorance]], an apologist must rule out ''all'' other hypotheses, including as yet unknown hypotheses, to make an argument by elimination. It is almost impossible to rule out all undiscovered hypothesis in a field so far removed from human experience. However, without doing this, the apologist inevitably makes an [[argument from ignorance]] and commits [[god of the gaps]].
  
Stephen Hawking on the Anthropic Principle:
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====Assuming parameters are contingent====
  
"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."
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{{quote|The particular group of values that exists for the fundamental physical constants of our universe (call it "GPC") is just one of a huge number of different groups of values, all of which are physically possible (i.e., not ruled out by more basic laws).<ref name="drange"/>}}
  
"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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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.
  
"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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{{quote-source|There's no reason or evidence to suggest that fine-tuning is necessary.|[[William Lane Craig]]<ref name="wlc"/>}}
  
Retrieved from "http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=A_Brief_History_of_Time"
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The apologist is again [[shifting the burden of proof]]. They are the ones that need to demonstrate that "the properties of the universe are contingent, not necessary" for their argument to work. Saying "we have no evidence to the contrary" is an [[argument from ignorance]].
  
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{{quote|According to the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, there is only one universe, and it is ultimately an inexplicable, "brute" fact that the universe exists and is fine-tuned. <ref name="disc">[http://www.discovery.org/a/91]</ref>}}
  
The features of humanity have evolved as a result of our environment, rather than our environment being tailored to suit us.  
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That is not the case and is a [[straw man]] argument. Skeptics say that the properties of the universe ''may'' be [[brute fact]]s or possibly explainable some time in the future, but the [[burden of proof]] is on the apologist to show that this is not the case. They have so far only offered various [[argument from ignorance|arguments from ignorance]].
  
Douglas Adams c.1998:
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====Parameters are not necessarily independent====
  
"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."
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{{quote|One must leave open the door to the possibility that future investigation in theoretical physics will demonstrate that some of the fifteen physical constants that so far are simply determined by experimental observation may be limited in theory potential numerical value by something more profound, but such a revelation is not currently on the horizon.|[[Francis Collins]], ''[[The Language of God]]''}}
  
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.
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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. Ignoring that results in a [[god of the gaps]].
  
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 miniscule.
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Major advances in physics are not generally predictable and certainly not beyond a few years.
  
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 miniscule.
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====Majority argument or analogy====
  
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{{quote|Upon looking at the data, many people find it very obvious that the fine-tuning is highly improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. <ref name="disc"/>}}
  
Also, to quickly spot the inadequacy of the fine-tuning argument, see the following videos on youtube: 
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It is unwise to use a [[Argumentum ad populum|appeal to majority]] when discussing a subject that is very far removed from peoples' experience. Human intuition may be quite misleading in this case.
  
Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life? [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCKqj-2JXZg]
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{{quote|Accordingly, from this analogy it seems obvious that it would be highly improbable for the fine-tuning to occur under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis--that is, for the dart to hit the board by chance.<ref name="disc"/>}}
  
William Lane Craig 2 - Craig Harder (Refuting WLC's Proofs For God, Part II)
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An [[analogy]] can be either valid or invalid. We can only know its validity with some other data or experience. For this reason, analogies are not appropriate when they can be independently verified. This is not the case here.
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aixbI7qKNlg&feature=PlayList&p=E5D80EB3D7BAFD74&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1]
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And to read an article which handily refutes the theistic anthropic principle, see [http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/anthropic.htm]
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====Natural processes are not random====
  
== Affirming the consequent ==
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Apologists often confuse natural processes with random processes, which leads them to equate them. Natural processes proceed by ''necessity''. If the properties of the universe were determined by natural processes, it is inappropriate to apply probability because chance does not enter into it.
  
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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===Apologists would not be satisfied by a scientific explanation===
  
== Other Counter-Arguments ==
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Apologists object saying that any law that explains the parameters or the relationship between them would also require an explanation, leading to [[infinite regress]].
  
'''Attribution:''' StrongAtheism.net
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{{quote|the problem with postulating such a law is that it simply moves the improbability of the fine-tuning up one level, to that of the postulated physical law itself<ref name="disc"/>}}
[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.
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{{quote|this essentially results in a fine-tuning problem even for Theories of Everything.<ref>[http://biologos.org/common-questions/gods-relationship-to-creation/fine-tuning]</ref>}}
  
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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If the fine tuning argument is resolved by scientific discoveries, apologists would ''still'' not be satisfied. They [[Moving goalposts|move the goalposts]] to the [[natural law argument]]. This is not a reasonable way of arguing and the fine tuning argument probably should be abandoned for the natural law argument since apologists are not going to be satisfied with a scientific explanation anyway. If the natural laws were somehow explained, apologists probably would switch to asking [[why is there something rather than nothing?]] This again illustrates that the fine tuning argument is irrelevant.
  
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 multiverse?===
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Some 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. There is no evidence of the multiverse so far but scientists are looking to see if there is any interaction between our universe and other universes; this might happen on the cosmic scale. It is important to remember that the existence of the multiverse does not have to be proved to undermine the fine tuning argument, but only that it is a ''possibility''.
  
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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{{quote|Note that the multiverse does not need to be proven to exist to invalidate the fine-tuning argument for a creator. It just needs to be a possible alternative. Nevertheless, theologians have vehemently objected to the multiverse. <ref>[http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/fine-tuning-and-the-multiverse/]</ref>}}
  
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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One way of looking at the multiverse is to imagine somebody claiming 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.
  
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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====Arguments against the Multiverse====
  
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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The idea of the multiverse is speculative:
  
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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{{quote|First, and most significantly, there’s no evidence for it!<ref name="enough-faith"/>}}
  
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”.
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An argument by [[analogy]] is that humans one believed that the Earth was the only planet, then they believed this solar system was the only one, then they believed this galaxy was the only one. Each time they have been wrong. Along similar lines, it is quite conceivable that many universes exist. However, the [[burden of proof]] is on the apologist since they claim that "this is the only universe", which is an implicit premise of their argument.
  
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.
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Apologists such as [[William Lane Craig]] argue that for the multiverse to work as an explanation, more needs to be known.
  
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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{{quote|If MWH [many world hypothesis] is to commend itself as a plausible hypothesis, then some plausible mechanism for generating the many worlds needs to be to be explained. <ref name="wlc-multiverse">[http://www.reasonablefaith.org/multiverse-and-the-design-argument]</ref>}}
  
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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This is not the case. Of course, he is correct in that MWH is very speculative but it is plausible without a full understanding of its details. It may be we can one day travel to other universes but still have no understanding of their origin. It also is [[shifting the burden of proof]] because it is on the apologist to prove that this universe this the only one, which is required for their argument to work.
  
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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Apologists are generally critical of multiverse theories but their criticism misses the point: they also have to rule out ''all'' other plausible explanations, including ones that have not been yet considered by scientists. Since the origin of the universe is beyond our everyday experience, almost any scenario is plausible. Ruling them out is not yet practically possible but until it is done, fine-tuning is an [[argument from ignorance]].
  
“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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====The Multiverse must have had a beginning====
  
Does not justify:
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Apologists point out that the multiverse must have had a universe. This actually moves from being a fine-tuning argument to being a [[cosmological argument]], which is a case of [[moving the goalposts]].
  
“We should not be surprised that we do observe features of the universe which are compatible with out existence.”
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{{quote|Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem requires that the multiverse itself cannot be extended into the infinite past <ref name="wlc-multiverse"/>}}
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.
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This assumes the multiverse experiences time in the normal way, and that it is "expanding". Nether assumption has been demonstrated for the multiverse, which is not surprising because it has never been directly observed. Apologists pretend that the theory of "eternal inflation" is the only theory of the multiverse, and pose a [[false dichotomy]] between eternal inflation and God. Far too little is known about the multiverse to rule it out as a possibility, but it ''remains'' a possibility.
  
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====Infinite regress====
  
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:
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Apologists argue that the multiverse, as an explanation, suffers from [[infinite regress]].
  
“2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.”
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{{quote-source|And the universe generator, itself, would require an enormous amount of fine-tuning!|[[William Lane Craig]]<ref name="wlc"/>}}
  
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.
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{{quote|even if other universes could exist, they would need fine-tuning to get started just as our universe did (recall the extreme precision of the Big Bang we described in the last chapter). So positing multiple universes doesn’t eliminate the need for a Designer—it multiplies the need for a Designer!<ref name="enough-faith"/>}}
  
At any rate, it is unclear why the fact that “other combinations of physical constants are conceivable” lead to the conclusion in (3) that:
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It is possible that the universe generator is defined by natural laws and has no "free parameters", so no tuning is required (and the apologist might switch to the [[natural law argument]]). Also, this objection is plausible but the same criticism can be levelled at the "God" explanation.
  
“some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one”
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Steve Shives makes an [[analogy]] with snowflakes. If a person claims that a particular snowflake had a designer, we can point out that particular snowflake is not special because many just-as-special snowflakes exist. The person cannot reasonably argue that all the other snowflakes require a designer because the property that indicated design has already been explained. <ref name="chives4"/>
  
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.
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If it exists, the universe generator cannot be said to be fine tuned because it churns out an excessive number of universes apparently without reason. A God might be expected to be more parsimonious and directed in his actions. Such a situation would lend itself to an [[argument from poor design]].
  
The fact that something is conceivable does not make it magically possible. Possibility must be demonstrated with objective evidence.
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====There can't be an actual infinite number of universes====
  
V. Two other implicit assumptions can be addressed simultaneously. These assumptions are:
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{{quote|[...]as we discussed in the last chapter, an infinite number of finite things—whether we’re talking about days, books, bangs, or universes—is an actual impossibility. There can’t be an unlimited number of limited universes.<ref name="enough-faith">[[I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist]]</ref>}}
  
Change in physical constants can be isolated.
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Firstly, how can they know this? This is just an unsupported assertion.
Change in physical constants necessarily brings about states where life is impossible.
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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.
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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.
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Secondly, the authors are applying their principle based on evidence ''within'' universe to a situation ''outside'' our universe. This is far from reliable. <ref name="chives4"/>
  
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.
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Also, there can be a finite but unlimited number of other universes (i.e. a potentially [[infinite]] number), which would side step this objection. <ref name="chives4"/>
  
There are three problems associated with calling divine creation a “hypothesis” or “explanation”:
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====Anything can be explained by the multiverse====
  
Divine creation…
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{{quote|the Multiple Universe Theory is so broad that any event can be explained away by it. For example, if we ask, “Why did the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?” we need not blame Muslim terrorists: the theory lets us say that we just happen to be in the universe where those planes—though they appeared to be flown deliberately into the buildings—actually hit the buildings by accident<ref name="enough-faith"/>}}
  
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 existence of a supernatural process or entity, not of a divine Creator.  
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This is a false [[analogy]] because the causes of our universe and the causes of everyday occurrences have different amounts of available evidence. The "cause" of the universe is highly speculative since there is scant evidence and we may therefore entertain the multiverse hypothesis. Everyday occurrences are repeatable and we require more predictive and falsifiable [[explanation]]s.
  
ii. is not a complete hypothesis or explanation, and is not a proper working hypothesis or explanation.
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This argument can also be applies to the "god did it" explanation: there is literally nothing that it can't explain!<ref name="chives4"/>
  
iii. as a hypothesis or explanation, is contradicted by many facts of the universe.  
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===Fine tuned for life or something else?===
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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 necessarily 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. <ref>[http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2012/12/scientific-approaches-to-the-fine-tuning-problem/]</ref> Life on our planet constitutes only an insignificant portion of our universe. Some apologists argue that the universe must be fine tuned for life ''on Earth'', which is basically [[begging the question]] in that it assumes that the Earth is the only possible scenario for life to exist:
  
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.
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{{quote|Even a slight variation in the speed of light would alter the other constants and preclude the possibility of life on earth.<ref name="enough-faith"/>}}
  
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?
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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. This is another instance of humans' bias towards [[anthropocentrism]] and the [[confirmation bias]]. Humans have evolved to suit their 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.
  
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.
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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.
  
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'.
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====Illustrative example====
  
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.
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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.
  
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.
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# The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of sustaining spaghetti as we know it.  
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# Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.
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# Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.
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# 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.
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# But such a being as described in (4) is what is meant by the "[[Flying Spaghetti Monster]]".
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# Hence [from (4) & (5)], there is good evidence that the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" exists.
  
Many strong-atheistic arguments demonstrate the impossibility of divine creation. Here are some of them:
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===Assumes life "as we know it" is the only type of life===
  
Materialist Apologetics – based on the necessary nature of various features of human understanding, which contradict the idea that divine creation makes everything contingent.  
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{{quote|[our universe has] the only group of values for the fundamental physical constants of a world (or region of spacetime) that would permit the origin, development, and continuation of life as we know it within that world. <ref name="drange"/>}}
  
Problem of Evil – based on the existence of evil.  
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{{quote-source|It is certainly true that if you change the parameters of nature, the local conditions around us would change by alot. I grant that quickly. I do not grant that therefore life could not exist. I will start granting that once someone tells me the conditions under which life can exist. What is the definition of life, for example? If it is just information processing, thinking or something like that, there is a huge panoply of possibilities.|[[Sean Carroll]]<ref name="carroll">[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R97IHcuyWI0]</ref>}}
  
Atheistic Cosmological Argument – based on the inseparability of time and space.  
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The fine tuning argument assumes that life as we know it is the only possible form. 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. Asking how a particular outcome could have happened when other outcomes would have been just as significant commits the [[Texas sharpshooter fallacy]]. The apologist needs to show that no other forms of life are possible, which is not practical to do.
  
Argument from Scale – based on the scientific facts about evolution and the size of the universe.  
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The premise "our universe contains the only possible life" is compatible with the conclusion "humans exist". However, attempting to use the conclusion to support the premise is [[affirming the consequent]] fallacy.
  
Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God’s Nonexistence – based on the nature of the Big Bang.
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====No evidence of other types of life====
  
And of course the Apathetic God Paradox, which I have already mentioned.  
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{{quote|This assumes that different types of life exist, something for which there is absolutely no evidence. <ref>[http://creationwiki.org/index.php?title=Cosmos_is_fine-tuned_to_permit_human_life_%28Talk.Origins%29&oldid=103515]</ref>}}
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VII. Finally, fine-tuning arguments lack specificity. If we look at our argument-type again:
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This tries to [[shift the burden of proof]] without a valid justification. The burden of proof that "this is the only possible form of life" is on the apologist.
  
 +
====No atoms would exist====
  
Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.
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{{quote|If [the strong nuclear force] were slightly larger or smaller, no atoms could exist other than hydrogen. <ref name="disc"/>}}
  
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.
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How does the apologist know that life requires atoms? Again, [[argument from ignorance]]. There may be a much more straightforward way for life to emerge in very different physics and it is our universe's life that is an exception. Apologists should be careful not to claim life in our universe is typical of life in general, or they commit the [[spotlight fallacy]].
  
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.
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===Infinite regress===
  
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.
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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?  This argument of a creator suffers from [[infinite regress]]. If someone counters that the creator always existed (as is common) so too could we counter that the universe has always existed in some form. Either is an unproven assumption.
  
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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. If he was not, and has always existed, one could equally say the universe has always existed.
  
VIII. Carrier has proposed the objection that the claim:
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===Poor explanation===
 +
{{main article|Ultimate 747 gambit}}
  
The fact that life can exist demands explanation.
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God supposedly is an [[explanation]] for fine tuning. However, [[Ultimate 747 gambit|God is a bigger mystery]] than the one we seek to explain. A reasonable explanation would depend on ''known'' entities, rather than using one mystery to explain another.
  
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.
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Even if we accept the apologist's possibly explanations, [[God]], [[brute fact]] and chance have equal explanatory value (which is about zero). In this case, we may use [[Occam's razor]] and discard the God hypothesis.
  
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.
+
In cases where explanations are poor, not predictive or unverifiable, it is perfectly legitimate to say "we don't know why or how!" Theists, and humans generally, often have an extreme aversion to the statement "[[I don't know]]".
  
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.
+
{{quote|Could you even blame me, if I had answered at first, that I did not know, and was sensible that this subject lay vastly beyond the reach of my faculties? You might cry out sceptic and railler, as much as you pleased: but having found, in so many other subjects much more familiar, the imperfections and even contradictions of human reason, I never should expect any success from its feeble conjectures, in a subject so sublime, and so remote from the sphere of our observation.<ref>[http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4583]</ref>}}
  
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.
+
Believing that the whole universe exists for our benefit is consistent with our [[anthropocentrism]], but it has not been justified by evidence. Previous beliefs, like the Earth is at the centre of the solar system have similarly turned out to be incorrect.
  
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.
+
{{quote-source|The theistic explanation for cosmological fine tuning [says] I know why it is like that. It is because I was going to be here, or we were going to be here. But there is nothing in our experience of the universe that justifies the kind of flattering story we like to tell about ourselves.|[[Sean Carroll]]<ref name="carroll"/>}}
  
'''Attribution:''' [http://phrenicphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/refuting-fine-tuning-cosmological.html]
+
===Was fine tuning necessary for the designer to exist?===
  
I. Fine-Tuning Argument (as stipulated by Richard Swinburne)
+
The designer of those properties would presumably exist in a state where the fine tuning parameters did not apply. Therefore any properties deemed to be necessary for life can't be necessary for existence in the first place, as the designer can exist without them and is allegedly "alive". The argument is self-refuting.
  
1. The universe is finely tuned for intelligent life.
+
{{quote-source|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.|[[Bertrand Russell]]}}
  
2. If God existed, he would want to create Intelligent life.
+
===Begging the question===
  
3. The existence of Intelligent life is extremely improbable without God's existence.
+
For the fine tuning argument to make any sense, one has to start with the assumption that humanity is ''not'' an accident, i.e. that it has a purpose (such as to result in life), which [[begging the question|begs the question]] of an intelligent agent that gives it a purpose. Another way apologists beg the question is by asserting the parameters were "selected" or "carefully dialed" as a premise to their argument: selected parameters imply a selector i.e. God.  
  
4. Intelligent life exists.
+
{{quote-source|Scientists have come to the shocking realization that each of these numbers have been carefully dialed to an astonishingly precise value - a value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life-permitting range.|[[William Lane Craig]]<ref name="wlc">[http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-fine-tuning-argument]</ref>}}
  
5. Intelligent life is good and needs explanation.
+
What scientists have actually found is that if the properties of the universe were slightly different, it would result in an extremely different result. When scientists speak of "fine tuned constants", they don't (usually) mean it literally.
  
Therefore, it is extremely probable (using Bayesian Probability) that God exists.
+
=== Argument from poor design ===
 +
{{main article|Argument from poor design}}
  
 +
Some philosophers have noted that the fine tuning argument is not a very good argument for the existence of God but rather a very good argument for the non-existence of God.
  
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.
+
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.
  
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.
+
The fine-tuning argument is actually therefore a great argument for [[atheism]], which theists are wrongly claiming as evidence for God.
  
Replying to the Fine-Tuning Argument:
+
"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. This results in a [[Brian's Paradox]].
  
1. The universe is finely tuned for intelligent life.
+
====The universe is larger than necessary====
  
(1) The universe is highly hostile to all forms of life:
+
{{quote-source|[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.|[[Richard Carrier]] <ref name="carrier"/>}}
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.
+
If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be a need for 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.
  
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.
+
{{quote|Even if God created a universe consisting of only one organism, the rest of that universe would exist to make that one organism possible.<ref>[http://creationwiki.org/index.php?title=Cosmos_is_fine-tuned_to_permit_human_life_%28Talk.Origins%29&oldid=103515]</ref>}}
  
Our barren planet: the percentage of the earth that is actually biomass is only 0.00000000117%.
+
The rest of the universe is clearly not necessary. God could just have created the solar system.
  
(2) In total reverse to Swinburne's above point, it is intelligent life that is finely adapted to the universe:
+
====The universe is largely hostile to life====
  
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.
+
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"?.
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.
+
{{quote-source|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).|[[Richard Carrier]] <ref name="carrier"/>}}
  
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.
+
The Earth's total mass is [[wikipedia:Earth|5.9736×10<sup>24</sup> kg]] while the estimated total biomass on Earth is around [[wikipedia:Biomass_(ecology)|7×10<sup>13</sup> kg]]. This means that the percentage of life on Earth is 1.17182269 × 10<sup>-9</sup>. That is .00000000117%. The Earth, let alone the universe, is hardly fine tuned for life. Man has created and tested <ref>[http://books.google.com/books?id=Bd0vzY1x2fYC&pg=PA39&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0]</ref> much more finely tuned mediums for simple life in the form of specialized agar solutions that support life/medium ratios far greater than .00000000117%.
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.
+
Also, Earth was formerly not capable of supporting life and will one day be incapable of supporting life. If it was designed to support life, we might expect it to have always been life supporting. <ref name="chives4">Steve Shives, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOcxX4Zu3dQ]</ref>
  
This presumes:
+
====God created details that are unnecessary for life====
 +
{{wikipedia|Meson}}
 +
There are more elementary particles than are necessary for life. For example, mesons are extremely rare in the solar system and apparently serve no role in life.
  
(1) The combination of cosmological constants that we observe is the only one capable of sustaining life as we know it.
+
There are also an over-abundance of worm and insect species, which would be unnecessary if human life was the goal of fine tuning.
  
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.
+
===Omnipotent God could create life anywhere===
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.
+
If an [[omnipotent]] God exists, life should be able to arise under any set of circumstances whatsoever, with infinite possibilities ''even without fine tuning''. In other words, the premise "life requires fine tuning" is false. However, the argument can still work without that premise.  
  
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.
+
{{quote|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.' <ref>Victor J. Stenger, ''God: The Failed Hypothesis''</ref>}}
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.
+
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. This is incompatible with most theistic beliefs, particularly the [[Abrahamic religions|Abrahamic monotheistic ones]]. If there were rules that had been established that God had to work within using fine-tuning, this implies a superior deity than God.
  
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).
+
====Lack of evidence for omnipotence====
  
5. Intelligent life is good and needs explanation.
+
An [[omnipotent]] God could create life that didn't conform to normal physical processes and there is no particular reason to think he would deliberately limit himself. 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 the products of natural processes, rather than the products of omnipotence.
  
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).
+
====Irrelevance of fine tuning according to TAG====
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 ==
+
To restate the argument, in the form of the [[transcendental argument]] for the non-existence of God:
*[[Anthropic principle]]
+
*[[Habitable zone]]
+
  
== External links ==
+
Let X be "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily capable of sustaining life" and Y be "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily '''incapable''' of sustaining life".
  
* [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.
+
# X is necessary, in whole or part. Y is necessary, in whole or part.
* ''[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]]
+
# If theism is true, then divine creation obtained the universe.
 +
# 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 (God could have created ''any'' universe).
 +
# If theism is true, then no X or Y can be necessary or have a necessary part (from 2 and 3).
 +
# Theism is false (from 1 and 4).
  
http://www.strongatheism.net/library/counter_apologetics/swinburnes_teleological_arguments/
+
If a theist denies premise 1, they would deny the fine-tuning argument, since the first premise of this argument is the same as the first premise of the fine-tuning argument.
  
Swinburne, a theistic philosopher, displaying his naivete with the fine-tuning argument.
+
In a similar form of the argument:
  
 +
# If theism is true, then divine causation obtained the universe.
 +
# If divine causation obtains, then all facts of the universe are contingent upon God's act of creation.
 +
# If theism is true, then life can arise under any possible physical condition. (from 1 and 2)
 +
# If theism is true, then fine-tuning is invalid. (from 3)
  
http://phrenicphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/refuting-fine-tuning-cosmological.html
+
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}. That is, X can result in life, and Y and Z can not result in life.
  
http://edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/refuting-craig-five-arguments/
+
Since the fact is contingent upon God's act of creation, then it is not necessary and so can be altered.
  
Videos refuting William Lane Craig's five ''proofs'' for God.
+
If it can be altered then the following can be true {X--> L; Y--> L; Z--> L}, such that God could make anything result in life, or life consist in any environment. Basically, X, Y, and Z are irrelevant to God if divine causation obtains.
  
 +
===Some parameters don't need fine tuning===
  
http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/anthropic.htm
+
{{quote|From this discussion we see that the earth is just the proper distance from the sun to maintain the right surface temperature suitable for life and the many important geologic processes! To the evolutionist the distance of the earth from the sun is a strange accident, but to the creationist it is a marvelous testimony of God's planning. <ref name="earthsun">[http://www.icr.org/article/planet-earth-plan-or-accident/]</ref>}}
  
 +
Some of the constants used by apologists do not require exact tuning. 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).
  
http://www.strongatheism.net/library/against/problems_of_fine_tuning/
+
If all planets were within the Goldilocks zone, apologists might have something to work with!
  
The Many Problems of the Fine-Tuning Argument
+
===Weak conclusion===
  
 +
The fine tuning argument concludes that an intelligent designer exists but that does not necessarily imply it is God or even supernatural. It also tells use relatively little about the attributes of the intelligent designer. The fine tuning argument therefore has a weak conclusion.
  
{{Arguments for god}}
+
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 [[Argument from incompatible attributes|such contradictory attributes]], and the being need not be all-powerful/knowing - he could just be really, really powerful and know a lot, but not everything.
  
[[Category:Arguments]]
+
Using the conclusion "the intelligent designer exists" to support the premise "an intelligent designer is omnipotent, all loving, etc" is [[affirming the consequent]].
[[Category:Arguments for the existence of God]]
+
 
[[Category:Cosmological arguments]]
+
The argument supports [[Which God?|no particular religion or theology]]. According to fine-tuning, [[deism]] and [[polytheism]] are just as likely as [[theism]].
 +
 
 +
== References==
 +
<references/>
 +
 
 +
== See also ==
 +
*[[Anthropic principle]]
 +
*[[Argument from design]]
 +
*[[Habitable zone]]
 +
*[[The Principle]] (2014), a documentary supporting [[geocentrism]] and [[creationism]].
 +
 
 +
== 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://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/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''
 +
*[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]]
 +
* 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]
 +
*Refutation of the theistic anthropic principle, see [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], Francois Tremblay
 +
* [http://phrenicphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/07/refuting-fine-tuning-cosmological.html Refuting fine-tuning]
 +
* M Colyvan, [http://www.colyvan.com/papers/finetuning.pdf Problems With the Argument From Fine Tuning], Synthese, July 2005, Volume 145, Issue 3, pp 325-338
 +
* DarkMatter2525, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMYIl5b-paY Atheist Comedy: Fine-Tuned Universe], 4 May 2011
 +
{{Arguments for god}}
 +
{{Science}}

Latest revision as of 08:30, 1 July 2016

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With different physical constants, the universe would look quite different.

In cosmology, fine tuning refers to the precise balance of cosmological constants that allow the observable universe to exist as it does. If the constants were slightly different, the universe would be significantly different. There are many such physical constants including: the speed of light, the rate of expansion of the universe, the force of gravity, the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force. 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.

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.

"The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life. If any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, life would be impossible. (This claim is also known as the weak anthropic principle.)[1]"
"To believe that the facts and figures here detailed amount to no more than happy coincidence, without doubt constitutes a greater exercise of faith than that of the Christian who affirms the theistic design of the universe. [2]"
"In fact, the universe is specifically tweaked to enable life on earth-a planet with scores of improbable and interdependent life-supporting conditions that make it a tiny oasis in a vast and hostile universe.[3]"

Essentially this argument is just a variation on the argument from design but uses cosmology rather than biological problems. Just as biological mysteries were solved by scientists, so too might the mysteries in cosmology. Fine tuning heavily depends on the argument from ignorance fallacy, god of the gaps and shifting the burden of proof. Also, this argument is essentially the same as the anthropic theistic principle.

Contents

Specific fine tuned parameters

There are many physical constants which, if varied, would result in a very different universe. These include:

  • Strengths of the fundamental forces.
    • "Another finely tuned value is the strong nuclear force that holds atoms — and therefore matter — together." [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.
    • Gravity [3]
  • "The rate at which the universe expands must be finely tuned to one part in 10^55." [2] 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.[3]
  • Lumpiness of the density of the universe, as seen in cosmic background radiation.[2]
  • Ratio of protons and electrons. [2]
  • The Earth-Sun distance. [4]
  • The tilt of the Earth's axis (life could probably survive with less tilt) [4][3]
  • The composition of the Earth's atmosphere. [4][3]
  • Atmospheric transparency (which is not even a real constraint to life) [3]
  • The Moon stabilizing the Earth's rotation. [3]
  • Speed of light [3]
  • Jupiter protecting the Earth from many asteroid collisions [3]
  • Thickness of the Earth's crust [3]
  • Length of the Earth day (which is not even a real constraint to life) [3]
  • Lightning (which is not even a real constraint to life) [3]
  • Earthquakes (which is not even a real constraint to life) [3]

The argument

Here is Drange’s formulation: [5]

  1. The combination of physical constants that we observe in our universe is the only one capable of the "origin, development, and continuation of life as we know it".
  2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable and are just as probable.
  3. Therefore, some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one.
  4. The occurrence of life is "a very special feature" of our universe. This requires explanation.
  5. The very best explanation of life in our universe is that it is "a product of intelligent design".
  6. Therefore, there is very good evidence an intelligent designer exists.

Theists cite this remarkable balance of cosmological constants as evidence of a creator, being a far too unlikely set of circumstances to have occurred naturally. Some apologists set up a choice between types of explanations or causes and then rule out the alternatives to find the actual one.

"What is the best explanation for this astounding phenomenon? There are three live options. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design. Which of these options is the most plausible?"

William Lane Craig[6]

Fine tuning 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.

The theistic hypothesis is more probable

A version of the fine tuning argument is based on probabilities:

"our existence as embodied, intelligent beings is extremely unlikely under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis (since our existence requires fine-tuning), but not improbable under theism. [7]"

This argument fails because it pretends it can evaluate the probability of our universe having the properties it does by natural processes or chance. This information is currently unknown to humans.

Argument from cosmic coincidences

A variant of the argument asks why various astronomical facts seem to be tailored to improve our appreciation of the universe, such as the apparent size of the moon making total eclipses possible. Along with the usual flaws in the argument, it also suffers from the projection fallacy. [8]

"Today’s eclipse provides another example of this so called “fine-tuning”. [9]"
"Why subscribe to the incredible odds that the tilt and position of our planet relative to the sun are merely coincidental?" [10]"

Arguably, this is more closely related to the argument from design than fine tuning of physical constants. Some examples also draw on the argument from aesthetic experience.

Fine tuned for discovery

Talkorigins-logo.jpg
For more information, see the TalkOrigins Archive article:
"the conditions most suited for life also provided the best overall setting for making scientific discoveries.[2]"

This is a fairly absurd statement, particularly to professional scientists. The universe is hard to explore and investigate. Many phenomena are far away, tiny, occurs over long time scales, only evident in rare circumstances, invisible or hard to detect. In any case, why would God want us to discover it when he could just tell us directly?

Counter-apologetics

Most or all counter-arguments for argument from design, the natural law argument, and the anthropic principle are also counter-arguments to fine-tuning.

False dichotomy, argument from ignorance

The fine tuning argument is based on the dichotomy of:

  • The parameters of the universe are a "happy coincidence"
  • or God selected the parameters to fulfil some purpose.

This is a false dichotomy. A better fork would be:

  • The parameters of the universe are a "happy coincidence",
  • or God selected the parameters to fulfil some purpose,
  • or the universe could not be other than it is,
  • or some unknown natural process caused the universe to be as it is.

The problem is it is almost impossible to rule out the last two options, making the argument an argument from ignorance and god of the gaps. Apologists often confuse natural processes with random processes, which leads them to equate them. The argument is essentially the same as saying "lighting occurs and Thor is the best explanation" at a time before the understanding of electricity.

"There will never be an Isaac Newton for a blade of grass."

Immanuel Kant

Sean Carroll pointed out there was a genius that did the same for grass, and biology generally: Charles Darwin. [11] It is not unreasonable to expect there would be a similar genius that might one day solve the cosmological mystery.

Not evidence for 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 is precisely the required range needed for life in this universe to occur naturally if there were no God.

"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."

Stephen Hawking

"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."

Richard Carrier [12]

"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."

Douglas Adams

Firing squad counter argument

Apologists liken this response to surviving a firing squad execution because all the shooters "missed". They point out that it is more likely they never intended to kill rather than they all had poor aim. Similarly, we might ask what is the likeliest explanation for the universe.

"Of course all of the shots missed, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to notice that I’m still alive![13]"

This goes back to making probability claims about the universe, which the apologist has not yet established reliably (since it is currently beyond human knowledge).

Another problem is that the explanation that the shooters missed on purpose is a testable explanation, while the explanation of "God did it" is not. This applies to both God saving you from a firing squad or selecting the properties of the universe. [14]

Invalid use of probability

"Premise 2. The existence of the fine-tuning is very improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. [7]"
"Astrophysicist [and creationism apologist] Hugh Ross has calculated the probability that these and other constants-122 in all-would exist today for any planet in the universe by chance (i.e., without divine design). Assuming there are 1022 planets in the universe (a very large number: 1 with 22 zeros following it), his answer is shocking: one chance in 10138-that’s one chance in one with 138 zeros after it![3]"

The argument assumes that there is a certain range of values that each physical 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 (Texas sharpshooter fallacy). 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.

To avoid an argument from ignorance, an apologist must rule out all other hypotheses, including as yet unknown hypotheses, to make an argument by elimination. It is almost impossible to rule out all undiscovered hypothesis in a field so far removed from human experience. However, without doing this, the apologist inevitably makes an argument from ignorance and commits god of the gaps.

Assuming parameters are contingent

"The particular group of values that exists for the fundamental physical constants of our universe (call it "GPC") is just one of a huge number of different groups of values, all of which are physically possible (i.e., not ruled out by more basic laws).[5]"

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.

"There's no reason or evidence to suggest that fine-tuning is necessary."

William Lane Craig[6]

The apologist is again shifting the burden of proof. They are the ones that need to demonstrate that "the properties of the universe are contingent, not necessary" for their argument to work. Saying "we have no evidence to the contrary" is an argument from ignorance.

"According to the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, there is only one universe, and it is ultimately an inexplicable, "brute" fact that the universe exists and is fine-tuned. [7]"

That is not the case and is a straw man argument. Skeptics say that the properties of the universe may be brute facts or possibly explainable some time in the future, but the burden of proof is on the apologist to show that this is not the case. They have so far only offered various arguments from ignorance.

Parameters are not necessarily independent

"One must leave open the door to the possibility that future investigation in theoretical physics will demonstrate that some of the fifteen physical constants that so far are simply determined by experimental observation may be limited in theory potential numerical value by something more profound, but such a revelation is not currently on the horizon."

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. Ignoring that results in a god of the gaps.

Major advances in physics are not generally predictable and certainly not beyond a few years.

Majority argument or analogy

"Upon looking at the data, many people find it very obvious that the fine-tuning is highly improbable under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. [7]"

It is unwise to use a appeal to majority when discussing a subject that is very far removed from peoples' experience. Human intuition may be quite misleading in this case.

"Accordingly, from this analogy it seems obvious that it would be highly improbable for the fine-tuning to occur under the atheistic single-universe hypothesis--that is, for the dart to hit the board by chance.[7]"

An analogy can be either valid or invalid. We can only know its validity with some other data or experience. For this reason, analogies are not appropriate when they can be independently verified. This is not the case here.

Natural processes are not random

Apologists often confuse natural processes with random processes, which leads them to equate them. Natural processes proceed by necessity. If the properties of the universe were determined by natural processes, it is inappropriate to apply probability because chance does not enter into it.

Apologists would not be satisfied by a scientific explanation

Apologists object saying that any law that explains the parameters or the relationship between them would also require an explanation, leading to infinite regress.

"the problem with postulating such a law is that it simply moves the improbability of the fine-tuning up one level, to that of the postulated physical law itself[7]"
"this essentially results in a fine-tuning problem even for Theories of Everything.[15]"

If the fine tuning argument is resolved by scientific discoveries, apologists would still not be satisfied. They move the goalposts to the natural law argument. This is not a reasonable way of arguing and the fine tuning argument probably should be abandoned for the natural law argument since apologists are not going to be satisfied with a scientific explanation anyway. If the natural laws were somehow explained, apologists probably would switch to asking why is there something rather than nothing? This again illustrates that the fine tuning argument is irrelevant.

The multiverse?

Some 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. There is no evidence of the multiverse so far but scientists are looking to see if there is any interaction between our universe and other universes; this might happen on the cosmic scale. It is important to remember that the existence of the multiverse does not have to be proved to undermine the fine tuning argument, but only that it is a possibility.

"Note that the multiverse does not need to be proven to exist to invalidate the fine-tuning argument for a creator. It just needs to be a possible alternative. Nevertheless, theologians have vehemently objected to the multiverse. [16]"

One way of looking at the multiverse is to imagine somebody claiming 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.

Arguments against the Multiverse

The idea of the multiverse is speculative:

"First, and most significantly, there’s no evidence for it![3]"

An argument by analogy is that humans one believed that the Earth was the only planet, then they believed this solar system was the only one, then they believed this galaxy was the only one. Each time they have been wrong. Along similar lines, it is quite conceivable that many universes exist. However, the burden of proof is on the apologist since they claim that "this is the only universe", which is an implicit premise of their argument.

Apologists such as William Lane Craig argue that for the multiverse to work as an explanation, more needs to be known.

"If MWH [many world hypothesis] is to commend itself as a plausible hypothesis, then some plausible mechanism for generating the many worlds needs to be to be explained. [17]"

This is not the case. Of course, he is correct in that MWH is very speculative but it is plausible without a full understanding of its details. It may be we can one day travel to other universes but still have no understanding of their origin. It also is shifting the burden of proof because it is on the apologist to prove that this universe this the only one, which is required for their argument to work.

Apologists are generally critical of multiverse theories but their criticism misses the point: they also have to rule out all other plausible explanations, including ones that have not been yet considered by scientists. Since the origin of the universe is beyond our everyday experience, almost any scenario is plausible. Ruling them out is not yet practically possible but until it is done, fine-tuning is an argument from ignorance.

The Multiverse must have had a beginning

Apologists point out that the multiverse must have had a universe. This actually moves from being a fine-tuning argument to being a cosmological argument, which is a case of moving the goalposts.

"Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem requires that the multiverse itself cannot be extended into the infinite past [17]"

This assumes the multiverse experiences time in the normal way, and that it is "expanding". Nether assumption has been demonstrated for the multiverse, which is not surprising because it has never been directly observed. Apologists pretend that the theory of "eternal inflation" is the only theory of the multiverse, and pose a false dichotomy between eternal inflation and God. Far too little is known about the multiverse to rule it out as a possibility, but it remains a possibility.

Infinite regress

Apologists argue that the multiverse, as an explanation, suffers from infinite regress.

"And the universe generator, itself, would require an enormous amount of fine-tuning!"

William Lane Craig[6]
"even if other universes could exist, they would need fine-tuning to get started just as our universe did (recall the extreme precision of the Big Bang we described in the last chapter). So positing multiple universes doesn’t eliminate the need for a Designer—it multiplies the need for a Designer![3]"

It is possible that the universe generator is defined by natural laws and has no "free parameters", so no tuning is required (and the apologist might switch to the natural law argument). Also, this objection is plausible but the same criticism can be levelled at the "God" explanation.

Steve Shives makes an analogy with snowflakes. If a person claims that a particular snowflake had a designer, we can point out that particular snowflake is not special because many just-as-special snowflakes exist. The person cannot reasonably argue that all the other snowflakes require a designer because the property that indicated design has already been explained. [18]

If it exists, the universe generator cannot be said to be fine tuned because it churns out an excessive number of universes apparently without reason. A God might be expected to be more parsimonious and directed in his actions. Such a situation would lend itself to an argument from poor design.

There can't be an actual infinite number of universes

"[...]as we discussed in the last chapter, an infinite number of finite things—whether we’re talking about days, books, bangs, or universes—is an actual impossibility. There can’t be an unlimited number of limited universes.[3]"

Firstly, how can they know this? This is just an unsupported assertion.

Secondly, the authors are applying their principle based on evidence within universe to a situation outside our universe. This is far from reliable. [18]

Also, there can be a finite but unlimited number of other universes (i.e. a potentially infinite number), which would side step this objection. [18]

Anything can be explained by the multiverse

"the Multiple Universe Theory is so broad that any event can be explained away by it. For example, if we ask, “Why did the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?” we need not blame Muslim terrorists: the theory lets us say that we just happen to be in the universe where those planes—though they appeared to be flown deliberately into the buildings—actually hit the buildings by accident[3]"

This is a false analogy because the causes of our universe and the causes of everyday occurrences have different amounts of available evidence. The "cause" of the universe is highly speculative since there is scant evidence and we may therefore entertain the multiverse hypothesis. Everyday occurrences are repeatable and we require more predictive and falsifiable explanations.

This argument can also be applies to the "god did it" explanation: there is literally nothing that it can't explain![18]

Fine tuned for life or something else?

Another flaw with this argument is that it assumes our universe is finely tuned for the sole purpose of supporting life. This is not necessarily 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. [19] Life on our planet constitutes only an insignificant portion of our universe. Some apologists argue that the universe must be fine tuned for life on Earth, which is basically begging the question in that it assumes that the Earth is the only possible scenario for life to exist:

"Even a slight variation in the speed of light would alter the other constants and preclude the possibility of life on earth.[3]"

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. This is another instance of humans' bias towards anthropocentrism and the confirmation bias. Humans have evolved to suit their 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.

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.

Illustrative example

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.

Assumes life "as we know it" is the only type of life

"[our universe has] the only group of values for the fundamental physical constants of a world (or region of spacetime) that would permit the origin, development, and continuation of life as we know it within that world. [5]"

"It is certainly true that if you change the parameters of nature, the local conditions around us would change by alot. I grant that quickly. I do not grant that therefore life could not exist. I will start granting that once someone tells me the conditions under which life can exist. What is the definition of life, for example? If it is just information processing, thinking or something like that, there is a huge panoply of possibilities."

Sean Carroll[11]

The fine tuning argument assumes that life as we know it is the only possible form. 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. Asking how a particular outcome could have happened when other outcomes would have been just as significant commits the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. The apologist needs to show that no other forms of life are possible, which is not practical to do.

The premise "our universe contains the only possible life" is compatible with the conclusion "humans exist". However, attempting to use the conclusion to support the premise is affirming the consequent fallacy.

No evidence of other types of life

"This assumes that different types of life exist, something for which there is absolutely no evidence. [20]"

This tries to shift the burden of proof without a valid justification. The burden of proof that "this is the only possible form of life" is on the apologist.

No atoms would exist

"If [the strong nuclear force] were slightly larger or smaller, no atoms could exist other than hydrogen. [7]"

How does the apologist know that life requires atoms? Again, argument from ignorance. There may be a much more straightforward way for life to emerge in very different physics and it is our universe's life that is an exception. Apologists should be careful not to claim life in our universe is typical of life in general, or they commit the spotlight fallacy.

Infinite regress

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? This argument of a creator suffers from infinite regress. If someone counters that the creator always existed (as is common) so too could we counter that the universe has always existed in some form. Either is an unproven assumption.

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. If he was not, and has always existed, one could equally say the universe has always existed.

Poor explanation

Main Article: Ultimate 747 gambit

God supposedly is an explanation for fine tuning. However, God is a bigger mystery than the one we seek to explain. A reasonable explanation would depend on known entities, rather than using one mystery to explain another.

Even if we accept the apologist's possibly explanations, God, brute fact and chance have equal explanatory value (which is about zero). In this case, we may use Occam's razor and discard the God hypothesis.

In cases where explanations are poor, not predictive or unverifiable, it is perfectly legitimate to say "we don't know why or how!" Theists, and humans generally, often have an extreme aversion to the statement "I don't know".

"Could you even blame me, if I had answered at first, that I did not know, and was sensible that this subject lay vastly beyond the reach of my faculties? You might cry out sceptic and railler, as much as you pleased: but having found, in so many other subjects much more familiar, the imperfections and even contradictions of human reason, I never should expect any success from its feeble conjectures, in a subject so sublime, and so remote from the sphere of our observation.[21]"

Believing that the whole universe exists for our benefit is consistent with our anthropocentrism, but it has not been justified by evidence. Previous beliefs, like the Earth is at the centre of the solar system have similarly turned out to be incorrect.

"The theistic explanation for cosmological fine tuning [says] I know why it is like that. It is because I was going to be here, or we were going to be here. But there is nothing in our experience of the universe that justifies the kind of flattering story we like to tell about ourselves."

Sean Carroll[11]

Was fine tuning necessary for the designer to exist?

The designer of those properties would presumably exist in a state where the fine tuning parameters did not apply. Therefore any properties deemed to be necessary for life can't be necessary for existence in the first place, as the designer can exist without them and is allegedly "alive". The argument is self-refuting.

"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."

Bertrand Russell

Begging the question

For the fine tuning argument to make any sense, one has to start with the assumption that humanity is not an accident, i.e. that it has a purpose (such as to result in life), which begs the question of an intelligent agent that gives it a purpose. Another way apologists beg the question is by asserting the parameters were "selected" or "carefully dialed" as a premise to their argument: selected parameters imply a selector i.e. God.

"Scientists have come to the shocking realization that each of these numbers have been carefully dialed to an astonishingly precise value - a value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life-permitting range."

William Lane Craig[6]

What scientists have actually found is that if the properties of the universe were slightly different, it would result in an extremely different result. When scientists speak of "fine tuned constants", they don't (usually) mean it literally.

Argument from poor design

Main Article: Argument from poor design

Some philosophers have noted that the fine tuning argument is not a very good argument for the existence of God but rather a very good argument for the non-existence of God.

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. This results in a Brian's Paradox.

The universe is larger than necessary

"[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."

Richard Carrier [12]

If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be a need for 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.

"Even if God created a universe consisting of only one organism, the rest of that universe would exist to make that one organism possible.[22]"

The rest of the universe is clearly not necessary. God could just have created the solar system.

The universe is largely hostile to life

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"?.

"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)."

Richard Carrier [12]

The Earth's total mass is 5.9736×1024 kg while the estimated total biomass on Earth is around 7×1013 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 [23] much more finely tuned mediums for simple life in the form of specialized agar solutions that support life/medium ratios far greater than .00000000117%.

Also, Earth was formerly not capable of supporting life and will one day be incapable of supporting life. If it was designed to support life, we might expect it to have always been life supporting. [18]

God created details that are unnecessary for life

Wikipedia-logo-en.png
For more information, see the Wikipedia article:

There are more elementary particles than are necessary for life. For example, mesons are extremely rare in the solar system and apparently serve no role in life.

There are also an over-abundance of worm and insect species, which would be unnecessary if human life was the goal of fine tuning.

Omnipotent God could create life anywhere

If an omnipotent God exists, life should be able to arise under any set of circumstances whatsoever, with infinite possibilities even without fine tuning. In other words, the premise "life requires fine tuning" is false. However, the argument can still work without that premise.

"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.' [24]"

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. This is incompatible with most theistic beliefs, particularly the Abrahamic monotheistic ones. If there were rules that had been established that God had to work within using fine-tuning, this implies a superior deity than God.

Lack of evidence for omnipotence

An omnipotent God could create life that didn't conform to normal physical processes and there is no particular reason to think he would deliberately limit himself. 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 the products of natural processes, rather than the products of omnipotence.

Irrelevance of fine tuning according to TAG

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

Let X be "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily capable of sustaining life" and Y be "the combination of physical constants which is necessarily incapable of sustaining life".

  1. X is necessary, in whole or part. Y is necessary, in whole or part.
  2. If theism is true, then divine creation obtained the universe.
  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 (God could have created any universe).
  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).

If a theist denies premise 1, they would deny the fine-tuning argument, since the first premise of this argument is the same as the first premise of the fine-tuning argument.

In a similar form of the argument:

  1. If theism is true, then divine causation obtained the universe.
  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}. That is, X can result in life, and Y and Z can not result in life.

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}, such that God could make anything result in life, or life consist in any environment. Basically, X, Y, and Z are irrelevant to God if divine causation obtains.

Some parameters don't need fine tuning

"From this discussion we see that the earth is just the proper distance from the sun to maintain the right surface temperature suitable for life and the many important geologic processes! To the evolutionist the distance of the earth from the sun is a strange accident, but to the creationist it is a marvelous testimony of God's planning. [4]"

Some of the constants used by apologists do not require exact tuning. 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).

If all planets were within the Goldilocks zone, apologists might have something to work with!

Weak conclusion

The fine tuning argument concludes that an intelligent designer exists but that does not necessarily imply it is God or even supernatural. It also tells use relatively little about the attributes of the intelligent designer. The fine tuning argument therefore has a weak conclusion.

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 contradictory attributes, and the being need not be all-powerful/knowing - he could just be really, really powerful and know a lot, but not everything.

Using the conclusion "the intelligent designer exists" to support the premise "an intelligent designer is omnipotent, all loving, etc" is affirming the consequent.

The argument supports no particular religion or theology. According to fine-tuning, deism and polytheism are just as likely as theism.

References

  1. Ross, Hugh, 1994. Astronomical evidences for a personal, transcendent God. In: The Creation Hypothesis, J. P. Moreland, ed., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, pp. 141-172.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 [1]
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 [2]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Theodore M. Drange, The Fine-Tuning Argument, 1998, The Fine-Tuning Argument Revisited, 2000
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 [3]
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 [4]
  8. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, 2011
  9. [5]
  10. [6]
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 [7]
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 [8]
  13. John Leslie, Universes (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), 13-14. Quoted in: Polkinghorne, "The Science and Religion Debate: An Introduction."
  14. [9]
  15. [10]
  16. [11]
  17. 17.0 17.1 [12]
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Steve Shives, [13]
  19. [14]
  20. [15]
  21. [16]
  22. [17]
  23. [18]
  24. Victor J. Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis

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
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Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
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Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
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