The Fine-Tuning Argument for the Existence of God argues from the a priori colossal unlikelihood of a universe's physical constants' and natural laws' being such as to permit the development of the sort of complexity required for the evolution of life and, in particular, for the evolution of conscious beings, to a cosmic designer of some sort; and it argues further that that designer must have intentionality--the designer couldn't be some sort of cosmic universe-creating machine, it is argued, because then that machine would itself require a designer to make it produce just the right sort of universe. And then there's the issue of Boltzmann brains to deal with.

There being a multiverse composed of a vast number of universes, each with its own set of fundamental constants and natural laws, is suggested as a way of obviating the need for a designer.

What I want to point out at the outset is that the notion of a multiverse does not *refute* the fine-tuning argument, since we do not know that there is a multiverse any more than we know there is a designer; rather, the multiverse is postulated as a way of avoiding the need for a designer to explain the appearance of our being the recipients of extreme good fortune. The appearance of design remains; that appearance is simply explained in a nontheistic way.

What are the best arguments against the FTA?

Tags: Argument, Fine-Tuning

Views: 52

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

A multiverse theory arising from the considerations you cite is much different from the multiverse required to render the universe's favorable cosmic settings for life not colossally improbable. They're two different sorts of thing.
The nicest parable about this I know is Douglas Adams' puddle that is amazed that it finds itself in a hole that fits it perfectly, even if it grows bigger or shrinks.

The whole mistake with the anthropic principle is based on a misunderstanding of statistics. Statistics measures probabilities of things that haven't happened. When something has happened the probability of it happening doesn't make sense or, if you prefer it is 1. So the chance of life existing on earth in this form is precisely 1 - certainty. It exists. That's it. Statistics does not apply.

It's a complete nonsense to say - but what if something else... we know something else didn't, so there's no point to the question, unless you enjoy counter-factual fiction and, for fun, there's nothing wrong with that. It's only a problem if people start seeing significance in it.
My own objections to the FTA are more along these lines: First, it looks at the a priori probability that a universe congenial to life would arise; but we already know that it did arise, so the a posteriori probability is just unity. Second, it picks out life as a special feature of the universe, one which is unique (or almost unique, if universes with constants close to ours would allow life) to ours; but perhaps all, or at least lots, of universes, with varying values of their fundamental constants, would have special features unique (or almost unique) to them. We don't know. If that were true, then it would be wrong to infer design from the fact that our universe has some special feature unique (or almost unique) to it. Similarly, third, I fear that it might be picking out a terribly unlikely feature--our universe is bound to have some terribly unlikely feature--and using it to infer design.
I tend not to even care. Even if there were a god, it certainly wouldn't be the being described by present man made religions. I tend to dedicate my efforts on the absurdities of Christianity and Islam.
There is a video over in the Video section from the last week or so about the FTA that I found kind of interesting. I generally find the FTA interesting with regard to life; pretty stupid when extended to "the Existence of God."
Obviously if we lived in a universe that couldn't support intelligent life... well, we wouldn't. We'd be dead. In fact we never would have existed in the first place. Furthermore, there was a large porition of the universe's history where life was impossible on all fronts, mostly because planets had yet to form and many elements were missing from the periodic table, and there will come a point in the future when the universe is once again inhospitable to life everywhere. An unsustainable universe is clearly not "designed" for any kind of life.

If there is only one universe, then doesn't it make more sense to assume that life is part of the natural condition of the universe, as are stars and planets? The question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is pointless. It's like asking "Why is the color blue, blue?" It just is.
The "[o]bviously if we lived in a universe that couldn't support intelligent life...well, we wouldn't" point is just a rephrasing of the Weak Anthropic Principle, which says that the universe's fundamental constants and natural laws must, when discovered, turn out to be such as to permit the development of carbon-based life because it does in fact permit them. The WAP isn't intended to say that universes have to have such finely-tuned constants and natural laws; only that the ones in this universe must be observed (if observed at all) to be finely-tuned, given that we are here. The WAP is trivial.

The facts that the universe lacked carbon-based life for most of its history, or that most places in the universe are inimical to such life, or that the universe will once again become entirely inimical to such life, is irrelevant to the design argument, although it's relevant to arguments about what sort of God there can be; what matters is that this universe does support carbon-based life, somewhere and sometime, and that its having the right constants and laws to do so is (it is claimed) a priori colossally improbable.
Finely tuned how? A universe that permits carbon-based life on some occasions, in some areas, some of the time, is not finely tuned for carbon based life. In fact since we have yet to find any other forms of life elsewhere in the universe, it may turn out that the universe is not very hospitable to carbon life after all, as we realize it is actually rather rare. I don't think this is likely, but it's just an example.

Though I'm not saying that the universe was designed this way by anything. I just think that's the way the universe is. The conditions of a sphere: (1) it must have a round surface with no corners or edges (2) it must exist in three dimensions. I think the universe is like that, only with a hell of a lot more conditions that are much more complicated. Nobody had to create it. It just is.

I think humans only expect there to be a creator for the universe because we tend to create things ourselves. We already know that nobody created the earth. We know that nobody created the moon. We know that nobody created the solar system. So why would we extend that condition, the condition of having a creator, to everything else?
I agree that to expect the universe as a whole to have a creator is unjustified.

The alleged fine-tuning is not for the universe to be highly universe-friendly everywhere, all the time, but rather for it to permit the development of life *at all*.
Actually I find the "Why is there something rather than nothing" to be a completely fascinating discussion.

We may never know the answer, but that's not the point. It is in pondering the question that you learn.

And also, trying to understand why we see a certain colour is also incredibly fascinating especially when you realize that not all people see "blue" in the same way. We actually see "blue" differently. This kind of understanding of the human brain has given way to so much research, crumbs we are getting to a point where we can create bionic eye's. That question "Why is the sky blue" leads to knowlege and understanding.

I'm not to impressed by the attitude that these questions are meaningless. It's in trying to figure out these answers that we now have the human society we have. It's not something to scoff at imo :)
I find the "Why is there something rather than nothing" to be a completely fascinating discussion.

It would be even more fascinating it there was nothing rather than something. Cogito ergo non sum.
I read something recently, about a new hypothesis that was being put forward. The laws of physics actually evolved with the universe, and didn't exist from the time the universe began.

I found it interesting, if extremely difficult to follow. I'd say that would be a good counter-argument however if you can do some research into the matter.

Having said that, I actually don't have a huge problem with the universe being 'designed" by something else. I simply dont' know. It's WHAT that something else entails that is the real problem.

For all we know some huge gigantic alien could have simply farted and here we are :P.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service