Today I am planning to take on a specific argument for God with which I think many of you will be familiar. It is one of the favorite arguments made by Christians, because they think that with this argument they’ve beaten the nonbelievers at their own game. It is one of the arguments in which Theists want to derive God from the field of science of all places, which is one of the major things which has put Theism into doubt to begin with. I am talking about the fine tuning argument.
Now for reference of the argument please click on this link which will send you to the Video version of the argument from Dr William Lane Craig’s YouTube channel. I hope this will be faithful enough to you. Before I begin tackling it I have to say this though: I do not claim any expertise in the fields relating to the “fine tuning” of the Universe. I will not bother with the technicalities (which I would most likely get wrong anyways) but instead outline where the argument fails (at least in the presented form) and what would need to be established. On another note I also have to say that I do not necessarily endorse all the ideas which I will outline. They merely serve to illustrate why the argument isn’t sound.
With that out of the way:
At 26 seconds into the video the person presenting the argument claims that certain values fall into an exceedingly narrow life permitting range. He further claims that if anyone of these numbers were altered by even a hairspread no life of any kind could exist.
Right of the bat I gotta ask: How does he know?
For one thing how does he know what the life permitting range is if we only have one example of life namely the carbon based human life? This person neglects to define what exact conditions life requires and not just our life mind you but all possible life including the life which may or may not exist, which we have not examined yet and likely will never examine. If we do not know what life forms besides ours are physically possible, then we do not have a firm grasp on what life is and therefore we do not know what conditions are required for it. Which would render the entire argument moot.
Now it may be the case that I’m wrong and that we do know what conditions are required for all possible life forms but that is an extraordinary claim which needs some evidence to back it up. At the very least a peer reviewed paper.
Continuing with the video he asserts that there would be no stars and therefore no life and no chemistry.
Besides him just asserting it blank the footage of the video seems to suggest that there is a causal chain involved:
There would be no stars, therefore no planets, life or chemistry. It is clarified later that this is the case. The problem I see with that is that it assumes that stellar nucleosynthesis is the only way we could get heavier elements.
Don’t get me wrong it IS the way heavier elements were produced within our Universe but who is to say that the only way heavier elements in all Universes could form is via stars? How could one possibly know that when we have only one Universe to go by? If there are other possible unknown methods then we don’t have a problem with our chemistry for one thing. Needless to say that this argument also assumes that planets are a necessary precondition for all possible life forms which is also something that needs to be established.
At 1:30 in the narrator asserts that if the gravitational force had been “out of tune” ever so slightly then life couldn’t exist.
Of course this assumes that the gravitational force is subject to vary. Who says that it is and what is the evidence? I have the same objections to the expansion rate as well as the mass and energy distribution.
Without clearing the first few hurdles I see no reason to buy into the fine tuning argument.
However there’s still more to get into when the narrator presents his trichotomy at the 3 minute mark:
- the first option presented is phyiscal necessity: In other words the Universe must be life permitting. He asserts that this option fails because the “constants and quantities are not determined by the laws of nature” . Once again he just asserts this without any evidence at all. He also says that a life prohibiting Universe is far more likely than a life permitting one. But wait a minute if the constants are not subject to change as this option suggests then there is no such thing as probability concerning our Universe. After all it couldn’t have been otherwise. In that case the odds would be 1. Even if there is no reason or evidence to suggest it he has still failed to knock this pillar down.
- As far as chance goes I have nothing more to say other than that his “can’t be so” assertion is based on his incredulity. As for the Multiverse talked about at the 4:10 mark he suggests that there is no evidence for the multiverse. While it is true that we cannot detect it, the claim of a multiverse is not entirely baseless. As for the claim of the “Multiverse generator having to be fine tuned” this of course would be the case if we were talking about a machine. But we are not. As for the “Boltzmann brain problem” I find this to be entirely besides the point. Conceding that the single observer in a small Universe is more likely does nothing to invalidate the chances of 1 Universe in a gazillion being such as we find it while the other ones containing just one observer.
Now we come to the last option namely “design” at the 5 minute mark and behold we have just proven God’s existence because the other 2 options are just so unlikely that only this option remains… which kinda begs the question: Is design via an Omnipotent God possible let alone plausible? As far as I’m concerned the mere possibility is not yet established. Even if it were shown that it is possible (and I have no idea how one could do it) we would also have to calculate whether option 3 is plausible. If it is less plausible than the other 2 implausible ones then God still loses. In other words: Even if everything else I said in my post was wrong, I need not accept God’s existence based on this argument as long as it isn’t established that “Goddidit” is even a possible option let alone a more plausible than the other 2.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation