A Modified Refutation of The Fine Tuning Argument

0In the middle of June, this year, I wrote one or two articles attempting to refute the fine tuning argument. In those articles, I tried to refute the fine tuning argument not by refuting it point by point, but by raising some negative points myself. In this article, I am going to take a different kind of approach. Maybe the things I will say is not anything new, but still, just for a record or something, I decided to write this. Maybe some followers of me will ponder about why I didn’t completed the ‘Refuting ICR‘ series. I will definitely like to make it clear that the series is completed, but wait, wasn’t it supposed to have ‘three’ lines of evidences? Yes, it was, but it disappointed me. The third line of evidence (or as they say) is nothing but a line of preachy articles, there are no arguments in that article. So, just to make it clear. Now, let’s come to the topic.

The fine-tuning argument basically asserts that the conditions that allow life in the universe, could have only arose if the fundamental physical constants of nature were in a very narrow range. Such as the critical density of our universe, if that was slightly changed with the amount of 1 in 10^40, then the universe, as we know it, wouldn’t exist, the celestial bodies would not have developed as well as the galaxies. Another great example for this, according to theists, is the cosmological constant, which is fine tuned in such a narrow range as of 1 in 10^120. And this is one of the many lines of fine tuned quantities in our universe, without which, we could not exist. That, according to theists, basically likens the possibility of a conscious designer who chose to make it this way in order to create us. The odds of that quantities being so is very large, it is like taking 10^120 pens of a same company with one pen of a different company and then let a man wear a blindfold, mix those pens, and find out the odds against the man picking up the penny of the different company, it is slightly higher than 1 in 1^120.

I will like to quickly admit that I agree that if the fundamental quantitative properties of our universe would have been slightly different, life as we know it, wouldn’t exist. Prf. Sean Carroll said in a debate with William Lane Craig, “I think it is the best argument that theism proposes. We have the parameters of nature as we know it, and there are two options, theism and naturalism, which tends to be more likely?”, but don’t be deceived. He quite instantly asserts that “In spite of that, it is a terrible argument”. Let me explain why. Let’s take a deck of cards, well shuffled. Put it in the table with the faces down, and let a man pick one card from it. What are the odds against him picking the ace of diamonds? Well, 1 in 52, right? That is quite unlikely in respect to the number ratio. Okay, then, what are the odds that he will pick 7 of clubs? 1 in 52, right? That is quite improbable as well. So, it is true for all of the cards. No matter which card he picks up, the odds against that would be the same, 1 in 52.
But this doesn’t give us any satisfactory conclusion. Because in the pen example, picking up the odd pen can be associated to significance. Just as the fine tuning argument abstractly assumes that the laws of nature allowing human life, is something special. Although as the card example, no matter what the cosmological constant was, the odds against that number would have been the same, 1 in 1^120 or even higher, depending upon the number. But as we see, the odds against our existence is assumed to be special because it is presumed that our existence is something special. But as it appears, it is a baseless assumption.
Before I get to the point that why it is a baseless assumption, I would like to present another popular equivocation proposed by Alvin Ptantinga, he says that suppose 5 or 10 men(the number is arbitrary) are playing poker and one of them is always ending to have all of the 4 aces, thus winning. What would the other players think? It was one of possibilities that he would have ended up with 4 aces all of the time, and it just happened. Or will it be more logical to think that the man is more likely to be cheating? Here also, a matter of significance is associated, because ending up with 4 aces all the time, is winning, thus, it is significant to end up with 4 aces all the time and the person is likely to be cheating. But otherwise, here also, the person ending up with any four of the cards, is as improbable as every others, quantitatively.

So, is human life significant? Well, it doesn’t appear to. You can easily realize that by looking at some of the Hubble Deep Field images, here’s one of them:
Every point of light in this photo, is a galaxy, containing billions of stars, trillions of planets. As Carl Sagan said, “The Universe is a pretty big space. If it’s just us, it seems an awful waste of space“. The earth doesn’t appear to be special either, we have already found many other planets that are just like us, but pretty far away. If a God, who though to make us the center-point, it would have been unlikely for him to make a universe like this, no? I think I don’t need to elaborate more on this point. The claim of us being significant is self-evidently false. As we see, the fine tuning argument doesn’t make us significant, the fine tuning argument develops based on the presumption that we are significant, because mathematically, all possible set of constants have the same odds. So that basically means the fine tuning argument for God’s existence is weak, it doesn’t do much.

In spite of the above refutation I gave, let’s assume that all I said is wrong and the fine tuning argument works. Still, there remains a question, why does God needs to fine tune the universe? If the whole set of the physical constants were incompatible for life, God could have still sustained us, he is God! He is omnipotent. The argument itself undermines the omnipotence of God, and that is funny.

In summary, the fine tuning argument neglects the fact that all possible outcomes of of some definite occurrence have the same odds against them, since it is based on the flawed presupposition that human life is significant. Also, it undermines God omnipotence itself.

Thanks for reading, I would love to answer your questions in the comments.

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5 thoughts on “A Modified Refutation of The Fine Tuning Argument

  1. That’s a really emphasised and elaborated! Thanks for that.

    Although I tried to make my only objection in this article as simple as possible, there are not any responses to look at. One theist did respond, but it was so short that it would not have been worthy to be featured.

    Any tips, maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose you’re already acquainted with Victor Stenger and his refutation of the fine-tuning argument: https://michaelvitotosto.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/the-absurdities-of-god/

    Yet another good refutation, but maybe not directly (but what’s wrong with indirect refutations?), can be seen here: https://michaelvitotosto.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/the-absurdities-of-god/ . The blogger Michael Vito Tosto poses in his post many interesting questions about why God once decided to create matter and time, that is our universe.

    I hope, rounaqb, you’ll find that kind of questions interesting as well. Maybe you can address those same questions yourself? And try to answer them? I would really appreciate your take on questions like, I quote:

    For instance, what was God doing with all his eternity before he created the Universe? Since time doesn’t matter in eternity, why did God pick a moment to suddenly want someone to know his love? Why did he pick a moment to suddenly create the Universe? Was he just dissatisfied one day with his reality after eons and eons of existing eternally? Is this why he decided to alter his routine by creating us and the Cosmos in which we find ourselves? Or…had God tried this before? Perhaps this is the second Universe he’s made. Perhaps the first one didn’t work out. Or maybe this is the tenth Universe he’s made. Or maybe he’s done this an infinite amount of times, since he stretches back far enough to account for infinity. Who knows, right?

    And of course I hope many God believers want to show up here in your comment field and convey their answers and explanations.

    But maybe no God believer wants to give you and me his/her explanations. I’m afraid there’s a risk that you’ll have to write these two sentences once more: “Although I tried to make my only objection in this article as simple as possible, there are not any responses to look at. One theist did respond, but it was so short that it would not have been worthy to be featured.” 🙂


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