5 Facepalm Worthy Objections To The Fine Tuning Argument
The Fine Tuning Argument is one of my favorite arguments for God’s existence and for Intelligent Design. Many of the constants and quantities of physics have to be precisely calibrated or else life couldn’t possibly exist anywhere in the universe at any time. It is so extremely, utterly, incomprehensibly improbable that these laws of physics should be as they are so that life can exist, that it is irrational to chock it up to mere happenstance, and it fits better with the hypothesis that a supreme Being designed the constants and quantities of physics so that life could exist in the cosmos.
By the way, if you’re new to this argument, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, if you’ve never been to Cerebral Faith before, then you should probably read my article “The Fine Tuning Argument For God’s Existence (Updated Version)” before you continue. In that article, I give examples of fine tuning, I tell what would happen if the physical parameters were to be off by a little bit, and then I give a syllogism that argues for design as the best explanation of that fine tuning. After that, I list 8 objections to the argument given by atheists. So go read “The Fine Tuning Argument For God’s Existence (Updated Version)” if you’re new to the argument.
However, there were some objections I didn’t cover in that article, and I didn’t cover them for two reasons; number 1: the post was becoming too lengthy, and number 2: they were so bad, so weak, so pathetic, so off the wall, that I didn’t think that they deserved to be mentioned. However, I will address those objections here in this blog post because people on the internet do make them, and I want my Christian readers to know how to answer them. I also want those atheists to know how their objections don't overthrow the argument,. Some might accuse me of making these objections up on my own just to make atheists look stupid, but I assure you that these are real objections that real people have brought up to me when I used this argument on them. I won’t name the individuals though because I don’t want to embarrass them.
1: Why did God make it so hard on himself? Making a universe that needs to be so precisely calibrated? He could have made a universe that didn’t need to be finely tuned. An intelligent God would’ve made it easier on Himself.
I’m not exactly sure what this is supposed to prove. Is it supposed to prove that the universe isn’t intelligently designed? How does it do so? I made an argument for design using abductive reasoning or inference to the best explanation. We had 3 possible explanations for the fine tuning, which are physical necessity, chance, and design. I ruled two of them out, leaving design as the only explanation left. Since design is the only explanation left for what could possibly explain this extraordinary fine tuning, it must be the right explanation.
The syllogism I use is as follows
1: The Fine Tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
2: It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3: Therefore, it is due to design.
This is a logically valid argument. The conclusion follows from the two premises by the laws of logic. If the two premises are true, the conclusion necessarily follows. The first premise is indisputable. All it is is a list of possible explanations for how you can explain the fine tuning. How can you object to a list of possible explanations? It seems to me that the only debatable premise is premise 2. As I demonstrated in “The Fine Tuning Argument For God’s Existence (Updated Version)” neither physical necessity nor chance are plausible explanations. Given that that’s the case, the second premise is confirmed. So if both premises are true, so is the conclusion.
Now, which premise is this atheist attempting to deny by His objection? It doesn’t seem like either are refuted. But if neither premise is refuted, then neither is the conclusion.
But, let’s think about what this atheist is saying. He’s saying that God “made it hard on Himself” by creating a universe that had to have all of its physical constants and quantities fall into a narrow range for life to exist. Why would God make a universe where everything must be just so, when He could create a universe where little or no fine tuning is required? For example, an analogy might be made here. It might be said that God, in creating a universe needing such extreme fine tuning is like a man who buys a bed from Ikea and tries to build it without reading the directions rather than buying one that’s already built, or at least one that doesn’t require as much assembly. You could call the man a fool for trying to get a bed put together doing it that way. Again, this doesn’t refute the argument for the reasons already given above, but I think it is fair to ask “Why did God do it this way if He could do it another way?”
One reason I gave him was so that He would leave evidence of design behind. Think about it, we know that it’s statistically impossible for the laws of physics to be life permitting by sheer chance, and necessity is enormously implausible, so design must be the explanation. If God had created a different universe with different physics, physics that didn’t need to fall within such narrow ranges, then we probably wouldn’t conclude God designed them. If God had created physical constants that each had a 1 out of 10 chance of falling into the life permitting range, explaining the tuning by chance wouldn’t be so out of the question, now would it?
2: It would be more impressive if it was impossible for the universe to be life permitting, and yet we existed anyway. That would truly be a miracle. I would believe that God created the universe if that were the case.
What’s my response? “You have got to be kidding me! Seriously?” Okay, okay, I’ll give a legitimate refutation of this. Number 1, this does nothing and I mean nothing to refute the argument. It does not refute either premise 1 or premise 2. It doesn’t defend the alternatives of physical necessity nor chance. Those two still seem like terrible explanations, so how exactly does this undermine the fine tuning argument for design?
Moreover, if God did create a universe where it was impossible for life to exist, yet life existed anyway, how exactly would you come to the conclusion that life is impossible in the universe? In fact, what would a life containing life prohibiting universe even look like? True, if we did find out that the universe was life prohibiting, and yet we existed anyway, that would indeed be a miracle. It would be a miracle, and therefore evidence for a miracle working God. But how would one even come to the conclusion that life couldn’t naturally exist? How would you determine that that life couldn’t exist under natural conditions? In fact, what would prevent you from concluding that this ongoing miracle wasn’t itself some unknown law of physics. It would seem to make sense to consider it a natural law, since it’d be pervasive and ongoing, so that you wouldn’t conclude that it’s a miracle even though it is.
In any case, the fine tuning argument is not undermined. Neither premise is refuted, and therefore, neither is the conclusion.
3: God is not needed. Evolution explains the fine tuning.
Is this atheist serious? The person who made this argument obviously doesn’t know much about science. Evolution is in the realm of biology. The Fine Tuning is in the realm of physics. One of the many things I love about the fine tuning argument is that it does an end run around the whole issue of Special Creation VS. Darwinian Evolution. I can give the atheist Darwinian evolution for free if this argument pulls through.
Maybe this atheist is arguing that the parameters of physics fell into the life permitting range by chance. But in that case, see my arguments against chance in “The Fine Tuning Argument For God’s Existence (Updated Version)”. One thing’s for sure, this atheist is clearly scientifically ignorant if he thinks a biological theory can explain a phenomenon in physics.
4: If the evidence for design were as good as you say, everyone would be creationists.
It seems to me that you could make this argument about just about anything and everything! You could argue that if the evidence for Darwinian Evolution were so good, then everyone would be an evolutionist (whether theistic evolutionist, or non-theistic evolutionists). You could argue that if the evidence for atheism were true, everyone would be an atheist. You know, if the argument from evil and suffering really disproved God’s existence, then anyone who heard it would stop believing in Him. You could argue that the evidence for the non-personhood of the fetus was so good, then everyone would be pro-choice, or vice versa, that if the evidence for the personhood of the fetus were so good, then everyone would be pro-life. You could argue that if the evidence for global warming were really good, everyone would believe it.
Moreover, and most importantly, this argument does not refute either premise of the fine tuning argument. And if neither premise is refuted, then neither is the conclusion.
5: Humans started out as simple chimps, but we evolved into powerful and intelligent creatures. Given enough time, human beings will evolve more and more, until finally we coalesce and become an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being, a Being who can travel back in time and fine tune the universe.
What in the world was this person smoking when he made this objection? Okay, number 1: he’s not denying that the universe was finely tuned by designed. But even more bizarre is that he seems to be saying that human beings will, given enough time, evolve into God. Hmm…where have I heard that before? Oh, wait! I know! Satan said it in Genesis 3! Then we will travel back in time and finely tune the universe so we can exist. However, even if we granted the insane scenario that humans could eventually evolve into a being like God, it doesn’t explain how the universe became finely tuned so that human beings could come into existence in the first place. You see, in order for humans to collectively evolve into God, the universe would already have to be finely tuned. But then, who finely tuned the universe so that we could evolve into God? Well, we did, according to this objector. Okay, but we had to come into existence before we could evolve into God in order to finely tune the universe, and we couldn't have come into existence unless the universe was already finely tuned. So how did the universe get finely tuned so we could evolve into God so we could finely tune the universe?
You see, this scenario creates a chicken-and-egg problem. It creates a paradox that, as far I can see, cannot be resolved.
Not to mention that the scenario is impossible anyway. You cannot become infinitely powerful if you weren’t already infinitely powerful, because no matter how powerful you become, you can always become more powerful.
This guy needs to stop smoking whatever it is that he’s smoking so that he can come back to reality.
None of these arguments do anything to undermine The Fine Tuning argument for God’s existence. These arguments in particular are so bad, that you’re unlikely to run into them from trained philosophers or scientists. Still, lay atheists will be apt to make objections like this, and I want them to see that they’ve done nothing to refute the fine tuning argument. I hope you don’t think that I’ve wasted your time.