Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Is This Evidence for God?

Sometimes people ask about fine-tuning and I created this overview to just provide links to all of my fine-tuning blogs on CrossExamined.org. I’ll update this as I add to this. I defend this fine-tuning claim which is actually widely accepted in the physics community:

“In the set of possible physical laws, parameters and initial conditions, the subset that permits rational conscious life is very small.”

Of course whether that implies design is more controversial but I defend the case that it does:

Intro/Philosophical Background

If You Don’t Want God, You Better Have a Multiverse!

How Does Fine-Tuning Provide Evidence for God?

Evidence

Fine-Tuning of Initial Conditions to Support Life

Many Changes to the Laws of Physics Would be Life-Prohibiting

Fine-Tuning of the Force Strengths to Permit Life

Fine-Tuning of Particles to Support Life

Objections

Mistaken Objections that Seek to Trivialize Fine-Tuning

Important Objections in the Fine-Tuning Debate

But We Can’t Even Define Life

Coarse-Tuning vs. Fine-Tuning

For a more in-depth defense of the scientific case (and some excellent philosophical points), I highly recommend Cosmologist Luke Barnes:

5 replies
  1. Jwpepper says:

    Isn’t “evidence of fine tuning” really just a God-of-the-Gaps argument? What happens if/when someone discovers a theory of everything or shows that universes are randomly tuned? Will that mean God didn’t create the universe/multiverse?

    Reply
  2. Allen Hainline says:

    I blogged some about this: http://crossexamined.org/counts-evidence-god-science/

    There are certain types of arguments which are not good becaues they are God-of-the-Gaps – namely, if they appeal merely to ignorance and don’t offer a positive case. I would caution against indiscriminately calling anything a gap argument – everything explanation (theistic or otherwise) offers an explanation for what would otherwise be a gap in our knowledge. The fine-tuning deals with known entities – the constants governing the laws of nature. It’s not inserting God into a gap of knowledge but rather a discovery that it’s highly improbable that the physical constants and initial conditions of the universe were chosen at random – if they were then almost certainly there would not be intelligent, conscious creatures of any kind. Any statement about science is provisional in that science is always subject to change if there are new discoveries. To call any potential evidence for God a gap seems more to me like a naturalism of the gaps argument – akin to an appeal to unknown future scientific evidence but future evidence is not really evidence. I have a critique of the multiverse as an explanation of the fine-tuning referenced in the blogs listed above.

    Reply
    • Aaron says:

      you say that fine tuning deals with “known entities – the constants governing the laws of nature”.
      Except fine-tuning, at its core, only takes the existence of the universe and the amazing improbability that we exist and uses our existence (and the multitude of other things that happened to get us here) as the sole means to say “Someone had to tweak the dials just right”.

      But in a universe where there are more stars than grains of sand on our planet, and each of those stars having their own planetary system, the probabilities of complex life on earth, suddenly seem much less improbable.

      Of course, that doesn’t account for why quarks operate the way they do or why protons are the exact size that they are, but the boiled down answer there is that we simply dont know yet.

      I agree with the OP here that fine-tuning is basically a gaps proposition that fails the test of scientific explanation as it is not falsifiable, unique, or confirmable.

      The Fine Tuning Observation is simply an exercise in cognitive dissonance that seeks to grasp and claw at a way to keep god relevant in a world where he continues to shrink.

      Reply
  3. Greg says:

    If Yahweh is the one that fine tuned the universe I sure wish he had taken the time to fine tuned the bible too. It would be a lot more believable if he had.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] years.  Over at crossexamined.org (the apologetics site of Frank Turek) Allen has done a series of posts related to science and fine-tuning for life.  They are definitely worth the read.  His latest is […]

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