Author Topic: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence  (Read 4564 times)

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2013, 06:51:04 AM »
The fine-tuning argument is no different than "why something came out of nothing", or " why the universe was intelligently designed."  The universe exists, and we study it and interpret its properties in terms of the only limited tools we have: the alphabet and the number system. For some, this is unappealing unless they throw in God into the mix. Well, that's what our ancestors did. But as we have come to know and understand more, the need for a God to explain everything has tended to wane. The fine-tuning argument is another desperate attempt to bring about some justification for the existence of a God.  

The best argument I've read is by Jonathan MS Pearce:


Offline Sal1981

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2013, 07:07:59 AM »
Quote from: "Voskhod"
[blink:12tih1ws]LAW OF STATISTICS[/blink:12tih1ws]

Ahem. Yes. The fact that we live in such an incredibly fine-tuned universe isn't testament to intelligent design or the work of a creator - It is a simple law of statistics. Life REQUIRES these things to be fine tuned to exist, yes, but have you ever pondered the converse? If the universe wasn't fine-tuned to make life possible, there wouldn't BE any life. There wouldn't BE any people around to ponder why the universe was so hostile to life.

In other words: If the universe (And more specifically, Earth) weren't so relatively benign to life, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't have come into existence in the first place - intelligent life would have never have arisen, and we wouldn't be sitting around here discussing it over the internet now would we?
That's the Weak Anthropic Principle. Basically it just says: if stuff was different, it'd be different, and we wouldn't be the same (or even exist) to notice it being different. It's a tautology, yes, but a very telling one.

One of the implications of this tautology is that we only have one set of parameters to go on; the ones which necessitate life. Theist apologists like to play on this as important, but it's not really. All it says is that there are possible conditions which do not favour life. If they start talking about design, point them in the direction of black holes. The constants of this universe are a lot more suitable for generating black holes a lot more than generating life.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" --- Richard P. Feynman

Offline Seabear

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2013, 09:53:36 AM »
One of the best refutations to the Fine Tuning argument (can't take credit; read it somewhere myself):

It basically boils down to no more than this: if things were different, then things would be different. If the physical constants were different, our universe would simply be an entirely different place. (I see Sal beat me to it... above)

It's speculative and circumstantial. And an often overlooked aspect is that AT MOST, it could possibly point to a designer, but gives no evidence at all for one "god" over another (nor does it eliminate the possibility of a pantheon of creationist gods), and certainly lends no support to the myth that it was created solely for our benefit.

The entire argument is typical of theistic/creationist thinking: "we already KNOW the truth; let's look for evidence that supports it." Specifically, the only reason the fine tuning argument works for the theistic mind is that if the universe were different than it is, then life as we know it could not exist. Therefore we as humans would not exist. And since we already "know" that the universe was created specifically for US, and we are in GODS IMAGE, then the universe must be fine tuned specifically for us to exist. Therefore, evidence for God. It all hinges on typical false xtian humility and is based upon false assumptions. It's not a search for truth.
"There is a saying in the scientific community, that every great scientific truth goes through three phases. First, people deny it. Second, they say it conflicts with the Bible. Third, they say they knew it all along."

- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2013, 06:18:11 PM »
Thanks for the input guys. :)
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2013, 07:02:57 PM »
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
The fine-tuning argument is no different than "why something came out of nothing", or " why the universe was intelligently designed."  The universe exists, and we study it and interpret its properties in terms of the only limited tools we have: the alphabet and the number system. For some, this is unappealing unless they throw in God into the mix. Well, that's what our ancestors did. But as we have come to know and understand more, the need for a God to explain everything has tended to wane. The fine-tuning argument is another desperate attempt to bring about some justification for the existence of a God.  

The best argument I've read is by Jonathan MS Pearce:

That is a great quote.  'fine-tuned' does not speak to how well something functions.   People have been fine-tuned to die.
Please don't take anything I say seriously.

Offline aitm

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2013, 07:05:37 PM »
my question is. could the fine tuning be better? did "god"skimp? if we could add stuf would life be better? easier? maybe the fine tuning aint all that big of a deal.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2013, 02:50:06 AM »
Quote from: "aitm"
my question is. could the fine tuning be better? did "god"skimp? if we could add stuf would life be better? easier? maybe the fine tuning aint all that big of a deal.

Well, for one, he wouldn't make 97% of all water on the Earth salt-water, with the remaining 2.9% fresh water being frozen in glaciers or underground...That there would certainly solve a whole lotta' issues. That and the extreme variation of climates around the Earth, from the frozen -80F winters of Siberia, to the scorching 134F summers of the Mojave and Saharan deserts. We can only eat a fraction of all the vegetation on the Earth, as well as only a good chunk of the animals on the planet, with the rest being indigestible and/or poisonous to us. All of the poisonous/venomous/territorial animals that can easily kill a human if provoked... And on top of those; all the viruses, prions, bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can make us sick in all sorts of fun ways. Then there's the natural disasters that occur on a daily basis - Tornadoes, tsunamis, blizzards, heatwaves, monsoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, solar flares, the list goes on...Plus, only 30% of the Earth is actually covered by land, and only 2-4% of that land can be used for farming and cultivation? Oh, and considering that we live on a planet that is almost entirely water, we can only hold our breath for 5 minutes maximum compared to other animals like seals and whales who can literally hold their breaths for hours at a time. That and humans make extremely poor swimmers compared to other animals. And don't forget our average lifetime, though much higher from most animals at 70 years, could be much better - like those of the Orcas and tortoises, who can live up to 200-300 years respectively. We can only see 0.01% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and hear the same percentage of the acoustic spectrum. Humans are also extremely vulnerable to radiation, toxins, and infection - with a single nasty cut being fatal to anyone who doesn't get immediate, modern-day medical attention. Our immune systems are full of holes, and up until the invention of modern medicine, allowed for the periodic near-extinction of our race numerous times throughout human history. Seems like he could of fixed those issues as well.

And don't even get me started on Australia.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 03:30:35 AM by Voskhod »
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Offline Plu

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2013, 03:08:02 AM »
But instead of fixing them, god gives us the means to fix all these issues, and then tells us we're going to hell if we try and figure out how they work. How friendly of him.

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2013, 05:47:25 AM »
Wheat fields are finely tuned for crop circles.  :P
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Colanth

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2013, 11:41:52 PM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Now, I think the more easily rebutted version of the argument is that the universe's constants are fine-tuned specifically for life. I mean, once you point out the incomprehensibly vast amount of the universe (or even just Earth) that is inhospitable to even the most specialized forms of life
The universe's constants are precisely the same in the most inhospitable place in the universe as they are on a Pacific atoll.  (Except, possibly, for the rum/coconut milk ratio.)

BTW, the scientific term "fine-tuned" doesn't mean, or even imply, that anything was "tuned", it means "happen to be".  So the weak anthropic principle still applies.  No theist has ever, to my knowledge, come up with a better argument to it than the fact that it's inelegant.  And the last time I looked at the instruction manual for the universe, it didn't require anything to be elegant.
Afflicting the comfortable for 70 years.
Science builds skyscrapers, faith flies planes into them.

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2013, 06:24:07 PM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
So I've been doing some groundwork and "research" for several future "counter-apologetics" videos on my MindForgedManacle YouTube channel and I'm currently thinking about the fine-tuning argument.

Now, I think the more easily rebutted version of the argument is that the universe's constants are fine-tuned specifically for life. I mean, once you point out the incomprehensibly vast amount of the universe (or even just Earth) that is inhospitable to even the most specialized forms of life - as well as the fact of biological evolution (life better fitting itself for the universe) - then that version would seem to collapse.

However, a harder one to tackle (to me) is the version pointing that the universe's constants allow for life to form, despite a hugely absurd likelihood of them falling into that range. Now, you can (of course) posit the multiverse hypothesis, but it is true that such is "multiplying entities beyond necessity", i.e contrary to Occam's Razor, a principle we ourselves often make use of against theists. So what would be the optimal ways to attack this argument, and what pitfalls should I seek to avoid? I've been meaning to check out the physicist Victor Stenger's The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: How the Universe is Not Designed for Life (not sure I got that subtitle right), but I just haven't gotten to it.

 :-k
An omnimax God wouldn't need to fine tune the universe for life, it would merely need to sustain that life by fiat:

Is The Universe Fine-tuned For Us? - Victor Stenger
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman

Re: The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2013, 08:22:00 PM »
Oooh, thanks for that PDF man. :)
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens