Note: This was written in response to an apologist who asked for debate and discussion partners on her YouTube channel, but ignored my offer to debate the ID claim of fine tuning, much as she has evaded debates on other topics:
Now that I’ve finally figured out how to best show videos on Zoom, I’ll be making more commentaries. If you’d like to see commentary on any #Christian or #atheist videos or debates, let me know. If you’d like to join me in a video, let me know that too! I’m always up for that.
Any time. I’m just sitting here under my bridge.2:59 PM · Oct 26, 2019·Twitter Web App
Anyway, here is my response.
Of all the fallacious arguments for intelligent design, fine-tuning of the universe is the most obvious to anyone trained in logic – it is a tautology. You have to assume that man was intended by a designer in order to conclude man is the intent of the designer. It takes a few steps to demonstrate, so I’ll bid goodbye to all the apologists who will dismiss this at this point and stop reading. For the rest of us:
At the moment of the big bang an array of possible physical laws, constants and causal chains existed; all equally improbable – yet the universe had to follow one of these possibilities. No matter which one occurred, it would be just as improbable as any of those that weren’t actualized. And whatever happened along that path simply happened because it was possible under that set of laws, constants and the causal chain. None of this implies intent.
Take the example of the Powerball Jackpot. The chances of any one ticket winning are estimated at about 1 in 292 million. Any one of the millions of players faces astronomically improbable odds, yet ultimately somebody wins. From this perspective it is obvious to most of us that it is merely a matter of chance. If we were to assume this winner was intended by god, however, it all looks very different in retrospect. We would be tempted to say it is too overwhelmingly improbable that each tiny movement of the balls in the basket could have come about by chance for that particular person to win (or that our universal constants came about by chance in just the way allows man to live), therefore the path of the balls and related conditions must have been designed by god. Yet most of us realize it was simply an accident of chance for the drawing of balls that enabled that particular winner to beat the odds while millions of others lost, although that winner’s chances were no better than the other contestants. It requires a divine act if we consider how impossible it would be to achieve the target result. When we remove the illusion of a target, however, it appears as mere happenstance.
Now you might object that the chances of our universe having just the right constants for life are much higher than 1 in 292 million, and that might be right. There are 26 constants that define our universe, and if some of them were just slightly different the universe would not sustain life. Estimates for the number of possible types of universes vary greatly, from 6 to in the trillions under string theory. But the part that many people fail to grasp is it doesn’t matter. Whether at the beginning of the big bang there were six, 292 million or a trillion possible ways the universe could be configured, one still had to be realized at whatever odds. And once it is realized, the predictive odds no longer matter. We are here discussing this because our universe just happened to be one of those that could sustain life at this point in time. Exactly like our Powerball winner, we are here because the actualized constants allowed us to be. We are an effect of the realized constants. The universe is not here to enable us. In fact, there is no reason to believe the universe is here for any reason at all, just as there is no reason to believe the universe is here to enable our Powerball winner.
As I pointed out at the start, the universe only appears to be intelligently designed from something akin to a narcissistic human perspective, and as with all narcissistic perceptions it is an illusion. The universe had already existed for 14 billion years before we evolved on this planet. Homo Sapiens have been here for about 200,000 years, which isn’t even a nano-second on the cosmic scale, and we won’t be here much longer, although the universe will continue for eons without us. Our outside limit is when either the sun ends in a glorious burst that will incinerate the entire solar system, or when our galaxy finally collides with Andromeda Galaxy, although we are likely to disappear long before that as a result of a large meteor or comet strike, nuclear destruction, or other catastrophic changes to the planet. In total, we were hardly even a blip. In addition, the universe is about 93 billion light years wide. We aren’t even a particle on the cosmic scale. It is inconceivable that all of that was designed just for us. We aren’t even a noticeable feature of the universe outside of our own perspective.
The fine-tuning argument for intelligent design is but a tautology that any college students completing their first year should recognize. We can only conclude the universe was designed for us if we assume we are the purpose of the universe. External to that narcissism, we are but a brief and tiny event enabled by the happenstance of the constants of an oblivious universe.