The argument goes that there are a handful of fundamental constants of the universe that are just perfect for the universe to unfold in such a way that life could exist. Via a quick google search, I landed on the following page which says the constants are:
- Ratio of Electrons to Protons
- Ratio of Electromagnetic Force to Gravity
- Expansion Rate of Universe
- Mass Density of Universe
- Cosmological Constant
If any of these constants were every so slightly different from what they are, life would be impossible and therefore the odds of this happening randomly are incomprehensibly low. Therefore, there must be an intelligent God out there pulling the strings so that everything will come out just right. Obviously, I think that apologists jump to the God conclusion too quickly, they claim that God is the only possible answer to this puzzle, I think there are several other reasonable possibilities.
1. All of this is built on the assumption that there is only 1 universe, it is certainly possible that we are part of a larger multiverse, and each universe within the multiverse has a different set of universal constants. Alternatively, it is possible that our universe will eventually collapse into a singularity and there will be a new big bang, creating a new universe with new universal constants. In this case, we are merely one link in a chain of universes, and perhaps many of those links do not indeed have life. In this possibility, the argument becomes pretty much a carbon copy of what I said yesterday. We exist in the universe where we are possible and observe it and say that it is amazing, when really there are many other potentially empty universes that we just can't see. Ancient people didn't know there were other planets, maybe we are in an analogous position today.
2. Fine tuning argues that we are lucky these constants are exactly what they are, but this assumes that it would be possible for them to be any different. Maybe due to things that we don't understand these constants just have to be exactly what they are. Let me try to explain this idea with an analogy, suppose we are looking from above at a piece of glass with a marble on it, and we are considering the odds of that marble sitting exactly where it is sitting. If we want to do a calculation, we could simply figure out how far we will allow the marble to move before we consider that in a different place, compare that to the area of the glass, do a quick division and then give the percentage chance of the marble being in this exact place. What is the hidden assumption here? That the marble is sitting on a flat pane of glass. Suppose instead that glass is in the shape of a bowl, and there is a unique spot in the center that is the lower than all the others. In this case, there is no chance that the marble is sitting anywhere else on the glass, no matter where we set the marble, it will roll to the middle. (since we viewed it from above, we could not tell that the glass was curved) Perhaps the universal constants are the similar, we might ask why the ratio of protons to electrons isn't different, the correct answer might be that due to the way protons and electrons are created, this is simply impossible. We didn't get lucky that the marble was in the exact center of the glass, if it was placed anywhere else it would always roll to that spot.
3. Perhaps apologists are incorrect that a slight change in the universal constants would prevent life from forming. Indeed, Victor Stenger has done computer simulations and has concluded that if these constants are out of the range that apologists claim are required for life to be possible, we still wind up with a universe where life can exist.
The real point here is that the fine tuning argument is supposed to be an argument which proves that God exists. It absolutely fails this task. It relies on several assumptions that it never proves. It's points to a bunch of constants that seem pretty remarkable and then asserts that the only way these constants could be this way is if God set them up. The reality is that we simply don't know why those constants are what they are, but our lack of knowledge does not point to God. As with many apologetics, the fine tuning argument boils down to an argument from ignorance. I, for one, am not impressed.