It’s straightforward to answer arguments from design as they relate to the organic world. The inference of design was sensible while we didn’t know of any other process that could give rise to things that looked designed. Now we do know of such a process (evolution), and the evidence that it’s responsible for all the complexity in the organic world is overwhelming.
Cosmological Fine tuning arguments
Versions of the fine tuning argument contain hidden premises. Once these are spelled out, its weaknesses are very obvious. In a nutshell the argument says that there are certain values associated with how our universe behaves (the cosmological constants) that, if they had been even slightly different, would not have allowed life to emerge—the conclusion is that the universe was probably 'fine tuned’ so that life would emerge.
The hidden premises are as follows (based on The Fine-Tuning Argument Revisited by Theodore Drange):
P1. The set of cosmological constants we see in our world is just one of a vast number of physically possible sets.
P2. Among the physically possible sets of constants, the set we see in our world is no more likely, a priori, to exist than any other.
P3. It is not the case that there are (or have been) regions of spacetime with different cosmological constants than the ones we see in our world.
C4. From p1,2,3 the existence of the set of cosmological constants in our world is exceedingly unlikely.
P5. Our set of constants is the only physically possible set that would allow the emergence of life as we know it.
P6. The capability of permitting life as we know it to exist, is a very special feature within the set of hypothetically possible worlds.
C7. from p5, and p6, the existence of our set of constants is surprising, remarkable and in need of explanation
Premises 1, 2, 3, and 6 all need to be positively argued for in order to prop up the argument from fine-tuning. So far I haven’t found advocates of this argument who are capable of doing so.
Premise 5 (that life couldn’t have emerged with different cosmological constants) has been contradicted by the work of Fred Adams, among others.
Posted: November 19th 2009
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