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Thread: Fine-Tuning Argument vs Argument From Miracles

  1. Top | #21
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian63 View Post
    The FTA essentially states that if the various physical features and natural laws of the universe were even slightly different from what they currently are, then we humans would not exist. Since we do exist, then the universe is fine-tuned to have those features and laws, and the best explanation for that fine-tuning is a divine or supernatural sentient being. God.
    The fine tuning argument implicitly assumes that the universe has a purpose, and that purpose is to support life, specifically human life on this piece of rock we call Earth. We have no evidence to support the idea that the universe has a purpose to its existence, much less that the purpose is to support life on Earth. Without this underlying assumption, the fine tuning argument falls apart, especially when we consider that an overwhelmingly large proportion of the universe, including much of Earth except for a thin sliver at the surface, is inhospitable to life.
    ...
    The fundamental point of the FTA is that it's highly improbable that the constants of nature happen to have values which would allow life to exist in any form, let alone human. That's the basic premise for suggesting there needs to be a God. If one's only point is that human life wouldn't exist then it's only a matter of a few seconds that would have prevented the asteroid striking the Chicxulub region, with its extensive gypsum deposits, and which caused the end of the dinosaurs and the rise of the mammals. I've even heard one TV evangelist claim that we have God to thank for placing Jupiter in the path of the comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 thereby saving mankind. So if we can get past the idea that no, we wouldn't otherwise even be here to pose the question, then we still must deal with the notion that life itself is special in some fundamental way. Out with anthropocentrism and in with biocentrism. It seems that being truly objective might require extraordinary humility indeed.

    I think the confusion in the discussion of FTA vs AFM is that FTM is derived from Aristotle's conception of God and his attempt at a rational argument for the existence of a first cause, while AFM is strictly based on biblical and pre-biblical myths. I've heard it said that Aristotle's God can't be found in the Bible. The Bible God is about as perfect as Donald Trump is trustworthy.

  2. Top | #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian63 View Post
    The FTA essentially states that if the various physical features and natural laws of the universe were even slightly different from what they currently are, then we humans would not exist. Since we do exist, then the universe is fine-tuned to have those features and laws, and the best explanation for that fine-tuning is a divine or supernatural sentient being. God.
    The fine tuning argument implicitly assumes that the universe has a purpose, and that purpose is to support life, specifically human life on this piece of rock we call Earth. We have no evidence to support the idea that the universe has a purpose to its existence, much less that the purpose is to support life on Earth. Without this underlying assumption, the fine tuning argument falls apart, especially when we consider that an overwhelmingly large proportion of the universe, including much of Earth except for a thin sliver at the surface, is inhospitable to life.
    ...
    The fundamental point of the FTA is that it's highly improbable that the constants of nature happen to have values which would allow life to exist in any form, let alone human. That's the basic premise for suggesting there needs to be a God. If one's only point is that human life wouldn't exist then it's only a matter of a few seconds that would have prevented the asteroid striking the Chicxulub region, with its extensive gypsum deposits, and which caused the end of the dinosaurs and the rise of the mammals. I've even heard one TV evangelist claim that we have God to thank for placing Jupiter in the path of the comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 thereby saving mankind. So if we can get past the idea that no, we wouldn't otherwise even be here to pose the question, then we still must deal with the notion that life itself is special in some fundamental way. Out with anthropocentrism and in with biocentrism. It seems that being truly objective might require extraordinary humility indeed.
    An event being improbable doesn't mean that the event is necessarily directed with an intent to produce a specific result. An individual's odds of winning the jackpot in a lottery, or of being conceived with the exact genetic sequence of 3 billion nucleotides that the individual happens to possess, are highly improbable events. But that guy holding the big check for $700M is real, and he has exactly the genetic makeup that he has.

    And that's assuming we accept the premise that our visible universe turning out the way it did is indeed an improbable event. For all we know, a universe may only be possible if it has the properties our visible universe possesses. Or it may be that our visible universe is just one of a very large number of universes that exist outside our ability to observe, and that they all have different properties which may or may not be randomly generated. There may be an infinite number of universes out there where life is impossible. We don't have enough information about universes to make even a semi-educated guess.

    I believe that the existence of life is special, as is the existence of our species. But life is special only to us humans who have evolved the nervous system needed to comprehend the universe and wonder at our place within it. In the big picture, life can only exist in small, isolated corners of the universe, and then only for a brief moment in time. We exist in the Stelliferous Era, the age of the stars, just the blink of an eye by cosmic timescales. And the time will come when the last star has been born, and the time will come when the last red dwarf and the last black hole has degenerated to nothing. And still our universe will continue to exist for an incomprehensible length of time whose scale is impossible for our human minds to comprehend.

    To believe that the universe was created with the exact purpose of allowing an individual to exist and to perform certain actions is incredibly narcissistic. We are an accident, an aberration, an experiment that will soon disappear, leaving behind no trace of our history, just like everything else in the universe. The fleeting nature of our existence is what makes our lives so valuable. Living forever would be just like the hell described in the Bible, you can never escape, not even by dying.

  3. Top | #23
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Oh, that's special, in a short bus way. Two conflicting arguments that make shit up about the universe in order to prove the existence of god can be harmonized by making up shit about the god they're trying to prove.

    I prefer adult-fanfiction.org to Fanfiction.net for this level of fantasy, myself.
    All my bible fanfic is there...

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    Veteran Member skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Douglas Adams had a rather insightful answer to this silly question.


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    There's two stages to the argument from fine tuning.

    The first stage is to determine if there actually is any fine tuning (laws of physics.) Is fine tuning a mirage, a trompe l'oeil in the mind of pattern-seeking observers. Or is it a fundamental, brute fact aspect of reality.

    The second step, upon determining that there is some sort of fine tuning, is to decide whether it is the product of (a) chance, (b) necessity or
    (c) design/intent.

    The red coloured font section indicates the religiously neutral aspects of this question. Atheists can accept that the uni/multi/omni/megaverse is finely tuned, and the explanation of that fine tuning without conceding teleology.

    Where the pre-suppositional atheism-of-the-gaps bias gets in the way is when it sees the entire question of fine-tuning in terms of intelligent design.

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    Veteran Member Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Theological fine tuning. A supernatural realm that is so fine tuned it can allow for an omni-everything creator God. If fine tuning arguments and multi-Universe theories that solve that problem are a problem for theists, why isn't theological fine tuning not a problem for theology?

    Then we get back to the problems of God. omnibenevolent and omnipotence and the existence of evil, creation of all, omniscience and free will, and other problems suggesting God is not a sound set of theories. Not to mention hypotheses that are not provable such as the existence of a supernatural realm, or that disembodied non-material intelligent beings can exist. God seems to be as outdated and useless as a theory as the theory of phologostine.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Biblegod is so damn convenient. You can say whatever you please about an invisible, self-concealing deity. And so they do -- explaining his motives, his basic nature -- always retaining the extra-play card of "his ways are mysterious" when they run into crazy contradictions. I especially love the believers who survive mass shootings and thank God for saving them, because the implication is that the victims' families should be cursing God and calling him a worthless dick.

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    Fine tuning?
    Flip a coin ten thousand times and record the series of heads and tails. Now, what is the chance of that exact series of heads and tails occuring? And yet it did occur against all odds. Was this due to some super powerful, all pervasive consciousness willing it so? Or was it maybe due to that just being the way it happened?

  9. Top | #29
    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I think these are probably different parties; someone who believes that the universe is fine-tuned probably does not think of miracles as supernatural events that "break" nature, but rather seek rational explanations for why that thing happened at that time, visualizing them as events that were always meant to occur as they did. The idea that miracles are a violation of natural law is a common one, but not universally held or dogma for any official body that I know of.
    Religious people tend to also be very emotional. In truth, lots of things are miracles in their view. I had someone walk into my house when some flowers were in bloom and tell me how miraculous it was to behold these beautiful fragrant blooms, that there had to be a god to account for such beauty.

    The cosmos, what little they know about it, is simply the ultimate thing they can ascribe to miraculous intervention. Miracles are just the things they like. The things they don't like aren't miracles.

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    Jesus in a bagel...Virgin Mary on the side of a storage tank of oil...where I worked, the parking lot overlooked someone's back yard where, one spring, some mushrooms sprang up in a near-perfect circle (i.e., where they would if, say, they had once circled a now-missing tree...) and the more mystical-minded on staff urged everyone to go look at this mind-blowing phenomenon...which was supposed to portend...uh, who the hell knows. And of course the near-death phenomenon, where those who 'come back' report the glowing light or Minnie Pearl waving them on, at the end of a long golden corridor (some of that is my reconstruction.) When I hear these eye-witness accounts from breathless acquaintances, I'm always thinking, you might as well be a toothless peasant in 9th Century France.

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