Atheism- Theism – The Fine-Tuning argument for God

In the Atheism-Theism debate, the claim a god exists is put forwards due to the apparent fine-tuning of the cosmos. Life appears to be well adjusts for our existence.

There are several universal constants, such as the speed of light, that have specific measurable quantities. If just one these constants varies by the slightest amount, stars would not form and there could be no life. The chance that all those constants happen to be exactly right for intelligent life to develop on Earth is so infinitesimal, the constants must have been preset by designer, a God.

I find it unconvincing, firstly, firstly no one knows whether it’s even possible for physical constants to differ, let alone how likely that would be. Perhaps our universe had to have those exact constants.

Cosmic Homeostasis

The Buddhist/Daoist in me questions the idea of Fine-Tuning itself. It assumes the cosmological constants are separate from each other; that is, if we change one, the whole cosmic edifice collapses, but is this the case?

In a self-organising system, for example, ourselves, if we get too hot, we have a biological feedback loop that makes us sweat. Water evaporation cools our body, bringing our temperature back to a more comfortable range is life-perpetuating: biological homeostasis. Its a feature of a complex system to regulate itself. It does this through feedback loops that take an output and make it an input.

The cosmos is a complex system that might work similarly—a Cosmic Homeostasis. The cosmological constants are not independent; they influence each other. Changing one will mean the others change, keeping the cosmos in a balance conducive to life. It means any calculations and claims we have about the implausibility of life are in doubt. Life is not a freak accident but part of the evolution of the cosmos.

For the theists to say the cosmos is be fine-tuned doesn’t add up because you can’t draw firm conclusions from a sample size of one – we only have one cosmos to examine. But there might be other universes, those that never grew and formed. That would make this universe just one among many.
The fine-tuning assumes too much and is quick to draw spurious conclusions from limited data.

Reductionist science

Another question mark over the argument is the method.

Reductionism is a method of separating things out into their parts to examine and study. Such a practice can give us knowledge, but it can also be misleading because such objects are not separate in practice or their existence. Everything we witness is interrelated. Any conclusion we draw is, therefore, based upon an illusion of separation.

Theists will criticise reductionism due to its shortcomings; it’s dehumanising, leading to a materialistic view of existence, a reality of just parts, atoms and energy.

But they will, with a straight face, use reductionist science (fine-tuning described by cosmologists) to argue for a God.

If you can’t get to a person with just chemicals and atoms, how can you get to a God from just cosmological constants?

They point out the limits of reductionism and then ignore them. If reductionist science dehumanised humans, and the same reductionist method ‘de-godifies’ God.

Does God have limits? Can God create life in any configuration of constants? If so, then there is no fine-tuning, no design; there’s no specialness to our cosmos; God can create life anywhere, in any way. But if God is limited to nature’s laws, to the constants, then God has limits and therefore, is not all-powerful, and therefore nor God.

Lego Set

The argument assumes that the universe is made of inert stuff, just as a Lego needs an agency to push the blocks together, like the cosmos. It’s still argued from a materialistic viewpoint, but as above, the cosmos is not made of separate things; it’s all interconnected.

So, the argument is based upon a false assumption.

Who is to say an interconnected cosmos can’t self-organise and change? A magnetic field arises between two polarities, the attraction or repulsion between them. There is no need for a creator to make the magnetic field. The attraction/repulsion is one example of how the cosmos works, a natural occurrence.

In atomic physics, there are processes like radioactive decay; for chemical interactions, there are oxidation and hydrolysis. For organisms, it’s the need to survive, be safe, procreate, etc. On larger scales, forces are within the behaviour of herds, tribes, and society.

Aseity, is the ‘property by which a being exists of and from itself’, a property seen in the cosmos. In Chinese Daoism, it is called Ziran 自然, or “of its own; by itself.” There’s no need for an agency to push stuff around, apart or together. No need for an agency to be the first cause to push stuff into motion; it’s already in motion (See Kalam argument).

Are Long odds long?

Another point of contention is miracles, events that break the laws of nature. Yet how can fine-tuning be argued if God can do miracles that violate those laws. There’s no need for fine-tuning if gifts are possible.  If God does miracles, then God is breaking his laws or nature.

Theists say the odds of our cosmos exist to be very unlikely, claiming there’s a one in a billion chance of something occurring. But that’s only half the equation. What if the dice are rolled a billion times? Then, the chances of it occurring become much higher to a 1:1 certainty. It’s called the Law of Large Numbers. Roll the dice enough times, and even the most unlikely possibilities will occur. Something rare or unlikely doesn’t mean impossible or supernatural.

The Lottery Fallacy arises when we erroneously infer X must be designed because X is improbable. A lottery winner must have cheated because winning the lottery is so unlikely.

Also, is there is a supernatural defined by probability, then where’s the threshold between the natural and the supernatural? If a 1 in 6 chance is natural, and 1 in a billion is supernatural, then there must be a transition point between the natural and supernatural. Where is this threshold? How do they know it exists, why there, and how do they know where?

It’s also worth pointing out that life is made from oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, making up 96% of our bodies, mainly in the form of water. They are some of the most common chemicals in the cosmos. Hydrogen is the most common. To say life is unlikely fails to accept so many building blocks of life are all around us.

What’s more, life only has to begin once. The number of places for life to evolve is enormous, with millions of galaxies, millions of stars, and millions of planets. Even if you only take 5% of them as viable, that still leaves millions of planets where life can arise. Again is the it’s called the Law of Large Numbers. The absence of life is a more plausible argument for God than life.

Closing Thoughts

The Fine-tuning argument happens when you make an implication you can back up.
To suggest the cosmological constants are separate, that all existence is just objects that don’t interact.
Therefore, there has to be an agency that makes it all work.

The counter is to point out such flaws in their assumptions: matter is not inert; the constants are not as separate as reductionist thinking suggests.
If everything is interconnected and has relationships and reactions, then the movement of the cosmos needs no designer or Fine-tuning.