Atheist response to the "fine-tuning" of the universe?

Are luck and a multiverse the only explanations?


Dreamstuff: I consider myself an atheist. You should be more cognizent of when you copy-and-paste.

Update 2:

We're not monkeys: Born in Indiana. Way to answer the question.

Update 3:

Moiraes Fate: Care to list them? Or any?

Update 4:

Samurai Jack: I was specifically thinking of the strength of gravity. Any stronger, the universe would remain in singularity, any weaker, the unverse would be dust.

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Posting a science question in the religion and spirituality section often means the asker does not really want an answer. His goal is to ask a question that he believes proves some scientific knowledge to be wrong, or that science does not yet answer, and make the implicit claim that the only other explanation is a god, and specifically, the same god he happens to believe in.

    It's the "god of the gaps" - intellectually bankrupt, since it favors ignorance instead of knowledge, and because of the contained logical fallacy.

    However, on the off chance that you really want to know the answer:

    The claim assumes life in its present form is a given; it applies not to life but to life only as we know it. The same outcome results if life is fine-tuned to the cosmos.

    We do not know what fundamental conditions would rule out any possibility of any life. For all we know, there might be intelligent beings in another universe arguing that if fundamental constants were only slightly different, then the absence of free quarks and the extreme weakness of gravity would make life impossible.

    Indeed, many examples of fine-tuning are evidence that life is fine-tuned to the cosmos, not vice versa. This is exactly what evolution proposes.

    If the universe is fine-tuned for life, why is life such an extremely rare part of it?

    Many fine-tuning claims are based on numbers being the "same order of magnitude," but this phrase gets stretched beyond its original meaning to buttress design arguments; sometimes numbers more than one-thousandfold different are called the same order of magnitude (Klee 2002).

    How fine is "fine" anyway? That question can only be answered by a human judgment call, which reduces or removes objective value from the anthropic principle argument.

    The fine-tuning claim is weakened by the fact that some physical constants are dependent on others, so the anthropic principle may rest on only a very few initial conditions that are really fundamental (Kane et al. 2000). It is further weakened by the fact that different initial conditions sometimes lead to essentially the same outcomes, as with the initial mass of stars and their formation of heavy metals (Nakamura et al. 1997), or that the tuning may not be very fine, as with the resonance window for helium fusion within the sun (Livio et al. 1989). For all we know, a universe substantially different from ours may be improbable or even impossible.

    If part of the universe were not suitable for life, we would not be here to think about it. There is nothing to rule out the possibility of multiple universes, most of which would be unsuitable for life. We happen to find ourselves in one where life is conveniently possible because we cannot very well be anywhere else.

    Intelligent design is not a logical conclusion of fine tuning. Fine tuning says nothing about motives or methods, which is how design is defined. (The scarcity of life and multi-billion-year delay in it appearing argue against life being a motive.) Fine-tuning, if it exists, may result from other causes, as yet unknown, or for no reason at all (Drange 2000).

    In fact, the anthropic principle is an argument against an omnipotent creator. If God can do anything, he could create life in a universe whose conditions do not allow for it.


    Drange, Theodore M. 2000. The fine-tuning argument revisited (2000). Philo 3(2): 38-49.

    Stenger, Victor J. 1997. Intelligent design: Humans, cockroaches, and the laws of physics.

    Stenger, Victor J. 1999 (July). The anthropic coincidences: A natural explanation. The Skeptical Intelligencer 3(3): 2-17.

    Weinberg, Steven. 1999. A designer universe?


    Drange, Theodore M. 2000. The fine-tuning argument revisited (2000). Philo 3(2): 38-49.

    Kane, G. L., M. J. Perry, and A. N. Zytkow. 2000 (28 Jan.). The beginning of the end of the anthropic principle. New Astron. 7: 45-53.

    Klee, Robert. 2002. The revenge of Pythagoras: How a mathematical sharp practice undermines the contemporary design argument in astrophysical cosmology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53: 331-354.

    Livio, M., D. Hollowell, A. Weiss and J. Truran. 1989. The anthropic significance of the existence of an excited state of 12C. Nature 340: 281-284.

    Nakamura, Takashi, H. Uehara, and T. Chiba. 1997. The minimum mass of the first stars and the anthropic principle. Progress of Theoretical Physics 97: 169-171.

    Further Reading:

    Goldsmith, D. 2004. The best of all possible worlds. Natural History 113(6) (July/Aug.): 44-49.

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  • 4 years ago

    First, I would want to see the math behind that. That seems to be a ridiculous claim. Second, there are some constants in the universe (G for example) that, while not as fine tuned as you claim, are in the right ball park for things to happen (For G for stars and planets to form) However, it has been postulated, by the people who study these things, that there could well be good reasons why these constants are at the values they are and in actuality could not be that different. Thirdly, if you look at M-theory is suggests that billions of universes are being created. If each has different values for the constants then eventually one will have the right values, and in that universe life will happen and in that universe life will gain intelligence and in that universe that intelligence will wonder at the odds of those constants coming up in the right numbers. Fourthly, those constants are for the universe and life as we know it to happen. If the constants were different then the universe could just look differently and life could still occur, just based on the scientific laws of that universe. It would still be life. Think about this: If I set up a glass in the middle of a football field, and throw a ping-pong ball onto the field the odds of getting the ball into the glass are astronomic. However, if I cover the field in glasses and throw the ball it will end up in a glass. The odds that it would have ended up in that one glass is still as astronomic as it was before, but the odds that it would end up in a glass is 1:1

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  • 1 decade ago

    There is no "fine-tuning" of the universe. It is because we exist that we believe that the universe was made to let us be. Imagine if the universe had been "fine-tuned" another way. Maybe we'd be able to fly or have other things beyond our imagination can imagine. The multiverse is possible but not required.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Hello Christ say: "Your question is vague. You should elaborate more in a re-post, or report 'Dreamstuff Entity' for being a douche. Choose now."

    Source(s): ohayo!
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  • 1 decade ago

    You can also consider that maybe the laws of the universe can only be one way.

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  • 1 decade ago

    We don't know the answers. Religion is an effort to answer questions to which honest people know we have no answers.

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  • 1 decade ago

    What "fine-tuning", specifically, are you asking about?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There are many explanations. God is NOT one of them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know.

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  • Pisces
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    you sound non-american

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