The Religious A priori

Fine TuningArgument, Page 2

objections Answered:

D. Objections answered.

1) No undesigned Universe to compare it to.

The argument is that we are attaching teleological significance to chance events when we infur design, and any arugment about design merely begs the question becasue without an undesigned unvierse to compare this one to, we have no actual proof that it is designed.

Answer: We don't really need one:

Paul Davies:

"You might be tempted to suppose that any old rag-bag of laws would produce a complex universe of some sort, with attendant inhabitants convinced of their own specialness. Not so. It turns out that randomly selected laws lead almost inevitably either to unrelieved chaos or boring and uneventful simplicity. Our own universe is poised exquisitely between these unpalatable alternatives, offering a potent mix of freedom and discipline, a sort of restrained creativity. The laws do not tie down physical systems so rigidly that they can accomplish little, but neither are they a recipe for cosmic anarchy. Instead, they encourage matter and energy to develop along pathways of evolution that lead to novel variety-what Freeman Dyson has called the principle of maximum diversity: that in some sense we live in the most interesting possible universe."

"Some scientists have tried to argue that if only we knew enough about the laws of physics, if we were to discover a final theory that united all the fundamental forces and particles of nature into a single mathematical scheme, then we would find that this superlaw, or theory of everything, would describe the only logically consistent world. In other words, the nature of the physical world would be entirely a consequence of logical and mathematical necessity. There would be no choice about it. I think this is demonstrably wrong. There is not a shred of evidence that the universe is logically necessary. Indeed, as a theoretical physicist I find it rather easy to imagine alternative universes that are logically consistent, and therefore equal contenders for reality." [ First Things: Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address]

2) The Multiverse Objection

The argument is that none of these forces and examples really prove design because given ifinite chances there will eventually be a universe that gets it right, we just happen to be it. Now scientists theorize that there are billions or even an infinite set of alternate universes arising all the time. That gives us the infinite chances.

Answer a): IF the odds are great enough it's obvious the game is fixed.

Bradley observes:

"Many additional examples could be cited. If I rolled a dice and got a "6," you would not be surprised. If I rolled a dice five times and got a "6," you would begin to be a little suspicious. However, if you rolled the dice 1,000 times and got a "6" each time, you would be certain that there is something funny about the dice. So it is with our quirky universe in which everything has to be just so and is indeed found to be. Hume and others have argued incorrectly that it is not surprising that everything is just so, else we would not be here to observe it. The well known atheist J.L. Mackie (Miracle of Theism, p.141) saw the flaw in Hume's criticism: There is only one actual universe, with a unique set of basic materials and physical constants, and it is therefore surprising that the elements of this unique set-up are just right for life when they might easily have been wrong. This is not made less surprising by the fact that if it had not been so, no one would have been here to be surprised. We can properly envision and consider alternative possibilities which do not include our being there to experience them."

b) Have to know hit rate.

If there is a sting of infinite universes, and every one of them meets these strings of remarkable coincidences to produce life, how do we know that God didn't produce them? We can only know how remarkable the chances of a life producing universe really are if we know the rate of universe failure. In other words we have to see some universes that are only 12 feet wide because they didn't hit the right Plank density.

c): it is also not clear that this infinite chances argument applies to the unified field argument at all. Without the unified field, or without it set up just right, no universe could ever support anything. Is it produced by the BB or prior to it? Is it the same unified field for all paralell univeres? We don't know, thus we have no way to judge the soundess of the infinite chances argument, but what we can say is it is an obvious blue print and a dead give away on design.

d) We can never know if other universes exist or not.

Sten Odenwald, Gaddard, Nasa

"yes there could be other universes out there, but they would be unobservable no matter how old our universe became...even infinitly old!! So, such universes have no meaning to science because there is no experiment we can perform to detect them."

e) Multiverse evidence can go either way.

<< Philosopher of science John Leslie gives what is probably the best treatment of the fine-tuning evidence in his "Universes" and concludes that it can be construed as evidence for both multiple universes and design, though just as Martin Rees attempts to say that a reason for preferring the Multiverse theory might be that the universe doesn't seem to be special *among* those that could concievably support life, Leslie points to a type of higher fine-tuning that speaks to just the opposite conclusion:

f) Reason to prefur God-assumption

"A possible argument for preferring the God hypothesis runs as follows. A physical force strength or elementary particle mass can often seem to have required tuning to such and such a numerical value, plus or minus very little, for several different reasons. Random variations from universe to universe might explain why it took any particular value somewhere or other, yet how could they account for the fact that one and the same value satisfied many different requirements? Why is such consistency possible? Why does electromagnetism, for example, not need to have one strength to allow atoms to be stable, and another strength for stars to burn at a life-encouraging rate, and yet another to permit carbon (quite probably crucial to life) to be produced plentifully? Here a religiously minded physicist could think in terms of many possible fundamental theories, God selecting a theory which permitted life's requirements to be fulfilled without contradictions."[John Leslie, "Cosmology and Theology", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

g) Multiverse Requires Fine Tunning

Futhermore, the best mechanism for multiverses that last, actually requires fine-tuning itself. The chaotic inflationary model - which seeks to avoid fine-tuning by positing that the initial conditions vary at random over the superspace of the Higgs fields - also fine-tunes its parameters, as Earman has pointed out: "The inflationary model can succeed only by fine-tuning its parameters, and even then, relative to some natural measures on initial conditions, it may also have to fine-tune its initial conditions for inflation to work." (Earman, John. Bangs, Crunches, Wimpers, and Shrieks: Singularities and Acausalities in Relativistic Spacetimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995., p. 156) So rather than avoid fine-tuning, the multiverse pushes it up a level.

h) Multivrese is Inverse of Gambler's fallacy

The whole issue of the objection to the multiverse is nothing but an inverse of the gambler's fallacy: " Some people think that if you roll the dice repeatedly and don't get double sixes, then you are more likely to get double sixes on the next roll. They are victims of the notorious gambler's fallacy. In a 1987 article in Mind, the philosopher Ian Hacking sees a kindred bit of illogic behind the Many Universes Hypothesis. Suppose you enter a room and see a guy roll a pair of dice. They come up double sixes. You think, "Aha, that is very unlikely on a single roll, so he must have rolled the dice many times before I walked into the room." You have committed what Hacking labels the inverse gambler's fallacy."[Jim Holt, "War of the Worlds: Do you believe in God? Or in multiple universes?" Lingua Franca, December 2000/January 2001]

i) Incredulous logic of Multiverse begs question

Plantinga puts it as follows: "Well, perhaps all this is logically possible (and then again perhaps not). As a response to a probabilistic argument, however, it's pretty anemic. How would this kind of reply play in Tombstone, or Dodge City? "Waal, shore, Tex, I know it's a leetle mite suspicious that every time I deal I git four aces and a wild card, but have you considered the following? Possibly there is an infinite succession of universes, so that for any possible distribution of possible poker hands, there is a universe in which that possibility is realized; we just happen to find ourselves in one where someone like me always deals himself only aces and wild cards without ever cheating. So put up that shootin' arn and set down 'n shet yore yap, ya dumb galoot."[Alvin Plantinga, "Darwin, Mind, and Meaning", May/June 1996 issue of Books and Culture]

j) Multiverse is Atheism of the Gaps

All the invocation of the multiverse really shows is that the atheist or anti-design critic will never accept ANY evidence for design at all. That is why I love it so much. Consider an example: We look into a distant galaxy and find that a cluster of stars perfectly spells out the first 3 chapters of the Gospel of John in Greek. Above it is the phrase: "No, this is not due to chance. It is designed. Don't even try to invoke the multiverse." The skeptic COULD STILL invoke the multiverse and claim that if there are an infinite number of universes that exhaust all possible configurations of matter, this one was BOUND to come up. MOREOVER, it it were true, it would mean that there must be universes out there where the Greek verses are spelled out by the stars and yet, mispelled, as the stars in that universe just didin't quite hit the target, so it would say "Toe, Dish et nog du to pance. Fit met Degine. Don't even fry to enpoke the Multisource." This reductio ad absurdum just shows how absurd it is to assume the multiverse when the only reason to do so is to answer the anthropic argument.

k) Violation of Occam's Razor

The multiverse is a desperate catch-all explanation that could explain away any evidence for anything by simply inflating the probabilistic resources to infinity, and it is also the most flagrant violation of Occam's razor ever. Occam really said "do not multiply entities beyond necessity," yet the Multiversers are doing just that merely for the purpose of answering this argument.

l) Multiverse destroys indicutive reasoning, and therefore, scientific natrualism

Further, it pretty much destroys induction, as Robert Koons from the University of Texas (hook em horns!) argues: "There is another serious drawback to the junky cosmos hypothesis [multiverse]: if employed globally, it has the consequence that any form of induction is demonstrably unreliable. If we embrace the junky cosmos hypothesis to explain away every appearance of orderedness in the universe, then we should assume that the simplicity and regularity of natural law is also an artifact of observer selection. Universes would be posited to exist with every possible set of natural laws, however complex or inductively ill-behaved. "Now take any well-established scientific generalization. Among the universes that agree with all of our observations up to this point in time, the number that go on to break this generalization is far greater than the number that continue to respect it. The objective probability that every generalization we have observed extends no farther than our observations is infinitely close to one. Thus, relying on induction in such a universe is demonstrably futile."["A New Look at the Cosmological Argument." American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (1997):193-212.]

Leslie concedes the same as concerns the problem with induction, and further asks if an hypothesis which creates such problems could even be called "scientific".

m) Doesn't answer elegance

It's not clear that the multiverse argument answers arguments like the Elegance of the universe, or that it explains how dead equasions can make a life bearing universe.

n) No reason to assume wider background space

Quantum vacuum fluctuation models postulate a vacuum in a wider background space from which new expanding universe emerges, just as sub-atomic particles emerge from a quantum vacuum. This background space is in a steady state (not expanding) and gives birth to other expanding mini-universes, one of which is our own.

Is there any good reason to regard the observed expansion of our universe as only something local and not applicable to the universe as a whole? The Copernican principle states that we hold no special place in the universe and, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is safe to assume that the expansion we observe everywhere we can check applies to the entirety of the universe.

Craig observes "Indeed, since we are confined to the observable universe, one wonders how we could ever have such evidence. Postulating a different, wider universe is akin to postulating God -- except that, unlike God, we have no independent reason to think that a wider universe exists."[Cosmos and Creator, "Origins & Design", Vol. 17, No. 2, 1996]

o) Multiverse is Arbitrary necessity(see Argument 1)

See argument one. Arbitrary necessities are illogical. That is one a contingency is put over as a necessity. That is what is being done with the multiverse, they are pretending that this whole mutliverse needs no expliantion, it's just bound to happen, it's necessary. But it's really just magnifying a string of endless contingencies into a giant arbitrary necesssity.

As philosopher of science Quentin R. Smith admits, "A disadvantage of . . . theories that postulate a background space from which the universe fluctuates, is that they explain the existence of the universe but only at the price of introducing another unexplained given, viz., the background space"[Quentin R. Smith (1988), "The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe," Philosophy of Science 55:54]

Robert Koon's Answers on Multiverse

p)Metaphysical Parity of Theism and Many-Universes

"Note how the situation has changed. Originally, atheists prided themselves on being no-nonsense empiricists, who limited their beliefs to what could be seen and measured. Now, we find ourselves in a situation in which the only alternative to belief in God is belief in an infinite number of unobservable parallel universes! You've come along way, baby!"

"At the very least, God's existence is as good, as simple and economical an explanation of the coincidences as is the many-universes model. Arguably, it is much simpler, in fact."

q)Tie Breakers

"The Many-Universes model has been invented solely to explain the coincidences. It is what science calls an "ad hoc" explanation. There is no other, independent evidence of the existence of these other universes. For example, there is the cosmological argument, about which I have written elsewhere (Koons 1997). In addition, there are arguments for God's existence from morality, consciousness, religious experience and the possibility of knowledge (see Swinburne, Adams, Alston, Plantinga)."

r) The Supererogatory Goodness of the Universe

"The Many-Universes model cannot explain why the values of the constants in our universe are not merely good enough but actually optimal, perfect. In particular, our universe has an extraordinarily long life compared to most hypothetical universes, and life has arisen at a very early stage in the life cycle of the universe (indeed, in a very early stage in the life cycle of our sun). Philosopher Robin Collins at Messiah College has recently published a proof that in the Many-Universes model, we should expect that life would arise only at point very near the end of the life cycle of the associated star. The fact that life arose so early on the earth is strong evidence that our universe has been optimally designed for the origin of life."

"In addition, the Many-Universes model cannot explain the consistent thread of simplicity, elegance and symmetry that run through the laws of nature. In contrast, this aesthetic consistency is just what classical theists, beginning with Plato in the Timaeus, have always predicted."

s)Leslie's "Further Evidence"

"As John Leslie points out, many of the fundamental constants have to take the values they do for several independent reasons:"

"A force strength or a particle mass often seems to need to be more or less exactly what it is not just for one reason, but for two or three or five. Yet obviously it could not be tuned in first one way and then another, to satisfy several conflicting requirements. A force strength or a mass cannot take several different values at once! So, you might think, mustn't it be inexplicable good fortune that the requirements which have to be satisfied do not conflict?....."

"I suspect that we ought to be thinking in terms of hugely many possible Fundamental Theories. In most cases these Theories would make living things impossible because, alas, the existence of such beings would demand that such-and-such factors be fine tuned in conflicting ways. Perhaps only extremely rarely would any Fundamental Theory -- any Theory of Everything whose equations might be written on the back of an envelope or an elephant --- avoid this depressing result. But some small group of Theories would avoid it, and the Creator would be guided by this fact. (Koons quoting Leslie 1989, pp. 64-5)

"This fact makes it quite remarkable that a single range of values could satisfy more than one anthropic constraint. When the value of a single constant is constrained in more than one way, it would be very likely that these independent constraints put contradictory demands on the value of the constraint. By way of analogy, if I consider several algebraic equations, each with a single unknown, it would be very surprising if a single value satisfied all of the equations. Thus, it is surprising that a single range of values satisfies the various anthropic constraints simultaneously. Leslie argues that this higher-order coincidence suggests that the basic form of the laws of nature has itself been designed to make anthropic fine-tuning possible. In other words, Leslie argues that there is evidence of a higher-order fine-tuning. Theism can explain this higher-order fine-tuning, since presumably God designed the basic form of the laws of nature, and did so in such a way as to make anthropic fine-tuning of the physical constants possible."

t) Abandonment of scientific method on principle of uniformity

"Can the many-worlds hypothesis explain the higher-order fine-tuning. It can , but only if we suppose that the basic form of the laws of nature varies randomly from one universe to the next. If we combine this assumption with the assumption that there is a virtual infinity of alternative universes, then observer selection can explain why the basic form of the laws of the universe is fine-tuned."

"However, the price to be paid for such a super-many-worlds hypothesis is quite high. It is a fundamental maxim of the scientific method to assume that the basic form of the laws of nature is uniform, that what we observe in our own neighborhood is typical of all of reality. If we abandon this maxim, then all inductive or scientific learning becomes impossible. If the laws of nature vary randomly from universe to universe, then we have good reason to believe that the laws of our own universe are very complex, not at all simple, no matter how much evidence of apparent simplicity we observe. The number of universes with complex laws of nature is much greater than the number of universes with simple laws. No matter how much data we collect, and no longer how simple the curve to which the data can be fit, there are infinitely many more complex curves passing through the data points than there are simple curves. This means that we would never be justified in inferring the existence of simple laws of nature. The super-many-worlds hypothesis would pull the rug out from beneath the scientific enterprise."

u) Many-Universes Itself Requires a Theistic Explanation

"Suppose that we accept the many-universes hypothesis and use observer-selection to explain the existence of anthropic values in our universe. There is still one remarkable fact for which we have no explanation: why there exist a sufficient number of universes to make the existence of life unsurprising. If a few million or billion worlds were enough, this would perhaps not be too surprising. However, the anthropic coincidences would require that a mind-bending number of universes exist, something on the order of 10 to the 200th power. If we consider all possible forms that reality might take, it can seem quite surprising that we find ourselves in a version of reality with such a plenitude of universes."

"Theism can offer some plausible explanations of this fact. First, as Leslie argues, we could easily imagine that God has a strong preference for variety for variety's sake. This would give God a good reason for creating an infinity of universes, in which physical and cosmological constants take every possible value. Second, God might have had in mind creating such a large ensemble of universes that interesting things, like life, would be bound to happen in at least a few of them by chance alone."

"As Leslie points out, theism and the many-worlds hypothesis are not logically inconsistent. If there is only one universe, then the anthropic coincidences point to the existence of God. Alternatively, if there are many universes, this fact too supports theism."

v) Multiverse proves existence of God!

At this point we can bring in Platinga's Posslbe words argument. Is it possible that in one of those other univeres there would be a God like the one Anselm speaks of? The answer as to be "yes." If not the atheist must show why not. After all they want to push the dictim that the mutliverses must exist because there are infinite chances for them to exist and it's Soooooo illogical to think that they would not. But the same logic applies, there must be a God in one of those infinte universes. And yet it is absurd to think that a necessary being would be limited to just one reality. God has to be God in all reality.


All Design arguments are like the glass of water half empty or half full. The believer thinks he/she sees it half full, the skeptic sees it half empty. But the anthropic argument is diffierent, it offers a comparision between designied and undesgned features because we can understand the range of probabilities which might have been to form a non-life bearing universe. We know that the universe did not have to be as it is, and we know that it is extremely imobrobable. While this may not be absolute proof, it is good probabalistic proof.


1 Carr, B.J. and M.J. Rees, "The Anthropic Principle and the Structure ofthe
Physical World," Nature 276 (April 12, 1979) pp. 605-612.
2 Gale, G., "The Anthropic Principle," Scientific American 245 (December 1981) pp. 154-171.
3 "Gravity Very Precisely,"Science News 118 (July 5, 1980) p. 13.
4 Halliday, D. and R. Resnick, 1978. Physics, Part 2. John Wiley and Sons,
Inc., p. 609.
5 Barth, A., The Creation In the Light of Modern Science, (1966) Jerusalem Post Press, Jerusalem, p. 144.
6 Thomsen, D.E., "The Quantum Universe: A Zero-Point Fluctuation?" Science News 128 (August 3, 1985) pp. 72-74.

* Dr. DeYoung received his Ph.D. degree in Astrogeophysics from Iowa State University in 1972. He is professor of physics at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, and is also visiting professor of Geophysics in the ICR Graduate School.

The Religious A priori