Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mapping the Fine-Tuning Argument: The Argument Stated

This is the first installment of my blog series "Mapping the Fine-Tuning Argument" in which I state my version of the argument and compare it to othe statements of the argument that I have seen and why I believe my statement is better.

I was warned by a fellow blogger that stating the argument my way might get me into trouble. However, I believe that my argument is clear, fair, and I am more than willing to consider revising it if someone thinks differently. Moreover, I believe that the following three syllogisms are a clearer and more valid exposition of the argument than has been seen to date. Take William Lane Craig's version: The fine tuning is due to chance, necessity, or design. It is not due to chance or necessity. Therefore, it is due to design. This syllogism does not spell out the reasoning of why design must be inferred. It does not even attempt to argue that the fine-tuner is God. Anyway, I am spelling out the argument and I will consider how proponents could support the premises in further installments:

(A) 1. It is conceptually possible to change physical laws and constants from observed values.

2. Conceptually changing some constants from their observed values (independently) would make the universe uninhabitable for life as we know it. NOTE: What I mean by changing "independently" is when someone changes the constant value in their equation without changing the value(s) of any other constants.

3. The constants have an extremely large range of conceptually possible values.

4. Therefore, the number of values that permit life is very small.

5. Applying the principle of indifference (assigning equal probabilities to possibilities which, as far as we can tell, are equal) leads us to conclude that any one particular value for these constants only had a small probability of occurring in our universe, because there are so many possibilities.

6. Since any one specific value has a low probability, and life friendly values are limited to one or a few possibilities out of all the possibilities, the probability of a life-friendly universe is extremely small (since we are assigning all possibilities an equal probability).

(B) 1. Theories which predict a very specific state of affairs (which would otherwise have a low probability of occurring) gain probability for themselves when this state of affairs is verified.

2. The hypothesis that God exists predicts a life-friendly universe.

3. A life friendly universe is an improbable state of affairs.

4. Therefore the God hypothesis predicts an improbable state of affairs.

5. A life-friendly universe exists.

6. Since the God hypothesis predicts an improbable state of affairs (a life friendly universe) (4) which has been verified to exist (5), this increases the probability that the God hypothesis is correct (1).

(C) 1. When multiple hypotheses predict the same state of affairs, we judge them by other criteria, such as simplicity, explanatory scope, explanatory power, etc. If there is a hypothesis that outstrips its competitors in these criteria, then we judge that it is probably correct.

2. There are multiple hypotheses that explain fine-tuning, but the God hypothesis outstrips them all.

3. Therefore, the God hypothesis is probably correct.


JohnD said...

That's an interesting way of stating it. I like the way you incorporate both probability assessments and explanatory virtues.

I suppose the obvious thing that jumps out is the principle of indifference. But I know you have defended that before. I guess I'll wait and see.

Luke said...

If you write and update an index for this series, I will definitely link to it.

AIGBusted said...

Hi Luke,

Yes I've written an index:

H said...

Wow. I'm a little stunned. I won't argue with you, as that seems to be what your out to do. Argue. I get that you don't acccept God. Ok. I love Him. He is why the good in my life is good. That is what I don't understand. You claim Christians are doing so much harm. But you are out to take the good things out of my life. Out of all Christians lives. How is that the equality you are claiming to be fighting for? I would understand if you were fighting murder, which, if evolution is true, doesn't really matter. It's morals. You are out to take my morals away. I am sure something I am saying, you will pounce on for your argument. But I am happy. If you met me in a store, I would say, unless your downright mean, you would probably like me. You are doing the exact thing you claim to hate in me. If you want to know the answers to a lot of things you have posed questions to on here, a good book would be Mark Cahill's, One thing you can't do in Heaven.