Friday, March 24, 2023
HomeDebate ReligionYet Another Refutation of the Fine-Tuning Argument

Yet Another Refutation of the Fine-Tuning Argument

Those who promote the [Fine-Tuning Argument]( mainly cite the list of seemingly “improbable” [Universal Constants]( These are values of fields and forces which, if altered even slightly, would have resulted in a very different universe, and we would not have been able to exist in order to debate [why we exist in the kind of universe that allows for us to exist](…

**”Fine-Tuning” is not as strong an argument as you have been led to believe.**

If they tried proposing a real mechanism for this “fine-tuning” that is supposed to have taken place, instead of merely spouting off “improbabilities”, perhaps there would be something to it. But as far as I have seen, that has not been done. Certainly not as a coherent, scientifically testable model. (*Please correct me if such an argument has ever once been presented at any point in these debates.*)

The way I understand things currently, the Universal Constants are like having a locked safe with only certain combinations of values being able to “open up” to a universe in which we could exist. Whether the current combinations were randomly generated, or if it was “intentional” in some way… the “door” is already open!

**All the combined “improbability” in the universe still resulted in ONE KNOWN SAMPLE.**

So, “Fine-Tuning” enthusiasts, please answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions:

1. Do you know what the full range of physically possible combinations truly is?
2. Do you know if the “dials” can even be “tuned” in the first place?
3. Could you really tell the difference between the following two options?
1. A universe whose constants were randomly generated to arrive at the values they are now.
2. A universe whose constants were “intentionally” set this way from the beginning.
4. Do you know who or what “finely-tuned” this supposed “Fine-Tuner” in order to exist on some level and be intelligent, intentional, and powerful enough to “finely-tune” an entire universe?
5. Do you acknowledge the simple facts that the overwhelming majority of space in the Known Universe is unhospitable to life, and we humans can barely even survive on this one planet outside of very specific ranges for our needs being met? (Not so “finely-tuned” after all, is it?)

**Please provide your best evidence-based reasoning to support your “Yes” or “No” answers.**


Additional Thoughts: Remember that similarly absurd seeming “improbabilities” have been ineffectually used to try and debunk Evolution, all while entirely ignoring the fact that Evolution takes a very long time, discards non-viable mutations, and incrementally builds off the viable ones. The Universe/Multiverse could very well operate in comparable ways regarding the generation of waves, particles, stars, galaxies, [blackholes](, and even other things that are not yet quantified.

**In other words, what some call “Fine-Tuning” could easily be yet another case of “**[**Survivorship Bias**](**”, just on a cosmic scale.**

The rational response to learning about things like the Universal Constants is not to assume an unknown “God” was involved, but simply to acknowledge that “we don’t know yet” and work to understand this mystery together.

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Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson
I have been reading and writing for over 20 years. My passion is reading and I would like to someday write a novel. I enjoy exercise and shopping.


  1. I’m not really a fan of tine-tuning arguments, though I think they (like many “bad” arguments for the existence of God) are stronger than they are given credit for.

    1. No.

    2. Not exactly sure what the question is asking. But I think it’s the case that there is a difference between physical necessity and metaphysical necessity. It is metaphysically possible, that the necessary physical laws of the universe could have been otherwise.

    3. No, but that’s the reason why the fine-tuning argument relies upon probabilistic reasoning.

    4. There is no need to explain the “fine-tuning” of the “fine-tuner,” because God’s existence is not a metaphysically contingent matter.

    5. Sure.

  2. I guess I’m an enthusiast, I’ll try to answer your questions while appealing to experts in the field, though most are purely philosophical, so I can only address them philosophically

    1. No. That’s why we ask “The Little Question: of all the possible ways that the fundamental constants of the standard models could have been, is our universe what we would expect on naturalism?” (Barnes 17)
    2. Given that constants are a function of models, I’d say that this is basically just true by definition. (Collins 12). Within to our best model, yeah we can change them (Barnes 17). Outside of that, I’d say it’s wildly epistemically improbable that they cannot, in the same way that it would be wildly epistemically improbable for our evidence of common ancestry coming out to nothing more than a mere coincidence.
    3. Insert Odds form of Bayes theorem, and/or chapter six of The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne (Swinburne 04). Additionally, section 2.5.1 of Collins 12 discusses this specifically, as well as sections 3 and 4 to varying degrees (Collins 12).
    4. It seems far more plausible that the fine-tuner of this universe would be a composite simple and thus not fine-tuned. Perhaps the tuner is brute, but that’s still more parsimonious than the entire system being brute. A necessary immaterial being just isn’t the type of thing that calls out for an explanation in the way that an apparently contingent state of affairs would. A bit more cleanly, “God set up the laws of nature. They are contingent on the way God set them up. God himself is not subject to them. What is it, then, that God’s existence could be dependent on? It does not seem that there is anything outside God on which he could depend. Whether or not he
    existed would not depend upon how the universe turned out. So God’s existence, if he exists, is best thought of as necessary.” – (Ganssle 08, pg. 41) or, more polemically, “If the [design] argument is supposed to show that a supremely adept and intelligent natural being, with a super-body and a super-brain, is responsible for the design and the creation of life on earth, then of course this “explanation” is no advance on the phenomenon to be explained. . . . [However,] [t]he explanation of his existence as a chance concatenation of atoms is not a possibility for which we must find an
    alternative, because that is not what anybody means by God.” -(Nagel 06, 26). It should be noted that Nagel is an atheist, so while he speaks with hostility, it’s friendly fire. Returning to Collins once more, section 7.1 provides a novel response to this question based on a reflection on scientific and non-scientific hypothesi. Finally, I cannot recommend enough chapter six of The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne. (Swinburne 04)
    5. The universe, as a whole, is still fine-tuned for life, by virtue of its ability to produce any form of life-form. Even in the coldest, darkest corners of space, the constants of the universe would allow for life to appear if certain conditions were met (such as a planet being a certain distance from a star and whatnot). The fact that life only appears in a very small region of it does not affect this fact, though it may lend support to certain monotheistic traditions by reinforcing the importance of our planet. This is simply misrepresenting what advocates of fine-tuning are trying to advocate via an overly simplistic definition of fine-tuning. Even if it were to provide some evidence against design, it’s unclear how much that would help balance the scales in any meaningful way for the naturalist.
    6. Return to section 2.5.1 (and 2.5.2 and 7.2 and 7.3) of Collins 12 for a rebuttal

  3. Questions are not arguments. Please read rule 4.

    Why did you pretend that you were providing a *refutation* to fine-tuning when all you did was just ask a whole bunch of questions? Refutation means an argument against fine-tuning that would make fine-tuning untrue.

    So please present an actual refutation. If you refuse to do so, you’re breaking rule 4.

  4. No you misunderstand me. I am not a theist. Just merely interjecting a comment. When looking at the fine tuning argument you will always end up at the anthropic principle. The constants of our universe are such that if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be here. That is anthropic. Either way, in my view, no agency needed.

  5. The fine tuning argument is just a more scientific version of the anthropic principle. The universe is the way it is because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here. Elegant simplicity in a sense.

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