Fine tuning argument

PostScript: This has turned into a massive post, I do apologize. It’s also kind of dry and not particularly funny. Maybe I’ll see if I can liven it up with pictures or something to make it less daunting.

I believe I wrote a piece on this topic a while ago after some goon gave a talk at an Edinburgh Creation Group meeting but this will be a more structured approach rather than a rant, I hope. The fine tuning argument is something that I’ve seen come up a few times in online discussions and it’s pretty stupid. Not quite up there with the ontological argument which I may write up about soon, but pretty stupid when you come to think about it.

The fine tuning argument simply states that there are a number of cosmological constraints which must be within a certain threshold in order for life to exist, and since they are within those thresholds that allow life to exist, it’s reasonable to conclude that the universe was designed that way with life as it’s purpose. It often comes side by side with arguments about the earth being perfect for human life which I’ll also mention here very briefly, and the strong anthropic principle which is quite similar, but also goes further to say that a universe must have the properties necessary for life, otherwise it wouldn’t exist.

So lets start with the whole Earth being designed for us thing. The argument usually goes along the lines that if the Earth was any further away from the sun it’d be too cold for life, and any further away, it’d be too cold. If the moon was any closer then the tides would cause massive flooding which would make land based life impossible, any further away and the tides wouldn’t be enough which means a lot of water based life forms wouldn’t be able to survive, things like that.

Well I have two arguments agains this. First of all is that life has evolved on this planet to adapt to its environment. Yes we couldn’t survive if it was too cold, but if it was a little more cold other life forms could have arisen. We do have some beings on this planet living in very difficult conditions. Similarly if the tides were different, we would have evolved differently, just as if gravity was greater on this planet we’d have evolved a lot differently. The second argument is that we shouldn’t be surprised that we are able to live on this planet, since this is where we live and those conditions are necessary in order for the development of an intelligent observer. If this planet wasn’t capable of supporting life, then we wouldn’t be here, just as if another planet that now isn’t capable of supporting life was, then life may have evolved there and they’d be saying the exact same thing. It’s no coincidence that life has developed in conditions suitable for life. As Douglas Adams was known to say, a puddle wakes up one morning and thinks: ‘This is a very interesting world I find myself in. It fits me very neatly. In fact it fits me so neatly… I mean really precise isn’t it?… It must have been made to have me in it.'” This is the weak anthropic principle. If there are more planets capable of supporting life than the inverse probability of life developing on any one of them, then actually life developing somewhere in the universe would be a statistical certainty rather than something to be surprised about.

Then we get to the fine tuning argument itself which is that not only is the planet designed to support us, but the universe too. So if the strong nuclear force was a bit different then heavier elements would be impossible to make, meaning life wouldn’t have formed, and if the Big Bang had expanded any slower it would have collapsed leaving not enough time for life to develop.

There are a great many arguments against this. First of all, to notice that the VAST majority of the universe does not support life, and then to claim that the purpose of the universe is to support life, is massively arrogant. Clearly the universe is better suited to making black holes than it is to supporting life, since we have observed many black holes and are yet to observe a planet with life other than ours (ok, black holes are also easier to observe but you get my point). The supporters of this argument are arbitrarily deciding that life is the purpose of the galaxy, even though it does other things much better. There is no reason to suppose that any natural phenomenon requires a fine tuner any more than any other, other than subjective judgement. In fact human beings have created areas far more finely tuned to supporting life than even just the planet Earth, never mind the rest of the universe. If we can do better than this creator, well then I’ve got better things to do than waste my time worshipping this lousy intern with a bad attitude.

Secondly, many of the constants are related so although Hugh Ross says he has 101, it’s actually much fewer than that. For example the force of gravity and the rate of expansion of the universe are related, and cannot be changed independently. This reduces the odds considerably.

Thirdly, we can also apply the weak anthropic principle to this argument. It’s entirely plausible that there could be a multiverse out there with a universe for each one of the possible combinations of the cosmological constants. Many of them may have ended by now since their particular combination rendered a universe un-maintainable. Many of them may not have even started. In this case, just as it’s no surprise that we’re on a planet that supports life, we should not be surprised that we’re in a universe that is capable of supporting life, since we are, you know, alive.

At this point the religionist will point out that since there is no evidence of a multiverse, then it is faith just the same as believing in a creator. My response to that is that it is a small leap of faith, but nothing like to the extent that belief in a creator is, since we live in one universe and see no reason why something similar could not exist outside of it, whereas we have no experience of anything like a being capable of creating a universe.

On a similar vein, it could also be that the cosmological constants are different in different parts of the universe. We have only observed a very small part of the universe and although I’m not so big on physics that I know it’s possible, it’s not beyond question. If we live in an oscillating universe, every time there’s a big crunch it could be that the cosmological constraints are scrambled. The idea of a fine-tuner is one that I don’t really accept because it implies that there’s some kind of machine with knobs that are turned by someone, which assumes the conclusion and begs the question, but let’s say that the universal constants can be changed and are, at random. Maybe in the vast majority of cases a universe isn’t possible, so the constants keep scrambling until a Big Bang happens. Maybe only a fraction of those universes are capable of supporting life, but again with the weak anthropic principle we should not be surprised that we live in one that does.

Just as a bit of an addition to this point, it could be that the constraints of our universe are conducive to the development of many different forms of life. This would kind of piss on the fire of a religionist who considers humanity to be the sole point of the universe. It could also be that a fairly wide range of universal constants different to the ones we enjoy in this universe may be conducive to the development of some kind of life. This reduces the magical properties of the universal constants we have and reduces the odds of life developing considerably.

Additionally, we don’t know how the universe works and we have no idea how many different combinations of the universal constants are possible! Without such knowledge, claiming that the constants have been fine-tuned is nothing more than speculation.

Now I’m going to get a little more philosophical and try to argue that the argument is actually self-refuting, partly inspired by the “Why God almost certainly does not exist” chapter of Dawkin’s God Delusion (which in that context I actually don’t think is a particularly good argument, but whatever). The argument claims that in order for life to exist there must have been a creator who fine tuned the constants. And yet in the same breath it assumes the existence of a creator who existed in conditions that did not require a creator. So either the initial premise that these conditions require a creator are false, or we have an infinite regress of creators fine-tuning the universe to make the existence of the next creator possible.

Additionally, it could be that the probability of the constants being the way they are is lower than the probability of the existence of a supernatural creator. That would make our existence unlikely, but a naturalistic explanation more likely than that of a creator, which means it was just a lucky roll of the dice.

The final part of this set of arguments (and I promise this’ll be short) is that the universe must contain life, else it would not exist. Well, that’s just a lie. The universe would still exist if there was no life in it, it would just go unobserved.

So I think I’ve made a pretty strong case. Sorry about that.

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35 Responses to Fine tuning argument

  1. grammarking says:

    Oh, almost forgot my closing sentiment. I don’t think that there was a fine-tuner as I hope this post has extensively demonstrated. But even if there were some kind of creator who started the universe the chances of this God still existing, being anything like anthropomorphic, knowing of our existence, giving a damn about anything that happens on this tiny planet out in the sticks of the galaxy, let alone our species in particular or any specific ‘chosen people’ within it, being capable of intervening in our lives or caring enough to do it, let alone just happening to share features with one of the Gods humanity has invented, never mind any specific one or any denomination within it, are so astronomically small that even if it were logical to believe in a creator of the universe, then you may as well live your life as if no such creator existed.

  2. no one says:

    before i begin my response, id just like to say as a physicist im shocking at english, so i apologise in advance for the spelling, grammar and punctuation errors that will no doubt be present

    I agree of with you on all of your points here. I strongly agree with the point that it should not be a surprise we exist, even though the chances of life existing on any planet is incredibly small (due to it needing EXACTLY the right conditions). It’s simple statistic probability: if we were to view just one planet(imagine a universe made up from one planet) and see that life was there, it would be a miracle. But if we go with the estimations that there are 10E10 galaxies with 10E10 stars, with each star probably being orbited by several planets, it is clear that at least one planet existing somewhere that can host life has a strong probability. and it just so happens its this planet. Its not a creator creating this planet for us. It’s just simple probability that we exist.

    But to get to the reason why i’m posting: i just hope i can offer further light on the physics, after having to read enough books on the topic. Theoretical physics has a lot to say on this subject. Whilst i would dismiss a creationists argument that the earth was made to us, as i said above, i would however accept the argument that the universe was made for us due to the chances of the cosmological constants being exactly correct (by ‘accept the argument’, i mean i would hear it out and have a debate, rather than slap them in the face and tell them they must have a negative IQ). There is one theory, which has so far not violated any laws of the universe, that lays down a lot of support for the multiverse theory. not only does it explain why the phsyical constants seem to be ‘just right’ for us (once again due to the probablity argument – that with enough universes one must have the correct properties to maintain our form of life), but also it has been shown that on the planck length scales, ripples and bubbles can form in the spacetime fabric, which is on normal scales very flat and uniform. It has been shown that if a bubble forms it can lead to a new universe, which then breaks off from its original one. This also then gives support to the well known problem of the origins of galaxies. Looking at the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation ‘map’ (a ‘snapshot’ of our early universe), it is clear there are spots of different densities, which allowed matter to condense into what we have today. This means from the very start of our universes formation energy/matter distribution was not uniform, there was an inherent entropy in our universe. Whilst this cannot be explained by theories that our universe sprang from nowhere (one would expect a uniform distribution, and thus matter and antimatter would have been created in equal amounts and the universe annihalited), it can be explained by a bubble forming in the space time of another universe (a bubble does not need to be uniform). This could explain why matter just happened to outweigh anitmatter by the tiny amount of one part in 10E11. Now although there has been no distinctive proof found, as with the creator argument, it comes from a background of intense theoretical calculations, instead of a human naivety by trying to pass off what is unknown as ‘oh well god must have created it’

  3. grammarking says:

    Fascinating, I’ll have to do some reading up on that.

  4. Dwight Jones says:

    Just a note to voice my concern that you equate, (as most Brits do) Humanism with de facto atheism. In that way you tie yourself to religionists in a pas de deux that is getting old. I have this problem with the BHA bigtime.

    Humanism is an inclusive sensibility for our species, planet and lives – not an anti-religion. As the Dutch say – live and let live, believe and let believe.

    Nice points throughout otherwise.
    Dwight

  5. grammarking says:

    I’ve never met a humanist who was not a ‘de facto atheist’. Taking humanism as a philosophy based on reason and compassion, then since religious organisations are the greatest obstacle to that philosophy, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be in a ‘pas de deux’.

    But hey, if it’s getting old and you’re bored of the movement, noone’s keeping you.

    Just for the record, I do not equate humanism with atheism. I have several posts on the difference between those viewpoints and others on purely humanist topics that have nothing to do with atheism. It just so happens that counter-apologetics is something that interests me, so I write about that a lot.

  6. Dwight Jones says:

    You say ” … then since religious organisations are the greatest obstacle to that philosophy…”

    A glib statement that simply doesn’t follow. You could say the same thing for militarism, globalization et al and thus self-comforted, ride off on your high horse.

    You need two pieces of ID to be a Humanist, let’s see some ideas first that aren’t just religion-baiting. The BHA bashes them incessantly, that’s all they do, it’s for you to work up some compassion. If you need to push reason, do something about Trident submarines; because if you don’t you’re as unreasonable as any religious zealot, and much more dangerous.

  7. grammarking says:

    So I take it you’ve read all my posts? Attended every conversation I’ve had? Been at all the protests I have? It just so happens that I do oppose Trident quite fervently, I think I even have a few posts about it up here somewhere, as well as gay rights parades, climate change protests, the advantages and disadvantages of charity, alternative medicine and much more. IIRC none of the columns I’ve written for Humanitie have had anything to do with religion, they’re all up here too. So don’t start with a false assertion about me and expect to be treated with sugar on top, especially in a post that’s totally irrelevant.

  8. Dwight Jones says:

    I made the standalone comment that:

    You say ” … then since religious organisations are the greatest obstacle to that philosophy…”
    A glib statement that simply doesn’t follow.

    It doesn’t depend on anything else.

    I define Humanism as “an inclusive sensibility for our species, planet and lives.” Note that it denigrates nothing, but some of us must be seen as angry young men, I suppose..

  9. grammarking says:

    You also actually said “you equate humanism with de facto atheism”. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to call religious organisations the greatest obstacles to reason and compassion since the number one superstition in the world is religion and religious belief so often leads to atrocities such as homophobia, the increased spread of AIDS, wars, etc. Many organisations are an abstacle to reason or compassion, very few do both.

    I also don’t agree with your definition of Humanism, it would apply equally well to a number of other quite different organisations.

    I may have come across a bit strongly which I didn’t intend to, I do actually have very good personal reasons to be pissed off at the minute, but your ‘more compassionate than thou’ attitude certainly doesn’t help.

    • Dwight Jones says:

      You state that “..religious belief so often leads to atrocities such as homophobia, the increased spread of AIDS, wars, etc.”

      Strongly contesting religious belief makes you a foot soldier in that, can you appreciate that?

      Then you say “I also don’t agree with your definition of Humanism, it would apply equally well to a number of other quite different organisations.”

      Mention what you don’t agree with, glib dismissal is not argument. Name those organizations, especially the ones with an inclusive sensibility for our species. Most people don’t even know we are a species. Seriously – who speaks up for us per se?

      Finally “I may have come across a bit strongly which I didn’t intend to, I do actually have very good personal reasons to be pissed off at the minute, but your ‘more compassionate than thou’ attitude certainly doesn’t help.”

      Well, get back at it when you feel better? And I am more compassionate than a militant or social climbing atheist masquerading as a Humanist, granted. 😉

      I am simply trying to steer you more toward tolerance and becoming a valauable species critic rather than one more banshee anti-religionist. Use your considerable talent constructively.

      All the best and do keep writing – Dwight

  10. grammarking says:

    I do have better things to do than deal with condescension but I’ll reply anyway.

    Arguing against religious beliefs which lead to atrocities makes me a foot soldier in those atrocities. No, I don’t appreciate that, it doesn’t make much sense.

    Dismissing my comments as glib doesn’t make them so. A moment’s thought will give you a list of movements who believe in an inclusive sensibility of the species and the planet. The globalisation movement, hippies, pantheists, Bahai-ism at a stretch, even international socialism! Your definition lacks what I would consider one of the most important aspects of humanism, reason! In fact I’d consider that more important than compassion since compassion comes from reason but reason does not come from compassion.

    I’m surprised at you, using the term militant atheist. I’ve never raised a weapon in the name of atheism in my life and I never will, it doesn’t make sense. I mean, God forbid I should, you know, use reason and logic and science to argue against religion, on my own blog, that would be terrible! How do I sleep at night?

    I also don’t know what you’re referring to with ‘social climbing’, and I fail to see why I should tolerate beliefs which lead to the atrocities listed above and more.

    • Dwight Jones says:

      >Arguing against religious beliefs which lead to atrocities makes me a foot soldier in those atrocities. No, I don’t appreciate that, it doesn’t make much sense.

      Arguing with religionists(hold the atrocities)as a small percentage of what a Humanist does is allowed.

      But to reply to Ned’s query below as well, see what it has done to the BHA, who truly do little else.

      Are you happy with their activities, the portion of their attention given to anti-religion, the lack of proactive programs that go beyond tokenism? Is that Humanism in your estimation, is that all there is?

      >Dismissing my comments as glib doesn’t make them so. A moment’s thought will give you a list of movements who believe in an inclusive sensibility of the species and the planet. The globalisation movement, hippies, pantheists, Bahai-ism at a stretch, even international socialism!

      And we don’t have any trouble separating them out, as being completely distinct from each other, do we? They do not suffer from an ambivalent identity as Humanism does, which hobbles it – and bothers me, a lot.

      Pray tell: your definition of Humanism?

      >Your definition lacks what I would consider one of the most important aspects of humanism, reason! In fact I’d consider that more important than compassion since compassion comes from reason but reason does not come from compassion.

      I see reason implicit in the word “sensibility” along with awareness. Another example, I define ecstasy as pure sensation – experienced by any living organism – within the warm bosom of mystery .

      >I’m surprised at you, using the term militant atheist.

      They have hijacked Humanism, and I am going to recapture the stagecoach…

      >I also don’t know what you’re referring to with ’social climbing’, and I fail to see why I should tolerate beliefs which lead to the atrocities listed above and more.

      Because intolerance is the real cause of atrocities.

      – Dwight

  11. Ned says:

    Dwight, not quite sure I understand your grievance here. Why does it bother you that humanism and atheism often go hand in hand?

  12. grammarking says:

    “Because intolerance is the real cause of atrocities.”

    Really? So you tolerate paedophilia? Homophobia? Sexism? I sure as hell don’t. Intolerance is not always a bad thing, it depends what you’re tolerating and what you’re not.

    It’s all very well you having a problem with the way Humanism is going. I personally don’t share that problem, at least not yet. But you’re going further, you’re attacking me personally, making false assetions and insulting and patronising me. I can write about whatever aspect of humanism I want and it doesn’t make me any less of a humanist, nor this blog any less of a humanist blog.

  13. Dwight Jones says:

    I ask you for your definition of Humanism, and you just whine that’s it’s your football and you’re going home.

    Debates aren’t personal, except for you.
    If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

  14. grammarking says:

    My definition of humanism is very simple: a system of thought and ethics based on reason and compassion. I missed that question else I would’ve answered it.

    I agree, debates aren’t personal but certain parts of your comments undoubtedly are! You’ve called me an angry young man, a militant and social climbing atheist masquerading as a humanist, a foot soldier in religious atrocities, a banshee, and you claim that I equate humanism with atheism which clearly isn’t true. And then you say I’m whining for objecting to your condescension. I think it’s you who needs to get off your high horse.

  15. Dwight Jones says:

    >My definition of humanism is very simple: a system of thought and ethics based on reason and compassion. I missed that question else I would’ve answered it.

    That tells you what it’s based on, but not what it’s about. I guess my point with Humanism is that it should be seen as species criticism, become respected as our conscience and as our champion, too. Set some standards.

    >I agree, debates aren’t personal but certain parts of your comments undoubtedly are! You’ve called me an angry young man, a militant and social climbing atheist masquerading as a humanist, a foot soldier in religious atrocities, a banshee, and you claim that I equate humanism with atheism which clearly isn’t true. And then you say I’m whining for objecting to your condescension. I think it’s you who needs to get off your high horse.

    Very good points, and you’ve made them well. Now yer talkin’.

    I wasn’t that strident tho, and was using those terms to indicate my own frustration, and aimed those comments more at the BHA and simple atheists (you must be a member..). Bad form on my part- granted. 😉

  16. grammarking says:

    I’m not a member of the BHA (well, I kind of am by proxy. The societies I am active in, the Humanist Society at the University of Edinburgh and the AHS, have group memberships). I live in Scotland (actually I live in Malaga at the minute) and we don’t have the BHA here but instead the HSS, which is significantly different.

    In any case, I think you have a skewed idea of what the BHA is and does. Yes, the national group do mainly bang on about religion, but that’s because they’re a well known group and they’re in a position to make themselves heard alongside the NSS. They are in effect a campaign group. They do also do other campaigns but most are anti-religious. But really the BHA is just a loose affiliation of local humanist groups who sign up to the BHA for materials, access to speakers and in some cases funding. Those local groups do much more than just religion-bashing, including a fair bit of charity work.

  17. Marc Surtees says:

    I would just like to ask a related to the subject of fine tuning.

    No-one talks about ripples in the space time fabric and multiverses. But where did the space time fabric come from?

  18. grammarking says:

    Oh superb, back to the topic! I don’t know what you mean by noone talks about multiverses and ripples in spacetime fabric, maybe that’s a typo?

    But the second part, I see no reason why it couldn’t always have been there. I’m not nearly so physics savvy to know whether that question makes sense, I mean from the perspective of spacetime is there any kind of timeline and if not then does it make sense to ask what caused it? Or is this the infinite uncaused cause?

    The ultimate answer to your question of course, is that we don’t know. But I take it you’re implying that God must have done it. In that case I have several arguments.

    Well first of all, the existence of something is not evidence for any specific cause, all it shows is that it exists, and possibly indicates that there might have been a cause.

    Explaining a mystery with another mystery doesn’t explain much. You may look at it like science doesn’t have an answer but the Bible does, and therefore side with the Bible, but in reality the Bible doesn’t explain it either. The absense of a forthcoming naturalistic explanation does not mean you can just pick and choose any explanation you like. It would be much better to side with science, which is at least trying to find out an explanation, than with faith which just decides what it believes and sticks with that unchangingly.

    I would also ask in that case what caused God. It’s a well-used argument but nevertheless it stands. If you’re going to say God is infinite then you’re breaking your own premise. Everything needs a cause except for God. Why not just cut out the middle man and say that the universe, or spacetime, is infinite?

  19. Dwight Jones says:

    “Explaining a mystery with another mystery does not help.”

    Agreed. Just because we don’t yet understand something doesn’t mean we need to run out and postulate a god.

    I see the infinite and virgin universe as a tabula rasa resource for our species, not some miracle. Although it does seem to be rather a cute concoction, must admit..

  20. Marc Surtees says:

    Hi Cosmologists,

    So it seems that either we have an eternal space-time fabric from which universes arise spontaneously or we have an eternel God who made the one universe.

    The only thing I am implying is that both possiblities are perfectly reasonable and logical positions to take, based on the evidence available.

    We need something else, outside of science to decide which is true.

  21. Dwight Jones says:

    John Surtees’ kid says:
    “We need something else, outside of science to decide which is true.”

    If “true” turns out to be only half baked, then its pursuit would make one a truth priest and reason fundie. Intellectual culinary de sac.

    I would, as a Humanist, try to instead prioritize for
    1) keeping Life’s window open, enjoying its taste in the mean and
    2) head out into the Universe and see what we can find.

    We can decide about “truth” concepts on the way.

  22. grammarking says:

    “So it seems that either we have an eternal space-time fabric from which universes arise spontaneously or we have an eternel God who made the one universe.

    The only thing I am implying is that both possiblities are perfectly reasonable and logical positions to take, based on the evidence available.”

    Except that we know spacetime exists, and that God is an extra, uneccessary step. It seems to me you can cut out the middle man and make this explanation much more economical. And that’s based on the assumption that what we’ve said so far is correct, we’re not physicists and even physicists don’t claim to know.

    “We need something else, outside of science to decide which is true.”

    Outside of science? What else could determine a truth of this sort?

  23. Marc Surtees says:

    “Except that we know spacetime exists, and that God is an extra, uneccessary step. It seems to me you can cut out the middle man and make this explanation much more economical.”

    We know that one universe exists and to make it work we have either a multiverse or an uncaused cause (ie God). So both are systems are in fact equally complex. Of course there may be other possible explanations but I am not aware of them.

    Science is not very good at discovering truth especially since has been limited to natural causes. This is a major limitation as it rejects logical causes unless they are also natural.

  24. grammarking says:

    So could you suggest an alternative?

    • Marc Surtees says:

      Hi,

      Well of course as a Christian I could suggest an alternative.
      We should listen to what the creator has to say. God’s self revelation to humanity (ie the Bible).
      Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. Note the outragious definite article.”

      The thing about the fine tuning argument which is an extension of the cosmological argument for a creator is to show that this is a logical rational alternative hypothesis.

      It always comes back to Jesus!

  25. Dwight Jones says:

    “So could you suggest an alternative?”
    The ideal way to rip the space-time fabric is getting ripped.

  26. grammarking says:

    Ok so we went from trying (and probably failing) to create a logical syllogism, to a huge leap from a possible first cause to your particular brand of god.

  27. Dwight Jones says:

    “It always comes back to Jesus!”

    Indeed it should, he was history’s most important Humanist. He is best seen as an ethical philosopher teaching the species how to adapt to the new realities of urban life around the Mediterranean. As such he was precious indeed – the latin word for cruelty (crudelis) hadn’t even been invented yet, e.g.

    The supernatural aspects of the New Testament can be taken as how new concepts were ‘marketed’ in those days, to illiterates, from an oral tradition. Given the penchant then and now for Arab hyperbole, you take it all with a grain of salt and can readily distill down his message to very practical considerations. Essentially he championed the poor, the aged, the sick.

    As must we.

  28. Marc Surtees says:

    Hi,

    Yes I made a great leap of faith.

    At the end of the day we either sit on the fence and follow Hume in his skeptism or make a leap of faith.

    I trust Jesus for many reasons that are out of scope of this thread. So I will leave it there, for now.

  29. grammarking says:

    Excellent video on this.

  30. Jason Piteo says:

    “…then you may as well live your life as if no such creator existed.”

    Herein lies the true basis for your argument.

  31. grammarking says:

    Is that a criticism? Maybe you’re implying that I want to live in sin and that’s why I’m making an argument? Maybe not.

    My point was that the fine-tuning argument is a poor argument in favour of theism (especially any particular brand of theism), so I don’t know why theists consider it convincing.

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