What Good is the Argument for Fine Tuning?

by J.R. Miller

Fine Tuning

A fundamental question facing scientists (both the naturalist and the creationist) was posed by preeminent mathematician Jules-Henri Poincaré in his 1902 work, Science and Hypothesis, who, when faced with the pervasive reality of entropy, asked, “whether the living beings of the world have been brought into existence by the activity of something which can be validly compared to the creative intelligence, or alternatively whether they have assumed their present form by the operation of ‘natural’ processes not involving anything comparable to intelligence.” In response to this question of beginnings, Christian philosophers have posited the Fine Tuning argument which leverages empirical observations to conclude that a life-permitting universe is so overwhelming rare that the only probable explanation for the cosmos is a supernatural Creator. Observations from physics engaged to substantiate this inference of Divine creation, according to Robin Collins,fall within four categories: the laws of physics (e.g. the equations that describe gravity, weak force, electromagnetism, and strong nuclear forces), the constants of physics (e.g. the numbers we plug into these equations such as the gravitational constant tuned to 120 decimal places), the initial conditions of the universe (e.g. dark energy distribution, and the distribution of mass and energy which gives us the low entropy state), and properties of chemical elements that are life-permitting (e.g. properties of carbon, oxygen, water, and the electromagnetic spectrum).

Big Bang Bias

The Fine Tuning argument has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the discovery of the cosmic microwave background, that science gave this ancient philosophical argument a new foundation to build on. What we know today as the “Big Bang” theory was first known as the hypothesis of the primeval atom, posited in 1931 by the mathematician, priest, and physicist Georges Lemaître. His theory looked at the evidence for the expanding universe as evidence for a smaller denser ex nihilo beginning. His theory ran counter to thousands of years of Aristotelian science which held to an eternal and unchanging universe. So why was this new empirical evidence so difficult for some to accept? It was the anti-religious bigotry and the materialistic a priori assumptions that prevented some people from evaluating the evidence of a finite universe on its own merit…

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What Good is the Argument for Fine Tuning?