What makes our universe finely tuned?

Question or Comment: This is a question about fine-tuning. Considering how sensitive the physical world is to even minor changes in all the constants in our physical laws, it would seem that no matter what values these constants took, you would end up with a universe that had unique features. It’s hard to imagine what those features might be, but it raises a question. Why single out life as the thing toward which the universe was fine-tuned? Granted, life is unique to a universe that is tuned the way our universe is tuned, but something else might be unique to a universe that was tuned differently. So why does the life-permitting nature of our universe give us a reason to suppose there must’ve been a designer when any other universe wouldn’t give us reason to suppose the same thing?

Name: kookydukes

Country: United States

My response is below:

Imagine if you were an explorer and you encountered an island that you supposed had been uninhabited.  Upon exploring the island you find a letter with English lettering spelling out the phrase, “I have lived on this island for 10 years.”

Should you disregard the conclusion that an English speaking person had visited the island because, had the letters been shaped differently, the letter would have been in a different language?

For the same reason, we are reasonable for concluding in our universe that it is finely tuned for life no matter what may have been the case in a different universe.  Perhaps in a different universe we would have a different sort of fine tuning argument, but such a hypothetical scenario would not have any impact on the fine tuning argument in our universe.

Sincerely,

Matt Bilyeu


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2 thoughts on “What makes our universe finely tuned?

  1. If I may add: It’s helpful to remember that by “life” the apologist isn’t talking merely about biological life, i.e. plants, insects, or even the so-called lower animals. Rather, he means *intelligent* life, endowed with (or at least capable of) a moral sense. God is said to be interested in that, and so the God hypothesis, if true, would (at least in part) explain why intelligent life exists. In contrast, the God hypothesis does not explain a lot of other, more mundane features of the universe. There are probably exceptions to this, but since the life-permitting property is so handy, the apologist almost invariably uses that.

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    1. While it is true that the apologist is referring to intelligent life, alterations in the constants and quantities in the argument above would render life of any kind impossible. If the gravitational constant were slightly stronger, for example, then the universe would have collapsed back into a singularity shortly after the Big Bang. It is difficult to see how life of any kind could have developed in such a scenario.

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