The Fine-tuning Argument appears Nihilistic

The Fine Tuning Argument concerns itself with explaining how our universe became life-permitting. The Fine Tuning Argument (FTA) is if an observed fact is in need of explanation, and a hypothesis provides a satisfactory explanation of that fact which is better than any alternative explanation available, then the fact itself provides significant evidential support for the hypothesis being true. The observed fact is our universe is hospitable to life, but why does this fact need explanation?

The answer to that is: life in our universe is extremely improbable. This improbability is a result of the very strict constants needed for our universe to be life permitting. The Big Bang was like a roll of a trillion-sided die, and life was but one side. So it is almost certain if there was another Big Bang, it would not produce the conditions for life. If there were millions of iterations of the Big Bang, and only one single outcome of all of them produced life, it would be surprising. That surprise deserves explanation.

The hypothesis the Fine Tuning Argument gives for the satisfactory explanation of why the universe is life permitting is that God fine tuned it to be that way. Since there is no better explanation for how the universe came to be life permitting, so the universe being life permitting gives evidential support to the existence of some type of God.

However it would be true that if the universe was not fit for life, there would be no us or FTA. Do the other trillion non-life-permitting outcomes matter if no one would be here to witness them? And if every other possible result of the Big Bang is null and void, in terms of life, is the one that isn’t even special since it is the only that matters anyway?

The author of the Fine Tuning Argument, Roger White, gives an example that attempts to illustrate why the one unique life-permitting outcome is special and deserves explanation. The event he uses is a person getting missed by every single shot of a 50-man Firing Squad. Firing Squads exist to hit their targets, so it is automatic to wonder why every bullet missed. Even if in every other possible scenario the person targeted would’ve died, it still does not solve the special outcome of why all 50 bullets missed that time. If you still do not care about the single special outcome in which the target persevered, or how special it is there is life in the universe, it means you figure those results were inevitable, says White. He continues that with the Firing Squad, literally any other thing could have happened, so the only thing inevitable was that if every bullet missed, the person would be alive to wonder why. And that creation of wonder that unique outcomes produce, deserve explanation.

I like and agree with White’s example of the Firing Squad. I like it because it is similar to the Big Bang creating the constants needed for life, in that they are both very special outcomes, and unique results naturally spark curiosity for explanation. Even if there is a seemingly very satisfactory explanation for the Firing Squad missing, and say that explanation is n. It is still wondered why that explanation, n, is true, meaning that n itself needs its own explanation (n + 1). Then that explanation, (n + 1), deserves its own explanation on what brought it to fruition (n + 1 + 1), so on and so forth to infinity and beyond. So how did we get from the point of origin (T0 ), to farther down the line when the Firing Squad actually missed? It might very well be that it was fine-tuned to happen that way, which is the same as saying God made them miss if there is no other better explanation.

Wouldn’t it be a satisfactory explanation that they missed on purpose, or they were ordered to miss? It is obvious that other comparable explanations are not as satisfactory, right? Wouldn’t that simple explanation discredit theism and the conclusion of the FTA? But, isn’t it true when humans make a decision, like ordering a Firing Squad to miss, they do so for a reason? Wouldn’t that reason have to be a part of the explanation, since without it the decision to miss would not have been made?

The number of satisfactory explanations for why they decided to miss are numerous. Here is an example. The Firing Squad, or their commander, disagreed with the verdict given to the target, so they decided to, or were ordered to, miss. If that was the reason, why did they disagree with the verdict, or what was the law they disliked, and how did it get passed (n + 1)? Then before that, what was their moral upbringing and/or education that produced those beliefs that contradicted that law (n + 1 + 1)? What are all the factors throughout history that formed the culture of the communities that influenced them (n + 1 + 1 + 1)? What happened in their respective parents’ careers that played a role in forming their belief systems that they then passed down to them (n + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1)? How did their parents meet (n + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1)? Why on that day, out of all days, at that specific moment, did they decide to copulate and, in turn, create each member of the Firing Squad (n + 1 + 1 +1 + 1 + 1 + 1)? Without them being born the event is totally different or never happens.

As you can see, what really is the explanation? Anything could have happened at all points in time to all those involved. But for the special event of the Firing Squad missing, that infinite stream of possibilities that led up to that point all had to happen exactly how they did for this unique event to take place. Fine tuning, or the design argument it clearly coincides with, makes a more satisfying argument for that than an absurd amount of human control or luck. Therefore the Firing Squad example serves the FTA well.

The example serving the FTA well doesn’t mean it proves it to be good. As shown, the obvious explanation for the Firing Squad missing on purpose, defies the FTA when judging a book by its cover. But the actual explanation is not that simple, and the all encompassing chain of events (n + ∞) is the real explanation. It is impossible to explain how those infinite events happened exactly as needed to produce the 50 misses, so the FTA, or God designing it to happen how it did, is a better explanation. With that however we are affirming that we can’t explain anything. If nothing can be explained, then nothing is worth attempting to explain, because you already know the attempt is a useless task. In actuality every event is (n + ∞) whether it is meeting your boyfriend or missing a clutch layup. A life where nothing matters because nothing is explainable is nihilism. Only a nihilistic God would create meaningless life. So is that what God Fine Tuned? An existence of infinite cynicism where nothing is worth discovering, because nothing can be explained. Which would be a nihilistic world. It is either that or the Fine Tuning Argument is false. Which one would you like to believe?

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@D_Ellison

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David Ellison

David Ellison

@D_Ellison

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