The wasteful grocery-shopper God and the creationist obsession with (not-so-)fine tuning
Recently I wrote about the creationist attack on John Loftus for saying mass-murder of children is not compatible with an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent God. One of the points in the creationist hatchet job was the so called “argument from fine tuning”. If there is not God, then how come the physical constants of the universe seem to be all adjusted to foster life?
Well, there are a few problems with this claim.
First, let’s not kid ourselves. Creationists are not trying to prove the existence of vague, nebulous creators(s). They are trying to prove the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This is the God, according to most believers, sent his son to die for redemption of our sins, or sent a winged horse for one of us, the great prophet, to go seem him in person. It is not a God that looks human (quite literally) but humans are particularly important to him.
And yet, starting with Copernicus, we have learned that we are not so central to the universe after all. Our existence is limited to an inconsequential (to the rest of the universe) dot we call Earth, on the fringes of the Milky Way galaxy. While we are looking, we haven’t found life anywhere else in the galaxy just yet. As it happens, most of the galaxy itself is interstellar space, which cannot harbor life.
The situation is more ridiculous if you look at the universe as a whole. For starters, most of the universe is empty space. And then, Milky Way is one galaxy out of hundred of billions. We really have no idea if life exists in other galaxies. It is most definitely NOT a universe created so that it could harbor life. The claim gets more bizarre if we happen to believe in a created who made the universe with humans at its center.
Putting things in a temporal context makes things even worse for creationists. In a universe that has existed for nearly 14 billion years, human existence has been limited to less than two hundred thousand. Was God twirling his thumbs all this time, waiting patiently for humans to appear? Was Jesus, who, according to the Gospel of John, existed all along with God, pondering his own crucifixion for 14 billion years?
We have known these facts for quite some time. Yet science tells us the situation is ever more bizarre. Left that 5% of the universe is made up of ordinary (“baryonic”) matter that we are familiar with. Over 95% is made up of dark matter and dark energy. We don’t know much about them, except that they cannot possibly harbor life. If God exists, his inefficiency and wastefulness are absolutely mind numbing.
I can creationists say “God is inscrutable”, or “why do you think God should have done it in such a way that it would make sense to us”? Precisely. Nothing God does makes any sense. Not parting seas, not Lazarus coming back from the dead, not trying to impress us by sending his son to die for us, neither sending winged horses for prophets to meet him. This is what atheists have been saying all along. Just one thing: praying to such a God doesn’t make much sense either. If you think a whimsical God watching hundreds of billions of galaxies for 14 billion years could care less who wins your schools football match, you are kidding only yourself.
The video below tackles the argument from fine tuning from a philosophical angle: if argument from fine tuning were true, it would disprove an omniscient, omnipotent God. Just as a grocery shopper fine tunes his shopping list based on his time and budget; a grocery shopper with unlimited resources wouldn’t need a shopping list. And an omniscient, omnipotent God wouldn’t need to fine tune.