• Heaven and the Fine-Tuning Argument

    I came across this quote in response to someone posting my notes on fine-tuning on the Why Doesn’t God Heal Amputees forum. I like it a lot:

    The biggest problem I find with the fine-tuned argument is that it is incompatible with dualism, and therefore Christianity.

    Ask someone who uses it what they mean by “life” and they’ll tell you that they mean physical, intelligent life, yet they simultaneously believe that they will exist forever, along with their intelligence, in some non-physical ether. So actually, they don’t believe there is anything intelligent about physical life, infact they believe life can exist dis-embodied, which, if you follow the reasoning, would mean that nothing physical is living. A human body, for example, is a corpse that is animated by the “soul” – the essence of life, which carries on it’s existence when it leaves the physical form.

    It’s not the universe that is fine-tuned for life, it’s heaven that is.

    I like it. It throws the argument back at Christians.

    For a previous critique of the FTA, see the link above.

    Category: ApologeticscosmologyPhilosophy of Religion


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • AdamHazzard

      Thanks for posting this. It’s a clever and useful inversion of the usual apologetic argument.

      In return, here’s a formulation I think of as the Anti-Kalam, or maybe the Naturalist’s Kalam. Given that causes are defined by having effects, and effects defined as proceeding from causes, what happens if we attempt something like the Kalam Cosmological Argument from the “effect” end of the equation? The result is surprisingly simple, intuitive, much less fuzzy in its premises than Kalam, and useful when someone brings up the subject of a First Cause:

      1. Any phenomenon that is wholly or partially contingent on an antecedent event may be called an effect.

      2. It is not known whether the existence of the universe is contingent on an antecedent event.

      3. It is not known whether the universe is an effect.

      • Thanks Adam.

        I might post this tomorrow to throw it out there, if you don’t mind. Interesting…

    • The kalam cosmological argument undermines the moral argument by undermining free will; the ontological argument undermines the moral argument by assuming that there’s an objective standard of maximal greatness that exists independently of god, and the moral argument undermines the ontological argument by making it circular, in that god would turn out to be the standard by which god is being determined.

    • labreuer

      This runs into difficulties with Christian orthodoxy, which has people getting new bodies. Jesus post-resurrection had such a body, being able to pass through walls, and appearing unrecognizable to his friends.

    • Andy_Schueler

      I like it. It throws the argument back at Christians.

      There is also another way to throw it back to christians. If the universe were not fine-tuned for life as we know it but we would still exist, this would unambigiously prove that life is being sustained by something that transcends nature. Such a hypothetical universe would not only be compatible with christianity but arguably a better fit for a biblical worldview than the universe we actually live in. Assuming that we would live in a universe where the strong force coupling constant is too high for heavy elements like Carbon to be stable, and carbon actually would be unstable in any compound that is not part of a living organism, wouldn´t apologists point to these verses:
      “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
      – Colossians 1:17
      “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”
      – Psalm 54:4.
      and say, “see, it´s GOD who holds everything together and sustains us.”
      In other words, christianity would be perfectly compatible with the universe being as it is, but it would be at least as compatible (if not even more compatible) with the universe not being fine-tuned for life as we know it. Since it is not possible that both A and ¬A support the same proposition, the fine-tuning argument actually provides no support for christianity or theism in general whatsoever. Naturalism on the other hand would be conclusively refuted if the universe were not fine-tuned for life as we know it, but we would still exist.