The Fine Tuning Argument needs more Fine Tuning

I often hear argument that the precise physical constants, or the location of Earth, Moon and Sun, are so carefully ordered to produce life on Earth, that intelligent design, not any natural process operating without intent, must be the cause. The universe is too orderly to have arisen by nature. The hand of God must be in it.

Of course, I have heard the opposite argument offered with equal fervor. Mortality, pain, disease, or natural disasters, the vastness of space, the depth of time, and the confusion and sorrow of even the happiest life on Earth precludes the possibility of any direction manning the cosmos: ergo all must be blind, pitiless, and godforsaken.

Both as an atheist and as a Christian I never understood the appeal of either argument. They are twin brothers in that both suffer the same fallacy. Both are begging the question.

If someone says, “This universe is too well ordered to originate without an intelligent creator” or if his opposite number says, “This universe is not well ordered enough to have originated via an intelligent creator” my answer to both is the same: “What is your basis of comparison? What other universes have you inspected?”

Because, after all, what if our universe with its free will and biological life is LESS orderly than a completely natural and uncreated universe next door. What would that prove? Or what if the uncreated universe were MORE orderly, like a stone not yet cut by a sculptor? What would it prove?

It as if you looked at a dictionary, and said, “This novel is terrible! It could not have been written by a human being! It must have evolved naturally!” All you are comparing is your expectations to your experiences.

If the results differ from what you expect, what warrant do you have for them? Maybe the things that look random to you were done on purpose for purposes you have not been told, or done at a whim.

If a spinning top whirls about the living room in erratic jerking spasms unpredictably, does this prove its motions are directed by a deliberate intelligence? Or does it prove there are small irregularities on the floorboards you did not take into account, or some other unknown factor?

Again, if I whirl around the living room in erratic jerking spasms unpredictably, does this prove my motions are unintentional? Or does it prove I stepped on the spinning top from the first hypothetical, and hurt my foot, and am now dancing hither and yon to avoid it, while looking frantically for my dropped contact lens, before the crazy top runs over it?

Who can tell the difference between whimsy and random chance?

The only sure way to tell if something it intelligent is to ask it, and listen for an intelligent answer. Of course, if you get no answer, how can you tell the thing you ask, spinning top or hopping man, is unintelligent rather than just being sullen or reticent or shy?

The problem is worse when talking to universes and expecting an answer.

You see, if the monotheists are right, even if other continua of timespace existed with other arrangements of matter under other natural laws, all would still be within the monarchy of the Omnipotent, and nothing could be outside the presence of the Omnipresent, nor unforeseen by the Omniscient.

If the atheists are right, then no omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent creator-god can exist. Having one universe where omnipotent, omniscient omnipresent God created the universe next to another universe where nature without intelligence brought the universe unintentionally into being is not logically possible, since the existence of one precludes the existence of the other.

So unless one can look at two universes, the created and the uncreated, and see the properties one has and the other does not have, one cannot empirically confirm either argument. And since, by definition, no one, not even God Almighty, could look first into a god-created universe and then into a godless universe where there is no god to look at it, the whole argument is supremely silly and unconvincing.

To put the matter in syllogisms:

Monotheist Argument: (1) Any universe too orderly to have arisen by unintentional natural process must be created by the Creator (2) this universe is too orderly to have arisen by unintentional natural process (3) therefore it was created by the Creator.

The minor premise is the same statement as the conclusion. Likewise:

Atheist Argument: (1) Any universe too disorderly to have been created by the Creator must have arisen by unintentional natural process (2) this universe is too disorderly to have been created by the Creator (3) therefore it arose by unintentional natural process.

Neither argument proves anything. The minor premise in both cases is a conclusion, not an axiom.

And the major premise is false. Created things can be more orderly, less orderly, or just the same level of orderly as natural things. My child can arrange tinkertoys in an arrangement no less orderly than the order that emerges from water molecules when forming into ice crystals.