For the last Bad Theism article, click here: Bad Theism: Apocalyptic Mindset.
“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”
– Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy
I want you to think about the game of 5 card stud poker. The odds of getting dealt a royal flush are fairly low, only 649,739 : 1 or .000154% and yet we all know that royal flushes are dealt from time to time. Now think of Powerball, the odds of winning at Powerball are 292,000,000: 1 and yet each year a handful of people win the big one. You actually have a better chance of getting struck by lightning while getting eaten by a shark than winning the Powerball and yet people still win.
The reason I bring these things up is that simply due to the fact that some result might be rare, it does not necessarily remove the possibility of that the result will occur. The universe is both really big and really old, these are facts that I won’t be arguing during this article. What I will be discussing tonight is the so-called fine-tuning argument.
Theists would have you believe that simply because the odds of life existing are astronomically low then there must have been a god in order for life to get started. The fine-tuning argument attempts to do just that. To put it simply:
The conditions of life are rare and the physical constants are fine-tuned in such a way that allows for life to exist and thrive. If things were only slightly different the universe as we know it would not exist and life itself would be impossible. Due to the finely tuned nature of the universe, a tuner must exist that set things into motion. (Theists will then add to this the anthropic principle and state that the tuner must be god)
From what we currently understand, life in the universe is rare, so rare that we have literally only found it in one place so far…here, Earth. Yet the more we understand the conditions that make life possible, and find planets that seem to have those same conditions, the likelihood that life exists in some form elsewhere in the universe becomes much more likely. Yet is this evidence that the universe has been finely tuned for us to exist and that god is in control?
I would say no…I would state that the universe is not finely tuned for us but that we are finely tuned for the universe. What I mean by that is due to natural causes, our evolution has led us to be a creature that is perfectly capable of thriving in our current environment, namely, this small blue dot in the vacuum of space. Remove us from this tiny environment and you will find that the universe is not finely tuned for our life at all.
Second, I want you to think about the supposed nature of god. God is supposedly omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, or in other words, all-powerful, all-encompassing, and all-knowing. God is said to exist both without and within the physical universe. Now…if a being like this were to exist, then what reason would there be for all the physical constants and any of the finely-tuned aspects of the universe?
If god were to exist, then what would be the point of the speed of light, the constants of gravity, or electro-magnetism. Why would our bodies require a precise amount of oxygen in order to live, why would our bodies need food and water in order to survive. A god could, and if he was all-knowing and all-good, could create a world where absolutely none of this mattered.
If by chance our globe existed in the orbit of mercury and yet we still thrived upon it, I would then make a guess that something was keeping us all from catching fire. If our bodies existed as they currently do and yet we lived on a planet with a sulphuric atmosphere, I might then consider the possibility that an outside force, such as god was keeping us from dying in that deadly environment. However, neither of these things are true. We are adapted to the environment in which we live, as every other species of animal that has ever existed on this planet has been. If it wasn’t adapted to life here then it wouldn’t survive long enough to propagate and spread its genes.
Basically what I am saying is that the physical constants of the universe actually point in the opposite direction, towards a universe from natural causes rather than from a god.
Let me give you my opinion on what a world, with a god, would look like…
For starters the whole globe idea is just unnecessary, so let’s flatten out the earth into plane with hills and shit but clearly defines borders. We’ll make it a circle because circles are cute and split it into four sections. In each section I’d place an angel that would control the wind or some shit…
Now this flat plane isn’t just going to float in the vacuum of space and so I’m going to give it some pillars to act as legs which connect to something but who knows what…I mean….I’m god…maybe they connect to me…. After I get those legs in place I’m going to float my creation in water, jest a big damn ball of water and in order to keep my flat plane dry, I’m putting a giant dome over the plane…I’ll call it the firmashit or something catchy…
Now, obviously I’m going to make plants need water and animals need water, so there has to be some way that the water on the outside can get to the land within. Springs will do pretty nicely but I’m going to have to put in some windows just in case I want to kill everything as quickly as possible. So that giant dome is going to be covered in windows that I can open or shut whenever I want.
The people on this plane are going to have a hard time building me temples if I don’t give them some lights, so on the dome I’m going to put a shit load of led lights, I’ll call them stars. They aren’t going to give much light so I’m going to need a couple of big bulbs, one for day and one for night, that will circle around the plane. These lights will be nice just in case I need to fix them in place so that one group of the people I created can win a battle against another group that I also created…totes cool!
Anyway, then I’m going to sit back and wait for that sweet smell of burning flesh to float up to me…I absolutely love the smell of burning flesh because I’m a sociopath…
You know what….I just realized that my world would be the exact type of world that the bible describes. See the people who wrote the bible had absolutely no understanding of any of the sciences and so they just accepted what they had been told. Other groups had believed the same thing for thousands of years before old testament, why mess with perfection. This is the world they believed that they existed in, and so it was perfectly natural to believe that god created it all. As our understanding of universe and the world around us expanded, this story became less and less realistic to the point that even the craziest of apologists doesn’t really try to support much of it anymore.
We learned that there were other planets, the lights in the sky were stars, our own sun was a star and the moon wasn’t even a fucking light. We learned that there was no firmament, no windows, no pillars, no water outside either. We learned of gravity and the fact that our Earth is a spinning globe in a universe filled with other spinning globes. We may not know all the answers to abiogenesis but we do have a fairly good understanding of how evolution shaped life on this globe.
God continually got smaller so that he could fit within the gaps of what we don’t yet know, and now he can only exist in the small gaps created by an awful argument like the one we’ve spoken of tonight. The universe isn’t finely tuned for us, we’re tuned to the universe or else we wouldn’t exist. Simple as that. If we weren’t tuned to the universe and yet somehow we still existed, then maybe you’d have a leg to stand on in your idea that….god dun it…