Saturday, February 07, 2009

Common Objection #6

"You don't have to invoke a benevolent designer to explain why we are in one of the parts of the universe where life is possible: in all the other parts of the universe there is no one to raise the question."

It is with this type of "hand wave" objection that the denier of God often deals with the Anthropic Principle, that says the entire universe had to be formed in a certain way in order for it to contain life at all.

Obviously, for the atheist this principle raises an important question: Who or what did the forming? Further, is chance truly a viable option in explaining the "fine-tuning" of the universe we inhabit?

The objection above, used by atheists like Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg, completely fails to address the the fact at hand: it is extremely improbable that our universe came about by sheer chance. Our existence does nothing to explain the improbability of our universe.

Philosopher John Leslie points out the fallacy of this type of thinking as follows:

"Imagine a man sentenced to death, standing before a firing squad of ten shooters. The shooters discharge their rifles. Somehow they all miss. Then they shoot again and one more time they fail to hit their target. Repeatedly they fire and repeatedly they miss. Later the prisoner is approached by the warden, who says, "I can't believe they all missed. Clearly there is some sort of conspiracy at work." Yet the prisoner laughs off the suggestion with the comment, "What on earth would make you suggest a conspiracy? It's no big deal. Obviously the marksmen missed because if they had not missed I would not be here to have this discussion." [2]

We may be able to ponder and study the "fine-tuning" of our universe, however, this does nothing to explain the extreme unlikelihood of it's existence.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross


1. Steven Weinberg, Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries, p. 5; as quoted by Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great about Christianity, p. 132.

2. Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great about Christianity, p. 132.

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