Presentation on theme: "The Fine-Tuning Argument One common response to this argument goes thus: Of course the universe is of a sort suitable for life. If it were not, no one."— Presentation transcript:
The Fine-Tuning Argument One common response to this argument goes thus: Of course the universe is of a sort suitable for life. If it were not, no one would be here to ask the question of why it is. So we should not be at all surprised that it is. Is this a good objection? How might an advocate of the Fine-Tuning argument reply?
The Fine-Tuning Argument John Leslie offers an analogy to point out a problem with this objection. Suppose you face a firing squad of expert marksmen. And suppose they all fire at you – and you remain alive. This is incredible. How could all of these expert marksmen miss you? Suppose you wonder, Why am I still alive? This seems an extremely natural question to ask here, and its one that cries out for explanation. Suppose in reply someone says, Well, obviously, they missed. If they wouldnt have, you wouldnt be here to ask that question!
This response is totally off the mark. Obviously, if they hadnt missed, you wouldnt be here to ask that question. But the point is that what cries out for explanation here is this: its seems extraordinary that all of these experts marksmen missed you, and what needs explaining is why it is that they missed you. That still hasnt been explained. One explanation would be that they conspired to miss you on purpose. That explanation would explain why you are still alive and answer the question, Why am I still alive? The Fine-Tuning Argument
In the same way, Leslie points out that obviously if the universe wasnt fine-tuned then life wouldnt exist, and we wouldnt be around to ask why the universe is fine-tuned for life. But the point is that what cries out for explanation here is why is it that there exists such a fine-tuned universe at all, when it doesnt seem like a fine-tuned universe – or any universe at all – had to exist for that matter. The fine-tuning argument is saying that we need to explain that. And advocates of this argument say that what explains why there is a such a fine-tuned universe – when it doesnt seem like a fine- tuned universe – or any universe at all – had to exist is that there is an Intelligent Designer, God, that produced such a fine tuned universe to support the existence of human life.
Born in France in 1623 Studied geometry seriously at age 12 By age 13 he attended discussion groups with his father with some of the leading mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers of his day By 16 he wrote a paper on geometry that lead some to say he was the smartest man in Europe Pascal was born into a Catholic family, but he didnt start to care about religion until his 30s when he had a powerful mystical experience that changed his life. After this, he decided to spend the rest of his life trying to defend religious belief
Blaise Pascal This experience happened on November 23, 1654 and its called Pascals Night of Fire because he had an intense religious experience that lasted hours and convinced him that there is a true God who should be the focus and aspiration of everyones life. He saw all around him that many people – both successful and not – were not concerned enough with God and he sought to change this and to get people to be concerned again with believing in God and to make Him important in their life. He died when he was just 39, but shortly before he died, he had been close to completing a work on this topic, The Pensees or The Thoughts were a part of a defense of the rationality of religion and religious belief, and its here when we can find Pascals famous Wager – now Called Pascals Wager – which is his set of reasoning meant to persuade people to believe in God.
Pascals Wager 1) Start off by assuming that there is a 50% chance that God exists and a 50% chance He doesnt. 2) Next observe that you have two possible actions in terms of how you will live your life – a) Believe in God (Theism) – b) Dont believe in God (Atheism) Agnosticism boils down to atheism for the purposes of this argument. Why? Because if you live as though we cant know if there is a God and thereby arent committed to living as though He does exist, then your life ends up looking no different than the life of an atheist. Another way to put the point is that if there is a Judgment Day, and if there is a God, Hes going to judge both atheists and agnostics the same way, since neither of them end up trying to live a life to please Him. What should I do?
Pascals Wager You should do whatever has the potential to produce the most good for you. In other words, you should do what seems the most prudential or practical thing to hedge your bets. You should do what seems to bring with it the best chances for success and the least chances for misery. Lets think about that here given the options of theism and atheism.
Pascals Wager Option 1: Believe in God – If you believe in God, and He exists, then you will be rewarded with Heaven and thereby infinite bliss. Thats really great! – If you believe in God, and He doesnt exist, youll just have a false belief. Thats not too bad.
Pascals Wager Option 2: Dont Believe in God – If you dont believe in God, and He doesnt exist, you have a true belief. Thats good. – If you dont believe in God, and He exists, youll go to Hell forever. Thats really bad!
Pascals Wager What is the most prudential or practical thing to do to hedge your bets? What should you do in order to try to maximize your chances for success and to minimize your chances for misery? Pascal says: Believe in God. – Believing in God offers the potential for infinite bliss in Heaven if it turns out there is a God, and it only has the potential negative effect that youll have a false belief if there is no God. – By contrast, atheism offers the potential for having a true belief if there is no God, but it brings with it the huge risk of eternal punishment in Hell if you are wrong and God ends up existing.
Michelangelo's Last Judgment
Pascals Wager Is this a good argument for believing in God? What sorts of worries might a person have with it?