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Richard Swinburne’s Theistic Argument from Order

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Presentation on theme: "Richard Swinburne’s Theistic Argument from Order"— Presentation transcript:

1 Richard Swinburne’s Theistic Argument from Order

2 Prime Principle of Confirmation
Paley-Style Design Argument and the Challenge of Darwinism D favors theism over chance since D is more to expected given theism than chance. Datum (D) Complex and Intricate Structure of human and animal bodies Enter Darwin: D does not provide strong evidence for theism because D is also to expected given the Darwinian hypothesis: we should expect D given that nature throws up random mutations that are subject to the laws of biological evolution, e.g., reproduction with slight variation. Darwin can agree that animal and human bodies are similar to complex machines, but the hypothesis of Darwinian biological evolution tells us that nature is a machine-making machine. Is the theistic design argument, therefore, defeated?

3 Higher-Level Design According to Swinburne and many other theists,
Darwin provides an explanation of the complex life forms Darwin does not provide an ultimate explanation of complex forms

4 Laws of Physics, on which the laws of chemistry depend
Complex Organisms Laws of Evolution operating on human and animal bodies in distinct local environments Laws of Chemistry governing organic matter of which animals and humans are made. Laws of Physics, on which the laws of chemistry depend

5 At a very fundamental level this order is called fine-tuning.
Order exhibited in complex organisms depends on a depth of ingression of order into deeper layers of the fabric out of which the universe is constructed. The order exhibited by the universe’s physical laws is such that it permits (and is conducive to?) the emergence of life forms and life forms exhibiting a broad range of intricacy and structure. At a very fundamental level this order is called fine-tuning.

6 Fine Tuning of the Universe
Laws of Physics Laws of Chemistry Laws of Biology Random Mutation Complex Organisms

7 Complex Life Forms Carbon Stars
Life forms depend on carbon compounds, which are very stable over long periods of time, and (along with hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen) form long complex molecule chains. Carbon can enter into various chemical combinations and is able to store more information than any other element. Carbon (Stable Compound for DNA) This is particularly important with respect to reproduction, since self-replicating molecules are needed that can contain and transmit genetic coding. Nucleic acids perform this task, and they are built up from carbon entering into combinations with hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Stars (Stable and Massive) Hydrogen Atoms Gravitational Force

8 Complex Life Forms Carbon is produced in stars, specifically in stable, massive stars. Their thermonuclear processes produce carbon and the heavier elements, eventually blowing these out into space when the star dies a violent death in a supernova. Carbon (Stable Compound for DNA) Stars (Stable and Massive) The existence of this sequence and each of its components is a very delicate one, depending on a very special calibration of the constants of the laws of physics and matter-energy density of the universe. Hydrogen Atoms Gravitational Force

9 Fine-Tuning of Forces and Elementary Particles
If the strong nuclear force is increased by 2%, there would be no protons (and hence no atoms) or protons would be bound to diprotons so that stars would burn a billion times faster than the sun. If the weak nuclear force is increased by 3.4%, then there would be no hydrogen in the Universe, for it would have all been converted into helium shortly after the Big Bang. If the weak nuclear force were decreased by 9%, then there would no elements heavier than hydrogen (or possibly no hydrogen at all if neutrons did not decay into protons).

10 Fine-Tuning of Forces and Elementary Particles
If electromagnetism were slightly increased or decreased, stars would be too cold or too hot. Gravity is 1039 weaker than electromagnetism. If it were 1033 weaker, stars would be a billion times less massive and burn a million times faster. Stable nucleides, essential to all biology and chemistry, require neutron-proton mass difference to be about twice the electron's mass (otherwise neutrons would all be turned into protons or vice-versa).

11 Fine-Tuning of the Boundary Conditions of the Universe
Boundary conditions refer to those factors in the Universe that determine the possible states of the Universe in its history, whether for finite or infinite time. If the Universe had a beginning, boundary conditions would be the arrangements and properties of the stuff of the Universe when it began. If the Universe began with a singularity (as the standard Big Bang model suggests), conditions at the moment of the Big Bang must have values that lie within a very narrow range if the Universe was to be life conducive. If the Universe had no beginning, its boundary conditions would be the arrangement and properties of the stuff of the Universe at any given time that determine the Universe's past and future states. If the velocity of expansion were one part in a million greater than its actual value, then no stars or heavier elements would form. If the velocity of expansion were one part in a million, million greater than its actual value, then the Universe would have collapsed before it was cool enough to form the elements.

12 Fine-Tuning of Initial Distribution of Mass-Energy:

13 How much precision is needed with respect to the distribution of mass-energy at the beginning of the Universe for it to be a life permitting universe?

14 According to British physicist and cosmologist Roger Penrose’s calculations, the precision of the Big Bang explosion must be much greater than that needed to blow up a pile of rubble and obtain a fully formed building replete with desks, tables, chairs, and computers!

15 Explanations of Fine-Tuning
What explains the fine-tuning of the universe? Three Options It is a brute fact and has no explanation It is explicable in terms of a more fundamental physical reality. It is produced by an intelligent being.

16 “Let there be a fine-tuned universe, and I mean right “here”.” - God

17 Swinburne’s Theistic Design Argument
Theism Leads Us to Expect a Fine-Tuned Universe 1. By virtue of being omnipotent, God has the power to bring about finely tuned universe. 2. God is omniscient and so God has the requisite knowledge to bring about a finely-tuned universe. 3. God is perfectly good, so he has reason for producing a finely-tuned universe.

18 Being all good, God has reason to produce good states affairs, and a fine-tuned universe is both itself a good state of affairs and necessary for the actualizing of many other good states of affairs. I. God would create a beautiful world, and orderly world is beautiful, whereas a chaotic world is ugly. The Universe’s temporal and spatial regularities are of great beauty: the movements planets around stars, the variety of stars, the billions of galaxies, each full of hundreds of billions of such stellar variety, vast cosmic regions of gaseous nebulae that glow with lovely colors and shapes. The evolution of the universe from an initial subatomic particle to the formation of stars and galaxies stretching out over 10 to 15 billions years, as well as the process of biological evolution on at least our own planet, are processes of amazing ingenuity. Even if there were no other beings to perceive this beauty other than God himself, it would still be a good thing.

19 II. God would create a Universe with living beings that are conscious and can learn and perform intentional actions. These are good states and humans and animals exemplify these states. They have mental lives and experience pleasant sensations. The temporal regularities of the world allow them to learn and act on the basis of their knowledge.

20 III. God would have an overriding reason to create human beings with a unique mental life, self-consciousness, and the ability to acquire knowledge and to freely choose and act on the basis of our knowledge, so as to bring about calculated effects. God’s generosity, part of his goodness, would lead us to expect that God would want to create beings like himself, to share his qualities. God would have good reason to create beings with bodies. Embodied intelligent beings have a close relationship to their environment, are able to control their bodies and learn through the use of their body, and experience pleasant sensations. In this way, life forms share in the creative likeness of their maker. All of the above depends on the existence of temporal regularities, God has good reason to create a Universe that operates according to physical laws.

21 Potential Objection Isn’t Swinburne making a lot of assumptions about what God would do or what God’s goodness amounts to? It is a postulate or hypothesis that Swinburne claims has explanatory merit. If postulating a personal being with the qualities in question explains phenomena, this provides reason to believe such a being exists, whether or not one chooses to call it “God.” It doesn’t appear to be an ad hoc hypothesis since he is actually developing core intuitions in the tradition of western theism. The term “God” is therefore appropriate for his purposes.

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