The Fine-Tuning Argument: Exploring the Improbability of Our Existence [chapter]

Klaas Landsman
2016 The Frontiers Collection  
A mild form of satire may be the appropriate antidote. Imagine, if you will, the wonderment of a species of mud worms who discover that if the constant of thermometric conductivity of mud were different by a small percentage they would not be able to survive. (Earman 1987, p. 314). Abstract Our laws of nature and our cosmos appear to be delicately fine-tuned for life to emerge, in a way that seems hard to attribute to chance. In view of this, some have taken the opportunity to revive the
more » ... tic Argument from Design, whereas others have felt the need to explain this apparent fine-tuning of the clockwork of the Universe by proposing the existence of a 'Multiverse'. We analyze this issue from a sober perspective. Having reviewed the literature and having added several observations of our own, we conclude that cosmic fine-tuning supports neither Design nor a Multiverse, since both of these fail at an explanatory level as well as in the more quantitative context of Bayesian confirmation theory (although there might be other reasons to believe in these ideas, to be found in religion and in inflation and/or string theory, respectively). In fact, fine-tuning and Design even seem to be at odds with each other, whereas the inference from fine-tuning to a Multiverse only works if the latter is underwritten by an additional metaphysical hypothesis we consider unwarranted. Instead, we suggest that fine-tuning requires no special explanation at all, since it is not the Universe that is fine-tuned for life, but life that has been fine-tuned to the Universe. Twentieth Century physics and cosmology have revealed an astonishing path towards our existence, which appears to be predicated on a delicate interplay between the three fundamental forces that govern the behavior of matter at very small distances and the long-range force of gravity. The former control chemistry
doi:10.1007/978-3-319-26300-7_6 fatcat:n6xvtymr4zduxkvi6azh45fpl4