The Cosmic Fine-Tuning Argument for Intelligent Design, Now with "No More Tears" Formula
I think this will probably wrap up our coverage of the Eric Metaxas Wall Street Journal essay on fine-tuning -- for this afternoon! Eric's article was brief, as such things necessarily are, and couldn't give a detailed picture of the entire argument for intelligent design based on cosmic fine-tuning. For a fuller accounting, yet readily accessible and short! -- you should read Jay Richards's paper for Discovery Institute, a "List of Fine-Tuning Parameters."
Don't worry, it's easy to digest. I recommend it especially to those religious believers too busy denying the relevance of science to their faith to actually crack open a science book. Our colleague Dr. Richards, co-author of The Privileged Planet, begins:
"Fine-tuning" refers to various features of the universe that are necessary conditions for the existence of complex life. Such features include the initial conditions and "brute facts" of the universe as a whole, the laws of nature or the numerical constants present in those laws (such as the gravitational force constant), and local features of habitable planets (such as a planet's distance from its host star).Read the rest here. See also our earlier commentary here, here, here, here, and here.
The basic idea is that these features must fall within a very narrow range of possible values for chemical-based life to be possible.
Some popular examples are subject to dispute. And there are some complicated philosophical debates about how to calculate probabilities. Nevertheless, there are many well-established examples of fine-tuning, which are widely accepted even by scientists who are generally hostile to theism and design. For instance, Stephen Hawking has admitted: "The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers [the constants of physics] seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life." (A Brief History of Time, p. 125) Here are the most celebrated and widely accepted examples of fine-tuning for the existence of life.