Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Anthropic Teleological Argument for God's Existence

For my MCCC Philosophy of Religion students.

This is an evidential argument for God’s existence.

Physicists have discovered at least three features of the universe (three pieces of evidence) that point to divine creation.

1)   The so-called fine-tuning of laws, constants, and initial conditions of the universe for complex life of comparable intelligence to ourselves.
a.   See the summary, p. 189
b. Physicists have discovered that the cosmological constants (e.g., expansion rate of the universe, gravitational constant, and so on) appear fine-tuned for a life-permitting universe. If any of the constants were slightly different our universe would not be life-allowing.
c. "Fine-tuned" is a metaphor used to illustrate this. Imagine a radio panel with 20 dials, each of which has to be exactly dialed in.
2)   The extraordinary beauty and elegance of the laws and mathematical structure of the universe. E.g., physicist Stephen Weinberg.
3)   The intelligibility and discoverability  of the basic structure of nature. E.g., Einstein – the miracle is that our universe is discoverable by us.

The likelihood principle of confirmation theory.
According to the likelihood principle, an event or state of affairs E counts as evidence in favor of a hypothesis H1 over a hypothesis H2, if E is more probable under H1 than H2.
Example: An ink splotch that looks like the face of Abraham Lincoln would support the idea that the splotch was designed, whereas a splotch of random looking ink marks would not.
If the ink splotch looks like Lincoln then we would not be surprised that it was designed; if the ink splotch was random looking we would not be surprised if it was not designed.

The Argument
1.   The existence of a universe with the features cited above (the 3 pieces of evidence) is not surprising under theism.
2.   The existence of such a universe is enormously surprising under naturalism.

3.   Therefore, by the likelihood principle, the existence of such a universe strongly supports theism over naturalism.


Anselm's Ontological Argument for the Existence of God (Philosophy of Religion Students)