Arguments Against Fine Tuned Universe Theology

Our universe is held together by a variety of physical constants, ranging from well known concepts like the gravitational force to esoteric concepts like Planck’s constant or the mass-energy density of the universe. According to some philosophers, if the fundamental constants of our universe were just slightly different, life would not exist. The fact that these constants are so fine tuned has lead philosophers and scientists to argue that they are evidence for the existence of a divine creator. How else would such an unlikely series of constants appear and how else would we be alive? This is known as the fine-tuning argument. It is a favored argument of rational Christians and those who try to find a middle ground between science and religion. Although the fine tuning argument seems to be the best argument for God based on its apparent scientific basis, in actuality it is as flawed as any other logical arguments for the existence of God. Not only does the fine tuning argument ignore modern scientific research, it also fails on a logical level.

The fine tuning argument partakes in the time honored tradition of Christian apologists who have decided that because something can not be explained, God must have been the one who did it. The premise of the fine tuning argument is that the chance of all the physical constants appearing the way that they are is extremely slim. This is beyond debate. Yet a philosopher who uses the fine tuning argument must make a logical jump to involve God in the theory. Just because the fundamental constants seem to be designed, does not mean that they are necessarily designed. What the fine tuning argument does is take an unexplained phenomenon and insert God to have it all make sense. This is no different than ancient Greeks who had no idea why the sun travelled across the sky. In order to make sense of this unexplained happening, they invented the god Helios, who drove a chariot across the sky to make the sun rise in the East and set in the West. They had no conception of orbital science and so they used the concept of a supernatural being to explain what they could not make sense of. Nowadays we realize that the idea of Helios is absurd. We understand that the movement of the Sun is caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis and we no longer need a supernatural being to explain the movement.

People who adhere to the fine tuning argument make the same fallacious jump that the ancient Greeks did. Instead of looking at the fundamental constants and trying to figure out why the values worked out for our universe, they instead force God into the cracks and call it quits. What a terrible way to practice human inquiry. Fine tuning theorists make no attempt to describe the world that they live in, they just throw up their hands and say that God must have done it. This is not philosophy.


Even if fine-tuning is right and the universe is designed, it does not necessarily prove the existence of the standard monotheistic God. Fine tuning proponents instantly assume that any evidence of a creator is also evidence for the all-loving, omniscient, omnipresent God that is discussed in major religions. However this does not need to be. Although it seems like science fiction, modern scientists such as Brian Greene or Alan Guth have proposed ways that a civilization can make their own model universe using well known physical laws. For humans there is a technological limitation but the theoretical framework is well understood. If a modern scientist can understand how to make a designer universe, surely an advanced civilization can make one as well. Thus the Christian God that we are looking for may be nothing more than a particularly advanced civilization. While that little thought experiment seems farfetched, it is useful in demonstrating that evidence of design does not necessarily mean that the designer had to be the all-loving God that major religions believe in.

The fine tuning argument also fails because it ignores current physical theories. Most branches of physics have at least some concept of how their principles could generate parallel universes. If multiple universes exist then the fact that our universe has life giving physical constants is not shocking. Rather it is a necessary outcome from a multiverse where every possible universe is realized. Our universe is habitable, but it is only one of many possible outcomes, many of which may be uninhabitable. Multiverse theories are common in most branches of physics. Modern cosmology posits an universe of infinite spatial dimension. In such a universe all possible universes are not only possible but are necessary. Quantum mechanics theorizes that for every quantum interaction a parallel universe is split off. String theory gives scientists reason to believe that all possible configurations of the physical constants are recognized in multiple universes.

A proponent of the fine tuning argument will quickly point out that multiverse theories are not only unproven, but are impossible to prove. Theoretically we would never be able to communicate with a parallel universe thus we would never be able to determine whether it actually existed. Thus, we need to only look at what our universe is telling us. A fine tuning proponent will state that multiverse theories are untestable and should not be given attention when arguing for the case of God. Rather they are interesting side projects for scientists that lack the usefulness to be seriously considered in any philosophical debate for or against the existence of God.

In doing this the fine tuning philosopher makes a grave error. When a scientists is proposing a theory, they usually have to work on the mathematical framework first, especially in our day when physicists are describing ideas and physical entities that are far beyond directly experimental observations. Just because we can not see something does not mean it does not exist. For example, modern electronics is based off the theory of electrons. Nobody has ever seen an electron. In fact it is most likely impossible to directly view one. But does that stop physicists from developing theories and experiments involving electrons? No. This is where multiverse theories now stand. They are mathematical frameworks, but that does not mean that they are invalid. If math is the way that the universe is described, the fact that a scientists can develop a coherent mathematical idea of a multiverse shows that is likely. If a mathematical theory is coherent, it must be assumed that the mathematics describe the ideal form of something that can not be directly observed.

Ultimately reasoning to God is a futile effort. As scientific knowledge increases the understanding of the physical constants will be more clear and philosophers will not have to fall back on the excuse that God “just made it happen” in order to explain current phenomenon. This has always been the course of history and there is no reason for it to change. Instead of relying on convoluted and esoteric theories to prove the existence of a divine being, Christians and religious people must recognize that their belief is logical absurd. And that is alright. The foundation of religion is faith in things not seen. It can not be reasoned, it can not be validated in thought experiments. It is a system of faith. Leave science to the scientists and recognize that attempting to understand God is a fundamentally futile endeavor.


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