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The fine tuning argument suggests that if certain universal constants were any different, life would not have arisen.

Since this is better explained by a God who wanted life to arise, it is taken as evidence of God.

However, there are many things in the universe that would be better explained by God. In fact, everything in the universe can be better explained by a God by simply building that thing as a preference into the God hypothesis.

For example, John in some city played poker and got a Royal flush as a hand. The probability of him getting the Royal flush is indescribably low. This is better explained by a God who simply wanted John to get a royal flush at that moment.

What is the difference in logic between these arguments? I fail to see any. The reason the second argument fails is because it tells you nothing about whether or not God exists. A certain property of the universe occurring that may be valuable to a particular kind of agent says nothing about whether that kind of agent actually exists, unless we have independent reasons to think that agent already does. Does this mean that the fine-tuning argument, by itself at least, rest upon a fallacy?

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  • Does this answer your question? Dawkins on God: What are the strongest counters to his argument? Apr 30, 2023 at 5:34
  • No it doesn’t and linking questions that have nothing to do with this one given its lack of mention of fine tuning is extremely annoying. This post is also not talking about the complexity of god
    – user62907
    Apr 30, 2023 at 5:41
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    The argument is abductive, so formally invalid, but so are all heuristic arguments. Inferences to the "best" explanation are not informal fallacies, but their plausibility depends on one's opinions about what explains "better". Opinion based questions are off topic here.
    – Conifold
    Apr 30, 2023 at 6:18
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    You have asked at least five questions that are equivalent to this one. It's not reasonable to expect me to read through your dozens and dozens of questions looking for the one that is closest to this one. Apr 30, 2023 at 6:18
  • Show me one question that is equivalent to this one @DavidGudeman. If you can’t, stop being annoying
    – user62907
    Apr 30, 2023 at 7:00

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The odds of any individual player getting a Royal Flush at any given moment is very low, but there are a lot of players, and they play a lot of hands. If you pick one particular player to watch before the cards are dealt, it would be surprising if they got a Royal Flush, but it's not hard at all to find a player somewhere in history who was dealt a Royal Flush if you're allowed to pick and choose after the fact.

Similarly, it's very unlikely that the Earth would have the exact very specific characteristics that support life, but given how many planets we think there are in the universe, it's not surprising that at least one has that combination. And the fact that we live on that one planet is also not surprising --it's like picking after the cards are dealt.

But given that we only know of there being one universe, it is an open question why the parameters of that one universe are optimized for the universe being an interesting place. Some people have speculated that there are an infinite number of universes, but that's sheer conjecture. Others have noted that if the parameters were not optimized for life, we wouldn't be around to ask the question, but that doesn't evade the problem, it just reframes it.

There may be other valid reasons to object to the fine-tuning argument, but this is why the Royal Flush analogy fails as an objection.

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  • It is not as if a dice was rolled at the beginning, so probability only makes sense here “existentially”. But in that case, what’s the alternative? Design? That designer must have been caused or always existed. If it’s the latter, we now have a version of the fine tuning argument again: how a complex creator with likely even more complex parameters than the ones in the universe always existed without explanation. It makes it worse
    – user62907
    May 2, 2023 at 17:41
  • You're changing your original question. You didn't ask if "fine tuning" was a good argument. You asked if the "Royal Flush" analogy undermines it. The answer to THAT question is "no" UNLESS you believe in the (highly speculative) idea of the multiverse. May 3, 2023 at 13:52
  • Separate to this argument, the classic Platonic conception of God is as simpler than the universe, not more complex. That might seem paradoxical, but complex phenomena often has simple roots--fractals are a good example. May 3, 2023 at 13:55
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There are two errors in your argument. Both of them occur in the initial fine tuning argument and in the argument about the Royal Flush.

The first is your assumption that the criteria for "better explanation" that you apply, but do not explain, would be accepted by your readers. Many of them would say that almost any explanation is better than the one you think is better.

The second is that you think that the occurrence of events with low probability needs a special explanation. The probability that the ticket I buy in a large lottery will win is minuscule. Yet a ticket does win, every week.

The chance of the physical constants being just the ones required to enable life to develop may be very low. But so is the chance of any other specific value, so there is nothing remarkable here.

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