Does this rebut the fine-tuning argument for God: “the Universe is equally fine-tuned to permit rocks!”

  • Question

    The fine-tuning argument says that we now know the Universe's physical laws, constants, and initial conditions are such that, if we altered their values by even the slightest degree, the universe's physics would in fact prohibit any form of life. So by default we should find it quite surprising that the universe is life-permitting. It would be akin to hearing the bangs from a firing-squad of 100 sharpshooters aiming at your heart, and looking up to see that you are quite alive. Wow! Why is this evidence for theism? Because if God exists, then it is in fact not that surprising that we are alive. It would functionally be like finding out that the sharpshooters intended to miss you. Theist's have specal reason to not be surprised that the Universe is life-permitting because that's exactly the kind of thing God would plausibly choose to do/create.

    But consider that the Universe is also fine-tuned to permit rocks. If you altered almost any of the constants, the universe would not permit the sort of chemist required for rocks to exist either. Is this sort of consideration a successful parody of the fine-tuning argument. Are we required to then say that there must be some rock-loving deity?

“No, after all…
  • The rock-loving deity is ad hoc

    The rock-loving deity hypothesis would say the mass presence of rocks is evidence for that deity because the observation is more expected than not if a rock-loving deity existed.

    They would be right; it would be strong evidence for the rock-loving deity. But the problem is that the rock-loving deity is “ad hoc” (contrived), quite unlike the God hypothesis. Probabilistically, what this means is that, yes, there is strong evidence for the rock-loving deity given the highly improbable existence of rocks. But so what? The idea of a rock-loving deity is needlessly complex, counter-intuitive, and even absurd. Why would it love rocks of all things? In abductive reasoning, that means it is "implausible" and in Bayesan inference, that means the prior probability is prohibitively low (e.g. less than .0000000000000000001). Theism, by contrast, is not counterintuive; a perfect being can be expected to love actually valuable things--like people, who indeed resemble Him. In general, the problem with highly implausible ad hoc hypotheses is that they need particularly extraordinary evidence to overcome their initial improbability. The God hypothesis faces no such problem. For details, see this argument against theism: “God is complex (intrinsically improbable).” Another issue, however, is that the Universe is more specifically fine-tuned to permit life; there far more universes which permit rocks than permit moral embodied agents like us, and that is better explained by the standard God hypothesis over against the rock-loving deity hypothesis.