creation

The Three Choices of Creation

Out there on the interwebs, there is a war going on for the soul of something, and it is known as the fine-tuning argument. It’s essentially an argument that stipulates that the constants that govern the Universe as we know it were fine-tuned by an external creator to allow intelligent life—as are we—to flourish. If any one of these constants were changed just a smidgen, then life (as we know it) couldn’t exist.

There are three ways to look at this:

1. There is an external designer (God) who fine-tuned these constants to allow for our existence
2. It was sheer, blind luck that our universe had these constants and not some others—assuming that is, they could be anything else
3. These values are what they are because we live in a multiverse in which all possible values of the constants are instantiated and we find ourselves here simply because here is one of the few places we can be (the weak antropic principle)

(1) is obviously what the religiously inclined would choose. (3) is what many scientists and the scientifically inclined would choose, though of course, not all. There are many debates and discussions out there taking sides, giving evidence and reasoning for this and that, but I see very few people discussing (2). So I want to get some skin into the game, but with a different angle—I’m sure there are others out there who do see it this way. I just haven’t found them. The internet is a big place, or so I’ve been told.

Lets assume (1) to be true. How could we ever rule out (2)? The answer is, as far as I can tell, you cannot. Sure, we could say if we received a sign, we’d be sure: one night, we see the stars rearrange to spell the words “I Am That I Am”, or a book is beamed down from the heavens that explicitly details the spookiness of quantum entanglement or some such equally advanced knowledge we have not arrived at. But then, we couldn’t rule out an advanced alien species playing a practical joke on us, or giving us advanced physics we are not yet aware of, so we’re back at square one. There is no way to definitively rule out chance—or aliens. Theologians often make this statement against scientists (they call it scientism), insinuating that we can never be sure of what our scientific theories tell us, and in the next breath invoking God (the irony is lost on them).

Now, lets assume (3) to be true. How do you rule out (2)? The answer is, you don’t need to. It is part and parcel of the same package. Essentially both are down to chance. We might not might be able to say definitively we live in a singular universe or multiverse—although there are ways we might get observational proof of a multiverse. But we should be able to say with confidence that (1) could, in principle, be ruled out definitively and either (2) or (3) be true without fear of going awry.

One way or the other, something has to be infinite and eternal into the past. Either God or some other entity for (1) to hold true or the universe/multiverse of (2)/(3). The latter two have one less assumption (being that the wider reality of which we may be a part of has no complicated attributes; such as intelligence, creativity, and/or emotion that God is seemingly endowed with. We don’t need to explain why that wider reality, if indeed it exists, is simple, non-material, and non-sentient, though we would if a God was involved). Anyone else have an opinion? To me, this seems too easy. I feel like I’m missing something.

6 comments

    1. No humble bowing needed sir. Let’s leave that to the religiously inclined and make do with greetings and salutations. (Though the salutation part bothers me often enough.)

      1. I like the traditional Somali (i think its Somali?) way of greeting where they go through blessings on EVERYTHING the man has, from his goats to the new gold filling in his back molar. From what i understand it can take up to 15 minutes, maybe more, and that’s just the first guy! Brilliant 🙂

  1. We have a life-centric viewpoint because we are life (or more specifically, part of life as we know it). Something, plus something, plus something equals _____, and we are astonished that the answer is…. human life! If the somethings in the formula had been different, however, the sum would have been something else. So yes, the Goldilocks zone is just right for Goldilocks, but that is only remarkable if you are Goldilocks.

    Put another way, if I say pick a number from 1 to a billion and you pick 578,243,001, the odds of your picking that number were one in a billion…but so what? It would only be remarkable if your choice fit some pre-established, unique requirement. Human life is unlikely, but it wasn’t required any more than any other possible outcome. Never mind multiverses; something had to happen here in this universe and we just happen to be what happened to happen.

    Accordingly, I am going with creation choice #2, but instead of the inherent bias in “sheer blind luck,” I am calling it just “random chance.”

    1. I totally agree with the sentiment. I cannot abide the thought that if the constants were different, then life wouldn’t exist. We have no idea what would exist, but it is a fair assumption to make, as I did, that life as we know it today wouldn’t exist. Forgive me at least some subjective viewpoint, for indeed, we are lucky to be here, and to look at the universe through the blind process of chance is truly lucky if we have any value in our own lives. Objectively, it is random chance; subjectively, it is luck.

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