I really find strange your argument of the comparability of tenis balls, rocks and so on with corporeal conscious agents, it seems as if you have lost connection with the reality that these are very different entities, with different worth. If we did not exist, but a very different alien race, an specie of corporeal conscious agents, in some place very far from here, even disconnected causally from our region of space time, the fine tuning argument would still apply to them.I did post before in this thread explaining why corporeal conscious agents are special and why they add value to the world, though I honestly think this should be obvious to anyone with 4 fingers on their forehead. I used to be a hardcore agnostic, but it seems that to be so one needs to abandone any reasonable stance for some kind of moving target world view, I am to dumb to make sense out of such a position.Another thing I find kind of surprising is that when the standard model predicts with 10 -17 precision then science informs of reality, and we are all to bow before it, but when it misses by 10 to the 122 then it is just a model, that we can´t use. It is understandable that scientific models are limited and can be bettered, but that is irrelevant when it comes to using them as the best scientific knowlege we have, and in the end, it can not be both that science is meaningful and meaningless.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhGdVMBk6Zo (minute 3:00 if you want to save time)Here is Penrose saying that the initial conditions of the entropy density of the primitive universe, with respect to gravity was fine tuned with such a precision that if you devided 1 by a 1 followed a putting a zero in every particle there is in the universe it would not be enough. I honestly prefer your argument against establishing reliable probabilities, it makes much more sense, though I would argue that we can still recognize intelligence, it is not that obvious who is right.
Let's go back to the original question. The question is why assume that intelligent life is more valuable than a rock? The question is raised in the context of the fine tuning argument. I will, therefore, assume that the person posing the question means to suggest that the fine tuning argument necessarily makes the assumption that life is more valuable than rocks. This is false.One proposed example of fine tuning is that the expansion rate of the universe must be exquisitely balanced to avoid either the quick collapse of the universe shortly after it comes into existence or to avoid matter being so widely dispersed that stars and planets cannot form. If such a balance did not exist, life could not exist. It would be equally true to say that not only could life not exist, but ordinary objects could not exist such as rocks or tables. Another proposed example of fine tuning involves the balance of the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force that is necessary for heavier elements to form. Again this fine tuning is necessary for the universe to be "life-permitting" or "rock permitting". Therefore, the observation that the universe is fine-tuned is value neutral as to whether life is more valuable than rocks. It is true that the argument is usually framed in terms of life-permitting universes. As Dr. Craig explains in the debate you cite: "Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by even a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed and life would not exist. We now know that life-prohibiting universes are incomprehensibly more probable than any life-permitting universe."He could just as well as framed the argument as "the fine-tuning refers to narrow range of values that permits planets and heavy elements to exist that would be necessary for life or any ordinary physical object such as tables to exist". It does not require any type of assumption that intelligent life has a special value. So why does Dr. Craig choose to frame the argument in terms of "life permitting" universes rather than as "object permitting" universes. Nothing in his argument requires that he do so. Does he have some deceptive reason? I don't think so. As ontologicalme observes most people intuitively assume that life is more valuable than rocks so it is not unreasonable to frame the argument in such terms, although it is not necessary. I agree with your claim that the existence of fine tuning, by itself, does not lead to any conclusions about the existence of God. The concept is value neutral and theologically neutral. That is why Craig does not end his argument with the mere assertion that the universe is fine tuned. He goes onto to argue for several other premises, which are:1) This fine tuning can only be explained by chance, necessity or design;2) It cannot be explained by chance;3) It cannot be explained by design:Therefore, it can only be explained by design. Now you raise a number of arguments related to whether the universe is fine-tuned as described by Dr. Craig or whether the multiverse theory would allow a life-permitting universe to exist by chance. You are free to raise such arguments, but they are red-herrings as to the issue being discussed in this thread. If you want to discuss such issues, perhaps you should start a new thread on the topics, "The universe is not fine-tuned" or "The multiverse is an explanation how fine-tuning can be explained by chance."The last point I would make is that if you want a full presentation of the fine tuning I would not rely on Dr. Craig's debate transcripts because they are necessarily time limited and focused on the arguments raised by his opponents. They are necessarily very incomplete defenses of the argument. If you go to the transcripts of the defenders series or articles of Dr. Craig you will find much more complete presentations. Better yet, I would suggest Dr. Robbin Collins book on the topic.
Too say that the univers permits life is juts a tatutology, what could we possibly learn from that? A univer with different constants might permit other things like an abundance of magentic monopoles, You still need to assuem theres somehting special about life.
You don't need to assume that life is intrinsically worthwhile. All you need to confirm a teleological hypothesis in any domain is to have a hypothesis advocated independently of the confirmatory observation, and then to make that observation.For example, say I get dealt two random cards in black jack, a 4 of hearts and a 10 of spades. Now, say after the dealing, a friend of mine tells me that he thinks someone intentionally stacked the deck so I would get the 4 and the 10--no reason, just his claim. In bayesian terms, yes, his hypothesis is confirmed by the evidence because the existence of a deck stacker makes my cards more likely than the chance hypothesis. The problem with the deck stacker hypothesis, however, is that the prior probability is low because it is ad hoc and unmotivated. Let's change the scenario a little. Say that a friend of mine has all day been saying that the dealer loves it when people get 4's and 10's in any card games. This fact motivates the deck stacker hypothesis when I find that I do in fact have the 4's and 10's, and thus the deck stacker hypothesis becomes pretty probable.Same with theism and the fine-tuning. Theists have been saying for ages that the universe exhibits signs of design for life. Now that scientists have discovered that life is extremely improbable, the "cosmic stack" hypothesis is not ad hoc and is strongly confirmed by the observation.