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cnearing

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Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« on: March 24, 2016, 01:52:16 pm »
Consider Dr. Craig's formulation of the argument from "fine tuning:"

1.) The fine tuning of the universe is due either to chance, necessity, or design.
2.) The fine tuning of the universe is not due to chance or necessity.
C.) Therefore, the fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

Right? Simple enough.

Consider the first premise:

This premise is a logical fork, which means that it is true if and only if the options presented actually do span the entire space of possibilities in question. Specifically, we can say, given a proposition P in the form "A, B, or C" that P is true iff A = complement (C union B), B = complement (A union C), and C = complement (A union B).

Now, "design," of course, is a not a single explanation or hypothesis. It's a category of hypotheses--Craig makes this quite clear. It covers not only some vague Theistic God, but the Christian God in particular, Brahma, Ahura Mazda, or even extra-dimensional alien programmers. Fortunately, all of these hypotheses are easy to pick out by having one stipulated positive characteristic: a designer of the universe.

"Necessity" actually does pick out a particular hypothesis, and is an interesting and unique case. Set that one aside for a moment.

"Chance" then, by definition, is simply "anything that isn't design or necessity." Again, this is not a single hypothesis. It's a huge space of hypotheses, and its contents are actually very hard to pick out. There is no particular set of positive characteristics that lands a hypothesis in the "chance" category. Rather, it really is just the catch-all category for everything that isn't clearly a "design" hypothesis or the one single "necessity" hypothesis.

In order to claim that p2 is true, then, the interlocutor here must demonstrate that *none* of the hypotheses in the "chance" space are true.

And, unfortunately, *no* presentation of this argument even *tries* to accomplish this feat.  Certainly, nothing Craig offers in support of p2 even approaches such a demonstration.

Hence, we can say, categorically, that Craig has failed to support premise 2.

And it will remain that way until someone actually takes a real stab at excluding *every* hypothesis in that "chance" category.

Does anyone here care to try? Or is it safe to conclude that no-one here is justified in affirming Craig's FT argument?
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Gods Rocker

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2016, 06:47:30 am »
Chance would be anything to do with elements, molecules, or what have you just bumping about and happening to do things. Anything to do with randomness. Of course natural selection comes into it, which means certain randomly occurring things will survive better based on their environment, but at base there's still randomness.

What other options would you include besides design, necessity, or chance?
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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2016, 10:24:53 pm »
You don't need to include any options besides the three categories listed.  You just have to acknowledge that what you're left with is a space of "chance" hypotheses that is huge.

For instance, M' is a chance hypothesis:

M': all possible physics are instantiated in some universe.

P(LPU|M') = 1, which constitutes a substantial and direct objection to Craig's P2 on top of the objection in the OP.
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Miles_Donahue

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2016, 11:00:18 am »
Well, I do think that William Lane Craig, Robin Collins, and other proponents of the fine-tuning argument have addressed all chance hypotheses on the table, so I think you are characterizing their work rather uncharitably. As proof of this, notice that both Craig and Collins distinguish between (i) the single-universe hypothesis and (ii) the multiverse hypothesis. Both of these proposal fall under the category of chance, and yet they give different responses to each. This shows a clear awareness, I think, of the various explanations that appeal to chance to explain fine-tuning. With respect to (i), proponents argue that the sheer improbability of the constants and quantities all falling within the life-permitting range is just too vast to come about through chance alone. Regarding (ii), the Boltzmann Brain problem thwarts all multiverse attempts to explain fine-tuning.

Of course, from your comments it would seem that there are untold numbers of chance hypotheses, all distinct from one another and all offering different explanations for the reality of fine-tuning. Given that Craig et al., pass over these hypotheses, they have surely failed to argue against the alternative of chance. But come now, Cnearing, you merely assert that chance ranges over "a huge space of hypotheses", but you give no argument whatsoever for that contention. Besides the single-universe hypothesis and the multiverse, what other hypotheses are there? I cannot think of any. Granted, there are different models of the multiverse, but none of them successfully escapes the Boltzmann Brain problem, so the objection applies to all such hypotheses (including your "M' hypothesis").

You do seem to suggest that one cannot ascertain most hypotheses that appeal to chance because "[t]here is no particular set of positive characteristics that lands a hypothesis in the 'chance' category" - chance merely being that name given to a hypothesis that does not appeal to physical necessity or design. Two responses here. First, in order to demonstrate that we're dealing with a chance hypothesis, all you need to do is show how it does not appeal to physical necessity or design and viola, you've got yourself a chance hypothesis. I do not see the difficulty here. Second, if you cannot ascertain exactly what explanations fall under that chance umbrella, that you cannot know that there are untold numbers of explanations appealing to chance. In this way, your objection is self-refuting.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 11:01:50 am by Miles_Donahue »
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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 11:07:46 am »
Actually, I provided a very clear argument.

Chance is, by definition, complement (design union necessity).

It is trivial that this space must be not just infinite, but uncountable.

For instance, the *one particular* single universe hypothesis Craig deigns to discuss at all is one in which constants are selected from a *uniformly distributed* space of possible constants.

But, of course, I could generate uncountably many distinct hypotheses--not only distinct, but distinct in such a way that that interact with his objection differently--by simply simply by *varying that distribution.

Moreover, I did point to one particular hypothesis in the "chance" space which survives both of the criticisms you mention trivially.  See M' above.
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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2016, 11:08:20 am »
Not only is my objection not self-refuting, your response to it fails on every front.
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Miles_Donahue

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2016, 12:04:44 pm »
Alright, well, I do not see any reason to continue this conversation. Let readers decide who has the argument here.
- Socrates said the unreflective life is not worth living. I say the indecisive life is not worth living, because even if you choose wrongly, at least you chose.

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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2016, 12:19:52 pm »
I think the problem a lot of people run into is that they think we have some obligation to treat Craig's position, here, as we would the position of a scientist, offering a scientific argument.

Craig isn't a scientist.

He's not offering a scientific argument for a scientific theory. 

He's cherry-pickeda handful of details from a scattering of scientific theories and constructed a philosophical argument from those details, and it is that philosophical argument I am rebutting.

I don't need to present any sort of functional physical model of cosmology, here, to render Craig's argument moot.  That isn't required.  This isn't me and Craig arguing about physics.

This is me pointing out that Craig has taken a few elements of a few different physical theories and used those elements as the basis for a deeply, deeply incompetent philosophical argument for a universal designer--a conclusion that most of the actual scientists who actually work with these physical theories reject.

My objection is to the manner in which Craig extrapolates philosophically from the scientific theories in question, and that objection remains entirely unanswered, by you or by Craig.
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Atheist in Louisiana

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 12:21:13 am »
Premise 2 is nothing more than a bold assertion.  Necessity cannot be ruled out with our current understanding of physics.  Chance can never be ruled out.
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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 05:31:27 am »
Agreed.
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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2016, 06:29:24 am »
Premise 2 is nothing more than a bold assertion.  Necessity cannot be ruled out with our current understanding of physics.  Chance can never be ruled out.

The nearly identical chromosomal locations of HERV - K in humans and primates is often used as a strong evidence for evolution? Do you agree that necessity and chance can be not ruled out here also?

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2016, 01:21:35 pm »
I don't really have a dog in this fight (I'm a theist but I don't necessarily buy the fine-tuning argument), but have to agree with Miles_Donahue on this one.

At first cnearing's complaint was that Craig hadn't addressed the (supposedly) myriad possibilities of apparent fine tuning arising from chance:

In order to claim that p2 is true, then, the interlocutor here must demonstrate that *none* of the hypotheses in the "chance" space are true.

And, unfortunately, *no* presentation of this argument even *tries* to accomplish this feat.  Certainly, nothing Craig offers in support of p2 even approaches such a demonstration.

Hence, we can say, categorically, that Craig has failed to support premise 2.


Miles_Donahue pointed out that Craig had addressed the big 2 "chance" theories out there (single universe, multiverse) and their permutations. And he asks, if there are other theories, put them out on the table...seems fair enough.

Cnearing essentially abandons this complaint and says that the problem isn't that Craig hadn't addressed the different chance theories, but rather the problem is that Craig is "cherry picking" from scientific theories to make a philosophical argument, extrapolating from scientific theories philosophically...but isn't this precisely what Dawkins, Hawking, Krauss et al are doing in favor of atheism? And they aren't even trained in philosophy.

A bit before that, Cnearing declines to take up the challenge of naming additional chance-based hypotheses, because he says he doesn't have to.

He then wraps up by accusing Craig of making a "deeply, deeply incompetent philosophical argument," backing it up by saying that most scientists who work with these theories reject this philosophical argument (isn't this called argument from authority, a form of fallacy--i.e., citing scientists as authorities in philosophy?).

Apologies for forgetting the correct terminology, but I thought here Craig was building the type of argument that is more like a "preponderance of the evidence" standard, not the type of argument that required you to prove every premise exhaustively? I could be wrong here, but if you address the 2 main chance based theories out there (and by definition their permutations), it seems to me that you've done quite a bit to further your argument. I don't think you can refute premise 2 by simply saying there are many other possibilities out there for chance hypotheses, but I don't want to tell you what they are...

It also seems to me that's the best you could hope for in a fine-tuning argument anyway, you can't expect to prove it beyond all doubt (it's an argument of what fits the facts better, theism or atheism).

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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 06:43:02 am »
My complaint is exactly what it always has been, and it has not been addressed in any meaningful manner.  Craig has dismissed an entire category of hypotheses while only addressing basically one hypothesis in that category.  That's an error.  It is sufficient to undermine his argument.
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cnearing

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 06:46:30 am »
Also, the one hypothesis he does address (that the physics of our universe were generated at random by taking random parameters from some parameter space and slotting them into the lambda CDN model) is not taken seriously by anyone.

Moreover, I *didn't* decline to provide an alternative.  I have specifically provided an alternative that survives Craig's objection and has not been addressed at all.

So no.  Sorry, Crimson, but hour representation of the conversation so far is pretty much wrong on every major point.
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Atheist in Louisiana

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Re: Flaw in the Fine Tuning Argument
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 10:57:47 am »
Premise 2 is nothing more than a bold assertion.  Necessity cannot be ruled out with our current understanding of physics.  Chance can never be ruled out.

The nearly identical chromosomal locations of HERV - K in humans and primates is often used as a strong evidence for evolution? Do you agree that necessity and chance can be not ruled out here also?
I don't know what you're asking.  What does necessity and chance have to do with nearly identical chromosomal locations of HERV-K in humans and other primates?  Are you asking if the locations are nearly identical due to necessity or chance?  No, it's due to evolution.
Had the magazine not published these cartoons, they would not have been specifically targeted.
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Hey, if you want to, I'm more than ok with it.  :)  I love the attention. - Questions11