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The fine-tuning argument

Landsman, Klaas (2015) The fine-tuning argument. [Preprint]

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Our laws of nature and our cosmos appear to be delicately fine-tuned for life to emerge. First, if the initial conditions prevailing immediately after the Big Bang had been ever so slightly different, then the universe would either have recollapsed immediately, or would have expanded far too quickly into a chilling, eternal void. Second, if any one of the fundamental forces of nature had been a tiny bit different in strength, or if the masses of some elementary particles had been a little unlike they are, there would have been no stars and no recognizable chemistry, and hence no Sun, no Earth, no carbon, et cetera (let alone the complex human brains to study these matters).

These highly special conditions and numbers suggest some sort of a conspiracy of literally cosmic proportions, which seems rather hard to attribute to chance.
Some theologians and religiously oriented scientists and philosophers have taken advantage of this apparent fine-tuning of the clockwork of the universe to revive the scholastic Argument from Design, but also secular thinkers have felt the need to explain
fine-tuning, typically by proposing the existence of a `Multiverse', i.e., a vast family of universes existing in parallel, of which ours is merely one, singled out by the (weak) `Anthropic Principle' to the effect that it is the only one that can possibly contain observers and hence can be observed (at least in principle).

We analyze this issue from a sober perspective.
Having reviewed the literature and having added several observations of our own, we conclude that cosmic fine-tuning turns out to support neither Design nor a Multiverse, both of which
fail to explain fine-tuning or even to increase its likelihood (although there might be
other reasons to believe in these ideas, to be found in religion and in inflation and/or string theory, respectively).
In fact, fine-tuning and Design rather seem to be at odds with each other, except when one makes an additional assumption that is practically indistinguishable from Design and hence renders the whole argument circular. Likewise,
the inference from fine-tuning to a Multiverse only works if the latter is underwritten by a startling metaphysical hypothesis we consider unwarranted.
Instead, we conclude that fine-tuning requires no special explanation at all, since it is not the Universe that is fine-tuned for life, but life that has been fine-tuned to the Universe.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Fine-tuning, Argument from Design, Multiverse, Cosmology
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Nicolaas P. Landsman
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2015 19:00
Last Modified: 21 May 2015 14:52
Item ID: 11399
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 5 April 2015

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