Atheism’s Lucky Bullet Fallacies

It’s reasonable to conclude that the universe seems purposely fine-tuned because it was. What’s unreasonable are these two counterarguments.

By Jonathan Witt Published on November 29, 2016

This month’s blockbuster Marvel comic book movie Dr. Strange will serve as many people’s introduction to the exotic idea of the multiverse, the notion that besides our universe there are a host — maybe an infinity — of unseen other universes, some radically different from our own, some highly similar but distinct in crucial ways.

The film is a worthy and thought-provoking entertainment, but an idea that serves as a good plot device for imaginative counterfactual play in the realm of fiction becomes something very different when taken as an article of faith and used as an explanatory tool in science.

You see, there’s a big divide running through physics, astronomy and cosmology, and the idea of a multiverse is at the center of the controversy, serving as a crucial means of explaining away some powerful evidence for intelligent design.

The Fine-Tuning Problem

On one side of the controversy are scientists who see powerful evidence for purpose in the way the laws and constants of physics and chemistry are finely tuned to allow for life — finely tuned to a mindboggling degree of precision.

Change gravity or the strong nuclear force or any of dozens of other constants even the tiniest bit, and no stars, no planets, no life. Why are the constants just so? Here’s what Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias concluded: “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”

Nobel Laureate George Smoot is another, commenting that “the big bang, the most cataclysmic event we can imagine, on closer inspection appears finely orchestrated.” Elsewhere Smoot describes the ripples in the cosmic background radiation as the “fingerprints from the Maker.”

On the other side of the divide are those who insist with Harvard’s Richard Lewontin that they simply cannot “let a divine foot in the door.” In the case of the fine-tuning problem, they keep “the divine foot” out with a pair of curious arguments. Each involves a fallacy, and one of them the idea of a multiverse.

The opponents of intelligent design in physics and cosmology often make a great show of being too rational to even consider intelligent design, but they attempt to shoot down the fine-tuning evidence of design by appealing to irrational arguments.

Fine Tuning and the Firing Squad Fallacy

The first of these goes like this: Sure the universe is fine tuned for life. What did you expect? If it weren’t we wouldn’t be here to register our good fortune.

Think of a prisoner in front of a firing squad. The prisoner shuts his eyes. The shots are fired. The prisoner opens his eyes and finds a perfect bullet pattern outlining his body on the wall behind him. “Hey,” the guard at his shoulder exclaims, “it looks like the firing squad had orders to miss!” The prisoner demurs. “No, the bullet pattern is just blind luck. You see, if they hadn’t missed, I wouldn’t be around to notice my good fortune.”

The prisoner’s mistaken reasoning is the same mistaken reasoning used to explain away the fine-tuning pattern in physics and cosmology. Reasonable Question: “What has the ability to produce the fine-tuning pattern we find in chemistry and physics?” Unreasonable Answer: “We wouldn’t exist to observe the fine-tuning pattern if the pattern didn’t exist.”

The unreasonable answer points to a necessary condition for observing X when what’s called for is a sufficient cause for X. Instead of providing a sufficient cause for the fine-tuning pattern, intelligent design opponents change the subject.

Fine Tuning and the Naïve Gambler’s Fallacy

A second tactic for countering the fine-tuning argument to design runs like this: Our universe is just one of untold trillions of universes. Ours is just one of the lucky ones with the right parameters for life. True, we can’t see or otherwise detect these other universes, but they must be out there because that solves the fine-tuning problem.

Consider an analogy. A naïve gambler is at a casino and, seeing a crowd forming around a poker table across the room, he goes over to investigate. He squeezes through the crowd and, whispering to another onlooker, learns that the mob boss there at the table lost a couple of poker hands and then gave the dealer a look that could kill, then on the next two hands the mobster laid down royal flushes, each time without exchanging any cards. Keep in mind that the odds of drawing even one royal flush in this way is about one chance in 650,000. The odds of it happening twice in a row are 1 chance in about 650,000 x 650,000.

At this point, a few of the other poker players at the table prudently compliment the mobster on his good fortune, cash in their chips and leave. The naïve gambler misses all of these clues, and a look of wonder blossoms across his face. On the next hand the mob boss lays down a third royal flush. The naïve gambler pulls up a calculator on his phone and punches in some numbers. “Wow!” he cries. “The odds of that happening three times in a row are worse than 1 chance in 274 thousand trillion! Imagine how much poker playing there must have been going on — maybe is going on right now all over the world — to make that run of luck possible!”

The naïve gambler hasn’t explained the mobster’s “run of luck.” All he’s done is overlook one reasonable explanation: intelligent design.

The naïve gambler’s error is the same error committed by those who appeal to multiple, undetectable universes to explain the “luck” that gave us a universe fine-tuned to allow for intelligent observers.

Fine-tuning allows for intelligent designers such as ourselves, but atheists insist we cannot consider an intelligent designer as the cause for this fine-tuning. Fortunately for us, reason is prior to atheism.

A Forest Walker and a Lucky Bullet

Take another illustration, this one articulated by philosopher John Leslie to argue against inferring design from fine tuning, but taken up by Roger White of MIT and cashed out in a very different way. White writes:

You are alone in the forest when a gun is fired from far away and you are hit. If at first you assume that there is no one out to get you, this would be surprising. But now suppose you were not in fact alone but instead part of a large crowd. Now it seems there is less reason for surprise at being shot. After all, someone in the crowd was bound to be shot, and it might as well have been you. [John] Leslie suggests this as an analogy for our situation with respect to the universe. Ironically, it seems that Leslie’s story supports my case, against his. For it seems that while knowing that you are part of a crowd makes your being shot less surprising, being shot gives you no reason at all to suppose that you are part of a crowd. Suppose it is pitch dark and you have no idea if you are alone or part of a crowd. The bullet hits you. Do you really have any reason at all now to suppose that there are others around you?

So there in the dark forest the walker gets shot and thinks, “Gosh, I guess I’m really surrounded by lots and lots of other people even though I haven’t heard a peep from any of them. That explains me getting shot by chance. A hunter’s bullet accidentally found this crowd, and I’m just the unlucky fellow the bullet found.” The reasoning is so defective you have to wonder if the walker got shot in the head and his powers of rational thought were blasted clean out of him.

The Lucky Bullet Fallacies Miss the Mark

In the firing squad analogy, the prisoner infers a lucky bullet pattern (rather than intentional one) based on the fact that if he hadn’t been fortunate enough not to get shot, he wouldn’t be there to observe the interesting bullet pattern. In the forest analogy, the walker mistakenly invokes many walkers on his way to deciding that a lucky bullet unluckily struck him.

The opponents of intelligent design in physics and cosmology often make a great show of being too rational to even consider intelligent design, but they attempt to shoot down the fine-tuning evidence of design by appealing to these irrational arguments. Both arguments go well wide of the mark.

There’s an irony here. The universe is exquisitely fine-tuned to allow for intelligent designers, creatures able to see, hear and reason, and to design things like telescopes and microscopes that allow us to uncover just how amazingly fine-tuned the universe is. Fine-tuning allows for intelligent designers such as ourselves, but atheists insist we cannot consider an intelligent designer as the cause for this fine-tuning. Fortunately for us, reason is prior to atheism.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Estelline

    Love it! Thanks for explaining.

    • Randy Wanat

      What, precisely, did you think was accurately explained?

      How many atheists do you know?

      How many atheists have you ever discussed such matters with?

      Do you think a religious fundamentalist is the best person to tell you what atheists think?

      If I asked an atheist what Christians think, would that be the best person for me to ask?

  • Rick

    Pretty well stated article. Wish you had more strongly asserted how the atheist belief in such things is a matter of faith that _cannot_ be scientifically proven or disproven, exactly like the charge they lay at the feet of Christian faithful.

    • Randy Wanat

      What faith is required for one to be unconvinced of the truth of a claim based on the scarcity and weakness of the evidence offered?

      • Ameribear

        What kind of evidence would meet your standard?

        • Randy Wanat

          Well, let’s see what you think is the very best evidence, and we’ll go from there.

          • Ameribear

            Your statements excoriating us about not having a sufficiently high enough standard of evidence must mean that you believe you do. So stop being evasive and explain to us what such a standard should consist of.

          • Randy Wanat

            Show me the best evidence that you accept to support your belief, and I will tell you whether I accept it or not, and why.

            You do have evidence, yes? If so, share it. At best, you will convert an atheist. At worst, you will risk revealing that you believe things for poor reasons. But, you don’t believe for poor reasons, right? You DO have the truth, right? If so, it should be no problem for you to show it, and possibly turn me into a believer. Is saving souls not important to you? Am I not worth attempting to turn?

            The more excuses you make to not share evidence, the more obvious it will be that either you have none, or you know it’s not good. Come, now…let me know what the best evidence is that you accept.

          • Ameribear

            I asked you first. If your going to come here and pompously lecture us about the levels of evidence we accept then it’s up to you to provide the standard. You tell us what YOUR acceptable standard of evidence is. Either give us a straight answer or shut the hell up.

          • Randy Wanat

            It depends on the claim. But, for fantastic claims like religions make, it would take evidence of an extraordinary nature. It would not be stories told by interested parties, or fallacious arguments. No, it would need to be far better than that.

            Now, if you have evidence, let’s see the best bits, and we can discuss why it is or is not good evidence.

          • Ameribear

            It would not be stories told by interested parties, or fallacious arguments. No, it would need to be far better than that.

            OK, now that you’ve told us what you won’t accept, tell us specifically what you will accept.

            I Randy Wanat will only accept ________ type of evidence as proof that God exists.

            Fill in the blank.

          • Randy Wanat

            Evidence that does not rely on prior acceptance of the claim or logical fallacies. Show me evidence that is literally anything other than that. Do you have any evidence of any kind that falls into that incredibly broad category?

          • Ameribear

            So after three attempts to get you to state some reasonably specific standard of evidence you’d accept, we now find out that the pap you’ve been spouting off here fails to even meet your own standard.

            May I offer you some suggestions as to what you can do with your demands for evidence?

          • Randy Wanat

            Which “pap” is that?

            Also, if your evidence is so good, it surely meets my criteria, yet you still refuse to share it. Either you know it’s poor evidence or you’re afraid to learn that it’s poor evidence.

            You had the chance to try to win a soul for Jesus,but obviously my eternal damnation plays second fiddle to maintaining your current understanding of your beliefs. What will you tell God when he asks you why you didn’t even try to save my soul when I gave you every opportunity?

          • Ameribear

            Which “pap” is that?

            Take your pick.

            Also, if your evidence is so good, it surely meets my criteria, yet you still refuse to share it. Either you know it’s poor evidence or you’re afraid to learn that it’s poor evidence.

            You can cut the evidence crap because I’m not buying it and then you can simply admit that trolls like you don’t frequent religious web sites like this because you’re sincerely seeking evidence. I’ve seen enough of your pathetic antics to recognize an organized effort to push an agenda so I’m simply going to refuse to participate in your infantile little charade.

            You had the chance to try to win a soul for Jesus,but obviously my eternal damnation plays second fiddle to maintaining your current understanding of your beliefs.

            I’m also not naive enough to believe that anything I’ve got to say to the likes of you is going to impact the eventual outcome of your life. Your eternal fate has not been decided yet and we’ve got plenty of other means available to us to accomplish our mission.

            What will you tell God when he asks you why you didn’t even try to save my soul when I gave you every opportunity?

            I will tell Him how much I marveled at His ability to use even those who actively denied Him to accomplish His will. I will also thank Him for giving me the wisdom and insight to not fall for the pre-pubescent antics of a rag-tag bunch of 21st century God deniers looking to drip feed their already bloated egos.

      • Atheism isn’t unconvinced of the truth, it’s convinced that it’s not true without any sound empirical evidence to support that assertion. That is a form of faith.

        • Randy Wanat

          There is no dictionary, and no atheist, who has that as a definition for “atheism.” Making up convenient definitions so it’s easier to demonize others is dishonest. Why is such dishonesty so common among those who most loudly proclaim their religiosity?

          • Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize I was conversing with a semantic sophist. Did you have an argument or only unfounded, ad hominem accusations of dishonesty? Can you provide the peer-reviewed scientific empirical proof that God doesn’t exist? No, of course not. Then it follows that atheism is a non-scientific opinion or theory. It is not a fact that can be proven. And those who hold it as fact are therefore “believers” of it.

          • Randy Wanat

            Why are you dictating to me what I must believe? You keep insisting on doing that. What’s more, when your dishonest tactics are exposed, you get defensive.

            People who don’t believe in gods are atheists. Simple as that. If, when asked, “do you believe in any gods?” your answer is anything other than “yes,” you are an atheist.

            I need not demonstrate that no gods exist, as I have not made that assertion. I do not believe any gods exist, because the claim that any exist has not been corroborated with good evidence.

            Do you understand the difference between “I do not believe X is true” and “I believe X is false?” All atheists are covered by the former, but only a subset by the latter.

            If you can demonstrate that you understand this difference, there may be space for meaningful discourse. But, if you continue to put words in my mouth and make up your own definitions to further your narrative, I am afraid I will have to write you off as a charlatan to whom nobody should pay attention, much less money.

          • You’re confusing atheists with agnostics. People who don’t believe in God and also firmly believe that there are no gods are atheists. It is agnostics who don’t believe in God, but they also don’t disbelieve in God. They don’t pretend to know one way or another. That’s very different. Atheists assert that they “know” there is no God. But there are no empirical proofs to support this claim. That makes this claim a personal belief, what any normal person would consider a matter of faith. Why does that upset you so much? If you firmly believe there is no God, there should be no need to be ashamed of your belief. There’s no sense in getting offended when others don’t share your faith. It’s not insult to you.

          • Randy Wanat

            Please, show me where you are getting this definition of “atheist,” that requires the things you purport it to.

            You do know that there are such things as agnostic atheists, gnostic atheists, agnostic theists, and gnostic theists, yes? Atheist and agnostic are not separate groupings. They are not mutually exclusive.

            Now, please share the source of this definition you are using. I propose that you are making it up or, to be charitable, not understanding how dictionary entries work. Please, give a link. Thanks in advance.

          • Sorry, this might post twice, because I included a link:

            I’m using an accepted philosophical definition, which I think is more precise and preferential to the ambiguity of an ordinary dictionary, (see PhilosphyPages dot Com).

            “agnosticism – Belief that human beings do not have sufficient evidence to warrant either the affirmation or the denial of a proposition. The term is used especially in reference to our lack of knowledge of the existence of god. In this, the agnostic, who holds that we cannot know whether or not god exists, differs from the atheist, who denies that god exists.”

            “atheism – Belief that god does not exist. Unlike the agnostic, who merely criticizes traditional arguments for the existence of a deity, the atheist must offer evidence (such as the problem of evil) that there is no god or propose a strong principle for denying what is not known to be true.”

  • Tom Rath

    The author would save a pantload of keystrokes if he’d simply replace every rambling essay with “I can’t comprehend it, so it must be magic.”

  • Randy Wanat

    You are assuming that life is an intended result. In fact, you are assuming that all things are intended results. You have not demonstrated this premise to be true.

    More to the point, you cannot demonstrate that life could not exist in other universes (if other universes are even a potentiality, much less possibility). Life AS WE KNOW IT, perhaps. But, life in general? No, you have no means of demonstrating its impossibility in different universes with different conditions.

    You are making huge conclusions with nothing to support them, and then blaming others for doing exactly what you are doing. Does it not strike you as slightly disingenuous, or without any self-reflection, that you do this?

    • Ira Pistos

      Your comment:
      “You are assuming that life is an intended result.”

      This is a misrepresentation, he knows for a fact that life was an intended result.

      Your comment:
      “In fact, you are assuming that all things are intended results.”

      This is also a misrepresentation, he knows for a fact that all things are intended results.

      Your assertion:
      “You have not demonstrated this premise to be true.”

      No he has not. It has however already been clearly demonstrated and he has access to those facts just as you do.
      God clearly stated that He created.

      Your complaint:
      “More to the point, you cannot demonstrate that life could not exist in other universes”

      That’s ridiculous as well as irrelevant. The faith statement that there are other universes relies on blind faith and requires proof.

      Your assertion:
      “You are making huge conclusions with nothing to support them”

      No, he is doing no such thing. He’s certainly not the one who believes that everything just appeared by magic. He clearly stated that it was designed as opposed to buying into fairy tales to explain things.

      • Randy Wanat

        He does not know them as facts, as they have not been demonstrated as true. He asserts them as facts, but that is not the same as knowing it as a fact. Even believing it super-duper sincerely and fervently doesn’t make those assumptions facts.

        They are assumptions until they are demonstrably true. If you think that has been done, then show your evidence. Get your Nobel prize, as that would be a globally momentous discovery that would alter our understanding of literally everything.

        But, you and I both know better than that. We’re talking about how fervently one believes something, not whether one can demonstrate something. Treating knowledge as a degree of sincerity of belief is ignorant at best, dishonest at worst. I will give you the benefit of the doubt for now and assume it was just ignorance on your part.

        • Ira Pistos

          I appreciate your generosity in providing me with the benefit of the doubt but it isn’t required.

          He does know these things for a fact because he has it on the authority of God.
          Now it is true that we take much on faith, a sure and tested faith in that God remains true to His word just as He always has.
          Therefor, knowing that which can be tested to be true, we can easily take it as established fact that when God said He created, He created.

          I could tick off line by line all the points of inerrancy. Debunk all your rejections. Ply you with a multitude of sound and reasoned arguments.
          We both know however that at this point it’s a waste of time. Your heart is bound to rejection and from within your paradigm not even a shred of evidence is viable.

          What you’ll never be able to know in your current state is the absolute proof that every single Christian has due to how the holy Spirit changed our nature’s upon coming to faith.

          So yes he does know it as fact and your rejection of that fact even to blueness in the face does not alter that fact.
          He knows the truth of the gospel that any who believe in Jesus and repent will be saved because he’s experienced it.

          • Randy Wanat

            Muslims have it on the authority of God that Jesus was not the messiah, nor the son of God, nor crucified. “God says so” doesn’t demonstrate the veracity of any claim. Like I said, if you’re willing to have that low a standard of evidence, that is your right,but such low standards necessarily result in mutually exclusive things being accepted as true (if you’re being logically consistent). Like I said, your low standards are your right, but if you wouldn’t accept that kind of evidence about any other religion’s claims, why should anybody accept it from yours? Do you think, perhaps, higher standards of evidence are warranted?

            Also, are you saying that I should not cut you slack because you know you’re being dishonest?

          • Ira Pistos

            Your confusion:
            “Muslims have it on the authority of God that Jesus was not the messiah, nor the son of God, nor crucified.”

            No, muslims believe that to be by the word of allah.

            Your comment:
            “”God says so” doesn’t demonstrate the veracity of any claim.”

            Of course not. It demonstrates the authority.

            It’s what God says that shows the veracity.

            Your mantra:
            “Like I said, if you’re willing to have that low a standard of evidence”

            Your need to believe this is noted. Juvenile taunts in lieu of argument are the bulwark of the Godless.

            Your confusion:

            “but if you wouldn’t accept that kind of evidence about any other religion’s claims, why should anybody accept it from yours?”

            No other religion makes any claims based upon the authority of God.

            Your question:
            “Do you think, perhaps, higher standards of evidence are warranted?”

            We of course should use the highest standard available. I do and you reject that standard. You exercise a cognitive dissonance here.

            Your childish taunt:
            “Also, are you saying that I should not cut you slack because you know you’re being dishonest?”

            You aren’t in a position to either give or take “slack” in this conversation.
            You’ve come here to attack a position based only upon the strength of your own blind faith without a viable alternative.
            You have no proof that I’m wrong and you freely confess your inability to so much as detect the presence of the proof that is available to all. This in exact accordance with scripture.

            If you have something pertinent or rational to contribute to this conversation then please feel free to do so at your earliest convenience.

          • Randy Wanat

            Allah is just the Arabic translation of the word “God.”

            You believe you have it on God’s authority that what you believe is true.

            The Muslim believes he has it on God’s authority that what he believes is true.

            No difference.

            You both claim divine revelation and exclusive truth. You both have holy books riddled with murder, rape, and genocide. You both think you are right and the other is wrong. Neither can provide evidence supporting the truth of their beliefs. And, you think you deserve special consideration. Nope.

          • Ira Pistos

            Your observation:
            “Allah is just the Arabic translation of the word “God.””

            This is correct.
            I have a friend and we are both acquaintances of Mike.
            My friend tells me what an awful person Mike is and regales me with his wicked deeds.
            I tell my friend what a fine person Mike is and tell of all his good deeds.

            We both believe we’re talking about the same person though the three of us have never been together at the same time.
            It’s possible that my friend knows a villain who isn’t the same Mike that I know, though he believes ardently that it is.
            It’s also possible that my friend is in fact talking about the same person but has been fed false information about him.

            In either case the character we speak of isn’t the Mike I know.

            Your confusion:
            “You believe you have it on God’s authority that what you believe is true.
            The Muslim believes he has it on God’s authority that what he believes is true.
            No difference.”

            I believe I have it on God’s authority that what I believe is true.

            I also believe the sun to be hot because of my proof that it is.

            Bobby believes 2+2=4 upon the authority of his teacher.

            Billy believes 2+2=5 upon the authority of his teacher.

            No difference…

            You offer a hollow argument unsupported by critical thinking.

            If you want to use islam as a counter to me then you must first prove the case that islam is the truth.

            You may also feel free to prove that it is false but then you will still have to prove Christianity is false.

            The knowledge that I want you to walk away with here is;

            1. that just because you don’t know the answer doesn’t mean that nobody else does.

            2. Just because some people are wrong doesn’t mean that nobody can be right.

            Your assertion:
            “You both claim divine revelation and exclusive truth. You both have holy books riddled with murder, rape, and genocide.”

            You’ve failed to offer citation through verse and quote. As far as islam goes I’ve already debunked it to my satisfaction so I don’t need your aid in making a case against it.

            Your repeated confession:
            “Neither can provide evidence supporting the truth of their beliefs.”

            We’ve already established that in exact accordance with scripture, you’re unable to discern the evidence.

            Your claim to omniscience:
            “And, you think you deserve special consideration. Nope.”

            If you don’t sincerely believe yourself to be all knowing, the alternative is that rejecting God, you serve the enemy and adopt his character traits. He is known as a master liar.

            Is it possible that you simply have no idea what you’re talking about? It’s my sincere preference to give you the benefit of the doubt on this.

          • Randy Wanat

            I needn’t prove either true or false. You and the Muslim both believe yourselves to have the exclusive truth, on the authority of God. Neither of you can demonstrate the veracity of the belief. You are on equal footing.

            Just because you assume they’re wrong because you assume you are right doesn’t make it so, nor does it do so in the opposite direction.

            How would we go about determining which, if either, of you is correct in your belief? We can’t resort to logical fallacies like special pleading (my religion is the only one with a god that does X, therefore it must be true). We must have objective methods that will convince people regardless of culture, prior beliefs, and predispositions.

            What would fit that bill?

          • Ira Pistos

            Your denial:
            “I needn’t prove either true or false.”

            And yet here you are, questioning Christian faith without a viable alternative…

            Your assertion:
            “You and the Muslim both believe yourselves to have the exclusive truth,
            on the authority of God. Neither of you can demonstrate the veracity of
            the belief. You are on equal footing.”

            Again, I tell you. Your not knowing the answer does not mean that there is no answer.
            You’re assuming the internal knowledge of others here. This does not make an argument for you, it’s simply a reaffirmation that you don’t believe and can detect no evidence.

            Equal footing? Equal footing upon what ground precisely? That neither I nor a muslim can prove something an intangible to you?
            Well of course not.
            Again though, you’ve come here to attack Christianity without the capacity to offer a viable alternative. You’re here proselytizing for your faith and so far have been woefully unable to be compelling.

            Your questions:
            “How would we go about determining which, if either, of you is correct”
            “We must have objective methods that will convince people regardless of culture, prior beliefs, and predispositions.”
            “What would fit that bill?”

            You have asked the correct question.

            You must be born again.
            Believe in Jesus and repent of your sin.
            Believe that He died for you, taking upon Himself the penalty for your every sin, past and future, receiving the just punishment and giving His life for the crimes that you have committed against Him.
            Believe that He then rose again after 3 days in victory over death with the assurance of eternal life for those who will believe in Him.

            Believe these things because He has done them.

            Be saved and receive the holy Spirit. As a new person in Christ you will have your incontrovertible proof.

          • Randy Wanat

            Oh, of course. The way we can figure out whether the Christian or Muslim is right is by becoming a believing Christian. That just may be the absolute stupidest thing anyone has ever said.

            If a Muslim said the only way to find out was to become a believing Muslim,you would think it a ridiculous answer. But, you offer the same answer and think yourself profound. I don’t have the inclination to deal with someone whose thinking is this childish. Have fun with your circular arguments and tautologies.

          • Ira Pistos

            Your confusion:
            “The way we can figure out whether the Christian or Muslim is right is by becoming a believing Christian.”

            No. This was your incontrovertible proof.
            The weight of evidence alone is enough to make a thinking person with unclouded judgment consider it a course worth looking into.

            Of course, one who is fully antagonistic toward God is not even able to detect any evidence as you freely confess.

            Your “comment”:
            “That just may be the absolute stupidest thing anyone has ever said.”

            Your limited experience is the world is noted.
            Yes, I know that it is extraordinary foolishness to your ears. You see, even though it is repugnant to you and against your will, you preach the veracity of the very Word you rage against.

            Your assertion:
            “If a Muslim said the only way to find out was to become a believing Muslim,you would think it a ridiculous answer.”

            Translation: You’ve just said it is ridiculous if the only way to find something out is to do it.

            Your lie:
            “But, you offer the same answer and think yourself profound.”

            As noted, incontrovertible proof was offered. Not the only way for one with functional reasoning to come to a conclusion.
            You have the benefit of the doubt on that one but the lie was your claiming to be omniscient again and assuming I think myself profound. I’m nothing of the sort, no more so than a parrot is profound.

            Your tantrum:
            “I don’t have the inclination to deal with someone whose thinking is this childish.”

            The truth is hard to face and juvenile insults are the standard foundation to most atheists “arguments”.

            Your irony:
            “Have fun with your circular arguments and tautologies.”

            Nuff said.

          • Randy Wanat

            One believes because one is convinced. You are arguing that to be convinced, one must first believe. You are constructing a paradox, where the cause of the effect is the effect of the cause. Circular reasoning might sound convincing to you, but I’m not dumb enough for that kind of broken thinking. If that is the mentality it takes to believe what you believe, I should hope to never join you.

          • Ira Pistos

            Your confusion:
            “One believes because one is convinced. You are arguing that to be convinced, one must first believe.”

            I do not think you are lying this time. I believe that you sincerely believe this to be all I said. Selective comprehension is a common enough problem and all the more so when one’s devout faith is challenged as yours was.

            Your confusion:
            “You are constructing a paradox, where the cause of the effect is the
            effect of the cause. Circular reasoning might sound convincing”

            No, not at all. Think back or read with comprehension what I have written. Quit filtering things to fall in line with the narrative you’ve adopted to support your religion.

            What you’re misrepresenting here was entirely linear. Point A to point B. Believing allows you to receive incontrovertible proof. Testable, repeatable and falsifiable.

            If God gives you faith, genuine belief, you’ll see what you can not now see.

            At this time you’re as foolish as a blind man telling a sighted man that he can not see because the blind man can not see. Insisting adamantly that because he can not see, that here is therefor nothing to see.

            At an early age you believed your parents to be all powerful entirely on faith prior to learning of their limitations. There is much that is believed prior to irrefutable knowledge.

            You staunchly resist belief. You adamantly reject even the possibility of evidence and therefor you can see no evidence. Your mind is clouded and that is why you behave irrationally regarding this while firmly believing yourself to be fully rational.

            To be deceived you must first be certain that you are not deceived. And you are certain that there is no possible way this statement could apply to you regarding this.

            There is an overwhelming weight of evidence to make belief a rational course and at the very least worthy of consideration.

            Your mantra:
            “If that is the mentality it takes to believe what you believe, I should hope to never join you.”

            So long as you believe this sort of nonsense to be true, your cocoon can not be breached. No human can force you to think or to peak beyond your shelter.

          • Randy Wanat

            “If God gives you faith, genuine belief, you’ll see what you can not now see.”

            So, I won’t be see the evidence I need to see to be convinced and believe until I am a fully believing Christian. I must believe to be convinced to believe. Still circular.

          • Ira Pistos

            Your misrepresentation:
            “So, I won’t be see the evidence I need to see to be convinced and believe until I am a fully believing Christian.”

            Though I have twice stated otherwise, you persist in your fantasy.
            Your inability to come to terms with what was actually said in reality, is clearly represented in scripture. You continue to affirm the very Word you rage against.

            It is true that the misrepresentation you’ve used to shield yourself is circular and even so it is false. It is false because upon the day you die you will be fully convinced regardless of whether or not you accepted or rejected Christ.

  • Gary

    I’m happy for atheists to believe whatever they want, as long as what they believe does not affect me, or those I care about.

    • Randy Wanat

      Yet, what many Christians believe affects non-Christians. Do you think religious beliefs should inform legislation or law enforcement or judicial decisions? Or, do you think that only your beliefs should be allowed to affect the lives of non-members?

      • FO

        On the flip-side, what non-Christians believe will also affect others, including those of Christians belief, when being enforced through a judicial decisions and legislations. The fact of the matter is: what defines truth and what defines wrong, and where is the source of all these? To an evolving world, the answer to that is always evolving, but to a Christian believer, there is an absolute answer to that question (= the word of God = bible).

        • Randy Wanat

          And, to the Muslim, it’s the Koran. Do you want the Koran informing legislation?

          • FO

            The Koran in itself has many fallacies that usually are not discussed by the mainstream media, as it is considered as insulting by the liberal. Not so when it comes to insulting those of Christian believers. Without dwelling into this which would be a waste of time as you know it (and since you are not a Muslim, I believe), it goes back to the initial question. What is it that you define as truth and wrong, and what is the source of that philosophy?

          • Randy Wanat

            Oh, so the Koran has fallacies. But, nothing in the Bible is fallacious, eh? Now, you’re just being silly.

          • FO

            I am okay with being silly, I just hope that someday you will dwell and find the answer to the questions that I posted for you. Cheers.

      • Gary

        Truth, right, wrong, good, evil do exist. Whether you like it, or not.

      • Gary

        My beliefs have had little or no affect on legislation, law enforcement or judicial decisions.

        • Randy Wanat

          Do you vote for politicians who appeal to your religious beliefs regarding abortion, birth control, teaching creationism in public schools, or other such issues? If so, you most certainly ARE influencing things with your religious beliefs that will affect others.

          • Gary

            Since abortion is legal nationwide, as is birth control, and teaching evolution in public schools is not the policy, I would have to conclude that my efforts have had little affect in those areas.

          • Randy Wanat

            Do you vote for politicians who vow to curtail access to abortion or birth control? There are laws constantly being passed to do that. You can’t be so disingenuous as to not realize that. And, schools are regularly trying to teach creationism, and some politicians use it as a platform plank in their campaigns, to work on getting it into public school curricula. Again, you cannot be so disingenuous. So, do you vote for politicians who do these things? If so, your religious beliefs ARE being used to affect the lives of people who don’t share your religious beliefs.

          • Gary

            Of course I vote for people who say they agree with me. So do you. Do you expect me to do otherwise?

          • Randy Wanat

            But, you are voting for people who are promising to use your religious beliefs as the basis of laws and government policies, which means that your religious beliefs ARE being used to affect the lives of non-believers. But, the post several above says that as long as other people’s beliefs don’t affect them, it’s fine. But, you are now saying that you are fine with inflicting your religious beliefs upon people against their will. Do you think your religious beliefs should affect the lives of people who don’t share your religious beliefs, and do you think theirs should likewise be allowed to interfere with yours?

          • Gary

            I don’t believe all beliefs are equal, or that they all are true. I am happy to stay out of your life and let you do as you please, within certain limits, but I am not happy to allow you to make the laws that everyone is required to live by. Someone’s beliefs are going to be the basis of laws, and I don’t want them to be your beliefs because that would not be in my best interest.

          • Randy Wanat

            But, should ANYBODY’S religious beliefs be enforced against nonbelievers? Or, should NOBODY’S religious beliefs be enforced against nonbelievers? Are you more concerned with your own preference being inflicted upon everyone, or the government being neutral to all beliefs?

            Do you know what the veil of ignorance is? I suggest you look it up, and consider it.

          • Gary

            The government cannot be neutral to all beliefs. That is not possible. All laws must be based on some beliefs. Which of my beliefs am I trying to force you to follow?

          • Randy Wanat

            It can be neutral to all religious beliefs. That does not mean that laws will all agree with them, but that laws will neither prevent people from exercising their personal freedom of religion or areligion, nor endorse nor condemn any religious belief.

          • Gary

            There are laws now that run counter to some of the beliefs of Christians, and some of Muslims, and at least one of the beliefs of some Mormons, (polygamy).

          • Randy Wanat

            Right. But, just because laws run counter to beliefs, that is not the same as preventing free exercise of religion.

            For example, abortion is legal. But, people who object to it for moral reasons don’t have to have them. So, just because their beliefs and the law conflict, there is no infringement.

            Did you look up “veil of ignorance?” You should. It is a principle that allows people to make more equitable decisions.

          • Gary

            I did look it up.

    • Oofduh

      I’m happy for Christians to believe what they want, as long as what they believe does not affect me or those I care about, like my gay friends and family.

      • Gary

        Well, stay away from us and there should be no problem.

  • Benjamin Thomas

    So the only explanation for the fine tuning of the universe is an omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent, omnipresent creator of the Universe that despite being so complex, exists without being fine-tuned himself (if you are a Christian).

    Yeah, I’m not really convinced.

    • It’s not the only explanation, as the article makes clear, but it is a reasonable one compared to the cosmological magic bullet hypothesis of the multiverse. Further, the qualities that you list for the “unmoved mover” are not necessary for there to be an “unmoved mover”, though there are other arguments for why those qualities would exist in God. Lastly, those Christians who subscribe to scholastic theology and philosophy do not believe that God is complex. Rather, he is simple. Unlike his creations, he is his own essence.

    • Coolant

      prima facie + Occum’s Razor says Designer. Never proof, but enough evidence.

  • Joe’s World.

    It’s Ironic that this argument is that a universe that appears exactly as we’d expect if natural is in fact evidence of the supernatural.

    What would really be miraculous would be if we existed in a universe wherein we should not. A disc on the back of a giant turtle perhaps, or under a firmament.

    What’s missing from the improbability part of the fine tuning argument is the actual calculation of probability. It’s an impossible to calculate as we do not know what range of values these universal properties can take, as we do not yet know the mechanism by which they came about.

  • De Ha

    We didn’t win the lottery, we are the prize. The universe wasn’t designed for us, we evolved here. And frankly, one of the minor things I dislike about Theists is the arrogance to think the Universe is all about you.

Inspiration
Covetous? Who, Me?
Liberty McArtor
More from The Stream
Connect with Us