Teleological Cosmology & Physics

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info.gif Teleological Argument: "An argument for the existence of God that takes as its starting point the purposive (teleological) character of the universe. The argument is often termed the argument from design and comes in many different versions. This argument was quite popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but many atheists believe it has been discredited by Darwinism. Philosophers of religion such as Richard Swinburne, however, have developed versions of the argument that are compatible with Darwinism."

Evans, C. (2002) Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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    Bai, Taeil Albert

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    "Accident or Design", an excerpt from The Creative Universe and the Creating God

    "In a companion article it is shown that, if the value of any of the fundamental physical constants were even slightly different from its actual value, the universe would not be able to generate life...Considering that life is a phenomenon emerging at a scale far removed from the subatomic scale and the cosmological scale, the fact that the values of fundamental constants and the cosmological characteristics of our universe are precisely those needed to allow the emergence of life is so unlikely to be due to chance and so awesome that it begs an explanation."
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    Bai,Taeil Albert

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    "The Universe Fine-Tuned for Life", an excerpt from The Creative Universe and the Creating God

    "Einstein once said,'What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world. This is a fundamental question.' Compared to this question, all other questions seem trivial. Yes, God would have had many choices if He had wanted to create a barren universe. However, in order to create a universe where life is possible, with the same set of natural laws as ours, it seems that He had only limited choices. According to recent findings, the values of physical constants should have been fine-tuned to make the emergence of life in the universe possible."
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    Barnes, Luke A.

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    The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life

    "The fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life has received a great deal of attention in recent years, both in the philosophical and scientific literature. The claim is that in the space of possible physical laws, parameters and initial conditions, the set that permits the evolution of intelligent life is very small. I present here a review of the scientific literature, outlining cases of fine-tuning...To sharpen the discussion, the role of the antagonist will be played by Victor Stenger's recent book The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed for Us. Stenger claims that all known fine-tuning cases can be explained without the need for a multiverse. Many of Stenger's claims will be found to be highly problematic...I also provide an assessment of the multiverse, noting the significant challenges that it must face."
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    Barr, Stephen M.

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    Anthropic Coincidences

    "How important is the human race in the scheme of things?...Scripture and tradition certainly concur in teaching that the human race has a central place in the divine plan...On the other hand, we have often been told, science regards man and his place in the world very differently. In the story of science as it is told by materialists the human race is not central to the purpose of the universe for the simple reason that the universe has no purpose...Is the human race an accident, or were we meant to be here?...As it happens, new light has been shed on this question by the discoveries of modern physics."
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    Barr, Stephen M.

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    Modern Physics & Ancient Faith I: The Design of the Universe

    "After all the twists and turns of scientific history, we look around and find ourselves in very familiar surroundings. We find ourselves in a universe that seems to have had a beginning. We find it governed by laws that have a grandeur and sublimity that bespeak design. We find many indications in those laws that we were built in from the beginning."
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    Beebe, James R.

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    The Design Argument for the Existence of God

    "In the first section of this essay I will describe the most famous version of the design argument—William Paley’s argument by analogy. Analogical arguments are perhaps the weakest sort of arguments one can offer without committing an outright fallacy. As we will see in section II, the analogical version of the design argument has come in for some heavy fire over the years. A contemporary reformulation of the argument, which I will call the ‘Inference to the Best Explanation’ (IBE) version of the design argument, claims to be able to escape the criticisms that are leveled against the analogical version. The IBE version will be explained in section III. It eschews the analogical form of the first version and uses evidence from contemporary science to back up its claims."
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    Bradley, Walter L.

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    Designed or Designoid

    "Not only has science failed to provide naturalistic explanations for the mathematical form of nature, the coincidence of cosmological constants, and the emergence of living things, but also these facets of nature all demonstrate the essential element of design, namely, information. Various naturalistic explanations for this biological and cosmological information have been reviewed and found wanting."
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    Bradley, Walter L.

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    Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe

    "What does it mean on a grand scale to assert that the universe is the product of an intelligent designer? In a scientific age that exalts rationalism and chance, what empirical evidence could possibly support such a claim? As humans contemplating the immense complexity of the cosmos, might certain features of the universe suggest that our "home" has in fact been carefully crafted for our benefit? Can our own human experiences of creativity and design illuminate the concept of a cosmic designer? These questions underlie the discussion of intelligent design theory, a resurgent area of inquiry by both Christian and secular scientists in search of a reasonable explanation for the marvelous complexity of the universe."
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    Bradley, Walter L.

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    The Designed ‘Just So’ Universe

    "It is quite easy to understand why so many scientists have changed their minds in the past 30 years, agreeing that it takes a great deal of faith to believe the universe can be explained as nothing more than a fortuitous cosmic accident. Evidence for an intelligent designer becomes more compelling the more we understand about our carefully crafted habitat."
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    Collins, Robin

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    Does the Many-Universes Hypothesis Really Explain the Fine-Tuning?

    "In response to explaining the fine-tuning [of the parameters and initial conditions of the universe] in terms of design,...many atheists have offered an alternative explanation, what I will call the atheistic many-universes hypothesis... According to the many-universes hypothesis, there are a very large--perhaps infinite --number of universes, where by the term "universe" I mean any region of space-time that is disconnected from other regions in such a way that the constants or laws of physics in that region could differ significantly from the other regions...I will focus on one key problem with the many-universes hypothesis as an ultimate explanation of the fine-tuning: namely, it seems that the 'many-universes generator' would need to be fine-tuned, and hence it seems to transfer the problem of explaining cosmic fine-tuning up one level to that of the many-universes generator itself."
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    Collins, Robin

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    Does the Universe Exhibit Design?

    "Contrary to much popular belief, I will argue that in the last century, the findings of science, particularly in the area of fundamental physics, have significantly pointed in the direction of a subtle, but very intelligent, designer of the cosmos. As well-respected theoretical physicist and popular science writer Paul Davies concludes, when looking at the fundamental structure of the universe, 'the impression of design is overwhelming.' In this talk, I attempt to give some sense of why someone might claim this. I will focus on four areas in which I think that the universe shows evidence of design."
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    Collins, Robin

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    God, Design, and Fine-Tuning

    "In this paper, I have argued that the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life presents provides strong evidence for preferring theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis. I then argued that although one can partially explain the fine-tuning of the constants of physics by invoking some sort of many-universe generator, we have good reasons to believe that the many-universe generator itself would need to be well designed, and hence that hypothesizing some sort of many-universe generator only pushes the case for design up one level."
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    Collins, Robin

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    Universe or Multiverse? A Theistic Perspective

    "As keeping with the Templeton Foundation's goals for this symposium and the topic of my session (namely, the theological implications of the multiverse hypothesis), I will be addressing both the compatibility of the multiverse hypothesis with theism and the degree to which it provides an alternative to the hypothesis that God designed the universe to bring about conscious, embodied beings such as ourselves...My intention here is simply to sketch some of the reasons why one might think that contemporary physics and cosmology is not only compatible with theism, but that it actually might suggest a theistic explanation of the universe or multiverse."
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    Collins, Robin

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    The Fine-Tuning Design Argument: Technical Version

    "...[W]e have good, objective reasons for claiming that given the fine-tuning, the existence of life-permitting cosmic conditions provides strong evidence for theism. We first presented an argument for thinking that the existence of life-permitting cosmic conditions provides strong evidence for preferring theism over the atheistic single-universe hypothesis, and then presented a variety of different reasons for rejecting the atheistic many-universes hypothesis as an explanation for the fact that the parameters of physics fall within the life-permitting range."
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    Collins, Robin

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    How to Rigorously Define Fine-Tuning

    "This paper presents a way of rigorously defining fine-tuning. It is an updated version of the paper appearing in Philosophia Christi, in the Fall 2005 on the Mathematics of Fine-tuning. The main difference between this paper and the one in Philosophiia Christi is that I define the comparison range in terms of what I call the epistemically illuminated region, instead of merely the theoretically possible region. (See particularly the section of the paper called the Epistemically Illuminated Region and some of the following sections.). It answers the McGrew and Vestrup objection that there is no adequate definition of fine-tuning. Mainly of interest to professional philosophers."
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    Collins, Robin

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    Design and the Many-Worlds Hypothesis

    "In the rest of this paper, we will first explain why an inflationary many-universes scenario might be able to offer a viable explanation of the fine-tuning, but then go on to explain why there still remains a powerful case for design from physics and cosmology. Further, much of the evidence for design that we will present cannot be naturally explained by any many-universe scenario, and thus circumvents any objection to design based on the many-universe hypothesis, whether the inflationary version or some other version."
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    Corey, Michael A.

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    Science and the Nature of God: Inferring the Divine Attributes from the Status of Big Bang Cosmology

    "An empirically-based understanding of the Divine existence and nature will be pursued in this presentation. The existence of God will first be addressed from an anthropic point of view, in terms of the various cosmic coincidences that have made life possible on this planet. A probabilistic proof for the existence of God...will then be presented...Once the existence of a Creator has been reasonably demonstrated, the various attributes of the Divine will then be sequen- tially derived from the most recent cosmological data through a process of rational inference from the physical nature of the universe to the presumed nature of the Creator. The (somewhat unexpected) conclusion of this a posterori analysis will be that the traditional attributes of God - namely His omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, omnibenevolence, and transcendent personal nature -are in fact the only ones that can be justifiably inferred from the nature of the empirical data."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Teleological Argument and the Anthropic Principle

    "The discovery during our generation of the so-called anthropic coincidences in the initial conditions of the universe has breathed new life into the teleological argument. Use of the Anthropic Principle to nullify our wonder at these coincidences is logically fallacious unless conjoined with the metaphysical hypothesis of a World Ensemble. There are no reasons to believe that such an Ensemble exists nor that, if it does, it has the properties necessary for the Anthropic Principle to function."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design

    "Barrow and Tipler's attempt to stave off the inference to divine design by appealing to the Weak Anthropic Principle is demonstrably logically fallacious unless one conjoins to it the metaphysical hypothesis of a World Ensemble. But there is no reason for such a postulate. Their misgivings about the alternative of divine design are shown to be of little significance."
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    Davies, Paul

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    Universes Galore: Where Will it All End?

    "I argue that, although 'a little bit of multiverse is good for you', invoking multiverse explanations willy-nilly is a seductive slippery slope. Followed to its logical extreme, it leads to conclusions that are at best bizarre, at worst absurd. After reviewing several shortcomings of indiscriminate multiverse explanations, I challenge the false dichotomy that fine-tuning requires the existence of either a multiverse or some sort of traditional cosmic architect. I explore the possibility of a 'third way', involving a radical reappraisal of the notion of physical law, presenting a toy illustration from the theory of cellular automata."
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    Davies, Paul

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    Multiverse Cosmological Models

    "Recent advances in string theory and in ationary cosmology have led to a surge of interest in the possible existence of an ensemble of cosmic regions, or 'universes', among the members of which key physical parameters, such as the masses of elementary particles and the coupling constants, might assume di erent values. The observed values in our cosmic region are then attributed to an observer selection effect (the so-called anthropic principle). The assemblage of universes has been dubbed 'the multiverse'. In this paper we review the multiverse concept and the criticisms that have been advanced against it on both scientific and philosophical grounds."
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    Davies, Paul

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    Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize

    A former agnostic, physicist Paul Davies now currently believes the evidence of fine-tuning in the universe points to some form of design. In this paper, he argues that the universe is a “coherent, rational, elegant, and harmonious expression of a deep and purposeful meaning. I believe the time has now come for those theologians who share this vision to join me and my scientific colleagues to take the message to the people.”
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    Ellis, George and W. R.Stoeger

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    Multiverses and Physical Cosmology

    "The idea of a multiverse – an ensemble of universes – has received increasing attention in cosmology, both as the outcome of the originating process that generated our own universe, and as an explanation for why our universe appears to be fine-tuned for life and consciousness. Here we carefully consider how multiverses should be defined, stressing the dis- tinction between the collection of all possible universes, and ensembles of really existing universes that are essential for an anthropic argument."
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    Gingerich, Owen

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    Is There a Role for Natural Theology Today?

    “As an astronomer, I have always been intrigued by some of the astonishing details of the physical world, to say nothing of the intricacy and complexity of the biological domain. To me, looking out at the universe through the eyes of faith, these data have seemed to be impressive evidences of design and purpose. I propose to sketch briefly the modern scientific scenario of the creation of the universe and the origin of the elements, pointing out at least two wonderful episodes where it appears, on the face of it, that a designing hand has been at work.”
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    Holder, Rodney D.

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    Design in Cosmology

    "...[D]esign by God does provide an ultimate explanation because God, if he exists, exists necessarily—that is at least part of what we mean by ‘God’. In addition design by God is a simple explanation, and much more economical than the multiverse. One is not invoking a whole multitude of complex entities with which one can have no possible interaction, but one intelligent being, like ourselves in some ways but so much greater, who designed the universe with the deliberate intention of its bringing forth creatures for a relationship with himself. Design by God explains why there should be intelligent life and why the universe should be special, even extra special as we find it. That is because it is the good creation of an all powerful, all knowing, perfectly good being."
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    Holder, Rodney D.

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    God, the Multiverse, and Everything

    "...[D]esign by God is a simple explanation, and much more economical than the multiverse. One is not invoking a whole multitude of complex entities with which one can have no possible interaction, but one intelligent being, like ourselves in some ways but so much greater, who designed the universe with the deliberate intention of its bringing forth creatures for a relationship with himself. Design by God explains why there should be intelligent life and why the universe should be special, even extra special as we find it. That is because it is the good creation of an all powerful, all knowing, perfectly good being. Is not modern cosmology pointing to God as designer?"
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Do Anthropic Coincidences Require Explanation?

    "The existence of "anthropic coincidences" was first discovered in the early 1970's by cosmologist Branden Carter. Since that time, the list of coincidences has grown dramatically. An anthropic coincidence consists of some feature of the laws of nature, the fundamental constituents of matter, or the initial condition of the universe that had to take a value within some interval in order for life (and hence, for human observers) to exist at all...How surprising are these coincidences?...These surprising discovery seems to call for some explanation...We will consider two possible explanations of the coincidences: theism, and the ensemble of universes/observer selection hypothesis."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Theism vs. the Many-Worlds Hypothesis

    "The only alternative to a causal explanation of the [anthropic]coincidences is an explanation in terms of observer selection, which requires the postulation of a large number of unobserved universes. Consequently, we have narrowed the wide range of metaphysical possibilities down to just two: theism and the many-worlds hypothesis. Both seem coherent, and both would explain the coincidences...Nonetheless, I do not think that we have to leave the matter there. There are several considerations that raise the probability of theism still further, suggesting that theism is a better explanation of the available data, or that theism is needed as an explanation for the existence of such a large number of universes."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Post-Agnostic Science: How Physics is Reviving the Argument from Design

    "In 1973, astronomer and cosmologist Brandon Carter (Carter 1974) delivered a lecture in which he announced an exciting new discovery: the fundamental constants of the physical world must have been very delicately fine-tuned in order to make life possible. Since that time, literally dozens of such remarkable coincidences have been discovered, the so-called 'anthropic coincidences'. ('Anthropic' is a Greek word meaning 'tending to bring about the existence of human beings.')"
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Swinburne's Design Argument: Teleological Explanation and Simplicity

    "...[T]he anthropic coincidences clearly indicate that God is highly intelligent, with a great deal of foresight (the feature conspicuously absent from the Darwinian watchmaker). Moreover, we can plausibly assume that God's purposes include the creation of things of a high degree of intrinsic value, with which we can include the creation of life."
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    Leslie, John

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    Our Place in the Cosmos

    "The cosmos can seem mysterious. Why are its laws of a kind which permit intelligent life to evolve? Why do its events even fall into patterns which persuade us to talk of ‘laws’ or of ‘causal orderliness’? And why does it exist at all? Why is there something rather than nothing?"
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    Leslie, John

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    Cosmology and Theology

    Leslie gives brief treatments of several topics at the intersection of modern Cosmology and Theology including design arguments based on cosmic fine-tuning, multiple universes, and the Anthropic Principle. He offers several insightful responses to common objections to the argument from fine-tuning.
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    Leslie, John

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    The Prerequisites for Life in Our Universe

    “Forms taken by the laws of physics, and perhaps also the distribution of material early in the Big Bang, do suggest God's creative activity.”
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    Meyer, Stephen C.

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    Evidence for Design in Physics and Biology: From the Origin of the Universe to the Origin of Life

    "Dembski’s work shows that detecting the activity of intelligent agency ('inferring design') represents an indisputably common form of rational activity. His work also suggests that the properties of complexity and specification reliably indicate the prior activity of an intelligent cause. This essay will build on this insight to address another question. It will ask: Are the criteria that indicate intelligent design present in features of nature that clearly preexist the advent of humans on earth? Are the features that indicate the activity of a designing intelligence present in the physical structure of the universe or in the features of living organisms?"
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    Rolston, Holmes

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    Shaken Atheism: A Look at the Fine-Tuned Universe

    "Both astrophysicists and microphysicists have lately been discovering that the series of events that produced our universe had to happen in a rather precise way—at least, they had to happen that way if they were to produce life as we know it...[G]iven the innumerable other things that could have happened, we have reason to be impressed by the astonishing fact of our existence. Like the man who survives execution by a 1,000-gun firing squad, we are entitled to suspect that there is some reason we are here, that perhaps there is a Friend behind the blast."
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    Rota, Michael

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    Multiple Universes and the Fine-Tuning Argument: A Response to Rodney Holder

    "In this article I examine a common objection to the fine-tuning argument (an objection which may be referred to as the atheistic many universes (AMU) objection). A reply to this objection due to Roger White has been the subject of much controversy; White’s reply has been criticized by Rodney Holder, on the one hand, and Neil Manson and Michael Thrush on the other. In this paper I analyze Holder’s work in an effort to determine whether the AMU objection successfully defeats the fine-tuning argument. I conclude that the fine-tuning argument can be reformulated so as to avoid the AMU objection."
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    Sudduth, Michael L.

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    The Universe, Design, and Fine Tuning

    "A theistic argument following the pattern of inference to best explanation properly depends on (at least) three relevant bits of evidence: (e1) the existence of the Universe, (e2) the temporal regularities of the Universe, and (e3) the fine-tuning of the Universe. Theism is made probable by e1,…,e3 to the extent to which theism is a simple hypothesis that leads us to expect e1,…,e3, and e1,…,e3 is not otherwise to be expected. The claim here is with respect to theism these conditions are satisfied, and thus that there is a significant likelihood of there being a God given e1,…,e3."
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    Swinburne, Richard

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    Relations between Universals, or Divine Laws?

    "David Armstrong has developed and refined his theory of laws of nature as relations between universals in many writings in the course of nearly thirty years. The basic idea of the theory seems initially to be a very natural and plausible way of explaining the causal regularities of nature. It is however - I shall argue - ultimately unsatisfactory because it fails to give an adequate account of causation; and a better account of causation opens the way to two very different explanations of the regularities of nature - a possible one of a familiar scientific kind, and/or a more probable one involving divine agency."