Book Review: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning (Part I)

tfoftA ‘review’ of Victor Stenger’s 2011 book The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed For Us. Stenger is emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

PREFACE:

Carry the story back in time, generation by generation, species by species, until we reach that primordial accident that resulted in the origin of life, and you will realize how lucky each of us is to be here.

Assuming the conclusion.

Our current understanding of physics and cosmology allows us to describe the fundamental physical properties of our universe back to as early as a trillionth of a second after it began.

Describe fully?

Clearly, according to the proponents, it has to be an entity outside the universe, and such an entity is what most people identify as the creator God.

Bad theology, at least for Christianity.

As a physicist, I cannot go wherever I want to but wherever the data take me.

How does being a physicist absolutely prevent him from being biased?

… the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God but also provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that a God that plays such an important, everyday role in the universe such as the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God does not exist.

Category error and bad theology.

I will devote most of this book to showing why the evidence does not require the existence of a creator of the universe who has designed it specifically for humanity.

Non-sequitur, possible conflation of necessity and contingency.

… that shows it to be very likely that some form of life would have occurred in most universes that could be described by the same physical models as ours, with parameters whose values vary over ranges consistent with those models.

Irrelevant to the fine-tuning of the present universe.

Plausible natural explanations can be found for those parameters that are the most crucial for life.

Irrelevant to the fine-tuning of the present universe.

I will show that the universe looks just like it should if it were not fine-tuned for humanity.

Stenger will try to show… and even then it is still irrelevant to the fine-tuning of the present universe.

Their [cosmologists] current models strongly suggest that ours is not the only universe but part of a multiverse containing an unlimited number of individual universes extending an unlimited distance in all directions and for an unlimited time in the past and future.

A strong suggestion from theoretical cosmology that an infinity of infinities exist and that there is negative infinite time is even more miraculous that a talking snake.

If that’s the case, we just happen to live in that universe which is suited for our kind of life.

Non-sequitur.

In fact, a multiverse is more scientific and parsimonious than hypothesizing an unobservable creating spirit and a single universe.

Infinity is not scientific (experimentally) nor is it in any form, parsimonious.

… major misinterpretations of science by theologians, Christian apologists, and the many layperson authors who are part of the great, richly financed Christian media machine in the United States that promulgates much misinformation about science to the masses.

Isn’t your salary paid by taxing those said people Prof. Stenger?

I regard my task as a devil’s advocate to simply find a plausible explanation within existing knowledge for the parameters having the values they do.

Plausible != probable, you need to combine the two.

I will refute this by showing that some form of life would be possible for a wide range of parameters inside a finite volume of phase space.

Some form of life? Is that the fine-tuning argument?

… I think he still exhibits some of the misunderstandings and narrow vision that we will see are common among the proponents of fine-tuning.

Like your repeated muddling of theology, history and philosophy?

Having spent a lifetime looking at observational data, you can expect my arguments to be based on science and not philosophical disputation.

Observational data like big-bangs, abiogenesis and macro-evolution? And science is a form of philosophy, you know, like that doctorate in philosophy you have.

On the other hand, it is possible to logically disprove the existence of gods with certain attributes, by showing an inconsistency between those attributes and either the definition of the god or other established facts.

Non-sequitur. Even if all the present god formulations can be philosophically dismissed (and they can’t despite Stenger’s assertion to the contrary), that does not affect fine-tuning by some yet unknown god/God/designer/force or combination thereof.

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