The fact to be explained is why the universe is life-permitting rather than life-prohibiting. That is to say, scientists have been surprised to discover that in order for embodied, interactive life to evolve anywhere at all in the universe, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature have to be fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision. Were even one of these constants or quantities to be slightly altered, the universe would not permit the existence of embodied, interactive life anywhere in the cosmos. These finely-tuned conditions are necessary conditions of life in a universe governed by the present laws of nature. it would be obtuse to think that the universe is not life-permitting because regions of the universe are not life-permitting! 1
An alteration in the ratio of the expansion and contraction forces by as little as 1 part in 1055 at the Planck time (just 10-43 seconds after the origin of the universe), would have led either to too rapid expansion of the universe with no galaxies forming or to too slow an expansion with consequent rapid collapse. 2
It should be obvious by now that the fine-tuning argument holds in the relation to the universe as a whole, and is not meant to address the question of why you cannot live on the sun or breathe on the moon. Of course, sources of energy (stars) are needed to drive life and evolution, and of course, you cannot live on them. Nor can you live in the, by necessity, frighteningly large stretches of empty space between them and planets. So what is the point? Nobody would deny that the light bulb is an invention that greatly enhances modern life. But when you would try to hold your hand around a light bulb that is turned on, you would burn it to pieces. Is the light bulb then "hostile to life"? Certainly not. This modest example, however, indicates how utterly irrelevant the argument really is – one of those false arguments that appear to be brought forth and rehashed solely in order to avoid the deeper issues. 3
Is the fine-tuning real?
Yes, it’s real and it is conceded by the top-rank of atheist physicists.
Atheist Physicists Prove God. Anthropic Principle Fails
Paul Davies, How bio-friendly is the universe ?
“There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned’ for life. This claim is made on the basis that existence of vital substances such as carbon, and the properties of objects such as stable long-lived stars, depend rather sensitively on the values of certain physical parameters, and on the cosmological initial conditions. ” 1
Martin Rees is an atheist and a qualified astronomer. He wrote a book called “Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe”, (Basic Books: 2001). In it, he discusses 6 numbers that need to be fine-tuned in order to have a life-permitting universe.
Rees writes here:
These six numbers constitute a ‘recipe’ for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator?
There are some atheists who deny the fine-tuning, but these atheists are in firm opposition to the progress of science. The more science has progressed, the more constants, ratios and quantities we have discovered that need to be fine-tuned.
The fact that the cosmos seems exactly balanced and designed for life is just an inescapable scientific observation
Biocentrism, Robert Lanza, MD, page 84
No competent scientist denies that if the laws of nature were just a little bit different in our universe, carbon-based life would never have been possible. Surely such a remarkable fact calls for an explanation. If one declines the insight of the universe as a creation endowed with potency, the rather desperate expedient of invoking an immense array of unobservable worlds [i.e., the “many worlds/multiverse/’unlimited horizons'” proposals] seems the only other recourse.”
John Polkinghorne Mathematical Physicist, one-time Dean of Queen’s College at Cambridge
Let’s be clear on the task that Stenger has set for himself. There are a great many scientists, of varying religious persuasions, who accept that the universe is fine-tuned for
life, e.g. Barrow, Carr, Carter, Davies, Dawkins, Deutsch, Ellis, Greene, Guth, Harrison, Hawking, Linde, Page, Penrose, Polkinghorne, Rees, Sandage, Smolin, Susskind, Tegmark,
Tipler, Vilenkin, Weinberg, Wheeler, Wilczek. They differ, of course, on what conclusion we should draw from this fact. Stenger, on the other hand, claims that the universe is not