Cosmologist Luke Barnes answers 11 objections to the fine-tuning argument

Christianity and the progress of science
Christianity and the progress of science

This is from the blog Common Sense Atheism.

Atheist Luke Muehlhauser interviews well-respect cosmologist Luke Barnes about the fine-tuning argument, and the naturalistic response to it.

Luke M. did a good job explaining the outline of the podcast.


In one of my funniest and most useful episodes yet, I interview astronomer Luke Barnes about the plausibility of 11 responses to the fine-tuning of the universe. Frankly, once you listen to this episode you will be better equipped to discuss fine-tuning than 90% of the people who discuss it on the internet. This episode will help clarify the thinking of anyone – including and perhaps especially professional philosophers – about the fine-tuning of the universe.

The 11 responses to fine-tuning we discuss are:

  1. “It’s just a coincidence.”
  2. “We’ve only observed one universe, and it’s got life. So as far as we know, the probability that a universe will support life is one out of one!”
  3. “However the universe was configured, evolution would have eventually found a way.”
  4. “There could be other forms of life.”
  5. “It’s impossible for life to observe a universe not fine-tuned for life.”
  6. “Maybe there are deeper laws; the universe must be this way, even though it looks like it could be other ways.”
  7. “Maybe there are bajillions of universes, and we happen to be in one of the few that supports life.”
  8. “Maybe a physics student in another universe created our universe in an attempt to design a universe that would evolve intelligent life.”
  9. “This universe with intelligent life is just as unlikely as any other universe, so what’s the big deal?”
  10. “The universe doesn’t look like it was designed for life, but rather for empty space or maybe black holes.”
  11. “Fine-tuning shows there must be an intelligent designer beyond physical reality that tuned the universe so it would produce intelligent life.”

Download CPBD episode 040 with Luke Barnes. Total time is 1:16:31.

There is a very good explanation of some of the cases of fine-tuning that I talk about most on this blog – the force of gravity, the strong force, etc. as well as many other examples. Dr. Barnes is an expert, but he is also very very easy to listen to even when talking about difficult issues. Luke M. is very likeable as the interviewer.

9 thoughts on “Cosmologist Luke Barnes answers 11 objections to the fine-tuning argument”

  1. Both Lukes are great in this (esp. Barnes, he’s brilliant), and they cover very well just about every Internet objection to fine-tuning you’ll come across. What’s really surprising is how both of these gents can remain atheists, given what they know. This is, after all, the argument that turned Sir Anthony Flew (probably the greatest atheist of the 20th century) from atheism to at least deism before he died.
    Oh well, glory and praise to Your holy Name, oh Lord, for creating such an incredible home for us to live in, and to come to know You, Who are the greatest Good of all.


  2. That was the most interesting thing I’ve listened to all day. Fine-tuning is a subject I’ve avoided for a while because initially it just didn’t seem like a very promising argument, but I got interested in it a couple of weeks ago, and the more I learn about it, the more interesting it becomes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fine tuning is a good way to find out if an atheist is worth discussing topics with.
    If they pass off the topic with a many of those reasons listed and won’t listen to how silly it is use excuses like that to block obvious evidence. I would say put them on the group of people that are a time waste for you to talk to them.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If it’s me, I would just like them to accept the mainstream science of today, and then give me some explanation for it on their atheistic worldview. I.e. how do you account for this if atheism is true?


      2. Hey Kookydukes,
        I know you asked Greg for an answer, but I’d like to give mine too. My initial goal in talking to atheists is to ask questions to see if they are seeking God and/or how open they are to the possibility of knowing God. What I believe Greg is getting at is it’s a waste of time talking to a dogmatic atheist who seems to have a chip on their shoulder. In other words, if the atheist believes that there can be no such thing as evidence that point to a timeless, spaceless, incredibly powerful, moral lawgiving, immaterial being you are wasting your time and the atheist’s time.
        Pray for the atheist, love them, look for opportunities to serve them, but the discussion will have to wait for a later date. The Holy Spirit may need more time to work as you pray, love, and serve to show the love of Christ.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pretty much that. As you spend time talking to them you learn those that are open. And those that are just trying to get to you, with a hope that they can destroy your faith.

          Don’t waste time on the non genuine seekers of truth and leave then to God till they are ready. Then you have more time to spend with those that will listen.

          Liked by 2 people

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