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.

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

  1. A few months ago when I was dialoguing with an atheist over at Dailly Wire and directed him to this exact podcast he rejected it because he accused Dr. Barnes of never discussing what he means by “design.”
    I wasn’t surprised since it seems to me at least one of the talents of being an atheist is either misunderstanding the argument or just dismissing it with a bunch of hand waving. Even Dr. Peter Millican says it’s the strongest argument we’ve come up with so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why can’t he listen to an atheist podcast where even the prominent atheist podcaster is impressed with the argument? This argument is widely viewed as the most persuasive by prominent atheists like Dawkins, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christopher Hitchens thought so too when he was alive. One of the things I try to emphasize in my dialogs with all unbelievers is the heart’s receptivity or openness to the truth. On the flip side, a major aspect of my rejection of philosophical naturalism is the nihilism that logically results from it. As William Lane Craig would put it, “you can be happy or consistent but not both” if naturalism is true. I want to live a consistent and happy life so that’s ONE reason I’m not a naturalist.


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