What's New Archive ● 2015 ● June
What's New on the Secular Web?
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June 17, 2015
If any of a number of the universe's physical constants had been even slightly different, then life as we know it could not exist. According to the fine-tuning argument, the extreme improbability of the actual constants having, by chance, their uniquely life-permitting values suggests that they were "fine-tuned" by God to allow life to exist. But there are at least two fatal problems with the fine-tuning argument. First, if the fine-tuning argument's premises hold, then its conclusion does not, since a parallel "divine-pruning" argument yields the opposite conclusion using the exact same line of reasoning. Second, the fine-tuning argument wrongly assumes that the extreme improbability of a unique outcome's occurrence by chance in this lottery-like context implies that that outcome did not occur by chance. Both problems show that the fine-tuning argument does not justify theism or even supernaturalism more generally.
June 16, 2015
The freedom of our schools to teach well-established science and to instill an appreciation for independent critical thinking is under attack by religious fundamentalists. To the extent they succeed, our children and our society will suffer.