II. To come back to the general argument, there is one gigantic objection, the kind of thing that does not seem obvious but seems that way after you understand it. That objection is simply that fine-tuning is not an argument for design, but rather an argument against design! The idea of an extreme fine-tuning beyond which the target cannot exist is indicative of a precarious natural system, not of intelligent planning.
III. Another objection to the fine-tuning argument is that we should not be surprised or befuddled that the universe is adapted to our needs, since we evolved within the universe and its parameters. Evolution tends towards adaptation of life to its environment. Therefore, we should no more be surprised of how well the universe fits us, than we should be surprised of how well a baked cookie fits its mold.
IV. We have good reason to object to a number of assumptions that are explicitly or implicitly held by theologians who use fine-tuning. The first assumption is contained in the following formulation:
“2. Other combinations of physical constants are conceivable.”
Now granted, some theologians do not explain this step at all, but they usually have no justification for their assumption that physical constants could be otherwise. So Drange’s formulation here is in fact a concession.
At any rate, it is unclear why the fact that “other combinations of physical constants are conceivable” lead to the conclusion in (3) that:
“some explanation is needed why our actual combination of physical constants exists rather than a different one”
In fact, (3) implies that these “other combinations” could exist. But there is no way to deduce this from (2). The fact that something is conceivable does not make it possible! It only means that our imagination can encompass it. I can imagine plenty of things that are plainly impossible,
V. Two other implicit assumptions can be addressed simultaneously. These assumptions are:
Change in physical constants can be isolated.
Change in physical constants necessarily brings about states where life is impossible.
The first assumption is committed by a lot of theologians, but our argument-type does not commit it. I will therefore only justify the second. I already noted that the assumption that our specific carbon-based evolution cannot be special in any way. We must assume that, given a sufficient lifespan for stars, some form of evolution is at least possible.
With this in mind, physicist Victor Stenger developed a program called “MonkeyGod”. This program generates universes using four of the physical constants we have discussed. While this is not as convincing as analyzing the twenty physical constants that we know, MonkeyGod still demonstrates that long-lived stars “occur in a wide range of parameters”. Given this preliminary result, there is no reason to assume a priori that any change would result in the impossibility of life.