Why the “Odds” Favor the Existence of a Creator

By Al Serrato 

With each passing year, science is providing more evidence that the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned to support human life. Change any one of dozens of scientific parameters by even a small amount and life on Planet Earth would never have arisen. These findings provide strong support for the Christian argument that behind this universe lies an all-powerful, super-intelligent Designer who set this all in motion.

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Many atheists try to sidestep the problem these scientific discoveries create for their worldview. Darwinism, after all, made belief in the possibility that life simply arose from inert matter a bit more respectable, so discoveries that make this seem unlikely, indeed implausible, cannot be ignored for long. After decades of Darwinism giving them false solace, atheists face a serious problem making sense of these discoveries, which challenge the wisdom of believing in random self-assembly over a long period of time as an adequate explanation for the magnificent complexity of the life we find on Earth.

A favorite way to dodge the issue goes something like this: there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about fine-tuning in the universe because, had it not been so, we would not be here to make any observations. We simply happened to arise because we just happen to be in a universe – probably one of an infinite number – that can support our form of life.

This is a clever argument because it makes the extraordinary nature of the universe seem, well, ordinary and in fact predictable. But the argument does not survive scrutiny, because it deliberately misses the point of the fine-tuning argument. It assumes that there is no designer, then asks to make sense of this fine-tuning we see all around. It does this by assuming that other universes exist, and with enough such universes, the existence of our particular universe, with its unique characteristics, becomes inevitable. But there is no evidence – at present anyway – that we inhabit one of a limitless number of other universes. In fact, since these other universes are separate and apart from ours, there is no way to even test for their existence, no way to establish whether they are there or not. The existence of this infinite number of alternative universes, this “multi-verse,” is assumed so that our presence in this one can be viewed as “no big deal.” It is apparent that the skeptic is assuming the conclusion he wishes to reach. Instead, the question we are trying to answer is whether such fine-tuning can truly be an accident – a true “billion to one shot” – or whether, by contrast, this evidence of design is the result of, well, a Designer. Because our existence is the result of the coinciding of hundreds of highly improbable events, basic probability theory tells us that to determine the cumulative probability requires that we multiply these probabilities. Increase the number of “just so” parameters and life becomes incredibly unlikely to have arisen by chance.

Some examples might help make the point. The Apollo 11 mission successfully landed men on the moon and returned them safely to Earth. Imagine that on his return, someone asked Neil Armstrong to comment on the stunning success of the mission. If he thought like the new atheists, he might have said: “There was nothing amazing about the mission’s success. After all, if something failed, I wouldn’t be here to discuss the effectiveness of the mission.” Such an answer is ludicrous; it simply avoids the question of what the odds were that each of hundreds of systems would work as designed. That such novel technology achieved its goals is a tribute to the intelligence and workmanship of its designers. To say that Armstrong just happened to live in the universe in which his mission succeeded is, in reality, to say nothing at all.

To this, the atheist will likely respond: your example is flawed, because we already know that the Apollo mission was designed by an intelligence, and we don’t know that about the universe. But this too misses the point. The Apollo mission was fine-tuned for success. If the universe shows signs of similar fine-tuning, then we can logically conclude that it too bears the marks of an intelligent designer.

Which leads me to a different example: a condemned man stands before a firing squad, awaiting the crack of rifles that will precede his demise. The signal is given, he hears the shots and feels the bullets whizzing nearby, but not a single round strikes him. He has survived the execution and is here to comment on the probability of so unlikely an event. Imagine if he answered: “there was nothing special about this execution. After all, I wouldn’t be here to comment on it if it had been otherwise.” But this too would be so much nonsense. The question is whether we can infer from this result that each of the marksmen just happened to miss, or whether the better inference would be that missing was “designed,” that the marksmen were following a plan to miss.

Following the evidence where it leads should cause skeptics to question their deeply held beliefs. But if they do, the odds are in their favor that they will eventually find the truth – the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned to support life because it was designed that way.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

God’s Crime Scene: The Case for God’s Existence from the Appearance of Design (mp4 Download Set) by J. Warner Wallace

What is God Like? Look to the Heavens by Dr. Frank Turek (DVD and Mp4)

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Paperback), and (Sermon) by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek

God’s Crime Scene: Cold-Case…Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (Paperback), (Mp4 Download), and (DVD Set) by J. Warner Wallace

God’s Crime Scene: The Case for God’s Existence from the Appearance of Design in Biology DVD Set by J. Warner Wallace

Al Serrato earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1985. He began his career as an FBI special agent before becoming a prosecutor in California, where he continues to work. An introduction to CS Lewis’ works sparked his interest in Apologetics, which he has pursued for the past three decades. He got his start writing Apologetics with J. Warner Wallace and Pleaseconvinceme.com.

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