Objection: The Anthropic Principle Objection (APO hereafter) says we can only observe properties of a universe that is consistent with our existence. Therefore, we don’t need an explanation for why we observe a life-permitting universe, because it is the only kind of universe we could observe.

Response: The fact that we can only observe a life-permitting universe does nothing to dismiss the need for an explanation for the existence of a life-permitting universe. An illustration can help us see the problem with the APO

Imagine you’re arrested in a hostile country, convicted on false charges, sentenced to die by firing squad, and you’re blindfolded so you cannot anticipate your death. Two-hundred snipers are about to shoot you from point-blank range. You hear the command: “Ready! Aim! Fire!” The sounds of the rifles go off, and to your amazement—you’re alive. Two-hundred marksman missed from point-blank range! What would be your conclusion? “Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they all missed! After all, if they hadn’t all missed, I wouldn’t be here to be surprised about it! Nothing more to explain here!” :[1]

So, while it’s true that we shouldn’t be surprised that all we observe is a life-permitting universe since if it weren’t life-permitting we wouldn’t be able to observe it, we, nevertheless, should be astonished that against staggering odds, a life-permitting universe came to exist. And, we should wonder how it happened. I think the fine-tuning argument best explains it. What do you think?


[1] William Lane Craig. On Guard: Defending You Faith with Reason and Precision. (Colorado Spring: David C. Cook, 2010) pg, 116.