Posted: Dec 24, 2011 10:27 pm
by jlowder
Rumraket wrote:Jlowder, what do you think of the response to fine-tuning arguments, that it's fallacious to attempt a probability argument with a sample size of one?
In other words, we only have one example of a universe with a set of laws in it, and we don't even know if they can vary, never mind by how much. So the fine-tuning argument is basically an argument from blind assertion.

The strength of this objection depends upon the details of the specific version(s) of the FTA(s) we are considering. This objection is a strong objection against any version of the FTA which depends upon the frequency interpretation of probability, which defines probability as the number of times an outcome appears in a long series of similar events.

It is a weak, irrelevant objection against any version of the FTA which depends upon the logical or epistemic interpretations of probability, since epistemic and logical probabilities are not calculated by counting the number of relevant instances within a class. Rather, the epistemic probability of a statement is a measure of the probability that a statement is true, given some stock of knowledge. In other words, personal probability measures a person’s degree of belief in a statement. The logical theory of probability defines probability in terms of a logical relation between evidence and a hypothesis, i.e., the degree of rational belief in a statement.

The strongest versions of the FTA, in my opinion, rely upon the epistemic or logical interpretations of probability. For example, IIRC, Richard Swinburne's version uses the epstemic version of probability. In a similar way, the strongest version of the evidential argument from evil, which IMO is Paul Draper's argument from the biological role of pain and pleasure, also uses the epistemic interpretation.