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Anthropic Design Arguments

The ‘anthropic coincidences’ and the remarkable uniformity of the universe form a rich source of material for new forms of design argument for the existence of God. Several such design arguments appear in recent theological (and scientific) literature.

Anthropic design arguments use aspects of cosmic fine-tuning as evidence that the universe was designed to permit (or, in stronger forms, to necessitate) the evolution of rational carbon-based life forms. There can be little doubt that, from the perspective of Christian faith, such features are suggestive of design.

So John Polkinghorne writes that:

There are ... certain givens about our universe ... which play an important part in determining its history... quite small variations in any of these fundamental specifications of our world would have rendered it anthropically sterile. They would have condemned it to a boringly unproductive history... If we accept this view, then a meta-question arises of why things are this way...[FTEXT]

He proposes therefore:

the ‘Moderate Anthropic Principle’, which notes the contingent fruitfulness of the universe as a fact of interest calling for an explanation... There seems to be the chance of a revised and revived argument from design... appealing to a Cosmic Planner who has endowed his world with a potentiality implanted within the delicate balance of the laws of nature themselves...In short, the claim would be that the universe is indeed not ‘any old world’ but the carefully calculated construct of its Creator.[FTEXT]

See Analysing the Anthropic Arguments for an appraisal of this view.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

Big Bang Cosmology and Theology

Index - God, Humanity and the Cosmos, 1999 T&T Clark

Anthropic Design Arguments

Related Book Topics:

The Beginnings of Big Bang Theory
Evidence for a Big Bang?
Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?
Stephen Hawking and the Growth of Quantum Cosmology
The Hawking-Hartle Proposal for the Early Universe
Theological Responses to Quantum Cosmology
The ‘Anthropic Coincidences’
The Remarkable Uniformity of the Universe
The Weak Anthropic Principle
Many-Universes Models
The Strong Anthropic Principle
Analysing the Anthropic Arguments
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology


Dr. Lawrence Osborn and Dr. Christopher Southgate in God, Humanity and the Cosmos. Published by T&T Clark.

See also:

Big Bang
Albert Einstein
Kitt Peak Telescope
Physics and Cosmology
Does God Act?
Was the Universe Designed?
Did the Universe Have a Beginning?
Books on Physics and Theology