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b) The Anthropic Principle Revisited

In the inflationary Big Bang scenario, the “Universe” (or “megauniverse”) includes an infinity of domains, each a “universe” unto itself, with its own values of the fundamental constants, perhaps even differing laws of nature. In Linde’s quantum cosmology, the Universe eternally inflates into an infinity of bubble universes, themselves inflating into others endlessly. These scenarios suggest a far more ontologically stark ‘many worlds’ character than those of standard Big Bang cosmology, though they are far less defensible empirically. At least in theory they seem to explain ‘fine-tuning’ via a kind of ‘cosmic Darwinism’, rendering the design argument irrelevant.

Those defending the AP tend to stress the technical and philosophical problems with inflation and quantum cosmology while appealing to Occam’s Razor in support of the Big Bang, and in turn God, as the simplest explanation of fine-tuning. Critics of design tend to view standard Big Bang cosmology as outdated, while appealing to Humean criticisms of design.

Two scholars in particular gave particularly balanced treatments of the controversy that can serve to close our discussion here. In 1985, John Leslie concluded that the design argument as well as the ‘many universes’ scenario (via Guth’s inflationary scenario) are both serious contenders deserving our attention.John Leslie, "Modern Cosmology and the Creation of Life," in Evolution and Creation, ed. Ernan McMullin (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), esp. 108-11. He goes so far as to claim...A decade later, Joseph M Zycinski cited Leslie’s call to re-examine the design argument seriously. On the one hand, relativistic cosmology has “falsified” Monod’s insistence on ‘mere’ chance and necessity. Still on the other, the “irremovable possibility” of giving the ‘designer’ a neoplatonic interpretation warns us not to claim too much from science about the identity of God.Joseph Zycinski, "The Weak Anthropic Principle and the Design Argument," Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 31.1(March 1996).

Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell

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