Montefiore argument for God existance

Montefiore lists eleven features of the physical universe whose values had to be ‘just right’ if life and ourselves were to be possible. The details are not germane to our present discussion but the bare the list serves to focus our awareness of how formidable is the array of evidence. It is as follows:

1. The distribution of gases in the early universe.
2. The expansion in all directions of the primeval gases had to be uniform to within.
3. The heat of the universe.
4. The weight mass of neutrinos.
5. The mass of the universe.
6. The neutron mass.
7. The relative weight of neutrons, protons, and electrons.
8. The balance between the forces of gravity and electromagnetism.
9. The magnitude of the strong nuclear force
10.The magnitude of the weak nuclear interaction.
11. Conditions for the production of carbon dioxide.

Without the coincidence of all these features there would have been no universe and no life in it. Does the convergence of all these very remarkable properties make the case for God overwhelmingly probable? Accordingly we need to consider the chance of what has occurred on each of the possible hypotheses on offer. In the simplest formulation there are just two: God exists or he does not. If an all-powerful God exists who intended to create a world such as this he would have been able to ‘fix’ all these properties ‘as a package’. We can then reasonably conclude that the probability that he would be successful would be virtually one. Next we have to consider what that probability would be if there is no God. This is much more difficult. If there was no directing hand it seems incredible that even one of these coincidences would have occurred. The chance that eleven would have all occurred simultaneously is then beyond belief. Even if some are linked so that they are not completely independent the position is not significantly altered——the probability of things being what they are is negligible. If we were to stop here and were to compare the likelihoods the chance of the universe as we know it is immeasurably more plausible on the theistic hypothesis than on the random—happening scenario. We know that if we turn this likelihood ratio into a posterior probability ratio we have to introduce the prior probabilities. But here note that the prior presumption of atheism would have to be extremely strong to counterbalance the overwhelming evidence the other Way provided by the likelihoods.


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