RTBLive Volume 2 is a debate at University of California Santa Barbara, February 20, 2008. Hugh Ross argued that there were 816 fine-tuned characteristics of the universe which must exist in order for humans to exist on earth. The odds, he said, for this are 10 to the minus 1032. Each of these 816 characteristics has been discussed in scientific journals.
In reply, Harry Nelson, an experimental scientist at UCSB admitted that Ross’ predictions have come true at least for particle parameters – the fine tuning has been increasing. He argued the fine-tuning proves nothing because the odds of him being at that UCSB debate were 10 to the minus 750 and the odds of him being in that particular spot were 2 x 10 to the minus 15. Yet both were true.
Also in reply to Ross, Kevin Plaxco, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSB, describes himself as a practicing scientist. He argues that life as we know it is the result of coincidences and not divine intervention. While Ross and Rana credit divine intervention for explosive complex life suddenly appearing rather than gaps, Plaxco blames both our lack of knowledge about how godless evolution works and also observer bias. Against all the odds, he says, there is 100% chance that we exist to discuss life. All scientific knowledge increases, so will our knowledge of how the universe can become complex without a god.
There is something inherently wrong with comparing the odds of 10 to the minus 1050 from Ross with the counter from Nelson and Plaxco that those odds have been met coincidentally because there is 100% proof that we now exist.
The difference is intelligence. Ross and Rana submit their odds of life occurring as we now know it apart from any intelligent guidance. One the other hand Nelson’s odds of being at the UCSB debate on specific plot of ground are controlled by freewill intelligence. Many months before the debate, Nelson agreed to be in that spot at UCSB for that debate. The odds were almost 100% because he freely chose to attempt to meet 100% of his appointments. Therefore Nelson’s example proves Ross’ point rather than disproves it.
Plaxco’s discovery that “I exist, therefore the odds that all of Ross and Rana’s parameters have been met coincidentally” is equally absurd. At this he, as modern man and not Neanderthal, normally looks within himself as a sentient being and asks, “Who am I? Where did I come from” – not knowing the complexity of the parameters but curious enough to study them. If he experimentally takes away one element at a time and asks “Will man survive without this element?” he will confront the great question “Am I here by accident or design.”