Bayes, God, and the Multiverse
Swinburne (Richard)
Source: J.Chandler and V. Harrison, Eds., Probability in the Philosophy of Religion, Oxford University Press, 2012
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. A major probabilistic argument of natural theology claims that the ‘fine-tuning’ of the laws of nature and of the initial conditions of the universe (at the time of the Big Bang) which was necessary for the evolution of intelligent embodied beings of our level of intelligence (and made it physically very probable that they would evolve somewhere sometime) makes it (inductively) probable that the universe was created by God.
  2. This is because, the argument claims, it is most improbable that the universe could have such intelligent life-producing features by mere chance, whereas a God would seek to produce intelligent life. (The normal and in their general effect uncontroversial aspects of ‘fine-tuning’ to which scientists draw our attention are the facts that the density, velocity, and ratios of the different components of the Big Bang, and the constants of laws of nature all lie within the extremely narrow limits required in the above respect for the evolution of intelligent life.)
  3. The objection to such arguments which has appealed most to scientists of recent years is the ‘multiverse’ argument. Science gives reason to believe, it is claimed, that there are innumerable different universes (together constituting a ‘multiverse’), each with different initial conditions and/or laws of nature; and so it is not improbable that one of these universes would be an intelligent-life-producing universe; and – as we are intelligent beings – it is inevitable that we will find ourselves in such a universe, and so there is no need to postulate a God to explain the characteristics of our universe.
  4. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this objection. In order to do so in a short paper, I need to summarize certain results which I claim to have established elsewhere. […]


For the full text, see Swinburne - Bayes, God, and the Multiverse.

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