Martin: Would you not agree that a Universe that was NATURALLY UNSUITABLE for life and yet contained life would (being necessarily a miracle) be very powerful evidence of an intelligent and very powerful entity? If not, why not?
I would agree with that, but that is not to say that this is the only possible evidence of an intelligent designer. One could say that the purpose of the fine-tuning of the universe is not to provide evidence for the existence of the designer, but is to provide a stable and logically coherent atmosphere for creatures to come into a loving relationship with him.
Further, it could possibly be argued that if a designer created a universe that was unsuitable for life, and yet contained life anyway, that this designer would be called incompetent for creating a universe that did not make sense. Perhaps that sort of universe would affect man in such a way that they would leap into post-modernism; affirming the non-existence of truth and so forth.
Martin: If the answer to Q1 is “yes” then of the two possible Universes (one that’s suited for life and one that isn’t), the one we have is LESSER evidence of a god. Would you agree with that?
It may be, but that is not to say that fine-tuning of the universe is not an evidence at all. I will echo my first answer in saying that the purpose of the fine-tuning was not to provide evidence.
Martin: People for millennia have used gods to try to explain everything they didn’t understand (including such simple things as rain!). Through scientific effort, we have learned to understand those things and found them to be natural. Scientists are currently searching for answers as to how the Universe has come to exist (beyond the singularity that started the Big Bang), how many universes there are (or were) etc. Given that you think you already have the answer, do you believe these efforts should be discontinued?
There is a myth among atheists that because theists believe in God, that there is no need to fine any naturalistic explanations. This is simply not the case; the Big Bang and other such discoveries can merely be said to descriptions of how God created the universe, but that is not to say that he did not. This is a distinction that Aristotle made, to which he called efficient causality and material causality.
In fact, it could be argued that belief in a designer of the universe could cause one to investigate the world through science, in an effort to learn more about this designer.
My 3 questions for Martin:
1. You said that the vast majority of the universe is not finely tuned for line. If it was, would this convince you of an intelligent designer of the universe?
2. If you chose one white ball out of a billion black balls which spelled out your name and occupation, would you be convinced that this event was contrived by an intelligent designer?
3. Can you think of any examples where a message came from something other than a mind?