Jonathan Lipps: Observation Selection Effects and the Fine-Tuning Argument for Cosmic Design

November 2, 2003

There is a class of arguments for cosmic design which aim to put the design hypothesis at better than chance by pointing at apparently finely-tuned aspects of our universe (without which "higher" life forms like ourselves, or any life at all, would not exist). A common objection to such arguments says that, given our lack of non-finely-tuned universes to compare against, design inferences are barred as a result of an observation selection effect. This paper attempts to defeat that objection (while, it must be said, not offering any additional support to the fine-tuning argument itself).