In the last seven years or so, I have participated in a number of ‘Does God Exist?’ debates with various intellectuals and academics . Next week I will be participating in the ‘God: Delusion or Truth?’ debate with Rick Lewis, the editor of the Philosophy Now magazine, at the University College London. Last week I participated in a debate with Alan Woods, who has written the History of Philosophy and is a Marxist political theorist , on the same topic and I was disappointed that he did not sufficiently address any of the arguments I presented. Additionally he did not even produce a strong case for the atheist worldview.
Mr Woods’ main premise was that the evolution theory provides the best explanation for the origins of life. The problem with this argument is that evolution doesn’t negate the existence of God; rather it just provides an alternative explanation to the question of how life started. At best the evolution theory, if taken to be true, may provide a theological problem as there would be a need to reconcile the theory with mainstream religious discourse on the origins of life. However it doesn’t take God out of the picture.
Mr Woods’ evolution ‘defeater’ was an attempt to deal with one of my arguments for the existence God, known as the Teleological argument or the Argument from Design. The form of the design argument I chose to present used examples relating to the physics and the initial conditions of the universe. Hence I explained to Mr Woods that evolution is billions of years away and it doesn’t even have a foot in the door as the design argument I chose to present used examples understood in physics and not biology, so I politely advised him to be more attentive to my argument.
Mr Woods then decided to use another argument which is always used by the atheists who clutch at intellectual straws: “who designed the designer?” Even the prophet of neo-Atheism Richard Dawkins writes in his best seller The God Delusion,
“The Temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.” 
Having prepared for this I addressed his question promptly. However in order for the reader to understand my response I will summarise the form of the design argument that was presented at the debate. I argued that God makes sense of the fine-tuning of the universe to permit life and I started off by presenting the premises of this argument,
1. The fine-tuning of the universe to permit life is due to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.
Explaining Premise 1
The existence of a life permitting universe is due conditions that must have been fined tuned to a degree that is literally incalculable! The fine tuning is of two types,
- When the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, you find appearing in them certain constants, like the gravitational constant.
- There are certain arbitrary quantities which are just put in as initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate, for example, the amount of entropy or the balance between matter and anti-matter in the universe.
I used the following are examples of fine tuning to explain premise 1,
- Strength of Gravity & the Atomic Weak Force: Physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life permitting universe.
- Big Bang’s Low Entropy Condition: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang's low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 1010 (123). Penrose comments, "I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010 (123)."
There are only three possible explanations for the presence of the above fine tuning of the universe,
- Physical necessity
Why it can’t be Physical Necessity
The first alternative seems extraordinarily implausible. There is just no physical reason why these constants and quantities should have the values they do. As P. C. W. Davies states,
“Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn't follow that the physical universe itself is unique…the laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions…there is nothing in present ideas about 'laws of initial conditions' remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it…it seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise.” 
Why it can’t be Chance
Some people who do not understand the impossibility of the universe coming into being by chance exclaim, "It could have happened by chance!" However would they say such a thing in order to explain how an Elephant was sleeping in their garage overnight? Or if a 747 was parked in your garden on your return from work ?!
Additionally people have tried to get out of this problem by saying “we shouldn’t be surprised at the finely tuned universe, for if it wasn’t the case we would not be here to be surprised about it!” In response to this Philosopher W. Craig aptly puts it,
“But such reasoning is logically fallacious. We can show this by means of a parallel illustration. Imagine you're traveling abroad and are arrested on trumped-up drug charges and dragged in front of a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen, all with rifles aimed at your heart, to be executed. You hear the command given: "Ready! Aim! Fire!" and you hear the deafening roar of the guns. And then you observe that you are still alive, that all of the 100 trained marksmen missed! Now what would you conclude? "Well, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that they all missed. After all, if they hadn't all missed, then I wouldn't be here to be surprised about it! Given that I am here, I should expect them all to miss." Of course not! You would immediately suspect that they all missed on purpose, that the whole thing was a set-up, engineered for some reason by someone. While you wouldn't be surprised that you don't observe that you are dead, you'd be very surprised, indeed, that you do observe that you are alive. In the same way, given the incredible improbability of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, it is reasonable to conclude that this is not due to chance, but to design.”
It Must be Design
Since premises 1 and 2 are true, it follows that supernatural design is the most reasonable explanation for the fine tuning of the universe to permit life.
Responding to “Who Designed the Designer?”
The above contention to the design argument is flawed for two main reasons. Firstly, anyone with a basic understanding of the philosophy of science will conclude that in the inference to the best explanation, the best explanation doesn’t require an explanation! The following example illustrates this point.
Imagine 500 years from now a group of archaeologists where to start digging in London’s Hyde Park only to find parts of a car and a bus. They would be completely justified in inferring that these finds were not a result of sedimentation and metamorphosis but products of an unknown civilization. However if some skeptics were to argue that we can’t make such inferences because we do not know anything about this civilization, how they lived and who created them, would that make the archaeologists conclusions untrue? Of course not!
Secondly if we take this contention seriously it could undermine the very foundations of science and philosophy themselves. Because if we require an explanation for the basic assumptions of science, for example that the external world exists, where do you think our level of scientific progress would be?
Additionally if we were to apply this type of question to every attempt at explaining the explanation, we would end up with an infinite regress of explanations. And an infinite regress of explanations would defeat the whole purpose of science in the first place, which is to provide an explanation!
 For example see my debate with Dr Bashour from the American University Beirut http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJtM40TzJAA
 Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin. 2006, page 158
 Roger Penrose, "Time-Asymmetry and Quantum Gravity," in Quantum Gravity 2, ed. C. J. Isham, R. Penrose, and D. W. Sciama (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 249.
 Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), p. 169.
 William Lane Craig. http://www.professorblume.com/uploads/1/0/6/9/1069884/does_god_exist-_w._l._craig.doc