Stalin False Equivalence

A few weeks ago, I posted The Hitler Canard, wherein I replied to theists who point to Hitler as an example of godless morality at its most extreme. I showed that Hitler was actually a devout Christian who explicitly stated he was acting on the behalf of God and Christ.

A few theists replied to that post by bringing up Stalin. “What about Stalin? He was a genocidal dictator who really was an atheist, wasn’t he?”

Yes. As far as historians can tell, Stalin was indeed an atheist.

However, equating Hitler and Stalin this way is a false equivalence, because there’s a critical difference between the two: Hitler committed his actions in the name of his religion. By his own words, he committed atrocities for religious purposes. Stalin, on the other hand, may have been an atheist, but he was not slaughtering people in the name of atheism. He wasn’t committing atrocities to further atheism. He may have considered atheism expedient to his other goals, but it was not the goal on its own. This doesn’t make Stalin any less of a monster, but it also doesn’t implicate atheism in the same way it implicates religion.

Indeed, there have been many acts of mass slaughter committed for religious reasons, such as the Inquisition, the Witch Hunts, and the Crusades. Yet, there have never been any similar mass slaughters committed for the sake of atheism. Whereas religion has been a motivating factor for genocides on numerous occasions — as far is is known, atheism has never been a motivating factor for any genocides in history, even if some atheists have committed genocide. Neither atheism nor theism has consistently people prevented from committing genocide — but theism has incited people to genocide, while atheism has not.

As I said in the Hitler post, lunatics come in all stripes, and I don’t really think focusing on the theological inclinations of those who commit genocide is a productive line of argument, regardless whether you’re arguing for theism or atheism. But since people specifically asked me this question about Stalin, there’s your answer.

Notable Facts, #4: The Elder Gods

Most Christians think that Jesus’s story — son of God, born of a virgin, rising victorious from death, bringing salvation, etc. — is unique in history. However, Jesus is actually one of a long line of similar, purported gods to emerge from the ancient Middle East and surrounding areas.

Here’s a brief list of some of the notable ones who preceded Jesus, that Dr Richard Carrier researched and was able to confirm are solidly backed up by ancient documentation:

Adonis — Adonis was a dying-and-rising god from ancient Syria.

Inanna — Inanna was an ancient Sumerian goddess. She is one of the oldest known gods of this type; her story is inscribed on clay tablets dating about 1700 BC. In her story, she descends into Hell, is stripped naked, tried in a kangaroo court, stricken dead by a death spell, and then her naked corpse is nailed up. Then, three days later, her minions came down and fed her the food of life, and she resurrected and ascended to glory. So, her story bears many of the same elements that were later incorporated into Jesus’s story, such as trial and punishment, dying and rising, crucifixion, and three days in Hell. Her cult was one of the leading ones worshipped around Jesus’s time, in the city of Tyre. Jesus is depicted as visiting Tyre. One of the largest temples there would have been the temple celebrating Inanna’s death and resurrection. Tyre was one of the major ports in the region, so a lot of pilgrimage and and lot of trade went through there.

Osiris — The Osiris cult was a dying-and-rising god cult that originated in Egypt, then spread all over the Mediterranean. In the Osiris cult, people who were baptized in Osiris’s death and resurrection were saved in the afterlife. It is not plausible that the Osiris cult, popularly being preached in Egypt before the emergence of Jesus, did not influence the incorporation of baptism, resurrection, and afterlife salvation into Christianity. Egypt neighbored Judea, had a large Jewish population, and many among those Jews made pilgrimages to Judea and back.

Romulus — Romulus was the Roman state god. His death and resurrection were celebrated in annual passion plays throughout the Roman empire, in the time immediately before the emergence of Jesus. Thus, Romulus was a well known example of a dying-and-rising savior god (however, he was a savior of the Roman empire, not a personal savior) in Judea, which was a province of the Roman empire.

Zalmoxis — Zalmoxis was a Thracian dying and rising god dating 5th to 6th century BC. Zalmoxis’s death and resurrection assured followers of eternal life, especially those who participated in a ritual meal (i.e., a Eucharist). Zalmoxis’s cult is described in The Histories of Herodotus. The Histories was one of the standard school texts in rhetoric schools of the time. Anyone who learned Greek well enough to be composing stories such as the Gospels of the Bible would have passed through that level of education, and thus would have read Herodotus. Ergo, they knew about the Zalmoxis cult.

All of the above are gods who died and rose again. All of them are savior gods, that grant eternal happiness after death to those who worship them. All of them are the sons or daughters of God, serving God as the intermediary for your salvation. All of them underwent a “passion.” All of them obtained victory over death, which they shared with their followers. All of them were claimed to be historical figures, with stories setting them in human history, despite never actually existing. All of them were popularly being worshipped in the Mediterranean and Middle East at the time that Jesus emerged on the scene. And all of them are indisputably documented, with these features, before Christ. There was a dying-and-rising savior god trend sweeping through all of the national cultures of the Mediterranean, and Jesus was the one to emerge in Judea.

There are many more instances before Christ in the same area or within regions close enough for contact, with features that Christ later shared. Perseus, Horus, Krishna, Attis, Dionysus, and myriad others, were divinely conceived without sexual union. Zoroaster, Buddha, and various others, were tempted by the devil to give up their ministries to rule the world. And so on with Tammuz, Baal, Horus, Glycon, etc.

What do Christian apologists have to say about this? Modern day apologists tend to take either one of two approaches.

(1) It’s a lie. Those are all hoaxes.

Whether out of their own ignorance or out of cynical belief in your ignorance and unwillingness to research for yourself, most apologists these days simply deny that these claims are real. We’re separated enough from Bronze Age Middle East and Asia Minor that they can often get away with simply saying it’s not so. Furthermore — unfortunately — there really is a lot of poorly-cited, overreaching material on the topic (such as the movie Religulous, and books by Kersey Graves, and Acharya S. / D.M. Murdock), which seems to bolster the apologist’s claims that it’s false. Despite the topic being muddied by questionable research, there’s solid substantiation available for many parallels with those prior to Jesus, such as the ones listed above.

(2) Yes, but they’re not identical to Jesus.

When denial doesn’t work, modern apologists tend to point out that there may be some similarities, but they’re not completely identical to Jesus. While no religion is completely identical to another religion (or else it would simply be that other religion), we have here cases which (in my judgment) are too close to be mere chance.

 

Early Christian apologists did not have the luxury of denying the reality of these other, older religions with parallel characteristics, which were still current or within memory. Instead, they handled the issue by accepting the existence of similar prior religions, while trying their best to spin that fact in a way that supported Christianity.

(1) They argued that if you believed that stuff about other gods, then it’s not much of a stretch to believe the same about Jesus, too.

For example, around the year 150 AD, Justin Martyr wrote (Apology 21):

“When we say that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.”

Yes, that was intended to be taken as an argument in favor of Christianity. That might seem unpersuasive, but what else could he say? Well, there is one more thing…

(2) They argued it must’ve been the work of Satan to plant these other cases before the coming of Jesus, to instill doubts.

For example, Justin Martyr also wrote:

“For when they say that Dionysus arose again and ascended to heaven, is it not evidence the devil has imitated the prophecy?”

“For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by [Jupiter’s] intercourse with Semele… and when they relate, that … having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses?”

“For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.”

This “the Devil came ahead of Jesus, planting parallel religions” argument, as an explanation of Christianity’s relationship to the similar religions that preceded it, is perhaps the flimsiest apologetic I know of — and it remains standard Christian doctrine, to this day. When one believes with blind faith, this is the quality of argument one may have to ultimately found one’s beliefs upon.

To those outside of the Christian faith, it appears that most or all of what we know about Jesus from the Bible and from extra-biblical lore is really an amalgamation of the beliefs in the surrounding cultures at that time. The Jews seem to have been influenced by their neighbors to make a Jewish version of nearby personal savior cults.

Make of that what you will.

 

 

[Note that the first half of this post borrows heavily from Richard Carrier. For more information, please seek out his books, lectures, and other work. You can also find more information from the works of David Fitzgerald, Raphael Lataster, and Hector Avalos.]

Free Will and Theology

Free will is the ability to create decisions through conscious thought processes, and then effectuate them, free from being overridden by determinative effects from all sources other than consciousness — independent from such factors as coercion, environmental history, genetics, and causation.

Most Christians think we have free will to believe in God and Jesus or not, and free will to obey God and Jesus or not. The doctrine that we have it is theologically necessary for most forms of Christianity on at least two major fronts:

(A) It’s a standard part of the apologetics of why evil and suffering exist in the world. That apologetic typically goes something like this: “God is perfectly loving and good, so God doesn’t create evil. God gave us free will, because He loves us. Adam and Eve (and humankind, in general) freely chose to disobey God, thereby bringing evil and suffering into the world.” For an example of this apologetic, click here. (For today, we’ll put aside that God repeatedly and explicitly says in the Bible that He creates evil, such as here, and we’ll put aside any logical of theological issues with this apologetic, and we’ll stick strictly to the topic of free will.)

(B) Free will is considered a necessary foundation for a morally viable system of sending the saved to Heaven and the damned to Hell. That apologetic goes something like this: “If God damned people to eternal torment in Hell when they had no free will over their actions, He’d be an evil monster — but we know God is benevolent and loving and righteous, not an evil monster; therefore, we must have free will.” (Again, we’ll put aside any problems with this reasoning, for today, and stick strictly to the topic of free will.)

In addition to the points above, the most common argument Christians give for why God does not simply reveal Himself unequivocally to us is because revealing Himself would remove our free will to reject or disobey God. For an example of this apologetic, click here. (Once again, we’ll put aside that the Bible tells us God revealed Himself unequivocally to Satan, Adam and Eve, and a number of others who were still quite able to disobey Him, which undermines this argument. It is nonetheless the primary explanation offered for the lack of evidence for God.)

And so, many Christians insist that we have free will, out of theological necessity. However, their assertion does not seem to hold up well under scrutiny. Let’s examine some of the issues.

(1) Coercion

Coercion is defined as “the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of intimidation or threats or some other form of pressure or force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response… In law, coercion is codified as a duress crime.”

Duress,” in the term duress crime, “…has two aspects. One is that it negates the person’s consent to an act, such as sexual activity or the entering into a contract; or, secondly, as a possible legal defense or justification to an otherwise unlawful act.”

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes, “Coercion is typically thought to carry with it several important implications, including that it diminishes the targeted agent’s freedom and responsibility….”

Suppose, for example, that a married man got anally raped at gunpoint. Most judges would agree that raped man did not thereby break any wedding contract of fidelity, and most Christians would likewise agree that he did not commit sins of sodomy and adultery. Through the circumstances of life-threatening coercion, his free will was violated, his consent was negated, he was compelled to act involuntarily, his actions were justified, and his responsibility was diminished.

In the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible, God uses coercion. He frequently threatens those who might disobey him with ruination of crops, thirst, drought, cattle pestilence, hunger, starvation, nakedness, loss of property, losses in battles, invasion by hostile nations, rape, cruel enslavement, cruel enslavement of descendants, incurable itching, inflammation, hemorrhoids, leprosy, blindness, confusion, insanity, mutilation, plague, death, destruction, and much more. He kills those who disobey him, over even the smallest infractionseven when they are only trying to help, or commands others to kill those who disobey him, over even the tiniest trifles. He arranges for His followers to kill unbelievers and those who don’t seek or don’t worship God. And, of course, He threatens those who don’t believe or don’t obey with eternal torture in Hell — which is literally one of the most coercive threats possible.

If you think that threatening someone with a gun to compel him tampers with his free will, then how could you not think that God’s far more extreme threats cause at least as much interference? It should be obvious that such behavior violates free will, and also that any God who engages in such behavior does not care about people’s free will.

(2) Mind Control

God doesn’t stop at mere coercion. The Bible also tells us over and over that God actively exerts mind control over people to get them to act as He wants.

I’ve already previously discussed the case of God exerting mind control over the Pharaoh.

If we’re to take the Bible at its word, it is standard operating procedure for God to control the minds of rulers: “The Lord controls the mind of a king as easily as he directs the course of a stream.Proverbs 21:1

But it’s not just rulers. According to the Bible, God exerts mind control over you, too. Here are a couple of many instances where the Bible says so:

“And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My Laws and be careful to do what I tell you.”Ezekiel 36:27

“God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.”Philippians 2:13

Furthermore, the Bible tells us that divine mind control is why believers believe: “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me….” — John 6:44

And likewise, the Bible tells us that divine mind control is why nonbelievers do not believe:

“But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:

“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,

“The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”
Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.”John 12:37-41

Mind control clearly contradicts free will.

(3) Omniscience

It’s a standard part of most versions of Christian theology that God and Jesus are omniscient, i.e., they know everything. This claim comports with a number of Bible passages, such as 1 John 3:20: “…God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” This omniscience is typically asserted to include knowing everyone’s futures. Again, this claim comports with a number of Bible passages, such as Psalm 139:15-16: “Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.”

If God knows everything you will ever do, before you are born, then everything in your life is predetermined, and you can’t change it — which excludes the possibility of free will.

(4) Inability to will ourselves to believe or disbelieve things.

Either something is believable to us, or it isn’t. Believability might be based on things like evidence, likelihood, and congruence with other data, but it’s not based on things like desire and decision. Our inability to control what we do or don’t believe can be easily demonstrated. Let me show those of you who insist that we can indeed control belief through will.

By the end of this sentence, will yourself to believe that a centaur and a pegasus are copulating with each other in my backyard, right now.

At the end of this sentence, will yourself to disbelieve you just read this sentence.

Now that you’ve failed to believe a centaur and a pegasus are copulating in my backyard, and you’ve also failed to disbelieve that you read the previous sentence, you know that you do not have the ability to will yourself to believe things or disbelieve things.

We do not control our beliefs.

(5) Unconscious decision-making

This might be hard to fit into our world views, but a growing body of neuroscience experiments seems to disconfirm that our “conscious decisions” are actually decided consciously. For example, the first in the series of Soon et. al experiments used a set up with people hooked up to functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines to show that people’s decisions could be  determined from their brain activity up to ten seconds before their decisions were “consciously made.” Indeed, the researchers were thereby able to predict what people were about to decide, before they consciously made their decisions.

It turns out that our experience of conscious decision-making is often really just our consciousnesses reporting what we unconsciously decided, then confabulating rationalizations for these unconsciously made decisions.

So, if your conscious self isn’t making your decisions, then do you really have free will over those decisions? Without consciousness, there’s no volition, and without volition, there can be no free will.

(6) Determinism

As far as science can tell, every occurrence happening around us, except for subatomic occurrences, is the consequence of prior events and conditions, along with the way nature works. From this, everything that will happen is the inevitable result of what has already happened; and (with sufficient knowledge) we can even make predictions about what will occur, based upon events and conditions. For example, whenever we throw a ball: the weight, the angle, the direction, the force, the air pressure and turbulence, the gravity, and so on, determine the exact trajectory the ball will travel, and precisely where it will land. The world seems consistent in this regard, and we rely on it all the time for everything we do.

If everything that occurs is the consequence of prior events and conditions, then this also includes everything we do. If we are subject to the same laws of nature and physics that everything else appears to be, then the states of our brains — and thus, our decision-making processes — appear to be the consequences of prior events and conditions. If our decisions and actions are the inevitable aftereffects of prior events and circumstances, then we do not have freedom to do otherwise (even if it feels like we do), and we are not truly acting with free will.

The hypothesis that our brains behave independently of causal factors is testable and has been refuted. Alcohol, LSD, and other drugs affect our thoughts, decisions, and behaviors. Geneticists have demonstrated that our psychological experiences in given environmental conditions are linked to genetic factors, such as adolescent girls with a specific oxytocin receptor genotype feeling more lonely when exposed to judgmental friends than people without that genotype. Psychologists have demonstrated that people can be “primed” — predisposed toward certain opinions and behaviors — through prior environmental stimuli. Neuroscientists have demonstrated that electrical brain stimulation can induce specific thoughts, feelings, and sensations, such as stimulation of the amygdala producing rage, fear, and aggression.

For our decision-making processes and our actions to be independent from the laws of causation would mean some magical kind of dualism that does not appear to apply to anything else we can see. If such free will were occurring (i.e., if we were able to operate our minds and bodies outside of the bounds of physics and nature through the choices we make) this would have detectable consequences — which we do not see.

Some people argue that quantum randomness could still be a source of free will, but this doesn’t really work. Even if we are affected by quantum randomness, random is still random, not voluntary. Even if quantum randomness were part of the factors affecting our decisions and actions, we’d still be reacting to external factors, rather than acting independently of them. Adding quantum randomness doesn’t do anything for an argument that we can act independently of overriding determining factors.

We appear to be operating deterministically, which contradicts the notion that we are operating with free will.

 

For all of the reasons above, the Christian notion that we have the ability to decide and act solely upon our conscious thought processes, free from having our choices determined by outside forces, is untenable, no matter how theologically indispensable. Of course, the concept of free will is also integral to many other religions, and most of these arguments apply to free will doctrines in those religions, too. It is incumbent upon believers to honestly re-examine the issue of free will, and, if necessary, adjust their theological stances accordingly.

 

Questions from Theists: How Can the Universe be So Finely Tuned for Life?

When I launched this website a week ago, publishing my About page, I almost immediately got a comment from a theist, arguing in favor of theism. His comment made several different kinds of points in rapid succession. While each assertion and each question deserved its own considered reply, unfortunately, the flurry of them all at once made it hard to do justice to any of them. Assertions can usually be conveyed in a sentence or two, while countering them with substantive arguments takes much longer.

One of the things he asked was this:

How come the world fits together so exactly? If the Earth was a meter closer to the sun, life would not be sustainable, for example.

I picked this one section out, because I knew I could give a quick correction, and — regrettably — was too flippant about the underlying point, that he was asking how the universe can be so finely tuned for life to exist, without an intelligent, omnipotent force (i.e., God) designing the universe for life. I answered that part as follows:

This is false. The Earth has an elliptical orbit, not a circular one. The average distance of the Earth from the sun is ~92,918,000 miles. The Earth’s farthest point from the sun this year is 94,506,507 miles. The Earth’s closest point to the sun this year is 91,401,343 miles. So as you can see, in January, Earth was about one and a half million miles closer to the sun than the average, and right now we’re about one and a half million miles farther away from the sun than average.

He replied to this as follows:

OK, don’t take it as the exact one meter, take it as the principle of the way it works exactly with the seasons, the earth at a certain axle making the seasons as they are, the complete situation that works exactly like it should and with one of these missing it would not work at all.

There are many arguments to be made about fine-tuning, on both sides, and I gave him a several part reply. I’m not going to quote that reply, here, but instead give a similar, expanded and rewritten, reply, for any readers here who have these kinds of questions. [I might also make more posts on the topic, later, and / or add more to this post, since there are many other relevant arguments besides what I included here.] I can’t be certain that this response perfectly suits the gentleman who originally commented, but it might be relevant for readers who are interested in the fine-tuning argument.

(A) Let’s begin by noting how far off the original assertion was:

We don’t know how exactly how much nearer nor farther the Earth could be from the sun while still sustaining life, but we know that the nearest and farthest that the Earth was to the sun this year give us minimum bounds. The numbers are at least this much, and maybe more.

There are 1,609.34 meters per mile, and the difference between the nearest and furthest distances from the sun that the Earth is, this year, comes out to 3,105,164 miles.

3,105,164 x 1,609.34 = 4,997,264,631.76

So, the assertion was off by literally just shy of five-hundred-billion percent, at the very minimum.

I must respectfully suggest to those who both favor the fine-tuning argument and who also use the “meter closer to the sun” example, that finding out one of your primary examples is off by at least five-hundred-billion percent, might be cause for you to reconsider what you know about the topic.

(B) To the best of our knowledge, the universe as a whole appears to be incredibly hostile to life as we know it. The empty stretches of vacuum are almost unimaginably vast, with just tiny spots of matter here and there in between all of the emptiness. The temperature of the universe, on average, is barely above absolute zero. There’s harmful cosmic radiation almost everywhere. If the universe were finely tuned for life by an omnipotent creator, one might expect most of the universe to be habitable, and for life to be flourishing everywhere — an endless grassy plain or woodland, full of all variety of creatures, or something akin to that. Instead, we find that life is almost nowhere. I have heard it said that if the universe were a house, the area habitable for life as we know it would be equivalent to about one atom within that entire house. That’s obviously a very loose analogy, but it’s enough to help one grasp that life as we know it is hardly prospering as we might expect in a universe designed for such life.

(C) The “finely-tuned world is evidence of God,” argument undermines itself.

Why would God need to fine-tune the universe, or our little part of it? What is the reason for fine-tuning?

Think about an architect fine-tuning a house design, or electronics engineers fine-tuning a laptop computer design, or automotive engineers fine-tuning a car design. Architects have to fine-tune houses to make everything that must go into them (such as toilets, oven, electrical wiring, etc.) fit inside the available space, and then they have to fine tune the size of the house itself to fit within the size of the property; they have to fine tune the home to be affordable within the area where it’s being built, to handle the weight of the materials the house is made out of and perhaps handle the weight of things like snow loads on the roof, to withstand the stresses of earthquakes, to withstand local weather patterns, and so on. Electronics engineers have to fine-tune laptop computer designs to accommodate the weight limits of what a person can comfortably carry, the heat a chip can handle, the capacity a battery can store, the cost of memory, and the like. Automotive engineers have to fine tune cars to accommodate how much steel weighs, how strong plastics are, how wide street lanes are, how much air resistance impedes thrust, and the like. Simply put, the only reason one ever fine-tunes anything is because there are external factors that one does not and cannot control. Especially physics and economics. Why don’t architects just design houses with more space on the inside than they take up on the outside, that cost pennies to manufacture? Why don’t electronics engineers make laptop computers that can store an infinite amount of data and never run out of power? Why don’t automotive engineers design cars that travel at the speed of light and can withstand any crash? Because they can’t circumvent the way the world is.

An omnipotent God, on the other hand, would be under no such constraints. He could do whatever He wants. Thus, He would have no need for fine-tuning. He could, for example, just make people fireproof and shockproof by divine will, instead. (After all, gods routinely do miracles which defy physics as we know it, in many of the world’s sacred religious texts.)

Even so, you might think, perhaps God was just in the mood for some fine-tuning, anyway. But this still implies that the world had pre-existing characteristics that were outside of God’s creation. Furthermore, unnecessary fine-tuning would come at steep costs. Think about a laptop computer with infinite data storage capacity, infinite processing speed, and infinite battery power, in comparison to the laptops we have. Likewise, for a god to fine-tune a creation to operate within external factors, rather than divinely will a creation with impunity toward external factors, would be to greatly compromise the design from the absolute best possible, to the best possible within the severe constraints.

If God had to fine-tune the universe, it’s because He was restricted in what He was able to do. He was not omnipotent to make things any way He wanted. And the more fine-tuning was necessary, the more external factors must have been out of His control pressuring the directions of his choices, and the less powerful God was to make things His way. When you start contending that staggeringly huge levels of fine-tuning were required, you are necessarily arguing that God’s creative powers were infinitesimally small. It’s an argument that the way that the world is, was entirely outside of His influence, while God had no choice.