Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Podcast - Episode 2: Cosmic Fine-tuning and the Goodness of Life

Episode Two of the podcast is available for download here. In this episode I cover a short paper by Neil Manson entitled "Cosmic Fine-tuning, Many Universe Theories and the Goodness of Life". You can download a copy of the paper at Neil's webpage.

I received some feedback for my previous effort. Most was positive and no doubt the naysayers kept quiet. One person suggested that my voice was a little dry, and I would have to agree. I've tried to liven things up in this episode and I personally think it is an improvement. Let me know if you disagree.

I'd be happy to receive comments or suggestions, particularly suggestions for topics or papers you would like me to cover in the future. My only ground rule is that the papers must be short enough to cover in about 20 mins.



  1. Superb topic! I like the way Manson illustrates the extremity of the position of defending intrinsic value.

    You've got more energy in your voice this time, or at least you spoke more quickly I think. :)


  2. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. I didn't notice very much in the way of changes in your voice -- probably because I was too focused on the article -- but overall I found your presentation quite respectable.

    If you're thinking about making this podcast permanent, I'm sure you'd make many of your listeners' lives easy by also publishing it on iTunes in addition to posting it on your blog.

    Anyways, I've skimmed through this paper a while back and was puzzled by what in the world intrinsic goodness of life could have to do with an argument from fine-tuning for multiple universes or God. I'm still at a loss as to how the premise "life is good" does any sort of work in such an argument; Manson seems to think that this requirement is so obvious that he doesn't even try to provide some sort of reconstruction of a fine-tuning argument involving this as a crucial premise.