The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirements that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so.Perhaps we are not entitled to be surprised to find a complete lack of features in the universe that are incompatible with our existence – were such a feature found, we would not exist to observe it! However, given that “the observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable,” we can still be justifiably surprised that we do find features that are compatible with the existence of life. It is not self-stultifying to make both of these statements simultaneously. At the very least, there are far more possible universes that could not sustain life.
For clarification, let’s look at the end of an argument on the subject by William Lane Craig (don’t knock me because I quote a Christian – look at his argument):
Let us concede that it follows from WAP that
3. We should not be surprised that we do not observe features of the universe which are incompatible with our own existence.
For if the features of the universe were incompatible with our existence, we should not be here to notice it. Hence, it is not surprising that we do not observe such features. But it follows neither from WAP nor (3) that
4. We should not be surprised that we do observe features of the universe which are compatible with out existence.
For although the object of surprise in (4) might at first blush appear to be simply the contrapositive of the object of surprise in (3), this is mistaken. This can be clearly seen by means of an illustration (borrowed from John Leslie): suppose you are dragged before a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen, all of them with rifles aimed at your heart, to be executed. The command is given; you hear the deafening sound of the guns. And you observe that you are still alive, that all of the 100 marksmen missed! Now while it is true that
5. You should not be surprised that you do not observe that you are dead,
nonetheless it is equally true that
6. You should be surprised that you do observe that you are alive.
Since the firing squad's missing you altogether is extremely improbable, the surprise expressed in (6) is wholly appropriate, though you are not surprised that you do not observe that you are dead, since if you were dead you could not observe it. Similarly, while we should not be surprised that we do not observe features of the universe which are incompatible with our existence, it is nevertheless true that
7. We should he surprised that we do observe features of the universe which are compatible with our existence,
in view of the enormous improbability, demonstrated repeatedly by Barrow and Tipler, that the universe should possess such features.
Thus, our ability to observe is not surprising given our existence, but what we are observing - an improbable universe - can still surprise us.
To answer Island’s question, we must ask ourselves what to do with this observation of our own improbability. My answer is that this makes the question of God one worth asking. The question has empirical grounds.
At this point in my thinking, I am honestly not sure how to proceed from here to an answer to the question of God. My post on the Root of My Agnosticism sheds some light on my philosophical quandaries. Despite not having an answer to the question of God, I think demonstrating its empirical validity is a significant step.