, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 649–669 | Cite as

Does a Delayed Origin for Biological Life Count as Evidence Against the Existence of God?

  • Travis DumsdayEmail author


Many theists have argued that contemporary physics provides evidence for the existence of God, insofar as the fundamental laws of nature display evidence of having been fine-tuned to allow for the emergence of biological life. (See, e.g., the works of Stephen Barr, Robin Collins, Paul Davies, John Leslie, Richard Swinburne, etc.) But some have objected that this evidence needs to be weighed against the conflicting evidence that biological life is a relatively late phenomenon in the universe. For if God really wanted the universe to contain life (esp. intelligent life), such that He specifically designed its laws with this in mind, why would He have set things up in such a way that it took billions of years for life to appear? One can employ this general concern to formulate an argument against intelligent design. In this paper I critically evaluate some existing theistic solutions to this sort of argument, and also propose several new lines of reply.


God Theism Atheism Design Fine-tuning Natural theology Life Biology 



Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2016 conference of the Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith (held at Concordia University of Edmonton), and at the 2016 conference of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. I would like to thank all those in attendance for their helpful comments and questions. My thanks also to several anonymous referees at Sophia for their valuable input.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canada Research Chair in Theology and the Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy & Religious StudiesConcordia University of EdmontonEdmontonCanada

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