Firing squads and fine-tuning: Sober on the design argument

Elliott Sober has recently argued that the cosmological design argument is unsound, since our observation of cosmic fine-tuning is subject to an observation selection effect (OSE). I argue that this view commits Sober to rejecting patently correct design inferences in more mundane scenarios. I show that Sober's view, that there are OSEs in those mundane cases, rests on a confusion about what information an agent ought to treat as background when evaluating likelihoods. Applying this analysis to the design argument shows that our observation of fine-tuning is not rendered uninformative by an OSE. Design and the Anthropic Objection Previous responses to the Anthropic Objection Variations: experimental squads and survivor reunions Why there is no OSE in firing squad cases Application to the design argument.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axi139
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M. Kotzen (2012). Selection Biases in Likelihood Arguments. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (4):825-839.

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