Yet another one for the “not new, but new for me” category. Philosopher Bradley Monton has written an extremely intriguing essay on design inferences in an infinite universe. Here is the abstract:
This paper addresses two main questions. First, how does one determine that something has the features it does as a result of design, as opposed to for example chance? Second, how are inferences to design affected when one makes the (plausible) assumption that the universe is spatially infinite? I will show that arguments for the existence of God based on the improbable development of life don’t go through under the supposition that the universe is spatially infinite. I will also show that the model of design inferences promulgated by William Dembski is flawed, because it has the consequence that one can never infer design in a spatially infinite universe. My model for design inferences has the (desirable) consequence that there are circumstances where a seeming miracle can count as evidence for the existence of God, even if one would expect that type of event to naturalistically occur in a spatially infinite universe.