Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, as well as Lee Strobel, in his book Case For a Creator, use the Anthropic Coincidences as an argument that man was placed here by some intelligence. The argument is incredibly appealing, and I find it a fascinating concept. Geisler and Turek cleverly use the ill fated Apollo 13 moon mission to list about fifteen physical or environmental factors in our solar system that are vital for the existence of life. These include the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels on earth, moon-earth gravity interactions, water vapour levels, etc. Like the Apollo 13 spacecraft, if any of these factors were slightly different, humans would not be able to live, or even exist, on earth. The odds are highly unlikely, they argue, that all these conditions just happened to occur all together by chance. The conclusion is that man must have been placed here for a reason, by some form of intelligence.
The following are possible counter arguments:
First, this argument assumes that one type of life is possible. If any of conditions were slightly different, life would not have been possible, but this would be life as we know it. Who knows, some other kind of life could have developed in our place.
Second, the universe is incredibly large, containing billions of galaxies, each containing billions of starts and possibly trillions of planets. With such a large number of planets, it’s no surprise that at least one planet happened to find itself in conditions favourable to life.
Third, the argument is extremely anthro-arrogant. It argues that conditions were put in place to sustain humans. But the opposite might be true: what if humankind is a just a chance by-product of the set of conditions that just happened to form in this part of the universe? A well-known story illustrates this point. A puddle of water that finds itself in a small hole in the road, looks around, and suddenly exclaims: “Wow, the shape of the hole was designed exactly right just to fit me!”
We have no empirical evidence of the intelligence that was supposed to have placed us here. However, we know that life is incredibly resilient, and can exist in a wide variety of conditions. Therefore, until new information comes along (and despite the fact that I find this a fascinating concept), I will lean towards the view that life was not a result of intelligence but of conditions that happened to form in this part of the universe.