The Fine-Tuning Argument (henceforth FTA) is the pet argument of many a religious apologist, allowing them as it does to build support for their theistic thesis on the findings of cosmology. The basic premise is this: The laws of nature appear to contain constants that if changed slightly would yield universes inhospitable to life. Even though a lot can be said about this premise, Let's assume it true for the purposes of this article.
Luke Muehlhauser over at Common Sense Atheism recently wrote an article pointing out what I think is a central flaw of the FTA. To summarise, he notes that there are multitudes of propositions that are true for this universe and would not be true in a different universe. For instance galaxies, or, Luke's tongue-in-cheek example: iPads. If you accept that the universe is fine-tuned for life, you also have to accept that it's fine-tuned for galaxies, and iPads, given that some changes in the fine-tuned constants would not produce galaxies, and certainly not iPads.
So the question posed to defenders of the FTA is 'why life'? Why focus on this particular fact? What is it that sets life apart from all the other propositions true about our universe but not other the other possible universes? The usual answer is that life stands out, being valuable in ways that galaxies, iPads, and all the other true propositions are not. It seems that this is an unstated premise of the FTA. But where does that premise come from? Physics gives us no instrument to measure value, so how did this concept get in what was supposed to be a cosmology-based argument?
I present the FTA here as an argument that while seemingly complex, simply evaporates in light of the Mind Projection Fallacy. Knowing that humans tend to confuse 'I see X as valuable' with 'x is valuable', the provenance of the hidden premise 'life is valuable' is laid bare, as is the identity of the agent who is doing the valuing, and it is us. With the mystery solved, explaining why humans find life valuable does not require us to go to the extreme lengths of introducing a non-naturalistic cause for the universe.
Without any support for life being special in some way, the FTA devolves into a straightforward case of Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy: There exists life, our god would have wanted to create life, therefore our god is real! Not quite as compelling.