So as the heated religious debate rages on, I thought it would be a nice change to entertain some of the ideas of the opposing side, and see where it leads us.
One of the only good arguments I've heard for intelligent design is that of fine-tuning, which in a nutshell says that the conditions to allow life to exist in the universe can only occur if certain physical constants are exactly right, and if any of them had been even slightly different , life could not exist. This is therefore used to point to evidence of a designer, or 'knob-twiddler'.
This is a very interesting topic and one hotly debated. I am no scientist, but to me a similar argument would be to say that Table Mountain was perfectly designed to accomodate the layout of Cape Town and its suburbs. Surely the variable (i.e life) develops according to the environment in which it finds itself. Another interesting point regarding this topic is one I heard from Lawrence Krauss which says something to the effect that to assume that the universe was fine-tuned for life as we know it, is to assume that life as we know it is the norm, when infact we could be an anomaly.
However, leaving the pros and cons of the argument aside, lets for a moment assume that the universe does have an Intelligent Designer .
So now that we have a designer, who has shown an almost un-imaginable degree of precision in fine tuning our universe , are we able to look at this design and try to determine what it's purpose is? Well, anyone who understands how much we know would have to say with certainty 'NO', since we still know very little. However, are we able to look at this design and try to determine what the purpose of the design is NOT - I think we can.
Let's investigate whether we (humans) are the purpose.
Firstly, lets start with current life on Earth. The human race is only one of approximately 8.7 million species which currently exist on earth (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110823/full/news.2011.498.html ).
I guess you could , if you were a little arrogant, argue that these species are necessary to accommodate the human race.
Now consider that these 8.7 million species which current exist only make up about 0.1 % of all species which have ever existed on earth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction). I think it becomes quite clear that humans are a rather insignificant species in the history of the earth, and you would have to be very arrogant indeed to claim that we are the focus of all this.
Now lets expand our view a little further, and examine the significance of earth in this design.
Earth is one of eight planets in our solar system. A galaxy may contain (rough estimate) 300 BILLION stars. The universe may contain (very rough and also conservative estimate) 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets. (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_planets_are_there_in_the_universe)
Of these 6 sextillion planets, only a very small percentage have the very precise conditions to allow them to accomodate life as we know it. The question is therefore very obvious: If the universe is fine tuned for life, why is it so enormously hostile to life? Why is there so much wasteage? It may be argued that the hostile planets are necessary to provide the conditions whereby the life-friendly planets may exist, but to do so you would need to sacrifice the concept of an omnipotent Intelligent Designer - i.e you are suggesting that the designer had to work within certain physical laws to achieve the objective of a life-friendly planet. Since the original theory was that the Designer itself was the one who fine-tuned these laws, the argument makes no sense.
And so ladies and gents, I would like to offer my humble opinion - If you wish to use scientific evidence to suggest that the universe was fine-tuned and intelligently designed, then the same evidence must necessarily demonstrate that we (humans) are but a very, very insignificant part of this design. Sorry folks, the universe was not designed with you in mind.