***Cosmic Order: A mathematical process or principle that encompasses all systems and patterns in existence, and contains all axioms within it.***
I'm not exactly clear. Do you mean that there are mathematical axioms and those axioms cause all the mathematical theorems to exist - perhaps one of the theorems being the universe itself? What do undefined terms of the axioms refer to?
****Are you totally sure that if a few details were tweaked than life could never have happened? Earthlife, perhaps, but we know so little of life and consciousness that saying "no life could have occured" seems to be making a big assumption.***
There's been a great deal of research into the uniqueness of the physical constants. The approaches used to solve it are mainly ensemble universes that are able to hold different physical constant values. This approach works for physical constants, but you still have the problem with the laws themselves that are needed to have ensemble universes. In any case, I don't think I'm off base by saying that the margin for error is quite small to have a universe with large structures (that can eventually evolve life) as well unique set of laws that can explain why a universe (or ensemble universes) would exist in the first place. Obviously you can't have life if there aren't large scale structures in the universe.
If you wish, you can read a good paper on this subject:
***Anyway, bear in mind that only in a universe capable of supporting life could life develop and claim the cosmos was devoted to its existence. There could be an infinite number of dead universes "out there" that never develop life of any kind.***
True, however having ensemble universes is not able to dismiss the fine-tuned characteristics for large scale structures. To have anything it must either just exist without reason, or there must be some set of statements (laws) that give some reason to the existence of those universes. If there is no reason for an ensemble universe, then why advocate an ensemble universe. Just say that there is no reason for the fine-tuned qualities of our universe and leave it at that.
If there are statements that instantiate a Multiverse, then we should accept this structure as very sophisticated (i.e., far beyond our ability to program and design in a supercomputer). This should give pause as to what we are actually saying when we say that these statements just exists. Alex's approach to take this all matter of factly is what I claim is on the verge of being ridiculous. You cannot assume something of this magnitude if we know the initial complexity automatically yields a Multiverse. So, this is why I advocate a cosmic order that gives reason for 'just so-ness' to the world.
If we take the approach that biologically unsupportable universes exist due to variances in the physical constants among universes, then we are still have the 'just so-ness' problem (just on a larger scale with the initial complexity of the basic set of laws that allow universes to evolve in the first place). Hence, the better solution is to give stronger philosophical weight to a solution that explains the 'just so-ness' seen in our observable universe. That's why I say that a divine order is the best solution available.
***By the way, why should God care about life? Living things seem to be at the forefront of God's mind in almost every belief system. Why? I've never totally grasped that. Isn't it a little selfish? We make up about .00000-[insert ten quintillion zeros here]-000001% of the Cosmos, why apply more significance than that to ourselves?***
If we gave precedence to quarks, then we would be missing all the higher structures which are built upon quarks (e.g., nuclei, atoms, stars, galaxies, etc). We have to look at structures in the universe and say that the multitude of these structures gives some sort of indication as what is the main subject happening (i.e., if we were trying to see an apparent purpose to the universe). The purpose could be accomplished in terms of a final state or it could come in terms of a process. If it is a state then we haven't reached that state yet otherwise it would be redundant to continue past the desired state (it would be like running a race to the finish line only to keep running for no reason once you crossed the finish line). If it is a process then we might accept that there is no end or final state since a process might be something to exist as a permanent 'theorem' of the cosmic order.
If a final state is the reason for the universe (i.e., an Omega point), then evolution of intelligence appears to give the best prospect for further growth. That to me means that it is the most likely candidate to be what the final state entails, or at least opens the avenue by which a final state can be reached.
If a process is the reason for the universe, then the role of life and intelligent life is less certain. We are simply one avenue among many that a process is working. I can accept this possibility. However, the purpose of such a universe would be more questionable since I can't readily see what the impinging reason for implementing such a process given the unique characteristics of the laws and constants. For that reason I don't favor this approach, but can't rule it out.
***In that case, if the "sentient" divine order IS natural processes, then what good is prayer? :) If it's already been mapped out, it's too late, right?***
No, because the decisions of the divine order is to obtain its objectives with minimum effort based on the given state space. If we are the objects in the state space, then our thoughts, hopes, dreams, emotions, etc would all be included as part of the minimum path by which to achieve the will of God. If you change your attitude (or desire, etc) then this affects your positioning with God and therefore the will of God may be affected accordingly. To use a biblical metaphor of Isaiah, "if you want God to draw dear to you, draw near to God" (paraphrasing).
***Anyway, I again see assumption-making taking place here. I still do not see how sentience is required. You're still putting sentience behind predictable natural events where they are not needed. In the end, you're making the watchmaker argument from a different perspective: once the universe was set into motion, God lost the ability to change any of it.***
This is a bit too temporal-laden for me. I am an eternalist in that God's actions are not limited to the here and now. The timeline of the universe is one structure that if you could pin it on your wall I think it would probably look like a complete structure that would make total sense. If you could look at 'you' on that wall, you would see how you 'fit it' and how your decisions (etc) placed you in the fabric of this structure. You would see the natural-ness of the world, but you would see the 'coincidences' of this natural-ness that allowed the structure to take a particular form. Perhaps there is a little pin over your 'spot' that says 'Mario is here' (I'm speaking metaphorically).
***This is a bit anthropomorphic, too. What is "good?" Especially to God. Good is something we define for ourselves, similar to death. Death has no meaning to a star, because it doesn't die: it just changes. Same goes for good. It's a matter of convention, defined entirely by humans. Why would God's "good" mirror our own? Especially if it encompasses all natural processes. I would expect it to be so cold and alien relative to us that almost no identification with it could take place.***
Good is a pragmatic consideration from all that I can tell. However, it corresponds to something real in that it is akin to a formal system that tries to maintain coherence of the system (in our criminal justice the coherence is that of society). In the case of God, I meant that term as the coherence with God's will.
However, there are many factors that go into constituting a will and something can be good for some structures and bad for other structures. For example, a comet crashing into Jupiter is good for the consistency of the laws of physics, but it is bad for the internal consistency of the weather on Jupiter, but it is good for astronomers wishing to view the effects of collisions of comets and planets.
I would define the highest 'good' as that which would be God's ultimate will in the universe. The lowest good would be that which still is consistent with God's will, but is furthest from obtaining God's utlimate will. Many of the random actions in the world would fall into the category of the lowest good.
In certain cases a 'lowest good' event occurs in areas where a higher good takes more precedence. In those cases some might even say that this event is 'evil'. My opinion is that when humans exercise a 'lower good' at the sake of a 'higher good', then we would be in direct conflict with God's overall will (which is driven by the higher good).
***What is this ultimate goal of creation? What is God aiming for? Maybe he just wanted to make a really big firecracker and see what happens.***
In my view the ultimate goal of creation is to satisfy the question 'what does it mean?'. In other words, I think God's existence is a question of meaning in the world and the evolution of all that occurs is an attempt to find meaning. Once meaning is found through some sort of 'salvation process', then the evolution of the world is finished (at least in this universe). This is just my own view, and I would separate this answer as more speculative/religious than the concept behind the divine order and its influence in the Cosmos.
Warm regards, Harv