The FTA needs an assumption that there is a significant value to a universe that with very few exceptions, if any, follows orderly and elegant mathematical laws of nature. Such an assumption is compatible with miracles.Now, this is exactly the sort of thing I was complaining about in my Purple Pachyderm post, and that Carl Sagan was complaining about in his Dragon in the Garage, and so on. For any argument against the existence of God, the theist simply introduces an arbitrary and unfounded assumption in answer.
So I pointed out that in a universe with any miracles at all, my FTAN would still work. For instance, on an earth that was too close to its sun for life to exist, God could prevent the excess radiation from reaching earth, thus allowing life to exist. The exception to energy conservation would be localized, satisfying the "few exceptions" assumption.
Leibniz argued against Newton/Clarke that it would be inappropriate for God to rely on on-going miracles for the ordinary operation of the universe.
One way to defend this is to say that God has reason to avoid miracles. This reason can be overridden, of course.
OK, so now we have a new assumption: that miracles should not be on-going. Dragon in the garage once again.
Unfortunately for Alex, this new assumption still doesn't answer the objection. Even with one-time miracles, there will still be infinitely more possible life-containing universes if there is an omnipotent God than if there is not. One example I pointed out was if the laws of chemistry don't allow for chemical evolution of life, but do allow for the existence of life. Then a single miraculous intervention by God could get life started. But there are infinitely many ways God could make this intervention, so there are infinitely many more possible life-containing worlds under the theistic assumption. So my FTAN still works.
Also, this new assumption flies in the face of an argument that theists have been making for centuries: that it takes God's on-going miraculous intervention to sustain the universe. Here, for example, is Pope John Paul II discussing proofs of God's existence (emphasis added):
Without such a supreme Cause, the world and every movement in it would remain "unexplained" and "inexplicable", and our intelligence would not be satisfied. The human mind can receive a response to its questions only by admitting a Being who has created the world with all its dynamism. and who continues to maintain it in existence.The theist wants to have it both ways. On-going miracles? Proof of God! No on-going miracles? That's proof of God, too!