Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life?
Based upon all of the scientific research to date, it appears that the evidence is telling us that the universe – the myriad of galaxies, the solar system, and our earth – are uniquely suited to support complex life. Now, there are only three possible explanations to account for this:
- This situation is the product of blind chance
- That this universe happens to be part of a “multiverse“, and we just happen to be living the in universe that was best suited for life
- That the universe was and is designed on purpose for life
The Evidence for a Fine-Tuned Universe
The Right “Building Blocks” Problem
Most non-believers start with the notion that given enough time, and enough space, and just the right environment, that even complex life could evolve by itself without the help of a divine, all powerful Creator. One big problem with this approach is the assumption. There simply isn’t enough time.* But setting this issue aside, there must be four major “building blocks” designed just so to provide for life.*
1. The Right Molecules
For life to be possible, more than 40 different elements must be able to bond together to form molecules. This bonding depends on two factors: the strength of the force of electromagnetism, and the ratio of the mass of the electron to the mass of the proton. According to Dr. Hugh Ross, if the electromagnetic force were significantly larger than it is, atoms would “hang on” to electrons so that no sharing would be possible But if the force was significantly weaker, then atoms would not hang on to electrons at all – and again, the sharing of electrons among atoms, which makes molecules possible, would not take place.
In addition, the size and stability of electron orbits about the nucleus of atoms depends on the ratio of electron mass to the proton mass. This ratio must be delicately balanced in order for the chemical bondings essential for life to take place.*
2. The Right Atoms
In order for life to be possible, sufficient quantities of essential elements must be available – which means atoms of various sizes must be able to form. For that to occur, other delicate balances must exist among the constants of physics – the strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and nuclear ground state energies.*
The strong nuclear force is the force which governs he degree to which protons and neutrons “stick together” in atomic nuclei. If this force was weaker that it is, protons and neutrons would not stick together. In that case only one element would exist in the universe – hydrogen (the hydrogen atom has only one proton and no neutrons in its nuclei). If this force were too strong, however, protons and neutrons would have such an affinity for each other that not one would remain alone. In such a universe, there would be no hydrogen – only heavy elements. And life chemistry is impossible without hydrogen.
How delicate is the balance for the strong nuclear force? If it were just 2% weaker, or .3% stronger than it actually is, life would be impossible – and not just our form of life. We are talking about any form of life, at any time, anywhere in the universe.
There is also the weak nuclear force – the force that, among other things, governs the rate of radioactive decay. If this force were much stronger than it is, all matter in the universe would quickly be converted into “heavy” elements. On the other hand, if it were much weaker, then all matter in the universe would remain in the form of just the lightest elements. To have the elements that are essential for life chemistry – carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, for example – these forces must be delicately balanced.
The strength of gravity is responsible for determining how hot the nuclear furnaces in the cores of stars will burn. If the force of gravity were any stronger, then stars would be so hot tht they would burn up too quickly and too erratically for life to form. In addition, a planet that is capable of sustaining life (such as earth) must be supported by a start that is stable, and long burning. On the other hand, if the gravitational force weaker than it is, stars would never become hot enough to ignite nuclear fusion.*
3. The Right Nucleons
The universe is also fine tuned to the extent that there is just enough nucleons (protons and neutrons) to form the elements essential for life. After the “big bang”, all of the galaxies and stars that make up the universe today were form from left over nucleons from this initial singularity. Turns out that if the initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons were any smaller, there would not be enough matter for galaxies, stars and the heavy elements to form. If the excess were any greater, galaxies would form, but they would condense to the point that none of them would fragment to form stars and planets.*
4. The Right Electrons
Not must the universe have just the right number of nucleons – a precise number of electrons must also exist. Unless the number of electrons is equivalent to the number of protons to an accuracy of one part in 10(37) or better, electromagnetic forces in the universe would have so overcome gravitational forces that galaxies, stars, and planets never would have formed. *
Fine Tuned Combination of Settings for Life
From galaxies and stars, down to atoms and subatomic particles, the very structure of our universe is determined by these numbers:
* Speed of Light: c=299,792,458 m s-1
* Gravitational Constant: G=6.673 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
* Planck’s Constant: 1.05457148 x 10-34 m2 kg s-2
* Planck Mass-Energy: 1.2209 x 1022 MeV
* Mass of Electron, Proton, Neutron: 0.511; 938.3; 939.6 MeV
* Mass of Up, Down, Strange Quark: 2.4; 4.8; 104 MeV (Approx.)
* Ratio of Electron to Proton Mass: (1836.15)-1
* Gravitational Coupling Constant: 5.9 x 10-39
* Cosmological Constant: (2.3 x 10-3 eV)
* Hubble Constant: 71 km/s/Mpc (today)
* Higgs Vacuum Expectation Value: 246.2 GeV
Scientists have come to the shocking realization that each of these numbers have been carefully dialed to an astonishingly precise value – a value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life-permitting range. If any one of these numbers were altered by even a hair’s breadth, no physical, interactive life of any kind could exist anywhere. There would be no stars,no planets, no chemistry, and no life. (Source: Reasonable Faith,org)
Cosmological Constants Perfectly Tuned for Life
According to Tim Keller in his book “The Reason for God”, it’s as if God had rolled a “Cosmic Welcome Mat” for the earth to begin and prosper. According to Francis Collins, a well-respected scientist who led work to map the human genome, there are a set of cosmological constants that are set to exactly the right value to allow complex life to form in the universe.
If ANY of these values had been off by a tiny margin, no life could have developed at all in the universe! Matter would not have coalesced, and there would have been no galaxies, no stars, no planets, and no people.
The following numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.
|Ratio of Electrons:Protons||1:1037|
|Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity||1:1040|
|Expansion Rate of Universe||1:1055|
|Mass Density of Universe1||1:1059|
|These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.|
Fine tuning appears to have happened not only at a cosmological level, but also within our solar system, and even within the early system we live in. Watch a Video on the “Fine-tuning of the Universe”, how our universe and its law are fine tuned to support life (6.26 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpIiIaC4kRA
What does the Bible have to say about creation?
- Romans 1:20 “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
Other amazing aspects of the earth, and of the human creature (and other life forms, for that matter), testify to a “master engineer” or designer of all life. The amazing properties of water, for example. And the complexity of the human brain, and the design of the human eye, to name a few examples.
A Presentation on the Fine Tuning of the Universe
The Fine-tuning of the Earth
The Earth is perfectly sized to sustain complex life. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.4
The Amazing Properties of Water
Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:
- It has a wide margin between its boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment offluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.
- Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.
- Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.
- Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.
- Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
- Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.
Which is the Most Reasonable Explanation?
Option 1: Its All a Product of Blind Chance
Is is “possible” that the fine tuning of the universe, the solar system, and our planet are all the product of blind evolutionary chance processes, but the probability of this being true is beyond belief.
According to Dr. Hugh Ross, noted astrophysicist: “To place one’s confidence in neo-Darwinist cosmology (ie., blind chance) and the unknowable existence of a virtually infinite number of universes is to commit a form of the gambler’s fallacy”. Not a reasonable option.
Option 2: We Just Happen to Be Living in the Right Universe of a Multiverse
This explanation requires that we have a vast number of universes (a multiverse), and that odds are,a life-permitting universe will exist among this myriad of universes. Now, it is true that a number of scientists postulate the existence of a “multiverse”, based on assumptions and mathematical theory. The problem is, there is no scientific evidence for the existence of this multiverse – nor can there be. It cannot physically be detected, observed, measured, or proved.
Furthermore, small patches of order are far more probable than big ones. So the most probable, observable universe would be a small one, inhabited by a single, simple observer (Boltzmann brain). But what we actually observe is the very thing we should least expect: a vast, spectacularly complex, highly ordered universe, inhabited by billions of other observers. So even if the multiverse existed (which is a moot point), it wouldn’t do anything to explain the fine-tuning. Also not the best explanation. (Source: Reasonable Faith,org)
Option 3: The Universe is Designed for Life by an All Powerful Designer
Given that chance as a reasonable explanation is unsatisfactory to say the least, and that the concept that a multiverse exists, and we just “happen” to be living in the right one, is without any tangible proof, the only explanation that makes sense – and is the most reasonable – is that the universe is as it is because it was designed that way by an all powerful Creator.
And this is precisely what the Bible declares:
“THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD;
THE FIRMAMENT PROCLAIMS HIS HANDIWORK. DAY AFTER DAY THEY
POUR FORTH SPEECH; NIGHT AFTER NIGHT THEY
REVEAL KNOWLEDGE.” – Psalm 19:1-2
The Creator speaks to us not only through His written Word, the Bible, but also through the amazing reality of His creation. Every time we gaze at the stars, wonder at a flower, or marvel at a beautiful bird in flight, the God of this universe is speaking to us – wanting us to know Him.
Do you know the Creator, the Lord of the universe? If you do, then you have everything to look forward to – in this life, and in the life to come. You were made for a purpose, and receiving the Lord into your heart and walking daily with Him will help you come to realize His purpose in your life and fulfill it. If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, you can! He has reached down to our time-space reality and become one of us, so we could understand who He is, and become one with Him. We had all gone astray, but He “so loved us that He sent His one any only Son”. He came in the form of Jesus, lived among us, and showed us the way back to our Maker.
Our Creator does’t want sacrifices, or good works. He wants you. A relationship with you – to come and live in your heart. To know Him, and share your life with Him. Don’t put it off any longer. Invite JESUS in! Steps to Peace with God ==> http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp
- Dr. William Lane Craig – Video
- Dr. Hugh Ross, “The Creator and the Cosmos”
- Additional study material to read: A review on “Darwin’s Black Box”, by Michael Behe – http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/darwinbx.html. Also read the book!
- *Reasonable Faith.org: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-fine-tuning-argument#ixzz3OYw8tKro)
- God and Science: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designun.html