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Cosmic fine-tuning

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Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

Cosmic fine-tuning is the evidence that every little aspect of life is perfectly placed in order to sustain life. If altered even by the slightest amount, life would not be able to exist. How could something so specific have happened by chance? There are multitudes of examples of things so finely tuned, such that if even a single element were different, life could not exist.

Mathematical numbers underpin the fabric of our universe - not just atoms, but galaxies, stars and people. The properties of atoms - their sizes and masses, how many different kinds there are, and the forces linking them together - determine the chemistry of our everyday world. The very existence of atoms depends on forces and particles deep inside them. The objects that astronomers study - planets, stars, and galaxies - are controlled by the force of gravity. And everything takes place in the arena of an expanding universe, whose properties were imprinted into it at the time of the initial Big Bang.[1]

To take one example, the number 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, is the measurement of the strength of the electrical forces which bond atoms together divided by the force of gravity between them. If this number were smaller by merely a few zeroes there would be a universe and creatures vastly smaller in size, and no time for biological evolution to even take place.[2] The exquisite mathematical fine-tuning of this kind has impressed upon physicists, cosmologists and astrophysicist the seemingly impossibility of the universe to be hospitable for human existence by pure chance, even within a speculative multiverse ensemble. (See: Intelligent Design)

The argument for the existence of God from the fine-tuning of the universe states:

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance or design.
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
  3. Therefore, it is due to design.[3]

Gravity

Gravity is at the perfect strength to support life; if changed it would cause living things to be unable to survive on earth.

If the strength of gravity were weakened or strengthened by any small amount, life would cease to exist. With weaker gravity, things would fly apart. We also would not be able to stand on the planet and would all be floating around. Rain would not be able to fall and the gases on the planet would fly into space.

Stronger gravity would affect the size of living creatures. All living things were created the way they are to withstand the force of gravity. If gravity were stronger by even the tiniest bit, then no living thing would be able to stand. The balance of everything would be off. If gravity were stronger, the amount of atoms necessary to form a planet would be considerably less because gravity would overpower the electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces. Planets would in turn be smaller and the orbits would be completely different, changing the balance of the entire universe. Stars would be significantly smaller as well, meaning that they could potentially burn out sooner; they would emit more heat, and the sun would have burned out long before organic evolution finished. The strength of gravity is very essential to life.[4]

Carbon

Many elements on the earth are abundant due to their light mass. Some of the elements are: hydrogen, helium, and lithium. Carbon, however, is a heavier element, which means it's not as abundant. The existence of carbon depends on the balance of strong and weak forces. If the forces were raised or lowered by even 1%, carbon would not exist in the universe. Carbon is very important and crucial for life and without it we would cease to exist. [5]

Proton-to-Electron Mass Ratio

diagram of proton-to-electron mass ratio

A neutron's mass is heavier than an electrons and proton's mass combined. Not by much, but enough to really make a difference. If the mass of the neutrons were higher or lower by even the smallest percent, the atom as we know it would not function. A higher mass would mean that the element could not decay without the input of energy. A lower mass would mean protons could decay, and heavy atoms would not be able to form.


Sun and Moon

The sun is the perfect distance from the Earth to keep us warm, without doing extreme damage to our planet. If the sun were closer to the earth by a few million miles, the planet's glaciers would melt. This would decrease the surface area covered by ice and increase the area covered by water. Both of these effects would cause the earth to absorb more heat from the sun instead of reflecting it.[6] Likewise, if the sun were any further away, the planet would freeze and become inhabitable. The same idea applies to the moon. If the moon were closer to the earth, or any bigger, it would pull the tides far up along the earth, ruining fields and causing the oceans to take up more than 90% of the Earth.

Conditions of the Earth

The Earth has a perfect rotation going, rotating every 24 hours. This keeps the earth evenly heated and gives us night and day so that we can rest. If it turned faster we would all freeze and if it turned slower we would burn to death. The conditions are just right. Our Earth's atmosphere helps keep us safe by filtering out the harmful ultra violet rays and burning up meteors before they can reach us. If the atmosphere was thin, then these things would not be possible. Oxygen makes up 21% of the air that we breathe. With a smaller amount we could not breathe and with a larger amount things would catch fire constantly and metals would rust easily. The water is also very important. We need it to live and it is only available on earth. There is a perfect ratio, giving us both land and water. The water keeps the earth, plants, animals, and us alive.[7]

Famous Scientists' thoughts

Isaac Newton
Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word 'miraculous' without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word. -George Ellis[8]
I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science. -Wernher von Braun[8]
As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency - or, rather, Agency - must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit? -George Greenstein[8]
Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance. -Isaac Newton

Video

All about cosmic fine tuning.

References

  1. Rees, Martin, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe, (Basic Books, 2000). First American edition, page 1.
  2. Rees, Martin, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe, (Basic Books, 2000). First American edition, page 2.
  3. Bruce L. Gordon and William A. Dembski, The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2011), page 909
  4. Couchman, David. The strength of the force of Gravity as an example of cosmic fine tuning God: new evidence. Accessed January 11, 2015.
  5. Borwein, Jonathan. When science and philosophy collide in a 'fine-tuned' universe phys.org. Accessed January 11, 2016.
  6. Nevins, Stuart (1974). "Planet Earth: Plan or Accident?". Institute for Creation Research. http://www.icr.org/article/planet-earth-plan-or-accident/. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  7. Perloff, James. Tornado in a junkyard. Book. Publication July 1, 1999.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Deem, Rich. Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe Accessed on June 17, 2017.