The Fine-Tuning of the Universe and the Existence of God

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.-Romans 1:20

Over the last few decades, scientists have been perplexed by complex order of the universe from the result of the Big Bang. The uniqueness of the galaxy to be life permitting is incredibly improbable that it had occurred by chance alone. Steven Hawking explains how extremely precise life permitting conditions of our universe are:

“A bottom-up approach to cosmology either requires one to postulate an initial state of the Universe that is carefully fine tuned — as if prescribed by an outside agency — or it requires one to invoke the notion of eternal inflation, a mighty speculative notion to the generation of many different Universes, which prevents one from predicting what a typical observer would see.”

Initial conditions that resulted from the Big Bang had to fall in perfect alignment in order for the universe to be life permitting. The universe is so finely tuned with such a precision that it literally defies human comprehension. I will illustrate a few examples of the fine tuning of the universe. One example is the size of the galaxy. If the galaxy was too large by .01, the infusion of gas and stars would disturb sun’s orbit and ignite deadly galactic eruptions. If the galaxy were too small, the infusion of gas would be insufficient to sustain star formation long enough for life to begin to form. Another example the atmospheric pressure. If the pressure was smaller, the liquid water would evaporate too easily and condense too infrequently to allow life permitting conditions. If the atmospheric pressure was greater, then there would be inadequate amount of liquid water evaporation to support life. There would also be insufficient sunlight would reach Earth’s surface and insufficient UV radiation would reach Earth’s surface. Hugh Ross lists 68 other examples of the fine tuning of the universe to be life permitting. He calculates the probability of the combined life permitting conditions occurring successful to 10^-99. P.C.W. Davies also calculated that the odds against the star formation of the universe allowing life permitting conditions is one followed by a thousand billion billion zeroes, at least. There can be no physical or naturalistic reason as to how the universe has such delicate value properties. As Paul Davies, a former secular naturalist concluded, “Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact.”

So what is the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe? Thus we come to the teleological argument. It is formed in a deductive argument as follows:

(1). The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

(2). The fine-tuning is not a product of physical necessity or chance.

(3). Therefore, the fine-tuning is a result of design.

The first option is cannot explain the cosmic coincidences because there are no physical reasons for the necessity of fine-tuning. P.C.W Davies comments on the theory of necessity for cosmic coincidences:

Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn’t follow that the physical universe itself is unique… the laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions… there is nothing in present ideas about ‘laws of initial conditions’ remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it… it seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise.

However, it has several problems. No evidence for to support the claim the universe couldn’t have been different. Things like M-theroy and String Theory (String theory is a set of attempts to model the four known fundamental interactions—gravitation, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force—together in one theory) cannot account for physical necessity:

 “even when we understand the ultimate theory, it won’t tell us much about how the universe began. It cannot predict the dimensions of space time, the gauge group, or other parameters of the low energy effective theory. . . . It won’t determine how this energy is divided between conventional matter, and a cosmological constant, or quintessence. . . . So to come back to the question. . . Does string theory predict the state of the universe? The answer is that it does not. It allows a vast landscape of possible universes, in which we occupy an anthropically permitted location.”

The second alternative is the fine-tuning is a result from chance. Again, this alternative is problematic because the odds are so fantastically improbable. Secular naturalists have advocated for the theory of World Ensemble hypothesis which postulates that there are several universes. Because there are several different universes that half life permitting conditions, we should not be surprised that our own universe has the same conditions as well. This too however, has some deep flaws. For one thing, there is no evidence to even show the World Ensemble or other multi-verses exist. P.C.W Davies explains several problems of testing the multi-verse theory using science:

For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.

Another problem is that even if the multi-verse theory were true, we would view a completely different universe. Alex Velkin explains that “the number of mathematical structures increases with increasing complexity, suggesting that ‘typical’ structures should be horrendously large and cumbersome. This seems to be in conflict with the beauty and simplicity of the theories describing our world.”8 Roger Penrose calculated that it is more probable that the solar system was formed by random collision of particles than a universe that was finely tuned and life permitting.

The cosmic coincidences in the universe cannot be brushed off by secular naturalists as merely a coincidence, although, this has not stopped philosophers or scientist to suggest this. In explaining the isotropic qualities of the universe, Steven Hawking for example, has implied “…the isotropy of the Universe is a consequence of our existence.” John Barrow and Frank Tipler elaborate more in their extensive work the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. They advocate for The Anthropic Principle or more specifically, the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP). Here is example of Barrow and tipler applying the WAP to biological fine-tuning for our existence:

We should emphasize once again that the enormous improbability of the evolution of intelligent life in general and Homo sapiens in particular does not mean we should be amazed we exist at all. This would make as much sense as Elizabeth II being amazed she is Queen of England. Even though the probability of a given Briton being monarch is about 10-8, someone must be. Only if there is a monarch is it possible for the monarch to calculate the improbability of her particular existence. Similarly, only if an intelligent species does evolve is it possible for its members to ask how probable it is for an intelligent species to evolve. Both are examples of WAP self-selection in action.

Essentially, we should not be surprised by our own existence because we existed. For if for some reason, the universe did not have the fine-tuning qualities it has, then we would not be alive to notice. The universe is large enough to where fine-tuning should not surprise us (Barrow and Tipler both are assuming the World Ensemble hypothesis which is a problematic theory as stated previously). But I think both Barrow and Tipler miss the point. Though we should not be surprised that we do not observe we are not alive, nonetheless, it is equally true that one should be surprised that we observe that we are alive. It begs the question of what is the explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe! To give an example, it would be as if you were sentenced to death and faced 100 well trained marksmen firing from point blank range. Then imagine all the marksmen missing you and you surviving. The dismal chances of you surviving would be a dubious proposition at best. If you did survive, it would be unlikely for one to assume that this was sheer luck. Undoubtedly, no one would assume it was by accident that he or she survived. In that situation one should assume that this was on purpose and that their survival from execution was by design.

Another consideration is the universe came into being out of nothing or ex-nihilo. It too demands an explanation. Given the back knowledge of the cosmological argument, a theist can simply compute the designer as the explanation given since that is the only explanation we are left with given the evidence. However, one could also point out as some secular naturalists have, “who designed the designer?” Ultimately, this would lead to infinite regress of explanations. Also by definition, God is uncaused. The uncaused cause cannot have a cause. Otherwise, one destroys the ability to explain anything because it would warrant an infinite amount of explanations. Given that necessity or chance are not viable explanations, the alternative of design makes more sense than any other naturalistic explanations or hypothesizes given our background knowledge of the cosmological argument. The creation of universe and its fine-tuning demonstrates the handiwork of the creator.


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