Anthony Flew ends chapter six of his book by stating, “So multiverse or not, we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.” To Dr. Flew, the fine-tuning of the laws of nature was one of the main reasons he switched from being an atheist to believing that there is a God. From the moment the universe began, physical laws and the structure of the universe have been perfectly set up for life to exist now on earth. There are too many “coincidences” for this to have happened by accident; the only explanation is that “a super-intellect monkeyed with physics.”
The more we study the universe, the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system, and our planet from plate tectonics all the way down to the building blocks of life, the more it appears as if someone or something designed and perfectly arranged everything for life to exist on Earth. But there is more to this design: It also appears that the universe and our place in it has also been set up perfectly to do science! It is a reasonable conclusion from all this fine-tuning that God designed the whole thing.
An example of this fine tuning is found in the most basic of fundamental forces and constants. If the ratio of the nuclear strong force compared to the electromagnetic force had been different by one part in 1016, no stars could have formed. The ratio of the electromagnetic force constant compared to the gravitational force constant must not vary more than 1 part in 1040while the energy density of empty space could not vary by more than one part in 1054for life to have been possible in the universe. When the universe was 10-43seconds old, the total mass density of the universe could not have varied by 1 part in 1060. This means that if the entire mass of the universe had been heavier by about the mass of 1 dime, the universe “would have expanded too slowly, resulting in unstable orbits and too much radiation.”Had the mass of the universe been 1 dime lighter, it would have expanded too quickly for any stars like our sun to form.
The fine tuning doesn’t end with the laws and physical constants! Once the dials for our universal laws are perfectly set, there are still many conditions that must be met perfectly for a planet like earth to form where advanced life can exist. These include a just right galaxy, a just right placement in the galaxy, a just right solar system, and a just right sun – to name only a few of the over 90 restrictions required for life to exist on a planet in our universe. In fact, there are so many parameters that have to be perfect for advanced life to exist that physicist Hugh Ross has calculated that the chance of even one planet like ours existing in our universeis less than 1 in 10144. This would be equivalent to winning the Powerball lottery jackpot 18 times in row, purchasing just one ticket each time. These parameters are in additionto the fine-tuning necessary for our universe to even exist in the first place with life permitting laws and constants!
One escape from this fine-tuning for the naturalist is Multiverse Theory. This can be stated one of two ways. Either there is some kind of universe generator that controls the parameters that each universe can have, thus restricting the values of the constants to life-permitting ones, or there are infinite universes – meaning that every possible universe exists, and we happen to be in one that permits life. Both of these naturalistic solutions have problems. The “restricted universe hypothesis” still requires that the universe generator be fine-tuned, while the “infinite number of universes hypothesis” explains too much. In fact, if every possible universe exists, then there exists a universe where anything you can imagine is possible and everything is just a product of chance; including multiverse theories!
Most scientists agree that there is overwhelming scientific evidence for the design of the universe and this design’s benefit for life and humans. A prominent atheist reminds us that since the evidence for design is so prevalent, we must keep telling ourselves that the universe is not designed! The only debate now is over who or what does the designing! At this point, the Christian answer to this question (God) and the secular answer to this question (Multiverse) are pretty much equivalent in terms of “scientific” evidence. But the evidence doesn’t stop at habitability; we are also uniquely situated to observe the universe, which enables us to actually do science. It appears that the creator also wanted us to observe the creation.
“It turns out that the set of circumstances needed for a scientifically advanced civilization such as ours is actually narrower than those needed for our biological existence. In other words, there are other possible scenarios that would have allowed for intelligent observers (us), but would have been terribly unconducive to the practice of the natural sciences.”
In her book, Science and the Mind of the Maker, Melissa Cain Travis explains that “the harnessing of fire shaped the very course of human history, sending it on its scientific trajectory.”We need fire to do metallurgy, which in turn is necessary for almost all other technologies. Several cosmic and terrestrial conditions were necessary for fire to even be possible. If the electromagnetic force constant was slightly different, “either open wood fires would have been impossible, or rampant wood fires would have been a serious problem.”The oxygen level in our atmosphere is set at the precise level for respiration in complex life and to allow controllable fire; remarkable because the chemical process involved is vastly different for each case. Our atmospheric composition depends on our planet being rocky and having the right mass. Metallurgy also depends on the presence of accessible and plentiful iron and copper ores, which in turn require the existence of wood that could be used for the charcoal necessary to produce the high melting temperatures. The ability to have the proper technology to even do the activity of science results from an incredible number of fine-tuned circumstances.
There are multiple characteristics that allow us to observe and get to know the universe; two of these are the age of the universe and Earth’s atmosphere. If the universe were older, the rate of expansion would have caused a large section to have moved out of our view. If younger, the light emitting objects would all be too close together and would blind us from seeing more distant parts of the universe. There is only one brief period of time that allows for direct observation and measurement of the entire history of the universe and humanity happens to live in that time. In order to see out into the cosmos, we also need a clear atmosphere, but we need clouds (a hydrological cycle) for complex life to exist; Earth happens to have the best mixture of both. Our location, along with our atmosphere, allow us to observe as much of the universe as possible.
The optimization of cosmic darkness and of Earth’s location within the dark universe that sacrifices neither the material needs of human beings nor their capacity to gain knowledge about the universe reflects masterful engineering. It testifies of a supernatural, superintelligent, superpowerful, fully deliberate Creator.
Melissa Cain Travis asks the key question: “Why do so many factors harmonize in just the right way, and why does habitability for complex life correspond with such a high level of discoverability?”The reasonable conclusion is that a mind designed and created the universe, fine-tuning all the constants, laws, and conditions so that humans can not only exist on Earth, but can also observe and study the universe in which we live. No wonder God teaches that we should look at nature in order to learn about Him.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
Anthony Flew, There Is A God, page 121, HarperOne, 2007
quote attributed to Frederick Hoyle
Hugh Ross, The Creator and Cosmos, NavPress, 2001.
Melissa Cain Travis, Science and the Mind of the Maker, Harvest House Publishers, 2018, page 81
Ibid, page 82
Ibid, page 83
Hugh Ross, Why the Universe is the Way It Is, Reasons to Believe, 2008, page 92
Melissa Cain Travis, Science and the Mind of the Maker, Harvest House Publishers, 2018, page 97
Psalm 19: 1-2 ESV