The fine- tuning of the Universe.
The fine -tuning of the Universe is the next subject in the series called The Majesty and Mystery of lLfe.
In the first lecture on this topic we concluded that the origin of the Universe needed a cause outside time and space. Atheists and naturalists are therefore not happy for the theory of Big Bang since it implies that the Universe has a beginning. And everything that has a beginning needs a cause for its beginning. But there is a further factor they dislike even more: Modern Science has demonstrated that a great number of constants in nature must have exactly the size they have in order for our Universe to exist. Such constants are numerical quantities. If one regards Big Bang as an explosion, one should anticipate a highly, chaotic event that would cause chaos. However, our Universe is characterized by order, and not by being chaotic. Albert Einstein became so overwhelmed by this order of nature that he exclaimed: “The only thing that is incomprehensible about the Universe, is that it is comprehensible.” The order of nature transcends our comprehension.
There are four basic forces in nature:1. The strong and 2. the weak nuclear force, 3. the electro-magnetic force and 4. gravitation.
If the strong nuclear force were slightly stronger, then there would be no hydrogen, an element which is necessary for life. If it was slightly weaker, then hydrogen would be the only element that existed. If the weak nuclear force were slightly different, then there would not be enough helium to generate heavy elements in stars, or stars would burn out too quickly. Since the heavy elements in nature are produced in stars, heavy elements would not be formed if the weak nuclear force deviated the slightest from its present value.
If the electromagnetic force was increased or reduced slightly from its present value, atomic bonds could not be formed, and there would be no complex molecules and therefore no life. Gravitation is a force that causes any two bodies to be attracted to each other.
The magnetic field serves to deflect the solar wind with its charged particles, thereby preserving the Ozon layer of the earth. It is the very basis for having compasses for navigation.
At Big Bang two gases were formed, about 75 % Hydrogen and 25 % Helium. Our sun consists of this amount of these gases. Thus, hydrogen and helium are the two fundamental substances giving rise to all
the elements so systematic as to constitute The Periodic table. May this happen by Intelligent activity or by chance? Your choice!
The Periodic table.
Stars were formed by hydrogen and helium, and burned with high temperatures. The other elements in the periodic table were formed inside these stars. When the stars exploded, which is called a supernova, these elements were thrown into cosmos and led by gravitation to precipitate on planets, like our earth. The heavy elements on our earth are not formed here, they are formed in stars. As an example, the iron element in hemoglobin has come to Earth this way.
When sir Fred Hoyle, a famous English scientist, investigated how hydrogen and helium could fuse together to make Carbon, he found the reactions involved so improbable that he is an atheist said that a “superintellect” was needed to accomplish this! Hoyle´s calculations for the probability that Carbon could be synthesized at all forced him to use such a non-scientific expression. In parenthesis I may add that to mention the forbidden word “superintellect“probably was the reason that Hoyle never received the Nobel price.
We use the expression“carbon based life”, to emphasize that without carbon life as we know it is impossible. Therefore, the formation of carbon is crucial. And this formation depends on reactions in stars. Hydrogen and helium react to form lithium-5 and beryllium-8 which both are very unstable. Certain highly delicate and precise physical reactions made formation of carbon possible. When we look at the periodic table we do not see the result of one miracle, but a high number of miracles!
Today we know of more than 20 constants that have to be exactly what they are for our Universe to be life-friendly. Totally, there are about 200 constants of nature that can only deviate infinitesimal from their present value without catastrophic results.
I will not give a summary of all these factors. The force of gravity cannot deviate 10-40 from its present value without dramatic consequences. 1040 is the number one followed by 40 zeroes. 10-40 means to find one specified number of all these numbers. A deviation of this size would either cause so rapid expansion of the universe that it will turn into pieces, like a cosmic explosion- or the universe would implode as a violent compression and contraction to be a small pea with enormous mass density- what is called a singularity. In order to get an idea of what 10-40 is the physicist Hugh Ross has given us the following example: If we cover the continent of North America with coins, and we let each coin make a pile up to the moon, about 380.000 kilometers away, we would have a huge amount of coins. If we do the same for one billion more continents, we would have an unfathomable amount of coins. If we mark one of these coins differently, then 10-40 would be equivalent to finding this coin within fractions of a second. Then we have got a picture of what fine-tuning really is. The cosmological constant e.g. is of crucial importance for basic physical conditions of the Universe. This constant cannot deviate 1 part in 10120.
The most sensitive constant concerns the initial entropy of the Universe – the entropy at Big Bang. If one multiplies 10 billion with 10 billion 123 times, one will get a number consisting of 1 followed by huge amounts of zeroes. In order to have the correct entropy at the Big Bang one specific number among all these numbers had to be chosen. We simply are not able to understand this kind of exactness. We might get an idea if we imagine a square reaching from the earth to one of the stars, and we fill this square with needles, and mark one of them differently. The maker of the Universe had to pick this marked needle in order to have our Universe. If He had taken a different needle, the resulting Universe would have been different from ours, and may not have been life-friendly.
All people understand that this extreme degree of accuracy of several constants demands an explanation. Is it even thinkable that this fine-tuning may be due to randomness, or is intelligent design the very best explanation? Maybe we might assume that one single parameter might be compatible with chance, but not several constants. We strongly have akind of feeling that someone had to make the correct adjustments.
Naturalistic scientists who reject the idea of a creative God resort to multiverse to get rid of this conundrum. One of their theories assume that there are 10500 universes, and then at least one of these universes will be like ours. In fact, it is easier for naturalistic scientists to believe that there are 10500 universes that have come into being by random, than to believe in one Universe created by God. The number of atoms in our visible universe is 1080. The number 10500 transcends what we are able to catch and to understand. Personally, I find this proposal by naturalistic scientists as an expression of panic. They have for many decades now only been looking for naturalistic theories, since the presence of God is an impossibility for them. And they will probably continue their search with the same atheistic mindset.
The Noble laureate in physics Charles Townes stated:
“Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: It´s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren´t just the way they are, we couldn´t be here at all. The sun couldn´t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.”
We must say a few words regarding the laws of nature. They describe the phenomena that take place in nature and are also able to predict such phenomena. They tell us why nature is characterized by order. We may ask the question: What is the origin of these laws? This question is never asked by naturalists, and therefore never given an answer. They simply presume that the laws are part of nature. Science tell us that the temperature at Big Bang was some million degrees Celsius – so how an explosive event like that could cause laws of nature and order instead of chaos is only explained by creation. We also know that every law has a law-maker. Therefore, it seems natural and logical to assume that the laws of nature also have a Law maker.
The Nobel-Price laureate Arno Penzias made this statement: “Astronomy leads to a unique event, a Universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. The observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, a supernatural plan.”
Conclusion: The fine-tuning of the Universe seems to be best explained by Intelligent Design, and a Designer. This fine-tuning means that a number of constants in nature must have the exact quantity they have in order for our Universe to exist. Even the smallest deviation will not be tolerated.