The Fine-tuning of the Universe: Does this point to God?
  • Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
    • The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation… His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.
  • Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist
    • The laws of science… contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron… The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.
  • Sir Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist
    • A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.

Abstract
  • Extensive scientific evidence discovered in the last several decades indicate that the universe is not random in terms of its physical laws and physical constants.
  • The physical constants in particular appear to be very carefully fine-tuned (to very very high degrees of precision) to enable intelligent life to exist (as discussed below).
  • The fine-tuning of the universe has theistic implications and can rationally be considered as pointing to the existence of an Intelligent Designer who created and fine-tuned the universe.
  • The Christian God is such an Intelligent Designer.

What will it take?
  • Some of my Atheist friends say (in effect), "no matter what evidence you show me for the existence of God, I absolutely refuse to believe in a God."
    • And Jesus says, "yes, even if I sent a man back from the dead, you would not believe".
  • And some others say, "show me a miracle, and I will believe in God".
  • And some say, I wish to believe in God, please give me some reason to believe…

  • And so, for those whose minds are not completely closed on this topic ("those who have ears to hear and eyes to see"), God does provide evidence.
  • This post discusses one area of such evidence.

The workings of God The Christian God indicates that he works in at least three ways in the universe: (i) naturally, (ii) providentially, and (iii) miraculously.
  • Naturally: where God creates and maintains the regularity in the universe that we observe and categorize as "natural law".
  • Providentially: where God intervenes into the "natural" course of events, but in such a gentle manner that we are not able to say clearly that a "miracle" has happened. Some answers to prayer are of this kind, where we keep noticing "coincidences" that happen in correlation with prayer.
  • Miraculously: where God intervenes and over-rides "natural law"; where he steps in and causes something to happen, that would otherwise not have happened, given the "natural" course of events.

The signature of a Miracle So, what are the signatures of these kinds of events?
  • "Natural law" is associated with high-probability events (or families of events); in other words, events that keep happening the same way, and do the same thing again and again.
    • For instance, if I tried to run through a solid wall, and end up in a hospital, that would be evidence of "natural law". Or, if I tried to walk on water, and ended up drowning, that would also be evidence of "natural law". :)
  • "Miracles" on the other hand are associated with extremely-low-probability (specified) events. In other words, events that tend to be unique, that don’t arise naturally out of "natural law".
    • For instance, if I successfully walked through a solid wall, that would be a miracle. Or, if I successfully walked on top of water, that would be a miracle. These would both be very low-probability events, and that (the extreme low-probability of the specified event) is the signature of a miracle.
    • So, is it a miracle if I win the lottery? No, presuming a probability of one chance in 10 million. However, most of us would conclude that it was a miracle if I won the lottery five times in a row, particularly if this happened as a consequence of prayer.
    • And what would I view as extremely-low-probability? Anything that was less than one chance in 10^30 to 10^50. As you may know, in mathematics, such low probabilities are typically written off as being zero.
  • So, how would I recognize a miracle, if it happened right in front of my eyes?
    • By recognizing its extreme low-probability (based on calculations from natural law).
    • Of course most of us don’t sit around doing these calculations, but we could, in principle.
  • And, how would I be able to recognize a Fossilized Miracle (one that happened in the past)?
    • If I knew it happened… by recognizing its extreme low-probability (based on calculations from natural law).
    • And of course most of us don’t sit around doing these calculations, but we could, in principle.

An unexpected turn of events
  • It is interesting, that the more science learns about the universe and its physics, the more we are discovering incredible extremely-low-epistemic-probability "coincidences" in the laws and physical-constants of the universe, without which, life (and the specified-complexity that life depends upon) would be impossible …
  • As you may know, these coincidences are sometimes called "Anthropic Coincidences", and attempts to explain the reason for these coincidences are called "Anthropic Cosmological Principles".
  • To me, these Anthropic coincidences (and the need for them) are a very unexpected turn of events, as I consider an Atheistic Universe… On the other hand, if Christianity were true, and miracles have happened, these extremely-low-probability "coincidences" could very well be "fossil evidence" of such miracles.
  • The Anthropic Coincidences were one set of evidence that pointed me away from Atheism and towards an Intelligent Designer of the Universe (i.e., God).

The humor of God
  • An aside: you will find that any atheist who wishes to avoid the conclusion (that the coincidences point to the existence of an Intelligent Designer) will be forced into metaphysics, an area that he has been struggling to avoid.
  • (Metaphysics -- defined here as things unprovable by science; things not empirically demonstrable by science).
  • After all, a fundamental claim to superiority (by atheism) is that atheism is based on things that are empirically demonstrable, and that unlike weak-minded Theists who depend on faith, atheism does not depend on faith…
  • And if he tries to explain away the Anthropic Coincidences, the Atheist is forced into metaphysical faith (as opposed to his claimed "empirical knowledge"), in a manner that is completely analogous to what he claimed is the (non-empirical) weakness of Theism …
  • I think that this is a demonstration of the humor of God. :)

Necessary for Life to exist
  • I have compiled a few of the Anthropic coincidences here (below). The list is not exhaustive. There are more such coincidences in the scientific literature, that I have not mentioned here…
  • Note: the coincidences have been determined to be necessary for life (and the specified-complexity that life depends upon) to be possible.

The Christian God and his purposes
  • The Christian God indicates that one reason why he created the Universe, was for life to exist, and for humans to exist.
  • Our Universe is His "art project". That is why it is so incredibly beautiful.
  • Our Universe is His "scientific and engineering" creation. That is why it is so full of science and engineering, and we are learning this as we crawl in his footsteps via mathematics, physics, cosmology and molecular biology.
  • Earth is boot-camp for humans to come into relationship with him, and then for our experiences to provide opportunities for us to grow towards the beauty-of-character that will be a joy for eternity. The Bible refers to this as us "being conformed to the image of Christ".

Views from three scientists As I mentioned, I have compiled a few of the Anthropic coincidences here (below). But first, let's look at views from three scientists.
  • Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
    • The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation… His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.
  • Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist
    • The laws of science… contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron… The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.
  • Sir Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist
    • A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.

Early Calculations
  • Given the data available in 1979, Roger Penrose (a world-class mathematician) calculated the odds of our observed universe occurring by accident to be less than one in 10^(10^30). The calculation was based on thermodynamics and entropy considerations. Since 1979, additional Anthropic coincidences have been discovered, making random occurrence even more unlikely.
  • As you may know, in mathematics, probabilities of less than one part in 10^30 to 10^50 are typically written off as being zero. And 10^30 is 100000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, i.e., 1 followed by 30 zeros; 10^50 is 1 followed by 50 zeros.
  • Penrose's calculated probability was one part in 10^(10^30), which is 1 followed by 10^30 zeros. And 10^30 is itself 1 followed by 30 zeros. So, the probability works out to be one part in 10^(100000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000), i.e., 10 raised to the power of 100000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, or 1 followed by a thousand billion billion billion zeros (i.e., 1 followed by a nonillion zeros).
  • Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 … … … … … 00001
  • If I were to write this number out, as 0.0000 0000 …, with all of its zeros, we would need a computer hard-drive much larger than the size of our entire universe, just to hold all of the zeros that I would have to write out.
  • So, what does all this mean? It means that it is reasonable to conclude that our universe did not get here by accident. The epistemic-probability is far too low for the universe to have arisen by random chance. The evidence (observation of extremely-low epistemic-probability) points to an Intelligent Designer (God) having designed, created and fine-tuned the universe.
  • We will continue to see this theme, of extreme low-probabilities (epistemic-probabilities), as we look at some of the Anthropic Coincidences below.

A few of the Anthropic Coincidences (Fine-Tuning the Universe)
The Big-bang
  • The explosive-force of the big-bang had to be fine-tuned to match the strength of gravity to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000.
  • This is one part in 10^60. The number 10^60 = 1 followed by 60 zeros.
  • This precision is the same as the odds of a random shot (bullet from a gun) hitting a one-inch target from a distance of 20 billion light-years.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001

Density-of-matter in the Big-bang
  • In the big-bang, the density-of-matter in the universe after Planck time (fraction of a second after the big-bang) had to be matched to the critical-density to better than one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000.
  • This is one part in 10^50, which is 1 followed by 50 zeros.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001

The inflationary Big-bang
  • In the inflationary big-bang, the cosmological constant and a particular force need to be fine-tuned for galaxies and planets to form.
  • The net result is a situation with an epistemic-probability of one part in 10^81, which is 1 followed by 81 zeros.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 1

Lambda in the inflationary Big-bang
  • In the inflationary big-bang, bare-lambda and quantum-lambda (two components of the cosmological constant) had to be fine-tuned to cancel each other to better than one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, for galaxies and planets to form.
  • This is one part in 10^50, which is 1 followed by 50 zeros.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001

The Strong Force
  • The strong-force (which binds particles in atomic nuclei) had to be balanced with the weak-nuclear-force to about one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000.
  • This is one part in 10^60, which is 1 followed by 60 zeros.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001

Gravity
  • The force of gravity had to be tuned to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000, for stars capable of supporting-life to exist (based on balancing electromagnetic forces with gravitational forces).
  • This is one part in 10^40, which is 1 followed by 40 zeros.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00001

Electrons & Protons
  • The number of electrons had to be matched to the number of protons to one part in 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00, for formation of stars and planets.
  • This is one part in 10^37, which is 1 followed by 37 zeros.
  • Epistemic probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 01

Carbon Resonance
  • A nuclear resonance had to be created for formation of carbon (via alpha particle collision with Beryllium-8) and then tuned to close to a specific energy, to enable a brief window of opportunity for formation of carbon.
  • Without this, there would be negligible carbon in the universe.
  • Carbon is the only element designed to be capable of forming the long molecular-chains necessary for the complexity required by life (silicon for instance forms much shorter and less versatile chains that are not specified-complex enough).

Oxygen Resonance
  • A nuclear resonance for formation of oxygen had to be tuned to prevent complete cannibalization of carbon (via alpha-particle collision with carbon, resulting in oxygen).
  • If the oxygen-resonance were half a percent higher, there would be negligible carbon in the universe and on earth. Carbon is the only element designed to be capable of forming the long molecular-chains necessary for the complexity required by life.

Particle masses
  • Proton, neutron and electron masses had to be fine-tuned to enable life.
  • For instance, free neutrons decay to form protons. If the proton mass were slightly higher, the opposite would happen, resulting in a universe full of neutronium.
  • There would be no elements (no hydrogen, oxygen, carbon) and no way to create the molecular-complexity required for life.

Weak Nuclear Force
  • The weak-nuclear force had to be fine-tuned to enable life.
  • Slightly stronger, and no helium or heavier elements would form. And there would be no means to create the molecular-complexity required for life.
  • Slightly weaker, and no hydrogen would remain (to provide fuel for steady-burning stars needed as sources of energy for life).
  • Also, supernova explosions would not be able to disperse the medium-to-heavy elements created in stars.
  • Elements such as carbon (for molecular chains basic to life), iron (for hemoglobin), copper and other elements used in life-forms were originally created in stars, then dispersed by supernova explosions, to finally reach/coalesce into earth…

Dimensions
  • The number of dimensions in our universe had to be fine-tuned to enable life.
  • The topological, and physical laws of the universe need more than two spatial-dimensions, and less than five extended-dimensions for stability and the complexity required for life…
  • This requirement is met in our universe, with 3 extended spatial-dimensions and 1 temporal dimension.

Carbon chemistry
  • Lee Smolin (a world-class physicist and a leader in quantum gravity) estimates that if the physical constants of the universe were chosen randomly, the epistemic-probability of ending up with a world with carbon chemistry is less than one part in 10^220.
  • This epistemic-probability is one part in: 10000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 0.
  • Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 1

Cosmological Flatness
  • Lee Smolin (physicist) estimates the epistemic-probability for the "equivalent-temperature" of the universe being such as to enable cosmological flatness, to be one part in 10^32.
  • Epistemic Probability: 0.00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 01

Quantum Gravity & Cosmological Flatness
  • Looking at Quantum Gravity and what it would take to obtain Flat Euclidean 3D space upto cosmological scales (as observed in our universe) …
  • Calculating the epistemic probability of this occurring by random chance, using spin-networks from Roger Penrose, applied to quantum gravity by Lee Smolin and co-scientists. The number of predicted spin-network nodes in our universe would be at least 10^180. And allowing a 10% deviation from cosmological flatness, we end up with an epistemic-probability of less than one part in 10^(10^180).
  • This is one part in 10^(10^180), which is 10 followed by 10^180 zeros.
  • Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 … … … … … 00001
  • If I were to write this number out, as 0.0000 0000 …, with all of its zeros, we would need a computer hard-drive much larger than the size of our entire universe, just to hold all of the zeros that I would have to write out.

The big-bang (reprise)
  • The big-bang had to result in a universe with relatively low-entropy (a high degree of thermodynamic-order), which could then proceed to increase in entropy with time, thus enabling formation of galaxies, stars, planets and ultimately enabling life to function once it was created.
  • In 1989 Roger Penrose (a world-class mathematician) calculated the precision required to create our universe with the necessary thermodynamic-order and to send it on its way (to develop in a manner compatible with life). His calculated precision was one part in 10^(10^123).
  • This is one part in 10^(10^123), which is 10 followed by 10^123 zeros.
  • Epistemic Probability: 0.0000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 … … … … … 00001
  • If I were to write this number out, as 0.0000 0000 …, with all of its zeros, we would need a computer hard-drive much larger than the size of our entire universe, just to hold all of the zeros that I would have to write out.
  • So, what does all this mean? It means that it is reasonable to conclude that our universe did not get here by accident. The epistemic-probabilities are far too low for the universe to have arisen by random chance. The numerous observations of extremely-low epistemic-probabilities, point to an Intelligent Designer (God) having designed, created and fine-tuned the universe.

The list grows
  • The list (above) is by no means an exhaustive list of the Anthropic coincidences. There are many more such coincidences in the literature.
  • As I have mentioned, these Anthropic coincidences (and the need for them) are a very unexpected turn of events, as I consider an Atheistic Universe…
  • The Anthropic Coincidences were one set of evidence that pointed me away from Atheism and towards an Intelligent Designer of the Universe (i.e., God).
  • The "Anthropic coincidences" or "evidences of fine-tuning" are consistent with Christianity, and are in fact along the lines of what I would expect if the Christian God exists (based on our discussion of the three ways God works in the universe, "naturally", "providentially", and "miraculously".)

The Christian God and his purposes (Reprise)
  • As I have mentioned, the Christian God indicates that one reason why he created the Universe, was for life to exist, and for humans to exist.
  • Our Universe is His "art project"; that is why it is so incredibly beautiful. And our Universe is His "scientific and engineering" creation; that is why it is so full of science and engineering, and we are learning this as we crawl in his footsteps via mathematics, physics, cosmology and molecular biology.
  • Earth is boot-camp for humans to come into relationship with him, and then for our experiences to provide opportunities for us to grow towards the beauty-of-character that will be a joy for eternity. The Bible refers to this as us "being conformed to the image of Christ".

An Invitation
  • I invite you to seek the Christian God. He promises that if you seek him with sincerity, humility and perseverance, he will reveal himself to you.
  • I was given this invitation. I responded, and as I investigated the evidence, I gradually came to intellectual (and experiential) certainty of God's existence. I ended up committing my life to Christ (based on his death on the cross, for me), and I walk now in relationship with the God of the Universe.
  • I invite you to do the same.

The Essence of Christianity
  • All of us have fallen short of the beauty-of-character that God wants for his children. (Romans 3:23). Because of sin we are separated from God. (Romans 6:23)
  • God loves you so much that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins. If you commit your life to Christ based on this, you can be in relationship with God today, and in the life to come... (John 3:16)
  • God invites you to join his family. Will you open the door (of your heart) and invite Jesus in? (Revelations 3:20)
  • If you haven't already committed your life to Christ, and would like to do so, but need some help with this, please do not hesitate to ask.
  • Or if you are sincerely seeking the Christian God, and have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Further Reading
  • There are numerous books and papers that touch on this topic (of the Anthropic Coincidences). Some are quite technical, and somewhat difficult to plough through.
  • Here are two books that touch on this topic in somewhat simplified, easy-to-understand fashion.
  • God: The Evidence (The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World), by Patrick Glynn, copyright 1999; ISBN #0-7615-1964-5
  • Show me God (What the Message from Space is telling us about God), by Fred Heeren, copyright 2000; ISBN #1-885849-53-2

Wishing you the Peace and Love of Jesus Christ