Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

An amazing array of scientists are bewildered by the design of the universe and admit a possibility of a designer.

According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so "finely-tuned," and so many "coincidences" have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.

In fact, this "fine-tuning" is so pronounced, and the "coincidences" are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind.

Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the "fine-tuning" and conclude that the universe is "too contrived" to be a chance event.

In a BBC science documentary, "The Anthropic Principle," some of the greatest scientific minds of our day describe the recent findings which compel this conclusion.

Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories:

If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature -- like the charge on the electron -- then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.

Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.

Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University:

"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life -- almost contrived -- you might say a 'put-up job'."

According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called "The Big Bang." At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.

When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the "blast-furnaces" of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous "fortunate" one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful "adjustments" had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.

Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.

Adds Dr. David D. Deutch:

If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE OF FINE-TUNING

Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment's most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning.

The August '97 issue of "Science" (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled "Science and God: A Warming Trend?" Here is an excerpt:

The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life -- such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars -- also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.

In his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time", Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world's most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as "remarkable."

"The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life". "For example," Hawking writes, "if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty."

Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of "a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)" (ibid. p. 125). Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of "Genesis and the Big Bang" and "The Science of Life" was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:

1) Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in high energy physics (a field of science that deals with the very early universe), writing in the journal "Scientific American", reflects on

how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.

Although Weinberg is a self-described agnostic, he cannot but be astounded by the extent of the fine-tuning. He goes on to describe how a beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. But this is not the end of Professor Weinberg's wonder at our well-tuned universe. He continues:

One constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning -- The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.

This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000,

but instead:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,

there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:

the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

2) Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:

The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.

3) Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding,

namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)

Penrose continues,

Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe -- and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure -- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.

Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.

It is appropriate to complete this section on "fine tuning" with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:

To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, "How could it have ever been otherwise?"

See the full presentation of this and other themes on the 2001 Principle Website.
See more science quotes.

by Mordechai Steinman with Dr. Gerald Schroeder

4 Comments:

At 1/11/2006 04:49:18 AM, Roger W Hancock said...

The Court’s Ignorance

In banning Intelligent Design the courts show their ignorance in law and science.
The U.S. Constitution is misquoted claiming "Separation of Church and State." The 1987 Supreme Court ruling banning the balance between creationism and evolution usurped the court's authority by evoking the nonexistent phrase.
Science began with the premise that all was created by God and that man had only to discover the principles God set in motion. Isaac Newton held the premise of God's providential role in nature. Science is built upon belief in God. Modern Science has built an agenda, attempting to dispel God as a consideration. Science without God has more questions requiring a far greater stretch of one's imagination.
Evolution as a theory is not a fact. If Intelligent Design cannot be taught in our schools because it is not "scientific fact" then the schools also cannot teach evolution, for evolution is not "scientific fact." Were evolution a fact there would be no discussion. Evolutionists hold to their religious beliefs of atheistic evolutionary theory. The court has upheld one religious belief to suppress another.

- Roger W Hancock (c) January 09, 2006 www.PoetPatriot.com

 
At 1/11/2006 09:00:16 AM, island said...

Fine tuning and the anthropic principle are fine well and good, but this is not evidence for a supernatural force, just because there is evidence for purpose in nature. That requires direct proof. Got any?

 
At 1/12/2006 05:50:04 AM, ScienceFindsGod said...

My arguments for God’s existence are three-fold.

The hard facts emerge in our immediate experience are these: (1) we live in a world of intelligent systems with the primary embodiment of this intelligence in the laws of nature; (2) we are rational, conscious beings; (3) things exist and none of these things can explain how they came to exist without reference to a pre-existing cause. These three facts led to three conclusions:

1) The intelligence that’s either embedded, such as an electron, or active, such as an organism, can only be explained by reference to the existence and immediate activity of infinite Intelligence. Inert matter cannot produce an intelligent system given even infinite time.

2) Minds can only come from an infinite Mind. Consciousness can only arise from an eternal Consciousness. It’s simply incoherent to suppose that matter, blind, mindless matter, could ever produce consciousness or thinking.

3) Absolute nothingness cannot produce something given endless time; in fact, there can be no time in absolute nothingness. Since the something that exists in the world does not contain within itself an explanation for its own existence, it can only be explained in terms of a Being that explains both its own existence and that of everything else.

 
At 2/05/2006 08:46:44 AM, Roger W Hancock said...

Some say a theory is based upon repeated and proven phenomena. Evolution uses convenient examples to exclude others. Take just one instance, the Bomb Beetle. The bomb beetle when threatened will turn to face away from the threat to pass a gas that is then ignited by a spark created by the rubbing of its hind legs. Evolution claims the evolving of nothing to the complex beings found on earth. What possible stages could be created through natural evolution that could result with the igniting of a gas? That result could only be achieved by a predetermined result, thus, intelligent design. The legs that create the spark had to be developed to enable the ignition, but since there was no need initially to make the spark, what would drive the natural selection to continue to develop to an unknowing end of spark ignition? Then there is the development of the explosive gas to be available at any moment of perceived threat. Two separate processes that had to ‘evolve’ without the benefit of the other. Then there are the other many processes that allowed its life.
Some could still argue in stages of coincidence the existence of the bomb beetle, but that would take a “leap of faith”. If all life on earth had evolved through natural coincidental evolving of the complex systems to create all life on earth then where are the failed examples of evolution? Without intelligence there should surely be some evidence of failure.
-Roger W Hancock, www.PoetPatriot.com

 

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