We are alive and we continue to live because our universe is delicately balanced to allow it. The fine-tuning of the universe provides a very compelling case for the existence of God. The argument for God from the fine-tuning of the universe has multiple layers – both from the fine-tuning of any possible life in the universe and also from the fine-tuning of the universe to allow for intelligent life.
First, a bit more background. Contrary to what people hear in the media, in school or at the water cooler, scientists do not know how life began on Earth. There are vast numbers of theories, ranging from space aliens implanting simple life forms that evolved, to life originating on the backs of crystals. All of these, however, are speculative at best. The general answer you will hear from those in favor of the theory of evolution is vague and speculative.
Is life really the result of matter plus time plus chance? Ironically, modern science draws for us a completely different picture. If life were the result of mere chance, what we should expect to see through scientific inquiry are systems without any type of engineering, without any hint of intention and without any parts interwoven with other systems. We should not see the design. In other words, if we rolled a thousand die at the same time, we would expect certain results: we would expect that all the sides would be represented fairly equally, that the resting locations of the die would be randomly scattered and that the resulting sides would not be grouped based on their kind. In other words, the ones would not be expected to be all next to one another, and the twos next to the twos, and so on. This would be the truly random expectation based on chance. This, however, is not what we see in natural systems through scientific inquiry. Biological, chemical and cosmological systems appear to be complex, specified and interwoven.
What Do Scientists Think of the Fine-Tuning of the Universe?
As scientists study our universe, one common theme appears to repeat itself: the universe appears to be too perfectly woven together to be the byproduct of an accident. It looks like a conspiracy. Patrick Glynn, associate director of George Washington University Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, put it like this,
“All seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life.”
Astronomer Fred Hoyle, who had his atheism shaken by this complexity and apparent design in the universe, agrees:
“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”– Astronomer Fred Hoyle
Many other prominent thinkers concur:
“Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science it will bring you closer to God.”– James Tour, nanoscientist
“Is it pure coincidence that the laws of nature are such that life is possible? Might this not be an important clue to the nature and destiny of humanity?”– Alister McGrath, molecular biophysicist from Oxford
“It is quite easy to understand why so many scientists have changed their minds in the past thirty years, agreeing that the universe cannot reasonably be explained as a cosmic accident.”– Walter Bradley, Ph.D., engineering science, material science
“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. I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.“– Paul Davies, former professor of theoretical physics
“I do not believe that any scientists who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside stars.“– Sir Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.“– Sir Isaac Newton, astronomer
“If ours is the only universe – and there is no scientific data proving any others exist – then the fine tuning is ‘genuine evidence’ . . . that God is real.“– John Leslie, Oxford-educated author
“A universe aiming at the production of man implies a mind directing it. Though man is not at the physical center of the universe, he appears to be at the center of its purpose.”– Robert Augros and George Stranciu, authors of The New Story of Science.
In trying to understand the balanced system we know to be our universe, we look at the facts that surround its existence. The evidence is undeniable – we are special because we exist, despite all the incredible odds against our existence. Can we rightfully and logically employ mere chance to account for our existence in light of the astronomical odds against it?
Manifesto of the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Life
Scientists in increasing numbers are referring to the vast amounts of evidence when speaking about the universe being an intended entity. What does this evidence look like? The laws of entropy and conservation are indications that the universe must have had a cause greater than itself, requiring it to transcend the physical laws of nature. The physical, chemical and biological world that we know tells us a great deal about the odds that were needed to be overcome in order for life to be possible and sustainable. In other words, the probability for our existence is so small that by that very reality we defy the explanations of time plus matter plus chance.
Scientific exploration identifies the set of conditions under which life can exist. Although this itemization is ever-expanding and not final by any means, the mere consideration of these conditions makes it difficult to imagine the universe being the result of chance.
We must bear in mind that we are dealing with the same set of rules throughout the universe. Research has shown that virtually the same set of rules in chemistry and physics that apply on Earth must also apply everywhere else in the universe. These virtually unchanging laws across the entire universe are the measuring stick for comparing habitable conditions on Earth with those in other parts of the universe.
The list of fine-tuning factors is so long, it required splitting them up into multiple pages. The list of general fine-tuning for life in the universe is on one page, while fine-tuning factors of intelligent physical life is on another.
- Comprehensive List of Factors of Fine-Tuning for Life in the Universe
- Comprehensive List of Factors of Fine-Tuning Factors for Intelligent Physical Life
An large debt of gratitude to astronomer Hugh Ross, for compiling these extensive lists and references. I strongly recommend you get his book, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, in which he discusses these topics at great length. Also, if you’re so obliged, please consider supporting the ministry he heads up at reasons.org.