Fine Tuning of the Universe

As I posted before that from the Origin of Universe, we can safely conclude that it has a cause that lies outside time and space. But what is that cause? Is it some other material cause? Or is there an Intelligent Designer, God, behind the creation of the Universe?

From ‘DNA as evidence for Intelligence behind the origin of life’, we conclude that Intelligence played a role in the origin of first life. Additional evidence in support of the argument that Intelligence played role in origin of life as well as in the origin of the Universe comes from Physics, from the Fine tuning of the Universe.

In recent years, scientists have discovered that the initial conditions of the Big Bang were delicately fine tuned or calibrated for the existence of intelligent life. What we know now is that life prohibiting universes are far more probable than life inhabiting universes.

This fine tuning is of two sorts. First, when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, they contain certain constants, such as the gravitational constant. The mathematical value of these constants is not determined by the laws of nature. Second, there are certain arbitrary quantities that are just part of the initial conditions of the universe. These constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values.

What could best explain this fine tuning? Can it be a physical necessity? This seems an inadequate explanation, as there is no reason why these constants and quantities must be quantified in the manner that they are. According to P. C. W. Davies

“Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn’t follow that the physical universe itself is unique; the laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions; there is nothing in present ideas about ‘laws of initial conditions’ remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it, it seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise.” [Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), p169]

What about chance? The problem with this alternative is that the odds just cannot be reasonably accepted. For example Physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 (1 followed by 100 zeros) would have prevented a life-permitting universe. The initial expansion of the big bang had to be fine tuned to a precision of one part in 1055. Just to give you an idea of what these numbers mean, let us consider a vastly smaller number compared to the numbers discussed. An illustration of such a number could be described in the following scenario: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles. Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick out the red dime are one in 1037. Even one part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. [Hugh Ross, The creator and the Cosmos, p115]

Now the constants and arbitrary qualities make up approximately 50 in number, not only do they all have to fall within a life permitting range but also have to work in relation to one another, for the existence of intelligent life. The eminent cosmologist Donald page has estimated that the probability of all the initial conditions coming within the life permitting range would be one part out of 1010 (123), a number the mind just can not even comprehend. Oxford physicist Roger Penrose concluded that if we jointly considered all the laws of nature that must be fined tuned, we would be unable to write down such an enormous number because the necessary digits would be greater than the number of elementary particles in the universe. [Roger Penrose, The emperor’s New Mind (new your Oxford. 1989), p149]

Many will question that the universe is really finely tuned at all. Is what we see not just the way it is? After all, if we look at any system or group of objects we see highly unlikely complexity. If I pick up the all the pieces from a set of scrabble and throw them on the floor then the resultant order and position of the pieces is very unlikely; if I throw them again the chances of getting that particular assemblage again is astronomically small. There has been no design input and pure chance can account for the assemblage of pieces. I decide to leave the pieces scattered on the floor and have a cup of coffee. Coming back five minutes later I find that the pieces are still on the floor but some of them are arranged in a sentence. The sentence reads: “Dad is very messy and should not leave scrabble pieces on the floor”. There is no one in the room but I quickly decide that one of my children has actually arranged the pieces, by design, into that sentence. Whereas the first assemblage of pieces was very unlikely and due to chance, the second arrangement is also very unlikely but due to design. What is the difference? The difference is that the second arrangement is specified. It is specifically saying something in English. It has specified complexity. William Dembski the mathematician is one of the principle thinkers to elucidate this subject.(Dembski, W.A. 1998. The Design Inference. Cambridge University Press.) Many systems can undergo this same test, not least biological ones. In the case of the universe however we see very very specified complexity. The conditions at the beginning, spelled out, if you like, life being possible in the future. Nothing else would have done the trick.

Freeman Dyson writes “The more I examine the universe, and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the Universe in some sense must have known we were coming.” [Freeman Dyson, Disturbing the Universe. New York: Harper and Row, 1979]

A common response to the fine tuning of the initial conditions is that one should not be surprised by the fine-tuning of the laws of nature, as if they were not fine tuned, we would not be there to observe them. Philosopher John Leslie form the university of Guelph has a cogent response with the following explanation in his famous firing-squad analogy. Suppose 50 trained snipers are lined up to take your life, and they all miss. You could hardly dismiss this occurrence by saying, “If they had not missed me, then I wouldn’t be here to consider the fact”. [ohn Leslie ‘How to draw conclusions from fine tuned cosmos; in R.J. Russell, W.R Stoeger, and G.V. Coyne, eds., Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for understanding (Vatican City: Vatican Observatory Press, 1988) p304]

It would still be surprising that you are alive given the enormous unlikelihood of all the sharpshooters missing their mark. Therefore, the claim that we shouldn’t be surprised to find ourselves in a fine-tuned universe does nothing to explain away why the initial conditions are fine tuned to begin with. As Paul Davies puts it, this is an unsatisfactory explanation. [Brain Davies. Cosmic jackpot, p138]

As a result contemporary theorists increasingly recognize that the odds against fine-tuning are simply insurmountable. Frustrated naturalists have therefore embraced the speculative hypothesis that our universe is but one out of many universes, known as the multiverse theory. What the mulitverse achieves, which is so desperately needed by atheists, is to increase the probabilistic resources, which in turn explain away the absurd probabilities. The existence of a multiverse provides an infinite number of universes, which then permit every physically possible world to exist. What follows from this, is that the existence of a world such as ours by chance alone, where we observe the constants and quantities as consistent with intelligent life, becomes a reasonable position to hold.

Now putting aside that this is highly speculative and void of any independent evidence to support such a theory, this recourse will be in vain as the multiverse would itself require fine tuning. For example, M-theory, the theory which supposedly governs the multiverse, works only if there are exactly eleven dimensions; but M theory does not explain why precisely that number of dimensions should exist. This is why the world’s most notorious atheist turned theist says “So mulitverse 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”. [Anthony Flew, There is A God, p37]

The fact that the fine tuning cannot be satisfactorily explained by physical necessity and that the alternative, i.e. that all the conditions falling into a life permitting range by chance, is an untenable position, means therefore that there remains only one other reasonable alternative. This would be to maintain that the fine tuning must be due to design.

Accordingly, we may argue:

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Many Atheists when confronted with this argument respond by saying that the argument from the fine tuning of the universe is a ‘God of the gaps’ argument. They claim that it is from the ignorance of science that we attribute the ‘fine tuning’ to God.

John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford, has written much in support of the design arguments from fine tuning. He writes concerning these arguments: “We should note that the preceding arguments are not ‘God of the gaps’ arguments; it is advance in science, not ignorance of science, that has revealed this fine-tuning to us. In that sense there is no ‘gap’ in the science, The question is rather: how should we interpret the science? In what direction is it pointing?” (Lennox, John. 2007. God’s Undertaker. Has Science Buried God? Lion Hudson.) His conclusion is that science overwhelmingly provides evidence for a designer of the universe.

So we can safely conclude that there is clear evidence for the existence of a Powerful, Intelligent God who created the Universe and created Life.


About Kashif Zuberi

Student of Knowledge

4 comments on “Fine Tuning of the Universe

  1. Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for!

  2. I visited a lot of website but I believe this one holds something special in it. “There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.” by Oscar Wilde.

  3. Well taken from Hamza Tzortis web page- still good to read again..

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