What does Astronomy say about Design Science?
New Astronomical Proofs for the Existence of God
by Hugh Ross, Ph.D.
Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life?
Based upon all of the scientific research to date, it appears that the evidence is telling us that the universe – the myriad of galaxies, the solar system, and our earth – are uniquely suited to support complex life. Now, there are only three possible explanations to account for this:
- This situation is the product of blind chance
- That this universe happens to be part of a “multiverse“, and we just happen to be living the in universe that was best suited for life
- That the universe was and is designed on purpose for life
The Evidence for a Universe Fine Tuned for Life
The Right “Building Blocks” Problem
Most non-believers start with the notion that given enough time, and enough space, and just the right environment, that even complex life could evolve by itself without the help of a divine, all powerful Creator. One big problem with this approach is the assumption. There simply isn’t enough time.* But setting this issue aside, there must be four major “building blocks” designed just so to provide for life.*
1. The Right Molecules
For life to be possible, more than 40 different elements must be able to bond together to form molecules. This bonding depends on two factors: the strength of the force of electromagnetism, and the ratio of the mass of the electron to the mass of the proton. According to Dr. Hugh Ross, if the electromagnetic force were significantly larger than it is, atoms would “hang on” to electrons so that no sharing would be possible But if the force was significantly weaker, then atoms would not hang on to electrons at all – and again, the sharing of electrons among atoms, which makes molecules possible, would not take place.
In addition, the size and stability of electron orbits about the nucleus of atoms depends on the ratio of electron mass to the proton mass. This ratio must be delicately balanced in order for the chemical bondings essential for life to take place.*
2. The Right Atoms
In order for life to be possible, sufficient quantities of essential elements must be available – which means atoms of various sizes must be able to form. For that to occur, other delicate balances must exist among the constants of physics – the strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and nuclear ground state energies.*
The strong nuclear force is the force which governs he degree to which protons and neutrons “stick together” in atomic nuclei. If this force was weaker that it is, protons and neutrons would not stick together. In that case only one element would exist in the universe – hydrogen (the hydrogen atom has only one proton and no neutrons in its nuclei). If this force were too strong, however, protons and neutrons would have such an affinity for each other that not one would remain alone. In such a universe, there would be no hydrogen – only heavy elements. And life chemistry is impossible without hydrogen.
How delicate is the balance for the strong nuclear force? If it were just 2% weaker, or .3% stronger than it actually is, life would be impossible – and not just our form of life. We are talking about any form of life, at any time, anywhere in the universe.
There is also the weak nuclear force – the force that, among other things, governs the rate of radioactive decay. If this force were much stronger than it is, all matter in the universe would quickly be converted into “heavy” elements. On the other hand, if it were much weaker, then all matter in the universe would remain in the form of just the lightest elements. To have the elements that are essential for life chemistry – carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, for example – these forces must be delicately balanced.
The strength of gravity is responsible for determining how hot the nuclear furnaces in the cores of stars will burn. If the force of gravity were any stronger, then stars would be so hot tht they would burn up too quickly and too erratically for life to form. In addition, a planet that is capable of sustaining life (such as earth) must be supported by a start that is stable, and long burning. On the other hand, if the gravitational force weaker than it is, stars would never become hot enough to ignite nuclear fusion.*
3. The Right Nucleons
The universe is also fine tuned to the extent that there is just enough nucleons (protons and neutrons) to form the elements essential for life. After the “big bang”, all of the galaxies and stars that make up the universe today were form from left over nucleons from this initial singularity. Turns out that if the initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons were any smaller, there would not be enough matter for galaxies, stars and the heavy elements to form. If the excess were any greater, galaxies would form, but they would condense to the point that none of them would fragment to form stars and planets.*
4. The Right Electrons
Not must the universe have just the right number of nucleons – a precise number of electrons must also exist. Unless the number of electrons is equivalent to the number of protons to an accuracy of one part in 10(37) or better, electromagnetic forces in the universe would have so overcome gravitational forces that galaxies, stars, and planets never would have formed. *
Fine Tuned Combination of Settings for Life
From galaxies and stars, down to atoms and subatomic particles, the very structure of our universe is determined by these numbers:
* Speed of Light: c=299,792,458 m s-1
* Gravitational Constant: G=6.673 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
* Planck’s Constant: 1.05457148 x 10-34 m2 kg s-2
* Planck Mass-Energy: 1.2209 x 1022 MeV
* Mass of Electron, Proton, Neutron: 0.511; 938.3; 939.6 MeV
* Mass of Up, Down, Strange Quark: 2.4; 4.8; 104 MeV (Approx.)
* Ratio of Electron to Proton Mass: (1836.15)-1
* Gravitational Coupling Constant: 5.9 x 10-39
* Cosmological Constant: (2.3 x 10-3 eV)
* Hubble Constant: 71 km/s/Mpc (today)
* Higgs Vacuum Expectation Value: 246.2 GeV
Scientists have come to the shocking realization that each of these numbers have been carefully dialed to an astonishingly precise value – a value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life-permitting range. If any one of these numbers were altered by even a hair’s breadth, no physical, interactive life of any kind could exist anywhere. There would be no stars,no planets, no chemistry, and no life. (Source: Reasonable Faith,org)
A Presentation on the Fine Tuning of the Universe
Which is the Most Reasonable Explanation?
Option 1: Its All a Product of Blind Chance
Is is “possible” that the fine tuning of the universe, the solar system, and our planet are all the product of blind evolutionary chance processes, but the probability of this being true is beyond belief.
According to Dr. Hugh Ross, noted astrophysicist: “To place one’s confidence in neo-Darwinist cosmology (ie., blind chance) and the unknowable existence of a virtually infinite number of universes is to commit a form of the gambler’s fallacy”. Not a reasonable option.
Option 2: We Just Happen to Be Living in the Right Universe of a Multiverse
This explanation requires that we have a vast number of universes (a multiverse), and that odds are,a life-permitting universe will exist among this myriad of universes. Now, it is true that a number of scientists postulate the existence of a “multiverse”, based on assumptions and mathematical theory. The problem is, there is no scientific evidence for the existence of this multiverse – nor can there be. It cannot physically be detected, observed, measured, or proved.
Furthermore, small patches of order are far more probable than big ones. So the most probable, observable universe would be a small one, inhabited by a single, simple observer (Boltzmann brain). But what we actually observe is the very thing we should least expect: a vast, spectacularly complex, highly ordered universe, inhabited by billions of other observers. So even if the multiverse existed (which is a moot point), it wouldn’t do anything to explain the fine-tuning. Also not the best explanation. (Source: Reasonable Faith,org)
Option 3: The Universe is Designed for Life by an All Powerful Designer
Given that chance as a reasonable explanation is unsatisfactory to say the least, and that the concept that a multiverse exists, and we just “happen” to be living in the right one, is without any tangible proof, the only explanation that makes sense – and is the most reasonable – is that the universe is as it is because it was designed that way by an all powerful Creator.
And this is precisely what the Bible declares:
“THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD;
THE FIRMAMENT PROCLAIMS HIS HANDIWORK. DAY AFTER DAY THEY
POUR FORTH SPEECH; NIGHT AFTER NIGHT THEY
REVEAL KNOWLEDGE.” – Psalm 19:1-2
The Creator speaks to us not only through His written Word, the Bible, but also through the amazing reality of His creation. Every time we gaze at the stars, wonder at a flower, or marvel at a beautiful bird in flight, the God of this universe is speaking to us – wanting us to know Him.
Do you know the Creator, the Lord of the universe? If you do, then you have everything to look forward to – in this life, and in the life to come. You were made for a purpose, and receiving the Lord into your heart and walking daily with Him will help you come to realize His purpose in your life and fulfill it. If you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, you can! He has reached down to our time-space reality and become one of us, so we could understand who He is, and become one with Him. We had all gone astray, but He “so loved us that He sent His one any only Son”. He came in the form of Jesus, lived among us, and showed us the way back to our Maker.
Our Creator does’t want sacrifices, or good works. He wants you. A relationship with you – to come and live in your heart. To know Him, and share your life with Him. Don’t put it off any longer. Invite JESUS in! Steps to Peace with God ==> http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp
Dr. William Lane Craig – Video
* Dr. Hugh Ross, “The Creator and the Cosmos”
** Reasonable Faith.org: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/transcript-fine-tuning-argument#ixzz3OYw8tKro)
Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
by Rich Deem
According to Carl Sagan, the universe (cosmos) "is all that is or ever was or ever will be." However, the idea that the universe is all is not a scientific fact, but an assumption based upon materialistic naturalism. Since Carl Sagan's death in 1996, new discoveries in physics and cosmology bring into questions Sagan's assumption about the universe. Evidence shows that the constants of physics have been finely tuned to a degree not possible through human engineering. Five of the more finely tuned numbers are included in the table below. For comments about what scientists think about these numbers, see the page Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe.
|Ratio of Electrons:Protons||1:1037|
|Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity||1:1040|
|Expansion Rate of Universe||1:1055|
|Mass Density of Universe1||1:1059|
|These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.|
Degree of fine tuning
Recent Studies have confirmed the fine tuning of the cosmological constant (also known as "dark energy"). This cosmological constant is a force that increases with the increasing size of the universe. First hypothesized by Albert Einstein, the cosmological constant was rejected by him, because of lack of real world data. However, recent supernova 1A data demonstrated the existence of a cosmological constant that probably made up for the lack of light and dark matter in the universe.2 However, the data was tentative, since there was some variability among observations. Recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurement not only demonstrate the existence of the cosmological constant, but the value of the constant. It turns out that the value of the cosmological constantexactly makes up for the lack of matter in the universe.3
The degree of fine-tuning is difficult to imagine. Dr. Hugh Ross gives an example of the least fine-tuned of the above four examples in his book, The Creator and the Cosmos, which is reproduced here:
One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). 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 the red dime are one in 1037. (p. 115)
The ripples in the universe from the original Big Bang event are detectable at one part in 100,000. If this factor were slightly smaller, the universe would exist only as a collection of gas - no planets, no life. If this factor were slightly larger, the universe would consist only of large black holes. Obviously, no life would be possible in such a universe.
Another finely tuned constant is the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together). The Sun "burns" by fusing hydrogen (and higher elements) together. When the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. If the amount of matter converted were slightly smaller—0.6% instead of 0.7%— a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. With no heavy elements, there would be no rocky planets and no life. If the amount of matter converted were slightly larger—0.8%, fusion would happen so readily and rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Again, there would be no solar systems and no life. The number must lie exactly between 0.6% and 0.8% (Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers).
Fine Tuning Parameters for the Universe
- strong nuclear force constant
if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry
if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry
- weak nuclear force constant
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
- gravitational force constant
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form
- electromagnetic force constant
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry
- ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support
if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements
- ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry
if smaller: same as above
- ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
if larger: electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation
if smaller: same as above
- expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxies would form
if smaller: universe would collapse, even before stars formed
- entropy level of the universe
if larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxies would form
- mass density of the universe
if larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements
- velocity of light
if faster: stars would be too luminous for life support if slower: stars would be insufficiently luminous for life support
- age of the universe
if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would exist in the right (for life) part of the galaxy
if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed
- initial uniformity of radiation
if more uniform: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
if less uniform: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space
- average distance between galaxies
if larger: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
if smaller: gravitational tug-of-wars would destabilize the sun's orbit
- density of galaxy cluster
if denser: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt the sun's orbit
if less dense: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
- average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
if smaller: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life
- fine structure constant (describing the fine-structure splitting of spectral lines) if larger: all stars would be at least 30% less massive than the sun
if larger than 0.06: matter would be unstable in large magnetic fields
if smaller: all stars would be at least 80% more massive than the sun
- decay rate of protons
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
if smaller: universe would contain insufficient matter for life
- 12C to 16O nuclear energy level ratio
if larger: universe would contain insufficient oxygen for life
if smaller: universe would contain insufficient carbon for life
- ground state energy level for 4He
if larger: universe would contain insufficient carbon and oxygen for life
if smaller: same as above
- decay rate of 8Be
if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
if faster: no element heavier than beryllium would form; thus, no life chemistry
- ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
if higher: neutron decay would yield too few neutrons for the formation of many life-essential elements
if lower: neutron decay would produce so many neutrons as to collapse all stars into neutron stars or black holes
- initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons
if greater: radiation would prohibit planet formation
if lesser: matter would be insufficient for galaxy or star formation
- polarity of the water molecule
if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too high for life
if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too low for life; liquid water would not work as a solvent for life chemistry; ice would not float, and a runaway freeze-up would result
- supernovae eruptions
if too close, too frequent, or too late: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
if too distant, too infrequent, or too soon: heavy elements would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
- white dwarf binaries
if too few: insufficient fluorine would exist for life chemistry
if too many: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life
if formed too soon: insufficient fluorine production
if formed too late: fluorine would arrive too late for life chemistry
- ratio of exotic matter mass to ordinary matter mass
if larger: universe would collapse before solar-type stars could form
if smaller: no galaxies would form
- number of effective dimensions in the early universe
if larger: quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity could not coexist; thus, life would be impossible
if smaller: same result
- number of effective dimensions in the present universe
if smaller: electron, planet, and star orbits would become unstable
if larger: same result
- mass of the neutrino
if smaller: galaxy clusters, galaxies, and stars would not form
if larger: galaxy clusters and galaxies would be too dense
- big bang ripples
if smaller: galaxies would not form; universe would expand too rapidly
if larger: galaxies/galaxy clusters would be too dense for life; black holes would dominate; universe would collapse before life-site could form
- size of the relativistic dilation factor
if smaller: certain life-essential chemical reactions will not function properly
if larger: same result
- uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
if smaller: oxygen transport to body cells would be too small and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
if larger: oxygen transport to body cells would be too great and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
- cosmological constant
if larger: universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars
Taken from Big Bang Refined by Fire by Dr. Hugh Ross, 1998. Reasons To Believe, Pasadena, CA.
A classic book for modern Christian apologetics and science. Dr. Ross presents the latest scientific evidence for intelligent design of our world and an easy to understand introduction to modern cosmology. This is a great book to give agnostics, who have an interest in cosmology and astronomy.
- Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe
- Extreme Fine Tuning - Dark Energy or the Cosmological Constant
- The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System
- Why is There Something Instead of Nothing?
- Anthropic Coincidences by Stephen M. Barr (a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware)
- For further information, visit the website of Dr. Edward Wright, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy at UCLA
- The amount of light and dark matter is only 30% of that necessary for a "flat" universe (one which contains the critical mass - the amount necessary to stop the expansion of the universe).
- Sincell, M. 1999. Firming Up the Case for a Flat Cosmos. Science 285: 1831.
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