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The Living Universe
Scientific evidence of God's design

 

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The Fundamental Numbers are Fine Tuned

U of T doctorate, Hugh Ross comments:

"The more accurately and extensively astronomers measure the universe, the more finely tuned they discover it to be. ...the degree of fine tuning is utterly amazing - far beyond what human endeavors can accomplish." [The Creator..., p. 114]

What kind of fine tuning are astronomers talking about? Consider the following examples:

The Expansion Rate of the Universe

"...that such order came out of chaos....God...is the explanation..." -- Dr. Allan Sandage

Dr. George Smoot, the discoveror of 'wrinkles in time', the cosmic seeds of galaxies, points out that: "Had the expansion rate of the universe one second after the big bang been smaller by one part in a hundred thousand trillion, the universe would have recollapsed long ago." In that case the universal law of gravity would have quickly overwhelmed the initial expansion, before any stars or galaxies were formed. The big bang explosion would have immediately turned into a big implosion! Conversely, says Dr Smoot: "An expansion more rapid by one part in a million would have excluded the formation of stars and planets." [Wrinkles in Time, p. 293] The formation of such concentrations of matter require the delicate balancing of local gravitational attraction in the context of a universal expansion.

The Strength of the Strong Nuclear Force

Researcher Smoot concludes that:

"The minutest variation in the value of a series of fundamental properties of the universe would have resulted in no universe at all, or at least a very alien universe."

He illustrates this point with the 'strong nuclear force' which holds quark particles together to form protons and neutrons and binds these together to form atoms.

"For instance, if the strong nuclear force had been slightly weaker, the universe would have been composed of hydrogen only; slightly stronger, and all the hydrogen would have been converted to helium."

Instead, the strong nuclear force has exactly sufficient power -- the 'knife-edge' value -- so that the present universe is composed of both hydrogen and helium.

The Ratio of Protons to Antiprotons

"Slight variation in the excess of protons over antiprotons- one billion to one and one billion- might have produced a universe with no baryonic matter or a cataclysmic plenitude of it." says Dr Smoot.

Stephen Hawking gives two other examples of crucial parameters:

The Electric Charge of the Electron

In his best- selling book A Brief History of Time, Hawking writes:

"The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. For example 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." [A Brief History of Time, p. 125] A minor difference in the electron's charge and stars wouldn't burn. There would be no burning sun at the centre of our solar system to provide life-supporting heat and light. Also there would be no supernova explosions to produce the raw materials for the formation of planets like our earth." [Ferguson, p. 94]
Earth-rise
Earth-rise,
from the Moon

The Strength of Gravity

Hawking's other example relates to the law of gravity:

"If gravity were less powerful than it is, matter wouldn't have congealed into stars and galaxies, nor could galaxies and solar systems have formed had gravity not been at the same time the weakest of the four forces. No theory... can predict the strength of gravity or the electric charge of the electron... but they seem minutely adjusted to make possible the development of life..." [Stephen Hawking..., Ferguson, p. 94]

The 'Cosmological Constant' - the Energy Density of the Vacuum

"The fine-tuning of the universe..."
"...proof of the existence of God"
Cosmologist, Edward Harrison

Cosmologists now use the term 'cosmological constant' in a different way than Einstein. Scientists employ the term to describe how densely energy is packed into a vacuum. Common sense suggests that a vacuum is 'empty' and therefore contains no energy. However, even a true vacuum isn't 'empty'; it is seething with energy. In principle the energy density of the vacuum ought to be enormous. Einstein's theory of relativity implies that this should dramatically affect the universe [Ferguson, p. 146]. Hawking points out that: "A large cosmological contant either positive or negative would make the universe unsuitable for the development of life." In practice the observed value of this parameter in real universe is incredibly tiny. It is the nearest thing to zero we can find! This may not surprise those of us who think of a vacuum as being empty. It surprises many scientists and exemplifies the fine-tuning of the universe.

Nobel laureate in Physics, Steven Weinberg comments:

"One constant does... require an incredible fine-tuning: it is the vacuum energy, or cosmological constant... The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to vacuum energy accurate to about 120 decimal places." [Weinberg, "Life in the Universe" in Scientific American, Oct. '94, p. 49]

U of T Ph.D. Astronomer, Hugh Ross summarizes the fine-tuning that characterizes our universe:

"As of October 1993, twenty-five different characteristics of the universe were recognized as precisely fixed. If they were different by only slight amounts, [that] would spell the end of the existence of... life... The degree of fine-tuning necessary for... life supercedes by many orders of magnitude the best human beings have ever achieved....That's supernatural!" [Creation and Time..., p. 132]

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