The contention: God is the best evidence for the fine tuning of intelligent life
The Teleological Argument-argument for fine-tuning
- The universe appears that is has been fine-tuned for intelligent life.
- The cause of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life is either by physical necessity, chance, or design.
- It is not fine-tuned by physical necessity or chance.
- Therefore it is designed.
Again, to give credit where credit is due, let us turn to a short video from Dr. William Lane Craig (reasonablefaith.org) on the teleological argument:
The fine-tuning we observe is a conditional result of a number of cosmic forces that are fundamental constants, beginning with the initial conditions of the big bang singularity and the expansion rate associated with it. Just a few of these are: force of gravity, the electromagnetic force, the subatomic ‘weak’ force. Altering any of these constants even slightly and intelligent life does not exist. The values of these constants are not determined by the laws of nature. These constants are unchanging quantities within the laws of nature.
Now many scientists don’t argue about whether or not the universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life. After all, if the universe didn’t operate with the laws that we have none of us would be here. So this premise is relatively uncontentious. It’s also important that by using the term fine-tuning we are not inferring design, otherwise the argument would be circular. We use the neutral term of fine-tuning because that is what is used most in the literature and that is what the constants and quantities best reflect as far as their precision.
Presently there are three major accepted reasons why people feel fine-tuning of the universe exists: physical necessity, chance, and design. Again, this is widely held within scientific circles, theists and non-theists alike.
Premise 3 is where most of the disagreements take place. Let’s look at physical necessity first. Now this would seem intuitive for most people, and the reality is that our laws of nature are independent from the constants of the cosmos. In fact the laws of nature could support a wide range of values within these constants. The fundamental constants also appear to be independent in their relationship of one another. We also know that life prohibiting planets and galaxies throughout the universe are far more likely because we have been unable to observe intelligent life anywhere else as of yet. Because of this, physical necessity cannot be the reason for fine-tuning. This possibility is not seriously entertained anymore as a cause for the fine-tuning for intelligent life.
Now many scientists, particularly naturalists would say that the fine tuning of the universe came from chance. Despite the overwhelming odds of nothing ever happening, somehow the galaxies and planets came to be as they are and life happened to begin on one or a few planets. And not only that, but a male and female version of not just us, but many, many species just miraculously “developed” over millenia, from some strange prebiotic soup! Is this what we are teaching in our schools still?
The problem with the hypothesis of chance is that the odds of intelligent life coming via chance are insurmountable odds. Let’s look at a few examples.
Changing the gravitational pull by one part in 10 to the 60th power (1 with 60 zeros behind it!) and life would not exist. The cosmological constant has to be fine-tuned to 10 to the 120th power in order for life to exist. Roger Penrose, a physicist at Oxford University calculates the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 10 to the 10th to the 123rd power! An enormously inconceivable number. (1) To give you an idea of how big this number is, there is approximately 10 to the 78th to 10 to the 82nd power number of atoms in the whole known universe! (2)
He also suggests the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by random collisions of particles is around 10 to the 10th to the 60th power! Yet he calls that “chicken feed” by comparison to the odds of the low entropy condition. So the idea of chance being the cause for the fine-tuning of the intelligent life on the universe appears to be almost incomprehensible.
So we are left with design. But not so fast, what about the multiverse or world ensemble? The multiverse is the most popular idea given by cosmologists and other scientists regarding the fine-tuning of the universe. Here they postulate that somewhere there is a machine that creates universes and that our universe is not alone, but potentially one of many, many other universes. This is an effort in hopes to water down the infinitesimal odds of there being more life-prohibiting universes than life-inhibiting ones. There are many problems with this idea, one being that there is no physical evidence of any kind as of yet to substantiate this claim. It is merely a hypothesis at this point.
If we look at the possibility of design, I highly encourage you to look at the latest work by people like Stephen Meyer, Doug Axe, and Michael Behe to name a few. Look at what we know of how irreducibly complex components are in just one cell. Look at the Cambrian explosion of our current fossil record and wonder how there are no known ancestral fossils to those creatures found prior to the Cambrian explosion. Design is everywhere the deeper we look in our beginnings and the depths of our own selves.
Some of the more recent discoveries in biology that position nicely with intelligent design are the inner-workings of the cell, something unfamiliar in Darwin’s day, and information that is evident in the base of DNA called nucleotides. Meyer makes a very compelling argument that our DNA provides us information. The analogy he likes to use is in regards to computers. When we want our computer to provide a function for us, we have to give it something. This ‘something’ is information, commands, computer code, etc…So because we get very specific information through DNA, there has to be a source of that information. Intuitively we know that information only comes from intelligence and thusly, the information we are provided in DNA must come from an intelligence and not something that is created through natural random mutations.
It is my prayer you look at how truly magnificent you are. You are not an accident. You were created with a purpose. You have meaning and you have value. Do you really have enough faith to believe you were a beautiful accident?
(1) Roger Penrose The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and The Laws of Physics (Oxford University Press, 1989)
(2) University Today: Space and Astronomy News (July 30, 2009)
Intelligent design-focused books:
Doug Axe, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition that Life is Designed (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016)
Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins Publishers, 2009)
Stephen C. Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins Publishers, 2013)
Stephen C. Meyer, The Return of the God Hypothesis: Compelling Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God (HarperCollins Publishers, 2019)
Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: A Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (Free Press, 1996)
Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution (HarperCollins Publishers, 2019)
Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2007)