Is the Universe "fine tuned" to make life possible?
This has been suggested by various religious people. For example,
Bradley who speaks of the "overwhelming evidence from modern
science for the existence of God."
They make points such as:
Some continue this by pointing out other coincidences, such as the
fact that the Earth is at just the right distance from the Sun. While
those are also coincidences, they are local rather than universal.
- "the coincidence that the universal
constants are exactly what they need to be to support life of any
type on this planet"
- "if the strong force which binds together the nucleus of atoms
were just five percent weaker, only hydrogen would be stable"
- "if the strong force were just two percent stronger, there would
be no stable hydrogen"
I don't know of a technical objection to these points. The exact
degree of coincidence doesn't seem worth arguing about. The question
is, what should I conclude from coincidences?
There are five reasonable answers, or perhaps I should say, attitudes:
As Dr. Bradley has said, it "should be emphasized one cannot
scientifically prove or disprove the existence of God." I would also
be cautious about too-strong belief in the other alternatives I've
listed. But for the moment, you may adopt whichever one pleases
you. Personally, I take the middle course, and the middle choice.
- A Creator arranged it that way.
- Coincidences don't necessarily mean anything.
- Physics is still advancing. Perhaps a reason will be found in the
future. In the meantime, conclusions are premature.
- The universe has to be such that we exist. Otherwise, there would
be no one here talking about it. (This argument is known as the
- If it is true that universes "bud off" other universes,
then perhaps we live in
a highly evolved universe.
Last modified: 6 July 1997
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