This is not a subject that interests everyone, but a few might find an encouragement to faith by reading Stephen C. Meyer’s “The Return of the God Hypothesis.” Meyer reviews some of the latest scientific discoveries in a number of fields, including, mathematics, astronomy, astro physics, physics, cosmology, and genetics, that challenge the supposition that the universe and then life came by chance rather than by design. Mathematician and philosopher William Dembski established a rigorous method for detecting intelligence: first what has come into existence must be calculated as extremely improbable by the laws of probability and, secondly, once it does exist it must serve a specific function. An example would be the creation of carbon-based protein out of hydrogen and helium, the basic building blocks of the universe. Carbon-based compounds, thus formed, are the basis of all life.
Cambridge theoretical physicist, Sir John Polkinghorne, came up with the “Universe-Generating Machine” to illustrate the fine-tuning of the universe which supports the theory that the universe was “designed” and not coming into existence by chance. He asked his students to imagine in your space travels coming across a universe generating machine with a eleven different dials and sliders and knobs all set to default values which if any of them where moved one click up or down would produce “catastrophic results.”* Would it be unreasonable to argue that the machine was the creation of some “designer” and if we are talking about our universe, God?
Life on earth is carbon-based but how was carbon formed out of hydrogen? “The question of how carbon acquired its precise, favorable resonance turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg” says Professor Meyer. The formation of carbon depended on four fundamental forces:
- The strong nuclear force which holds protons and neutrons together
- The electromagnetic force that causes opposite magnetic poles (protons vs electrons) within the atom to repel.
- The mass of an Up Quark produces a positive charge in the neutron and proton of an atom.
- The mass of a Down Quark produces a negative charge in the neutron and proton of an atom.
The difference in masses between quarks in an atom cannot exceed one mega-electron volt—this is the equivalent charge of .0001 percent of the charge of the largest known quark—without producing an all proton or neutron universe where life could not exist. “Much more striking,” Meyer informs our faith, “the masses of “up quarks” and “down quarks,” the constituent parts of protons and neutrons, must have precise values to allow for the production of the elements, including carbon, essential for a life friendly universe.”
In Polkinghorne’s “machine” there are eleven recognized fine tunes factors with low tolerances. The settings on his machine represent mathematical constants if altered at all would preclude the existence of life.
Meyer went on to say that,
If the Gravitational force strength were weaker, stars wouldn’t get hot enough for nuclei to combine to form carbon. A slightly lower value for the gravitational force constant would prevent the development of thermal layering inside stars. Such layering is necessary for producing so many different types of elements including carbon and oxygen, needed for life,
If the gravitational force were too strong, the temperature inside stars would get too hot and nuclear synthesis would produce only elements heavier than carbon and oxygen.
The strength of the strong nuclear and electromagnetic forces, the ratio between the fundamental forces, the exact kinetic energy of beryllium and helium (the two elements forms from helium which in turn unite to form carbon and oxygen), and thus the strength of gravitational forces inside stars as well as the excitation energy of carbon all had to be exquisitely tuned and coordinated within very narrow tolerances to promote the synthesis of large amounts of carbon inside stars. Yet without carbon life would be impossible.
Consider: There are 10 with 80 zeros [ 1×1080] of particles in the known universe; so your chance of finding a specific one of these particles, while your being blindfolded and searching at random, would be 1×1080 but this is still 10 billion times better than the probability that the universe would have happened upon a life permitting strength of the cosmological constant 1090 (if just this one constant were set to a value to create a universe; still ten other factors must be fine tuned as well which, we maintain, could not happen unless an intelligent being, God, created it.)
1. Strong Nuclear Force – holds protons and neutrons together
2. Mass of Up Quark – positive charge in the neutron and proton
3. Mass of Down Quark – negative charge in the neutron and proton
4. Electron Mass – https://reasons.org/explore/publications/articles/testing-creation-using-the-proton-to-electron-mass-ratio
5. Initial Entropy of the Universe – How much energy would have been wasted in the creation of the universe. A maximum entropy would be a black hole that would swallow up everything.
6. Ratio of Strong Nuclear Force to Electro-magnetic Force – The SNF holds the atom together while the magnetic force pulls it apart because the positively charged nucleus repels the negatively charged electrons orbiting that nucleus.
7. The Mass of Neutrinos – a subatomic particle that is very similar to an electron, but has no electrical charge and a very small mass.
8. Gravitational (G) Force Constant – which Is needed to measure the true ‘G’ force exerted on a body. All stars and planets maintain orbits and distances based on this constant.
9. Expansion Rate of the Universe – Special relativity or the acceleration of heavenly bodies moving away from each other and the earth. This speed cannot be too fast or slow when the universe was created. Too fast, and stars, planets and moons would never be formed; too slow and the gravitational forces would cause the universe to collapse in on itself.
10. Cosmological Constant – a repulsive force required to keep the Universe in static equilibrium. Physicists are agreed that this constant is “fine-tuned” within 1 part in 1090.
11. Electro-magnetic Force Constant – that holds electrons within the atom orbiting that atom.