The Universe & God: Science As Evidence

The Universe & God: Science As Evidence

In our recent article about the expansion of the universe, we showed how some basic scientific facts about the universe point to the existence of God. Today, we will examine even more scientific concepts about the universe and see how they relate to the Creator.

Existence of Elements Essential for Life

When two helium nuclei collide, they fuse together and produce the fleeting, unstable beryllium. An additional collision with a single helium nucleus, and carbon is created.

“For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. ‘I am the Lord,’ he says, ‘and there is no other.'” (Isaiah 45:18 NLT)

The Fine-tuned Universe

A proton is 1,836 times heavier than an electron. If this difference was any greater or lesser, it would not be possible for life to exist in the universe.

“The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” – Stephen Hawking

In 1961, physicist Robert H. Dicke said that certain forces in physics, such as gravity and electromagnetism, must be perfectly fine-tuned for life to exist anywhere in the Universe. Fred Hoyle also argued for a fine-tuned Universe in his 1984 book Intelligent Universe. He compares “the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a star system full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.”

“In you is the source of life, by your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9 NJB)

Fine-tuning of the Force Strengths to Permit Life

The constants governing the four fundamental forces of physics are finely-tuned to support life.

  1. Strong nuclear force is important for the existence of stable atoms beyond hydrogen. If the strong force were 50% weaker, no elements used by life would exist because protons couldn’t be held together in the nucleus.
  2. Electromagnetic force is responsible for chemistry and plays a critical role in stellar fusion which powers life. The electromagnetic force needs to be much weaker than the strong nuclear force for atoms to be stable – so that the radius of the electron orbit is much larger than the radius of the nucleus.
  3. Weak nuclear force controls proton-proton fusion, a reaction 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times slower than the nuclear reaction based on the strong nuclear force. Without this, essentially all the matter in the universe would have been burned to helium before the first galaxies were formed. Because the weak nuclear force is so much weaker than the strong nuclear force, a star can burn its hydrogen gently for billions of years instead of blowing up like a bomb.
  4. Gravitational force: the strength of gravity is about 40 orders of magnitude weaker than the strong nuclear force. Based on this expectation that gravity can vary up to strong nuclear force strength, the level of fine-tuning required for life is pretty remarkable:
  5. If gravity is weaker by 1 in 1036, stars are unstable to degeneracy pressure (for small stars) or unstable to radiative pressure just expelling huge chunks of the star (for larger stars).
  6. If gravity is stronger by 1 in 1040, the universe is dominated by black holes not stars.
  7. If gravity is weaker by 1 in 1030, the largest planet that would avoid crushing effects of gravity on any large-brained creatures would have a radius of about 50 meters – which is not a good candidate for an ecosystem and the development/sustenance of intelligent life.

These are huge numbers that may be hard for most readers to visualize.  Thus, consider the following analogy to help understand the improbability of 1 part in 1036. Suppose one could make a sand pile encompassing all of Europe and Asia and up to 5 times the height of the moon. Suppose one grain of sand is painted red and randomly placed somewhere within this pile. A blind-folded person then randomly selects one grain of sand from the pile. The odds that he would select that one red grain of sand are slightly better than the 1 in 1036 odds of a life-permitting strength of the gravitational force based on just one of the above criteria.

Protein Formation – By random events?

The fact that a single protein could result from random events appears to science author, Bill Bryson, a “stunning improbability” and the astronomer, Fred Hoyle, estimates is as being just as likely as a whirlwind spinning thought a scrap yard and leaving behind a fully assembled jumbo jet.

How did the universe start so highly ordered?

The highly ordered initial state of the universe could not have come by chance.  According to the calculation of Steve Hawking’s associate, Roger Penrose, the highly ordered (low entropy) initial state of the universe is not something that could have occurred by even the wildest chance.

The only reasonable explanation is that the universe has a Creator.

Balance Between Universe’s Expansion/Collapse

As Stephen Hawking one said, this has “religious overtones and implications.” Why? Because, as he said, the universe is confirmed to be “expanding at the critical rate.” That is, to continue expanding at an ever increasing rate, but exactly the precise rate to go on expanding forever. There is no way this could happen by accident, or without a guiding hand – in other words, a Creator.

Slight excess of matter over antimatter

After performing the most precise experiments on antiprotons that have ever been carried out, researchers at CERN discovered a symmetry in nature that they say just shouldn’t be possible.

One of the big questions about the universe is how the first matter formed after the Big Bang. Because particles and antiparticles annihilate one another when they come into contact, if there were exactly equal measures of both, the universe wouldn’t exist—at least not in the form we see it today. As such, there must be an imbalance between particles and antiparticles, even if it is only by the tiniest fraction.

All of these concepts point to the fact that the universe was designed. The intricate design and the superb order in the universe distinctly testify to the existence of a Creator.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

3 thoughts on “The Universe & God: Science As Evidence

  1. Ross, I am happy to provide a rebuttal to your essay.

    RT1: In our recent article about the expansion of the universe, we showed how some basic scientific facts about the universe point to the existence of God. Today, we will examine even more scientific concepts about the universe and see how they relate to the Creator.

    GW1: Your previous article cited some basic scientific facts which did not point to the existence of God. Those facts are equivocal in the sense that they support many hypotheses. For example, they support the eternal universe hypothesis.

    Existence of Elements Essential for Life

    RT1: When two helium nuclei collide, they fuse together and produce the fleeting, unstable beryllium. An additional collision with a single helium nucleus, and carbon is created.

    GW1: So what?

    RT1: “For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. `I am the Lord,’ he says, `and there is no other.'” (Isaiah 45:18 NLT)

    GW1: Order is intrinsic and eternal. There is no good evidence that it was planned or installed.

    The Fine-tuned Universe

    RT1: A proton is 1,836 times heavier than an electron. If this difference was any greater or lesser, it would not be possible for life to exist in the universe.

    GW1: This just means that if things had been different at the time of the Big Bang, then things would be different now. Some initial conditions would be compatible with life, and some would not. So what? That’s just the way it is.

    RT1: “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. . The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” – Stephen Hawking

    GW1: Yes, to some people it SEEMS that these numbers were finely adjusted, but to other people it SEEMS otherwise. We don’t know that these numbers could be any different than what they are. BTW, Hawking is an atheist.

    RT1: In 1961, physicist Robert H. Dicke said that certain forces in physics, such as gravity and electromagnetism, must be perfectly fine-tuned for life to exist anywhere in the Universe.

    GW1: These forces must fall within a certain narrow range for life, as we know it, to exist, but of course this does not mean that the forces could be any different from what they are or that any god caused them to be what they are. Fine-tuning implies a fine tuner, and there is no good evidence for that.

    RT1: Fred Hoyle also argued for a fine-tuned Universe in his 1984 book Intelligent Universe. He compares “the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a star system full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.”

    GW1: Most biologists who study the origin of life think that the start was with simpler units. Chance and orderliness both played a role.

    RT1: “In you is the source of life, by your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9 NJB)

    GW1: There is no good evidence that a god is the source of life.

    Fine-tuning of the Force Strengths to Permit Life

    RT1: The constants governing the four fundamental forces of physics are finely-tuned to support life.

    GW1: This is just speculation. There is no good evidence that these forces could have been different, or if they could have been different, there is no good evidence that any god made them the way they are.

    RT1: Strong nuclear force is important for the existence of stable atoms beyond hydrogen. If the strong force were 50% weaker, no elements used by life would exist because protons couldn’t be held together in the nucleus.

    GW1: A range from X to X-.5 is a pretty wide range.

    RT1: Electromagnetic force is responsible for chemistry and plays a critical role in stellar fusion which powers life. The electromagnetic force needs to be much weaker than the strong nuclear force for atoms to be stable – so that the radius of the electron orbit is much larger than the radius of the nucleus.

    GW1: It is what it is.

    RT1: Weak nuclear force controls proton-proton fusion, a reaction 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times slower than the nuclear reaction based on the strong nuclear force. Without this, essentially all the matter in the universe would have been burned to helium before the first galaxies were formed. Because the weak nuclear force is so much weaker than the strong nuclear force, a star can burn its hydrogen gently for billions of years instead of blowing up like a bomb.
    Gravitational force: the strength of gravity is about 40 orders of magnitude weaker than the strong nuclear force. Based on this expectation that gravity can vary up to strong nuclear force strength, the level of fine-tuning required for life is pretty remarkable:
    If gravity is weaker by 1 in 1036, stars are unstable to degeneracy pressure (for small stars) or unstable to radiative pressure just expelling huge chunks of the star (for larger stars).
    If gravity is stronger by 1 in 1040, the universe is dominated by black holes not stars.
    If gravity is weaker by 1 in 1030, the largest planet that would avoid crushing effects of gravity on any large-brained creatures would have a radius of about 50 meters – which is not a good candidate for an ecosystem and the development/sustenance of intelligent life.
    These are huge numbers that may be hard for most readers to visualize. Thus, consider the following analogy to help understand the improbability of 1 part in 1036. Suppose one could make a sand pile encompassing all of Europe and Asia and up to 5 times the height of the moon. Suppose one grain of sand is painted red and randomly placed somewhere within this pile. A blind-folded person then randomly selects one grain of sand from the pile. The odds that he would select that one red grain of sand are slightly better than the 1 in 1036 odds of a life-permitting strength of the gravitational force based on just one of the above criteria.

    GW1: I will assume that you correctly copied all this from a reputable source. It is all compatible with many general hypotheses.

    Protein Formation – By random events?

    RT1: The fact that a single protein could result from random events appears to science author, Bill Bryson, a “stunning improbability” and the astronomer, Fred Hoyle, estimates is as being just as likely as a whirlwind spinning thought a scrap yard and leaving behind a fully assembled jumbo jet.

    GW1: Neither Bryson nor Hoyle is a biologist, and Hoyle made his statement probably more than 50 years ago. Both fail to recognize that the earliest precursors of life were much simpler than proteins now are and that chemical and biological evolution are cumulative processes.

    How did the universe start so highly ordered?

    RT1: The highly ordered initial state of the universe could not have come by chance. According to the calculation of Steve Hawking’s associate, Roger Penrose, the highly ordered (low entropy) initial state of the universe is not something that could have occurred by even the wildest chance.

    GW1: It could have been by chance, but it was probably just a natural ordered state.

    RT1: The only reasonable explanation is that the universe has a Creator.

    GW1: No, there are several reasonable explanations, including that the universe just operates according to “natural laws.” No Creator is required.

    Balance Between Universe’s Expansion/Collapse

    RT1: As Stephen Hawking one said, this has “religious overtones and implications.” Why? Because, as he said, the universe is confirmed to be “expanding at the critical rate.” That is, to continue expanding at an ever increasing rate, but exactly the precise rate to go on expanding forever. There is no way this could happen by accident, or without a guiding hand – in other words, a Creator.

    GW1: Hawking is an atheist. Also, if God did exist and his main purpose in creating the universe was to provide a habitat for humanity, then he would not have made a universe which would go on expanding forever. And yet, right now it does appear that the universe will go on expanding forever. Therefore, God does not exist.

    Slight excess of matter over antimatter

    RT1: After performing the most precise experiments on antiprotons that have ever been carried out, researchers at CERN discovered a symmetry in nature that they say just shouldn’t be possible.

    GW1: The fact that it exists shows that it is possible. It is actual.

    RT1: One of the big questions about the universe is how the first matter formed after the Big Bang. Because particles and antiparticles annihilate one another when they come into contact, if there were exactly equal measures of both, the universe wouldn’t exist-at least not in the form we see it today. As such, there must be an imbalance between particles and antiparticles, even if it is only by the tiniest fraction.

    GW1: So what? The slight imbalance is just a brute fact of nature.

    RT1: All of these concepts point to the fact that the universe was designed. The intricate design and the superb order in the universe distinctly testify to the existence of a Creator.

    GW1: No, they don’t. The orderliness of the universe is probably just an intrinsic and eternal feature, with no need for a Creator.

    RT1: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

    GW1: People have very good reasons to believe that God does not exist. If God did exist, he would have provided clear objective unequivocal evidence of his own existence to all human persons. This has not happened. Therefore, God does not exist. God would not play at faith games.

  2. You admit “fine-tuning requires a fine tuner”. Then you contradict yourself by saying ‘there was no fine-tuner, God’. Responding to the overwhelming odds of all the various aspects of fine-tuning coming together, without any direction from God, you say ‘That’s just the way it is’. You cannot explain away the overwhelming odds overcome to make and maintain the universe!

    1. Yes, I believe that the term “fine-tuning” implies a “fine tuner.” Therefore, those scientists who believe in fine-tuning are mistaken. There is no god doing any tuning. And therefore, there is no contradiction is my statements. They are all consistent.

      You assume the various aspects “came together.” You don’t know this, and nobody does. They are they way they are. There is no evidence that they could be different or of a cause for them.

      You cannot calculate the odds based on one universe. Calculating odds would require many universes, and we know of only one!

      Unfortunately, you are not thinking rationally about this issue. For more information about this, read my book — God Wants You to be an Atheist, available through Amazon.

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