In a previous post (found HERE), I discussed the argument for God’s existence based upon the idea that something brought the universe into existence. Another argument that shows God exists is the fact that this world has just the right characteristics to allow for life to exist. In other words, this world is “finely tuned” for the existence of life. But what made this world so finely tuned? It was God.
The argument goes like this:
- The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
- It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
- Therefore, it is due to design.
As with all philosophical arguments, if 1. and 2. are true, then it logically follows that the conclusion 3. is true. It is, then, further argued that if the universe is designed, there must be someone who designed it, and this designer is what we typically think of as “God.”
There is obviously a lot more to this argument than meets the eye. Philosophers and theologians have numerous reasons and data to help support the truths of 1. and 2. Here we can enumerate only a few. If you want to know more about the fine-tuning of the universe, make sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post.
To begin, let’s look at some of the evidence that the world we live in is finely tuned for the existence of life.
- If the strong nuclear force (that force that holds protons and neutrons together) were just 5% stronger or weaker, then life would be impossible.
- If gravity had been stronger or weaker by only 1 part in 1040, then stars like our sun (which is amenable to life) would not have formed.
- If the ratio of the masses of protons to electrons were slightly different, then the existence of DNA would be impossible.
- If the cosmological constant (which controls the expansion rate of the universe) were slightly more positive, the universe would expand too quickly and fly apart. If it were slightly more negative, then the universe would collapse in on itself. The cosmological constant must be finely tuned to 1 part 10120 for life to exist in our universe.
What best explains the existence of this fine-tuning of our universe: Necessity, chance, or design? This is what the first premise of the argument above states. These three options essentially exhaust the possible explanations for the universe’s fine-tuning. As such, no philosopher really disputes this premise. So, let’s turn to premise 2.
Premise 2. eliminates the possibility of necessity or chance as the best explanation for fine-tuning. Most scientists and philosophers would agree that the fine-tuning parameters do not have to be what they are. It is conceivable that they could have different values. Thus, the fine-tuning factors do not exist by necessity. Again, this is not too controversial of an assertion.
But what about chance? Did we just get really, really, really, really lucky that these numerous constants all just happen to be finely tuned to allow for the existence of life? Interestingly, the probability of the universe coming into existence randomly has been calculated to be 1 in 1010(60). In other words, the probability of the universe coming together randomly is effectively “0.” Roger Penrose (physicist, mathematician, and philosopher of science at the University of Oxford) has even calculated the odds of just the universe’s initial low entropy conditions coming into existence by random, chance events to be 1 in 1010(123), which again (if you can even conceive of such a number) is really “0.”
Philosopher of science Robin Collins has compared the odds of the universe coming into existence by chance with a dart board. Imagine trying to hit an inch-wide target on a dart-board, but the dart-board is the size of the galaxy! What is the probability of accomplishing such a feat? Practically zero.
It seems quite reasonable, then, to accept that the fine-tuning of the universe is due to design rather than chance or necessity. As scientist Fred Hoyle once commented, “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”
If the fine-tuning of the universe is best explained by design, then there must be a designer. More specifically, there must be a Designer, i.e., God. Who else could have such power to design such a finely tuned universe for life?
For further research on the fine-tuning argument:
Roger Penrose, “Time-Asymmetry and Quantum Gravity,” in Quantum Gravity 2, ed. C.J. Isham, R. Penrose, and D.W. Sciama (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981). See also, Stephen Hawking and R. Penrose, Nature of Space and Time
Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality (New York: Alfred K. Knopf, 2005)
William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
“List of Fine-tuning Parameters” by Jay Richards, https://www.discovery.org/m/securepdfs/2018/12/List-of-Fine-Tuning-Parameters-Jay-Richards.pdf