So many things in the universe are finely tuned for the existence and success of life, 1 including aspects about the earth and even the laws of physics themselves. 2 It’s as though someone carefully adjusted all of these settings just perfectly to allow life to happen on earth (we believe this Someone was Christ). Here are some examples:
- Cosmological Constant
- Density parameter
- Earth’s axis tilt
- Earth’s carbon dioxide level
- Earth’s crust thickness
- Earth’s distance to the sun
- Earth’s gravity
- Earth’s magnetic field
- Earth’s oxygen-to-nigrogen ratio
- Earth’s ozone levels
- Earth’s rotation speed
- Earth’s water vapor level
- Fine structure constant
- Proton-to-electron mass ratio
- Sun’s color
- Sun’s mass
Evolutionist: The universe is not finely tuned for life. Rather, life is finely tuned for the universe. If these constants were different, other forms of life would arise. 3 The fine-tuned universe argument demonstrates a lack of imagination.
Response: First, to say that creationists lack imagination is not a scientific response. Science is not supposed to be based on imagination but rather on evidence. Second, even if other forms of life could exist, some of these constants are required for molecules to form at all. Changing these constants would shut down any form of life, carbon-based or otherwise. Third, carbon-based life seems to be the most viable option based on our current physical laws, even to some secular scientists. 4 5
Evolutionist: Deep sea “smoker” animals live in strange conditions (660° temperatures, total darkness, and hydrogen sulfide). 6 Thus, other life forms can exist.
Evolutionist: There are many other universes out there with different constants (metaphysical anthropic principle). Therefore, nature does not especially favor life.
Response: No one has ever observed these universes. Because this position is not based on evidence, it is a faith position, and it is not science.
Evolutionist: The universe is finely tuned for life because if it were not, we would not be here to observe it (tautological anthropic principle).
Response: We agree that the universe is finely tuned for life. We also agree that we could not be here to observe the universe if it were not. However, this does not answer the question of why it is finely tuned.
Evolutionist: Perhaps the “fine tuning” is just a delusion, as all the laws are actually inter-related. 7 8 For instance, the circumference and diameter of a circle are related, though perhaps if we didn’t know that, we might think the constant π was fine-tuned for life.
Response: First, that is speculation at this point. 9 Second, many of these fine-tunings do not have anything to do with physics constants per se. Third, the appearance of fine-tuning would be difficult to explain if there really is no such thing.
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Rhodes, F. H. (2012). Earth: A Tenant's Manual. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Calle, C. I. (2009). The Universe: Order Without Design. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.
Dawkins, R. (2004). The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Rhodes, 2012, p. 21: “So earth’s location is “just right.” Earth’s atmosphere is also “just right,” being made up of 77 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxyen, with trace amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, and water.” ↩
- Calle, 2009, p. 153: “It seems as if the laws of physics teeter in a precarious equilibrium that is precisely what is needed for life to exist.” ↩
- Rhodes, 2012, p. 21: “Such ‘fine tuning’ to the needs of life implies, for some, a providential planning, with Earth’s position and composition marvelously adapted to the needs of life. Perhaps so, but life has proved to be sufficiently opportunistic to at least to [sic] raise the question of whether it may not be the other way around, with life as we know it emerging, perhaps no less providentially, in response to the opportunities and constraints of our given environment.” ↩
- Calle, 2009, p. 160: “Our own carbon-based life appeared on Earth as soon as the conditions were right. It seems as if the origin of life was an inevitable consequence of chemical processes. However, the emergence of life from organic matter was not an easy process, even with the compound production ability of carbon and the presence of water. The laws of physics in our universe are such that carbon-based life seems to be the most viable possibility.” ↩
- Calle, 2009, p. 159: “Silicon doesn’t really match carbon when it comes to forming compounds.” ↩
- Rhodes, 2012, p. 22: “Our definition of the unique structure of life had to be revised after the discovery of deep-ocean vent “smoker” fuana in 1977. These previously unknown animals live, not in a temperate world of sunlight and oxygen, bug in a realm of scorching 660(o)F temperatures, total darkness, and hydrogen sulfide. So life forms on other planets could also exist in “unearthly” conditions, with their simpler forms living by chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis.” ↩
- Calle, 2009, p. 129: “There are other approaches at unification, such as the supersymmetric models and the multidimensional superstring models. Some of these models unify all forces of nature, including gravity, a particularly exciting feature.” ↩
- Dawkins, 2004, p. 4: “Some, as we saw, dream of a final theory in whose light the alleged fine-tuning of the universe will turn out to be a delusion anyway.” ↩
- Calle, 2009, p. 131: “The Standard Model–perhaps the most complete physics theory ever developed–gives us a complete description of the nongravitational particles and forces in the universe. … The difficulties that the Standard Model runs into are deeper than the failure to achieve grand unification.” ↩