Neil Shenvi - Apologetics

III. Evidence for God from science

C. The fine-tuning of the universe

Not only has the origin of the universe furnished suggestive evidence for theism, but the recently discovered fine-tuning of the universe has provided even more suggestive evidence. The standard model of physics is our best working model describing the interaction of fundamental forces and subatomic particles. However, this model includes a number of independent parameters -like the ratio of the gravitational force to the strong force or the cosmological constant- that must be obtained from experiment. Right now, they cannot be obtained from other more fundamental equations; they are simply inputs to the model. What physicists have recently discovered is that a number of these constants appear to have been exquisitely finely-tuned to allow for the existence of intelligent life in the universe. If some of these constants had been changed even a fraction of a percent, life would be impossible.

The most dramatic example of fine tuning is found in the cosmological constant, which is finely tuned to one part in 10^120, which is 1 part in 1 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. This is just one example of fine tuning among the fundamental constants and parameters that determine our universe, which is why it is widely recognized by both Christian and non-Christian physicists to be a real phenomenon. Reflecting on these discoveries, renowned British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle said: "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."

So what is the most popular non-theistic explanation for fine tuning? Currently, many atheists posit the existence of an infinite number of undetectable parallel universes. In each of these parallel universes, the fundamental constants are all slightly different. As a result of this variation, every possible value is sampled somewhere in the infinite multiverse; we just happen to be the universe that got lucky. Now there are physical objections to this explanation, but right now, I want to focus on just one practical objection. Many atheists say: "I could never believe in God; it takes too much faith." But surely, it takes at least a little faith to believe that there exist an infinite number of undetectable parallel universes. After all, if an infinite multiverse does exist, then there are actual universes out there in which pink unicorns exist. There is some universe out there composed entirely of Gorgonzola cheese. If God's existence seems implausible to you, surely these ideas are at least as implausible!

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If anyone reading this essay has questions about it or about Christianity in general, feel free to e-mail me at Neil -AT- Shenvi.org. I also highly recommend the book The Reason for God by Tim Keller. It is phenomenal. Free sermons treating many of the topics covered by this book can be found here.

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