Since the discovery of anthropic coincidences in the 1970s that
continue regularly, many skeptics of a distinctly designed universe have
taken a second look. Anthropic coincidences are astoundingly minuscule
factors of probability concerning everything from neutrons and electrons
to supernova eruptions in space, outside of which carbon-based life would
be impossible. Yet others have countered that no supernatural or outside-the-universe
intellect is required to explain these phenomena. Indeed, some hold that
our observance of life in a universe seemingly balanced on a razor's edge
is no cause for surprise whatsoever.
Fine-Tuned for Life?
For perspective, described below is just one of the 26 known anthropic
coincidences (or, necessary conditions for life as we know it), listed
in Hugh Ross' The Creator and the Cosmos:
"Unless the number of electrons is equivalent to the number
of protons to an accuracy of one part in 1037, or better,
electromagnetic forces in the universe would have so overcome gravitational
forces that galaxies, stars, and planets never would have formed.
Why would the cosmological constants of the universe, like the one above,
be so fine-tuned for life? What can explain the number of such so-called
coincidences? Are such questions a valid pursuit, or are there, for example,
an infinite number of universes, rendering one just like ours inevitable?
Many scientists have long resisted the possibility of a supernatural explanation
for both the universe's beginning and its incredible accommodation of
life. Yet, most scientists now concede that the Big Bang Theory is all
but certainly correct in pointing to a starting point and time for the
universe--a discovery certainly compatible with the Bible. In our Special
Focus, several scientists and philosophers likewise argue for the theistic
explanation for anthropic coincidences--or as theists often state
it, the fine-tuned universe--that our universe looks exquisitely tailored-for-life
because it, in fact, is.
One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance
that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover
the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the
moon, a height of about 239,000 miles. (In comparison, the money to
pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile
less than two feet deep with dimes.) Next, pile dimes from here to
the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America.
Paint one dime red and mix it into the billion piles of dimes. Blindfold
a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick
the red dime are one in 1037. And this is only one of the
parameters that is so delicately balanced to allow life to form."*
Note: Some of the material found below contains somewhat advanced
logic and physics notations. We encourage you to work through or, if
necessary, skip over that which confuses you to catch the main ideas.
Think it over for yourself and let us know your questions
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
The Origin of the Universe
What is the newest evidence for the Big Bang? The cosmic background radiation
is exactly what was expected if the universe began as an immensely hot
event 10-20 billion years ago. But the universe that was created is "just-right"
for life. Dozens of factors are exquisitely fine-tuned for life to be
able to exist, at least on our planet.
The Designed 'Just
Walter L. Bradley, Ph.D.
This article provides a clear indication of what is meant by design
and then summarizes the factual basis from cosmology that our universe
is indeed uniquely designed as a habitat for life in general and humans
[Spanish Version: El universo diseņado 'justo a punto']
A "Just Right" Universe
Dr. Hugh Ross
Chapter Fourteen of The Creator and the Cosmos. From his book
published by NavPress, astrophysicist, author and radio host Hugh Ross
highlights the problems associated with the existence of a universe
suited to life, lists 26 fantastically narrow parameters for factors
that allow life and answers objections to the biblical theist viewpoint
on the above.
[Spanish Version: Un universo "justo a punto"]
Do Anthropic Coincidences
Require Explanation? (Lecture 11 and 12)
Dr. Robert C. Koons
Western Theism Lecture Notes (Phl 356): Spring 1998, University of Texas.
This lecture explores "anthropic coincidences," as Koons would improve
upon the term, "carbotic or biotic principle," and major objections.
The Teleological Argument
And The Anthropic Principle
William Lane Craig
The discovery during our generation of the so-called anthropic coincidences
in the initial conditions of the universe has breathed new life into
the teleological argument. Use of the Anthropic Principle to nullify
our wonder at these coincidences is logically fallacious unless conjoined
with the metaphysical hypothesis of a World Ensemble. There are no reasons
to believe that such an Ensemble exists nor that, if it does, it has
the properties necessary for the Anthropic Principle to function. Typical
objections to the alternative hypothesis of divine design are not probative.
The Prerequisites of Life in Our
One of the foremost authorities on (and critics of) the popular Anthropic
Principle, which explains away the need for divine intervention, Leslie
theorizes the possibility of "a Mind or by a more abstract Creative
Principle which can reasonably be called 'God'." Certainly no mainstream
theist, Leslie argues for outside intervention in the creation of the
universe, writing, "My argument...will be that Newton's blending of
science with theism is something glorious. I shall not, indeed, defend
him against Leibniz and Darwin since the notion that God constantly
intervenes in the world's workings seems unfortunate... But the forms
taken by the laws of physics, and perhaps also the distribution of material
early in the Big Bang, do suggest God's creative activity."
Related Video and Articles:
Stephen Hawking, the
Big Bang, and God
Henry F. Schaefer III
Dr. "Fritz" Schaeffer, the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and the
director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University
of Georgia, makes comments on Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.
Although Dr. Schaefer notes some areas in which he disagrees with Hawking,
he concludes, ". . . the reason for Hawking's success as a popularizer
of science, is that he addresses the problems of meaning and purpose that
concern all thinking people."
Dr. Fritz Schaefer
Distinguished research chemist and professor Dr. Henry F. "Fritz" Schaefer,
III, comments briefly on cosmological evidence of design and the fine-tuned
universe, as well as science and Christianity, biology and the origin
Is There a Role for Natural
Dr. Owen Gingerich
The author briefly sketches the modern scientific scenario of the creation
of the universe and the origin of the elements.
*Copyright Hugh Ross, The
Creator and the Cosmos, 3d ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress,
2001). Used by permission.
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