Tag Archives: fine-tuning

The Irony of Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking was exceptional. He fought ALS for 55 years, perhaps longer than any other person. Despite being confined to a wheelchair for most of his life, and unable to communicate fully, he made significant contributions to physics.

But Hawking had a blind spot when it came to God. Even though his own discoveries pointed to God, he refused to believe.

He died March 14 at age 76. When he was born, most people thought the universe was eternal – that it had always existed. Hawking helped change that view, helped convince others the universe had a beginning. As I show in Chapter 7 of Counting to God, this now undeniable scientific conclusion points to a first cause, a cause outside of time and space. It points directly to God. Yet Hawking refused to accept his own evidence. In an interview, he stated:

Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.

But his problem, and the problem of every other Atheist, is that there is no scientific experiment or fact-based theory that can explain a universe created from nothing. One of the most respected laws of physics, the First Law of Thermodynamics, states that mass/energy cannot be created or destroyed. Hawking denied the First Law. He wrote “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

Voltaire wrote: “To the living we owe respect, to the dead we owe only the truth.” The truth is Hawking’s statement is one of the most illogical statements ever made. As English mathematician John Lennox pointed out, it is triple nonsense. First, where did gravity come from? “Who put it there? And what was the creative force behind its birth?” Second, how can a law of physics create something from nothing? “The laws of physics can explain how the jet engine works, but someone has to build the thing, put in the fuel and start it up.” Third, what was the torch, the first cause, to start the process? “Who lit it, if not God?”

Hawking’s books sold millions, but many languished unread on coffee tables. It wasn’t just because they were difficult; it was because in key ways they didn’t make sense. Hawking tried to use math and geometry to avoid the question of how time began. He compared asking what happened before the universe was created to asking what’s south of the South Pole. He invented a concept of “imaginary time,” where time has multiple dimensions like the surface of the Earth. But imaginary time is just that, imaginary. It’s cute math to deny God, but without a shred of scientific evidence.

The fine-tuning of the laws of physics, Chapter 8 of Counting to God, was another major problem for Hawking’s Atheism. In his youth, he developed a formula that showed how fine-tuned gravity had to be for the universe to not fly apart and to not collapse on itself. Paul Davies used that formula to compute that the gravitational constant was fine-tuned to at least one part in a number with 60 zeros. Getting that precision by chance is like picking a special, marked marble out of a pile of marbles 100 light years in diameter, big enough to include thousands of stars. Hawking knew that. He wrote:

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.

Yes, fine-tuning is a “remarkable fact.” It is also remarkable, and ironic, that Steven Hawking could prove fine-tuning but not accept God.

His story was worthy of a movie, and indeed became one in the award-winning 2014 film The Theory of Everything. But because Hawking rejected God, he missed the true theory of everything. It has three letters: G O D. Only God can explain a universe created from nothing. Only God can explain the fine-tuning of the universe. Only God can explain the enormous amount of information needed to build every living creature.

Thanks for reading. Have a blessed Easter.

Doug

Fine-Tuning

The fine-tuning of the universe may be, for many, the most persuasive evidence for God. Fine-tuning is accepted by almost all top scientists, and you don’t have to deal with the fanatics of Darwinism. In this post I return to fine-tuning and why God is the only plausible explanation. If you want to challenge an Atheist or Agnostic with science, you might start with the fine-tuning of the universe.

Embedded in the laws of physics are dozens of fixed numbers—“constants”—that have been measured by experiment. Examples include the ratio of the weight of the electron to the weight of the proton, the energy density of space, and the strength of the gravitational force. These numbers create the structure of our universe.

Scientists have found that these and many other constants of physics are set with fantastic precision to allow life to exist. If they were just slightly different, by the tiniest bit, there would be no life.

Gravity is a good example. If gravity were slightly weaker, the universe would have expanded too fast, and stars and planets would not have formed. If gravity were slightly stronger, the universe would have collapsed, and again no life. It turns out that the permitted variation is less than one part in 1060—less than one part in a number with 60 zeros. If you had a ball of 1060 marbles, it would be 600 trillion miles in diameter. You put in it one million trillion balls the size of our solar system. What are the odds that you could blindly reach in and pick out the one special marble that would allow life to exist?

Lists vary, but at least 30 constants of physics are “fine-tuned” for life, some to even more fantastic precision. It has been compared to walking into a control room for the universe and finding that all the dials had been set exactly for life. You would not think it was a lucky accident. The most likely explanation would be that some intelligent being had adjusted the dials.

Fine-tuning is accepted by almost all top scientists. Here’s Atheist Stephen Hawking:

The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of 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 finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.

Physicist Freeman Dyson writes:

The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.

How do we explain fine-tuning? These constants can only be measured by experiment; they are independent and not derived from a formula. Does fine-tuning reveal a designer God, a magnificent Creator, or did we just get very lucky?

Those who deny God usually claim the latter. They imagine an infinite number of universes, each with different constants of physics. If that is true, they say, then in some of those universes the constants are set to allow life, and since we are life, in our universe the constants of physics are set just right. They call this unwieldy collection of universes the “multiverse”.

Although scientists write articles about the multiverse, this theory of a multiverse is not scientific in any way. It cannot be proven, measured, or observed. There is no scientific evidence the multiverse exists, and there never will be. By definition, we can only measure and observe things in our universe.

The multiverse theory has other problems. In 2003, three leading scientists proved that, even if it exists, the multiverse cannot be infinite. That makes it hard to ignore fine-tuning, and leads to a second question— if there must be a first universe, who but God could have caused the first universe to exist?

Another problem is that multiverse fans imagine some sort of universe-generating machine that creates new universes. But any machine or mechanism capable of building universes would itself have to be impossibly fine-tuned. A bakery is more complex than a loaf of bread. So the multiverse actually doesn’t eliminate the need for fine-tuning, it just pushes it back one level to an imaginary mechanism that creates new universes.

Scientists have found that the laws of physics themselves, and the properties of space, are also set precisely to allow life to exist. Why does the force of gravity exist so that matter will gather into clumps? Why is there an electrical force to power the reactions and machines in our body? Why are there nuclear forces so that atoms can form? Why do we have three directions of space? In a universe with two space dimensions (like an endless sheet of paper), the necessary connections of life could not be made, and in a universe with four or more space dimensions (don’t even try to imagine this!) gravity and electromagnetism would not follow the inverse square law (the force is weaker in proportion to the square of the distance), and planets and electrons would not have stable orbits. Are we supposed to imagine a universe-generating machine powerful enough to change the laws of physics and the dimensions of space?

Fine-tuning is a scientific fact. The only plausible explanation is God. Here’s a cute video:

Thanks for reading.

Fine-Tuning Video

This week I thought I’d share with you a great (and short!) video on the fine-tuning of the universe. Please click here: I think you will enjoy it.

The video shows how many important constants of physics (the video doesn’t say how many, but perhaps 31) are just about perfect for life, and that a small change in any of these constants would result in a universe without life. One example in the video (and in my book) is gravity. If the gravitational constant were a little bit stronger the universe would have collapsed in on itself. If it were a little bit weaker the universe would have expanded too rapidly and stars and planets would not have formed. How narrow is the range where life can exist? The video notes (I explain this on pages 76 and 77 of my book) that a change in the gravitational constant of one part in 1060 would make life impossible. That’s mind-bogglingly precise. It’s like shooting a rocket from Earth so precisely that it hangs in Earth’s gravitational field for billions of years, on the edge between falling back to Earth and escaping to space. To get 1060 marbles, you need a ball of marbles stretching 50 light years in each direction, past the Sun, past the Solar System, past dozens of nearby stars; a huge ball 600,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter. I’m told that Stephen Hawking developed the formula on which this calculation is based. What are the chances of blindly reaching into a pile of marbles 600,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter and picking out a specified, “marked” marble? Not likely, that’s for sure! Even Hawking admits this is “a remarkable fact”!

Design or accident? Next week we’ll look at the “God Theorem”; which proves you can’t try to explain this away with an infinite number of universes.

Thanks for reading.