The Fine Tuning of The Earth & The Universe
The universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and the Earth-Moon system seems to display signs of Intelligent Design. Hundreds of things had to be just right in our universe in order for advanced life to exist. I will list about 25 of them in this blog post, though what you are about to read only scratches the surface of all the things that had to be just so to make life habitable in our galaxy and solar system and on our planet. When one calculates the probability of all these things coming together on their own, one finds that the explanation of chance is implausible and that an alternative explanation, namely Intelligent Design, is more plausible.
Richard Deem from GodandScience.org wrote an article mentioning some of these things. The following text in italics is from Richard Deem's article on the local fine tuning. Richard Deem of godandscience.org wrote:
"The earth is titled on its axis at an angle of 23.5°. This is important, because it accounts for the seasons. Two factors impact the progression of seasons. The most important is the location of land masses on the earth. Nearly all of the continental land mass is located in the Northern Hemisphere. Since land has a higher capacity to absorb the Sun's energy, the earth is much warmer when the Northern Hemisphere is pointing towards the Sun. This happens to be the point at which the earth is farthest from the Sun (the aphelion of its orbit). If the opposite were true, the seasons on the earth would be much more severe (hotter summers and colder winters)."
"The earth has a huge moon orbiting around it, which scientists now know 1) did not bulge off due to the earth's high rotational speed and 2) could not have been captured by the earth's gravity, due to the moon's large mass. (2). The best explanation (other than outright miracle) for the moon's existence is that a Mars-sized planet crashed into the earth around 4.25 billion years ago (the age of the Moon). As you can imagine, the probability of two planets colliding in the same solar system is extremely remote. Any "normal" collision would not have resulted in the formation of the moon, since the ejecta would not have been thrown far enough from the earth to form the moon. The small planet, before it collided with the earth, must have had an unusually elliptical orbit (unlike the orbit of any other planet in the Solar System), which resulted in a virtual head-on collision. The collision of the small planet with the earth would have resulted in the ejection of 5 billion cubic miles of the earth's crust and mantle into orbit around the earth. This ring of material, the theory states, would have coalesced to form the moon. In addition, the moon is moving away from the earth (currently at 2 inches per year), as it has been since its creation. If we calculate backwards we discover that the moon must have formed just outside the Roche limit, the point at which an object would be torn apart by the earth's gravity (7,300 miles above the earth's surface). A collision which would have ejected material less than the Roche limit would have formed only rings around the earth. Computer models show that a collision of a small planet with the earth must have been very precise in order for any moon to have been formed at all (coincidence or design?)."
"Why is the moon important to life on earth? The collision of the small planet with the earth resulted in the ejection of the majority of the earth's primordial atmosphere. If this collision had not occurred, we would have had an atmosphere similar to that of Venus, which is 80 times that of the earth (equivalent to being one mile beneath the ocean). Such a thick atmosphere on Venus resulted in a runaway greenhouse affect, leaving a dry planet with a surface temperature of 800°F. The earth would have suffered a similar fate if the majority of its primordial atmosphere had not been ejected into outer space. In fact, the Earth is 20% more massive than Venus and further away from the Sun, both factors of which should have lead to a terrestrial atmosphere much thicker than that of Venus. But because of that Mars sized planet colliding with Earth, we have a very thin atmosphere - just the right density to maintain the presence of liquid, solid and gaseous water necessary to life (coincidence or design?)."
"The moon has had other beneficial affects on the earth. Scientists now know that the earth originally had a rotational period of eight hours. Such a rapid rotational period would have resulted in surface wind velocities in excess of 500 miles per hour. The gravitational tug of the moon over the last 4+ billion years has reduced the rotation period of the earth to 24 hours (likewise, the gravitational attraction of the earth on the moon has reduced its rotational period to 29 days)"
24 hour rotational speed is actually needed for life to exist on Earth. If it were 23 hours, then you would have far more deadly destructive tornadoes and hurricanes, you’d be getting them everyday, which isn’t nice for advanced life. And if it were 25 hours long then the temperature in the day time would be significantly warmer and the temperature at night would be significantly colder. The only way you could survive is if you lived in air conditioned and heated buildings and never left (obviously, too harsh for advanced life).
However, it’s not enough just to get a moon. You have to get a moon of the just right size! If the moon were formed too big, then the rotation rate would have been slowed down too much (and remember, even getting off by ONE hour is deadly, getting off by one hour too slowly results in extremely hot days and extremely cold nights) but if were not big enough, then Earth’s rotation rate would not have been slowed down enough and therefore, you’d have many, many, many tornadoes and hurricanes occurring every day. So the dust and rocky fragments ejected from the Earth by the mars sized planet had to coalesce into a moon of the just right size in order to slow the rotation rate down to that very narrow window of 24 hours.
But in order to get a moon of the just right size, the Mars sized planet that collided with the Earth had to be of the just right size, it had to hit the Earth at the just right speed, it had to be made of the just right material, and hit the Earth at the just angle in order to eject the just right amount of dust and rocky fragments from the Earth's crust into the Earth’s atmosphere in order to come together to form a moon of the just right size in order to slow the rotation rate down to the very narrow window of 24 hours.
The size of the Earth is important for life to exist as well. If the Earth is too big, then it’s gravitational pull would be so strong that any advanced life form would be crushed under it’s own body weight. You could probably have very small creatures like ants and grasshoppers but anything larger than the average insect would be crushed under it’s own body weight. Also, because the gravitational pull would be so strong, the Earth would retain methane and ammonia in its atmosphere which is poisonous for advanced life forms to breathe in. If the Earth were too small, then it’s gravity would be so weak that it would be impossible for the planet to contain large bodies of water. (coincidence or design?).
The presence of water is linked to another important factor that is required for life to exist: a planet’s distance from its home star. For life to exist, a planet must not be too close to the star (water would evaporate) or too far from the star (water would turn to ice). In our solar system, for example there is a “habitable zone” (also known as “The Goldilocks Zone”) that exists around the sun, well outside the orbit of Venus and ending short of the orbit of Mars. If you were to move the earth just 5% closer to the sun, all water would evaporate from the surface. On the other hand, if you were to move earth back just 20% from the sun, all water would freeze. While life could exist on planets under these conditions, it would not be the complex life we find here on Earth.
If the thickness of the earth’s crust were greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life impossible.
On earth, oxygen comprises 21 percent of the atmosphere. That precise figure is an Anthropic Constant that makes life on earth possible. If oxygen were 25% fires would erupt spontaneously, if it were 15%, human beings would suffocate.
Also, any planet capable of supporting advanced life must be surrounded by 4 gas giants of the just right size, and the just right distance from the planet with the advanced life forms on it. We happen to have that. They’re called Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune.
If Jupiter were not in it’s current orbit, the earth would be bombarded with space material. Jupiter’s gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum cleaner, attracting asteroids and comets that might otherwise strike Earth. If Jupiter did not exist, there would be 1,000 times more collisions of asteroids, comets and meteors with the Earth. Some meteorites do happen to slip through the cracks and hit the Earth, but these are very small and usually hit uninhabited areas like a desert or they land somewhere in the ocean. Now, Jupiter’s strong gravity either pulls the passing asteroids into itself and it takes the hit itself or it flings the asteroid out of our solar system. You know, sometimes you get hit in the chest with a soft ball, other times, you catch it and can throw it somewhere else.
Jupiter’s size must be finely tuned. Jupiter has a diameter of about 88,695 miles (142,800 kilometers) which is more than 11 times the diameter of Earth. It's volume is over 1,300 times the volume of Earth. This means that Jupiter is so big that over 1,300 Earths could fit inside of it. Jupiter is so big that it weighs two and a half times the weight of all of the other eight planets put together! Jupiter must be this size or else advanced life would either be impossible or at least extremely difficult. If it were larger than it is now, then the Earth's axis would disrupted by it's gravitational pull, causing all sorts of temperature extremes. If Jupiter were smaller, it would be insufficient to protect us from asteroids, comets, meteors and meteorites because its gravitational pull would not be strong enough to grab ahold of the asteroids and pull it into itself. We'd have about 1,000 times more cometary collisions than what we do experience, making extinction events like that which wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago incredibly common.
Jupiter must also be of the just right distance from the planet Earth. , If Jupiter were too close to the Earth then the Earth's axis would disrupted by it's gravitational pull, causing all sorts of temperature extremes.
Saturn’s size must be fine tuned. If Saturn, were too big, then its gravitational pull would disrupt the Earth’s orbital axis, causing all sorts of temperature and weather extremes. If Saturn were too small, it would be insufficient to protect us from asteroids, comets, meteors and meteorites because its gravitational pull would not be strong enough to grab ahold of the asteroids and pull it into itself.
Saturn’s distance must be just right. If Saturn were too close, then its gravitational pull would disrupt the Earth’s orbital axis, causing all sorts of temperature and weather extremes. If Saturn were too small, it would be insufficient to protect us from asteroids because its gravitational pull would not be strong enough to grab a hold of the asteroids and pull it into itself.
Uranus’ size must be just right. If Uranus were too big, the Earth’s axis would be thrown out of whack. Too small, and it would be an insufficient asteroid shield.
Uranus must be of the just right distance in order for advanced life to exist. If Uranus were too close, the Earth’s axis would be thrown out of whack. Too far away, and it would be an insufficient asteroid shield.
For life to exist,
Neptune must be of
the just right size. If Neptune were too big, the
Earth’s axis would be thrown out of whack. Too small, and it would be an
insufficient asteroid shield.
For life to exist,
Neptune must be of
the just right distance from the Earth. If Neptune were
too close, the Earth’s axis would be thrown out of whack. Too far away, and it
would be an insufficient asteroid shield.
Mars and Venus play a role in protecting the Earth from Asteroids in the Asteroid Belt. The asteroids are mostly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Our first line of defense is Mars, being at the edge of the asteroid belt, it takes a lot of the hits for us. Venus does too. If you want to get an idea of the stuff that would probably have hit the Earth, look at the surface of the moon. The moon unfortunately has too little surface area to provide much protection, but it’s a nice record. Besides, the moon serves plenty of other purposes as I have shown above.
If there were more seismic activity, much more life would be lost; if there were less, nutrients on the ocean floors and in river runoff would not be cycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift. (yes, even earthquakes are necessary to sustain life as we know it).
In addition to all of this, in order for life to exist on a planet, it has to have a star just like ours. Our star is categorized as a Spectral Type G2 Dwarf, Main Sequence Star. If our sun was less massive, like 90% of the stars in the galaxy, the “habitable zone” orbit would be smaller and much closer to the sun. To remain within the boundaries of the “habitable zone” the earth would have to be much closer as well. If this were the case, the gravitational pull of the sun would halt the orbit of the planet and we would have a hot side (always facing the sun and too hot for life) and a cold side (always facing away from the sun and too cold for life)! The perfect size and type of star is required for life to exist here on Earth!
Hugh Ross lists 66 of these parameters in his book “The Creator and The Cosmos”. There’s actually more than 66 of the things that need to be just right for life (I think he said there was over 200 of them) but he lists 66 of them. Dr. Ross said that of all 66 of the local parameters (not taking in account the universal fine tuning like the strong and weak nuclear forces and the gravitational and electromagnetic forces), the odds of all the local parameters coming together by chance alone, he says, is 1 chance in 10 to the 144th power!
And there is certain fine tuning that effects the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!
1. STRONG NUCLEAR FORCE CONSTANT (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 30)
If larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry.
If smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry.
2. WEAK NUCLEAR FORCE CONSTANT (Tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 100)
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible.
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible.
3. GRAVITATIONAL FORCE CONSTANT (Tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 36)
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry.
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form.
4. ELECTRO MAGNETIC FORCE CONSTANT (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 40)
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission.
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry.
5. RATIO OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FORCE CONSTANT TO GRAVITATIONAL FORCE CONSTANT (tuned to 1 in 10 to the 40)
if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support.
if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements.
6. RATIO OF ELECTRON TO PROTON MASS (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 37)
if larger or smaller: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry.
One part in 10 to the 37 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 billions of 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
7. RATIO OF NUMBER OF PROTONS, NUMBER OF ELECTRONS (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 37)
if larger: electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation.
if smaller: same as above.
8. EXPANSION RATE OF THE UNIVERSE (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 60)
if faster: Gravity would not have the opportunity to collect gas and condense it into galaxies stars and planets. And in such a universe, life would be impossible. The universe would be forever nothing but disperse gas.
if slower: Gravity would work at such an efficient level that it would pull all space, matter and energy backwards and the universe would collapse in on itself.
9. ENTROPY LEVEL OF THE UNIVERSE (tuned to 1 Part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 123)
if larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxies would form.
“It’s so special that the odds against the special initial state coming about by chance are less than one part in 10 to the power, 10 to the power 123. So if you try to write this out 100000… with this number of zeros you’d try to put one zero on every particle of the observable universe you’d be way short, you’d never do it that way. That’s not enough room to put all the zeros in so.” – Rodger Penrose, Astrophysicist
10. MASS DENSITY OF THE UNIVERSE (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 59)
if larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form.
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements
11. VELOCITY OF LIGHT
if faster: stars would be too luminous for life support
if slower: stars would be insufficiently luminous for life support.
12. AGE OF THE UNIVERSE
if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would exist in the right (for life) part of the galaxy .
if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed.
13. INITIAL UNIFORMITY OF RADIATION
if more uniform: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed.
if less uniform: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space.
14. AVERAGE DISTANCE BETWEEN GALAXIES
if larger: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material.
if smaller: gravitational tug-of-wars would destabilize the sun's orbit.
15. DENSITY OF GALAXY CLUSTER
if denser: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt the sun's orbit.
if less dense: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material.
16. AVERAGE DISTANCE BETWEEN STARS
if larger: heavy element density would be too sparse for rocky planets to form.
if smaller: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life.
17. FINE STRUCTURE CONSTANT (describing the fine-structure splitting of spectral lines) if larger: all stars would be at least 30% less massive than the sun if larger than 0.06: matter would be unstable in large magnetic fields.
if smaller: all stars would be at least 80% more massive than the sun.
18. DECAY RATE OF PROTONS
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation.
if lesser: universe would contain insufficient matter for life.
19. 12C TO 16O NUCLEAR ENERGY LEVEL RATIO
if larger: universe would contain insufficient oxygen for life.
if smaller: universe would contain insufficient carbon for life.
20. GROUND STATE LEVEL FOR 4Helium.
if larger: universe would contain insufficient carbon and oxygen for life
if smaller: same as above.
21. DECAY RATE OF 8Be
if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars.
if faster: no element heavier than beryllium would form; thus, no life chemistry.
22. RATIO OF ELECTRON TO PROTON MASS
if higher: neutron decay would yield too few neutrons for the formation of many life essential elements.
if lower: neutron decay would produce so many neutrons as to collapse all stars into neutron stars or black holes.
23. INITIAL EXCESS OF NUCLEONS OVER ANTI-NUCLEONS
if greater: radiation would prohibit planet formation.
if lesser: matter would be insufficient for galaxy or star formation.
24. Polarity Of The Water Molecule
if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too high for life.
if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too low for life; liquid water would not work as a solvent for life chemistry; ice would not float, and a runaway freeze-up would result.
25. SUPERNOVA ERUPTIONS
if too close, too frequent, or too late: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
if too distant, too infrequent, or too soon: heavy elements would be too sparse for rocky planets to form.
26. WHITE DWARF BINARIES
if too few: insufficient fluorine would exist for life chemistry.
if too many: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life.
if formed too soon: insufficient fluorine production if formed too late: fluorine would arrive too late for life chemistry
27. ratio of exotic matter mass to ordinary matter mass
if larger: universe would collapse before solar-type stars could form.
if smaller: no galaxies would form.
28. THE COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT (tuned to 1 part in 10 to the 120th)
If Larger: The Universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars.
If these things were altered even by the SLIGHTEST bit, life would not be possible. It's unlikely even one of these physical constants would be exactly right, but they ALL have to be exactly right. Remember, I too am open to the fact that perhaps maybe 1 or 2 could have been finely tuned, but ALL of them? And I haven't even listed all of the constants available. The odds are against even ONE of these things to be at just the right quantity, but taken together, the odds are statistically speaking, IMPOSSIBLE!
Once you add up the epistemic improbabilities of ALL of these constants and quantities falling into just the right level of power…so that advanced life could exist, you have the same odds of getting a life permitting as someone who randomly picked a marked dime out of a pile that’s 7-8 times larger than our observable universe. Heck, the chances of both the force of gravity and the cosmological constant being just right for life…is the same chance of picking SPECIFIC atom out of the entire known universe! There are 10 to the 240th atoms in the universe.
Now it seems to me we have only 3 options in what could be the cause behind these remarkable settings in which our existence depends on.
My argument can be summed up as follows:
1: The Fine Tuning of the universe is either due to physical necessity, chance or design.
2: It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3: Therefore, it is due to design.
Physical necessity is the hypothesis that the constants and quantities had to have the values they do, so that the universe is of physical necessity life-permitting. Now on the face of it this alternative is extraordinarily implausible. It requires us to believe that a life-prohibiting universe is physically impossible. But surely it does seem possible. If the primordial matter and anti-matter had been differently proportioned, if the universe had expanded just a little more slowly, if the entropy of the universe were marginally greater, any of these adjustments and more would have prevented a life-permitting universe, yet all seem perfectly possible physically. The person who maintains that the universe must be life-permitting is taking a radical line which requires strong proof. But there isn’t any; this alternative is simply put forward as a bare possibility.
As P. C. W. Davies states,
“Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn't follow that the physical universe itself is unique…the laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions…there is nothing in present ideas about 'laws of initial conditions' remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it…it seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise.”
Then…could it be….the result of chance? Well, If you scroll up, you’ll see that the odds of even the cosmological constant and the force of gravity both falling into the very narrow life permitting range has the same odds of getting a blind folded person to find one specific atom out of all of the atoms in our universe, and when you add all the other physical constants, improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.
1: The Fine Tuning of the universe is either due to physical necessity, chance or design.
2: It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3: Therefore, it is due to design.
Given the truth of the 2 premises, the conclusion logically and necessarily follows.