THE MIRACLE OF FINE TUNING
Four fundamental forces come into play, both in the cosmos and in the infinite smallness of atomic structures. Elements vital for our life, such as carbon, oxygen, and iron, could not exist if it were not for the fine tuning of the four forces evident in the universe. These four forces are;
1. Electromagnetism – the key attracting force between protons and electrons, allowing molecules to form.
2. Gravity – a very weak force on the level of atoms. It affects large objects - planets, stars, galaxies.
3. Strong Nuclear Force – The force that glues protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom.
4. Weak Nuclear Force – The force that governs the decay of radioactive elements and the efficient thermonuclear activity of the sun.
ELECTROMAGNETISM AND GRAVITY; If the electromagnetism force was significantly weaker electrons would not be held around the nucleus of an atom. This is vital fine tuning because it allows atoms to combine as molecules. Conversely, if this force was much stronger electrons would be trapped on the nucleus of an atom. There could be no chemical reactions between atoms – meaning no life. It is clear that our existence and life depend on the fine tuning of the electromagnetic force.
Consider the cosmic scale; A slight difference in the electromagnetic force would affect the sun’s internal reactions and thus alter the light reaching the Earth, therefore making photosynthesis in plants difficult or impossible. It could also rob water of its unique properties, which are critical for life. The precise tuning of the electromagnetic force determines whether we live or not.
Equally important is the intensity of the electromagnetic force in relation to the other three forces. For example, some physicists figure this force to be 1040 (That is 10 with 40 zeros after it) times that of gravity. It might seem a small change to add one more zero (1041). Yet that would mean that gravity is proportionally weaker, and Dr. Bernard Breuer comments on the resulting situation, “With lower gravity the stars would be smaller and the pressure of gravity in their interiors would not drive the temperature high enough for nuclear fusion reactions to get underway – the sun would be unable to shine.”
What if gravity was stronger proportionally, so that the number had only 39 zeros (1039)? “With just this tiny adjustment,” continues Breuer, “a star like the sun would find its life expectancy sharply reduced.” Other scientists consider the fine tuning to be even more precise. Two remarkable qualities of our sun and other stars are their long term efficiency and stability. The key forces are precisely tuned with each other and optimised for longer life.
THE TWO NUCLEAR FORCES; The structure of the universe involves much more than the fine tuning of just gravity and the electromagnetic force. Two other physical forces also relate to our life.
These two forces operate in the nucleus of an atom, and they give ample evidence of forethought. Consider the strong nuclear force, which glues protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom. Because of this bonding various elements can form – light ones such as helium and oxygen and heavy ones such as gold or lead. It seems that if this bonding force were a mere 2% weaker, only hydrogen would exist. Conversely, if this force were slightly stronger only heavier elements, but no hydrogen, could be found. If the universe lacked hydrogen, our sun would not have the fuel it needs to radiate life-giving energy.
The forth force, weak nuclear force, controls radioactive decay. It also affects thermonuclear activity in our sun. Is this force finetuned? Mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson explains, “The weak force is millions of times weaker than the stronger nuclear force. It is just weak enough so that the hydrogen in the sun burns at a slow and steady rate. If the weak force were much stronger, any forms of life dependant on sun like stars would be in difficulties. This precise rate of burning keeps our Earth warm – but not incinerated.”
Furthermore, scientists believe that the weak force plays a role in the supernova explosions, which give us the mechanism for producing and distributing most elements. “If those nuclear forces were in any way slightly different than how they actually are, the stars would be incapable of making elements of which you and I are composed,” explains physicist John Polkinghorne.
All around us we see evidence that nature got it just right. Where does this precision and fine tuning come from?
EARTHS IDEAL FEATURES; Our Earth is just the right size for our existence. If Earth was slightly larger its gravity would be stronger and hydrogen, a light gas, would collect, being unable to escape the Earth’s gravity. Thus, the atmosphere would be inhospitable to life. A smaller Earth would mean life sustaining oxygen would escape and surface water would evaporate.
The Earth is also an ideal distance from the sun. Prof. David L. Block notes; “Calculations show that had the Earth been situated only 5% closer to the sun, a runaway greenhouse effect (overheating the Earth) would have occurred about 4,000 million years ago. One percent further would mean runaway glaciations and ice covering much of the globe around 2,000 million years ago.”
The daily 24 hour rotation of our planet helps moderate temperatures. Venus takes 243 days to rotate – we would not survive the extreme temperatures under those conditions.
The following quote is from “The Universe, Its Beginning and End” Lloyd Motz pages 277, 278.
“The Earth’s orbit around the Sun departs from a straight line only by a minute amount according to Earthly standards; for every 18.5 miles (30 kilometres) that the Earth moves in a forward direction in its orbit, it is deflected one ninth of an inch (2.7mm) toward the Sun by the Sun’s gravitational pull. Although that ninth of an inch may appear very tiny and inconsequential, it plays a very crucial role in man’s life... it is not to be tampered with. Change the ninth of an inch to a larger number, such as an eighth (3.1mm) or seventh (3.5mm) of an inch, and we would be too close to the Sun for comfort. Decreasing that ninth of an inch to a tenth (2.5mm) or eleventh (2.2mm) of an inch would take the Earth too far away from the sun and bring on an ice age.” Fine tuning indeed!
The location of our solar system within the galaxy is extremely fortunate. Nearer the centre of the galaxy the gravitational forces of neighbouring stars would distort Earth’s orbit. Being positioned between two of the galactic spiral arms is a safe place to be because space is a hostile environment. Our location within our solar system allows Earth to have a molten metal core which enables Earth’s magnetic fields to exist and these fields deflect harmful radiation from the sun. We are largely protected from collisions with space material by the gravitational pull of the nearby giant gas planets – Jupiter and Venus. These attract space debris away from Earth. Being situated nearer the edge of the galaxy would interfere with the starlight beauty of the night sky.
If the Sun was bigger or closer, then the additional gravitational pull would mean the same side of Earth would always face the Sun. This would result in one side boiling and one side freezing. (This is the affect the Earth has on the Moon which always has the same side facing Earth.)
The size of the moon perfectly matches the mass of the Earth so that it can stabilize the Earth’s tilt and create tidal movements and gentle ocean currents.
The fine tuning contained within a single living cell is beyond comprehension. Volumes could be written on the microscopic fine tuning within a cell that enables lifeless minerals and matter to become alive with the ability of reproduction, information storage, intercellular co-operation etc.
The amount of fine tuning evidence is endless and compelling. The probability of this exquisite design and order being the handy work of a super intelligence (i.e. God) is powerful. It is beyond any relationship with “chance or luck.” But if God is not considered as the Creator of our charmed planet and all its life forms then the only other explanation ever offered is “chance.”
“Chance and chance alone did it all!”
said Nobel laureate Christian de Duve.
So what exactly is “chance?” The word “chance” is not normally regarded as a scientific term. When it comes to the origin of the universe and its precise design, the inspirational fine tuning, or the miracle of life, then probability strongly indicates intelligent input rather than undirected blind chance. Intelligent outcomes require intelligence. So the statement “Chance and chance alone did it all” cannot be referring to “chance or luck” as a consequence of mathematical probability.
No, “chance” is being presented as a substitute for the more scientific word, “cause.”
Science is about “Cause and Effect.”
When it comes to a scientific explanation for such perfection in the “fine tuning” of our universe, the “cause” is clearly unknown. It is then that “chance” is offered as the “cause.” By suggesting the universe and life evolved via “chance,” incorrectly elevates “What is Unknown” to the scientific status of a “creative principle.”
We need to remember – when the word “chance” is used as a means of explanation it simply exposes that there is no knowledge or clue as to how or why things are as they are.
It is increasingly evident that the “Chance” explanation used to explain the unexplained is increasingly revealed as a rather desperate denial of “God the Creator.”
[The information presented in this article has
been collected from a variety of sources.]