Our universe is perfectly tailored for life. That may be the work of God or the result of our universe being one of many. by Tim Folger Published online November 10, 2008.
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by Tim Folger
Published online November 10, 2008
A Fine Tuned Cosmos: Illusion, God, or Multiple Universes?David HeddleChristopher Newport UniversityThomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory
“If there is only one universe, you might have to have a fine-tuner. If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.” (Bernard Carr)
Big bang, Cosmological Constant
Fine Tuning: Observation that complex life of any kind† would be impossible anywhere in the universe if the values of physical constants differed by small amounts.
Example: If the universe expanded faster, stars could not have formed. If slower, the universe would have recollapsed. No stars means no life of any kind.
† Based on the modest assumption that life of any kind requires stars to produce heavy elements, and that complex life requires water.
† Although most would argue that the fine-tuning is “apparent.” That is, the universe was not actively fine tuned by an intelligence.
One universe or many universes?
“everyone” accepts this
We are lucky
There is only one universe
Our Universe is fine-tuned
It’s an illusion
Many universes (multiverse) each with different constants
Our universe “appears” fine tuned because if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be here
† That is, the original autographs. We affirm biblical inerrancy along the lines of the Chicago Statement.
We should not make snap judg-ments about which side is wrong
As a result of human error on either/both sides, these can be in conflict
Three competing explanations…
“Despite our best efforts to [avoid] chauvinism and to seek out other [chemistries] for life, we are forced to conclude that water is the best of all possible solvents, and carbon compounds are apparently the best of all possible carriers of complex information.”
John Lewis, Planetary Scientist (Univ. of Arizona)
“If you want physicists (or any other life forms) you need carbon.”
Robert Dicke, Astrophysicist, (Princeton University)
Better, but step 2 is too slow, unless… Hoyle made an anthropic argument. We’re here, so somehow C12 gets produced. What would help is a unknown “excited” state of Carbon.
Hoyle predicted the state on the basis that we are here. It was later discovered.
Carbon is made inside stars. One way:
He4 + He4+He4 → C12
Unlikely (3 He have to meet.) Maybe:
Step 1: He4 + He4 → Be8Step 2: He4 + Be8 → C12
Net Result: Carbon and Oxygen produced
abundantly, and in comparable amounts
“A superintellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as the chemistry and biology.”
Fred Hoyle, Astrophysicist, The Universe: Past and Present Reflections", Ann.Rev. Ast. and Astrophys. 20, 1982, p. 16.
Hoyle also reported that his atheism was “greatly shaken” by the discovery that carbon just manages to form and then avoids complete conversion into oxygen.
The Little Prince’s “universe” is not flat
c o l d
† OK, that’s debatable. The other two “best evidences” for the standard Big Bang model are Hubble’s Law and the abundance of light elements.
Background fluctuationsaccount for galaxies (with fine-tuning of 10-6)†
This is a picture of the universe when light separated at 0.3 Million Years
† Problem: Such uniformity requires superluminal communication. Solved by introducing “cosmic inflation”—1050 size increase in 10-32 s
“The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.”
Arno A. Penzias, Nobel Laureate
(Physics), and co-discoverer of
the Cosmic Background Radiation
“Philosophically the notion of a beginning of the present order is repugnant to me. I should like to find a genuine loophole. I simply do not believe the present order of things started off with a bang …the expanding Universe is preposterous… it leaves me cold… We [must] allow evolution an infinite time to get started.”
Sir Arthur Eddington, astronomer
In 1998, the Cosmological Constant was awarded the “breakthrough of the year” by the journal Science.
Dark Matter passed a recent experimental test (2006)
Dark Energy (L)
Dark Energy (L) explains the universe’s flatness. It must be comparable to the matter contribution (it can’t be too small)
If Lis too big, space would be too curved and stars and galaxies would not exist (expansion too fast)†
†Not to mention we would all be vampires.
Some unknown fine-tuning gets us from here to here
without stopping here (notionally)
or proceeding to there
“Our current understanding of gravity and quantum mechanics says that empty space should have about 120 orders of magnitude more energy than the amount we measure it to have. That is 1 with 120 zeroes after it! How to reduce the amount it has by such a huge magnitude, without making it precisely zero, is a complete mystery. Among physicists, this is considered the worst fine-tuning problem in physics.”
Lawrence Krauss, Cosmologist, Sci. Am., Aug. 2004, pp. 83-84.
1 The details of these six dimensions determine the physical constants
2 J.D. Barrow, “Dimensionality”, Phil. Trans. Royal Soc of London A310 (1983) p, 341
“The possibility of life as we know it depends on the values of a few basic physical constants and is, in some respects remarkably sensitive to their numerical values. Nature does exhibit remarkable coincidences.”
Martin Rees, Cosmologist, Cambridge University
1 Barrow and Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. Oxford Univ. Press, (1986) 322.
2 H. Oberhummer, A. Cst, and H. Schlattl, Stellar Production Rates of Carbon and Its Abundance in the Universe, Science 289 (2000): 88-90.
“The present arrangement of matter indicates a very special choice of initial conditions… The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly.”
Paul Davies, Professor of theoretical physics, Adelaide University
1 Related to convection/radiative heat transfer. Balance related to (a/G)20. B. Carter, Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology, M. S. Longair, ed., (1974) pp, 291-298.
“The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”
Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 10th ed., p. 129.
“The universe, in some sense, must have known we were coming”
Freeman Dyson, Theoretical Physicist, Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies
? (electrons become nucleus)
Unstable relativistic atoms
We are here
For every 10 billion antiparticles created by the big bang, there were 10 billion plus 1 particles—this minute excess of particles accounts for the matter in the universe. If the excess was:
• smaller: not enough matter in the universe
• larger: too much radiation trapped—no stars (and diamonds aren’t forever)
massive that the proton.
about seven times as many protons
What happened? An object the size of Mars collided with the young (250 My) earth, and mostly absorbed into the core. The collision blasted most of the original overly-thick atmosphere into space. The cloud of debris coalesced into the moon.
Belbruno and Gott, The Ast. J., 129, 1724-1745, 2005
1 A new calculation shows that if the moon were slightly bigger, the earth-moon system
would go unstable. See Dave Waltham, Astrobiology4, No. 4: 460-468 (2004)
There are ~101000 String Theory solutions each → a different universe with different constants
Q: If we do not accept the landscape idea are we stuck with intelligent design?A: If, for some unforeseen reason, the [Multiverse] turns out to be inconsistent - I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world. But I have to say that if that happens, as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature's fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics. One might argue that the hope that a mathematically unique solution will emerge is as faith-based as ID.
Leonard Susskind, Physics Professor, Stanford University, author of The Cosmic Landscape.
Is the universe also fine-tuned for doing science?
Because of accelerated expansion, we’re in an era of maximal observability. Distant galaxies will begin to “blink off”; their light will no longer be able to reach our telescopes.
This is the first time in cosmic history that light from the most distant galaxies has reached the Milky Way—G. Veneziamo, Sci. Am., May 2004
No: our location is privileged.
Our moon (at this moment in history) provides for almost perfect solar eclipses.
Solar eclipses provided the first test of General Relativity.
Study of the chromosphere, made possible by solar eclipses, has benefited our knowledge of astrophysics.
The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun. It is (presently) 400 times closer.
The sun’s spectrum peaks near yellow
Evolution explains why our eyes are most sensitive to (near) yellow
It does not explain, however, the lucky coincidence that our atmosphere is also(narrowly)transparent—which permitted the development of science
Our atmosphere is transparent in the narrow visible range, where the sun’s intensity peaks
There are really only three choices:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been waiting there for centuries.”
Robert Jastrow, astronomer, in
God and the Astronomers, W. W. Norton, p. 116, (1978).