Monday, May 16, 2011

Has Science Found God’s Fingerprints on the Control Panel of the Universe?

Have scientists examining the laws of nature found the hidden hand of the Creator?

In recent decades, scientists have discovered a multitude of freakish coincidences in nature which have worked together to bring about a universe suitable for intelligent human life to evolve. And against stupefying, astronomical odds.

Consider: The force of gravity is just what it has to be, with very little tolerance for deviation. But gravity could have had an infinite number of alternative strengths. Or consider the force holding together the nucleuses of atoms (the so-called “strong force”); it has exactly the properties it must have for atoms to form correctly.

In fact, thousands of these so-called “anthropic” (human-friendly) coincidences have been discovered, and more are turning up all the time. Water, essential to life, “happens” to be liquid at temperatures that are most favorable to life.

Had one or another of these natural forces or phenomena varied by even the smallest of margins, a chain-reaction of consequences would have taken place, “fouling up” the requirements for a universe in which intelligent human life could evolve. The cosmos is like an extremely complicated Rube Goldberg machine, where every part must be just so to get the rolling ball from one end to the other.

Scientist Paul Davies commented: “It is hard to resist the temptation that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out…” Davies adds: “The seeming miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design.”

Indeed, to say that this incredibly fined-turned universe got from the Big Bang all the way to us without a blueprint, by sheer accident, would be like saying that an explosion at an electronics factory could accidentally produce a mistake-proof, functioning circuit board.

Or, would it be saying that, after all? The skeptics, actually, have counter-attacked.

Although scientists all agree that this universe is uncannily human-friendly – against mind-numbing odds, not everyone sees God’s fingerprints on the levers and the buttons of the cosmic machinery.

Among other things, the dissenters argue that our universe is just one of staggeringly many such universes in an inconceivably large “multi-verse.” The forces of nature, some argue, are randomly generated in each universe, and ours happens to be one of the very few universes in which things accidentally worked out just right. (In another universe, for example, the force of gravity may have randomly been generated at 1,000 times the strength of our gravity during that universe’s Big Bang.) Therefore, if we had not won a stupendous cosmic lottery by accident, we wouldn’t be here now to be asking these questions about our shockingly human-friendly universe.

So the debate continues.