(12 Minute Read)
“Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:”
Before Einstein and Edwin Hubble nobody really understood if the universe had a beginning. Back then the common materialist scientific consensus was that the universe was eternal. The scientific pressure of the time was so great that it even made Einstein "dumb himself" down. When solving his theory of general relativity he realised that it pointed towards the universe expanding. He knew this implied a beginning so he added a new factor called the cosmological constant and gave it a value that would make the universe static. Then, Edwin Hubble invited Einstein to California to view his new findings. Edwin had discovered multiple galaxies, the further away the faster they were moving as demonstrated by a red shift. This led him to the ultimate conclusion that the universe appears to have a beginning as demonstrated by the expansion. After observing, Einstein said "I now see the necessity for a beginning". This statement was later confirmed by the late Stephen Hawkings as he stated on his website "The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago."
At an eyes view, looking at the universe and observing life is very simple. We are surrounded by laws of physics but never stop to think about the significance of them. What would life be like if the laws that govern our universe were different? Well, it turns out.. you wouldn't be asking that question if they were. This all started in 1961, when Robert H. Dicke proposed that the forces in physics must be fine-tuned for life to exist in the universe at all. So, what are some of these forces and what makes them so great?
The Cosmological Constant
We are going to get right to the point, the cosmological constant (also referred to as dark energy) is the energy density of space. This means that this is the underlying background energy throughout the whole universe that is responsible for an accelerated expansion. Until about 1990, most physicist believed the value of this constant was equal to zero. Then, in 1998 when they discovered that the expanding universe is actually accelerating it showed dark energy had a nonzero value. Dark energy makes it appear as two bodies of mass repel each other, while gravity is like a break on this repelling action. This has a major impact on life. Astronomer (PhD, University of Toronto) Hugh Ross speaks of dark energy in his book The Creator & The Cosmos and explains the fine tuning significance on page 54:
"A fine-tuning measure of one part in 10122 ranks as the most spectacular fine-tuning measurement so far achieved by scientists. This fine-tuning is 1043 times more exquisite than someone blindfolded, with just one try, randomly picking out a single marked proton from all the protons existing within the entire extent of the observable universe!"
To put this into perspective, one part in 10122 means if the cosmological constant was off by just one in one hundred novemtrigintillion life would not be possible. Still confusing? 10100 is a googol. One part in a googol is:
Now that you can visually see how big a googol is imagine how much bigger 10122 is. Now that you understand the fine-tuning of this constant, let's discuss what would happen if it was off by just one part. Dark energy determined the amount of primordial hydrogen that was converted into helium in the process of nuclear fusion. Just in the first few minutes of the universe, if too little helium was produced future stars would not be able to manufacture heavier elements than helium. If too much helium was produced then future stars would convert most of their hydrogen and helium into heavy elements such as iron. Either way, the amount of carbon, phosphorus, oxygen, and potassium would be insufficient to produce physical life. To get galaxies, stars, or planets demands the extreme fine tuning of the cosmic expansion rate. The importance of the fine-tuning is the need for the universe to expand at just right rates throughout the history of the universe. If the universe expanded too quickly from the creation event, gas and dust wouldn't have been collected by gravity to form stars and galaxies. If it expanded too slowly, gravity would have collapsed everything into black holes and neutron stars. Gravity and dark energy must work with each other perfectly so the universe can expand at the right rate to get the necessary elements for life, and so galaxies can form without being ripped apart by dark energy. Today, the space between massive bodies in a contained system (our solar system) stay together as gravity is stronger. Different solar systems that are separated by empty space are moving away from each other as the empty space is accelerating and bringing these galaxies and solar systems along for a ride. While dark energy isn't strong enough (yet) to rip close bodies of mass away from each other, it is for bodies that are separated by a considerably large distance. 95% of the physical universe is invisible to us. Evidence from supernovae, cosmic microwave background, the theory of large scale structure, late-time integrated sachs-wolfe effect, and observational hubble constant data is the reason dark energy is widely accepted. There is also dark matter, which has much more observational evidence as objects in spinning galaxies would literally fly off into space if dark matter did not exist. In fact, if dark matter is proven not to exist that would mean Einsteins prevailing theory of gravity (general relativity) does not exist. It is very unlikely dark energy and dark matter do not exist.
"most scientists think the dark matter is dominated by a non-baryonic (not ordinary protons or neutrons) component, which is likely composed of a currently unknown fundamental particle." -Wiki
Lawrence Krauss, a famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is a huge critic for creationism commented on dark energy in the Astrophysical Journal stating it "would involve the most extreme fine-tuning problem known to physics." Furthermore in the journal Physics Letters B a team of physicists including Florian Bauer, Joan Sola, and Hrvoje Stefancic wrote "The cosmological constant (CC) problem is the biggest enigma of theoretical physics ever." Clearly, even minds that are non religious appreciate the fine-tuning of the cosmological constant. Please watch a few minutes of the video below to hear Lawrence Krauss speaking of this:
Evidence For Cosmological Constant
Some creationist and scientist don't like the idea of a cosmological constant so they try to deny it. On one hand, it shows the universe was designed.. on the other it shows the universe is not young. Let's observe the most compelling evidence and decide if it's more likely for an accelerating cosmic expansion rate to exists. This evidence has been compiled by many astronomers (including Hugh Ross) and submitted to wikipedia, below we have made minor adjustments to their article to help simplify what is being explained:
Baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) are fluctuations in the density of the visible baryonic matter (normal matter classified as a subatomic particle, such as a nucleon or hyperon, that has a mass equal to or greater than that of a proton) of the universe on large scales. These fluctuations are predicted to arise in the standard accepted big bang cosmological model known as the Lambda-CDM model which relies majorly on dark energy. The occurrence is due to acoustic oscillations in the photon-baryon fluid of the early universe, and can be observed in the cosmic microwave background angular power spectrum. BAOs set up a preferred length scale for baryons. As the dark matter and baryons clumped together after recombination, the effect is much weaker in the galaxy distribution in the nearby universe, but is detectable as a subtle (≈1 percent) preference for pairs of galaxies to be separated by 147 Mpc (unit of length used in astronomy), compared to those separated by 130 or 160 Mpc. This feature was predicted theoretically in the 1990s and then discovered in 2005, in two large galaxy redshift surveys, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey. Combining the CMB observations with BAO measurements from galaxy redshift surveys provides a precise estimate of the Hubble constant and the average matter density in the Universe. The results support the Lambda-CDM model." - WIki
Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) "Although both dark matter and ordinary matter are matter, they do not behave in the same way. In particular, in the early universe, ordinary matter was ionized and interacted strongly with radiation via Thomson scattering(elastic scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a free charged particle, as described by classical electromagnetism). Dark matter does not interact directly with radiation, but it does affect the CMB by its gravitational potential (mainly on large scales), and by its effects on the density and velocity of ordinary matter. Ordinary and dark matter perturbations, therefore, evolve differently with time and leave different imprints on the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The cosmic microwave background is very close to a perfect blackbody (an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation) but contains very small temperature anisotropies (directionally dependent, which implies different properties in different directions) of a few parts in 100,000. A sky map of anisotropies can be decomposed into an angular power spectrum, which is observed to contain a series of acoustic peaks at near-equal spacing but different heights. The series of peaks can be predicted for any assumed set of cosmological parameters by modern computer codes such as CMBFast and CAMB (codes specifically written for calculating the linear CMB), and matching theory to data, therefore, constrains cosmological parameters. The first peak mostly shows the density of baryonic matter, while the third peak relates mostly to the density of dark matter, measuring the density of matter and the density of atoms. The CMB anisotropy was first discovered by COBE in 1992, though this had too coarse resolution to detect the acoustic peaks. After the discovery of the first acoustic peak by the balloon-borne BOOMERanG experiment (BOOMERanG experiment (Balloon Observations Of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation ANd Geophysics) was an experiment which measured the cosmic microwave background radiation of a part of the sky during three sub-orbital (high-altitude) balloon flights. It was the first experiment to make large, high-fidelity images of the CMB temperature anisotropies, and is best known for the discovery in 2000 that the geometry of the universe is close to flat) in 2000, the power spectrum was precisely observed by WMAP (WMAP's measurements played a key role in establishing the current Standard Model of Cosmology: the Lambda-CDM model. The WMAP data are very well fit by a universe that is dominated by dark energy in the form of a cosmological constant. Other cosmological data are also consistent, and together tightly constrain the Model. In the Lambda-CDM model of the universe, the age of the universe is 13.772±0.059 billion years. The WMAP mission's determination of the age of the universe is to better than 1% precision. The current expansion rate of the universe is (see Hubble constant) 69.32±0.80 km·s^−1·Mpc^−1 (^ = power of). The content of the universe currently consists of 4.628%±0.093% ordinary baryonic matter; 24.02%+0.88%−0.87% cold dark matter (CDM) that neither emits nor absorbs light; and 71.35%+0.95%−0.96% of dark energy in the form of a cosmological constant that accelerates the expansion of the universe. Less than 1% of the current content of the universe is in neutrinos, but WMAP's measurements have found, for the first time in 2008, that the data prefer the existence of a cosmic neutrino background with an effective number of neutrino species of 3.26±0.35. The contents point to a Euclidean flat geometry, with curvature of (Ωk)−0.0027+0.0039−0.0038. The WMAP measurements also support the cosmic inflation paradigm in several ways, including the flatness measurement.) in 2003–12, and even more precisely by the Planck spacecraft in 2013–15. The results support the Lambda-CDM model. The observed CMB angular power spectrum provides powerful evidence in support of dark matter, as its precise structure is well fitted by the Lambda-CDM model, but difficult to reproduce with any competing model such as modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND)." - Wiki
These two major evidences show that dark energy is very real, and is a major factor in today's accepted big bang cosmology model. As we described earlier, there are other major evidences for dark energy that do fit the data and they independently verify each other.
Dark Energy is Not Alone
Just the fine tuning of the cosmological constant should be enough to convince you that the universe is designed, but fortunately for us it doesn't have to be. After looking into the cosmological constant awhile ago I was fascinated to discover hundreds of more fine tuned constants/properties. In fact since 1989 the number of known fine tuned features rose from 15 to 140 in 2006. Below is a list of all of the current fine tuned features. Each point is a clickable link that will take you to the list, and the scientific references:
Arguments Against Fine Tuning
- The Multiverse: This theory describes that outside of our universe there is some mechanism that allows other universes to be generated. This way, our "perfect" universe can be explained away because we are just lucky to be one in a trillion (actually more.. way more).
Objection: There is no evidence that the multiverse exist. If it did it would require more fine tuning for it to have the quality of a "universe generator". Please see the video below for more information.
- Top-Down Cosmology: Proposed by the late Stephen Hawking, it states that it is inevitable that we find the universe "fine-tuned" as we are living in a universe that had past conditions that led to life. Basically, he is saying that we just think the universe is fine-tuned because the other possibilities didn't produce us.
Objection: This does not prove that the universe is not fine tuned, but in a sense admits it is. The argument states because there is life we think it's fine tuned but life is just a natural part of how the universe formed. He is ignoring the extreme improbability of a universe like ours forming. If you went through the links above, you would understand that it is more reasonable to conclude the universe had an intelligent designer instead of "we got lucky". Imagine this, an asteroid hits Earth and you somehow are the only one left alive after the impact. You were thrown 15,000 ft in the atmosphere and ash and dust filled the air. Your head landed on a pillow in a little hole that had the last remaining clean oxygen tank and suit in the entire universe. Oh, and the tank had your name on it. Would you not be surprised you are alive? Well of course you would be. The conditions were so improbable that they require an explanation. Yet, this view does not offer an explanation, only an "easy way out".
- Aliens: Yes, this is actually a real one. Even RIchard Dawkins admitted we could be made from aliens, but he had to throw in that those aliens would have had to evolve by a Darwinian approach.
Objection: This is just passing the design problem somewhere else, and there is no proof that Aliens created us.
The Carbon Problem
Can life as we know it exist on other planets? Well it turns out life as we know it is most likely the only life that can exist anywhere. Carbon is so important to life on Earth because it can have up to six elemental binding points. This makes it essential to make complex molecules that make up proteins and DNA. In fact, just a simple virus wouldn't be even remotely possible without carbon. We already disproved Darwinian evolution in our previous article which means complex life has to come from a mind. Life has never shown to be life without DNA or RNA, and without carbon DNA and RNA are not possible. So, when you hear astronomers say "we have found other planets that could be habitable because they are the right distance from the sun" remember that is just a very small part of the problem for life to take place.
The evidence seems to point to that we are living in a universe, and solar system that is just right for us in extremely improbable ways. We were indeed created by a personal being.
"I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming." -Freeman John Dyson FRS (British theoretical physicist and mathematician known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering.)
We hope you enjoyed the 3rd edition in our Evidence For God blog series. Check back next week for new evidence! Remember, we do add to these post and update them with new information. Please see the video below to study this topic more.