Fine-tuning (Part 2): An Amazing Planet Earth

THE FINE TUNING OF THE EARTH

We live on an amazing planet earth. Every day we wake up and the sun is there. We bet you that tomorrow it’ll be there too!

The earth stays in its orbit around the sun. Spring follows winter, summer follows spring, on and on. It never stops. Why doesn’t the earth wobble once in a while so as to make seasonal changes more unpredictable? Are we just incredibly lucky?

Earth never leaves its orbit. It’s regular as clockwork. Why doesn’t the earth drift away from the sun just a little bit each year until it finally floats off into space and we all disappear? No, the earth just stays faithfully in its regular orbit.

Temperatures on the earth stay in a range that we can survive. The moon radiates light from the sun. The stars are always there.

Here is a series of “coincidences” that you might want to consider:

Earth’s Distance From The Sun

If we were just 2% closer to the sun, our water supply would rapidly evaporate. If we were just 2% farther away, it would turn to ice and we’d all be living in Siberia. How is everything set just right to sustain our lives?

Oxygen In The Atmosphere

Oxygen is 21% of our atmosphere. If it were 10% we’d all be struggling to breathe as if we were at the top of Mt. Everest. If it were over 25%, we might see spontaneous fires starting on a sporadic basis. How is it that oxygen is at just the right level to keep us breathing and yet prevent so many sporadic fires?

Earth’s Rotation

The earth rotates at just the right speed to keep us alive. Too slow, and temperature differences between day and night would be too extreme. Too fast, and wind speeds would be disastrous.

Earth’s Tilt

The earth’s axis tilts at 23.5 degrees. If were less then 23.5 degrees, parched areas would not get the monsoons they need, and lunar tides would recede, leaving a city like Seattle to look more like Siberia.

What keeps the earth’s tilt so steady? The gravitational pull of the moon, which has to be the perfect size to have a very specific gravitational force. If there were no moon, we wouldn’t be here.

If our moon were as small as the two Martian moons, the earth’s tilt would vary from 30 to 60 degrees. For six months a year, we’d live in scorching heat that would make Death Valley look like a spring picnic. Then there’d be six months of vicious cold and perpetual night.

Gravity

If the force of gravity were changed by the following percentage, neither the earth nor our sun would exist and we would not exist: 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent.

Centrifugal Force From Orbiting The Sun

The sun’s gravity pulls the earth toward it. Centrifugal force created by the earth’s orbit pushes the earth away from the sun. If these two forces weren’t perfectly balanced, the earth would fly off into space and all life would cease.

Atmosphere

If the earth’s atmosphere were slightly more opaque, we would not receive enough solar energy and all life would cease. If it were slightly more transparent, solar radiation could burn and possibly destroy all life on earth.

Guillermo González & Jay Wesley Richards in The Privileged Planet:
“This is because the medium in which we live is, on the one hand, just thick enough to enable us to breathe and to prevent us from being burned up by cosmic rays, while, on the hand, it is not so opaque as to absorb entirely the light of the stars and block any view of the universe. What fragile balance between the indispensable and the sublime.”
The Genesis of the Copernican Revolution, translated by Robert M. Wallace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987), page 3, as found in Guillermo González & Jay Wesley Richards, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery, (Washington, D.C: Regnery Publishing, 2004), 121.  

Probability

According to astrophysicist Hugh Ross, the odds of a planet like Earth coming into existence is 1 in 10 to the 30th power or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!

Nuclear Ground State Energy Levels

Mathematician and astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle’s discovery:
“For life to exist on earth an abundant supply of carbon is needed . . . Eminent mathematician and astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle found that for this to happen, the nuclear ground state energy levels have to be fine-tuned with respect to each other. This phenomenon is called ‘resonance.’ If the variation were more than 1 per cent either way, the universe could not sustain life. Hoyle later confessed that nothing had shaken his atheism as much as this discovery. Even this degree of fine-tuning was enough to persuade him that it looked as if ‘a super intellect has monkeyed with physics as well as the chemistry and biology,’ and that ‘there are no blind forces in nature worth talking about.’ However, in terms of tolerance permitted, this example pales into insignificance when we consider the fineness of the tuning of some of the other parameters in nature.”
Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20, 1982, p. 16 as found in John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Oxford, England: Lion Books, 2009), 70.

THE ODDS OF EACH OF THESE “COINCIDENCES ARE TOO OVERWHELMING TO BE DUE TO CHANCE

It’s kind of like walking into a casino. You pull the arm of the slot machine and keep winning again and again. Would you just chalk it up to incredible good luck? If you kept winning, at what point would you begin to suspect that something was awfully strange here?

An uncaring God could’ve put us 2% farther away from the Sun and frozen this planet, made oxygen 5% of the atmosphere and suffocated us, made the earth spin just a little faster and we’d be living like there were constant tornados. But he didn’t do any of those things.

The conclusion of Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards in their book The Privileged Planet:
“And yet as we stand gazing at the heavens beyond our little oasis, we gaze not into a meaningless abyss but into a wondrous arena commensurate with our capacity for discovery. Perhaps we have been staring past a cosmic signal far more significant than any mere sequence of numbers, a signal revealing a universe so skillfully crafted for life and discovery that it seems to whisper of an extra-terrestrial intelligence immeasurably more vast, more ancient, and more magnificent than anything we’ve been willing to expect or imagine.” Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (Washington D.C: Regency, 2004), 566.

The list of amazing coincidences goes on and on. The fact is that this planet seems to be perfectly “fine-tuned” to sustain our lives. Is it really just extremely good luck?

This actually is an amazing planet!

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