Fine-tuning (Part 3) – The Goldilocks Dilemma: What Explains The Extreme Fine-tuning Of The Universe?

THE FINE-TUNING ARGUMENT

The third argument for the existence of God goes like this:
Premise 1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design.
Premise 2: The fine-tuning of the universe is not due to physical necessity or chance.
Conclusion: Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is due to design.

FINE TUNING

The “laws of nature” are commonly expressed as mathematical formulas, and there are two elements in those formulas we need to understand, but these two elements are true, entirely independent of any laws of nature:
“Constants” are set values that don’t change regardless of what formula they appear in, like gravity or the electromagnetic force.
• An “arbitrary quantity,” means an arbitrary value that represents initial conditions that existed before a law of nature took effect. One example of this is the amount of entropy or disorder that initially existed at the inception of the big bang explosion.

“Fine-tuning” refers to the fact that constants and quantities in those formulas or laws of nature MUST fit an extraordinarily narrow range to sustain life.

“Life” refers to anything that can take in food, extract energy from it, grow, adapt to its environment and reproduce.

PERSPECTIVE ON LARGE NUMBERS

• If you entered a global lottery where every person in the world purchased one ticket, your chances of winning would be about 1 in 7.5 billion.
• The number of seconds in the history of the universe is about 10 to the 25th power (13.8 billion years).
• The number of sub-atomic particles in the known universe is about 10 to the 80th power.

Unfortunately most of the numbers we will be discussing are far larger than these.

A LIFE-OR-DEATH LOTTERY

Say you were in that global lottery, but with this stipulation:
• If you win, you get to live.
• If you lose that global lottery, you will die.

That is exactly the situation in each of the following examples, only the odds against your living are a million times worse or a trillion times worse than a global lottery. But you just keep winning over and over again!

FINE-TUNING EXAMPLES: INSTRUCTIONS FOR READING

These examples are mostly based on the Standard Model of Particle Physics. As you hear each example:
Don’t worry what the scientific concepts mean. For example, you don’t need to know the difference between a “nuclear weak force” and a “nuclear strong force.”
Specifically pay attention to the numbers, what physicists have calculated to be the odds against there being a life-permitting universe, in other words, the odds against our being alive!

The Nuclear “Weak” Force Lottery

There would be no life in the universe if the rate of radioactive decay in the nuclear “weak” force were altered by 1 part in 10 to the 100th power or 1 part in:
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

First Ratio Lottery

If the ratio between the nuclear “strong” force and the electromagnetic force were altered by 1 part in 10 to the 16th power we would not exist. That’s 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000.

If a normal person won a global lottery twice, they would begin to suspect that this didn’t happen by chance. They’d say it was rigged. Considering the overwhelming odds in both of the above cases, each one far exceeds the odds of winning a global lottery. Can we really attribute this to just plain good luck? But wait, there’s more.

Second Ratio Lottery

If the ratio between the electromagnetic force and gravity were altered by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, we would not be alive. That’s 1 in: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Okay, by this time it’s getting just a little ridiculous to suggest that you’ve just won your third lottery in a row just by chance alone! Any normal person would be skeptical of such a thing. There’s something more at work here. You should be dead, but you’re still alive! So what’s going on here? How could this just happen by chance?

Neutrons And Protons Lottery

Neutrons are just a little heavier than protons. If it were the other way around atoms couldn’t exist and we wouldn’t exist. So we lucked out again! Right?

Third Ratio Lottery

At precisely 10 to the negative 43rd power seconds into the big bang explosion, if the ratio between the expansion forces and contraction forces in the big bang were altered by just 1 part in 10 to the 55th power, there’d be no life!

How does anyone logically conclude that all of this happened just by chance at precisely .000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000001 of a second into the Big Bang?

Congratulations, you have now won five lotteries in a row, each with overwhelming odds against you, and you get to live!

Cosmological Constant Lottery

If the “cosmological constant” (rate of expansion of the universe) were altered by as little as 1 part in 10 to the 120th power there’d be no life in the universe. That’s 1 part in:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Low Entropy Lottery

How exact would low entropy conditions need to be at the big bang explosion for there to be life? 1 part in 10 (10 to the 123rd power). Okay, we’re trying to think of a simple way to explain this number. Ten to the 123rd power is just the exponent! This is 1 part in:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 . . . Oh, just forget it, there would be more zeroes than particles in the universe! The odds against life in this particular case are in a league of their own, far beyond the other examples we’ve given. The odds in just this case alone should be enough to convince most people that there is something more than an accident or chance at work here.

REVIEW

Now keep in mind, by showing you these impossible odds for each element that is needed to sustain life, we are NOT asking why WE specifically have survived and overcome all of these odds.

We’re asking this specific question:
“In light of these seemingly impossible odds, why does a life-permitting universe exist at all?”

The above are all discoveries in particle physics, most of which physicists just became aware of in the last 40 years!

Physicists call this conundrum the “Goldilocks dilemma,” meaning “How is it even possible that so many different factors have to be so exquisitely fine-tuned or “just right” to sustain our lives, or any life for that matter?” This has got physicists all over the world scratching their heads.

The leading experts in the world have only offered three possible explanations:
• Physical necessity
• Chance
• Design

So which one best explains the extreme fine-tuning that is required to sustain life?

How is it that conditions are “just right” for our continued existence?

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