Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Choice is Yours: A Multi-verse or an Intelligent Designer
Does science tell us anything about the origin of the universe – whether it was designed (ID, supernaturalism) or not-designed (naturalism)? I think it does. Dinesh D’Souza writes,
• As John Barrow and Frank Tipler point out in their authoritative book “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle,” our universe operates according to a whole set of specific numeric values, and our existence in the universe depends on those values being precisely what they are. (“Life After Death: The Evidence,” 83. All of the following quotes are taken from this book.)
Atheist and physicist Steven Weinberg adds, “Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.” How unlikely is it this? Weinberg asserts that in reference to only one of the physical forces, the cosmological constant, it has to be calibrated “to about 120 decimal places.”
Another physicist and atheist, Steven Hawking, cites the necessary specificity of the rate of expansion of the universe:
• If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollasped before it ever reached its present size.”
There doesn’t seem to be any disagreement that the universe is just incredibly fine-tuned for life, and that the chances that all of the forces would be calibrated just right for its own survival are beyond contemplation. One physicist had estimated that the chances for this calibration was just one out of ten followed by a hundred zeroes!
Doesn’t this cry out for an intelligent design explanation? Not according to atheist Richard Dawkins. Although he concedes that this universe is incredibly fine-tuned, he writes,
• It doesn’t have to mean that the universe was deliberately made in order that we should exist. It need mean only that we are here, and we could not be in a universe that lacked the capacity of producing us.
Indeed, we are here, but our presence and even contemplation of the universe has little to do with the question of fine-tuning. Consequently, physicists like Leonard Susskind have described the fine-tuning phenomena as a “huge embarrassment” and “hated by most physicists,” protesting that “real science requires explanations that do not involve supernatural agents.”
Understandably, physicists have been under great pressure to come up with a naturalistic explanation. Cosmologist Bernard Carr presents the leading, or perhaps the only one:
• If there is only one universe, you might have to have a fine-tuner. If you don’t want God, you better have a multiverse.
The “multiverse” explanation reasons that if there is an infinite number of universes, at least one of them would come fully equipped with all the essentials for life. However, there are many problems with this desperate hypothesis:
1. There is no physical evidence for even a second universe! (Once he dismisses the need for physical evidence, on the basis of what then can the atheist deny the existence of God?)
2. There is no mechanism to account for an infinite generation of universes or even the immutability of the constants.
3. Many suggest that the concept of an actual infinity is logically incoherent. Therefore, the naturalistic hypothesis needs to be scaled down.
4. If there are multiple universes, what keeps them from colliding and their various physical laws from adversely interacting?
5. This hypothesis also seems to invalidate the claims of the naturalist. About the multiverse, Carl Sagan stated, “There may be different laws of nature…in those universes.” If this is the case, the atheist (naturalist) has then relinquished any basis to deny the reality of a spiritual world.
What requires less faith – to believe in the multiverse or to believe in a Designer? Besides, a Designer can explain a host of other phenomena that the multiverse can’t – the origins and maintenance of the laws of physics, DNA, the cell and life, moral absolutes, freewill, and consciousness.