Thursday, June 22, 2017


Carl Sagan had famously written: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” This makes a lot of sense. If my neighbor claims that he had just been voted the “Man of the Year,” I would be skeptical. However, if he had merry claimed that his wife regarded him as her “man of the year,” I would be satisfied without any evidence.

However, should the same skepticism also apply when my neighbor claims that God is the explanation of consciousness, life, freewill, and the fine-tuning of the universe? Admittedly, this is an extraordinary claim, but let’s just examine one aspect of it – the extraordinary fine-tuning of the universe. Some have calculated the chances of having a universe fine-tuned for life to be one chance in 10 followed by 100 zeros.

I want to argue that any explanation of fine-tuning requires an extraordinary explanation – either supernatural (ID) or a natural explanation. This consideration therefore transforms our question into, “Which paradigm is best?”

The natural explanation invokes the multiverse, reasoning that if there are an infinite number of universes, it is likely that our fortuitous universe would be one of them. However, this seems to be the most extraordinary claim:

1. There is no scientific evidence for even a second universe, let alone an infinite number.
2. There is no known mechanism that can generate universes out of nothing.
3. There is no evidence that anything has ever been caused naturally and without intelligence.
4. It can provide no answer for the elegance, universality, and immutability for our fine-tuned laws of science.

In light of these problems, rather than the ID paradigm as extraordinary, it would seem that naturalistic paradigm requires more support and represents a desperate attempt to remove God from the picture. Science writer, John Horgan, confessed that:

·       “Multiverse theories aren’t theories; they’re science fictions, theologies, works of the imagination unconstrained by science.”

Theoretical physicist, Paul Steinhardt, confessed the same concern:

·       “The key thing that distinguishes science from non-science is that scientific ideas have to be subject to tests. Some people are nowadays thinking, no, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.” (Regis Nicoll; Salvo Magazine; Summer 2017, 38)

Tim Folger, writing for Discover Magazine, claimed that the multiverse is the “only viable non-religious explanation”:

·       “Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life….The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non-religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life. (“The Multiverse Theory,” Dec. 2008)

Perhaps the multiverse requires even more extraordinary evidence than ID. As a naturalistic theory, it only can serve to explain the “fine-tuning problem.” In order to explain life, consciousness, DNA, the first cell, the existence of natural causal agents, the first cause, and freewill, naturalism must invoke entirely different theories for each. And with each additional theory or postulate, it makes itself even more improbable, thereby violating Occam’s Razor. However, ID has only one necessary postulate – God!

Columbia University mathematician and atheist Peter Woit has expressed serious doubts about the multiverse:

·       …The idea of assuming a Multiverse and using it to make statistical predictions doesn’t work. But instead of drawing the obvious conclusion (this was a scientifically worthless idea, as seemed likely to most everyone else), the argument is that we need a “revolution in our understanding of physics” that will make the idea work.

According to science writer, Denise O’Leary, “Woit blames the Templeton Foundation [for funding and purveying this meritless idea]. It appears to have given $15 million to physicist to pursue these questions, and $10 million to the publishing group Nautilus…And he does not understand “why the rest of the physics community is staying quiet.” (Salvo Magazine; Summer 2017, 50)

Why the quiet? Why the tenacious grasp of the multiverse? Perhaps this represents a desperate attempt to keep God out of the picture. According to evolutionist and geneticist Richard Lewontin:
·       We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism [that nothing exists apart from matter and energy]. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, …Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

Clearly, the presence of God is unwelcome in the bastions of science, even at the expense of adopting science-less theories and purveying them as facts. O’Leary writes:

·       Vast evidence supports the view that our universe and our planet are fine-tuned for life, which suggests a cosmic scheme based on some type of meaning, purpose, or intelligence. By contrast, no evidence supports the multiverse.

Rather than proposing the highly unlikely multiverse, it is more reasonable to claim that we are very limited in our understanding about the origins of the universe and fine-tuning.

While this is true, we have to observe that we are also very limited about our understandings of the fundamentals – light, matter, energy, time, and space. However, this limitation should not prevent us from doing science or from going where our limited evidence leads.

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