My friend got this from one of his friends and shared it on his blog, so I’m going to share it on mine, because I find it very valuable and sweet. ^_^

In other randomness, I am re-editing a book I wrote a while ago. Only one other person has read it, and after he had finished reading it, he said he was exactly like on of the main characters. At that point in time, I didn’t necessarily see the correlation. However, as I finish rereading the story, I realize that he is exactly like the main character. But the creepy part is that I met him after I created said character. Really, really weird…

I took the SAT on Saturday, and I believe that went well. I now just have to wait a couple weeks to get my scores back, which I am sure will drive me insane. I also performed for the first time with a mix of our church band, the High School band, and our church band’s leader’s band (making sense?) at a small youth gathering where we did some worship and had a message. It was truly an amazing and fun night, and I felt so honored to be able to help with something like that.

I have a Calc 2 test Thursday that I’m terrified about. Integration is certainly not an easy topic. Other than that, life seems to be going pretty well. I’m finally back in my piano mood, which I haven’t been in for months, and am working on a song somebody suggested I learn many months ago. It’s somewhat difficult, but fun to play, so I can’t wait to put it all together and record it.

And I think that’s about all that’s going on in my life thus far. We shall see what the future holds!


The Still Voice

I’m in an extremely good mood today. I had probably the best dream I’ve ever had in my life this morning, taking place not at Barnes and Noble but at my church with people important to me. It was truly amazingly wonderful, and I woke up with the the lyrics of “Never Gone” playing in my head. There are few things that could have made this morning any better.

I feel like I haven’t written about science for forever. Oh wait, it has been forever. I will have to write my last cosmology post soon…However, right now I am on a Bible study kick, so I’m going to say what I feel God wants me to.

I often hear Christians speaking of how they haven’t ‘heard’ God lately. And I’m one of them. But I can’t help but think that it’s my fault.

Mat 13:12-17 (NIV) “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’ In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become callused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Ever feel like that? Like you’re trying to see and hear what God is trying to say but losing the battle? You set aside time to read your Bible, you pray to Him, you glorify Him in what you do, but you feel like you’re doing it for no reason, like you’re getting no reply? This goes back to my post about being in sync with God.

The teen generation spends an average of sixty hours on technology per week. That’s over eight hours a day! Texting, listening to your iPod, browsing the internet, updating Facebook, tweeting…whatever. You’re constantly bombarding your mind with more more more! There is always something going on, always something making noise.

My church did something one day that had everybody squirming. And what they did was a powerful way to set up for the sermon. We did worship, and usually after worship one of the pastors comes onto the stage to pray and give the announcements. It’s an almost immediate thing. Band stops, pastor prays. But they did it different one Sunday. The band stopped playing…and there was silence. Everybody was staring at the stage, looking around, wondering what was wrong. The silence was deafening. It went on for just a couple minutes, yet it seemed like many. When the pastor finally came on the stage, he explained that they did that for a reason.

We are always being fed noise and busy-ness everywhere we go. We don’t stop for a moment. Every moment is filled with a task that must be done, or music that must be blasted or a status that must be updated. When we come home, we spend maybe a couple minutes talking to our Father, and then, feeling as though we filled our ‘religion quota’ for the day, go to bed so that we can wake up oh so early to start the grind all over again. We don’t leave time for what really matters in life, our relationship with God. We’re so busy, so distracted, that we can’t seem to find the time to speak to Him. No wonder we haven’t heard Him! It’s so noisy around here that it’s almost impossible to hear Him!

Rom. 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We need to ‘renew our minds’ in Him. We can’t be like the rest of the world, letting life take over. We don’t even belong to this world. “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” (from John 15). He chose us out of the world. We are to be different, because we choose to follow Him. But how can we follow Him if we can’t hear Him?  Mark 8:33 (NIV)  says “But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'”  Obvoiusly God does not want us to be of the world. We are different. We are supposed to be an example. But we need to know how to be an example. We need to hear God tell us what we need to be doing, and we can’t do that if we aren’t listening.

John 10:2-5 (NIV) “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

I think sometimes we are running from Him. We’re afraid of what He’s going to ask us to do, afraid of our future, afraid that we’ll get something we can’t handle.

Afraid that we’ll be powerless.

Because of that, we don’t truly know God. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God will not leave us on our own. His plans should be ours. If we are truly living to serve Him, our own plans should be discarded and we should be seeking His plan for us. Does that mean we won’t get hurt along the way? Goodness no. Pain and trial is how we learn and how He strengthens us. But in the end, it will work out how He wanted it to. But we have to be listening for His plan. We have to be taking the time to give Him our ears. We can say we’re listening, but are we really? Are we really seeking what God wants?

He’s always talking. We have to listen.

Musings #1

I felt like doing a more personal post. Maybe because of my age, maybe because of circumstances. Regardless, my life has been very, shall we say, emotional this past year. Ups and downs abounded. Quite literally the most thrilling and scary roller coaster I’ve ever been on, and trust me, I’ve been on more than anybody I know, and I mean that quite literally (Son of the Beast rocks!!! I’m still waiting impatiently to ride The Kingda Ka, though…Imagine, 128 mph in 3.5 seconds!).

But honestly, this year of my life has been the worst and best at the same time. I had some of the best months of my life, and definitely some of the worst. Actually, all of the worst. But my birthday is coming up at the end of this month, and I am eager to start a new year and leave the bad memories of this past year in the past. I will take the good memories with me, I will take the reconciliation and happiness, and I will most certainly take the love. But I was thinking back on this year, and I realized some things that I’ve learned. Some are absolutely ridiculous and absurd, others are serious, yet each is very important to me in its own way.

1) I’ve learned that there are gentlemen in the world.

2) I’ve learned that people can truly be angels in our lives.

3) I’ve learned that people really do live on in our hearts, even if we don’t realize it.

4) I’ve learned that some songs never lose their value, and music can truly be the key to somebody’s heart.

5) I’ve learned that you can’t believe dreams because they often show you your darkest fears.

6) I’ve learned that God’s voice may be quiet, but He’s always talking. Are we listening?

7) I’ve learned that the hardships in life are painful but useful, strengthening us in the Lord.

8 ) I’ve learned that tears are a healing gift from God.

9) I’ve learned that chess is a lot more fun than it looks, even if you only lose unless your opponent lets you win.

10) I’ve learned that Lucky Charms are just as healthy as the ‘healthy’ cereals your mom lets you eat, yet doesn’t let you eat Lucky Charms (love ya, Mom!)

11) I’ve learned that snowball fights with a bunch of hyper high schoolers are by far probably the funniest thing ever seen.

12) I’ve determined Hershey Kisses are my favorite candy.

13) I’ve learned that ‘love’ is not a word to be used lightly.

14) I’ve learned that time is precious.

15) I’ve learned that I am horrible at cards.

16) I’ve learned that the Backstreet Boys’ lyrics are so beyond true, if cliche. “Never Gone” is currently my theme song.

17) I’ve learned that I can’t leave questions unanswered.

18) I’ve learned that friends can be found, and once you have them, the thought of letting go rips your heart.

19) I’ve learned that worship isn’t in the music, it’s in your heart.

20) This is my favorite, and I only realized this one today. You know, the saying that “God closes one door and opens another” is an interesting saying. One that I think people just take at face value. But I realized something I don’t think people typically see…

It says nothing about God locking the doors…

So I’d like to take a break from all the mind-boggling science and do a little bit of a spiritual post. Okay, a major spiritual post.

Lately in my church, it has been stressed a lot about putting our priorities straight and becoming in tune with God. Now, most people look at their life and go, “Well, I could probably play video games less…but you know, it’s not like I’m worshipping them or something.” The question isn’t necessarily are you worshipping something, but rather what you are allowing to control your life.

Look at the amount of time you spend on video games, sports, watching TV, browsing the internet…whatever it is that you spend your time doing. Now look at the amount of time you spend reading your Bible, talking to God, glorifying God through your actions. Is it anywhere near the time you spend on other things (and yes, I realize that school doesn’t count here, so look at things beyond school)?

Here’s how you should look at this. What you give your mind to controls you. For example, if you spend hours on video games, and if you don’t get to spend hours on it and you become anxious or even irritated with life, then video games are controlling you. As soon as you let something take over your life, you are no longer in control of your body and mind. Is that really how you want to live your life, with a controller in your hand? Or would you rather be living for something more worth-while?

When we put God first, He controls our thoughts, actions, an everything in our life. That’s how it should be. It should all be for His glory to further His kingdom. He’s not a crutch to get into Heaven on. He is the person we commit our lives to, to serve with all diligence. We are to serve Him with heart, mind, and soul.

When we put God first, we are in tune with Him. This is how life should be lived. Christian means ‘little Christ’, and to be that little Christ, we need to be tuned in on who He is.  A lot of the time, Christians get so focused on knowing all the little details, following every rule, doing what God wants us to do, trying to be perfect, that we miss the big picture. We lose sight of what being a child of God is. We forget that He is our Father who loves us more than we can ever realize and that He wants to spend time with us. He’s happy when we do loving things, but He wants us to become one with Him. He wants us to be so tuned to Him that every moment we live we are living for Him and with Him.

One thing that amazes me is how somebody who is new to Christianity can have something so beautiful that the rest of us who have been Christians for years don’t understand most of the time. Something that is so simple, yet wonderful. Something we lack. That’s pure, simple, joy and faith in the One who saved them. A young man began to attend my youth group at church in October. In January, on a ski trip with our group, he formally accepted God into his life after taking his first communion. When I look at him now, I see the raw emotions that he feels toward his Father. He sees the simple side of things, but he sees it for how deeply important it is. When I listen to him speak and pray, he understands it in a way that I, a Christian of over twelve years, can’t begin to comprehend it. Because he understands it in a different way and doesn’t get hung up on the details. And He is more in tune with who God is than I am. He gets it. Does he have Christianity ‘perfected’, or has he gotten rid of ‘bad habits’? No. But think about it; often Christians get caught up on somebody swearing or being crude and the sins of somebody, and we aren’t rejoicing that somebody has found their Savior. We are out of tune with God at that point. I am not condoning those things that are wrong, but simply saying that we need to see a miracle for what it is and not get stuck on the technicalities of situations.

To be in tune with God is not a complicated thing. We need to be wrapped in His love and wisdom before we can be in tune with Him. Once we are with Him spiritually and mentally, then we can truly begin to understand what He is calling us to do. We can truly begin to see the way He works and what He wants for us to do.

We can truly begin to see His magnificent grace and love.

Wow, how time flies. Could be the fact I had two major tests to study for in two days. Fun, right? Fellow high schoolers, please sympathize with me.

Anyway, in my last post, I discussed some more fine-tuning and theories concerning cosmology. In this post, I want to get down to the subject of the possibility of life on planets elsewhere. There are four different locations I want to examine for the possibility of life elsewhere: stars, spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, and irregular galaxies.

An expieriment known as M13, performed by Drake and Sagan in the mid-1970s, a message of greeting was beamed to a globular cluster of more than 250,000 stars. This message would take 22,000 years to reach the M13 cluster. Why did they do this? Because they believe it to be possible for a star to support life. So what exactly is the possibility of life on just one star?

So beyond hopeless that a person would have to be hopeless to resort to such desperate measures.

First, we need to understand exactly what a globular cluster is. They are among the most ancient things in our galaxy, and because they are so old, they are low on heavy metals such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and helium. Earth is mostly iron, oxygen, magnesium, and silicone. Then sulfur. Supposedly, the Big Bang produced mostly hydrogen and helium. The heavier elements were synthesized in stars. These stars would have eventually exploded into supernovae, and the elements would be expelled into intersteller medium. They would then coalesce into other stars, where heavier elements would be synthesized. This would occur over and over with more heavy metals produced each time. Now, you’d need these elements to create a terrestrial planet like Earth. But beause these stars in globular cluters are so old, they are composed almost completely of hydrogen and helium, and are not going to have planets accompanying them. There may be dust grains or boulders, but that’s it. Not to mention that stars are so packed with stars that a planet would be unable to have a stable, circular orbit around them. The gravitational pull of the stars would create elliptical orbits that would take a hypothetical planet into extreme heat and then extreme cold, creating detrimental situations for life.

So that throws stars out of the running. Now we have the different types of galaxies. Spiral galaxies are like the Milky Way, dominated by a central spherical bulge and a disk with spiral ‘arms’ extending from in the nuleus in a spiral pattern, so that the result looks much like a pinwheel. And Elliptical galaxy is egg-shaped, and an Irregular galaxy is just what it sounds like: a disorganized and distorted mess (bet you never would have guessed that, huh?).

So what is the probably of life forming in each kind of galaxy? Galaxies have various degrees of star formations, where interesteller gases coalesce to form star clusters, and massive stars that blow up as supernovae. Plaes with active star formations are dangerous because that is where you have superovae exploding frequently. In our galaxy, this occurs mostly in the arms, where there are also hazardous giant molecular clouds. But we are safely situated between arms Sagittarius and Perseus. We are also far from the nucleus of the galaxy, which is extremely dangerous. There is a massive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and the Hubble telescope has found a black hole at the center of nearly every nearby galaxy. The black holes are extremely dangerous because while most are inactive at any given time, whenever something gets too close or falls in, it gets torn up by strong tidal forces. High energy such as gamma rays, X-rays and particle radiation is released in copius amounts. Anything in the inner region of the galaxy would undergo high radiation levels, which are obviously very dangerous for life forms. The center is also more dangerous because there are many exploding supernovae.

To make it more complicated, the composition of a spiral galaxy changes. Heavy metals congregate at the center because of the vigorous star formation in the past, whereas the outer disk formation of stars has been going on slowly over the years, so there is a smaller supply of heavy metals. Therefore, the outer regions of the disk are less likely to have planets. The thin disk of our galaxy helps our sun stay in its desirable circular orbit. An ecentric orbit could cause it to cross spiral arms and visit dangerous inner regions of the galaxy.

Based on this information, I think that it is very clear that that there is a miniscule safe zone in spiral galaxies. Call our position luck if you like, but I prefer to think we were put there by Somebody who knew what He was doing.

Neither of the other galaxies even need much attention. Elliptical galaxies look amorphous and egg-shaped, and their stars have random orbits. The stars visit every region, including dangerous ones, where a black hole may be active. Plus they lack the heavy elements necessary for planet formation. Elliptical galaxies = no way.

So what about Irregular galaxies? These are even worse than Elliptical. They are distored and get ripped apart because of supernovae that are exploding in every direction. There is absolutely no safe place for a planet to exist. Not to mention a newer threat would be gamma ray bursts, which make lights go off and are more powerful than supernovae. Need I repeat that these are even worse than Elliptical galaxies and deserve no attention when it comes to possible planetary life?

Obviously, we are in a very special position. The chances of life on stars or in another galaxy, or even in a Spiral galaxy, are very unlikely. The fact that you’re alive is a very, very special miracle, and certainly not chance. The fact that you are alive, on a planet in a distinctly perfect position, goes against what the Copernican Principle said. We are a privileged planet, we are a unique race, and we are truly blessed to be living.

In my next post, I’m going to look at a little bit more on fine-tuning, this time focusing specifically on our planet, the sun, and the moon.

Hmm… now I’m in the mood to watch Star Wars and laugh at the fact that they somehow can explode in huge blasts of flame when there is no free oxygen in space…

Well, it’s been over two weeks since I last wrote, and for this I apologize. I’ve had a very difficult two weeks, and just haven’t been able to make myself sit down and write. So, I guess it’s about time I make myself do something, especially since I haven’t had school all week and there are two feet of snow outside, so there just isn’t really much to do.

In my last post, I discussed the remarkable fine-tuning of our planet, how perfectly designed it is. But what I left off with was a question: Could life exist on another planet somewhere else, or are we just really lucky? There is too much information to put in one post, so I will have to split up the information between two. I will post the next within a week, hopefully.

Let me look at what exactly chance means, in cosmological terms. Oxford physicist Roger Penrose said that one parameter, the ‘original phase-space volume’, would have to be accurate to one in 10 billion to the 123rd power. This number has more zeros than the number of elementary particles in the universe (and if you don’t know what that means, it means that there are a lot of zeros).

Let me give an example. I go to my church every Tuesday to practice in the high school worship band. Now, suppose I get there, and on the floor, spelled out in Hershey Kisses (one of my favorite candies, in case you haven’t figured that out), is Good luck playing, Stephanie! Now, I could assume one of two things: 1) Random chance arranged these delectable pieces of chocolate, or 2) our lovely leader, Brad, came in to make me feel special (though, how he knew that Kisses were my favorite is beyond me). Any normal, rational person would agree that Brad arranged them, not that they just sorta appeared there in such an improbable arrangement.

There is something called an Anthropic Principle observed in cosmology, but it’s the Weak Anthropic Principle I’d like to look at. This says that if the universe weren’t fine-tuned for life, then we humans would be unable to observe it, so it could be argued that fine-tuning requires no explanation. This is difficult to understand, so allow me to give another example. You’re standing, blindfolded, before a firing squad of fifty highly-trained marksmen, all of whom are aiming their M16s at your prone chest, waiting to be given the order to end your life. You hear the order to fire, and while your heart skips a beat in your chest, it continues to beat (if rapidly). You felt nothing; you’re still alive! Now when you ask them what happened, would you be okay with the answer, “If they’d shot you, you wouldn’t even be here to comment, so just shut up and be glad you’re alive”, or would you want an answer? Was it a mock execution? Conspiracy? What happened? Obviously, some questions should be answered.

I’d like to look at a theory that explains where universes could come from. The first one is called Inflationary Cosmology. This concept was introduced by André Linde of Stanford, and the model is based on advanced principles of quantum physics. Linde proposes that a preexisting superspace is rapidsly expanding, and a small net of this space is blown up by a (theoretical) inflation field, like bubbles forming in an infinite ocean of detergent.  This is Inflationary Cosmology. Now, in the “Chaotic Inflation Theory”, enormous amounts of universes are randomly appearing, thanks to quantum fluctuations at various points in superspace. Each universe created has a beginning and is finite in size, while the superspace endures forever and is infinite in size.

Regardless of which multi-universe gnerator you pick, it will have to have been with the right components and parameters to exact specifications. 1) For a generator, you would need a mechanism to supply energy for the universes reated. This would be the inflation field. 2) You would need a mechanism to form the universes. This would be Einstein’s equation of general relativity, which would cause the universes to continue forming and the ‘ocean’ to continue growing. 3) A mechanism would have to exist to convert energy to normal mass/energy in our universe. 4) There would have to be a mechanism to allow variation in the physics of other universes. The candidate for this is the Superstring Theory.

The Superstring Theory says that the ultimate constituents of matter are strings of energy that undergo quantum vibrations in ten or eleven dimensions of space-time. Six or seven of sthese dimensions are ‘rolled up’ to an extremely small size (called ‘compactified’ in String Theory terms). Their shape determines the modes of vibration of the strings, whih would in turn determine the types and masses of fundamental particles and charateristics of the force between them. So they woul dhave different constants of physics and laws governing the forces.

So what is the chance of all of this happening? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku said that “not a shred of experimental evidence” has confirmed the existence of Superstrings.

Oh, and to make the theory worse, there is one more thing. 5) The right background laws must be in place. Why? Well, for example, without the principle of quantization, all electrons surrounding an atom would be succked into the nuclei. And in case that doesn’t make sense: that would be bad.

There is one more issue with fine-tuning that I want to look at. If water stays liquid long enough on another planet, supposedly life will evolve like it did on earth, since evolution supposedly began in water. So something people ask is whether or not life forms could be based on different elements, instead of carbon. This would not work. Chemistry is one of the better understood areas of scientists, and scientists know that you can’t get certain atoms to join in sufficient number and complexity to give you molecules the same way carbon can. And as a side, you can’t get other liquids to dissolve as many chemicals as you can with water.

The last theorem I want to touch briefly is called the Copernican Principle, which emphasizes the Principle of Mediocrity, which says that our planet isn’t special, that we’re just another planet. However, the Copernican Principle takes it a step farther by saying that our metaphysical status is as insignificant as our astronomical location. We have no purpose, we’re not special, and we don’t occupy a privileged place in the cosmos. The problem is that this is a myth, much like the flat-Earth myth. Scholars in Columbus’ time knew the Earth was round. Greeks knew it was a sphere, and they’d known it for over a thousand years at that point. It’s nearly impossible to discover somebody after the time of Aristotle who believed that the Earth was flat. You couldn’t finish Middle Age schooling without the knowledge that the Earth is round.

So, our planet is special, I think we can agree. However, is it possible that there are other special planets out there? Could there be planets like ours, or even ones more evolved than ours? In my next post, I’m going to look directly at the possibility of life on stars, or in other galaxies.

“Well it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very very high level of technology and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility, and I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, of molecular biology, that you might find a signature of some sort of designer. And that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe. But that higher intelligence would itself have had to of come about by some explicable, or ultimately explicable, process. It couldn’t have just come into existence spontaneously. That’s the point.” -Richard Dawkins

And he certainly makes an interesting one. Some of you may have heard this before, and that wouldn’t be surprising. This quote comes from the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, and it is by far the most galvanizing statement in the film. Richard Dawkins, leading evolutionist of this day, whose works will certainly be remembered for years, is admitting that intelligent design is possible?

I am now going to focus my entire attention on the physics of cosmology, the study of the universe. My goal is to explain just how perfectly the universe is balanced in order to sustain life, and then to explain the possibilities for life on another planet that could theoretically exist elsewhere. If Dawkins thinks that its possible for another life form to have seeded our race on Earth, then it must be terribly important to examine. In the next posts, I want to stress how fine-tuned our universe is.

The stability of our planet can be described using another. Suppose a scientist was to land on Mars, and he found an enclosed, self-sustaining biosphere that had a control panel to control life. The oxygen ratio is perfect, the temperature is at exactly 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity is fixed at 50%, there is an air-replenishment system, a energy production system, and even waste disposal. Every dial has many, many settings, and if you adjust just one even a fraction of a millimeter, everything is thrown out of whack and the system becomes unbalanced and no longer works. Obviously, you’d infer that somebody had built this miraculous biosphere.

In the 1950s, Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer, spoke of the very exacting process of how carbon and oxygen are produced at a certain ratio within stars. If you change their resonance states of carbon, the materials needed for life to survive will not be synthesized. If you make just a 1% change in the nuclear force, there would be a 30-1000 fold impact on the manufacture of oxygen and carbon in the stars. A change in the balance of these conditions would be detrimental to life, as stars provide the carbon and oxygen necessary for life on planets. Conditions on Earth itself would become much less ideal.

According to Robin Colins, who has a Ph.D in philosophy and began work on a Ph.D in physics, it would be like this: Suppose a radio dial spanned the universe. One inch increments would represent billions and billions of inches. The dial would represent the range of force strengths in nature, gravity being the weakest and the nuclear force binding protons and neutrons in the nuclei being the strongest (ten thousand billion billion billion billion times stronger than gravity). If you were to move the dial but one inch, gravity would increase by a billion. Animals of near-human size would be crushed. And here’s the clincher: A planet with a gravitational pull one thousand times stronger would have a diameter of only forty feet. The diameter of our Earth, at the equator, is 7,926.41 miles. To make this even worse, gravity is only one dial, and there are at least thirty physiological or cosmologic parameters that have a very specific, very narrow calibration within the fraction of an inch that allows the Earth-and even the universe, in the grand scheme of things-to sustain life.

Something often discussed in cosmology, and one of the greatest problems facing cosmology and physics, is called the cosmological constant. This constant is found in Einstein’s equation for general relativity. The value of the constant is unknown; it could be either positive or negative. Atheist Stephen Weinberg said that according to principles in physics and Einstein’s information, the cosmological constant should be a very large number. He adds: “If large and positive, the cosmological constant would act as a repulsive force that increases with distance, a force that would prevent matter from clumping together in the early universe, the process that was the first step in forming galaxies and stars and planets and people. If large and negative, the cosmological would act as an attracting force increasing with distance, a force that would almost immediately reverse the expansion of the universe and cause it to recollapse.”


Despite the idea that it should be large, it is actually extremely small. The fine-tuning of the universe and this constant has been estimated to one in one hundred million billion billion billion billion billion, a ten with 53 zeros.


The cosmological constant would be like attempting to hit a specific atom on earth with a dart from space. If you combine the concepts of gravity and the cosmological constant, it would be like hitting a certain atom in the whole known universe.


Other positions of certain forces are remarkably tuned. The difference in mass between neutrons and protons, for instance. If the mass of the neutron was to be increased by one seven hundredth, nuclear fission in stars would stop, which would be catastrophic, to say the least. If the electromagnetic force was slightly stronger or weaker, life would cease to exist. Or consider nuclear force. If it was to be decreased by fifty percent – 1 in 10,000 billion billion billion billion – the force would be too weak to prevent the repulsive force between positive protons in nuclei from tearing apart all atoms but hydrogen.


The last thing I’d like to comment on in this post is the many-universe theory. Hydrogen has to be converted to helium in a very precise, very stately manner in such a way that seven thousandths of its mass are converted to energy. If we lower the value from .007 to .006, no transformation would take place, and the universe would be hydrogen. If it was raised from .007 to .008, bonding would be so fruitful that hydrogen would have been exhausted years ago.


But what if there are many universes, all with random dials? We could just happen to be in the right universe, and it wouldn’t have to be a big deal. We got lucky. Really lucky. This is one argument to deal with fine-tuning, and quite honestly, seems rather desperate. Scientists such as William Lane Craig, Pokinghorne, davies, Clifford Longley, and Rees have said that this theory is “a metaphysical guess” that just goes “well beyond what sober science can honestly endorse”, that the calculations made are “highly arbitrary” and the theory is simply not amendable to direct investigation.


In my next post, I want to look directly at the possibilities of life on another planet. Are we really lucky? Are we the result of chance, or is it possible that it’s much more complicated than scientists are admitting?