Posts Tagged ‘Fred Hoyle’

“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?


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