The extreme improbability of the universe arising out of pure chance


Standard Big Bang cosmology has reduced the total number of “tries” in the observable universe to a very finite number; that is: 13.7 billion years (age of the observable universe) × 365 days × 24 hours × 60 minutes × 60 seconds × 10 to 43 (reduction to minimum units of time—Planck time) × 1053 kg of visible mass in the observable universe × 10 to 47(reduction to minimum units of mass). This is approximately equal to 10 to 120 total possibilities for interaction of mass energy expressed in minimum units of mass and time. This is a large, but very finite number.

When it is compared with the enormous odds against a low-energy universe emerging from the big bang to one—the Penrose number), it is absolutely minuscule. This comparatively small number of “total possible mass energy interactions in the universe for all time” revealed the extreme improbability of high degrees of complexity arising out of the universe by pure chance.

This produced a remarkable openness on the part of some physicists to the prospect of supernatural design. Contemporary physicists such as Arno Penzias, Roger Penrose,Owen Gingerich, John Polkinghorne, Fred Hoyle, and Paul Davies have since adduced the plausibility of a designing intelligence from the evidence of contemporary physics.

In God the New Physics, Paul Davies notes

the numerical coincidences [necessary for an anthropic universe] could be regarded as evidence of design. The delicate fine-tuning in the values of the constants, necessary so that the various different branches of physics can dovetail so felicitously, might be attributed to God. It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. Such a conclusion can, of course, only be subjective. In the end it boils down to a question of belief. Is it easier to believe in a cosmic designer than the multiplicity of universes necessary for the weak anthropic principle to work? . . . Perhaps future developments in science will lead to more direct evidence for other universes, but until then, the seemingly miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design.

Source: Spitzer, Robert PhD New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions from contemporary Physics and Philosophy 2010 Eerdmans Publishing


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