Mankind does have a special place in the cosmos
Recent achievements in space exploration brought us new insights about the beginnings of the universe. Thanks to NASA space agency, we saw amazing pictures of the planets and galaxies that fill the enormous space of the universe. In a study, “A Designer Universe,” author Dinesh D’Souza explains his theory of “what took place over millions of years to create the earth and man’s privileged place in it.”
“It is a core belief of the world’s major religions that man occupies a privileged place in God’s creation. In their view, the universe was made with us in mind or even for our sake. How can these traditional beliefs be reconciled with the discovery that we live in a vast universe with innumerable other planets and galaxies, and hundreds of billions of stars?”
In recent years, physics has given this question a resounding answer that affirms man’s special place in the cosmos. It turns out that the vast size and great age of our universe are not coincidental. They are indispensable conditions for the existence of life on Earth.
In other words, the universe has to be just as big as it is and just as old in order to contain living inhabitants like you and me. The entire universe, with all its laws, appears to be a conspiracy to produce the human race. Physicists call this incredible finding the “anthropic principle.”
Physicists stumbled upon the anthropic principle by asking a simple question: Why does the universe operate according to the laws it does? They arrived at a remarkable conclusion: In order for life to exist – in order for humanity to exist – the gravitational force has to be precisely what it is. The Big Bang had to occur exactly when it did. If the basic values and relationships of nature were even slightly different, our universe would not exist and neither would we. Fantastic though it seems, the universe is fine-tuned for human habitation.
We live in a kind of Goldilocks universe in which the conditions are “just right” for life to emerge and thrive. As physicist Paul Davies puts it, “We have been written into the laws of nature in a deep and, I believe, meaningful way.” Physicist Steven Hawking gives a telling example: “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million, the universe would have recollapsed before it even reached its present size.” So the odds against us being here are, well, astronomical. And yet we are here. Who is responsible for this?
“A commonsense interpretation of facts,” writes astronomer Fred Hoyle, “suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the laws of physics.”
Physicist Freeman Dyson says: “The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”
Astronomer Robert Jastrow observes that the anthropic principle “is the most theistic result ever to come out of science.” Some atheist scientists attribute the fine-tuning of the universe to an “incredible coincidence.”
To them the biologist Richard Dawkins says: “It is no accident that our kind of life finds itself on a planet whose temperature, rainfall and everything else are exactly right. In science this is called a “selection effect.” Since we are here – whatever the odds – the game of cosmic chance must have worked in our favor. Due to the anthropic principle, the entire universe with all the galaxies and stars in it had to be formed in a certain way in order to contain life at all.
The atheist viewpoint is not only unable to explain the fine-tuning of nature, it also cannot explain the profound lawfulness of nature itself. Davies writes: “If the divine underpinning of the laws is removed, their existence becomes a profound mystery. Where do they come from? How can inanimate objects like electrons follow laws?” We know that only rational and conscious agents can obey instructions. It remains deeply mysterious how atoms and molecules can do anything whatsoever, let alone abide by mathematical rules.
Considering the statement of prominent scientists, D’Souza came to a logical conclusion: “The mind that reflects on nature’s intricate order is irresistibly propelled to ask how this order came to be. Doesn’t the law and order of nature require some ultimate explanation for why the universe is so orderly and intelligible and favorable for life? The answer is that an intelligent being (the Creator) made it that way.” Many other interesting comments of the author are available on his Web site: http://www.dineshdsouza.com.
Peter Pohorsky lives in Grass Valley.
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