Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creationism, Pt 2

"So, Justin," you say, "you have shown me that the Bible tells of an old earth where a great catastrophe of tremendous proportions wiped the Earth of life and new life, the divine jump of what had existed before, was created in 6 days. Very well. I understand that COULD be consistent with what we know about the universe. But really - is there any evidence that actually happened?"
If there was not, would I have posed the question? That's what we're here to talk about. To reference Alice in Wonderland, I will begin at the beginning, continue until the end and then stop.
The anthropic principle's claim is that the universe and the earth are both peculiarly designed for life. First, I would like to look at the fundamental fabric of the universe. Those constants which determine how the universe is built and which are stunningly finely tuned for life. I'm going to look at the best examples here, but wikipedia has a decent article on it, if only to see how painfully weak the 'scientific explanations' are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe
Consider the strong nuclear force. When two Hydrogen atoms bond (forming Helium and powering the stars), .7% of the mass is converted to energy. Imagine a world where .8% or more of the mass is converted to energy instead. The rate of fusion would happen so rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived the Big Bang. No atoms would exist in the entire universe. Now imagine a world where only .6% or less of the mass is converted. Insufficient energy would exist for a proton to bond with a neutron. The Universe would consist only of Hydrogen and Helium. There would be no life.
If the ratio of protons to electrons changed as little as 1 part in 1024, the electromagnetic forces between them would either blow the universe up or crush it. In a more down to earth example coined by Richard Feynman, if two people were standing one meter apart on the Earth and each had 10% more electrons than protons, they would both be flung out into space past escape velocity. That is how finely electrons and protons are tuned for life in the universe.
If we increased the gravitational constant (big G) even slightly, stars would burn out so quickly that no light elements would survive. No life. If we decreased it, fusion would occur so slowly that we would all live on ice planets. No life.
If the universe expanded faster, galaxies wouldn't have time to form. If slower, the universe would overcome the acceleration and collapse before galaxies had time to form. STILL NO LIFE.
There are many other examples which are readily available that the universe has been fine tuned for life, some of which are simpler than these and some of which are too complicated for me to verify easily (I will therefore not repeat them). Searching 'fine-tuned universe' and looking at the God and Science website will yield numerous impressive numbers.
Most of the info here is taken from Big Bang Refined by Fire by Dr. Hugh Ross, 1998. But, of course, I have added my own knowledge and flair.
Philosophically, it is unbelievable that the Universe, in its one run (with oscillating universes fully discounted and no evidence for multiverses), has happened to create sufficient intelligence to observe it. Anyone who is not already deeply invested in the opposite position would conclude that an atemporal creator is the most like explanation.
"So, the universe itself does seem pretty specific indeed, even with the small list you have given. It appears a universe where stars may form is a rather improbable one and one which can last long enough to sustain life is even more so. That's actually kind of cool. But I'm still not convinced that you have proved a creator who is any more than some kind of deist figure, much less the God of the Bible. You have shown, at best, that the Bible doesn't contradict reality and that something or someone created the universe for life. Tell me you have something better than that."
I do, my skeptical friend. I do.
Stay tuned.

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