Ramblings About the Fine-Tuning of the Universe

I recently read an article by Julie Roys, host of Moody Radio’s Up for Debate program.  The article is entitled “Facts About the Universe That Will Blow Your Mind.” 

The article goes into the fine-tuning of the universe.  Essentially, this concept notes that, if certain natural constants varied by only a little bit, there would not be any interactive life in the universe.  For a number of theists, that is evidence for the existence of an intelligent designer of the universe.

The article mentioned something else, though: that the earth is in a spot of the universe that is favorable to life, when there are actually a lot of places in the universe that are not favorable to it.  Roys states:

“MIT Professor Max Tegmark mapped the arrangement of temperature disturbances in radiation throughout the universe and discovered something surprising. These disturbances are concentrated in such a way that they reveal a very specific arrangement or ‘axis.’ And, the earth occupies a very favored location in the axis. My guests this Saturday disagree on exactly where the earth is located.  According Robert Sungenis, producer of the new controversial movie, The Principle, the earth lies at the center of the axis. But, Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, says the earth lies more at the edge of the axis. Either way, the earth occupies a very favored location in the universe, which disturbs atheistic scientists. Fascinating!”

As I read this, I thought about an atheist podcast that I heard recently.  I talk about it here.  On this podcast, an atheist lady was saying that she talks to Christians and they tell her that the universe is so finely-tuned for life, and so there must be a God.  She responds that actually there is not that much life in the universe.  Christians then say that it is such a miracle that there is life on earth, amidst a largely hostile, lifeless universe, and so that shows there is a God!  You just can’t win!  These Christians keep changing the criteria of evidence, the atheist lady appeared to be suggesting.

I’m a bit mixed when it comes to the argument from fine-tuning.  I think that whether or not it makes sense to people depends on their perspective.  Allow me to give an example.  I am here.  But things had to turn out a certain way for me to be here.  If my Dad stayed in bed rather than going to church, he would not have met my Mom, and I would not be here.  If another sperm got to my Mom’s egg, I would not be here.  Now, I could believe that God arranged for my Dad to meet my Mom, and for my sperm to be the one that got to my Mom’s egg.  On the other hand, though, my existence could just be the result of accidents, or of things turning out as they did, when they could have easily turned out otherwise.  One could say that there is no iron-clad rule that we have to be here: that we are here because, fortunately for us, things turned out as they did, and they could have happened differently.

So earth is in a part of the universe that is conducive to life.  Does that prove there is a God, or serve as evidence for that proposition?  Or does it just highlight one reason that there is life on earth: that the earth happened to be in a place that is conducive to life?


About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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3 Responses to Ramblings About the Fine-Tuning of the Universe

  1. Great post James 😀


  2. Laura says:

    In Eric Metaxas’ new book entitled Miracles, he has several chapters covering both the fine tuning for life on our planet, and for life in the universe at all. The book is an apologetic defense of Christian faith, through the approach of miracles – especially the miracle of life.


  3. jamesbradfordpate says:

    I’ll have to read that. I remember your review of it. I’d also like to read sometime those Craig Keener tomes on miracles. I’ve read some about that on the Triablogue, and they look interesting.


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