Apologetics Pt 11

Dave Scholes

Dave Scholes

Apologetics

The First Premise of the Teleological Argument part A.

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

If you want a refresher of the introduction I wrote last week on this argument, check it out here. We’re now going to break down the argument into its three steps and discuss the implications and any possible issues/objections.

This first premise does two main things: a) it acknowledges that the universe is fine-tuned, and b) it simply lists the possible options that could account for the fine-tuning. So in this post, I want to show you this ‘fine-tuning’ and then next time, I want to explain a little further the three options that could explain fine-tuning.

So, what is the fine-tuning of the universe?

When we talk about fine-tuning, we’re not saying that the universe is tuned by something or someone (yet!). That would be begging the question (only believing the premise because you already agree with the conclusion) and wouldn’t be helpful in a discussion with a non-Christian.

So here we go, the physical laws of nature, when given mathematical expression, contain various constants (such as the gravitational constant) whose values are not determined by the laws themselves. For example, Newton’s law of gravity is expressed like this: F = Gm1m2/rwhere the gravitational force F is determined by the masses of two objects (m1m2), the distance between those objects (r2) but also by a gravitational constant (G). This constant is the number that stays the same, no matter what happens to the other objects. The law doesn’t actually determine the value of G.

By fine-tuning, we mean that if these constants were different by even the smallest amount, there would be no life at all, let alone intelligent, human life. If the gravitational constant had been different by only one part in 10100(that’s 10 with 100 zeroes following), the universe we would have would not permit any life at all.

Now, some physicists expect there to be as many as two dozen of these constants. Each one of them is fine tuned, some more so than the example we’ve already explored! And if any one of them was out by a hair’s breadth, the universe as we know it would be unable to support life.

That, for me, is just incredible. For the universe to be just the way it is that it allows human life on planet earth is just a phenomenal truth. If things had been different by the most infinitesimal degree, we would not be here. Fortunately for us, we are here! And next time we’ll look at the options that could have caused the universe to be the way it is.

[I’m now going on holiday for a couple of weeks, so we’ll pick up where we left of in August!]


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