In May of 2018 I wrote a blog on the fine tuning of the universe. Since then I have done more research on this subject and have concluded that in the realm of modern science this is theism’s strongest argument for God.
In fact two of the most celebrated atheists to ever live, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins both acknowledged that the fine tuning of the universe is the most troubling argument that atheists have to deal with.
Fine-tuning, as it applies to the universe, is the idea that the conditions that allow life to exist in the universe can occur only when certain universal constants lie within a very narrow range of values. If any of several constants were only slightly different, the universe would be unlikely to be conducive to the establishment of life.
All modern scientists agree that the universe seems to be fine-tuned for life. There are so many aspects of the universe that, even if only minutely altered, life could not exist. The universe in which we live gives the appearance of having been designed with incredible precision.
We are told by today’s astrophysicists that there were around 122 variables that would need to be lined up with perfect precision in order for our universe to have come into existence. If any of these variables was off by even a million-millionth, matter would not have been able to unite and hold together. There would have been nothing—no stars, no world, no people.
Consider that our planet is 94 million miles from the sun. If the earth was a few miles closer to the sun, we would burn up. If it was a few miles farther away we would freeze to death.
Dr. Richard Swenson says the earth also has just the right kind and size of moon. If our large moon did not exist, neither would we. Our friendly parish lantern has a diameter almost one-fourth that of Earth. This size stabilizes the angle of our axis of spin. Were it not for the moon, Earth’s obliquity (tilt of its axis) would vary chaotically from 0 to 85 degrees and would be catastrophically influenced by Jupiter’s gravitational pull. As a result, the stability of our climate is to a large extent the result of the existence of the moon.
Earth is in the right kind of solar system with giant planets that shield the inner planets from too many impacts from comets or asteroids. Jupiter’s mass, for example, is 317 times that of Earth, and Saturn’s is 95 times. These huge outer planets, especially Jupiter, function as over-sized planetary offensive linemen blocking intruding errant cosmic bodies out of Earth’s orbital path.
These are just 3 of the 122 variables that are in perfect precision so that we can exist. This explains why more and more scientists who are atheists are beginning to realize the seriousness of the fine-tuning argument. Astronomer Fred Hoyle was an atheist and a bit of a maverick in the world of science. He was quite shaken when he first examined the evidence of a delicately fine-tuned universe. He concluded there must be some kind of intelligence behind it all. He uttered these famous words:
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”
Hoyle and many other scientists do not want to admit this “super-intellect” is God. I sometimes wonder if the problem of the modern skeptics is not that he does not believe in God, but that in his heart of hearts does not want there to be a God. As noted, philosopher Thomas Nagel of New York University put it:
“I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
Think about what he said.
“I want atheism to be true. I don’t want there to be a God. I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
This is a picture of willful blindness, outright unbelief. This is why you have to wonder how much of atheistic belief is in fact a matter of the heart and will, and not of the intellect.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author. Much of this blog is taken from Richard’s newest book, Reflections of the Existence of God.