Was It Just A Freak Coincidence That Life Can Flourish On Earth?
Christians Pray for Others While Searching the Web
By looking at the contents of the universe, we try to find order and understand all that is around us. In doing this, we can then empirically test our findings to show how objects within the universe function. This allows us to make sense of our existence and gives us the tools to predict future events from a posteriori knowledge.
The term, predict future events, may be misleading when taken out of context. The intention of this phrase is used when watching a wine glass drop to the floor or when putting a pot of water on a burner. By testing over and over again that water boils at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, we can predict the future by saying any time I see water rise to the temperature of 212 then it will boil. The same goes for the wine glass, we can always expect the wine glass to fall down toward the earth and break on the floor. We can predict the future by saying that any time I see a glass drop it will not fly into the air and break on the ceiling. A posteriori knowledge allows us to predict events and make sense of the way our world functions.
The human scientific knowledge base gets bigger and bigger with every new discovery. But instead of merely asking how do objects function in the world, which science does, we must answer the question what did it take to allow objects to exist? An object in this context is defined as anything that can be studied so an object can be an atom, a chemical compound, or a mountain. By tackling this question, we can then find if the natural causes that allow objects to exist are mere coincidence.
The first example of an amazing coincidence that was necessary for all existence is how chemicals were created. Steven M. Barr writes in his essay, Anthropic Coincidences, that humans are made up “of no less than twenty-five different chemical elements.” All together, there are almost one hundred different naturally occurring chemical elements that we know of in the universe. The question must be asked, “Where did all these chemicals come from?”
After the big bang, hydrogen was created and all other chemical elements were developed deep within stars. Barr explains that when the star explodes at the end of its life it releases the new element into space. The first element to be produced after hydrogen would be a fusion of two hydrogen atoms called deuterium. “The force of nature that cements nuclei together is called the “strong nuclear force.” Had the strong nuclear force been weaker by even as little as 10 percent, it would not have been able to fuse two hydrogens together to make deuterium, and the prospects of life would have been dim indeed.” Barr also goes on to say that if the nuclear force had been stronger by 10 percent then the reaction would have been the opposite. The nuclear reactions within stars would occur too fast and then the life of stars would be considerably less than they are now which would in turn effect how long planets would have light for. If stars energy were used up in millions of years as opposed to billions, would intelligent life have an opportunity to develop?
Another example of an anthropic coincidence that Barr gives us is the necessity of quantum mechanics to work exactly as it does. If quantum theory were not in place, then all matter would not be stable. “Subatomic particles form stable atoms with well–defined chemical properties. Were it not for the principles of quantum theory, matter would be amorphous and protean to such a degree that it is hard to imagine a living organism being possible.” The coincidence that quantum theory works makes it so that chemicals can exist. Without chemicals, there are no planets or stars. Without planets and stars, no life can exist. Is this coincidence or designed?
An objection to the first anthropic coincidence is that humans base knowledge from experience. The human experience has told us that many chemicals are needed for life and that without the physics of how those chemicals work, life is impossible. We come to these conclusions by studying our own experience. But, it is possible that life does not have to function as we perceive it to. Maybe with different physics principles, a different type of universe can exist where life functions perfectly fine. Just because the physics principles we hold true to our universe are necessary to sustain our understanding of life, it is still possible that this universe could have had different physics principles that sustain life.
The problem with this objection is that even if physics principles other than the ones our universe holds allows life to exist, there would still be a step – by – step process to achieve life. It would be amazing for every single step to occur and the end result is simple life on a planet. What would be even more amazing is for every single step to occur and the end result is an intelligent life form on a planet pondering upon its origins. So, the coincidence does not lie in physics principles themselves rather it lies in the step – by – step process that must occur to allow life to exist.
An objection to the second anthropic coincidence is that physicists now suspect that the universe’s creation and life’s existence is due to deep underlying principles. For the universe to function in the way it does it needs to have space, time, gravity, three dimensions, etc. etc. The contrary to this would be impossible and no universe or could exist under such conditions. It is not a coincidence that quantum theory works the way it does because deep underlying principles make it work in only one certain way.
The problem with this objection is that the deep underlying principles could have been a number of different possibilities. By concluding that the physics in our universe can be the only way the universe works is another example of how humans take our knowledge of existence and then claim that thinking of existence in another way would be impossible. This is like saying, since no human has experienced a universe that has different underlying principles then it is not possible for one to exist. The universe could have existed in many other different ways, it just so happened that it functions the way it does. Just because humans do not have empirical evidence for a universe that holds different physics principles does not mean that having different physics principles are impossible.
Was There A Cause To The Universe In Which Our Planet Belongs To?
Those who disagree with this argument do not believe there was a beginning of time. Doubters believe that the scientific account of the big bang did not occur as empirically proven by science, rather there was time infinitely in the past.
- Everything is caused by something other than itself.
- Therefore the universe was caused by something other than itself.
- The string of causes cannot be infinitely long.
- If the string of causes cannot be infinitely long, there must be a first cause.
- Therefore, there must be a first cause, namely God.
- Everything that has a beginning in time has a cause.
- The universe had a beginning in time.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
- The only thing that could have caused the universe is God (because the cause has to be spaceless and timeless).
The human mind is unable to image a universe where there is no space and time. Image a box that has nothing in it. The space in that box is empty, but this does not mean that there is no space in the box. The same with time; imagine a universe where there is no time that flows linearly. It is impossible to image. The way our minds interpret our experience is by having space and having time. Those who believe that time is infinite, call upon their human experience, which tells them that imagining the contrary is impossible.
New scientific evidence from Time Magazine in June 2001 shows that the big bang occurred 15 billion years ago. Before the big bang there was no space and time. It is impossible for our human minds to comprehend what happened before the big bang, refer to the box again, we can only think of empty space not no space. It is also impossible for us to think of time that does not flow literarily. Time started when the big bang occurred and the big bang occurred everywhere at one time. Then all the matter and energy that the universe can use during its existence was created at the time the big bang occurred. A type of anti-matter pushes all the galaxies and solar systems away from each other. The speed at which this occurs is constantly getting faster, pushing galaxies and solar systems further and further apart. But these galaxies and solar systems are not moving into space that never existed. Outer space must be thought of as having positive curvature. A good way to image the way outer space is shaped by taking a piece of paper and making both ends touch each other. If something traveled in a straight line going further and further into space, it would in theory end up back where it started. So again in theory, a galaxy could end up exactly where it started at the dawn of time if it kept moving in the same direction. This will not happen because before this could occur, all the energy that the big bang created will be used up. Eventually the universe would enter a dark era. The only thing that will be left is cosmic waste. There will be no light and no energy 10^100 trillion years from now, just burnt-out cylinders of stars and dead planets. Eventually, all the matter will collapse into black holes then the black holes will disintegrate that matter into particles. These particles will bind together to form big atoms larger than the size of our universe. That’s the end. There will still be space, there will still be time, and there was a beginning to both. Something must have caused this universe to exist and the cause has to be both spaceless and timeless. The cause had to have been able to function where there is no space, which is unimaginable, and with no time which is also unimaginable.
It was not a freak coincidence that life can flourish on Earth and there was a cause to the universe that our planet is apart of. Barr showed evidence of how anthropic coincidences such the process of how chemicals came into existence and the necessity of quantum mechanics were both needed to function exactly as they do to allow life to exist. With scientific evidence showing how the universe both began and how it will end proves that the universe had a beginning in time but will have no end in time. Everything with a beginning in time has a first cause that the first cause of the universe had to be both timeless and spaceless.