Teleological Argument – Argument for Design
The Teleological Argument comes down to design. The appearance that the universe was designed to support life on earth is overwhelming. Secular scientists have observed that for physical life to be possible in the universe, many characteristics must take on specific values, as referenced below. In the secular scientific world, this circumstance of apparent fine-tuning in the universe is not disputed, and is referred to as “The Anthropic Principle.” Atheistic scientists have offered several unconvincing rationalizations for this having occurred without the involvement of a Divine Mind, but given the intricacy of the interrelationships between various features in the universe, the indication of divine "fine tuning" seems incontrovertible.
Teleological Argument – A Fine-Tuned Universe
The list supporting the Teleological Argument seems to be growing larger and larger as scientists discover more about the universe. Even now, this is a very long list, and who really likes lists? However, when I discuss these issues with atheists, they often ask for “details on this so-called fine-tuning,” so here’s the list:
- Strong nuclear force constant
- Weak nuclear force constant
- Gravitational force constant
- Electromagnetic force constant
- Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
- Ratio of proton to electron mass
- Ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
- Ratio of proton to electron charge
- Expansion rate of the universe
- Mass density of the universe
- Baryon (proton and neutron) density of the universe
- Space energy or dark energy density of the universe
- Ratio of space energy density to mass density
- Entropy level of the universe
- Velocity of light
- Age of the universe
- Uniformity of radiation
- Homogeneity of the universe
- Average distance between galaxies
- Average distance between galaxy clusters
- Average distance between stars
- Average size and distribution of galaxy clusters
- Numbers, sizes, and locations of cosmic voids
- Electromagnetic fine structure constant
- Gravitational fine-structure constant
- Decay rate of protons
- Ground state energy level for helium-4
- Carbon-12 to oxygen-16 nuclear energy level ratio
- Decay rate for beryllium-8
- Ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
- Initial excess of nucleons over antinucleons
- Polarity of the water molecule
- Epoch for hypernova eruptions
- Number and type of hypernova eruptions
- Epoch for supernova eruptions
- Number and types of supernova eruptions
- Epoch for white dwarf binaries
- Density of white dwarf binaries
- Ratio of exotic matter to ordinary matter
- Number of effective dimensions in the early universe
- Number of effective dimensions in the present universe
- Mass values for the active neutrinos
- Number of different species of active neutrinos
- Number of active neutrinos in the universe
- Mass value for the sterile neutrino
- Number of sterile neutrinos in the universe
- Decay rates of exotic mass particles
- Magnitude of the temperature ripples in cosmic background radiation
- Size of the relativistic dilation factor
- Magnitude of the Heisenberg uncertainty
- Quantity of gas deposited into the deep intergalactic medium by the first supernovae
- Positive nature of cosmic pressures
- Positive nature of cosmic energy densities
- Density of quasars
- Decay rate of cold dark matter particles
- Relative abundances of different exotic mass particles
- Degree to which exotic matter self interacts
- Epoch at which the first stars (metal-free pop III stars) begin to form
- Epoch at which the first stars (metal-free pop III stars cease to form
- Number density of metal-free pop III stars
- Average mass of metal-free pop III stars
- Epoch for the formation of the first galaxies
- Epoch for the formation of the first quasars
- Amount, rate, and epoch of decay of embedded defects
- Ratio of warm exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
- Ratio of hot exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
- Level of quantization of the cosmic spacetime fabric
- Flatness of universe's geometry
- Average rate of increase in galaxy sizes
- Change in average rate of increase in galaxy sizes throughout cosmic history
- Constancy of dark energy factors
- Epoch for star formation peak
- Location of exotic matter relative to ordinary matter
- Strength of primordial cosmic magnetic field
- Level of primordial magnetohydrodynamic turbulence
- Level of charge-parity violation
- Number of galaxies in the observable universe
- Polarization level of the cosmic background radiation
- Date for completion of second reionization event of the universe
- Date of subsidence of gamma-ray burst production
- Relative density of intermediate mass stars in the early history of the universe
- Water's temperature of maximum density
- Water's heat of fusion
- Water's heat of vaporization
- Number density of clumpuscules (dense clouds of cold molecular hydrogen gas) in the universe
- Average mass of clumpuscules in the universe
- Location of clumpuscules in the universe
- Dioxygen's kinetic oxidation rate of organic molecules
- Level of paramagnetic behavior in dioxygen
- Density of ultra-dwarf galaxies (or supermassive globular clusters) in the middle-aged universe
- Degree of space-time warping and twisting by general relativistic factors
- Percentage of the initial mass function of the universe made up of intermediate mass stars
- Strength of the cosmic primordial magnetic field1
Teleological Argument – Mathematical Impossibility without a Designer
The Teleological Argument reflects one of three possibilities for the existence of this incredible fine-tuning: law, chance or design. Scientists have puzzled over it for years and have found no natural laws that can account for it. The odds against such a theory ever being discovered seem insurmountable. Even Stephen Hawking, who was originally a believer in a “Theory of Everything” that could possibly explain the fine-tuning as necessary by law, after considering Gödel's Theorem concluded that one was not obtainable. He states: “Some people will be very disappointed if there is not an ultimate theory, that can be formulated as a finite number of principles. I used to belong to that camp, but I have changed my mind.”2
Since the threshold of mathematical impossibility is 1 in 10 to the 50th power, and the odds of this fine-tuning coming into existence by chance are far, far beyond that, we can rule out chance. Only a transcendent Creator makes sense of this unbelievably complex order in the universe.
During the last 35 years or so, scientists have discovered that the existence of intelligent life absolutely depends upon this very delicate and complex balance of initial conditions. It appears that “the deck was stacked” in the substances, constants and quantities of the Big Bang itself, to provide a life-permitting universe. We now know through modern science that life-prohibiting universes are vastly more probable than any life-permitting universe like ours. How much more probable?
Well, the answer is that the chances that the universe should be life-permitting are so infinitesimally small as to be incomprehensible and incalculable. For example, Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have re-collapsed into a hot fireball due to gravitational attraction.3 Physicist P.C.W. Davies has calculated that the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for star formation (without which planets could not exist) is one followed by at least a thousand billion billion zeroes!4 Davies also calculates that a change in the strength of gravity or of the weak force by merely one part in 10 raised to the 100th power (!) would have prevented a life-permitting universe.5 As we saw in the previous lists, there are dozens and dozens of such constants and quantities present in the Big Bang which must be exquisitely fine-tuned in this way if the universe is to permit life. Moreover, it's not only each individual quantity or constant which must be finely tuned; their ratios to each other must also be exquisitely finely tuned. Therefore, vast improbability is multiplied by vast improbability, and yet again by vast improbability repeatedly until our minds are simply reeling in vanishingly small odds.
There is no plausible physical reason why these constants and quantities should have the values that they do. Reflecting on this, the once-agnostic physicist P.C.W. Davies comments, "Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact."6 Likewise, British Astrophysicist Sir Frederick Hoyle remarks, "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics."7 Robert Jastrow, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, refers to this as “the most powerful evidence for the existence of God ever to come out of science.”8
Teleological Argument – What’s More Reasonable, Design or Chance?
In the final analysis, it seems the Teleological Argument has strong scientific, philosophical, and theological legs. The view that Christian theists have historically held, that there is an intelligent Designer of the universe, seems to make so much more sense than the atheistic alternative: The universe, when it popped into being, without cause, out of nothing, just happened to be, by chance, fine-tuned for intelligent life with a mind-numbingly unlikely precision and delicacy. To call the odds against this fine-tuning occurring by chance “astronomical” would be a wild understatement.
Compliments of Steve J. Williams. Rendered with permission from the book, The Skeptics’ Guide to Eternal Bliss (2nd ed), Steve J. Williams, Lulu Press, 2009. All rights reserved in the original.
1Most of the source references for “The List” are found in The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd edition by Hugh Ross (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), pp. 145-157, 245-248. Additional references are listed in the Related Article accompanying this piece to the right side.
3 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 123.
4 P.C.W. Davies, Other Worlds (London: Dent, 1980), pp. 168, 169.
5 P.C. W. Davies, “The Anthropic Principle”, in Particle and Nuclear Physics
6 Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1992), p. 169.
7 Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering and Science (November, 1981), p. 12.
8 Robert Jastrow, “The Astronomer and God”, in The Intellectuals Speak Out About God, ed. Roy Abraham Varghese (Chicago: Regenery Gateway, 1984) p. 22.
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