Imagine That: The Universe is Perfectly Made for Life

In the current (December 2008) issue of Discover Magazine, there’s a fascinating article entitled:  “Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator.”  The subtitle is:  “Our Universe is Perfectly Tailored for Life.  That May Be the Work of God or the Result of Our Universe Being One of Many.”

Folger wrote:  “Everything…bears witness to an extraordinary fact about the universe:  Its basic properties are uncannily suited for life.  Tweak the laws of physics in just about any way and—in this universe, anyway—life as we know it would not exist.”

“Consider just two possible changes.  Atoms consist of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  If those protons were just 0.2 percent more massive than they actually are, they would be unstable and would decay into simpler particles.  Atoms wouldn’t exist; neither would we.  If gravity were slightly more powerful, the consequences would be nearly as grave.  A beefed-up gravitational force would compress stars more tightly, making them smaller, hotter, and denser.  Rather than surviving for billions of years, stars would burn through their fuel in a few million years, sputtering out long before life had a chance to evolve.  There are many such examples of the universe’s life-friendly properties—so many, in fact, that physicists can’t dismiss them all as mere accidents.”

Folger then quotes Professor Andrei Linde, a noted physicist associated with Stanford University:  “We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible.”

Some scientists call this the Anthropic Principle, from the Greek word for human– “anthropos.”  The Anthropic Principle states that the universe, solar system, and our planet earth are inexplicably fine-tuned for human life.

Folger continues:  “Physicists don’t like coincidences.  They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe…”

In other words, Physicists don’t like the idea that God created this universe as a home for human beings.

“…and yet recently discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea.  Life, it seems, is not an incidental component of the universe, burped up out of a random chemical brew on a lonely planet to endure for a few fleeting ticks of the cosmic clock.  In some strange sense, it appears that we are not adapted to the universe; the universe is adapted to us.”

If you don’t want to allow an Intelligent Designer into the process, how do you explain it?

The article goes on:  “Call it a fluke, a mystery, a miracle.  Or call it the biggest problem in physics.  Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse.  Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suited for life.”

What Folger is saying is that the only way you can explain this apart from an Intelligent Designer is to say that the universe itself is infinite, endless.  There are an infinite number, not just of solar systems or of galaxies, but of universes (each having its own system of physics).  Because the number of universes is infinite, it allows for the possibility that the somewhere somehow among all the infinite numbers of universes, the odds get a little better of having a planet that can sustain life. 

“If there are vast numbers of other universes, all with different properties, by pure odds at least one of them ought to have the right combination of conditions to bring forth stars, planets, and living things,” wrote Folger.

Folger admits that the idea is controversial.  “Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved.”

And yet, one scientist quoted by Folger admitted, “If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.”

I’m not a scientist, so what do I know?—but it seems that envisioning a trillion new universes does not explain away the wonders of this one.  And furthermore, if there are an infinite number of universes—where did they come from?  Who made them?  I’m not really a betting man, but if we’re talking odds, doesn’t the existence of multiple universes, with their incredible complexities and laws and systems, increase the odds there must be  Master Designer above it all? 

Ah, we’re back to God!

 You can find this article at the Discovery website, at

For a copy of the Sunday morning message in which Dr. Doug Henry and I discuss the weaknesses of evolutionary theory, go to