NGC 602 (NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team more)
It is undisputed, even by secular scientists, that the universe contains numerous exquisitely fine-tuned design characteristics which make it possible for life to exist on Planet Earth (more>>). Christian apologists contend the design characteristics observed throughout the universe point to the existence of an intelligent designer (like the self-existent, transcendent, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent God described in the Bible) who designed the universe for the purpose of supporting life (more>>). In response, Naturalists appeal to the existence of an infinite (or almost infinite) number of other universes to argue all the design features observed in the universe are a mere chance illusion.
This article discusses the reasons Christian apologists claim the multi-universe theory isn’t the most rational explanation for all the design observed in the universe and the reasons they believe Naturalists are unreasonable in denying that the existence of an intelligent designer is a rational, if not the most rational, explanation for the existence of our exquisitely fine-tuned, life-permitting universe.
In the view of the Naturalist, the universe only appears to be designed because an infinite number of other universes exist and, by chance, our universe just happens to be a universe (perhaps the only universe) which contains all the necessary features that permit life to exist. Since we can only observe the universe we live in, people simply assume all the finely-tuned, life-permitting characteristics of our universe must have been designed for that purpose. However, Naturalists maintain that the fact we are here to observe our finely-tuned universe only means that an extremely improbable chance event (the development of a life-supporting universe) did, in fact, take place; otherwise, we wouldn’t be here to see it.
As discussed in below, Christian apologists contend the multi-universe theory isn’t the most rational explanation for the design observed in the universe and Naturalists are unreasonable in continuing to deny that the existence of an intelligent designer is a rational, if not the most rational, explanation for the existence of our exquisitely fine-tuned, life-permitting universe.
Reasons Why Christian Apologists Maintain that the Multi-Universe Theory Isn’t the Most Rational Explanation for the Design Observed in the Universe
Christian apologists offer the following points (made by way of analogy) in support of the proposition that the existence of an infinite number of universes is not the most rational explanation for the design observed in throughout universe:
- Multi-universe theorists are forced to make a blind bet that an infinite number of other universes actually exist, a bet that requires the laws of physics to be violated which has never been demonstrated to have occurred (skip to >>)
- The multi-universe proposal doesn’t address the questions rational people are intuitively compelled to ask (skip to>>)
Point No. 1
Multi-Universe Theorists Have to Make a Blind Bet that Requires the Laws of Physics to be Violated Which Has Never Been Demonstrated to Have Occurred
As argued by astrophysicists Hugh Ross and Jeff Zweerink (see www.reasons.org), proponents of multi-universe theories (aka multiverse theories) face significant challenges in relying on the existence of multiple universes to explain the finely-tuned, life-supporting design characteristics exhibited in our universe (more>>) and can only do so by speculating as follows:
- If a natural (non-designed) mechanism exists outside the space-time envelope of this universe,
- and if this mechanism somehow has naturally created an infinite number of universe buds,
- and if some of those universe buds blossomed into universes,
- and if each of those universes exhibit random characteristics in violation of the established laws of physics,
- then it is not necessary for our universe, which has so many finely-tuned life-supporting characteristics, to have been designed by an intelligent designer (like the self-existing, transcendent, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent God described in the Bible) because then our universe might only appear to be designed because we just happen to live in the one universe with all the just-right characteristics necessary to support life.
As argued by Hugh Ross, since all of these “ifs” can only be speculated, a person who chooses to believe in the existence of multi-universes must be willing to bet a natural (non-designed) mechanism actually exists outside the universe and must make that bet in spite of the following:
- The existence of the proposed mechanism and the proposed randomly universes can only be speculated because Einstein’s theory of General Relativity tells us that anything outside of the space-time envelope of this universe never be directly observed or tested by anyone in this universe (more>>);
- Both the proposed mechanism and the hypothesized infinite number of randomly operating universes would have to violate the established laws of physics which has never been demonstrated to have occurred or to be capable of occurring (more>>).
Hugh Ross relies on the following illustration to argue no rational person would make such a bet:
Assume someone was flipping a coin and offered to accept a bet on the head’s side of the coin coming up after the next flip. Also assume you had seen the person flip the coin 100,000 times in a row and every single time, without exception, the coin always came up tails. Given those circumstances, would it be rational to bet your house on the next flip coming up heads or would logic dictate that no coin randomly comes up tails 100,000 times in a row and, therefore, the most logical conclusion is that the coin must have been manufactured in such a way so that it would always come up tails (e.g., it is heavily weighted on one side or both sides have tails)?
Ross contends people relying on multi-universe theories to explain the existence of our highly designed and complex universe are making a bet no rational person would make. They have studied all the finely-tuned and life-supporting characteristics which exist throughout the universe and have observed that, without exception, everything in the universe operates in accordance with established laws of physics. They also know no one will ever be able to directly observe whether a mechanism capable of producing an infinite number of universes actually exists nor will they be able to directly observe even one of the hypothesized infinite number of universes. Nevertheless, they are still willing to bet the reason our universe appears to be designed is not because it really was designed but because an hypothesized mechanism has produced an infinite number of randomly operating universes and we just happen to live in the one universe that operates in accordance with the laws of physics which make it appear as though it were designed by an intelligent designer.
Alternatively, Ross maintains the more rational explanation is that the reason the universe looks designed is because it really was designed by an intelligent designer like the self-existent, transcendent, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent God described in the Bible.
Point No. 2
The Multi-Universe Proposal Doesn’t Address the Questions Rational People are Intuitively Compelled to Ask
Since it would be impossible for us to observe a universe we were unable to exist in, some Naturalists argue no explanation of why we observe our just-right universe is necessary because if it wasn’t just-right, we wouldn’t be here to observe it. In their view, it is no surprise we observe a universe that permits life to exist because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to observe it at all.
Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig, points to an analogical argument developed by Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne of Oxford University, to demonstrate what they consider to be a significant weakness in the Naturalists’ proposition that the fact we are here to observe our finely-tuned universe only means an extremely improbable chance event (namely, the development of a life-supporting universe) did, in fact, take place; otherwise, we wouldn’t be here to see it. The analogy goes something like this:
EXECUTION OF PAULÍ PALLÀS IN 1893 (MORE)
Assume 100 specially trained sharpshooters are sent to execute a prisoner by firing squad. All 100 sharpshooters take careful aim and fire their rifles at the prisoner. But, when the smoke clears, the prisoner sees he was not hit by even one bullet. Intuitively, the prisoner would immediately ponder why all the sharpshooters missed him or how it is possible all 100 sharpshooters missed him. Tellingly, the prisoner’s intuitive response would not be that all the sharpshooters must have missed by coincidence and his survival only proves an extremely unlikely event took place because, otherwise, he wouldn’t be there to see he was still alive.
In other words, given the highly unlikely occurrence that all 100 sharpshooters would miss such an easy target by mere chance, the most rational response of the survivor wouldn’t be: “Well it’s obvious all the sharpshooters missed by chance because otherwise I wouldn’t be alive to see that they missed.” Rather, the most rational response of the survivor would be to ask, “Why did all 100 sharpshooters miss?” or “How is it possible ll 100 sharpshooters missed?” People encountering such a highly improbable event intuitively look for a rational explanation and the most rational explanation is the 100 sharpshooters missed because someone intended for them to miss (e.g., all the sharpshooters got together and agreed to miss or someone put blanks in their guns).
Similarly, Christian apologists point out that when one considers the overwhelming amount of evidence that the universe contains hundreds of finely-tuned design features which must operate in a very precise way to permit life to exist (more>>), the most rational response isn’t: “Of course it is this way because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here to see it.” Rather, men are intuitively and rationally compelled to ask: “Why do all these design characteristics exist? or “How is it possible for all these design features to exist?
The fact we can observe only a life permitting universe does nothing to eliminate the need of an explanation for why a life-permitting universe exists. — William Lane Craig [On Guard, pgs. 116-117 (2010)]
Swinburne asserts people encountering an extremely unlikely event want a rational explanation and the most rational explanation for our extremely unlikely just-right, life-permitting universe is that someone (an intelligent designer) intended for the universe to be the way it is so it could support life, as reflected in statements of some very well-known and respected secular scientists:
Stephen Hawking, professor at Cambridge University whose contributions to science include space-time theorems of general relativity, has stated:
It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us. (Emphasis added) [See, Hugh Ross, Creator and the Cosmo, pg. 159, citing to Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (1988), pg. 127.]
Likewise, when Fred Hoyle (a secular astronomer) discovered how finely-tuned the carbon atom was, he did not intuitively respond, “Of course it is this way because otherwise I wouldn’t be here to see how finely-tuned the carbon atom is.” Rather, he intuitively concluded the exquisitely fine-tuned design of the carbon atom was evidence of an intelligent designer:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.
Paul Davies, a secular physicist, came to a similar conclusion when he stated:
[There] is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all . . . . It seems has though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the universe…. The impression of design is overwhelming.
Christian apologists maintain skeptics are unreasonable in their insistence that the hundreds of finely-tuned design features observed throughout the universe is a mere chance illusion. Rather, Christian apologists contend the most reasonable and commonsensical conclusion is the reason our universe contains so many fine-tuned, life-supporting design features is because the universe was, in fact, designed by an intelligent designer (like the self-existing, transcendent, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent God described in the Bible) who purposed that the universe would operate in a just-right way to support life.
According to Romans 1:20-21, the reason why an otherwise rational person might reject the rational explanation that an exquisitely designed universe points to the existence of an intelligent designer (like the God described in the Bible) is because a person’s heart can become darkened to a point their thinking becomes futile:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. — Romans 1:20-21
© 2012 by Andrina G. Hanson
Published: June 13, 2012 / Last Updated: April 27, 2013
QUICK LINKS TO SOURCES REFERENCED OR RELIED ON IN THIS ARTICLE
William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision(Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook; New Edition, 2010)
Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God(Navpress; 2 edition, 1995)
Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is(Baker Books, 2008)
R.C. Sproul, Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology(Baker Books, 1999)
Lee Strobel, The Case For A Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (Strobel, Lee) (Zondervan, 2005)
Richard Swinburne, “Argument from the Fine-Tuning of the Universe,” Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, pg. 160 (New York: Macmillan,1991)
Richard Swinburn, Is There a God? (Oxford University Press, USA; Revised editionm 2010)
Jeff Zweerink, Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse (Reasons To Believe; 1st Edition (2008)
IMAGE CREDITS & LICENSING
Slideshow Photo: This is a photo of NGC 602 located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way (downloaded from www.nasa.gov). Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STSci/AURA).
Execution of Paulí Pallàs in 1893: This image was downloaded from www.wikipedia.org which states the image is in the public domain in countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.
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