So Long, Eternal Universe; "Hello Beginning, Hello End!"
The front cover of the June 25, 2001 issue of Time magazine announced: “How the Universe Will End: Peering Deep Into Space and Time, Scientists Have Just Solved the Biggest Mystery in the Cosmos.” Comforting thought, isn’t it, to know that the “biggest mystery in the Cosmos” has been figured out? But what, exactly, is that mystery? And why does it merit the front cover of a major news magazine?
The origin and destiny of the Universe always have been important topics in the creation/evolution controversy. In the past, evolutionists went to great extremes to present scenarios that included an eternal Universe, and they went to the same extremes to avoid any scenario that suggested a Universe with a beginning or end because such a scenario posed bothersome questions. In his book, God and the Astronomers, the eminent evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow, who currently is serving as the director of the Mount Wilson Observatory, put it like this:
The Universe is the totality of all matter, animate and inanimate, throughout space and time. If there was a beginning, what came before? If there is an end, what will come after? On both scientific and philosophical grounds, the concept of an eternal Universe seems more acceptable than the concept of a transient Universe that springs into being suddenly, and then fades slowly into darkness.
Astronomers try not to be influenced by philosophical considerations. However, the idea of a Universe that has both a beginning and an end is distasteful to the scientific mind. In a desperate effort to avoid it, some astronomers have searched for another interpretation of the measurements that indicate the retreating motion of the galaxies, an interpretation that would not require the Universe to expand. If the evidence for the expanding Universe could be explained away, the need for a moment of creation would be eliminated, and the concept of time without end would return to science. But these attempts have not succeeded, and most astronomers have come to the conclusion that they live in an exploding world (1977, p. 31).
What does Jastrow mean when he says that “these attempts have not succeeded”? And why do evolutionists prefer to avoid the question of a Universe with a beginning? In an interview he granted on June 7, 1994, Dr. Jastrow elaborated on this point. The interviewer, Fred Heeren, asked if there was anything from physics that could explain how the universe first came to be. Jastrow lamented:
No, there’s not—this is the most interesting result in all of science.... As Einstein said, scientists live by their faith in causation, and the chain of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause that can be discovered by rational arguments. And this has been a very successful program, if you will, for unraveling the history of the universe. But it just fails at the beginning.... So time, really, going backward, comes to a halt at that point. Beyond that, that curtain can never be lifted.... And that is really a blow at the very fundamental premise that motivates all scientists (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 303).
Seventeen years earlier, in his book, Until the Sun Dies, Jastrow had discussed this very problem—a Universe without any adequate explanation for its own existence and, worse still, without any adequate cause for whatever theory scientists might set forth in an attempt to elucidate how it did originate. As Jastrow noted:
This great saga of cosmic evolution, to whose truth the majority of scientists subscribe, is the product of an act of creation that took place twenty billion years ago [by evolutionary estimates—BT]. Science, unlike the Bible, has no explanation for the occurrence of that extraordinary event. The Universe, and everything that has happened in it since the beginning of time, are a grand effect without a known cause. An effect without a cause? That is not the world of science; it is world of witchcraft, of wild events and the whims of demons, a medieval world that science has tried to banish. As scientists, what are we to make of this picture? I do not know (1977, p. 21, emp. added).
While Dr. Jastrow may not know how the Universe began, there are two things that he and his colleagues do know: (1) the Universe had a definite beginning; and (2) the Universe will have a definite ending.
THE UNIVERSE IS NOT ETERNAL
Admittedly, the most comfortable position for the evolutionist is the idea that the Universe is eternal, because it avoids the problem of a beginning or ending and thus the need for any “first cause” such as a Creator. In fact, it was to avoid just such a problem that evolutionists Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi, and Sir Fred Hoyle developed the Steady State Theory. Information had come to light which indicated that the Universe was expanding. Dr. Hoyle suggested that the best way to try to explain both an expanding and eternal Universe was to suggest that at points in space called “irtrons” hydrogen was coming into existence from nothing. As hydrogen atoms arrived, they had to “go” somewhere, and as they did, they displaced matter already in existence, causing the Universe to expand. Hoyle believed that the atoms of gaseous hydrogen gradually condensed into clouds of virgin matter. He then suggested that within these clouds new stars and galaxies formed. And so on.
In his book, Until the Sun Dies, astronomer Jastrow noted: “The proposal for the creation of matter out of nothing possesses a strong appeal to the scientist, since it permits him to contemplate a Universe without beginning and without end” (1977, p. 32). Even after evidence began to appear that showed the Steady State theory to be incorrect, Jastrow suggested that “some astronomers still favored it because the notion of a world with a beginning and an end made them feel so uncomfortable” (p. 33). In God and the Astronomers, Dr. Jastrow explained why attempts to prove an eternal Universe failed. “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, and the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (1978, p. 111). Jastrow—who is considered by many to be one of the greatest science writers of our time—certainly is no creationist. But as a scientist who is an astrophysicist, he has written often on the inescapable conclusion that the Universe had a beginning. Consider, for example, these statements from his pen:
Now both theory and observation pointed to an expanding Universe and a beginning in time.... About thirty years ago science solved the mystery of the birth and death of stars, and acquired new evidence that the Universe had a beginning (1978, pp. 47,105).
Arthur Eddington, the most distinguished British astronomer of his day, wrote, “If our views are right, somewhere between the beginning of time and the present day we must place the winding up of the universe.” When that occurred, and Who or what wound up the Universe, were questions that bemused theologians, physicists and astronomers, particularly in the 1920’s and 1930’s (1978, pp. 48-49).
Most remarkable of all is the fact that in science, as in the Bible, the World begins with an act of creation. That view has not always been held by scientists. Only as a result of the most recent discoveries can we say with a fair degree of confidence that the world has not existed forever; that it began abruptly, without apparent cause, in a blinding event that defies scientific explanation (1977, p. 19).
The conclusion to be drawn from the scientific data was inescapable, as Dr. Jastrow himself admitted when he wrote: “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future” (1977, p. 30, emp. added). In her book, The Fire in the Equations, award-winning science writer Kitty Ferguson wrote in agreement.
Our late twentieth-century picture of the universe is dramatically different from the picture our forebears had at the beginning of the century. Today it’s common knowledge that all the individual stars we see with the naked eye are only the stars of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and that the Milky Way is only one among many billions of galaxies. It’s also common knowledge that the universe isn’t eternal but had a beginning ten to twenty billion years ago, and that it is expanding (1994, p. 89, emp. added).
The evidence clearly indicates that the Universe had a beginning. The Second Law of thermodynamics, as Dr. Jastrow has indicated, shows this to be true. Henry Morris correctly commented: “The Second Law requires the universe to have had a beginning” (1974, p. 26). Indeed, it does. The Universe is not eternal.
MODERN ATTEMPTS TO DEFEND AN ETERNAL UNIVERSE:
THE STEADY STATE AND OSCILLATING UNIVERSE THEORIES
One theory that was offered in an attempt to establish the eternality of the Universe was the Steady State model, propagated by Sir Fred Hoyle and his colleagues. Even before they offered this unusual theory, however, scientific evidence had been discovered which indicated that the Universe was expanding. Hoyle set forth the Steady State model to: (a) erase any possibility of a beginning; (b) bolster the idea of an eternal Universe; and (c) explain why the Universe was expanding. His idea was that at certain points in the Universe (which he called “irtrons”), matter was being created spontaneously from nothing. Since this new matter had to “go” somewhere, and since two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, it pushed the already-existing matter further into distant space. Dr. Hoyle asserted that this process of matter continually being created (the idea even came to be known as the “continuous creation” theory) avoided any beginning or ending, and simultaneously accounted for the expansion of the Universe.
For a time, Hoyle’s Steady State hypothesis was quite popular. Eventually, however, it was discarded for a number of reasons. Cosmologist John Barrow has suggested that the Steady State theory proposed by Hoyle and his colleagues sprang “...from a belief that the universe did not have a beginning.... The specific theory they proposed fell into conflict with observation long ago...” (1991, p. 46). Indeed, the Steady State theory did fall into “conflict with observation” for a number of reasons. First, empirical observations no longer fit the model (see Gribbin, 1986). Second, new theoretical concepts being proposed were at odds with the Steady State model. And third, it violated the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed in nature. Jastrow commented on this last point when he wrote:
But the creation of matter out of nothing would violate a cherished concept in science—the principle of the conservation of matter and energy—which states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, and vice versa, but the total amount of all matter and energy in the Universe must remain unchanged forever. It is difficult to accept a theory that violates such a firmly established scientific fact. Yet the proposal for the creation of matter out of nothing possesses a strong appeal to the scientist, since it permits him to contemplate a Universe without beginning and without end (1977, p. 32).
The Steady State model, with its creation of matter from nothing, could not be reconciled with this basic law of science, and thus was abandoned.
Slowly but surely, the Big Bang model of the origin of the Universe replaced the Steady State theory. It postulated that all the matter/energy in the observable Universe was condensed into a particle much smaller than a single proton (the famous “cosmic egg,” or “ylem” as it frequently is called). The Big Bang model, however, suffered from at least two major problems. First, it required that whatever made up the “cosmic egg” be eternal—a concept clearly at odds with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. John Gribbin, a highly regarded evolutionary cosmologist, voiced the opinion of many when he wrote: “The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe is philosophical—perhaps even theological—what was there before the bang?” (1976, pp. 15-16).
Second, the expansion of the Universe could not go on forever; it had to end somewhere. These problems suggested to evolutionists that they were living in a Universe that had a beginning, and that would have an ending. Robert Jastrow addressed both of these points: “And concurrently there was a great deal of discussion about the fact that the second law of thermodynamics, applied to the Cosmos, indicates the Universe is running down like a clock. If it is running down, there must have been a time when it was fully wound up” (1978, pp 48-49). It was apparent that matter could not be eternal, because, as everyone knows, eternal things do not run down. Furthermore, there was going to be an end at some point in the future. And eternal entities do not have either beginnings or endings.
In a desperate effort to avoid any vestige of a beginning or any hint of an ending, evolutionists invented the Oscillating Universe model (also known as the Big Bang/Big Crunch model, the Expansion/Collapse model, etc.). Dr. Gribbin suggested that “...the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the Universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely” (1976, pp. 15-16).
That is to say, there was a Big Bang; but there also will be a Big Crunch, at which time the matter of the Universe will collapse back onto itself. There will be a “bounce,” followed by another Big Bang, which will be followed by another Big Crunch, and this process will be repeated ad infinitum. In the Big Bang model, there is a permanent end; not so in the Oscillating Universe model, as Dr. Jastrow explained:
But many astronomers reject this picture of a dying Universe. They believe that the expansion of the Universe will not continue forever because gravity, pulling back on the outward-moving galaxies, must slow their retreat. If the pull of gravity is sufficiently strong, it may bring the expansion to a halt at some point in the future.
What will happen then? The answer is the crux of this theory. The elements of the Universe, held in a balance between the outward momentum of the primordial explosion and the inward force of gravity, stand momentarily at rest; but after the briefest instant, always drawn together by gravity, they commence to move toward one another. Slowly at first, and then with increasing momentum, the Universe collapses under the relentless pull of gravity. Soon the galaxies of the Cosmos rush toward one another with an inward movement as violent as the outward movement of their expansion when the Universe exploded earlier. After a sufficient time, they come into contact; their gases mix; their atoms are heated by compression; and the Universe returns to the heat and chaos from which it emerged many billions of years ago (1978, p. 118).
The description provided by Jastrow is that commonly referred to in the literature as the “Big Crunch.” But the obvious question is this. After that, then what? Once again, hear Dr. Jastrow:
No one knows. Some astronomers say the Universe will never come out of this collapsed state. Others speculate that the Universe will rebound from the collapse in a new explosion, and experience a new moment of Creation. According to this view, our Universe will be melted down and remade in the caldron of the second Creation. It will become an entirely new world, in which no trace of the existing Universe remains....
This theory envisages a Cosmos that oscillates forever, passing through an infinite number of moments of creation in a never-ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It unites the scientific evidence for an explosive moment of creation with the concept of an eternal Universe. It also has the advantage of being able to answer the question: What preceded the explosion? (1978, pp. 119-120).
This, then, is the essence of the Oscillating Universe theory. Several questions arise, however. First, of what benefit would such events be? Second, is such a concept scientifically testable? Third, does current scientific evidence support such an idea?
Of what benefit would a Big Bang/Big Crunch/Big Bang scenario be? Theoretically, as I already have noted, the benefit to evolutionists is that they do not have to explain a Universe with an absolute beginning or an absolute ending. A cyclical Universe that infinitely expands and contracts is obviously much more acceptable than one that demands explanations for both its origin and destiny. Practically, there is no benefit that derives from such a scenario. The late astronomer from Cornell University, Carl Sagan, noted: “...[I]nformation from our universe would not trickle into that next one and, from our vantage point, such an oscillating cosmology is as definitive and depressing an end as the expansion that never stops” (1979, pp 13-14).
But is the Oscillating Universe model testable scientifically? Gribbin suggests that it is.
The key factors which determine the ultimate fate of the Universe are the amount of matter it contains and the rate at which it is expanding.... In simple terms, the Universe can only expand forever if it is exploding faster than the “escape velocity” from itself.... If the density of matter across the visible Universe we see today is sufficient to halt the expansion we can observe today, then the Universe has always been exploding at less than its own escape velocity, and must eventually be slowed down so much that the expansion is first halted and then converted into collapse. On the other hand, if the expansion we observe today is proceeding fast enough to escape from the gravitational clutches of the matter we observe today, then the Universe is and always was “open” and will expand forever (1981, p. 313).
Does the scientific evidence support the theory of an “oscillating,” eternal Universe? The success or failure of this theory depends, basically, on two things: (1) the amount of matter contained in the Universe, since there must be enough matter for gravity to “pull back” to cause the Big Crunch; and (2) the amount of gravity available to do the “pulling.” The amount of matter required by the theory is one reason why Gribbin admitted: “This, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest problems in cosmology today, the puzzle of the so-called missing mass” (1981, pp. 315-316). [Cosmologists, astrophysicists, and astronomers refer to the missing mass as “dark matter.” In their book, Wrinkles in Time, George Smoot and Keay Davidson remarked: “We are therefore forced to contemplate the fact that as much as 90 percent of the matter in the universe is both invisible and quite unknown—perhaps unknowable—to us…. Are such putative forms of matter the fantasies of desperate men and women, frantically seeking solutions to baffling problems? Or are they a legitimate sign that with the discovery of dark matter cosmology finds itself in a terra incognita beyond our immediate comprehension?” (1993, pp. 164,171).] In his June 25, 2001 Time article (which claims to “solve the biggest mystery in the cosmos”), Michael D. Lemonick dealt with this “puzzle.”
As the universe expands, the combined gravity from all the matter within it tends to slow that expansion, much as the earth’s gravity tries to pull a rising rocket back to the ground. If the pull is strong enough, the expansion will stop and reverse itself; if not, the cosmos will go on getting bigger, literally forever. Which is it? One way to find out is to weigh the cosmos—to add up all the stars and all the galaxies, calculate their gravity and compare that with the expansion rate of the universe. If the cosmos is moving at escape velocity, no Big Crunch.
Trouble is, nobody could figure out how much matter there actually was. The stars and galaxies were easy; you could see them. But it was noted as early as the 1930s that something lurked out there besides the glowing stars and gases that astronomers could see. Galaxies in clusters were orbiting one another too fast; they should, by rights, be flying off into space like untethered children flung from a fast-twirling merry-go-round. Individual galaxies were spinning about their centers too quickly too; they should long since have flown apart. The only possibility: some form of invisible dark matter was holding things together, and while you could infer the mass of dark matter in and around galaxies, nobody knew if it also filled the dark voids of space, where its effects would not be detectable (2001, 157:51)
In discussing the Oscillating Universe model, astronomers speak of a “closed” or an “open” Universe. If the Universe is closed, the Big Crunch could theoretically occur, and an oscillating Universe becomes a viable possibility. If the Universe is open, the expansion of the Universe will continue (a condition known as the Big Chill) and the Big Crunch will not occur, making an oscillating Universe impossible. Joseph Silk commented: “The balance of evidence does point to an open model of the universe...” (1980, p. 309, emp. added). Gribbin says: “The consensus among astronomers today is that the universe is open” (1981, p. 316, emp. added). Jastrow observed: “Thus, the facts indicate that the universe will expand forever....” (1978, p. 123, emp. added). Even more recent evidence seems to indicate that an oscillating Universe is a physical impossibility (see Chaisson, 1992). Evolutionary cosmologist John Wheeler drew the following conclusion based on the scientific evidence available at the time: “With gravitational collapse we come to the end of time. Never out of the equations of general relativity has one been able to find the slightest argument for a ‘re-expansion’ of a ‘cyclic universe’ or anything other than an end” (1977, p. 15). As Ross admitted: “Attempts...to use oscillation to avoid a theistic beginning for the universe all fail” (1991, p. 105). In an article written for the January 19, 1998 issue of U.S. News and World Report (“A Few Starry and Universal Truths”), Charles Petit stated:
For years, cosmologists have wondered if the universe is “closed” and will collapse to a big crunch, or “open,” with expansion forever in the cards. It now seems open—in spades. The evidence, while not ironclad, is plentiful. Neta Bahcall of Princeton University and her colleagues have found that the distribution of clusters of galaxies at the perceivable edge of the universe imply that the universe back then was lighter than often had been believed. There appears to be 20 percent as much mass as would be needed to stop the expansion and lead the universe to someday collapse again (124:58, emp. added).
Apparently, the information appearing in the June 25, 2001 Time article is “ironclad,” and has dealt the ultimate “death blow” to the idea of either an eternal or oscillating Universe. In speaking about the origin of the Universe, Lemonick explained:
That event—the literal birth of time and space some 15 billion years ago—has been understood, at least in its broadest outlines, since the 1960s. But in more than a third of a century, the best minds in astronomy have failed to solve the mystery of what happens at the other end of time. Will the galaxies continue to fly apart forever, their glow fading until the cosmos is cold and dark? Or will the expansion slow to a halt, reverse direction and send 10 octillion (10 trillion billion) stars crashing back together in a final, apocalyptic Big Crunch, the mirror image of the universe’s explosive birth? Despite decades of observations with the most powerful telescopes at their disposal, astronomers simply haven’t been able to decide (157:49).
But a series of remarkable discoveries announced in quick succession starting this spring has gone a long way toward settling the question once and for all. Scientists who were betting on a Big Crunch liked to quote the poet Robert Frost: “Some say the world will end in fire,/some say in ice./From what I’ve tasted of desire/ I hold with those who favor fire.” Those in the other camp preferred T.S. Eliot: “This is the way the world ends./Not with a bang but a whimper.” Now, using observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico, the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, the mammoth Keck Telescope in Hawaii, and sensitive radio detectors in Antarctica, the verdict is in: T.S. Eliot wins (157:49-50).
What, exactly, has caused this current furor in astronomy? And why are T.S. Eliot and the astronomers who quote him the “winners”? As Lemonick went on to explain:
If these observations continue to hold up, astrophysicists can be pretty sure they have assembled the full parts list for the cosmos at last: 5% ordinary matter, 35% exotic dark matter and about 60% dark energy. They also have a pretty good idea of the universe’s future. All the matter put together doesn’t have enough gravity to stop the expansion; beyond that, the antigravity effect of dark energy is actually speeding up the expansion. And because the amount of dark energy will grow as space gets bigger, its effect will only increase (157:55).
The fact is, the Universe simply does not have enough matter, or enough gravity, for it to collapse back upon itself in a “Big Crunch.” It is not “oscillating.” It is not eternal. It had a beginning, and it will have an ending. As Jastrow observed: “About thirty years ago science solved the mystery of the birth and death of stars, and acquired new evidence that the Universe had a beginning.... Now both theory and observation pointed to an expanding Universe and a beginning in time” (1978, p. 105). Six pages later in God and the Astronomers, Jastrow concluded: “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (p. 111).
In 1929, Sir James Jeans, writing in his classic book The Universe Around Us, observed: “All this makes it clear that the present matter of the universe cannot have existed forever.... In some way matter which had not previously existed, came, or was brought, into being” (1929, p. 316). Now, over seventy years later we have returned to the same conclusion. As Lemonick put it:
If the latest results do hold up, some of the most important questions in cosmology—how old the universe is, what it’s made of and how it will end—will have been answered, only about 70 years after they were first posed. By the time the final chapter of cosmic history is written—further in the future than our minds can grasp—humanity, and perhaps even biology, will long since have vanished (157:56).
The fact that Time magazine devoted an entire cover (and feature story to go with it) to the topics of “How the Universe Will End,” is an inadvertent admission to something that evolutionists have long tried to avoid—the fact that the Universe had a beginning, and will have an ending. When one hears Sir James Jeans allude to the fact that “in some way matter which had not previously existed, came, or was brought, into being,” the question that immediately comes to mind is: Who brought it into being?
WHAT ABOUT INFLATIONARY THEORY?
In the past, it would have been practically impossible to find any reputable scientist who would be willing to advocate a self-created Universe. George Davis, a prominent physicist of the past generation, explained why when he wrote: “No material thing can create itself.” Further, Dr. Davis affirmed that this statement “cannot be logically attacked on the basis of any knowledge available to us” (1958, p. 71). The Universe is the created, not the Creator. And until very recently, it seemed there could be no disagreement about that fact.
So strong is the evidence that the Universe had a beginning, and therefore a cause anterior and superior to itself, some evolutionists are suggesting, in order to avoid the implications, that something came from nothing—that is, the Universe literally created itself from nothing! Edward P. Tryon, professor of physics at the City University of New York, wrote: “In 1973, I proposed that our Universe had been created spontaneously from nothing, as a result of established principles of physics. This proposal variously struck people as preposterous, enchanting, or both” (1984, 101:14-16). This is the same Edward P. Tryon who is on record as stating: “Our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time” (as quoted in Trefil, 1984, 92:100). In the May 1984 issue of Scientific American, evolutionists Alan Guth and Paul Steinhardt authored an article on “The Inflationary Universe” in which they suggested:
From a historical point of view probably the most revolutionary aspect of the inflationary model is the notion that all the matter and energy in the observable universe may have emerged from almost nothing.... The inflationary model of the universe provides a possible mechanism by which the observed universe could have evolved from an infinitesimal region. It is then tempting to go one step further and speculate that the entire universe evolved from literally nothing (1984, 250:128).
Therefore, even though principles of physics that “cannot be logically attacked on the basis of any knowledge available to us” preclude the creation of something out of nothing, suddenly, in a last-ditch effort to avoid the implications of the Universe having a cause, it is being suggested that indeed, the Universe simply “created itself out of nothing.”
Naturally, such a proposal would seem—to use Dr. Tryon’s words—“preposterous.” Be that as it may, some in the evolutionary camp have been willing to defend it. One such scientist is Victor J. Stenger, professor of physics at the University of Hawaii. In 1987, Dr. Stenger authored an article titled, “Was the Universe Created?,” in which he said:
...the universe is probably the result of a random quantum fluctuation in a spaceless, timeless void.... So what had to happen to start the universe was the formation of an empty bubble of highly curved space-time. How did this bubble form? What caused it? Not everything requires a cause. It could have just happened spontaneously as one of the many linear combinations of universes that has the quantum numbers of the void.... Much is still in the speculative stage, and I must admit that there are yet no empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea of an accidental origin (1987, 7:26-30, first emp. in orig., second emp. added.).
Such a concept, however, has met with serious opposition from within the scientific establishment. For example, in the summer 1994 edition of the Skeptical Inquirer, Ralph Estling wrote a stinging rebuke of the idea that the Universe created itself out of nothing. In his article, curiously titled “The Scalp-Tinglin’, Mind-Blowin’, Eye-Poppin’, Heart-Wrenchin’, Stomach-Churnin’, Foot-Stumpin’, Great Big Doodley Science Show!!!,” Estling wrote:
The problem emerges in science when scientists leave the realm of science and enter that of philosophy and metaphysics, too often grandiose names for mere personal opinion, untrammeled by empirical evidence or logical analysis, and wearing the mask of deep wisdom.
And so they conjure us an entire Cosmos, or myriads of cosmoses, suddenly, inexplicably, causelessly leaping into being out of—out of Nothing Whatsoever, for no reason at all, and thereafter expanding faster than light into more Nothing Whatsoever. And so cosmologists have given us Creation ex nihilo.... And at the instant of this Creation, they inform us, almost parenthetically, the universe possessed the interesting attributes of Infinite Temperature, Infinite Density, and Infinitesimal Volume, a rather gripping state of affairs, as well as something of a sudden and dramatic change from Nothing Whatsoever. They then intone equations and other ritual mathematical formulae and look upon it and pronounce it good.
I do not think that what these cosmologists, these quantum theorists, these universe-makers, are doing is science. I can’t help feeling that universes are notoriously disinclined to spring into being, ready-made, out of nothing. Even if Edward Tryon (ah, a name at last!) has written that “our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time....” Perhaps, although we have the word of many famous scientists for it, our universe is not simply one of those things that happen from time to time (1994, 18:430, emp. added).
Estling’s statements set off a wave of controversy, as was evident from subsequent letters to the Skeptical Inquirer. In the January/February 1995 edition of that journal, numerous letters were published, discussing Estling’s article. Estling’s response to his critics was published as well, and included the following observations:
All things begin with speculation, science not excluded. But if no empirical evidence is eventually forthcoming, or can be forthcoming, all speculation is barren.... There is no evidence, so far, that the entire universe, observable and unobservable, emerged from a state of absolute Nothingness. Quantum cosmologists insist both on this absolute Nothingness and on endowing it with various qualities and characteristics: this particular Nothingness possesses virtual quanta seething in a false vacuum. Quanta, virtual or actual, false or true, are not Nothing, they are definitely Something, although we may argue over what exactly. For one thing, quanta are entities having energy, a vacuum has energy and moreover, extension, i.e., it is something into which other things, such as universes, can be put, i.e., we cannot have our absolute Nothingness and eat it too. If we have quanta and a vacuum as given, we in fact have a pre-existent state of existence that either pre-existed timelessly or brought itself into existence from absolute Nothingness (no quanta, no vacuum, no pre-existing initial conditions) at some precise moment in time; it creates this time, along with the space, matter, and energy, which we call the universe.... I’ve had correspondence with Paul Davies [a British astronomer who has championed the idea that the Universe created itself from nothing—BT] on cosmological theory, in the course of which I asked him what he meant by “Nothing.” He wrote back that he had asked Alexander Vilenkin what he meant by it and that Vilenkin had replied, “By Nothing I mean Nothing,” which seemed pretty straightforward at the time, but these quantum cosmologists go on from there to tell us what their particular breed of Nothing consists of. I pointed this out to Davies, who replied that these things are very complicated. I’m willing to admit the truth of that statement, but I think it does not solve the problem (1995, 19:69-70, emp. added).
This is an interesting turn of events. Evolutionists like Tryon, Stenger, Guth, and Steinhardt insist that this marvelously intricate Universe is “simply one of those things which happen from time to time” as the result of a “random quantum fluctuation in a spaceless, timeless void” that caused matter to evolve from “literally nothing.” This suggestion, of course, is in clear violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that neither matter nor energy may be created or destroyed in nature. Further, science is based on observation, reproducibility, and empirical data. But when pressed for the empirical data that document the claim that the Universe created itself from nothing, evolutionists are forced to admit, as Dr. Stenger did, that “...there are yet no empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea....” Estling summarized the problem quite well when he stated: “There is no evidence, so far, that the entire universe, observable and unobservable, emerged from a state of absolute Nothingness.”
In their more unguarded moments, evolutionary theorists admit as much. Writing in Astronomy magazine on “Planting Primordial Seeds,” Rocky Kolb suggested: “In a very real sense, quantum fluctuations would be the origin of everything we see in the universe.” Yet just one sentence prior to that, he admitted: “…[A] region of seemingly empty space is not really empty, but is a seething froth in which every sort of fundamental particle pops in and out of empty space before annihilating with its antiparticle and disappearing” (1998, 26:42,43, emp. added).
Ultimately, the Guth/Steinhardt inflationary model was shown to be incorrect, and a newer version was suggested. Working independently, Russian physicist Andrei Linde, and American physicists Andreas Albrecht and Paul Steinhardt, developed the “new inflationary model” (see Hawking, 1988, pp. 131-132). However, this model also was shown to be incorrect and was discarded. Renowned British astrophysicist Stephen W. Hawking put the matter in proper perspective when he wrote: “The new inflationary model was a good attempt to explain why the universe is the way it is.... In my personal opinion, the new inflationary model is now dead as a scientific theory, although a lot of people do not seem to have heard of its demise and are still writing papers on it as if it were viable” (1988, p. 132, emp. added). Later, Linde suggested numerous modifications and is credited with producing what became known as the “chaotic inflationary model” (see Hawking, p. 132ff.). Dr. Hawking himself performed additional work on this particular model. But in an interview on June 8, 1994, dealing specifically with inflationary models, Alan Guth conceded: “First of all, I will say that at the purely technical level, inflation itself does not explain how the universe arose from nothing.... Inflation itself takes a very small universe and produces from it a very big universe. But inflation by itself does not explain where that very small universe came from” (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 148).
After the chaotic inflationary model, came the eternal inflationary model, which was set forth by Andrei Linde in 1986. As astronomer John D. Barrow summarized it in his work, The Book of Nothing:
The spectacular effect of this is to make inflation self-reproducing. Every inflating region gives rise to other sub-regions which inflate and then in turn do the same. The process appears unstoppable—eternal. No reason has been found why it should ever end. Nor is it known if it needs to have a beginning. As with the process of chaotic inflation, every bout of inflation can produce a large region with very different properties. Some regions may inflate a lot, some only a little; some may have many large dimensions of space, some only three; some may contain four forces of Nature that we see, others may have fewer. The overall effect is to provide a physical mechanism by which to realize all, or at least almost all, possibilities somewhere within a single universe.
These speculative possibilities show some of the unending richness of the physicists’ conception of the vacuum. It is the basis of our most successful theory of the Universe and why it has the properties that it does. Vacuums can change; vacuums can fluctuate; vacuums can have strange symmetries, strange geographies, strange histories. More and more of the remarkable features of the Universe we observe seem to be reflections of the properties of the vacuum (2000, pp. 256,271).
Michael J. Murray discussed the idea of the origin of the Universe via the Big Bang inflationary model.
According to the vacuum fluctuation models, our universe, along with these others universes, were generated by quantum fluctuations in a preexisting superspace. Imaginatively, one can think of this preexisting superspace as an infinitely extending ocean of soap, and each universe generated out of this superspace as a soap bubble which spontaneously forms on the ocean (1999, pp. 59-60).
Magnificent claims, to be sure—yet little more than wishful thinking. For example, cosmologists speak of a particular particle—known as an “inflaton”—that is supposed to have provided the vacuum with its initial energy. Yet as scientists acknowledge, “…the particle that might have provided the vacuum energy density is still unidentified, even theoretically; it is sometimes called the inflaton because its sole purpose seems to be to have produced inflation” (see “The Inflationary Universe”). In an article on “Before the Big Bang” in the March 1999 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine, John G. Cramer wrote:
The problem with all of this is that the inflation scenario seems rather contrived and raises many unresolved questions. Why is the universe created with the inflaton field displaced from equilibrium? Why is the displacement the same everywhere? What are the initial conditions that produce inflation? How can the inflationary phase be made to last long enough to produce our universe? Thus, the inflation scenario which was invented to eliminate the contrived initial conditions of the Big Bang model apparently needs contrived initial conditions of its own (1999).
Cosmologist Michael Turner of the University of Chicago put it this way: “If inflation is the dynamite behind the Big Bang, we’re still looking for the match” (as quoted in Overbye, 2001). Or, as journalist Dennis Overbye put it in an article titled “Before the Big Bang, There Was…What?” in the May 22, 2001 issue of The New York Times: “The only thing that all the experts agree on is that no idea works—yet” (2001). As Barrow admitted somewhat sorrowfully: “So far, unfortunately, the entire grand scheme of eternal inflation does not appear to be open to observational tests” (p. 256, emp. added). In his book, The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio wrote in agreement:
If eternal inflation really describes the evolution of the universe, then the beginning may be entirely inaccessible to observational tests. The point is that even the original inflationary model, with a single inflation event, already had the property of erasing evidence from the preinflation epoch. Eternal inflation appears to make any efforts to obtain information about the beginning, via observations in our own pocket universe, absolutely hopeless (2000, pp 180-181, emp. added).
Writing in the February 2001 issue of Scientific American, Philip and Phylis Morrison admitted:
We simply do not know our cosmic origins; intriguing alternatives abound, but none yet compels. We do not know the details of inflation, nor what came before, nor the nature of the dark, unseen material, nor the nature of the repulsive forces that dilute gravity. The book of the cosmos is still open. Note carefully: we no longer see a big bang as a direct solution. Inflation erases evidence of past space, time and matter. The beginning—if any—is still unread (284:93,95, emp. added).
But Dr. Barrow went even further when he noted:
As the implications of the quantum picture of matter were explored more fully, a further radically new consequence appears that was to impinge upon the concept of the vacuum. Werner Heisenberg showed that there were complementary pairs of attributes of things which could not be measured simultaneously with arbitrary precision, even with perfect instruments. This restriction on measurement became known as the Uncertainty Principle. One pair of complementary attributes limited by the Uncertainty Principle is the combination of position and momentum. Thus we cannot know at once where something is and how it is moving with arbitrary precision….
The Uncertainty Principle and the quantum theory revolutionised our conception of the vacuum. We can no longer sustain the simple idea that a vacuum is just an empty box. If we could say that there were no particles in a box, that it was completely empty of all mass and energy, then we would have to violate the Uncertainty Principle because we would require perfect information about motion at every point and about the energy of the system at a given instant of time….
This discovery at the heart of the quantum description of matter means that the concept of a vacuum must be somewhat realigned. It is no longer to be associated with the idea of the void and of nothingness or empty space. Rather, it is merely the emptiest possible state in the sense of the state that possesses the lowest possible energy; the state from which no further energy can be removed (2000, pp. 204,205, first emp. in orig.; last emp. added).
The simple fact is, to quote R.C. Sproul, “Every effect must have a cause. That is true by definition…. It is impossible for something to create itself. The concept of self-creation is a contradiction in terms, a nonsense statement…. [S]elf-creation is irrational” (1992, p. 37, emp. in orig.). Stephen Hawking was constrained to say:
Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe (1988, p. 174).
Linde—as the developer of the eternal inflation model—admitted that there is a chicken-and-egg problem involved here. Which came first—the Universe, or the laws governing it? As Linde put it: “If there was no law, how did the Universe appear?” (as quoted in Overbye, 2001).
In a chapter titled “Science and the Unknowable” in one of his books, humanist Martin Gardner followed Hawking’s and Linde’s lead when he wrote:
Imagine that physicists finally discover all the basic waves and their particles, and all the basic laws, and unite everything in one equation. We can then ask, “Why that equation?” It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing. There had to be quantum laws to fluctuate. And why are there quantum laws?… There is no escape from the superultimate questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is the something structured the way it is? (2000, p. 303, emp. added).
Barrow commented in a similar fashion when he wrote:
At first, the absence of a beginning appears to be an advantage to the scientific approach. There are no awkward starting conditions to deduce or explain. But this is an illusion. We still have to explain why the Universe took on particular properties—its rate expansion, density, and so forth—at an infinite time in the past (2000, p. 296, emp. added).
Gardner and Barrow are correct. And science cannot provide the answer. Nancy Murphy and George Ellis discussed this very point in their book, On the Moral Nature of the Universe:
Hence, we note the fundamental major metaphysical issues that purely scientific cosmology by itself cannot tackle—the problem of existence (what is the ultimate origin of physical reality?) and the origin and determination of the specific nature of physical laws—for these all lie outside the domain of scientific investigation. The basic reason is that there is no way that any of these issues can be addressed experimentally. The experimental method can be used to test existing physical laws but not to examine why those laws are in existence. One can investigate these issues using the hypothetico-deductive method, but one cannot then conduct physical, chemical, or biological experiments or observations that will confirm or disconfirm the proposed hypotheses (1996, p. 61).
OUR “FINE-TUNED,” “TAILOR-MADE” UNIVERSE
But that’s not all—or even the worst of it. The fact is, the Universe is “fine-tuned” in such a way that it is impossible to suggest logically that it simply “popped into existence out of nothing” and then went from the chaos associated with the inflationary Big Bang model (as if the Universe were a giant firecracker!) to the sublime order that it currently exhibits. Murphy and Ellis went on to note:
The symmetries and delicate balances we observe in the universe require an extraordinary coherence of conditions and cooperation of laws and effects, suggesting that in some sense they have been purposely designed. That is, they give evidence of intention, realized both in the setting of the laws of physics and in the choice of boundary conditions for the universe (p. 57, emp. added).
The idea that the Universe and its laws “have been purposely designed” has surfaced much more frequently in the past several years. For example, Sir Fred Hoyle wrote:
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. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question (1982, 20:16).
In his 1984 book, Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature, Australian astrophysicist Paul Davies made this amazing statement:
If nature is so “clever” as to exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the universe? If the world’s finest minds can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance? (pp. 235-236, emp. added).
Four years later, in his text, The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature’s Creative Ability to Order the Universe, Davies went even further when he wrote: “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all.... It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe…. The impression of design is overwhelming” (1988, p. 203, emp. added). Another four years later, in 1992, Davies authored The Mind of God, in which he remarked:
I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.… Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor by-product of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here (1992, p. 232, emp. added).
That statement, “We are truly meant to be here,” was the type of sentiment expressed by two scientists, Frank Tipler and John Barrow, in their 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, which discussed the possibility that the Universe seems to have been “tailor-made” for man. Eight years after that book was published, Dr. Tipler wrote The Physics of Immortality, in which he professed:
When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics (1994, Preface).
In 1995, NASA astronomer John O’Keefe stated in an interview: “We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.... If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in” (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 200). Then, thirteen years after he published his 1985 book (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis), Michael Denton shocked everyone—especially his evolutionist colleagues—when he published his 1998 tome, Nature’s Destiny, in which he admitted: “Whether one accepts or rejects the design hypothesis...there is no avoiding the conclusion that the world looks as if it has been tailored for life; it appears to have been designed. All reality appears to be a vast, coherent, teleological whole with life and mankind as its purpose and goal” (p. 387, emp. in orig.).
In his discussion of the big bang inflationary model, Murray discussed the idea of the origin of the Universe and the complexity that would be required to pull off such an event.
…[I]n all current worked—out proposals for what this “universe generator” could be—such as the oscillating big bang and the vacuum fluctuation models explained above—the “generator” itself is governed by a complex set of physical laws that allow it to produce the universes. It stands to reason, therefore, that if these laws were slightly different the generator probably would not be able to produce any universes that could sustain life. After all, even my bread machine has to be made just right to work properly, and it only produces loaves of bread, not universes!
…[T]he universe generator must not only select the parameters of physics at random, but must actually randomly create or select the very laws of physics themselves. This makes this hypothesis seem even more far-fetched since it is difficult to see what possible physical mechanism could select or create such laws. The reason the “many-universes generator” must randomly select the laws of physics is that, just as the right values for the parameters of physics are needed for life to occur, the right set of laws is also needed. If, for instance, certain laws of physics were missing, life would be impossible. For example, without the law of inertia, which guarantees that particles do not shoot off at high speeds, life would probably not be possible. Another example is the law of gravity; if masses did not attract each other, there would be no planets or stars, and once again it seems that life would be impossible (1999, pp. 61-62).
Sir Fred Hoyle actually addressed the fine-tuning of the nuclear resonances responsible for the oxygen and carbon synthesis in stars when he observed:
I do not believe that any scientists who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not, then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents (1959, emp. added).
When we (to use Hoyle’s words) “examine the evidence,” what do we find? Murray answered:
Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe—for example, the fundamental laws and parameters of physics and the initial distribution of matter and energy—is balanced on a razor’s edge for life to occur…. Scientists call this extraordinary balancing of the parameters of physics and the initial conditions of the universe the “fine-tuning of the cosmos” (1999, p. 48, emp. added).
Indeed they do. And it is fine-tuning to a remarkable degree. Consider the following critically important parameters that must be fine-tuned (from an evolutionary perspective) in order for the Universe to exist, and for life to exist in the Universe.
1. Strong nuclear force constant:
if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry;
if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry
2. Weak nuclear force constant:
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible;
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
3. Gravitational force constant:
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry;
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form
4. Electromagnetic force constant:
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission;
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry
5. Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant:
if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the Sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support;
if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the Sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements
6. Ratio of electron to proton mass:
if larger: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry;
if smaller: same as above ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
7. Ratio of number of protons to number of electrons:
if larger: electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation;
if smaller: same as above
8. Expansion rate of the Universe:
if larger: no galaxies would form
if smaller: Universe would collapse, even before stars formed entropy level of the Universe
9. Entropy level of the Universe:
if larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies;
if smaller: no proto-galaxies would form
10. Mass density of the Universe:
if larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form;
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements
11. Velocity of light:
if faster: stars would be too luminous for life support;
if slower: stars would be insufficiently luminous for life support
12. Initial uniformity of radiation:
if more uniform: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed;
if less uniform: Universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space
13. Average distance between galaxies:
if larger: star formation late enough in the history of the Universe would be hampered by lack of material
if smaller: gravitational tug-of-wars would destabilize the Sun’s orbit
14. Density of galaxy cluster:
if denser: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt the sun’s orbit
if less dense: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
15. Average distance between stars:
if larger: heavy element density would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
if smaller: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life
16. Fine structure constant (describing the fine-structure splitting of spectral lines):
if larger: all stars would be at least 30% less massive than the Sun
if larger than 0.06: matter would be unstable in large magnetic fields
if smaller: all stars would be at least 80% more massive than the Sun
17. Decay rate of protons:
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
if smaller: Universe would contain insufficient matter for life
18. 12C to 16O nuclear energy level ratio:
if larger: Universe would contain insufficient oxygen for life
if smaller: Universe would contain insufficient carbon for life
19. Ground state energy level for 4He:
if larger: Universe would contain insufficient carbon and oxygen for life
if smaller: same as above
20. Decay rate of 8Be:
if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
if faster: no element heavier than beryllium would form; thus, no life chemistry
21. Ratio of neutron mass to proton mass:
if higher: neutron decay would yield too few neutrons for the formation of many life-essential elements
if lower: neutron decay would produce so many neutrons as to collapse all stars into neutron stars or black holes
22. Initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons:
if greater: radiation would prohibit planet formation
if lesser: matter would be insufficient for galaxy or star formation
23. Polarity of the water molecule:
if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too high for life
if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too low for life; liquid water would not work as a solvent for life chemistry; ice would not float, and a runaway freeze-up would result
24. Supernovae eruptions:
if too close, too frequent, or too late: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
if too distant, too infrequent, or too soon: heavy elements would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
25. White dwarf binaries:
if too few: insufficient fluorine would exist for life chemistry
if too many: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life
if formed too soon: insufficient fluorine production
if formed too late: fluorine would arrive too late for life chemistry
26. Ratio of exotic matter mass to ordinary matter mass:
if larger: universe would collapse before solar-type stars could form
if smaller: no galaxies would form
27. Number of effective dimensions in the early Universe:
if larger: quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity could not coexist; thus, life would be impossible
if smaller: same result
28. Number of effective dimensions in the present Universe:
if smaller: electron, planet, and star orbits would become unstable
if larger: same result
29. Mass of the neutrino:
if smaller: galaxy clusters, galaxies, and stars would not form
if larger: galaxy clusters and galaxies would be too dense
30. Big bang ripples:
if smaller: galaxies would not form; Universe would expand too rapidly:
if larger: galaxies/galaxy clusters would be too dense for life; black holes would dominate; Universe would collapse before life-site could form
31. Size of the relativistic dilation factor:
if smaller: certain life-essential chemical reactions will not function properly
if larger: same result
32. Uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle:
if smaller: oxygen transport to body cells would be too small and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
if larger: oxygen transport to body cells would be too great and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
33. Cosmological constant:
if larger: Universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars (see: “Evidence for the Fine-Tuning of the Universe”).
Consider also these additional fine-tuning examples:
Ratio of electrons to protons
Ratio of electromagnetic force to gravity
Expansion rate of Universe
Mass of Universe
Cosmological Constant (Lambda)
In commenting on the difficulty associated with getting the exact ratio of electrons to protons merely “by accident,” one astronomer wrote:
One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billion of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037 (Ross, 1993, p. 115, parenthetical item in orig.)
And it gets progressively more complicated, as John G. Cramer observed:
A similar problem is raised by the remarkable “flatness” of the universe, the nearly precise balance between expansion energy and gravitational pull, which are within about 15% of perfect balance. Consider the mass of the universe as a cannonball fired upward against gravity at the Big Bang, a cannonball that for the past 8 billion years has been rising ever more slowly against the pull. The extremely large initial kinetic energy has been nearly cancelled by the extremely large gravitational energy debt. The remaining expansion velocity is only a tiny fraction of the initial velocity. The very small remaining expansion kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy are still within 15% of one another. To accomplish this the original energy values at one second after the Big Bang must have matched to one part in 1015. That two independent variables should match to such unimaginably high precision seems unlikely (1999, first emp. in orig.; second emp. added).
At every turn, there are more examples of the fact that the Universe is “fine-tuned” to such an incredible degree that it becomes impossible to sustain the belief that it “just happened” as the result of (to quote Victor Stenger) “a random quantum fluctuation in a spaceless, timeless void.” For example, cosmologists speak of a number known as the “Omega” value. In Wrinkles of Time, physicists Smoot and Davidson discussed Omega as follows.
If the density of the mass in the universe is poised precisely at the boundary between the diverging paths to ultimate collapse and indefinite expansion, then the Hubble expansion may be slowed, perhaps coasting to a halt, but never reversed. This happy state of affairs is termed the critical density.
The critical density is calculated to be about five millionths of a trillionth of a trillionth (5 x 10-30) of a gram of matter per cubic centimeter of space, or equivalent to about one hydrogen atom in every cubic meter—a few in a typical room. This sounds vanishingly small, and it is…. If we know the critical density, then we can—in theory—begin to figure out our fate. All we have to do is count up all mass in the universe and compare it to the critical density. The ratio of the actual density of mass in the universe to the critical density is known, ominously, by the last letter in the Greek alphabet, Omega, S . An Omega of less than 1 leads to an open universe (the big chill), and more than 1 to a closed universe (the big crunch). An Omega of exactly 1 produces a flat universe....
The important thing to remember is that the shape, mass, and fate of the cosmos are inextricably linked; they constitute a single subject, not three. These three aspects come together in, in Omega, the ratio of the actual density to the critical density. The task of measuring the actual density of the universe is extremely challenging, and most measurements produce only approximate figures…. What’s the bottom line?.... [W]e arrive at an average density of the universe of close to the critical density: Omega is close to 1…. If Omega were well below 1, however, then very few regions would collapse. If Omega were well above 1, then everything would collapse. The closer Omega is to 1, the easier it is to form the structure of the universe that astronomers now observe….
When we learn of the consequences of Omega being anything other than precisely 1, we see how very easily our universe might not have come into existence: The most minute deviation either side of an Omega of 1 consigns our potential universe to oblivion…. There is a long list of physical laws and conditions that, varied slightly, would have resulted in a very different universe, or no universe at all. The Omega-equals-1 requirement is among them (1993, pp. 158,160,161,190, emp. added).
The problem, however, is not just that Omega must be so very exact. A “flat” Universe is one that continues to expand forever, but at a rate that is so strongly influenced by gravitational forces that the expansion gradually slows down over billions of years and eventually almost stops. For this to occur, however, the Universe would have to be exactly at critical density. Yet as Roy C. Martin Jr. pointed out in his book, Astronomy on Trial:
A critical density, a very, very, very critical density, would be required to just balance the expansion with gravitation. The trouble is that the required balance of forces is so exact, that the chance of it happening would have to be something like one in a thousand trillions, and no measurements, or mathematics, or even theory supports a concept of such exactness. It would take an enormous amount of luck for a Flat universe to evolve, and it is just about mathematically impossible.
As we said, scientists favor this model, even though there is no scientific justification whatsoever for their choosing this over any other. Why is this idea popular? Well, if you and I were given the choice of a universe scheduled for a slow death, one scheduled to collapse in a big crunch, or a universe scheduled to go on forever, which would we choose? We all, scientist and not, consider an ongoing Flat universe far more palatable. It’s merely intuitive, of course, but scientists are human also. It should not be missed that the Flat, ongoing universe, the one that is almost mathematically impossible, is the closest to an infinitely lasting universe that could not have been born in a Big Bang, and the closest to what we observe! (1999, p. 160).
Additional problems center on the topics of the so-called “dark energy” that supposedly makes up most of the Universe. Earlier, I quoted Time writer Michael Lemonick who remarked: “…[A]strophysicists can be pretty sure they have assembled the full parts list for the cosmos at last: 5% ordinary matter, 35% exotic dark matter and about 60% dark energy” (2001, 157:55). That “dark energy” is an “an unknown form of energy often called the cosmological constant” (see Preuss, 2000).
Albert Einstein was the first to introduce the concept of the so-called cosmological constant—which he designated by the Greek letter Lambda (Λ)—to represent this force of unknown origin. As Barrow has noted, currently the force of the energy is said to be “fifty per cent more than that of all the ordinary matter in the Universe” (2000, p. 191). And, as he went on to observe, the value of lambda
is bizarre: roughly 10-120—that is, 1 divided by 10 followed by 119 zeros! This is the smallest number ever encountered in science. Why is it not zero? How can the minimum level be tuned so precisely? If it were 10 followed by just 117 zeros, then the galaxies could not form. Extraordinary fine-tuning is needed to explain such extreme numbers…. Why is its final state so close to the zero line? How does it “know” where to end up when the scalar field starts rolling downhill in its landscape? Nobody knows the answers to these questions. They are the greatest unsolved problems in gravitation physics and astronomy…. The only consolation is that, if these observations are correct, there is now a very special value of lambda to try to explain (pp. 259,260-261, emp. added).
And so, once more science has found itself face-to-face with yet another inexplicable, finely tuned force of nature that “somehow” must be explained by blind, random, naturalistic forces. One would think that, after being confronted with so many of these finely tuned forces, scientists finally admit the obvious. To use the words of evolutionist H.S. Lipson of Great Britain: “I think, however, that we must go further than this and admit that the only acceptable explanation is creation” (1980, 31:138, emp. in orig.).
Science is based on observation and reproducibility. But when pressed for the reproducible, empirical data that document their claim of a self-created Universe, scientists and philosophers are at a loss to produce those data. Perhaps this is why Alan Guth lamented: “In the end, I must admit that questions of plausibility are not logically determinable and depend somewhat on intuition” (1988, 11:76)—which is little more than a fancy way of saying, “I certainly wish this were true, but I could not prove it to you if my life depended on it.” To suggest that the Universe created itself is to posit a self-contradictory position. Sproul addressed this when he wrote:
For something to bring itself into being it must have the power of being within itself. It must at least have enough causal power to cause its own being. If it derives its being from some other source, then it clearly would not be either self-existent or self-created. It would be, plainly and simply, an effect. Of course, the problem is complicated by the other necessity we’ve labored so painstakingly to establish: It would have to have the causal power of being before it was. It would have to have the power of being before it had any being with which to exercise that power (1994, pp. 179-180).
The Universe is not eternal. Nor did not create itself from nothing. It therefore must have been created. And such a creation most definitely implies a Creator.
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