Rf Memo 4/08/2014
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Rf Memo, 4/8/2014

003 Designed for Life

The year 1973 marked Copernicus' 500th birthday, and to celebrate his nearly 500-year-old discovery that the earth was not the true center of the universe, some astronomers held a conference. At this conference, one of the astronomers, named Brandon Carter, proposed that maybe man was at the center of the universe after all. He called his proposal The Anthropic Principle--anthropic from "anthropos," meaning "man." Carter's notion was simple: no theory about the universe can be correct unless it is consistent with the fact that we're here. The universe was designed "just so" to produce... us.

Following that lecture, astronomers began examining what must have been true about the universe at the beginning in order to make human life possible. What they discovered was truly astonishing: if many of the characteristics of our universe had been ever-so-slightly different, we would not be here.

For example, if the universe were expanding just a tiny bit slower, all the matter would have collapsed by now into a single, dense glom at the center of the universe. But if it were expanding faster, no galaxies would have formed. If the speed of expansion was 1/1055 faster or slower, there would be no planets, no stars, and no life. Now, that's some mighty fine tuning.

Or take the size and closeness of the moon to the earth. If it were smaller or farther away, the axis of the earth would not be the 23 degrees that it is—and then there would not be evenly-spaced growing seasons and stable temperatures. The earth might actually be wobbling, like Mars does, from 0 to 60 degrees and back. And then human life would not be possible.

To date, scientists have identified more than 200 of these "anthropic coincidences"--values that have to be exactly what they are in order for life to be possible on earth, or really anywhere in the universe.

The point is that the universe appears to have been engineered very carefully to produce humanity.

Here's why that matters:

There's an argument proving that God exists called the Argument From Design (the Teleological Argument for philosophical purists.) It goes like this:

  • Everything that was designed needs a designer.

  • The universe was designed.

  • Therefore the universe needs a designer.

The Anthropic Principle supplies evidence supporting the second premise in that proof: it proves that the universe was designed to produce us. And therefore, there had to have been Someone there to design it.

So if anybody tells you that you are insignificant in the universe, beg to differ. Somebody immensely powerful and intelligent planned very, very carefully to make it possible for you to be here. You are more significant than you imagine.

Anybody who wants to read more about the Anthropic principle should start with this excellent article by Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe:


Enjoy God, and I'll see you next time.

Phil Weingart


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