On 28/11/2007, qsrvbas@xxxxxxxxxxxx <qsrvbas@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Taking Science on Faith
By PAUL DAVIES
Published: November 24, 2007
(Paul Davies is the director of Beyond, a research center at Arizona
State University, and the author of "Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is
Just Right for Life.)...
Well, I'd say that that terminating phrase disqualifies him
immediately. I have to point out that perhaps 99.9999999999999+% of
'Our Universe' is violently hostile to every form of life we've
managed to consider.
I disagree. Alan has found an interesting article here. It's true that
only a tiny, tiny portion of the universe is habitable but that does
not weaken the argument. With our current knowledge of the laws of
nature is it absolutely astounding that life should be possible at
For example, if the gravitational constant were just a tiny bit
different the universe would not hold together. It would either fly
apart or collapse in on itself. There would be no galaxies, no solar
systems, and no worlds for life to get started on.
To take another example, water is a very unusual substance in that it
is less dense in its solid state than its liquid one. This means that
ice floats in the sea. If this were not so the oceans would have
frozen solid long before they could have given rise to life.
In uncovering the laws of nature we have discovered that they are
amazingly generous to us, and as far as we know there is no
fundamental reason why this should be so. As to the improbability of
our universe, what explanations are there for our being here?
One explanation is that God decreed what the laws should be, knowing
full well what kind of a universe He would get as a result. I don't
believe there's a god who bothers Himself with the minutiae of life on
Earth and meddles every now and then, but I have no problem believing
in a god who creates a universe then lets it run. Such a god could be
certain that life would evolve and eventually consider its own
existence and His. The mathematical nature of the laws of physics
inclines me to think God as an essentially mathematical being. We're
created in His image in the sense that we have the ability to reason
Another possible explanation is that it's all just luck. This is the
only chunk of space-time that ever was or ever will be and the laws of
nature just happened to come out the way they did for no particular
reason. If they'd been any different there would still have been a
universe of sorts but it would have had to get along without us. This
one off "pot luck" universe is extremely improbable.
Maybe there is only one universe but it comes and goes. At the end its
life it collapses into a singularity and then erupts again in a new
Big Bang: an oscillating universe. Each time it happens the laws come
out randomly. The chances of a Goldilocks universe are one in a
gazillion. But as life will only get going in the Goldilocks
universes, it is only the Goldilocks universes that life will be aware
of. More specifically it is only its own Goldilocks universe that any
given life form will be aware of.
I think this one is even less probable. It would only take one
universe to pop up with a set of laws that cause it to end in heat
death and become quiescent, and that would end the series. Heat death
universes seem much more probable than Goldilocks ones, which may
intersect with the set of heat death universes, so the model doesn't
seem to help as it is still almost beyond belief that we got a
sufficient run of luck to have got here.
Then we have the idea of multiple universes. As these don't interact
with each other and do not share the same space-time there is no limit
to their number. They could be popping into existence in their
billions at every moment. Each one has a random set of laws. Because
there is effectively a limitless number of universes it follows that
some of them will have Goldilocks laws, no matter how improbable that
particular set of laws may be. There is certain to be life and what
life there is is certain to find itself in a Goldilocks universe.
Under this model there is no surprise at all that we are here, or that
our natural laws are so favourable to our existence.
The article is also right when it asserts that science is faith based
in as far as it assumes there are always laws to find. However, if we
rephrase that slightly so that science becomes the search for natural
laws then it tends more towards optimism than pure faith.