LIMITS FOR THE UNIVERSE
by Hugh Ross
Copyright � 1988
Reasons to Believe
P. O. Box 5978
Pasadena, CA 91107
Printed in the United States of America
about the author
Hugh Ross received a B.Sc. in physics from the University of British Columbia and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto. For several years he continued his research on quasars and galaxies as a research fellow in radio astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. For eleven years he served as minister of evangelism at Sierra Madre Congregational Church. He now directs the research efforts of Reasons to Believe, a Christian apologetic organization.
One of the most persistent traits of man is his belief in the reality of a Creator-God. Attacks on this belief have arisen from time to time and from place to place, none posing serious threat. None, that is, until the assault mustered in Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Through those years scientific and philosophical forces allied to proclaim the universe infinite.
The shock waves still reverberate. In an infinite universe, depending on the nature of the infinity, almost anything is possible. It may be that every thing simply is. Any value or meaning�or God�may just emanate from the minds of men.
Science did not stop, however. The twentieth century, in fact, brought a veritable explosion of inquiry and discovery�all of which began to blow holes in the models of infinitude. Reluctant to relinquish apotheosis, many scientists suppressed or wrestled against their findings. Ironically, by the 1980's, their struggle brought forth the most powerful evidence yet for God's existence and the accuracy of the Biblical account of creation. What follows is an account of this dramatic story.
Borrowing an argument from Giordano Bruno, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant presumed that experience of either a void time or a void space is impossible and that the universe must therefore be infinitely large and infinitely old.1, 2 On this basis, he proceeded to work out a strictly mechanistic model of the universe. For him, everything could be accounted for by the laws of mechanics newly decribed by Sir Isaac Newton. Thus, God became unnecessary to explain such a universe. Since Kant also presumed that knowledge is limited to that which comes through the five senses, he concluded that God's existence necessarily lay beyond the reach of man's knowing.3
The leap-frog advances in astronomy during the nineteenth century seemed to validate Kant's agnosticism. Larger telescopes revealed an ever multiplying number of stars and nebulae. No matter how far the newer telescopes penetrated, the universe appeared the same�no hint of boundary, no hint of change. When many faint nebulae were resolved into stars, infinitude seemed certain. Billions of stars and thousands of nebulae stretched imaginations to the breaking point. This mind-boggling universe powerfully suggested countless stars spread throughout limitless space. Thus, even the admittedly remote prospect of atoms self-assembling into living organisms now seemed to fall within the realm of possibility.
early objections to agnostic cosmology
Throughout the nineteenth century the reliability of Newton's laws of mechanics and Maxwell's equations for electromagnetics was demonstrated so repeatedly and widely that scientists believed them applicable to all natural phenomena. Toward the close of the century many physicists became even smug. They voiced the opinion that the only work left for their successors was merely to �make measurements to the next decimal place.� No significant cosmological developments were anticipated, and the Newtonian infinite universe model was cast in concrete.
However, the concrete began to crack almost before it dried. The disturbance came from three unexpected developments in physics and astronomy:
1. discovery of heat transfer by radiation
In 1879 Josef Stefan's experiments showed that for any given body the rate of energy radiated from all wavelengths combined increases proportionately with the temperature of the body to the fourth power (W = sT4). Five years later Ludwig Boltzmann, working independently, derived the same conclusion from statistical mechanics. In general, radiant energy is both emitted from and absorbed by the surface of a body. The difference between the rates of emission and absorption is simply the rate of heat transfer. It then follows from the laws of thermodynamics that a body eventually will assume the temperature of its surroundings and, therefore, radiate as much energy as it receives.
This finding should have quashed the long-accepted proposition that an interstellar medium absorbs the excess light from more distant stars. In the absorption process this medium would reach a temperature at which it radiates as much light as it receives. Thus, the mere fact that the night sky is dark indicates that a universe governed by Newtonian mechanics could not have had an infinite number of evenly distributed stars over an infinite period of time.4, 5 Unfortunately, this explanation was not applied to the infinite universe model until 1960,6 though its principles were routinely taught in undergraduate physics courses from the 1890's onward.
2. gravitational potential paradox
Not until 1871 did anyone attempt to calculate the gravitational potential within an infinite Newtonian universe. In that year Johann Friedrich Z�llner presented proofs that the gravitational potential becomes infinite at any point within an infinite homogeneous universe�a conclusion clearly at odds with all observations. Despite Z�llner's fame as professor of astrophysics at Leipzig, however, his objection to the infinite Newtonian universe was ignored. Only when his objection was independently raised by Hugo Seeliger in 1895 and by Carl Neumann in 1896 did astronomers acknowledge a significant problem.7 Ironically, rather than abandon the Newtonian model, Seeliger and Neumann sought to save it by introducing ad hoca an exponential factor to generate cosmical repulsion at large distances.
3. results of the Michelson-Morley Experiment
In the 1880's physicists were convinced, on the basis of Maxwell's equations, that �light propagates with a fixed velocity relative to an all-pervading �ther.�8 The aberration of starlight (slight cyclical shift in apparent star positions caused by the earth's orbital motion), first observed in 1728, proved that this Ҿther� cannot travel with the earth.9, 10 In 1887 two American physicists, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley, took up the challenge to determine the absolute velocity of the earth in the �ther by measuring the speed of light in different directions and at different positions of the earth in its orbit about the sun. To their astonishment, the experiment failed to reveal any motion of the earth at all.
It was immediately obvious that the Michelson-Morley experiment posed a severe threat to any kind of Newtonian universe model. But, for almost twenty years physicists attempted to patch up the classical theories. They proposed all manner of hypotheses. One suggested that all material bodies contract in the direction of motion. Another that the velocity of a light wave remains associated with the velocity of its source. Various experiments and astronomical observations, however, forced the rejection of all these desperate stabs.
Any one of these new developments should have been sufficient reason to discard the infinite Newtonian universe model. However, such was the attachment of most scientists to Kantian philosophy and their conficence in Newton's gravitational theory, that the century closed with the infinite Newtonian universe model still reigning supreme.
As the twentieth century dawned, the only conclusions consistent with all observations of the velocity of light were these two:
1. There is no absolute reference system from which absolute motions in space can be measured.
2. The speed of light with respect to all observers is always the same.
In 1905 Albert Einstein, who was employed as an engineer in the Swiss patent office and but worked on physics in his spare time, formally conceded these conclusions in his paper on the theory of special relativity.11, 12 Further, he derived equations which revealed exactly how much two observers moving with respect to one another would disagree on their measurements of length, velocity, mass, and time. Typically, the equations of classical physics would need to be multiplied by the dilation or expansion factor,
D = 1/�(1 - v2/c2) (1)
where v is the velocity of one observer with respect to the second, and c is the speed of light.b In other words, length, velocity, mass, and time are unaffected by velocities under classical physics but change according to the observer's velocity under relativistic physics.
Applying this dilation factor to the classical expressions for momentum and to Newton's law of force, we can easily derive the famous equation governing the conversion of matter into energy:13
E = mc2 (2)
Einstein should probably be credited more with audacity than with genius. The theory of special relativity should have followed within months�or at most a year or two�of the Michelson-Morley experiment. However, the old cosmology held such sway that to suggest an entirely new way of thinking about the universe was considered impudent. In short, emotional resistance kept special relativity at bay.
convincing experimental evidence
Resistance to Einstein's theory abated only when experiments and observations repeatedly confirmed all of its dilation predictions. Even before the theory of special relativity emerged, an increase in mass for moving electrons had been observed.
In 1909 the dependence of electron mass on velocity according to equation (1) was verified for electron velocities from 0 to 0.7c, and since then it has been verified to better than 0.99c. In 1921, during the first experiments in artificial radioactivity, Ernest Rutherford confirmed the validity of equation (2). Further testing showed the lifetimes of unstable particles, such as mesons, to be dilated in perfect agreement with equation (1). Much better known are the measurements of mass conversion into energy in nuclear reactors and bombs, as well as the publicized clock experiments on orbiting space craft.
The success of Einstein's equations in predicting all manner of observations and experiments was overwhelming.14, 15 In fact, one experiment in 1986 successfully demonstrated the accuracy of the relativistic dilation factor (equation 1) to within one part in 1021.16 These confirmations have led to virtually universal acceptance of the validity of special relativity.
The triumph of special relativity gave Einstein the boldness in 1915 to extend his theory beyond the velocity effects and on to the acceleration effects between observers.17, 18 Widely considered as beyond the comprehension of all but a few brilliant scientists, general relativity, nonetheless, has cosmological implications that can be understood by all. To be sure, the foundational equations of general relativity may seem intimidating. But, if one is willing to put aside his/her fears for the moment and plunge ahead, an amazing simplicity appears.
Given that matter spreads uniformly (at least roughly so) throughout the universe, then the behavior of the universe over time (including its origin and termination) is described by the following equations:
2(d2R/dt2)/R + [(dR/dt)/R]2 + kc2/R2 = -8ppGp/c2 (3)
[(dR/dt)/R]2 + kc2/R2 = 8ppGr/3 (4)
where R is the scale factor for the universe (basically its length or diameter), t is time, k is a constant describing the geometry of the universe, c is the speed of light, G is the constant of gravity, p is the pressure within the universe, and r is the density of matter and radiation within the universe. The terms dR/dt and d2R/dt2 simply represent velocity and acceleration in calculus notation.
A surprising physical consequence results from merely subtracting equation (4) from equation (3):
2(d2R/dt2)/R = -8ppG(r + 3p/c2)/3 (5)
The left hand side of equation (5) is essentially 2/R times the radial acceleration for the universe. Since the constant of gravitation expresses a force of attraction, it is positive. Hence the equation shows that the universe is decelerating.
Another important consequence follows from noting that for any but very small values of R the pressure in the universe is very much smaller than the density. Therefore, the pressure term can be ignored. Straightforward calculus solutions of equation (5) then yield the result that R either increases indefinitely with time or increases to a maximum value and then decreases. In other words, the universe must be expanding or it has been expanding in the past.
Through the years the general theory of relativity has been confirmed by observable effects to a precision of better than one hundredth of a percent. A summary of results from observational tests is given in Table 1. Needless to say, so much evidence now has accumulated that validity of the general theory of relativity is now firmly established.
Table 1: Observational verifications of general relativity
The symbol � means �change in.� Hence, �P means change in the period, while �n means change in the frequency (inverse of the wavelength). Note that the periastronc advance for the pulsard PSR 1913+16 is more than 35,000 times greater than the perihelion advance for Mercury.
1. comparison of theoretical and observed centennial precessions of planetary orbits19
planet general relativity observations
Mercury 43.03" 43.11"�0.45
Venus 8.6" 8.4"�4.8
Earth 3.8" 5.0"�1.2
Icarus 10.3" 9.8"�0.8
2. gravitational deflection of starlight20
general relativity: 1.751" observations: 1.70"�0.10
3. gravitational deflection of radio signals from quasars21
general relativity: 1.751" observations: 1.73"�0.05
4. radar measurement of Mercury's perihelionc advance22
general relativity: 43.03" observations: 43.20"�0.30
5. rate of advance of periastron for the binary pulsar PSR 1913+1623, 24
general relativity: 4.2��0.3 per year observations: 4.225��0.002 per year
6. orbital period change due to gravitational radiation for the binary pulsar PSR 1913+1624
�Pexperiment/�Ptheory = 1.13�0.19
7. echo delays of laser signals reflected from Apollo-placed cubes on the moon25
general relativity beta parameter = 1.0 observations: 1.003�0.005
general relativity gamma parameter = 1.0 observations: 1.008�0.008
8. gravitational red shift of spectral lines on the earth's surface (M�ssbauer effect)26
�nexperiment/�ntheory = 0.9970�0.0076
9. gravitational retardation of radio signals27
general relativity gamma parameter = 1.0 observations: 1.000�0.001
10. gravitational red shift of the neutral hydrogen spectral line28
�nexperiment/�ntheory = 1.000000�0.000070
11. gravitational lens effect on quasare images29, 30, 31, 32
While the character of the general relativity observed in the universe implies an age for the universe vastly beyond a few thousand years,f it also implies that there is, indeed, a definite creation date. Expansion, coupled with deceleration, indicates a universe that is exploding outward from a point. In fact, through the equations of general relativity, we can trace that �explosion� backward to its origin, an instant when the entire physical universe burst forth from a single point of infinite density. That instant when the universe originated from a point of no size at all is called the singularity.g No scientific model, no application of the laws of physics, can describe what happens before it. Somehow, from beyond itself the universe came to be. It began. It began a limited time ago. It is finite, not infinite.
The implications only can be described as monumental. Atheism, Darwinism, and virtually all the isms emanating from eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century philosophies were built upon the incorrect assumption that the universe is infinite. The singularity has brought us face to face with the cause�or causer�beyond/behind/before the universe and all that it contains, including life itself. Simply put, according to the centuries old cosmological argument for God's existence:39
1) everything that begins to exist must have a cause of its existence,
2) the universe began to exist (now scientifically verifiable),
therefore, the universe must have a cause of its existence.
What, then, has been the response of the scientific community?
quest for loopholes
1. Einstein's cosmological constant
To escape the philosophical and theological implications of general relativity, Einstein introduced a cosmological �fudge factor� to get his equations to yield a static, i.e. eternal, model for the universe.40 Einstein postulated a cosmical force of repulsion to cancel off exactly the attractive force of gravity. However, since the effects of such a force had never been observed, Einstein had to further postulate that this force would only take on significance at extreme and, at that time unobserved, distances. Unlike all other forces, this force would mean that the farther apart two bodies are from one another the more strongly they would repel.
One year after the publication of Einstein's brainstorm, the 100-inch telescope on Mt. Wilson began its service. By 1923 Edwin Hubble's photographs through this telescope had proved that many of the enigmatic nebulae were galaxies just like the Milky Way system. Hubble next set about measuring the velocities and distances of these galaxies and, by 1929, was prepared to announce the law of red shifts: the more distant a galaxy, the greater, in direct proportion, is its velocity of recession (determined by the shift of its spectral lines to longer, or redder, wavelengths).41 This observation by Hubble was exactly what Einstein's original equations of general relativity would predict.
At the same time, Arthur Eddington and other theoreticians found that Einstein's static universe could not be kept static. The formation of galaxies would upset the stability, and result in a quick collapse.42, 43, 44, 45 Further, the observation that the emission of radiant energy in any part of the universe is far in excess of the apsorption of energy means that the universe departs too radically from thermodynamic equilibrium to remain static.
As early as 1919 Einstein admitted that his cosmological force constant was �gravely detrimental to the formal beauty of the theory.�46 Following the publication of Hubble's law of red shifts, he finally discarded the factor from his equations. Conceding that its introduction was �the greatest mistake of his life,�47 Einstein eventually gave grudging acceptance to �the necessity for a beginning�47 and to �the presence of a superior reasoning power.�48
time = t time = 2t time = 4t
Figure 1: The expanding universe and the law of red shifts
In an expanding universe the galaxies (and other objects) within it move farther and farther away from one another. Galaxies that are more distant from one another will appear to move more rapidly away from one another. As time goes on, all the galaxies will move faster and faster away from one another. The spectral lines of galaxies moving away from ours will shift, owing to the doppler effect, to longer, or redder, wavelengths. Because all galaxies exhibit random velocities due to their gravitational interactions, a few blue shifts for the very nearby galaxies (where the recessional velocities from the expansion of the universe are relatively small) are expected and observed.
2. the hesitating universe
While the general expansion of the universe was no longer questioned, a Belgian priest, Georges Lema�tre, sought to lengthen the age of the universe by proposing in 1927 that the general expansion had been interrupted sometime in the past by a near static phase. In Lema�tre's model the universe expands rapidly from a singularity, but the density of the universe is such that gravity slowly brings the expansion to a halt. Then, through a judicious reintroduction of Einstein's cosmological constant and a careful choice of its value, just when gravity is taking the steam out of the cosmic explosion, the repulsive force builds up to cancel off the gravitational effects. Expansion is slowed almost to a standstill yielding a quasi-static period. Eventually, the cosmic repulsion begins to dominate again, producing a second phase of general expansion.
Eddington expressed his irritation that Lema�tre's model still required �a sudden and peculiar beginning of things.�48 Unwilling to face the theological implications of a beginning for the universe, however, Eddington devised his own loophole. He stretched Lema�tre's quasi-static period to infinity, putting the �repugnant� beginning point all but out of the picture (to �allow evolution an infinite time to get started�49).
Not until the 1970's was enough evidence marshalled against Lema�tre's, Eddington's, and others' hesitation models to eliminate them from contention. Vah� Petrosian theoretically established that if the universe hesitates, the galaxies and quasars would be confined to more restrictive limits than for an uninterrupted expansion.50 Observations now show that those limits are exceeded.51, 52, 53 Further, theoreticians have proved that if the quasi-static period exceeds a trillion years, galaxy formation during that period is guaranteed, but so is a subsequent and relatively immediate collapse back to the initial singularity.45 A summary of evidence against the hesitating universe models appears in Table 2.
Table 2: Evidence against hesitation models
1. The number of galaxies and quasars with red shifts (z) greater than 2.5 is much too large to permit hesitation.
2. Hesitation models with long quasi-static periods are unstable, and will collapse.
3. The observed deceleration parameter, qo, in the expansion of the universe contradicts the acceleration required by hesitation.
4. Nuclear chronometers and color-luminosity diagrams for star clusters indicate that stars have existed for only a relatively short time (about 20 billion years).
5. Hesitation requires a non-zero value for the cosmological constant, L, but L is the quantity in physics most accurately measured to be zero�less than 10-122 in dimensionless units.
6. Disintegration of a primeval atom (a version of the hesitation model) cannot explain the observed abundances of the elements.
7. The cold bang hesitation models offer no explanation for the observed background radiation, nor do they account for the observed entropyh of the universe.
Figure 2: Seven types of models for the universe
Observations have ruled out all but the standard and inflationary big bang models.
3. the steady state universe
In 1948 three British astrophysicists, Herman Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle, attempted to circumvent the beginning by proposing continual creation.54, 55 In their models, the universe, though expanding indefinitely, takes on an unchanging and eternal quality since the voids that result from expansion are filled by the continual spontaneous creation of new matter. Their proposal made the creation of matter no longer a miracle from the past, but an on-going law of nature that can be tested by observations.
Right from the beginning the steady state proponents made their intentions clear. Bondi stated that the �problem� with other theories was that creation was �being handed over to metaphysics.�56 Hoyle in his opening paper confesses that he has �aesthetic objections to the creation of the universe in the remote past.�57 Later, he objected to the Christian view of creation as offering to man �an eternity of frustration,�58 and in 1982 unveiled his pantheistic colors, �The attribution of definite age to the Universe, whatever it might be, is to exalt the concept of time above the Universe, and since the Universe is everything this is crackpot in itself.�59 (capitalizations in the original)
During the 1960's, 70's, and early 80's a series of highly complex observational and theoretical tests were developed to prove or disprove the steady state model. But the simplest test, applied last of all, was proposed by Sir James Jeans in the 1920's: a universe that has no beginning and no end should manifest a �steady� population. The number of stars and galaxies in various stages of development should be proportional to the time required to pass through these stages. That is, there should be balanced numbers of infants and elderly, as well as middle-aged, stars and galaxies.60
While it is true that stars with ages all the way from just a few days to billions of years can be seen, no star anywhere in the universe has ever been measured with an age exceeding 18 billion years. As for galaxies, all are middle-aged. We see no newly formed galaxies. Neither are there any extinct varieties. In fact, in 1985 Donald Hamilton determined that all the galaxies were formed at approximately the same time.61 Table 3 contains a summary of evidence against the steady state models.
Table 3: Evidence against steady state models
1. No galaxies older than 18 billion years may be found in our vicinity.
2. No galaxies younger than 14 billion years may be found in our vicinity.
3. The lack of red shifts beyond z = 4.5 implies a limit for the universe much less than what would be expected for an infinite steady state universe.
4. Steady state models incorporate no physical mechanism (such as the primeval explosion) to drive the observed expansion of the universe.
5. The microwave background radiation is perfectly explained by the cooling off of the primordial fireball but has no explanation if the universe is steady state.
6. The huge entropy of the universe defies explanation unless the universe began with some kind of big bang.
7. The gravitational force and gravitational potential for all points in space becomes indefinite for an infinite steady state universe.
8. The measured helium abundance for the universe has exactly the value that the big bang would predict. In a steady state universe the created matter must have a specified ratio of helium to hydrogen, and that ratio must decrease with respect to time in an entirely ad hoc manner.
9. The abundances of deuterium, light helium, and lithium in the universe are predicted as consequences of the big bang. These abundances have no physical explanation in a steady state universe.
10. Galaxies and quasars of distances so great that we are viewing them from the remote past appear to differ substantially in character and distribution from nearby, more contemporary, galaxies and quasars.
4. the oscillating universe
Yet another challenge to a universe of finite age arose in the oscillation model. This model actually had its roots in ancient Hindu and Roman beliefs. Restated in the 1930's62, 63 and revived by Robert Dicke and his colleagues in 1965,64 the universe is presumed to have enough mass to bring the expansion to a halt (via gravity) and subsequently cause the universe to implode back on itself. However, rather than crunching itself into a singularity, the universe somehow bounces back and expands again, thereby repeating the cycle. An infinite number of such cycles is thought to �relieve us of the necessity of understanding the origin of matter at any finite time in the past.�64
Since 1965, when the oscillation model first became popular, astronomers have been engaged in a tireless effort to find sufficient mass to halt the observed expansion of the universe. So far, all the evidence, both observational and theoretical, points in the opposite direction.65 - 73
In 1983 and 1984, Marc Sher, Alan Guth, and Sidney Bludman74, 75 demonstrated that even if the universe contained enough mass to halt its current expansion, the collapse would yield not a bounce but a thud. Because of the huge entropyh of the universe, any ultimate collapse would lack the energy to bounce. In other words, the universe more closely resembles a wet lump of clay than a basketball. The universe either expands continuously or goes through just one cycle of expansion and contraction. A summary of evidence against oscillation models is given in Table 4.
Table 4: Evidence against oscillation models
1. The maximum radius of the universe must increase from cycle to cycle because of irreversible thermodynamic changes.
2. The observed density of the universe is at most only three-tenths of what is needed to force a collapse.
3. The density implied by the inflationary model will not force a collapse.
4. No known physical mechanism can ever reverse a cosmic contraction.
5. Even if the universe were to collapse, a bounce would be impossible because of the huge entropy in the universe.
5. quantum tunneling
In 1968 and 1970 three British astrophysicists, Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose, extended the solution of the equations of general relativity to include space and time.76, 77 Their papers showed that if these equations are valid for the universe, then, under reasonably general conditions,i space and time also must have an origin, an origin coincident with that for matter and energy. In other words, time must have a beginning. In 1970 general relativity still had not been overwhelmingly established by observations. But, by 1980, as Table 1 indicates, observations removed any doubts.
Three independent lines of research yield a definite and consistent age for the universe. The results, summarized in Table 5, reveal that the universe is 20 � 3 billion years old.
Table 5: The Age of the Universe
measuring method age (billions of years)
color-luminosity fitting of globular cluster stars61, 81, 82 20 � 3
nucleochronology of supernovae nuclides80 20.4 � 3.4
Hubble time for the expansion of the universe61, 78, 79 19.2 � 5.2
mean age = 20 � 3 billion years
Still fighting, some physicists, notably Paul Davies, equate time with cause-and-effect relationships. Claiming that God could only create through cause-and-effect, Davies uses the evidence for the origin of time to argue against God's agency in the creation of the universe.83 Then, noting that virtual particles can pop into existence from nothingness through quantum tunneling,j he employs the new grand unified theories to suggest that in the same manner the whole universe popped into existence.
Davies' �God,� was a straw man. To say that God cannot act beyond the four dimensions of the universe is to neglect the possibility of such extra dimensions.84 Ironically, the theory of superstrings, now very popular with theoretical physicists, is founded upon the evidence for dimensions beyond the four we experience.85
While God is not limited, quantum mechanical processes are. Quantum mechanics is founded on the concept that there are finite probabilities for quantum events to take place within certain time intervals. The greater the interval of time, the greater the probability. But, without time no quantum event is possible.k Therefore, the origin of time (and space, matter, and energy) eliminates quantum tunneling as �Creator.�
To his credit, Paul Davies has publicly relinquished his atheisic position. He recently argued that the laws of physics �seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design, the universe must have a purpose.�86
6. the anthropic principle
Now that the limits and parameters of the universe have come within the measuring capacity of astronomers and physicists, the design characteristics of the universe are being examined and acknowledged. Anything but the slightest disturbance in the values for the constants of physics and for the parameters of the universe would yield a universe unsuitable to support life. Some examples are given in Table 6. One astrophysicist likened the �coincidental� nature of these constants and parameters to the chance of balancing thousands of pencils upright on their points.
Table 6: Evidence for a universe designed to support life87 - 94
1. gravitational coupling constant
if larger: no stars less than 1.4 solar masses, hence short stellar lifespans
if smaller: no stars more than 0.8 solar masses, hence no heavy element production
2. strong nuclear force coupling constant
if larger: no hydrogen; nuclei essential for life are unstable
if smaller: no elements other than hydrogen
3. weak nuclear force coupling constant
if larger: all hydrogen is converted to helium in the big bang, hence too much heavy elements
if smaller: no helium produced from big bang, hence not enough heavy elements
4. electromagnetic coupling constant
if larger: no chemical bonding
if smaller: no chemical bonding
5. ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: no chemical bonding
if smaller: no chemical bonding
6. expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxy formation
if smaller: universe collapses prior to star formation
7. entropy level of the universe
if larger: no star condensation within the proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxy formation
8. mass of the universe
if larger: too much deuterium from big bang, hence stars burn too rapidly
if smaller: no helium from big bang, hence not enough heavy elements
9. age of the universe
if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase in the right part of the galaxy
if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed
10. uniformity of the universe
if smoother: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
if coarser: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space
11. average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density too thin for rocky planet production
if smaller: planetary orbits become destabilized
12. solar luminosity
if increases too soon: runaway green house effect
if increases too late: frozen oceans
13. fine structure constant (a function of three other fundamental constants, Planck's constant, the velocity of light, and the electron charge)
if larger: no stars more than 0.7 solar masses
if smaller: no stars less than 1.8 solar masses
14. 12C to 16O energy level ratio
if larger: insufficient oxygen
if smaller: insufficient carbon
15. decay rate of the proton
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
if smaller: insufficient matter in the universe for life
Design characteristics also are becoming apparent for our planet earth. Some examples are listed in Table 7.
Table 7: Evidence for design of the sun-earth-moon system to support life95 - 112
Some of these parameters are more narrowly confining than others. For example, the first parameter would eliminate only half the stars from candidacy for life-supporting systems, whereas parameters five, six, and eight would each eliminate more than ninety-nine in a hundred star-planet systems. Not only must the parameters for life support fall within a certain restrictive range, but they must remain relatively constant over time. And we know that several, such as parameters fourteen through nineteen, are subject to potentially catastrophic fluctuation. In addition to the parameters listed here, there are others, such as the eccentricity of a planet's orbit, that have an upper (or a lower) limit only. Complications aside, one safely can say that the universe contains too few stars and planets to explain by natural processes the existence of even one habitable planet.
1. number of star companions
if more than one: tidal interactions would disrupt planetary orbits
if less than one: insufficient heat
2. parent star birth date
if more recent: star would not have reached stable burning phase
if less recent: stellar system would not contain enough heavy elements
3. parent star age
if older: luminosity output from the star would not be sufficiently stable
if younger: luminosity output from the star would not be sufficiently stable
4. parent star distance from center of galaxy
if larger: not enough heavy elements to make rocky planets
if smaller: stellar density and radiation would be too great
5. distance from parent star
if larger: too cool for a stable water cycle
if smaller: too warm for a stable water cycle
6. parent star mass
if larger: luminosity output from the star would not be sufficiently stable
if smaller: tidal forces would disrupt the rotational period for a planet of the right distance;
continuously habitable zone is too narrow
7. parent star color
if redder: insufficient photosynthetic response
if bluer: insufficient photosynthetic response
8. surface gravity
if larger: planet's atmosphere would retain huge amounts of ammonia and methane
if smaller: planet's atmosphere would lose too much water vapor
9. thickness of crust
if larger: too much oxygen would be transferred from the atmosphere to the crust
if smaller: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great
10. rotation period
if longer: diurnal temperature differences would be too great
if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would be too great
11. gravitational interaction with a moon
if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe
if smaller: earth's orbital obliquity would change too much causing climatic instabilities
12. magnetic field
if larger: electromagnetic storms would be too severe
if smaller: no protection from solar wind particles
13. axial tilt
if larger: temperature differences on the planet would be too great
if smaller: temperature differences on the planet would be too great
14. albedo (ratio of reflected light to the total amount of light falling upon a body)
if larger: runaway ice age would develop
if smaller: runaway greenhouse effect would develop
15. oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere
if larger: life functions would proceed too quickly
if smaller: life functions would proceed too slowly
16. carbon dioxide and water vapor levels in atmosphere
if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop
if smaller: insufficient greenhouse effect
17. ozone level in atmosphere
if greater: surface temperatures would become too low
if smaller: too much uv radiation at surface; surface temperatures would be too high
18. atmospheric electric discharge rate
if greater: too much fire destruction
if smaller: too little nitrogen fixing in the soil
19. seismic activity
if greater: destruction of too many life-forms
if smaller: nutrients on ocean floors would not be uplifted and recycled
These lists, each of which grows longer each year, provide additional evidence for a Creator. Yet, for whatever reasons, a few astrophysicists continue to contest this conclusion. The evidence for design is compelling. There must exist a designer. But, if God is not the designer, who is? The only alternative, some say, is man himself.
The evidence proffered for man as the creator comes from an analogy to delayed-choice experiments in quantum mechanics, where, according to some interpreters, it appears that the observer causes the outcome of quantum mechanical events. However, quantum mechanics merely states that in the micro world of particle physics man is limited in his ability to measure quantum effects (the Heisenberg uncertainty principle). If the human observer pushes against those limits he will disturb the particle(s)/wave(s) and thereby lose some information about the original state of the system. The human observer simply chooses what portion of the information he wishes to receive. Both relativity and the gauge theory of quantum mechanics, backed by much experimental evidence,113 state that the correct description of nature is that in which the human observer is irrelevant. Hence, this version of the �anthropic principle� fails in its attempt to deify man.
Now that the limits of the universe have been established, it is possible to calculate whether it is large enough and old enough to produce life by natural processes. The universe contains no more than 1080 baryonsl and has been in existence for no more than 1018 seconds.
Compared to the inorganic systems comprising the universe, biological systems are enormously complex. The genome for the DNA of an E Coli bacterium has the equivalent of about two million amino acid residues. A single human cell contains the equivalent of about six billion amino acid residues. Moreover, unlike inorganic systems, the sequence in which the individual components (amino acids) are assembled is critical for the survival of biological systems. Also, only amino acids with left handed configurations can be used in protein synthesis, the amino acids can be joined only by peptide bonds, each amino acid first must be activated by a specific enzyme, and multiple special enzymes are required to bind messenger RNA to ribosomes before protein systhesis can begin or end.
The bottom line is that the universe is at least ten billion orders of magnitude (a factor of 1010,000,000,000 times) too small or too young to permit life to be assembled by natural processes. This calculation has been done by researchers in a variety of disciplines including both non-theists and theists.114 - 129
Invoking other universes cannot solve the problem. All such models require that the additional universes remain totally out of contact with one another, that is, their space-time manifolds cannot overlap. Thus, the only explanation for how living organisms received their highly complex and ordered configurations is that an intelligent, transcendent Creator personally infused this information.
This review by no means addresses all attempts to avoid theistic implications about the origin of the universe. Rather, the focus has been to examine those theories for the origin and development of the universe that are subject to observational tests. A new set of models, mostly variations on themes introduced by Richard Gott130 and by Fran�ois Englert and his colleagues,131 seek to escape the dread singularity by postulating special conditions during the �period of ignorance� between what most would be willing to call the creation event and 10-43 seconds. Their postulations, however, are simply speculations about things we cannot confirm or deny.132 For the sake of integrity, we should restrict our arguments to those things which can be observed and measured.133
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aBy ad hoc I mean �without observational or experimental support,� motivated by no other purpose than to save a hypothesis.
bBecause of the magnitude of the speed of light, the dilation factor 1/�(1 - v2/c2) has been measurable for only the last hundred years. For a high speed locomotive, for example, the correction factor is less than a trillionth of a percent. Even when the astronaut, John Glenn, orbited the earth several times at 18,000 mph, the correction to his travel time amounted to less than a ten thousandth of a second.
cThe periastron and the perihelion are the points in the orbit of bodies (respectively a star or a planet or asteroid) where that body is nearest respectively to its companion star or the sun.
dPulsars are the collapsed remains of exploded stars (supernovae). In the process of collapsing from a several million mile diameter star down to an object just a few miles across, the rotation period of the star accelerates to once every few seconds (in some cases once every few milliseconds). Since typically the axis of spin and the axis for the star's magnetic field do not coincide, radiation associated with the magnetic field, to a distant observer, will appear to pulsate like the light in a lighthouse�its magnetic bright spot appearing once per stellar rotation.
eThe quasars are the most powerful known bodies in the universe. Some of them emit the energy flow of over a thousand normal galaxies from a volume only one trillionth the size of a normal galaxy. Most of the quasars are located at distances beyond a billion light years.
fProponents of a young universe position (�10,000 years) must reject both general and special relativity.33, 34, 35, 36, 37 Those who knowingly do so, base their rejection on:
1. inaccuracies in the measurements by Eddington et al38 of the deflection of starlight, and
2. oblateness of the sun as a possible explanation for the perihelion advances of the planets.
An abundance of new experimental and Biblical exegetical evidence,118 however, removes any basis for such arguments (see Table 1).
gThe singularity is not really a point, but more like a whole three-dimensional space, albeit one of zero size.
hEntropy of a system is the energy that is unavailable to perform work. A candle flame, for example, dissipates most of its energy as heat and light leaving little energy to perform work. The universe, by comparison, has a specific entropy that is five billion times greater than that of a candle flame.
iThe specific conditions are:
1. The spacetime manifold for our universe satisfies the equations of general relativity.
2. Timetravel into the past is impossible.
3. Principle of causality is not violated (no closed timelike curves).
4. Mass density and pressure of matter never becomes negative.
5. There is enough matter present to generate a trapped surface.
6. The spacetime manifold is not too highly symmetric.
jQuantum tunneling is the process by which quantum mechanical particles penetrate barriers that would be insurmountable to classical objects.
kSince complete understanding about anything is lacking for that instant of the universe before 10-43 seconds after the beginning, there necessarily exists the possibility that the relationship between time and the probability for certain quantum events may break down.
lBaryons are protons and other fundamental particles, such as neutrons, that decay into protons.