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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

From galaxies and stars, down to atoms and subatomic particles, the very structure of our universe is determined by these numbers:

* Speed of Light: c=299,792,458 m s-1

* Gravitational Constant: G=6.673 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2

* Planck's Constant: 1.05457148 x 10-34 m2 kg s-2

* Planck Mass-Energy: 1.2209 x 1022 MeV

* Mass of Electron, Proton, Neutron: 0.511; 938.3; 939.6 MeV

* Mass of Up, Down, Strange Quark: 2.4; 4.8; 104 MeV (Approx.)

* Ratio of Electron to Proton Mass: (1836.15)-1

* Gravitational Coupling Constant: 5.9 x 10-39

* Cosmological Constant: (2.3 x 10-3 eV)

* Hubble Constant: 71 km/s/Mpc (today)

* Higgs Vacuum Expectation Value: 246.2 GeV

These are the fundamental constants and quantities of the universe. Scientists have come to the shocking realization that each of these numbers have been carefully dialed to an astonishingly precise value - a value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life-permitting range.

If any one of these numbers were altered by even a hair's breadth, no physical, interactive life of any kind could exist anywhere. There'd be no stars, no life, no planets, no chemistry.

Consider gravity, for example. The force of gravity is determined by the gravitational constant. If this constant varied by just one in 1060 parts, none of us would exist. To understand how exceedingly narrow this life-permitting range is, imagine a dial divided into 1060 increments. To get a handle on how many tiny points on the dial this is, compare it to the number of cells in your body (1014) or the number of seconds that have ticked by since time began (1020).

If the gravitational constant had been out of tune by just one of these infinitesimally small increments, the universe would either have expanded and thinned out so rapidly that no stars could form and life couldn't exist, or it would have collapsed back on itself with the same result: no stars, no planets, no life.

Or consider the expansion rate of the universe. This is driven by the cosmological constant. A change in its value by a mere 1 part in 10120 parts would cause the universe to expand too rapidly or too slowly. In either case, the universe would, again, be life-prohibiting.

Or, another example of fine-tuning: If the mass and energy of the early universe were not evenly distributed to an incomprehensible precision of 1 part in 1010123, the universe would be hostile to life of any kind.

The fact is our universe permits physical, interactive life only because these, and many other numbers, have been independently and exquisitely balanced on a razor's edge.


What is the best explanation for this astounding phenomenon? There are three live options. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design. Which of these options is the most plausible?

Dr. Jason Lisle on the Finely Tuned Universe

The primary topic is the Anthropic Principle and the evidence for creation from the finely tuned universe. The interview includes a brief discussed about the Big Bang. In addition are some interesting comments about Stephen Hawking invoking a multiverse to help explain the finely tuned universe.