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Transcript update : Feb.27,2014

Science and Design in
the Universe
James Mackey 3/16/2012
What does science have to say about origins
and about the possibility of some intelligence
behind the existence and structure of the
universe as well as the physical laws that
govern its operation.
In the latter part of the 19th century and
the first part of the 20th, unbelievers could
argue that scientific discoveries were
antagonistic to religion
In the last 30 or so years, newer discoveries
have changed this perception.
We will look at a number of these discoveries
and see that they are more consistent with a
creation event, than with a random
mechanistic origin from atomic interactions
Remember ! There are only 2 options:
Purely random interactions of non living
matter producing all that we see in the
A universe designed by some intelligence
(God) who constructed its natural laws in
such a way as to make human life and
human development possible
Before I present evidence from different
areas of science, let me introduce a very
simple, but powerful argument, called the
Kalaam Argument.
KALAAM Argument
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
We have never observed an exception to this point
2. The Universe has a beginning
Vast majority of scientists would accept this
3. Therefore the Universe has a cause
The argument cannot be more specific than this
What’s the evidence?
1. Cosmology
The Universe is not eternal, matter has
not always existed. The Universe had a
Before 1920’s everyone KNEW the
universe was eternal
Edwin Hubble’s discovery of the expanding
Universe, coupled with the correct solutions
of Einstein’s general relativity equations
pointed directly to an finite universe that
had a beginning and could have an end.
A universe with a beginning could have a
This idea was not easily accepted and was
resisted on philosophical grounds by many
who did not want a non-eternal universe.
Hoyle and others developed a Steady State
Universe model to allow for expansion and
still keep the universe eternal.
There was NO experimental evidence for
this model, and it required violating one of
the fundamental laws of the universe –
conservation of energy
It was argued that this violation was too
small to see – even if it occurred.
Penzias & Wilson’s discovery of the Cosmic
Microwave Background radiation in 1965 was
the death blow to all such models.
Today, the fact that the universe had a
beginning is generally accepted as so!
While there have been numerous
discoveries in physics that are consistent
with a designer, I will mention only one!
Anthropic Principle : The fundamental
parameters of the Universe are finely
tuned to permit the existence of intelligent
life (US?)
The Anthropic Principle
The Universe possesses narrowly
defined characteristics that
permit the possibility of a
suitable habitat for humanity
This principle has been recognized by
numerous scientists in recent years, and
has been increasingly publicly stated.
Physicist Paul Davies
“[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.”
The Cosmic Blueprint (New York, Simon &
Schuster, 1988) p203
Astronomer George Greenstein
“As we survey all the evidence, the
thought insistently arises that some
supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency
– must be involved. Is it possible that
suddenly without intending to, we have
stumbled upon the scientific proof of the
existence of a Supreme Being? Was it
God who stepped in and so providentially
crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”
The Symbiotic Universe (New
York,William Morrow, 1988) p27
Cosmologist Bernard Carr
A student of Stephen Hawking, Carr
is Professor of Mathematics and
Astronomy at Queen Mary
“One would have to conclude either that the
features of the universe invoked in support
of the Anthropic Principle are only
coincidences or that the universe was
indeed tailor made for life. I will leave it to
the theologians to ascertain the identity of
the tailor!”
"The Anthropic Principle and the Structure of
the Physical World," Nature 278 (1979) p53
Arno Penzias, Nobel laureate
“Astronomy leads us to a unique event,
a universe which was created out of
nothing, one with the very delicate
balance needed to provide exactly the
conditions required to permit life, and
one which has an underlying (one might
say “supernatural”) plan.”
Cosmos, Bios, and Theos p83
As Far as I know, none of these men
would be classified as a believer in the
Biblical God we worship.
Specific example of physical parameter - Gravity
Range of force strengths in universe
Strong nuclear
weakest - gravity
Consider a ruler with 1 inch markings, stretched the width of
the universe ~ 4.6 x 1024 inches
That is :
4.6 million, million, million, million inches
4,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 inches
Red arrow is the present value of gravity, then a
one inch adjustment in the arrow produces a
billion fold change in gravity (change of 1 part in
4.6 x 1024)
Consequences of this relatively small change …
Animals the size of humans would be crushed –
no critters larger than insects (and they would have very
large legs, like elephants)
The Earth would be about 40 feet in diameter,
with a surface area of about 20,000 sq.ft. smaller than Searcy
Habitat on Mars illustration …..
In an article, “Exploring Our
Universe and Others”, in Scientific
American’s The Once and Future
Cosmos, Martin Rees observed..
“Our universe could not have become structured if it
were not expanding at a special rate. If the big bang
had produced fewer density fluctuations, the universe
would have remained dark, with no galaxies or stars…
..If our universe had more than three spatial
dimensions, planets could not stay in orbits around
“If gravity were much stronger, it would crush
living organisms of human size and stars would be
small and short-lived.
If nuclear forces were a few percent weaker, only
hydrogen would be stable: there would be no
periodic table, no chemistry and no life.
Some would argue that this fine-tuning of the
universe, which seems so providential, is nothing to
be surprised about, because we could not exist
otherwise.”{since we’re here, it looks special, but isn’t –
this is the Weak Anthropic Principal or WAP}
There are more than 20 and may be as many as 30
physical or cosmological parameters that require very
precise calibration in order to produce a life
sustaining universe.
Probably the most precise of all is the cosmological
constant (energy density of empty space) has to be
set to 1 part in 1053 or
Another is the initial mass density of the Universe
The Standard Big Bang requires a density
during initial stages of big bang with a value
within 25 decimal places of the critical density
This is highly unlikely!!
The figure above shows scale factor a(t) for three models with three different
densities at a time 1 nS after the Big Bang. The black curve shows a critical
density case that matches the WMAP-based concordance model, which has
density = 447,225,917,218,507,401,284,016 gm/cc at 1 ns after the Big Bang.
Adding only 0.2 gm/cc to this 447 sextillion gm/cc causes the Big Crunch to be
right now! Taking away 0.2 gm/cc makes the universe too diffuse.
If one rejects the evidence for design,
what remains?
“The more the universe is comprehensible, the
more it also seems pointless.”
Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes
“The usual approach of science of constructing a
mathematical model cannot answer the questions
of why there should be a universe for the model to
describe. Why does the universe go to all the
bother of existing?”
Stephen W Hawking
In all of the following discussion, it is
assumed that life is carbon based.
While silicon based life has been
discussed by a few individuals, the
length of amino acid chains based on
silicon are no more than a few
hundred at the most - insufficient for
the complexity required for life as we
know it.
Additionally, boron has been advocated
as an alternate basis for life; however,
boron is relatively rare in the universe
compared to carbon or silicon, which
would make life even less probable
than it is.
Hydrogen 705,700 nuclei per million
653 nuclei per million
0.1 nuclei per billion
It is also assumed that physical
laws, as best as we understand
them, operate the same at all places
and times in the evolution of the
universe. No unknown physical laws
can be postulated to explain
currently unexplainable phenomena.
It is possible for something to be so
improbable that even in the
possible time span of the universe,
13.6 Billion years or about 4.3x 1017
seconds, it will never happen.
Any argument from design will be, in
most cases, faith strengthening not
faith producing!
Biochemistry: DNA and the information
problem ..
Biologist Dean Kenyon
who wrote a book on
the chemical origin of
life, later repudiated his
own book based on the
evidence from genetics.
“This new realm of molecular genetics is
where we see the most compelling
evidence of design on the Earth.”
DNA provides the genetic information
needed to create all the proteins out of
which our bodies are built.
Each of the 30,000 genes embedded in our
23 pairs of chromosomes can yield as many
as 20,000 different kinds of protein
“The problem of the origin of
life is clearly basically
equivalent to the problem of
the origin of biological
information.”Bernd-Olaf Kuppers
If you unraveled all your chromosomes from
all of your cells and laid out the DNA end to
end, the strands would stretch from the Earth
to the Moon about 6,000 times.
If you could pull apart the double helix,
you would see the exposed ends of four
different chemicals waving in the air.
Those four chemicals, called bases carry
the information used to make a body and
to keep it running.
Scientists named each of the four bases
with a letter, G, A, T or C. All of the letters
in one cell make up the human genome, a
complete set of instructions for making a
In a complete helix, the A's always line up with the T's and
the G's with the C's. In the picture, the white and red bases
always hook up together and blue and green are always
When you make new cells,
your body is putting
together different letters of
the DNA alphabet.
Even with just four letters,
the DNA alphabet spells out
all of the information you
need to create new cells
and to stay healthy.
The order of the DNA bases
is called the sequence
Just like the order of the letters in a sentence, the sequence
of the bases in DNA can spell all the instructions for your
body -- even with only four letters.
If you wrote down all of the bases in one cell,
you would fill a stack of 1,000 Chicago phone
books with A's, T's, G's and C's. Scientists
trying to locate small sections of DNA out of
the whole genome have to flip through
billions of bases to find what they want!
Sometimes this takes years.
We all have 6 feet of DNA crammed into the
nucleus of every cell. This is somewhere
between 5 and 10 billion miles of the stuff in
every one of us.
Now that the entire Human Genome has been
unraveled, we know that there are large sections of
DNA that seem to have no function (“junk” DNA),
while the vast majority of the remainder, has
functions we do not yet understand, yet this strand of
material contains all the information to recreate a
copy of the individual from whom it is extracted,
through millions of replications with an amazingly few
errors produced. It is an extraordinarily well
designed system to produce the variety of organisms
observed on Earth today.
What is the source for all of the information
marvelously encoded in DNA and other
biochemical constituents?
The source of information in every other
system that we know of is always the same
It takes far more faith to believe that
somehow all of the information stored in DNA
came from purely random, unguided,
mechanistic processes, than to admit the
possibility of an intelligent designer
Those who summarily dismiss the possibility
of intelligent design are usually making a
statement about their antagonism to religion
and their faith in mechanistic materialism and
their presupposition that everything must be
explained solely and exclusively
Astronomy & Geology
Historically many textbook writers have
presented what is called the Principle of
Mediocrity* usually in the context of
Copernicus “dethroning Earth” as the Center
of the Universe. *or Copernican Principal
The Earth is an ordinary planet circling an ordinary
star located in an inconsequential solar system
located in a backwater place in one common galaxy
among billions. There is absolutely nothing special
about the Earth, and by implication also its
Fortunately, modern discoveries have shown
this principle to be completely false.
In contrast we know today that the Earth is a
privileged planet, and perhaps the only place
in the Universe to hold intelligent life
Contrary to Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. we may
very well be alone in the universe.
In order for the Earth to harbor high level
intelligent life (us?), we must have :
The right size planet
The right distance from our home star
not too far (too cold)
not too close (too hot)
Right kind of home star
not too big (too short a lifetime)
not too small (too little energy for life)
Right kind of atmosphere
need O2 but not too much
need N2 but not too much
Need a single large moon
to stabilize axis of rotation
to provide tidal forces in earth to help plate tectonics
and volcanism to occur
Need to be in the right kind of solar system with a
Jupiter size planet at the right distance
to remove much of debris from system to reduce
impacts on earth
not close enough to significantly affect Earth’s orbit
Need to have all planets far enough apart in nearly
circular orbits not to have too much influence on
one another (otherwise the system is unstable)
Planet hunters Geoff Marcy and
Paul Butler (Mar.2000)
In discussing the 33 (at that
time) [ there are now ~ 1077]
known planets discovered
orbiting other star systems, the
authors observe that most such
systems are dominated by highly
elliptically orbit giant planets.
• "The predominance of elliptical orbits implies
that planetary systems with circular orbits may
be the exception rather than the norm.
• Apparently our nine planets were just far
enough apart and low enough in mass to avoid
this chaos [referring to the tendency of giant
planets to slingshot neighbors out of their
•The nine planets do perturb one another, but
not enough to cause close passages.
•The planetary house of cards that we call
our solar system may be one of the rare
systems that remains just barely stable.
• If our solar system is unusual in its circular
orbits, we humans would seem to be
extraordinarily lucky to be here.
• After all, the circular orbit of earth keeps
solar heating nearly constant, minimizing
temperature fluctuations.
•Perhaps biological evolution would not have
proceeded to intelligence if Earth's
temperature were fluctuating widely.
Astronomy, March 2000, "Planets Beyond" by
Geoff Marcy and Paul Butler, page 45
Located in the right kind of galaxy (not elliptical or
Need to be in a safe region of our galaxy
not to close to center or where disastrous events
(supernovae, colliding magnetars, etc.) occur too
often. I.e. in between spiral arms
Not too far out where heavy metals necessary for life are
too sparse
Need to be a planet where not too many extinction
events have occurred
example of dinosaur killer impact 65 Myr ago
Increasingly we are finding out that we live in a
very dangerous universe, and had we been located
in many of the myriad galaxies in the universe all
life on earth would have been annihilated many
One example of this recently discovered is the
Magnetar event shown next.
1998 event
20,000 yrs ago while Mammoths, Mastodons,
etc. roamed North America - a distant neutron
star in constellation Aquila (SGR 1900+14)
underwent an unknown type of cataclysm..
A violent explosion propelled a sphere of hard
radiation out at the speed of light.
For 20,000 years this sphere expanded until
on Aug. 27, 1998 it hit the Earth over the
Pacific Ocean and then passed on through
For about 5 minutes Earth was bombarded
by a high level of gamma rays & X-rays.
Even after 20,000 lyrs the energy level sent
radiation sensors on 7 satellites to max. or
off scale. Two of these satellites shut down
to avoid burnout.
The radiation penetrated to within 30 miles
from the Earth’s surface. The first time ever
such an event from outside our solar system
had a measurable effect on the atmosphere
of Earth.
“The most spectacular event came on Aug. 27
when RXTE (Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) was
not even pointed at SGR 1900+14. The burst
was so strong and clear that RXTE's Proportional
Counting Array detected it through the shielding
intended to keep stray radiation out. Then the
array locked up because of the overload.
"It is amazing that such a burst could produce
ionization levels similar to those produced by all
the radiation coming from the sun," Inan*
says. "When we put this information into our
mathematical models it may provide us with
important new insights about how the
ionosphere behaves in response to sudden
ionization changes.“*Umran Inan, professor of electrical
engineering at Stanford, head of the research group that observed
the atmospheric disturbance.
"All this goes to show that the Earth does
not exist in splendid isolation," says Inan.
"We now know that the Earth's physical
environment is affected not only by our own
sun but by energy originating from distant
parts of our universe."
Had the event been at 10,000 lyrs, it would
have been 4 times as intense - perhaps
strong enough to damage the ozone layer.
Had we been a civilization at 100 lyrs the
radiation 160,000 X as intense would have
probably have sterilized the side of Earth
encountering the pulse.
How probable are such event?
We do not know! We’ve only been able to
detect such events for ~ 30 years
event described
These are only a few of the many ways in which
our planet is special and perhaps unique
We do know today that there are planets around
other stars, called extrasolar planets. As of Feb. 23,
2014 1074 planets in 812 systems.*
Let’s see how many of these are even remotely
All Candidates detected 1074 Planets
Candidates detected by radial velocity or astrometry
update : Feb.27,2014 550 Planets 413 planetary systems
96 multiple planet systems
Transiting planets 435 planets
331 planetary systems
update : Feb.27,2014
70 multiple planet systems
Candidates detected by microlensing 24 planetary systems
update : Feb.27,2014
26 planets 2 multiple planet
Candidates detected by imaging 43 planetary systems
update : Feb.27,2014
47 planets 2 multiple planet
Candidates detected by timing 13 planetary systems
update : Feb.27,2014
16 planets 2 multiple planet
List of one representative data page of the
known 1074 extrasolar planets to date.
Data complete as of Feb. 23, 2024
Sample data printout
~28 pages of data like this
List of all the 1072 planets with orbits within 20% of
1 AU (Earth’s orbit)
0.8 – 1.2 AU
90 Planets
List of all the 1072 planets with orbits within 20%
of 1 AU (Earth’s orbit) and with masses within 100
% of Earth’s mass. In this listing we would have
0.00314 for the mass of Earth. i.e from 0.00157 to
0.00628 Jupiter masses.
The smallest in this list is
MOA-2010-BKG-328lb at 0.029 MJ or more than 9 times
as massive as the Earth.
The smallest mass planets
known to date(ME =.00314)
About 200 of the known Exoplanets
In addition, the sun is not an average star, it ranks in
the top 10% of all stars in size. The average star is
a small, very cool M class star.
The sun has a high in metal content. Stars with low
metal content will not have rocky planets. Consider
the long list given earlier, almost 86% have Fe/H
ratios > -.20 where the Sun is 0.
125 out of 870 have Fe/H > -0.2 on
scale where 0 = sun’s metallicity
The sun is also unusually stable for a main sequence
star, whose luminosity (brightness) has increased
only a few % over the last 2 billion years, providing
a very long term stable environment for life to
flourish and develop
Whatever luminosity increases the Sun has
experienced have been mostly offset by the long term
decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere, produced
primarily by plate tectonic activity.
Typical Extrasolar system compared with our solar system
Solar system
masses in
terms of
Jupiter mass
a = .00017
b = .00256
c = .00315
d = .00034
e = 1.0
Our solar system
6 x ME
I would
weigh more
than 900
Based on the multiple lines of evidence from a
variety of scientific areas ( and I have only
presented a very small sample of a large body of
evidence) what is one to conclude ?
Based on almost any reasonable criteria that
one could devise, the existence of intelligent
life on Earth
and perhaps in the Universe as well
is an ENIGMA....
without GOD
Exam review is NOT on my website. Also there
will be the bonus option for quoting Isa. 55:9
and/or Col. 1:16-17 NIV/NASV only.
For a much more detailed presentation of these
ideas see the “Constraints on a Chance Universe”
presentation on the website including as large
segment on the occurrence of extinction events in
Earth’s geologic history. Not on exam
Case For a Creator DVD Thursday 2 PM Rm 123