I want to introduce you to my new guest blogger, Web developer, David Hynes. David has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA. Before retiring, he worked with my husband as a Senior Staff Information Analyst for a large oil company. He follows politics, technology and science and enjoys music and travel. I enjoy David’s social media posts which are thoughtful and articulate. He recently commented about an engaging book he was reading and posted a summary of the main points from the first part of the book. He graciously gave permission for me to share with my readers. (The link to the book is an affiliate link which pays a commission on purchases.)
The author Fr. Robert J. Spitzer is a Catholic Priest in the Jesuit order, and is currently the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and the Spitzer Center. He was President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009 and has taught courses on faith and reason, metaphysics, philosophy of God, and philosophy of science to graduate and undergraduate students at Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, Seattle University, and St. Louis University.
Fr. Spitzer has produced two television series for EWTN and received a Templeton Grant for teaching physics and metaphysics. He has made multiple media appearances including: Larry King Live (debating Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, and Deepak Chopra on God and modern physics), the Today Show (debating on the topic of active euthanasia), The History Channel in ‘God and The Universe,’ and a multiple part PBS series ‘Closer to the Truth,‘ and the Hugh Hewitt Show. He has also appeared on dozens of nationally syndicated radio programs.
commentary by David Hynes followed by brief book excerpts:
“‘New Proofs for the Existence of God’ by Robert Spitzer is a compelling argument, using primarily physics and philosophy, to show that the universe could only have been created via a Big Bang event. This means there was no existence of time before that moment and that an “intelligence” (aka, God) was necessary for that event to have occurred.
Currently in the cosmological world, as one might have learned on Nova or the History Channel, for example, there is discussion of how parallel universes (multiverses) could theoretically explain how our universe was created.
Dr. Spitzer elaborately explains how the arguments for multiverses explaining the creation of our universe are deeply flawed at this point in the current use of physics.
These excerpts are from part 1, “indications of creation and supernatural design in big bang cosmology” from “New Proofs for the Existence of God.” They contain some very technical physics explanations but don’t let that scare you off. I think you’ll find it interesting.”
(blogger’s note- Below I have listed some word definitions you may find helpful as you read; the defined words are in italics)
The Extreme Improbability of Our Anthropic Universe
(from Part 1)
The first instance is given by Roger Penrose, who shows the exceedingly high improbability of a low-entropy condition (which is compatible with the Second Law of Thermodynamics and essential for our anthropic universe) arising out of the big bang.
The odds of our anthropic universe arising amidst the total phase-space volume of possible universes for a creation event is so exceedingly, exceedingly, exceedingly remote that its notation in regular exponential form is one part in: 10100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.
In the absence of natural explanation for this highly improbable occurrence, many physicists have concluded that our universe was influenced by a supernatural designing intelligence. Yet other physicists find such a metaphysical explanation quite difficult and even disheartening, leading them to postulate some new “naturalistic” explanations which go far beyond our universe and our methods of empirical verification.
These so-called naturalistic explanations postulate limitless numbers of unseen, unverified actual or potential universes which provide the conditions for the weak anthropic principle. As will be seen below, these naturalistic explanations not only violate the canon of parsimony (Ockham’s razor), but also are scientifically questionable if not dubious.
If we find these dubious naturalistic alternatives to be unsatisfying or even “over the top,” we are left with the stark reality of supernatural intelligent design staring at us …
The second instance concerns the interrelationship among the gravitational constant (G), weak force constant (gw), and the cosmological constant (Λ) with respect to the rate of acceleration (and possible collapse) of the universe as a whole.
[I]f Λ were several orders of magnitude greater, the expansion of the universe would be explosive, and it is doubtful if galaxies could ever have formed against such a disruptive force. If Λ were negative, the explosion would be replaced by a catastrophic collapse of the universe. It is truly extraordinary that such dramatic effects would result from changes in the strength of either gravity, or the weak force, of less than one part in 1040.
If the universe’s constituents had not formed into clusters, there would be virtually no interaction allowing for complexification, and therefore no development of any life form. Similarly, a catastrophic collapse of the universe would be very deleterious to the development of any life form. Thus, outside the very narrow permissible range of the values of the weak force and gravitational constants (which cannot differ from their current values by any more than one part in 1050!), the universe would not be able to support any life form.
A third instance of improbable anthropic conditions concerns the strong force constant (especially in its relationship to the electromagnetic constant). This constant cannot vary more or less than 2 percent from its current value (gs = 15) without rendering impossible the formation of either hydrogen or any other element heavier than hydrogen. Either one of these two scenarios would have disallowed a life form (composed of elements from our periodic table) from developing within our universe.
Brandon Carter in 1970 showed that a 2 percent reduction in the strong force and its associated constant would preclude the formation of nuclei with larger numbers of protons, making the formation of elements heavier than hydrogen impossible. On the other hand, if the strong force and associated constant were just 2 percent greater than it is, then all hydrogen would be converted to helium and heavier elements from the beginning, leaving the universe no water and no long-term fuel for the stars.
A fourth instance of the improbability of anthropic conditions in our universe concerns the relationship between the gravitational and weak force constants on the one hand, and the neutron-proton mass and electron mass on the other. The value of the weak force constant in its relationship to the value of the gravitational constant guarantees a sufficient amount of hydrogen for solar power and water. Slight variations from this would have given rise to a universe inhospitable to life.
A fifth instance of the improbability of anthropic conditions concerns the gravitational constant in its relation to the electromagnetic constant and the ratio of electron to proton mass. These constants must have their precise actual values in order for stars with sufficiently stable energy to develop. Without these precise values the vast majority of stars would have been blue giants or red dwarfs (unable to sustain a life form).
Davies concludes by remarking on the incredibly small variance that is permissible in the constants of gravity, electromagnetism, and “electron mass relative to proton mass,” in order to avoid red dwarfs or blue giants (incapable of sustaining life forms). He notes that this coincidence is truly astonishing.
A sixth instance of the improbability of anthropic conditions concerns the weak force constant and its relationship to the carbon atom. This constant must have a value similar to that in our universe if carbon (the building block of life) is to be operative. Sufficient heat is required for carbon bonding to occur; the kind of heat that can only be provided by a supernova explosion. This same heat is also required for the production of iron and uranium atoms.
As (Paul) Davies notes, if the weak force had varied ever so slightly, supernovae would never have occurred, thereby depriving carbon atoms of the heat necessary for their production.
We owe the presence of the carbon in our bodies, the iron core of our planet and the uranium in our nuclear reactors to supernovae that occurred before the solar system formed. Without supernovae, Earth-like planets would not exist.
A seventh instance can be adduced from the resonances of atomic nuclei. These resonances are dependent upon the precise values of fundamental constants as well as the generation of atomic nuclei through universal and stellar evolution. One of the most remarkable examples of this (which moved Fred Hoyle from atheism to a belief in a “supercalculating Intellect”) is the resonance of the carbon nucleus.
Owen Gingerich shows that the precise resonance of the carbon atom necessary for its multiple bonding properties happens to coincide perfectly with the resonance of beryllium, helium, and oxygen. If this extremely remote coincidence had not occurred, then carbon would be extremely rare, and carbon-based life forms would not have emerged.
… it follows that the odds of our universe being anthropic are exceedingly, exceedingly, exceedingly remote.
Are we to believe that this occurred by pure chance? Since it is difficult to quantify a virtually open range of non-anthropic values in their relationship to a narrow closed range of anthropic values, we may do well to express the contrast in terms of a simple but enlightening analogy. The enormity of the differential between non-anthropic and anthropic values of our universe’s constants may be likened to a monkey typing out Hamlet (without any recourse to the play) by random tapping on the keys of a typewriter. Needless to say, it requires belief to explain this occurrence by pure chance.
If one were to come into a room where such a monkey had been typing randomly for a month, and were to discover twelve sheets of perfect Shakespearean prose, one could reasonably and responsibly believe that someone intelligent (and possessing a fine knowledge of Shakespeare) had snuck into the room and helped the monkey.
Alternatively, one might believe that the monkey had a random stroke of luck that allowed a conspiracy of coincidences unimaginably remote to occur by pure chance. In one case, one believes in an intellect that one did not see. In the other case, one believes that an unbelievably improbable occurrence took place by pure chance. Thus, the teleological argument makes belief inescapable. I leave it to the reader to ascertain which kind of belief is more reasonable and responsible. If one cannot force oneself to believe that such an exceedingly improbable event took place by pure chance, then one will want to return to the two options given by Davies with which we started:
. . . the numerical coincidences [necessary for an anthropic universe] could be regarded as evidence of design. The delicate fine-tuning in the values of the constants, necessary so that the various different branches of physics can dovetail so felicitously, might be attributed to God. ” (end of book excerpts)
ANTHROPIC– Of or relating to human beings or the period of their existence on earth
ENTROPY- the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system
METAPHYSICAL- Of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses
PARSIMONY- economy in the use of means to an end
OCCAM’S RAZOR- a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities
SUPERNOVA- the explosion of a star in which the star may reach a maximum intrinsic luminosity one billion times that of the sun
RESONANCE- the enhancement of an atomic, nuclear, or particle reaction or a scattering event by excitation of internal motion in the system
TELEOLOGICAL-exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature
David’s concluding comments:
“I think it would be affirmation that only God could have created our universe, that the universe came from nothing and only God could manifest that. I also hope that some who are atheists or agnostic will read my comments and get the book. Ultimately I hope it would persuade them that the universe has not existed forever, thus meaning God exists to have created it.
Finally, the book describes the amazing fine tuning needed to create a universe that could not exist if any of physical conditions were just 1%-2% different. Since the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the natural state of the physical world involves high entropy (high randomness & chaotic activity), our universe was clearly created under low entropy (fine-tuned) conditions. Only an intelligent designer could account for that since it violates the accepted Second Law of Thermodynamics.
I am now reading the next part of the book in which Dr. Spitzer examines the topic from a philosophical/metaphysical viewpoint. Since he also teaches philosophy, it should be just as interesting. ”
I found the book excerpts challenging and David’s comments stimulating. How about you readers? Whether you have read this book or not, where do you think the universe came from?
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