In our previous post entitled Precision Creation we highlighted the precision of the universe in terms of its “just right” characteristics, including past and present expansion rate, the size of the cosmos, and quantity of existing matter. Recognition of these “just right” characteristics is only the beginning of our understanding of the characteristics of the universe.
We continue discussion of the characteristics of our cosmos by asking why such precision exists. One could objectively describe this precision without explicitly conflating it with the existence or welfare of humanity. Philosophers and scientists challenge themselves by discussing whether the precision even exists without intelligent minds to comprehend its reality.
The last few decades the term anthropic principle has appeared, introduced by Brandon Carter, John Barrow, and Frank Tipler. It is not a formal scientific term, but it has been discussed extensively among scientists. Theologians, scientists, and philosophers have co-opted the term for lively discussion. One definition states the anthropic principle is “the observation that the universe appears to have been engineered for the specific benefit of the human species.”
Expansion rate, size of the cosmos, and quantity of existing matter, important for the existence of life, especially human life in the universe, merely lays the framework for a broader understanding of the incredible precision and perfection of humanity’s home in a physical sense.
Understanding of fundamental physical constants, numbering in many hundreds, would bewilder non-scientists. Well known constants include the speed of light, masses of sub-atomic particles such as protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the fine structure constant. The latter measures the strength of electromagnetic force that controls how charged elementary particles interact. When we consider that millions of charged particles such as protons and electrons in our bodies as well as in all matter are always interacting, we may understand that any change in this fundamental constant would throw our universe into chaos. The same may be said of hundreds of other constants in our universe.
Laws of physics by which our every day experience is governed are based on the constancy of fundamental physical constants. Hundreds of fine-tuning parameters, unique characteristics of our earth which make our planet habitable, are also based on the changeless consistency of these physical constants.
We divert from scientific analysis of this precision with a caveat. Apart from convincing science, we may rely on intuitive personal insight concerning the divine, purposeful creation of humanity’s home. Falling short of formal scientific “proof,” personal intuition has been the inspiration for many scientists over the centuries. Later, application of more formal scientific method strengthens and confirms our personal intuition.
If I were to return to the classroom as a science educator, I would use a metaphor from the world of athletics for my sports-aware students: “Rules of the game.” Click also on the five “newer posts” following this link: