Cosmic Fine Tuning and the Universe

Cosmic fine-tuning – Is the universe designed for discovery?

In 2004, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards published their groundbreaking book, “The Privileged Planet”, in which they argued that the conditions most suited for life also provided the best overall setting for making scientific discoveries. In other words, our planet is not merely fine-tuned for life, but it is also finely-tuned for discovery.

One example is the phenomenon known as solar eclipses. People have witnessed solar eclipses for millennia, but only recently have we begun to notice a remarkable correlation: The only place in our solar system where a perfect solar eclipse can be observed happens to be the only place where there are observers. There are hundreds of moons in our solar system, but most moons cannot entirely eclipse the sun. Of all the places in our solar system, only on earth do the sun and moon appear the same size to observers. This is because the sun is both approximately 400 times larger than the moon and roughly 400 times farther away. Solar eclipses have played a significant role in scientific discovery, having helped physicists to confirm Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

The Milky Way, as a spiral galaxy -- in addition to being the only biofriendly kind of galaxy -- is relatively flat. Consequently, it has less gas and dust than others, and fewer stars impede our view of the rest of the universe.

Earth is located not only in the galactic habitable zone, but also in the right place where minimal light pollution and other visual obstructions might impede the view of our surroundings. Moreover, earth’s atmosphere -- which is the only one we know of which can support life -- is also the only one clear enough to allow us to observe the universe.

Cosmic Fine Tuning and the Universe - The Dilemma
Such findings place naturalists (who see us and our place in the cosmos as nothing more than accidents) in an uncomfortable position. But it makes a lot of sense to theists, who see us and our place in the cosmos as fully intended by an intelligent creator.

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