Theologians might rightly celebrate a recognition by cosmologists that the universe is so finely-tuned, it shouldn’t exist.
“Sir, I exist!” said a man to the Universe. “However,” replied the Universe, “the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.” That joke by Stephen Crane points out that human existence is not a necessary consequence of Matter, if that is all the universe is. But what if the Universe began the conversation? “I exist!” said the Universe to Nothing and No One. Those two would not only have no sense of obligation, they would be blind, deaf, and dumb to the statement. Only God could celebrate the existence of a material universe, and He is under no obligation to create one.
In that light, look at a news article by Tia Ghose on Live Science: “Universe Shouldn’t Be Here, According to Higgs Physics.” The Higgs boson discovery was the big event of 2012. It produces the Higgs Field in the Standard Model that gives mass to particles. Ghose translates the complexities of the theory into pithy lay language:
Modeling of conditions soon after the Big Bang suggests the universe should have collapsed just microseconds after its explosive birth, the new study suggests.
“During the early universe, we expected cosmic inflation — this is a rapid expansion of the universe right after the Big Bang,” said study co-author Robert Hogan, a doctoral candidate in physics at King’s College in London. “This expansion causes lots of stuff to shake around, and if we shake it too much, we could go into this new energy space, which could cause the universe to collapse.”
In short, the expansion had to be finely-tuned for the Universe’s existence—and ours. Although the alleged confirmation of inflation is being debated (see 6/24/14), the properties of the Higgs Field are tenuous in any expansion. Cosmologists at King’s College London looked into their models:
What they found was bad news for, well, everything. The newborn universe should have experienced an intense jittering in the energy field, known as quantum fluctuation. Those jitters, in turn, could have disrupted the Higgs field, in essence rolling the entire system into a much lower energy state that would make the collapse of the universe inevitable.
Ghose states that “this isn’t the first time that physicists have said the Higgs boson spells doom for the universe.” Yet the Universe continues to affirm, “Sir, I exist!” It points to dozens of parameters (the fine structure constant, the ratio of proton to electron mass, the charge on the electron, etc.) that are finely-tuned for its existence, suggesting design. Now it adds the Higgs field to its list:
The mass of the Higgs boson, about 126 times that of the proton, turns out to be “right on the edge,” in terms of the universe’s stability, [Sean] Carroll [Caltech] said. A little bit lighter, and the Higgs field would be much more easily perturbed; a little heavier, and the current Higgs field would be incredibly stable.
A press release from the Royal Astronomical Society agrees that the finely-tuned Higgs field could not survive inflation:
Measurements of the Higgs boson have allowed particle physicists to show that our universe sits in a valley of the ‘Higgs field’, which describes the way that other particles have mass. However, there is a different valley which is much deeper, but our universe is preventing [sic] from falling into it by a large energy barrier.
The problem is that the BICEP2 results predict that the universe would have received large ‘kicks’ during the cosmic inflation phase, pushing it into the other valley of the Higgs field within a fraction of a second. If that had happened, the universe would have quickly collapsed in a Big Crunch.
At this point, the Universe might retort, “Sir, God exists!” But cosmologists would rather invent new physics than go there:
“This is an unacceptable prediction of the theory because if this had happened we wouldn’t be around to discuss it” said [Robert] Hogan [King’s College London], who is a PhD student at KCL and led the study.
Perhaps the BICEP2 results contain an error. If not, there must be some other — as yet unknown — process which prevented the universe from collapsing.
“If BICEP2 is shown to be correct, it tells us that there has to be interesting new particle physics beyond the standard model” Hogan said.
This leaves secular cosmologists needing inflation to solve the horizon problem, but cursing inflation for destroying the universe.
Perhaps they should take a lesson from the brilliant but eccentric mathematician, Kurt Gödel, whose life and major contributions were described on PhysOrg recently. Best known for his Incompleteness Theorem, Gödel sounded the death knell for positivism: the early 20th century arrogant belief that mathematicians were on the verge of describing everything. Gödel proved that mathematics cannot explain itself within its own axioms. Others have extended this Incompleteness Theorem to other areas of philosophy (e.g., Adami, 8/13/07; Wolpert, 10/16/08). It implies that to explain the universe, philosophers will have to look for necessary and sufficient causes outside the universe.
Update 6/30/14: The BBC News reported on the Higgs theory, the history of the find, anticipations of more discoveries at CERN’s newly-updated LHC next year, and the finely-balanced nature of the Higgs boson’s mass:
To use an analogy, imagine the Higgs boson is an object resting at the bottom of a curved slope. If that resting place really is the lowest point on the slope, then the vacuum of space is completely stable — in other words, the Higgs is in the lowest energy state and can go no further. However, if at some point further along this slope, there’s another dip, the potential exists for the Universe to “topple” into this lower energy state, or minimum. And if that happens, the Universe would be doomed.
The article goes on to mention that the Standard Model still leaves important factors in the universe unexplained. Peter Higgs makes a cameo appearance in the article.
People know instinctively the world is designed. They have to be trained not to know it. Scientists, especially, undergo rigorous training to lose their common sense. Oh, they have common sense within their world view, but when their restricted common sense runs into roadblocks inside their secular box, they fret and fume and refuse to consider the obvious implication. They love darkness rather than light. That’s why they chase phantoms like dark matter, dark energy, and dark “new physics” that nobody has ever observed or even knows how to observe. Anything but Intelligent Design!
Their reactions undercut their logic. By using argumentation, rationality and emotion, they prove they already are Supernaturalists, because such things do not derive from particles and forces. Indeed, particles and forces fall into the Incompleteness Theorem; they can only be understood with reference to reality outside themselves—the conceptual world of mind and logic. That reality, subsequently, can only be understood with reference to a greater Reality outside it—a personal, rational, eternal God: the First Cause from which everything derives.
Theologians and creationists have pointed to the fine-tuning of the universe, the Anthropic Principle and such things for decades. The only sufficient condition for the Universe’s ability to say “I exist!” is the foundation in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We’ve seen in recent years the atheists rushing to embrace a multiverse instead of creation (5/17/14), despite the infinite regress trap it presents to them. What we see with the current hand-wringing over the finely-tuned Higgs field is just more of the anti-rational reaction Paul described so well in Romans 1:18–24.