Desperately Fleeing God in Cosmology
Does the fine-tuning of the universe require belief in God? Or will multiverse theory allow for a self-perpetuating, eternal, godless cosmos? Tim Folger explored this topic in an interview with Andrei Linde, a cosmologist currently at Stanford, in Discovery Magazine. The opening line sums up the controversy: “Our universe is perfectly tailored for life. That may be the work of God or the result of our universe being one of many.”
Folger and Linde stated repeatedly and emphatically that our universe appears designed. They discuss the multiple fine-tuning coincidences, like the mass of protons, that would rule out stars and life if they were just 0.2% more massive than they are. “We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible,” Linde says. Folger asserted that physicists dislike coincidences. To avoid them, some cosmologists have been driven to postulate that our universe may be just one of many. We just inhabit one of the very, very rare lucky ones where the constants of physics came together by chance to permit life:
Call it a fluke, a mystery, a miracle. Or call it the biggest problem in physics. Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multi�verse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.
The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non�religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”–the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.
“For me the reality of many universes is a logical possibility,” Linde says. “You might say, ‘Maybe this is some mysterious coincidence. Maybe God created the universe for our benefit.’ Well, I don’t know about God, but the universe itself might reproduce itself eternally in all its possible manifestations.”
Those interested can read the whole article, where Linde and others elaborate on the pros and cons of the multiverse hypothesis. One line on page 3 stands out. Bernard Carr, a cosmologist at Queen Mary University in London, said, “you might have to have a fine-tuner. If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.” Linde admitted in the end that he cannot predict whether the multiverse hypothesis will gain traction any more than he can know anything at all: “What can you predict? What can you know about the future?”
The prophet Amos teased those in his day thinking wrongly about the day of the Lord’s judgment: “It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him!” he said. “Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him!” (Amos 5:19). If Linde thinks he can escape God by running toward naturalistic cosmology, the bear of ultimate questions will gnaw on the bones of his speculation. If he runs into the house of the multiverse, the serpent of ultimate causation will bite his circular reasoning. The multiverse cannot escape from the question, “Why is there something instead of nothing?”
The multiverse conjecture abandons science and reason. It throws up its hands and puts faith in the Stuff Happens Law: anything can happen, anywhere, anytime, without any reason, and we can never know why (see 09/15/2008 commentary). Linde may feel comfortable that this law fits in with his own Hindu background, but he cannot call it science. See the 10/23/2008 commentary about the “naturalism-of-the-gaps” fallacy.
A feeling of desperation runs through the article: isn’t there some way we can escape the obvious that God created this fine-tuned universe? Their cure is worse than their ailment: stuff happens. May as well give up on rationality altogether with that kind of explanation. The Stuff Happens Law may disqualify as a scientific law, but the Law of Human Depravity has 100% predictive success. Paul explained, “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:11-12). Without God providing a way back to reason through His Son Jesus Christ, (Romans 5), we would be running from God from one fantasy to another forever.
If you have never read Paul’s treatise to the Romans, you should see how very modern it sounds in light of this article. Notice especially Romans 1:18-24. Send your local multiverse cosmologist a “No Excuses” T-shirt.