anthropic principle (Greek: anthropos, "human being") states that the
universe was fitted from the very first moment of its existence for
the emergence of life in general and human life in particular. As
agnostic astronomer, Robert Jastrow, noted, the universe is amazingly
preadapted to the eventual appearance of humanity.1
For if there were even the slightest variation at the moment of the
big bang, making conditions different, even to a small degree, no life
of any kind would exist. In order for life to be present today an
incredibly restrictive set of demands must have been present in the
early universe—and they were.
does the scientific evidence point to a beginning of the cosmos, but
it points to a very sophisticated high tuning of the universe from the
very beginning that makes human life possible. For life to be present
today, an incredibly restrictive set of demands must have been present
in the early universe:
comprises 21 percent of the atmosphere. If it were 25 percent, fires
would erupt, if 15 percent, human beings would suffocate.
2. If the
gravitational force were altered by 1 part in 1040
(that’s 10 followed by forty zeroes), the sun would not exist, and the
moon would crash into the earth or sheer off into space.2
Even a slight increase in the force of gravity would result in all the
stars being much more massive than our sun, with the effect that the
sun would burn too rapidly and erratically to sustain life.
3. If the
centrifugal force of planetary movements did not precisely balance the
gravitational forces, nothing could be held in orbit around the sun.
4. If the
universe was expanding at a rate one millionth more slowly than it is,
the temperature on earth would be 10,000 degrees C.3
average distance between stars in our galaxy of 100 billion stars is
30 trillion miles. If that distance was altered slightly, orbits would
become erratic, and there would be extreme temperature variations on
earth. (Traveling at space shuttle speed, seventeen thousand miles an
hour or five miles a second, it would take 201,450 years to travel 30
6. Any of
the laws of physics can be described as a function of the velocity of
light (now defined to be 299,792.458 miles a second). Even a slight
variation in the speed of light would alter the other constants and
preclude the possibility of life on earth.4
Jupiter was not in its current orbit, we would be bombarded with space
material. Jupiter’s gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum
cleaner, attracting asteroids and comets that would otherwise strike
8. If the
thickness of the earth’s crust was greater, too much oxygen would be
transferred to the crust to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic
and tectonic activity would make life untenable.6
9. If the
rotation of the earth took longer than 24 hours, temperature
differences would be too great between night and day. If the rotation
period was shorter, atmospheric wind velocities would be too great.
temperature differences would be too great if the axial tilt of the
earth were altered slightly.
11. If the
atmospheric discharge (lightning) rate were greater, there would be
too much fire destruction; if it were less, there would be too little
nitrogen fixing in the soil.
12. If there
were more seismic activity, much life would be lost. If there was
less, nutrients on the ocean floors and in river runoff would not be
cycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift. Even
earthquakes are necessary to sustain life as we know it.
As early as
the 1960s it was explained why, on anthropic grounds, "we should
expect to observe a world that possesses precisely three spatial
dimensions."7 Robert Dicke found "that in fact it may be
necessary for the universe to have the enormous size and complexity
which modern astronomy has revealed, in order for the earth to be a
possible habitation for living beings."8 Likewise, the
mass, the entropy level of the universe, the stability of the proton,
and innumerable other things must be just right to make life possible.
summarized the theistic implications well: "The anthropic principle…
seems to say that science itself has proven, as a hard fact, that this
universe was made, was designed, for man to live in. It’s a very
theistic result."9 That is, the incredible balance of
multitudinous factors in the universe that make life possible on earth
points to "fine tuning" by an intelligent Being. It leads one to
believe that the universe was "providentially crafted" for our
benefit. Nothing known to human beings is capable of "pretuning" the
conditions of the universe to make life possible other than an
intelligent Creator. Or, to put it another way, the kind of
specificity and order in the universe that makes life possible on
earth is just the kind of effect that is known to come from an
Alan Sandage concluded that "the world is too complicated in all of
its parts to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence
of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well
put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other
parts to function. How does each part know? How is each part specified
at conception. The more one learns of biochemistry the more
unbelievable it becomes unless there is some kind of organizing
principle—an architect for believers…."10
And all of the conditions were set from the moment of the universe’s
Hawking described how the value of many fundamental numbers in
nature’s laws "seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible
the development of life" and how "the initial configuration of the
universe" appears to have been "very carefully chosen."11
In spite of the fact that only an intelligent cause can "carefully
choose" anything, Hawking at this writing remains skeptical about God.
He saw the evidence clearly and asked the right question when he
wrote: "There may only be a small number of laws, which are
self-consistent and which lead to complicated beings like ourselves
who can ask the question: What is the nature of God? And even if there
is only one unique set of possible laws, it is only a set of
equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes
a universe for them to govern?… Although science may solve the problem
of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question: Why does the
universe bother to exist?" Hawking adds, "I don’t know the answer to
Einstein did not hesitate to answer Hawking’s question when he said,
"the harmony of natural law… reveals an intelligence of such
superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and
acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."13
prize winner Steven Weinberg, an atheist, went so far as to say that
"it seems to me that if the word ‘God’ is to be of any use, it should
be taken to mean an interested God, a creator and lawgiver who
established not only the laws of nature and the universe but also
standards of good and evil, some personality that is concerned with
our actions, something in short that is appropriate for us to
Anthropic Principle is based on the most recent astronomical evidence
for the existence of a superintelligent Creator of the cosmos. In
short, it provides the evidence for an updated Teleological Argument
for God’s existence.
1 See "A Scientist Caught
between Two Faiths: Interview with Robert Jastrow," Christianity
Today, 6 August 1982.
2 Fred Heeren, Show Me
God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God (Wheeling,
IL: Search Light, 1995), p. 196)
3 Ibid., p. 185.
4 Hugh Ross, The
Fingerprint of God: Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the
Unmistakable Identity of the Creator (Orange, CA: Promise, 1989), p.
5 Ibid., p. 196.
6 Ibid., p. 130.
7 John D. Barrow, et al.,
The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1986), p. 247.
9 (Jastrow, "A Scientist
Caught," p. 17, emphasis added).
10 Alan Sandage, "A
Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief," Truth, Vol. 1 (Dallas:
Truth Incorporated, 1985), p. 54
11 Cited by Heeren, p.
12 Stephen Hawking, A
Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York:
Bantam, 1988), p. 99.
13 Albert Einstein, Ideas
and Opinions—The Word as I See It, 3rd ed. (New York: Crown, 1982),
14 Steven Weinberg,
Dreams of a Final Theory—The Search for the Fundamental Laws of
Nature (New York: Pantheon, 1992), p. 244, emphasis added.