At the bottom of this post is an excellent 63 minute lecture (captured on video), with an additional 25 minutes audience Q&A, given by Dr. Walter L. Bradley, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, discussing what science has now found, with regard to the creation of the cosmos. I know that is long but Dr. Bradley does an outstanding job of making what science has discovered, understandable by just about anyone. It is definitely worth the investment of your time.
Dr. Walter L. Bradley Walter Bradley received his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Texas at Austin. After eight years at the Colorado School of Mines, he came to Texas A&M University in 1976 where he is served as professor and Senior TEES Research Fellow in the department of mechanical engineering. He has received two teaching awards, one national and five local research awards, and from 1989-1993 served as the head of the department. He has received over $4,000,000 in research grants and contracts resulting in the publication of 100+ technical articles. He has been honoured for his technical contributions by being elected a Fellow of the American Society for Materials and a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation. In 1984 he coauthored a seminal work on the chemical basis of life entitled The Mysteries of Life’s Origins: Reassessing Current Theories with Charles Thaxton and Roger Olsen.
In this lecture Dr. Walter L. Bradley discusses three sources for the evidence for design:
(1) the simple mathematical form that nature takes;
(2) the coincidence that the universal constants are exactly what they need to be to support life of any type on this planet; and
(3) the coincidence that the initial conditions in many different situations are also critical and happen to have been exactly what they needed to be for the universe and life to come into being.
One of the remarkable discoveries of the past 30 years has been the recognition that small changes in any of the universal constants produce surprisingly dramatic changes in the universe, rendering it unsuitable for life, not just as we know it, but for life of any conceivable type. In excess of 100 examples have been documented in the technical literature and summarized in such books as Universes and Rare Earth. One of the many examples Bradley discusses is the strong force that binds together the nucleus of atoms. If it were just five percent weaker, only hydrogen would be stable and we would have a universe with a periodic chart of one element, which is a universe incapable of providing the necessary molecular complexity to provide minimal life functions of processing energy, storing information, and replicating. On the other hand, if the strong force were just two percent stronger, very massive nuclei would form, which are unsuitable for the chemistry of living systems. Furthermore, there would be no stable hydrogen, no long-lived stars, and no hydrogen containing compounds.
When we use exponential numbers like 1 in 1037, it’s easy to underestimate the precision these numbers represent. Let me give you a couple of illustrations to help you grasp the exactitude of these universal constants:
Astrophysicist Hugh Ross offers the following analogy: Imagine covering the entire North American continent in dimes and stacking them until they reached the moon. Now imagine stacking just as many dimes again on another billion continents the same size as North America. If you marked one of those dimes and hid it in the billions of piles you’ve assembled, the odds of a blindfolded friend picking out the correct dime is approximately 1 in 1037; the same level of precision required in the strong nuclear force and the expansion rate of the universe.
Hugh Ross also provides the following analogy: Imagine comparing the universe to an aircraft carrier like the USS John C Stennis (measuring 1,092 feet long with a displacement of 100,000 tons). If this carrier were as fine-tuned as the mass density of our universe, subtracting a billionth of a trillionth of the mass of an electron from the total mass of the aircraft carrier would sink the ship.
Bradley also cites the conclusion of many prominent scientists such as University of Virginia astronomers R.T. Rood and J.S. Trefil. Rood and Trefil conclude their book Are We Alone? by estimating the probability of life existing anywhere in the universe to be one in a billion, and thus conclude the existence of life on planet earth, far from being inevitable, is the result of a remarkable set of coincidences. “If I were a religious man,” Trefil wrote in the concluding chapter, “I would say that everything we have learned about life in the past twenty years shows that we are unique, and therefore, special in God’s sight.” Instead he concludes that life on planet earth is a remarkable accident, unlikely to have been replicated anywhere else in the universe, which his book powerfully argues. The video below ends with a Q&A session as Dr. Bradley engages the university students on many scientific and theological issues raised by the lecture presentation. Enjoy!