Why does the universe seem so fine-tuned for the emergence of life – including intelligent life capable of asking that “why” question?
Paul Davies of Arizona State University in his new book “Cosmic Jackpot” argues that the cosmos has made itself the way it is, stretching backward in time to the very beginning to focus in on “bio-friendliness.”
When asked by Alan Boyle why the universe is bio-friendly? Is it intelligent design, or blind chance, or none of the above?
Davies replies: “There are three popular responses; the intelligent-design argument; the idea that if we had a final theory of physics, then all of the undetermined parameters in the laws would be fixed by that theory; and the third is the multiverse.
What I find lacking in the conventional intelligent-design argument, is that they appeal to something outside the universe that has to be accepted as given and cannot be proved. I’d like to try to explain as much of the universe, including its bio-friendly laws of physics, from within the universe – and in a way that doesn’t appeal to something outside of it.
Even standard physics says the laws of physics are friendly for no reason, but have just been imprinted upon the universe at the time of the big bang from without, by some unknown mechanism. Again, the argument makes an appeal to something outside the universe, instead of something intrinsic to it.
For most people, the first interpretation is, “Well, God did it.” What I’m saying is that that gets us nowhere at all. It just shoves the problem off to some other realm. But saying “God did it” is no worse than saying “the laws of physics did it.” They both basically appeal to something outside the universe.
The problem with saying God did it is that God is unexplained, so you’re appealing to an unexplained designer. It doesn’t actually explain anything; it just shoves the problem off. But to say that the laws of physics just happen to permit life is no explanation either.”