Intelligent Design

Too Big You Say?  Can You Back That Up?

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Materialists often argue that the size of the universe is evidence that God does not exist.  As we shall see, this is a very weak argument.

The argument from the size of the universe usually goes something like this:  The superstitious ancients who dreamt up the idea of God thought we lived in a cozy little universe.  We now know the universe is unimaginably vast and mostly empty.  God, if he exists, would not have created a vast, mostly empty, universe.  Therefore, God does not exist.

Let’s examine these premises.  First, the materialist’s assertion that the ancients did not understand that we live in a vast universe is wrong is nothing more than a modern conceit.  Over 3,000 years ago the Psalmist wrote:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is man that You take thought of him,

And the son of man that You care for him?

The Psalmist knew that in comparison to the cosmos man is small and insignificant.  Not only was the Psalmist not alone among the ancients, by the second century AD, his intuition was common knowledge among educated people.  In chapter 5 of book I of the Almagest (ca. 150), Ptolemy wrote:

The earth, in relation to the distance of the fixed stars, has no appreciable size and must be treated as a mathematical point.

Having dispensed with the conceit that often moves the argument, let us move to the argument proper.  If we were to cast the argument in the form of a syllogism it would look like this:

Major Premise:  If God exists, he would not have created an unimaginably vast, mostly empty, universe.

Minor Premise:  The universe we observe is unimaginably vast and mostly empty.

Conclusion:  Therefore, God does not exist.

The conclusion follows from the premises.  But is the argument sound, i.e., are we confident the premises are true?

One could quibble with the minor premise on the ground that the word “vast” is relative.  A destroyer is vast compared to a dinghy, but it is small compared to an aircraft carrier.  So is the destroyer vast or small?  It depends on whether you are comparing it to a dinghy or a carrier.  But the universe cannot be compared to something else.  It is unique and it is large.  Is it?  Let’s grant the multiverse position for the sake of argument.  If that position is true, our universe is not vast compared to the multiverse; indeed it is almost infinitely tiny.  Anyone who has seen the closing credits of the movie Men in Black (see here starting at 0:30) will have an idea of the force of this observation.

But let’s not get caught up in unresolvable disputes over relative size.  Let’s grant the minor premise even if it is somewhat shaky.  What about the major premise?  In this premise the materialist asserts that if God exists he would not have created such a big universe.  And how, exactly, does the materialist know what size of a universe God would create if he existed?

There does not appear to be any good materialist answer to that question.  All I have ever gotten has been variations on the following assertion:  To me it looks awfully big and wasteful to have been created by a reasonable God.

At bottom the argument is either an argument from personal incredulity, an aesthetic argument, or an argument from ignorance.

Personal incredulity.  “I personally do not believe a reasonable God would have made such a big universe.”  The answer to this, of course, is so what?  The fact that you find an assertion implausible does nothing to establish that it is false.  That requires evidence, of which this argument is singularly lacking.

Aesthetics.  “I fell that a reasonable God would not have wasted so much space.”  This argument boils down to a visceral aesthetic impulse.  Needless to say, a visceral aesthetic impulse says nothing about the actual facts of the matter.  Maybe God is not reasonable as you define reasonableness.  Maybe he was extravagant.  Maybe he had reasons to create so large that you don’t know about.  At the end of the day, the condition of your viscera says nothing about the actual facts of the matter.

Argument from ignorance.  “There is no good reason for God to have made the universe so vast.”  Correction.  There is no good reason that you know about that God made the universe so vast.

As we have discussed in this pages before, many atheists assert there is “no evidence” for God having created the universe.  This assertion borders on idiotic.  There are any number of good lines of evidence that would lead to a conclusion that God created the universe, and just because an atheist does not find any of those lines of evidence (or all of them cumulatively) personally convincing, does not mean they don’t exist.  If we are going to talk about lack of evidence, let’s focus on the “the universe is just too big” argument.  There is absolutely no evidence backing the argument up.  Nevertheless, many atheists find the argument compelling.  That should tell you something.

17 Replies to “Too Big You Say?  Can You Back That Up?

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    The materialists are in cahoots and as their communist party ordered they NOT follow commentS on this blog.

    This must mean that abiogenesis will gain one elementary point to support it out of 600 that don’t.

    I can’t calculated how many the missing genes from the endo-symbiosis fiasco will appear out of nothing ever since Nick Mitzke went experimenting it and never came back.

    He must be working hard with the best of the best of the materialistic theory starting with the origins of life ending with the new, altered mechanism of evolution called “?”.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Tim Maudlin, echoing Sagan’s ‘pale blue dot’, stated this:

    “No one looking at the vast extent of the universe and the completely random location of homo sapiens within it (in both space and time) could seriously maintain that the whole thing was intentionally created for us.”
    Tim Maudlin – NYU philosopher – Telling Theists What They Think: Philosopher Versus Philosopher at the New York Times – David Klinghoffer – June 19, 2014
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....86931.html

    Yet, despite what Tim Maudlin and other atheists may falsely believe via the Copernican principle, the ‘vast extent’ of the universe, besides reflecting the glory of God, is found to be, contrary to atheistic presuppositions, necessary for life to even be possible in the universe in the first place:

    Evidence for Belief in God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Isn’t the immense size of the universe evidence that humans are really insignificant, contradicting the idea that a God concerned with humanity created the universe? It turns out that the universe could not have been much smaller than it is in order for nuclear fusion to have occurred during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang. Without this brief period of nucleosynthesis, the early universe would have consisted entirely of hydrogen. Likewise, the universe could not have been much larger than it is, or life would not have been possible. If the universe were just one part in 10^59 larger, the universe would have collapsed before life was possible. Since there are only 10^80 baryons in the universe, this means that an addition of just 10^21 baryons (about the mass of a grain of sand) would have made life impossible. The universe is exactly the size it must be for life to exist at all.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ntro2.html

    God created the entire universe for us – February 2012
    Excerpt: If the sun were represented by the period at the end of this sentence, our galaxy would be the size of the continental United States.,,, Why didn’t God create our modest solar system and a few stars and let it go at that? Because size matters.
    If the universe weren’t as large as it is fusion would be inefficient. As a result, the universe would produce hydrogen, or hydrogen plus a small amount of helium. That means carbon and oxygen — both essential for life — would be missing.
    http://www.dailypilot.com/news.....2339.story

    Besides complaining about the ‘vast extent’ of the universe, Tim Maudlin also held that ‘the completely random location of homo sapiens within it (in both space and time)’ rendered the belief that the universe was ‘intentionally created for us’ null and void.

    Yet General Relativity, our most accurate theory of space and time, does not support Maudlin’s assertion that humans were unintended.
    In fact, contrary to what Mauldin would apparently prefer to believe, General Relativity gives us powerful evidence that humans are not nearly as inconsequential as Maudlin claimed.

    In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery, the 4-dimensional (4D) space-time of General Relativity was created in the Big Bang and continues to ‘expand equally in all places’:

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point can be considered central to the expansion, if that’s where you live.

    You Technically Are the Center of the Universe – May 2016
    Excerpt: (due to the 1 in 10^120 finely tuned expansion of the 4-D space-time of General Relativity) no matter where you stand, it will appear that everything in the universe is expanding around you. So the center of the universe is technically — everywhere.
    The moment you pick a frame of reference, that point becomes the center of the universe.
    Here’s another way to think about it: The sphere of space we can see around us is the visible universe. We’re looking at the light from stars that’s traveled millions or billions of years to reach us. When we reach the 13.8 billion-light-year point, we’re seeing the universe just moments after the Big Bang happened.
    But someone standing on another planet, a few light-years to the right, would see a different sphere of the universe. It’s sort of like lighting a match in the middle of a dark room: Your observable universe is the sphere of the room that the light illuminates.
    But someone standing in a different spot in the room will be able to see a different sphere. So technically, we are all standing at the center of our own observable universes.
    https://giphy.com/gifs/xT4uQEEBWRiB2gcxbO
    https://mic.com/articles/144214/you-technically-are-the-center-of-the-universe-thanks-to-a-wacky-physics-quirk

    In fact, as far as general relativity itself is concerned, centrality in the universe is left completely open for whomever is making a model of the universe to arbitrarily decide for themselves what is to be considered the center in the universe,

    How Einstein Revealed the Universe’s Strange “Nonlocality” – George Musser | Oct 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Under most circumstances, we can ignore this nonlocality. You can designate some available chunk of matter as a reference point and use it to anchor a coordinate grid. You can, to the chagrin of Santa Barbarans, take Los Angeles as the center of the universe and define every other place with respect to it. In this framework, you can go about your business in blissful ignorance of space’s fundamental inability to demarcate locations.,,
    In short, Einstein’s theory is nonlocal in a more subtle and insidious way than Newton’s theory of gravity was. Newtonian gravity acted at a distance, but at least it operated within a framework of absolute space. Einsteinian gravity has no such element of wizardry; its effects ripple through the universe at the speed of light. Yet it demolishes the framework, violating locality in what was, for Einstein, its most basic sense: the stipulation that all things have a location. General relativity confounds our intuitive picture of space as a kind of container in which material objects reside and forces us to search for an entirely new conception of place.
    http://www.scientificamerican......nlocality/

    “Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS.”
    Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);

    “We can’t feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.,,,
    If all the objects in space were removed save one, then no one could say whether that one remaining object was at rest or hurtling through the void at 100,000 miles per second”
    Historian Lincoln Barnett – “The Universe and Dr. Einstein” – pg 73 (contains a foreword by Albert Einstein)

    “If one rotates the shell *relative to the fixed stars* about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, *that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around*”
    –Albert Einstein, cited in “Gravitation”, Misner Thorne and Wheeler pp. 544-545.

    “One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating from the motion of K’ [the Earth]; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of K’ [the Earth], whereby K’ [the Earth] is treated as being at rest.”
    –Albert Einstein, quoted in Hans Thirring, “On the Effect of Distant Rotating Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation”, Physikalische Zeitschrift 22, 29, 1921

    Moreover, in both General and Special Relativity, the observer himself is given a privileged frame of reference in which to make measurements,,,

    Introduction to special relativity
    Excerpt: Einstein’s approach was based on thought experiments, calculations, and the principle of relativity, which is the notion that all physical laws should appear the same (that is, take the same basic form) to all inertial observers.,,,
    Each observer has a distinct “frame of reference” in which velocities are measured,,,,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....relativity

    The happiest thought of my life.
    Excerpt: In 1920 Einstein commented that a thought came into his mind when writing the above-mentioned paper he called it “the happiest thought of my life”:
    “The gravitational field has only a relative existence… Because for an observer freely falling from the roof of a house – at least in his immediate surroundings – there exists no gravitational field.”
    http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/.....ode85.html

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    And whereas in General Relativity. (and Special Relativity), the observer himself is given a privileged frame of reference in which to make measurements, in quantum mechanics it is the measurement itself that gives the observer a privileged frame of reference in the universe:

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor quantum computation – Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-designer/

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Hebrews 4:13
    “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account.”

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The following site and video are also very interesting for establishing ‘true centrality’ in the universe:

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph
    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale.....olor=white

    The Astonishing Simplicity of Everything – Neil Turok Public Lecture – video (12:00 minute mark, we are in the exponential/geometric middle of the universe)
    https://youtu.be/f1x9lgX8GaE?t=715

    The preceding interactive graph and video points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality. As far as the exponential graph itself is concerned, 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, and as atheists presuppose, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different ‘random’ positions than directly in the exponential middle,

    Moreover, recently anomalies were discovered in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) that just so happen to line up with the solar system and the earth:

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf
    Here is the actual graph of the alignment from the Huterer 2007 paper (worth a thousand words):
    http://i44.servimg.com/u/f44/1.....is_o10.jpg

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    At the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4134

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, the light from the CMBR is found to be fine-tuned for discovery

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could be anywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History To See the Cosmic Background Radiation – Hugh Ross – video (7:12 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/MxOGeqVOsvc?t=431

    Then there is also the ‘privileged planet’ principle

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    The Privileged Planet – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ohuG3Vj_48&list=PLbzQ4aXdqWD-9kjFsSm-cxNlzgrkJuko7

    Moreover, the chemistry of the universe is found to be ‘fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves’

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    Privileged Species – video (2015)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoI2ms5UHWg

    Then there is also the sheer rarity of our planet for habitability:

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt:
    Requirements to sustain bacteria for 90 days or less:
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10-614
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10^-333
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^311 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellar life for three billion year:
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-859
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-578
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^556 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Eric Metaxas – Does Science Argue for or against God? – (2015) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjGPHF5A6Po

    Thus contrary to what Maudlin and other atheists may falsely believe, I consider, via science and reason, our existence in this universe to be ‘an outrageous and astonishing miracle’:

    “Reason and science compels us to see what previous generations could not: that our existence is an outrageous and astonishing miracle, one so startlingly and perhaps so disturbingly miraculous that it makes any miracle like the parting of the Red Sea pale in such insignificance that it almost becomes unworthy of our consideration, as though it were something done easily by a child, half-asleep. It is something to which the most truly human response is some combination of terror and wonder, of ancient awe, and childhood joy.”
    Eric Metaxas – Miracles – pages 55-56

    Verse:

    Isaiah 40:28
    Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

    Supplemental note:

    Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – Centrality Concerns
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY&index=4&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

  5. 5
    News says:

    One way of seeing the argument as ridiculous is that there is no way of qualifying or quantifying how big God should be or how big the universe should be.

    If we lived in a universe that was hugely disordered except for a small bubble in which we survived, we might conclude that there is a small local god who manages that.

    If we live in a large, orderly universe whose laws we can predict, what should we conclude?

    The question of life forms elsewhere is secondary because we have no definite information from which to draw conclusions.

  6. 6
    HeKS says:

    I think there is a simple and positive response to this atheistic argument based on the large size of the universe that does not require any appeals to ignorance, like “we just don’t know why it’s so large”. I’ve offered that positive response on this site several times, so I’ll just paste in the first one of those I was able to track down:

    In addition to the fine-tuning, one of the strongest arguments for the existence of such a designer (whom I believe to be God) is the origin of the universe itself. In order for us to know it had an origin we need evidence. The evidence is the expansion of the universe, which is what led us to the Big Bang Theory.

    As such, the very evidence that points us to the origin and creation of a well-ordered and law-governed universe such as ours requires that the universe eventually be very large even if the entire purpose of the physical universe existing was to have a single planet populated by embodied, intelligent, moral beings. It would also almost certainly require certain features of the universe to be over-tuned with respect to life itself in order to ensure the scientific discoverability of the evidence pointing to its origin and fine-tuning, including things like the ability to get a good look at the CMB to confirm the Big Bang.

  7. 7
    buffalo says:

    How big was it when it started?

  8. 8
    john_a_designer says:

    Psalms 19 tells us why the universe is so immense.

    1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

    God is infinite, omnipotent and eternal. The awesome size and grandeur of universe, however, doesn’t even approach revealing who God really is, because as we now know that the universe is not infinite and eternal. In other words, the atheist/materialist has it all wrong the universe is not big enough to capture the full infinite nature and glory of God. This is what theologians mean when they say God is ineffable– “too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.”

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a old inspirational song the reflects on the glory of God as revealed by His handiwork in the heavens:

    How Great Thou Art as performed by Carrie Underwood & Vince Gill
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2T1csHUgF4

  10. 10
    OldArmy94 says:

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    Romans 1:20

  11. 11
    GCS says:

    In my humble opinion, there is a primary fallacy in all these types of claims about God not existing because “God would not have done it that way”.

    By definition God is something greater than a human: in power, knowledge, wisdom, etc. Therefore, by definition, God can always know and act upon something that a person can not know.

    The only claims an honest person can make are along the lines of:

    “I would not do things this way”

    or

    “I do not understand why it is this way”.

    A person can make no absolute judgement on the existence of God based on what he would do or on what he understands.

    By the way, I have heard some very impressive arguments that this size and age is needed for the universe to have one planet on which we can live today.

    May God Bless you all, even those who know He does not exist.

  12. 12
    john_a_designer says:

    Carl Sagan wrote:

    “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

    Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

    Once again, notice (as I wrote some time ago on another thread) that Sagan has no problem having a sense of awe and wonder even “reverence” because of “the magnificence of the Universe.” Why would the belief that the Creator is an eternal, transcendent mind make any difference?

    I also disagree with Sagan that theists have tried to keep God small. I have no doubt that young David watching over his father’s flocks of sheep at night was awe struck by the star filled sky. Indeed, that is what he said.

    In a Psalm 8 he wrote:

    When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
    what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

    He marveled then at the immensity of the universe. I have no doubt he would have marveled even more if he knew what we living today know. After all I am a theist that is how I feel.

  13. 13
    rvb8 says:

    All the people here who use the ‘one answer’ fixes all approach are lazy.

    ‘We can not know God’s mind’, ‘the creation is a work in progress, its ultimate purpose and meaning are only for God to know’.

    This is lazy philosophy and lazy theology.

    The pointlessness of such a large universe for such tiny creatures as we is a valid approach to understanding God. He creates such vastness, and let’s be honest here, it is an awful lot of nothingness, for us? And then gives us brains that can not comprehend these infinite voids, and near infinate time spans. Basically he creates something incomprehesible and then, what, commands us to understand?

    I’m sorry, but the, ‘what the hell was He thinking with this absurd waste?’, is indeed a valid question, and will remain so, as the religious have such poorly rationalised responses.

  14. 14
    Rennie says:

    @ rvb8

    I suggest you read bornagaing77 comment #2 for a rational response to this question.

  15. 15
    HeKS says:

    rvb8 #13,

    In #6 I provided a positive reason for the current vast size of the universe, which is that it is a necessary outcome of the process that provides us with evidence that the universe came into existence in the finite past in a way that points to God as its cause. Given 1) the evidentiary value of the expanding universe with respect to the question of God’s existence (that you don’t accept that value is irrelevant), 2) the physical constraints on the possibility of intelligent life existing in the universe in terms of the Cosmological Constant, and 3) the time necessary for cosmic evolution, it is unsurprising that the universe would be vast in size by the time that humans could exist in it and subsequently become technologically advanced enough to discern the universe’s expansion and its implications.

    So, why did God create such a vast universe? Easy. He didn’t. He created an expanding universe to provide humans with scientific evidence pointing to his existence at the time when people were trying to use science to call his existence into question.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    GCS, dead right:

    Isa 55:7

    Let the wicked leave (behind) his way
    And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
    And let him return to the Lord,
    And He will have compassion (mercy) on him,
    And to our God,
    For He will abundantly pardon.
    8

    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
    9

    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways
    And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.
    10

    “For as the rain and snow come down from heaven,
    And do not return there without watering the earth,
    Making it bear and sprout,
    And providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
    11

    So will My word be which goes out of My mouth;
    It will not return to Me void (useless, without result),
    Without accomplishing what I desire,
    And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. [AMP]

    The implication is such “cosmos is too big” arguments have struck me as rationalisations, not true reasons.

    KF

  17. 17
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is what Barry wrote in the OP:

    “The argument from the size of the universe usually goes something like this: The superstitious ancients who dreamt up the idea of God thought we lived in a cozy little universe. We now know the universe is unimaginably vast and mostly empty. God, if he exists, would not have created a vast, mostly empty, universe. Therefore, God does not exist.

    Is he right or wrong about the atheist/materialist argument?

    Look again (see #12 above) at what Carl Sagan wrote:

    “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

    A Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

    Sagan’s argument is that religion’s view of the universe is too small–“My god is a little god.” Notice that that is a different argument than “God wouldn’t have done it that way.”

    Sagan’s argument is actually that traditional religion and theology underestimated the size of the universe. While there is some truth to that– some present day Christians, for example, believe that the universe is less than 10,000 years old– many Christian’s like myself do not agree that that interpretation is warranted. As some of us have argued here, propositional claims from both Biblical writers and ancient theologians are very accommodating to the immense size of the universe. Indeed, it could be argued, as I did above @ #8, the universe revealed by modern science is actually too small for God. The God of the Bible and Christian theology is infinite and eternal; the universe, according to the evidence, is not.

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