OK…I want numbers. What is the probability the universe is the result of chance?
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
–Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle
“Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”
–Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is now the senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.
The reader of the essay entitled Is There A God (What is the Chance the World is the Result of Chance?) may be interested in knowing some hard numbers with regard to the probability that the universe occurred randomly (i.e. no conscious creator involved). Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox quotes renowned Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose:
“Try to imagine phase space… of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’ — which is to be placed at some point in phase space… Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy — so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics — the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?”
Lennox goes on to cite Penrose’s answer:
“His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10 to the power or 123, that is 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros.”
As Penrose puts it, that is a “number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe, there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”
And the only alternative to the universe arising from chance is for it to have arisen deliberately. Deliberate action requires a conscious creator (read: God). And for those who are still tempted to conclude that our universe is just the result of a very extremely improbable accident, I explain in Why God? Why not just plain luck? why bare probability (chance), alone, can never cause anything….let alone the creation of a universe.