Under construction 10/10/2014
This is a test of HTML 06/10/2015 This page gives a brief summary of astrophysical evidence that supports the idea of the existence of God. For basic information about the cosmological constant, read this page. It begins with a summary of the cosmological constant. What is it? For more details about the cosmological constant, and more documentation, let your cursor hover over the Astrophysics tab above. Then select cosmological constant. For more details about other fine-tuning of the universe, select ‘Fine-Tuning’.
So what is the cosmological constant? First, let me say this. Even atheist astrophysicists have been amazed at what has been discovered in the last 25 years or so. Here is a summary of the cosmological constant. First let’s look at a little background. Then we’ll summarize what the cosmological constant is.
When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity, he and other scientists thought that the universe was static, neither expanding nor shrinking. But the calculations in his new theory implied that the universe was expanding or perhaps contracting. Einstein thought that there must be some unknown force that caused the universe to remain static. He added a letter in his calculations that represented this unknown force. That unknown force is known as the cosmological constant. However, soon after Einstein developed his theory, scientists discovered that the universe was not static, but instead, it was expanding. When Einstein was convinced of this expansion, he came to believe that his guess that there was a cosmological constant was a big mistake. This, however, is not the end of the story. Scientists assumed that after the Big Bang the expansion of the universe would slow down more and more due to the effect of gravity. To their great surprise, they have instead discovered that currently the expansion of the universe is actually speeding up. There is only one explanation. There truly is a previously unknown force in the universe that is acting to repel the force of gravity. The astrophysicists have now reinstated the cosmological constant, which represents this mysterious force that acts to oppose the force of gravity. Scientists now call this force dark energy. Even though they know very little about its cause, they know it exists because of their observations of the increase in the speed of the expansion of the universe, gravitational lensing, and other evidence.
Now we get to the really interesting part of all of this, the part that strongly indicates that a personal, super-powerful, intelligent being must have caused all of this.
Scientists have discovered that the cosmological constant is amazingly fine-tuned to permit us to have life. This fine-tuning is more precise than almost any other fine-tuning in all of science. The cosmological constant is fine-tuned to one part in 10 to the 120th power. (10^120) It is difficult to imagine how finely tuned this is. The total number of atoms in the entire universe is only 10 to the 80th power! If the cosmological constant was different in one direction by the smallest fraction, after the Big Bang the universe would have collapsed in a violently hot Big Crunch. This would have eliminated any possibility of life. If the cosmological constant was different in the opposite direction, no stars would have formed. Almost all of the elements in the universe were formed inside stars. So the whole universe would consist of almost nothing but Hydrogen and Helium. There would have been no Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and no other heavier elements! You can’t have life with just Hydrogen and Helium. If the cosmological constant was different by even an unimaginable fraction, either greater or smaller, there could have been no life in the entire universe!
Even non-theists are amazed by these findings. Nobel Prize winning cosmologist and prominent atheist, Steven Weinberg, says this:
“Opinions differ as to the degree to which the constants of nature must be fine-tuned to make life necessary. There are independent reasons to expect an excited state of carbon 12 near the resonant energy. But one constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning: it is the vacuum energy, or cosmological constant, mentioned in connection with inflationary cosmologies.”
Then Dr. Weinberg continues:
Although we cannot calculate this quantity, we can calculate some contributions to it (such as the energy of quantum fluctuations in the gravitational field that have wavelengths no shorter than about 10^-33 centimeter). These contributions come out about 120 orders of magnitude larger than the maximum value allowed by our observations of the present rate of cosmic expansion. If the various contributions to the vacuum energy did not nearly cancel, then, depending on the value of the total vacuum energy, the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.
Thus, the existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.”
Steven Weinberg, Scientific American, ‘Life In The Universe’, 1994, p. 49.
Even before the super-extreme precision of the cosmological constant was discovered, Sir Fred Hoyle, based on other evidence, expressed the situation this way:
“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.”
Sir Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering and Science 45 (November 1981): 8–12