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  • Writer's picture Peter Kupisz

Responding to an Objection: "Much of the Universe is Inhospitable to Life"

The universe is not an accident. That’s the conclusion that many scientists and philosophers have reached after considering some amazing scientific discoveries. Over the last century, scientists have discovered that life in the universe could not exist if certain parameters in the laws of physics were not extremely finely tuned. This fine-tuning is so incredible that it’s driven many scientists and philosophers to regard it as powerful evidence for God.

However, one objection to the fine-tuning argument is to point out that much of the universe is inhospitable to life. In his book Superstition, Dr. Robert Park makes this point.

If the universe was designed for life, it must be said that it is a shockingly inefficient design. There are vast reaches of the universe in which life as we know it is clearly impossible: gravitational forces would be crushing, or radiation levels are too high for complex molecules to exist, or temperatures would make the formation of stable chemical bonds impossible…

While it is true that much of the universe is inhospitable to life as we know it, this does not really affect the fine-tuning argument. It merely demonstrates that the universe was not created by God so that humans (or other life forms) could (easily) exist everywhere in the universe. To better understand why this is not significant, consider a situation in which you are space explorer who has landed on a distant planet that humans have never visited. As you are exploring the planet, you happen to find a massive underground dwelling that is ideally suited for you to live in. This dwelling has the right amount of oxygen, plenty of food to eat, lots of artificial light, etc. But as you explore this underground abode, you find out that it is even more massive than you first thought. And you further realize that 99% of this dwelling is so hot that you cannot live in it. Why you wonder, did the creators of this underground dwelling, make it so well suited to human life in just 1% of it, but inhospitable to life in 99% of it? That’s a very valid question to ask, but it does not change the fact that the dwelling was designed by certain intelligent being(s). They may have purposes or reasons for which you are unaware of. But our ignorance of those reasons does not affect the conclusion that the dwelling was designed. It did not simply happen by chance. In like manner, we may not know exactly why so much of the universe is inhospitable to life. However, given the evident design, it does not affect the conclusion that the universe was designed.

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Robert L. Park, Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science, 1st ed (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2008), 11.



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