Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Process Metaphysics & A Fine-Tuned Universe

Process Metaphysics & A Fine-Tuned Universe

by R.E. Slater

What is the fine-tuned universe theory?
As defined by Science

The fine-tuned universe theory is the proposition that the conditions which allow life in the universe can occur only when certain universal physical constants lie within a very narrow range of values, so that if any of several fundamental constants were but slightly different, the universe would not be what it is today.

As defined by Faith

Said differently, if all is random and chaotic, and our universe is the only universe existent, then the chance existence of human awareness would seem incredibly miraculous because the laws of physics would have to be so carefully calibrated as to enable stars and planets to form, and life to emerge, so that it would seem to require some kind of design of God.

When it comes to the science v religious arguments of a "Fine Tuned Universe" I tend to be an agnostic on this subject as a Christian.


Because any apologetic answer for God as Creator is usually epistemologically blind to how science works best when it operates agnostically, impartially, objectively, and without presumptions or assumptions.

Science is a tool. That tool, such as a microscope, holds no view of religion - only the user of that tool may hold a faith of a kind. But for that scientist to operate truly s/he must work as fully as possible without presumptions across all fields of endeavor.

One example which comes to mind is the so-named "God-particle" made famous by Dan Brown's DaVinci Code about the quantum particle known as the Higgs boson which gives mass to everything. It is but another instance of religion casting a scientific finding in it's own religious terms as versus how science might describe it as a particle without any religious terms applied.

Across science all material discoveries might be claimed by religion as discoveries of "God-this-or-that".... But in scientific terms the "this-or-that" of discoveries are operands unto themselves and not normally ascriptions to God per se. As a Christian, I might find scientific discoveries as an unveiling of God's creation but for the non-religious world of science it sees creation apart from religious descriptors. Which is fine. Science should remain agnostic in my opiniion.

And further, in processual terms, any-and-all scientific or material operands are affected by - and affecting - all relational entities about their material worlds with both near- and far- subsequential results. 

So these are a few ways of describing the findings in science from differing, perhaps polarizing, viewpoints which may admit, or not admit, to the presence of God in the life of the material operands.

Why (Divine) Relational Process?

As a process metaphysician and theologian I would speak of God's divine Image or Presence as that Divine DNA which God imparted into the creational structures of the universe. When doing so, it makes it unnecessary for God to be managing every single consequential event or material entity moment-by-moment.

Further, the metaphysical DNA which God imparted into creation is the very energy which spawns all succeeding freewill forces as an acorn a tree, or a seed a plant, or the sperm-and-egg a human adult. Some may describe this creational (or ceaseless, infinite, processual birthing) process part of God's design but I like to describe in as God imparting his LOVING Imago Dei (Image of God's Self).

That freewill and all following freewill (indeterminant) events as birthed from divine LOVE not by divine FIAT. This then would further reinforce the idea that a processual creation is free to impart generative goodness and grant nurturing value to all subsequent events. That God's love is like a processual seed affected by - and affecting - all other processual energies which are always leaning in the (teleological) direction of generative love imparting intrinsic value to all processual events at all times.

It also implies that when love is not nurtured, nor granted, nor given wings to caretake all around itself, that loving freewill may become unloving freewill with typically adverse affects only cushioned against the greater "divine energy" or "force" (for Star War fans) which drives unceasingly forward. That creation is neither ugly, sinful, or evil, but is good, loving, nurturing, and sustaining.

Science simply doesn't care

Consequently, as a discipline, an agnostic science eschews all assumptions and holds no values until at the point of discovery. And even then, is best guided thereafter without presumptions and prejudices - whether theistic or atheistic - so that the operands of that discovery might be further uncovered and studied.

Certainly, we find a processual world without God or love as a startling cold and empty world when not granting any metaphysical substrate by a loving, sustaining, healing divinity. But nonetheless, science is simply an agnostic tool describing a process-relational world materially and not immaterially. Which is where religion comes in to pick science up and grant it a deeper depth-and-meaning than it can grant itself in it's sterile terms of human wonder without any connective valuative DNA tissues of love or generative good underlying all process-relational worlds.

Because of this, theistically-oriented cosmological metaphysicians understand they can get better answers to "Life's Questions" when they re-value agnostic cosmologies by valuative differences of love imparted by a loving Creator-Redeemer. But again, we wish to build upon agnostic material sciences which are less skewed by theistic or atheistic research which may lead to fruitless and unhelpful directions in science and subsequent metaphysical cosmologies.

Which also means that any religious (aka Christian, et al) study of cosmology must likewise be agnostic enough in order to get the widest possible scientific results beyond one's own assumptions and value-rich subjectivities.

A Good Cosmology Requires a Good Metaphysic
While eschewing any religious perspectives, science does require a comprehensive scientific philosophy which is neutral, adequate to the job at hand, pervasive, and without ability to skew results when underlying results are discovered. - re slater
Though the immediate statement above may seem counter-intuitive at first, it isn't. Scientists must use the correct tool for the job. As tools morph and get better at the job at hand so too will scientists upgrade their tools in order to discover what they have missed.

Similarly with scientific cosmologies which should be religiously neutral but comprehensively helpful in discovery how the universe works. Which is where a process-rich relational cosmology is necessary to the today's quantum sciences.

Yesteryear's older metaphysics can no longer do the job which process-relational metaphysics can more ably do. These newer philosophic paradigms were initially developing ahead of (sic Hegel, until it derailed), and later alongside of, the quantum sciences (sic Whitehead, a British Academy Royal Fellow with Einstein). Studies which have eventuated presently across such disciplines as quantum physics, quantum neurological studies of the brain, crypto-artificial intelligence and technologies, and critically towards the building of socially-just ecological civilizations.

This means that for science to work adequately it needs better tools than it has had in the past. Newtonian Enlightenment cosmologies are now being replaced by processual-relational cosmologies which may more ably progress with the processual-relational nature of creation... and consequently, in describing the dynamic universe in which we live more capably when pursued by processual-relational fields of study.

As a process theologian I think of a process-relational cosmology in terms of the divine - as imparted, sustained, guided, and so forth. But as a process-relational scientist I may utilize this same processual approach irrespective of my theistic beliefs. It simply is a tool - or mindset, in this case - which is more helpful in discovering how creation relates to itself and the study of a process-relational cosmology at hand.

amazon link

First Conclusion

Science must chose the best possible metaphysical philosophy possible on which to build its best cosmological arguments and investigative parameters. Yesteryear's Platonism cannot help - and is one which much of science seems to be slowly ridding itself of - as science moves from reductionary mechanism to comprehensive relational forms of scientific examination.

Ideally, a good philosophical-metaphysic must be able to converse with today's quantum sciences and technologies so that any derived (process-relational) cosmologies of the future might correspond as smoothly with creational "reality" as we might know it through our senses... as well as by our speculative imaginations!

Second Conclusion

Personally, I find this kind of philosophic direction more helpful in examining our world at present. A metaphysic which came from the heart-and-mind of Alfred North Whitehead's ever-expanding "Philosophy of Organism," better known today as "Process-Relational Philosophy".

And unlike Platonic and Enlightenment thinking of the past, process-relational metaphysics describes a universe which is dynamically organic and processually pan-relational, pan-experiential, and pan-psychic, among other descriptors.

Secondly, process-relational metaphysics can qualify all previous cosmological endeavors in science, psychology, and philosophy, by binding each one as partial explorations of it's own fuller metaphysic.

By this qualification, it would make of process's relational metaphysic as an "Integral Philosophy" to how one sees-and-understands the universe, earth, ourselves, societies, economies, ecologies, and so forth. It is relatable to all things and helpfully explains better ways of moving forward against the disaster of industrialized societies competing for resources with one another.

Introduction to Process Philosophy (Intro to PCC lecture)

Third Conclusion (for Christians)

As a Christian, especially a traditionally-taught Christian, this may all seem strange and foreign to one's church knowledge. But please know that the bible you know in religious terms has been the same one taught through the philosophic lenses of Greek Hellenism compiled across a 2,000 year timespan of eclectic, counterfactual past philosophies influencing church doctrine, its beliefs, practices and social relationship to civil society at large.

Every past era has influenced every succeeding era of the generational church by its own hegemonies of teachings and beliefs. Which curiously reinforces the idea of Whitehead's processual-relational organism which states that
"Every uniquely concrescing event is prehended by every uniquely past concrescing event"- which I find both humorous and ironic. :)
Be that as it may, a good, healthy process-relational theology can, and will, remove all ills and evils for today's fraught church doctrines when looking again at the bible's relevancy through "process-relational eyes". When done, you'll find process-relational stories and teachings across every page of the bible where once you saw none.

How do I know?

Because I tried it once with a degreed and studied Calvinist pastor/professor who was open to engagement. After 30-40 minutes of explaining process theology, and without any prompting, this pastor/professor began rehearsing to me verse-after-verse of observed (and genuinely felt) process-relational teachings on the Godhead, Christology, Hamartiology (sin), Creation, Eschatology, and etc.

By his reaction this means that even from the eyes of one who isn't a process-relational theologian, the bible was found to be full of process-relational events because, guess what? The God of creation is a process-relational God who created from God's process-relational Self (God's Imago Dei) a processual-relational universe and world we live in with all its consequences and affectations.

Fourth Conclusion (for Christians, again)

Which consequently means that the church will need a new set of processual-relational doctrines, systems, creeds, and dogmas. Which is also the whole reason for this website here... to discover how a process-relational theology might work with a process-relational metaphysic cosmologically, ontologically, epistemologically, ethically, and ecologically.

And for those of you who may wish a shortcut when reading through the many process articles listed below let me save you some time after years-and-years of writing about process theology....

Simply replace one's interpretation of the bible at the core of your beliefs with the Love of God as it's new core. A theology of love bespeaks process through-and-through-and-through. More simply said, a process theology is surmised in the godly ethic of love and loving actions at all times. This is the very heart of a process-relational cosmology.

The Story of Blind Men Describing an Elephant

Fifth Conclusion (for everybody)

One last, similar to the proverbial elephant which five blindfolded experts sought to describe when feeling it's trunk, leathery skin, wispy tail, large ears, and bony tusks, so all past philosophies and methodologies have similarly described parts of Whitehead's process-rich metaphysic.

A metaphysic which richly describes the universe as it is. Thus making of it an "Integral Philosophy" to all other preceding philosophies and metaphysics.


In summary, (1) I want my scientific investigations to be agnostic - but, (2) I also want to use the tool of process-relational metaphysics when describing creational cosmologies. And lastly, (3) as process-relational sciences delve into future processual discoveries they will be discovering creation's process-based teleologies. That is, it's underlying aims and purposes, meaning and ends, which nicely dovetails and circumscribes the process-relational worlds of faith and religion from beginning to end. And it is here at this intersection where science and faith may merge and intertwine rather than compete one with the other.


Because though process-relational philosophy can be used as an agnostic metaphysic it also has a process-relational component to it when circumscribed by a process-relational theology which can work hand-in-glove with the process-relational cosmologies of science. In this way both communities are affected by, and affecting, one another having found a common foundation to dialogue with one another in belief and discovery.

Other process metaphysicians may strip out the God-element of Process-Relational thought (see here, Relational Paradigms in Sustainability Research, Practice, and Education) substituting "relational" in place of a "relational God." However, Process Metaphysician, AN Whitehead, believed in God, and had developed a metaphysic that could worked both ways, as well as singularly, between faith and non-faith. 

For those of the Spirit faith we will know this and can ably use this newer philosophical foundation between the supernatural and natural theologies of religious belief. And for those who are not of faith, they may use this same metaphysic from an agnostic, if not atheistic, approach as the linked article above has shown.

In summary, creation seems to work as process-relational dynamic. One where God has granted freewill which may, or may not, be used in loving caretake of one another and creation itself. Let's pray that whether one believes or disbelieves, that each-and-all work together towards the ever fickled dynamic of loving goodwill and engagement in cooperative understanding.

References and Resources

To assist in developing a Christian agnostism when exploring creation using the tools of a process-based science, I have listed below agnostic (if not, atheistic) videos discussing the cosmological view of the anthropic principle.... A principle, theory, or axiom, which refers to the idea of "why we live in the kind of world which we live in".
SIDE NOTE: There is both a strong anthropic argument (which religion seems to have approved) and a weak anthropic argument - which I like best because it allows the greatest amount of randomness and chaos to an "uncontrolled" and evolving creation. Into which we may posit the Imago Dei of God within creation's underlying DNA structures which consequently leans towards the direction of a loving sovereign relationship between God and creation (divine immanency) rather than a controlling sovereign relationship of judgment and wrath (the classic position of divine transcendence of the church).
So then, "why do we live in the kind of world in which we live?

From an agnostic/atheistic perspective: 'Because it worked out this way." But for the person of faith "It would be so and was so".

Said differently,
"With the forward look of science we cannot know. But with the backwards look after science we'll find a processual God utilizing processual evolution bringing all to its processual results and ends."
At once then we may have a random, evolutionary, roll-of-the-dice, but when viewing again creation's chaotic evolution we'll see the wisdom and teleology of God's purposes and resolve in birthing evolving, processual worlds into fellowship with God's processual-relational Self.

Meaning, that throughout creation's constructs God has knit deep within it's indeterminant, freewill bones God's Loving Self bubbling below evolutionary surfaces driven by divine love in all its generative, and valuative forms; pulsating with evidentiary ontological longing and becoming. A state of being always pushing forward towards greater or lesser forms of becoming. Which is yet another teaching of process-relational philosophy.


R.E. Slater
April 1, 2023
edited April 2 & 7, 2023

~ There are more to be discovered on the sidebars ~

* * * * * * *


by Fred C. Adams

Why Is The Universe Perfect?

How Did The Universe Come Into Existence?
Brian Greene on The Multiverse & The Fine Tuning Argument

Sean Carroll - Why Fine-tuning Seems Designed

Steven Weinberg - Why a Fine-Tuned Universe?

Quentin Smith - What Does a Fine-Tuned Universe Mean?

Fine-tuned universe

The characterization of the universe as finely tuned suggests that the occurrence of life in the universe is very sensitive to the values of certain fundamental physical constants and that the observed values are, for some reason, improbable.[1] If the values of any of certain free parameters in contemporary physical theories had differed only slightly from those observed, the evolution of the universe would have proceeded very differently and life as it is understood may not have been possible.[2][3][4][5]


In 1913, the chemist Lawrence Joseph Henderson wrote The Fitness of the Environment, one of the first books to explore fine tuning in the universe. Henderson discusses the importance of water and the environment to living things, pointing out that life depends entirely on earth's very specific environmental conditions, especially the prevalence and properties of water.[6]

In 1961, physicist Robert H. Dicke claimed that certain forces in physics, such as gravity and electromagnetism, must be perfectly fine-tuned for life to exist in the universe.[7][8] Fred Hoyle also argued for a fine-tuned universe in his 1984 book The Intelligent Universe. "The list of anthropic properties, apparent accidents of a non-biological nature without which carbon-based and hence human life could not exist, is large and impressive", Hoyle wrote.[9]

Belief in the fine-tuned universe led to the expectation that the Large Hadron Collider would produce evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model, such as supersymmetry,[10] but by 2012 it had not produced evidence for supersymmetry at the energy scales it was able to probe.[11]


Physicist Paul Davies has said, "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continued, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires."[12] He has also said that "'anthropic' reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted, but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because biogenesis occurs frequently".[13] Among scientists who find the evidence persuasive, a variety of natural explanations have been proposed, such as the existence of multiple universes introducing a survivorship bias under the anthropic principle.[1]

The premise of the fine-tuned universe assertion is that a small change in several of the physical constants would make the universe radically different. As Stephen Hawking has noted, "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life."[5]

If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e. if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger) while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable; according to Davies, hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium.[14] This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The diproton's existence would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all the universe's hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang.[14] This "diproton argument" is disputed by other physicists, who calculate that as long as the increase in strength is less than 50%, stellar fusion could occur despite the existence of stable diprotons.[15]

The precise formulation of the idea is made difficult by the fact that we do not yet know how many independent physical constants there are. The standard model of particle physics has 25 freely adjustable parameters and general relativity has one more, the cosmological constant, which is known to be nonzero but profoundly small in value. But because physicists have not developed an empirically successful theory of quantum gravity, there is no known way to combine quantum mechanics, on which the standard model depends, and general relativity. Without knowledge of this more complete theory suspected to underlie the standard model, it is impossible to definitively count the number of truly independent physical constants. In some candidate theories, the number of independent physical constants may be as small as one. For example, the cosmological constant may be a fundamental constant, but attempts have also been made to calculate it from other constants, and according to the author of one such calculation, "the small value of the cosmological constant is telling us that a remarkably precise and totally unexpected relation exists among all the parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics, the bare cosmological constant and unknown physics."[16]


Martin Rees formulates the fine-tuning of the universe in terms of the following six dimensionless physical constants.[2][17]

  • N, the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force between a pair of protons, is approximately 1036. According to Rees, if it were significantly smaller, only a small and short-lived universe could exist.[17]
  • Epsilon (ε), a measure of the nuclear efficiency of fusion from hydrogen to helium, is 0.007: when four nucleons fuse into helium, 0.007 (0.7%) of their mass is converted to energy. The value of ε is in part determined by the strength of the strong nuclear force.[18] If ε were 0.006, a proton could not bond to a neutron, and only hydrogen could exist, and complex chemistry would be impossible. According to Rees, if it were above 0.008, no hydrogen would exist, as all the hydrogen would have been fused shortly after the Big Bang. Other physicists disagree, calculating that substantial hydrogen remains as long as the strong force coupling constant increases by less than about 50%.[15][17]
  • Omega (Ω), commonly known as the density parameter, is the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the universe. It is the ratio of the mass density of the universe to the "critical density" and is approximately 1. If gravity were too strong compared with dark energy and the initial metric expansion, the universe would have collapsed before life could have evolved. If gravity were too weak, no stars would have formed.[17][19]
  • Lambda (Λ), commonly known as the cosmological constant, describes the ratio of the density of dark energy to the critical energy density of the universe, given certain reasonable assumptions such as that dark energy density is a constant. In terms of Planck units, and as a natural dimensionless value, Λ is on the order of 10−122.[20] This is so small that it has no significant effect on cosmic structures that are smaller than a billion light-years across. A slightly larger value of the cosmological constant would have caused space to expand rapidly enough that stars and other astronomical structures would not be able to form.[17][21]
  • Q, the ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass, is around 10−5. If it is too small, no stars can form. If it is too large, no stars can survive because the universe is too violent, according to Rees.[17]
  • D, the number of spatial dimensions in spacetime, is 3. Rees claims that life could not exist if there were 2 or 4 spatial dimensions.[17] Rees argues this does not preclude the existence of ten-dimensional strings.[2]

Max Tegmark has argued that if there is more than one time dimension, then physical systems' behavior could not be predicted reliably from knowledge of the relevant partial differential equations. In such a universe, intelligent life capable of manipulating technology could not emerge. Moreover protons and electrons would be unstable and could decay into particles having greater mass than themselves. (This is not a problem if the particles have a sufficiently low temperature.)[22]

Carbon and oxygen

An older example is the Hoyle state, the third-lowest energy state of the carbon-12 nucleus, with an energy of 7.656 MeV above the ground level.[23] According to one calculation, if the state's energy level were lower than 7.3 or greater than 7.9 MeV, insufficient carbon would exist to support life. Furthermore, to explain the universe's abundance of carbon, the Hoyle state must be further tuned to a value between 7.596 and 7.716 MeV. A similar calculation, focusing on the underlying fundamental constants that give rise to various energy levels, concludes that the strong force must be tuned to a precision of at least 0.5%, and the electromagnetic force to a precision of at least 4%, to prevent either carbon production or oxygen production from dropping significantly.[24]


Some explanations of fine-tuning are naturalistic.[25] First, the fine-tuning might be an illusion: more fundamental physics may explain the apparent fine-tuning in physical parameters in our current understanding by constraining the values those parameters are likely to take. As Lawrence Krauss puts it, "certain quantities have seemed inexplicable and fine-tuned, and once we understand them, they don’t seem to be so fine-tuned. We have to have some historical perspective."[21] Some argue it is possible that a final fundamental theory of everything will explain the underlying causes of the apparent fine-tuning in every parameter.[26][21]

Still, as modern cosmology developed, various hypotheses not presuming hidden order have been proposed. One is a multiverse, where fundamental physical constants are postulated to have different values outside of our own universe.[27][28] On this hypothesis, separate parts of reality would have wildly different characteristics. In such scenarios, the appearance of fine-tuning is explained as a consequence of the weak anthropic principle and selection bias (specifically survivorship bias); only those universes with fundamental constants hospitable to life (such as ours) could contain life forms capable of observing the universe and contemplating the question of fine-tuning in the first place.[29]


If the universe is just one of many, and possibly infinite universes, each with different physical phenomena and constants, it would be unsurprising that we find ourselves in a universe hospitable to intelligent life (see multiverse: anthropic principle). Some versions of the multiverse hypothesis therefore provide a simple explanation for any fine-tuning.[1]

The multiverse idea has led to considerable research into the anthropic principle and has been of particular interest to particle physicists, because theories of everything do apparently generate large numbers of universes in which the physical constants vary widely. As yet, there is no evidence for the existence of a multiverse, but some versions of the theory make predictions of which some researchers studying M-theory and gravity leaks hope to see some evidence soon.[30]: 220–221  Laura Mersini-Houghton claimed that the WMAP cold spot could provide testable empirical evidence for a parallel universe.[31] Variants of this approach include Lee Smolin's notion of cosmological natural selection, the Ekpyrotic universe, and the bubble universe theory.

Top-down cosmology

Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog proposed that the universe's initial conditions consisted of a superposition of many possible initial conditions, only a small fraction of which contributed to the conditions we see today.[32] On their theory, it is inevitable that we find our universe's "fine-tuned" physical constants, as the current universe "selects" only those histories that led to the present conditions. In this way, top-down cosmology provides an anthropic explanation for why we find ourselves in a universe that allows matter and life, without invoking the ontic existence of the Multiverse.[33]

Carbon chauvinism

Some forms of fine-tuning arguments about the formation of life assume that only carbon-based life forms are possible, an assumption sometimes called carbon chauvinism.[34] Conceptually, alternative biochemistry or other forms of life are possible.[35]

Alien design

One hypothesis is that extra-universal aliens designed the universe. Some believe this would solve the problem of how a designer or design team capable of fine-tuning the universe could come to exist.[36] Cosmologist Alan Guth believes humans will in time be able to generate new universes.[37] By implication, previous intelligent entities may have generated our universe.[38] This idea leads to the possibility that the extra-universal designer/designers are themselves the product of an evolutionary process in their own universe, which must therefore itself be able to sustain life. It also raises the question of where that universe came from, leading to an infinite regress.

John Gribbin's Designer Universe theory suggests that an advanced civilization could have deliberately made the universe in another part of the Multiverse, and that this civilization may have caused the Big Bang.[39]

Simulation hypothesis

The simulation hypothesis holds that the universe is fine-tuned simply because it is programmed that way by people similar to us but more technologically advanced.[40]

Religious apologetics

Some scientists, theologians, and philosophers, as well as certain religious groups, argue that providence or creation are responsible for fine-tuning.[41][42][43][44][45]

Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga argues that random chance, applied to a single and sole universe, only raises the question as to why this universe could be so "lucky" as to have precise conditions that support life at least at some place (the Earth) and time (within millions of years of the present).

One reaction to these apparent enormous coincidences is to see them as substantiating the theistic claim that the universe has been created by a personal God and as offering the material for a properly restrained theistic argument – hence the fine-tuning argument. It's as if there are a large number of dials that have to be tuned to within extremely narrow limits for life to be possible in our universe. It is extremely unlikely that this should happen by chance, but much more likely that this should happen if there is such a person as God.

— Alvin Plantinga, "The Dawkins Confusion: Naturalism ad absurdum"[46]

Philosopher and Christian apologist William Lane Craig cites this fine-tuning of the universe as evidence for the existence of God or some form of intelligence capable of manipulating (or designing) the basic physics that governs the universe.[47]

Philosopher and theologian Richard Swinburne reaches the design conclusion using Bayesian probability.[48]

Scientist and theologian Alister McGrath has pointed out that the fine-tuning of carbon is even responsible for nature's ability to tune itself to any degree.

The entire biological evolutionary process depends upon the unusual chemistry of carbon, which allows it to bond to itself, as well as other elements, creating highly complex molecules that are stable over prevailing terrestrial temperatures, and are capable of conveying genetic information (especially DNA). […] Whereas it might be argued that nature creates its own fine-tuning, this can only be done if the primordial constituents of the universe are such that an evolutionary process can be initiated. The unique chemistry of carbon is the ultimate foundation of the capacity of nature to tune itself.[49][50]

Theoretical physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne has stated: "Anthropic fine tuning is too remarkable to be dismissed as just a happy accident."[51]

Theologian and philosopher Andrew Loke argues that there are only five possible categories of hypotheses concerning fine-tuning and order: (i) Chance, (ii) Regularity, (iii) Combinations of Regularity and Chance, (iv) Uncaused, and (v) Design, and that only Design gives an exclusively logical explanation of order in the universe.[52] He argues that the Kalam Cosmological Argument strengthens the teleological argument by answering the question "Who designed the Designer?"[52]

Creationist Hugh Ross advances a number of fine-tuning hypotheses.[53][54] One is the existence of what Ross calls "vital poisons":[55] elemental nutrients that are harmful in large quantities but essential for animal life in smaller quantities.

See also


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  46. ^ Alvin Plantinga, "The Dawkins Confusion: Naturalism ad absurdum," Christianity Today, March/April 2007
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  49. ^ McGrath, Alister E. (2009). A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology (1st ed.). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0664233105.
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  51. ^ Polkinghorne, J. C., Science and Theology: An Introduction (London: SPCK, 1998), p. 75.
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  53. ^ Reasons to Believe (blog)
  54. ^ Hugh Ross. Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home.
  55. ^ Vital Poisons

Further reading

External links

Defend fine-tuning
Criticize fine tuning