Last year I had attended a debate between theologian Dr. William Lane Craig (philosopher) and Dr. Victor Stenger (physicist) where the existence of God was debated. One of several “proofs” Craig offered for the existence of a god (from a philosophical standpoint) was the argument that even within the overwhelming life-hostile conditions, our universe is so “finely tuned” that it could not possibly be due to “luck” that we exist. Therefore our existence in this universe is thus proof of a creator god.
This position, that the vast number of variables of constants, physical properties and conditions are so statistically overwhelming against the existence of life in our universe, is called the Anthropic Principle. The recent physics should indeed bear this out – as Hawkings and others have suggested – if the number of dimensions in our universe varied only slightly, as they likely do in other universes [Multiverses 1], atoms could not combine to form molecules, stars could not form, matter would not coalesce into planets and life could not evolve. How is it we ended up so incredibly lucky?
I got to thinking about this recently one evening as I tried to sleep. I suffer from horrible insomnia and pondering the origins of the universe or mentally balancing my checkbook do not serve me well in my pursuit of sleep. Nevertheless I got to thinking about a post I had written last month about the odds of winning the lottery.
The odds of holding the winning lottery ticket are 1 in 5,000,000,000. Actually those odds are substantially better than the postulated number of Multiverses which is calculated to be 10500. (I don’t have enough space here to post all the required “zeros”). But, the fact remains that occasionally people DO actually win the lottery and become multi-millionaires.
Now if you happen to be one of those lucky lottery millionaire winners, you have two distinct options from which to conclude regarding your goof fortune: you were either simply the recipient of luck or god smiled down upon you and intentionally chose to make you a millionaire. It’s one or the other; it can’t be both.
Then in this larger sense, all of us are “cosmic millionaires” – we can either conclude that we are the lucky recipient holders of the winning Universe Lottery Ticket, -OR- that we were intentionally placed here by a benevolent god.
I have seen interviews of lottery winners who seem more than eager to profess their fortune to a benevolent deity. But is there another explanation; does one need a god to win the lottery, or does one simply need to happen to be holding the winning ticket?
~~~1. The concept of multiverses -- an ensemble of universes -- the outcome of the originating process that generated our own universe, and as an explanation for why our universe appears to be fine-tuned for life and consciousness.