“God” in the title of this blog isn’t meant in any conventional sense. Instead you might want to call it the First Cause (hereinafter TFC).
There are a series of far-out coincidences that allow us to exist on earth. The first and obvious one is the temperature, that allows a carbon life form such as ourselves to exist. This is where Goldilocks comes in: The planet we call ours is not too hot and it’s not too cold; it’s just right.
But there are a lot of other “coincidences” without which we could not live on this planet. It has been argued that life forms based on other elements could exist. The one most frequently posited is silicon, the element closest to carbon on the Periodic Table. We can imagine the life form that exists and uses silicon dioxide as a source of energy, though silicon dioxide is a solid, not a gas. A silicon-based life form could probably show some semblance of life as we know it, but it’s probably difficult for most of us to imagine how.
Other carbon-based life forms could also exist. We know that they exist near volcanic vents on the ocean floor in areas of extreme pressure and heat, though again, it’s difficult to imagine a planet that could support them, simply because of the pressure and heat that it would have to continually generate.
So what about other planets that have an environment similar to earth’s? As you know, earth’s orbit is an ellipse, and that helps. It is tilted relative to the plane of its revolution. The tilt is only about 2 percent. It can be calculated that if the tilt were 4 percent, then for half the year the oceans in the northern hemisphere would freeze and those in the southern hemisphere would boil.
Our distance from our star, the sun, is also highly critical. Again, a small percentage difference would give us an atmosphere in which life as we know it could not exist. The so-called probabilistic argument considers all these probabilities and concludes that the chance of
conditions favorable to any life happening is one in 1018. Since the latest SWAG (SWAG: scientific wild-ass guess) of planets is 1011, you can see that you simply can’t be here. This always comes back, then, to the question of:
How did life as we know it arise? Was it by a miracle performed by TFC? Or was it something that could not have failed to happen? Recent experiments with what are called hard vacuums and the CERN Giant show that matter blinks into existence and almost immediately disappears. Such a generation of matter from apparently nothing is, shall we say, somewhat puzzling to today’s physicists. We do not find such spontaneous creation-of-matter in anything but the hardest vacuum, and so far the theory is that a vacuum could be filled with virtual particles that occasionally collide to form real matter. The renormalized mathematics which shows why matter blinks in and blinks out is as weird as anything even a Christian could envision–unless perhaps Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 is reversible. To wit: Put in a large amount of energy, and matter is formed
So then the question arises: whether it is from these first infinitesimally small pieces of matter that everything was built. Apparently it is possible (at least theoretically) that such a thing can happen–but apparently it can happen only when the conditions are just right: firstly in the plasma of the first creation, then developing in the nuclear furnaces of stars, then to a Goldilocks planet where semi-intelligent life forms can presume to ask the question: Is there any need for an existential god or goddess–a juju? We guess we do need a TFC, to write the equations …
or do we?
If this makes you feel like soaking your head, join the crowd.
Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne