Sorry Wall Street Journal, Modern Science Does Not Prove God Exists

Authors note: I am a Christian. I am a Catholic who believes in God. This article is not meant to “debunk” God or to make his significance, if that’s what you believe, any less prevalent. I am simply trying to distinguish between faith and science. Many progressive Christians, such as the Christian Left, believe in both God and real science. We do not want to see legitimate science be perverted by pseudo creationist sciences.

Writing a Christmas day opinion article (that explains a lot) titled Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God, Christian author Eric Metaxas,who has no scientific background, exalts:

“The odds of the life existing on another planet are growing. Intelligent design, anyone?”

But from where does Metaxas get this idea from? An idea that has been debunked many, many times in the past. The “Fine Tuning” argument. You may have heard about it. According to Common Sense Atheism, there are three generalizations of it:

1. The apparent fine-tuning of the universe for life is explained by naturalistic design, naturalistic non-design, supernatural design, supernatural non-design, or some combination of those factors.

2.The apparent fine-tuning of the universe for life is not explained by naturalistic design, naturalistic non-design, supernatural non-design, or a combination of factors.

3. Therefore, the apparent fine-tuning of the universe for life is explained by supernatural design.

In other words, such values of unexplained natural occurrences must equal a creator who made it all possible.

In his piece, Metaxas says:

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it?

Never mind that Victor Stenger, an American particle physicist, wrote a 350-page book completely tearing into the ridiculous “argument,’ but his book was also peer reviewed, meaning his colleagues also disagree with the “fine tuning” argument. Richard Dawkins, an atheist and world famous ethologist and evolutionary biologist, praised it as a “splendid book” that “I learned an enormous amount from.”

In an excerpt from Stenger’s book, God and the Multiverse: Humanity’s Expanding Views of the Cosmos:

In recent years, many theologians and Christian apologists have convinced themselves and their followers that they have a knockdown, drag-out scientific argument for the existence of God. They claim that the parameters of physics are so finely tuned that if any one of these parameters were just slightly different in value, life — and especially human life — would have not been possible anywhere in the universe.

Of course, like all design arguments this is a God-of-the-gaps argument that they cannot win in principle because they can never prove conclusively that the values of these parameters cannot be natural. But they keep trying.

Not surprisingly, Metaxas misunderstood a quote by English astronomer Fred Hoyle (noted primarily for the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis):

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Certainly this sounds like Hoyle is making the case for a divine creator, right? Wrong. Hoyle did not, in any sense of the word, intend to cause debate in the favor of divine intervention as an acceptable, scientific answer. The scientific explanation is the fact of carbon’s development being readily accessible which offers no insight as to why fundamental forces cooperated to produce an unusual energy match up at precise values. Hoyle’s remark should be understood as an acknowledgement of how startling it is that the universe has the exact properties that enable the existence of life. It is another mystery in science which needs to be solved. It should not be blindly attributed to a creator.

To back up further claims which would debunk Mr. metaxas absurd misrepresentation of the th facts, take Alister McGrath, a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist:

“[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.

In other words, the “fine-tuning” of carbon is responsible for nature’s ability to tune itself to any degree, not necessarily a creator. This is coming from a priest.

In an excerpt from G.M Jackson’s book Debunking Darwin’s God: A Case Against BioLogos and Theistic Evolution:

“According to the anthropic principle proponents, if the universal constants (e.g. gravitation, the strong force, etc.) were just a nose-hair off, the universe as we know it would not exist; stars wouldn’t form and there would be no life and no us. That supposedly makes our universe truly special. To demonstrate just how ridiculous this fine-tuning argument is, consider the fact that no measurement in physics is perfect. All of them are approximations and have margins of error. That means the universal constants, that make our universe what it is, have some wiggle room. Within that wiggle room are an infinite quantity of real numbers. Each of those real numbers could represent constants that could make a universe like ours. Since there are an infinite number of potential constants within that wiggle room, there are an infinite number of potential universes, like ours, that could have existed in lieu of ours. Thus, there is really nothing special about our universe.”

It is very dangerous for the Wall Street Journal to publish such shoddy work which can easily be debunked. Certainly Mr. Metaxas has the right to his opinion and to have his opinion published. But a news source like the Journal should reach a little deeper into what is fact and what is, in most cases, science fiction.