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Astronauts often marvel at the sight of the Earth from space. However, this planet is just a tiny part of the vast universe that we live in. Our sun, which is capable of holding a million Earths inside of it, is just one of many stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the Milky Way is only a small part of the universe, and with the naked eye, we can see other galaxies such as the Andromeda.
The universe is vast and contains countless superclusters that are not evenly distributed in space. These superclusters form thin sheets and filaments around vast bubble-like voids, some of which are so massive that they resemble great walls. The universe is so complex that it becomes difficult to explain with a simple theory how it came to be.
Despite the complexity of the universe, there are still those who believe that it was created by chance cosmic explosion. However, as we gain a better understanding of the universe and its intricate details, it becomes increasingly difficult to explain its origins with a simple theory. Therefore, the controversy of how the universe came to be continues.
The Milky Way galaxy, which is just one of the many galaxies in the universe, is incredibly massive. It has a diameter of approximately 600 quadrillion miles or 1 quintillion kilometers. To put that into perspective, it would take light, which travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, about 100,000 years to cross the entire galaxy.
Moreover, the Milky Way contains over 100 billion stars, making it one of the most densely populated regions of space that we know of. The vast size and complexity of the Milky Way galaxy is truly awe-inspiring, and it reminds us just how small we are in comparison to the universe as a whole.
Evidence Pointing to a Beginning
Before the 1920s, scientists believed that the Milky Way galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe. However, with the advent of larger telescopes, astronomers discovered that there are at least 50 billion galaxies in the universe, each containing billions of stars like our sun. This discovery was not the only thing that shocked scientists; it was also the fact that all of these galaxies are in motion.
By passing galactic light through a prism, astronomers discovered that the light waves were stretched, indicating that the galaxies were receding from us at great speed. The farther away a galaxy was, the faster it appeared to be moving, pointing to an expanding universe. This implies that something must have started this process, and the source of such dynamic energy remains a key issue for scientists.
Most scientists believe that the universe began with a small, dense singularity. However, this raises the question of what was there before and what was outside the universe. It also suggests that more than just a source of vast energy was needed for the universe to come into existence. Intelligence and foresight were also necessary, as the rate of expansion seems to be finely tuned. If the universe had expanded just a millionth of a millionth part faster, all the material in the universe would have dispersed by now. Alternatively, if it had expanded a millionth of a millionth part slower, gravitational forces would have caused the universe to collapse within the first billion years of its existence, leaving no long-lived stars or life.
Attempts to Explain the Beginning
Despite many attempts by scientists to explain the origin of the universe, the question of how it came into existence remains one of the most intractable problems of modern cosmology. Some scientists propose that the universe created itself out of nothing, but this idea has been challenged, and even the most well-known inflationary universe model, conceived by physicist Alan Guth in 1979, fails to explain how the universe arose from nothing.
Given that experts cannot fully explain the origin of the universe, it may be worthwhile to look at other evidence that could shed light on this issue. One such evidence is the precise measurements of the four fundamental forces that govern all properties and changes affecting matter. These fundamental forces have a significant impact on our lives, and it is worth considering their effects to gain insights into the origin of the universe.
Therefore, we should not dismiss this issue and should consider all the evidence available to us, as it could provide valuable insight into one of the biggest questions in the field of cosmology.
The four fundamental forces are present in both the vastness of the universe and the infinitesimal scale of atomic structures, and they play a crucial role in the existence of everything around us. Carbon, oxygen, and iron, which are vital elements for life, would not exist without the precise tuning of these forces.
One of the fundamental forces is gravity, which is responsible for holding planets and stars in place. Another is the electromagnetic force, which keeps electrons around the nucleus of an atom. If the electromagnetic force were weaker, electrons would not be held around the nucleus, and atoms could not combine to form molecules. Conversely, if it were much stronger, electrons would be trapped on the nucleus, and there could be no chemical reactions between atoms. Therefore, the precise tuning of the electromagnetic force is essential for our existence and life.
The intensity of the electromagnetic force in relation to the other three forces is also crucial. Physicists estimate that this force is 1040 times that of gravity, and even a small change in this number could have a significant impact on our existence. For example, if the force were 1041 times that of gravity, stars would be smaller, and the sun would be unable to shine, making life impossible.
The fine-tuning of the forces is also essential on a cosmic scale. A slight difference in the electromagnetic force could affect the sun and alter the light reaching the earth, making photosynthesis in plants difficult or impossible. It could also change the properties of water, which are vital for life.
Our sun and other stars have remarkable qualities of long-term efficiency and stability. The key forces involved in their functioning are precisely tuned, optimized for life. It is unlikely that this precision happened by chance, as no human being could have determined the laws of nature that govern the heavens and the earth.
The Two Nuclear Forces
The structure of the universe involves more than just the fine-tuning of gravity and the electromagnetic force. Two other forces, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, are also essential to our existence.
The strong nuclear force holds protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom, allowing the formation of various elements. If this force were slightly weaker, only hydrogen would exist, and our sun would not have the fuel it needs to radiate life-giving energy. Conversely, if it were stronger, only heavier elements would be present, but no hydrogen, which is an essential ingredient of water and food.
The weak nuclear force controls radioactive decay and thermonuclear activity in our sun. If this force were much stronger or much weaker, forms of life dependent on sunlike stars would be in difficulties. The precise rate of burning keeps our earth warm but not incinerated, allowing life to thrive.
Scientists also believe that the weak force plays a role in supernova explosions, which produce and distribute most elements. If the nuclear forces were even slightly different, the stars would be incapable of making the elements of which we are composed.
The fine-tuning of the four fundamental forces has made possible the existence of our sun, planet, water, atmosphere, and chemical elements. The precision of these forces raises the question of why and from where they originated. The evidence suggests an amazing degree of design and purpose in the universe.
Earth’s Ideal Features
The earth’s ideal features are essential for our existence, including its size and position relative to the sun. Our planet’s size is just right for our existence, as a slightly larger or smaller size would make the atmosphere inhospitable to life. Additionally, the earth is at an ideal distance from the sun, and its orbit is almost circular, which prevents us from experiencing death-dealing extremes of temperature.
The earth’s rotation on its axis once a day produces moderate temperatures, which would not be possible if the earth took as long as Venus to rotate. Furthermore, the location of our solar system in the Milky Way galaxy is also important. If our solar system were nearer the center of the galaxy, the gravitational effect of neighboring stars would distort the earth’s orbit. Conversely, if it were situated at the very edge of the galaxy, there would not have been enough of the needed chemical elements to form a solar system like ours.
The precision of the earth’s features begs the question of how and why these features came to be. The evidence suggests an amazing degree of design and purpose in the universe. As Professor David L. Block noted, the precision of the earth’s features shows that human life would not exist were these features slightly different from what they are observed to be.
Law and Order
The second law of thermodynamics states that all things tend towards disorder. This law applies to everything, from personal belongings to the universe. If left alone, everything breaks down or disintegrates, becoming more disordered over time.
However, the universe does not seem to be falling into complete disorder, as Professor Roger Penrose discovered when studying the state of disorderliness, or entropy, of the observable universe. This suggests that the universe started in an ordered state and is still highly organized. This fact raises the question of why the universe has not become chaotic, and any successful theory of cosmology should ultimately explain this entropy problem.
Our existence on earth is contrary to this recognized law, and it raises the fundamental question of why we are alive. The precision and organization of the universe suggest an amazing degree of design and purpose.
“Architectural Units of the Universe”
Described as “architectural units of the universe” by contemporary scientific encyclopedias, chemical elements exhibit remarkable diversity and organization. Spanning from rare to abundant, elements such as gold captivate the human eye, while others, like nitrogen and oxygen, remain invisible as gases. Each element consists of specific atoms, and the construction and relationships between these atoms reflect an efficient, highly organized chart-like order.
Approximately three centuries ago, only 12 known elements existed: antimony, arsenic, bismuth, carbon, copper, gold, iron, lead, mercury, silver, sulfur, and tin. As more elements were discovered, scientists observed a distinct order among them. Due to the gaps in this order, researchers like Mendeleyev, Ramsay, Moseley, and Bohr postulated the existence and characteristics of unknown elements, which were subsequently discovered as predicted. The ability of these scientists to predict previously unknown forms of matter can be attributed to the natural numerical order followed by the elements, based on their atomic structures. This order is considered a proven scientific law, allowing for the periodic table of elements to be systematically arranged in rows and columns, beginning with hydrogen, helium, and so forth.
According to the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, the periodic concept is unparalleled in revealing the order of the physical world among most scientific systemizations. Regardless of any new elements discovered in the future, they will undoubtedly conform to the periodic system’s order and exhibit the appropriate familial traits.
The periodic table’s rows and columns reveal a striking relationship between elements that share a column. For instance, the last column comprises helium (No. 2), neon (No. 10), argon (No. 18), krypton (No. 36), xenon (No. 54), and radon (No. 86). These gases emit a bright glow when subjected to an electric discharge, making them suitable for use in certain light bulbs. Additionally, they exhibit low reactivity with various elements compared to other gases.
Indeed, the universe – even at the atomic level – displays astounding harmony and order. What accounts for this extraordinary order, harmony, and diversity among the universe’s building blocks?