J. Warner Wallace

Author, Cold-Case Christianity

Four Ways the Earth Is Fine-Tuned for Life

The just so appearance of “fine-tuning” in our universe is rather uncontroversial amongst scientists and cosmologists. Even Paul Davies (who is agnostic when it comes to the notion of a Divine Designer) readily stipulates, “Everyone agrees that the universe looks as if it was designed for life.” The foundational, regional and locational conditions of our universe, solar system and planet are delicately balanced and finely calibrated. The slightest modification of these conditions would be disastrous for life. The delicate requirements for the existence of galaxies, star systems, and planets capable of supporting “intelligent observers” are incredibly fragile. In my book, God’s Crime Scene, I describe the nature of foundational, regional and locational conditions in the context of a crime scene I investigated many years ago. The evidence I observed in these layers led me to conclude an external suspect had tampered with the scene to cause a death. In a similar way, it appears the layered conditions of the universe have been “tampered with” to cause the emergence of life.

Our tiny planet also exhibits locational properties of fine-tuning necessary for life. Earth’s local conditions exhibit an array of equally unlikely characteristics that give us reason to be “suspicious.” Here are just four of the many ways our planet is fine-tuned for life:

The Earth’s Relationship to the Sun Is Favorable to Life:
Earth orbits the sun within a tight “habitable zone” that is highly statistically unlikely for a planet. If Earth were very slightly more distant from—or slightly closer to—the sun, a stable water cycle would be impossible. Also, small changes in the orbital tilt of our planet, or minor variations in the tilt of Earth’s axis, would disallow our climate. The length of rotation matters, too. If Earth had a slower one, our days would be too hot and our nights too cool to support life; shorter, and the wind speeds would be too extreme.

The Earth’s Atmospheric Conditions Are Favorable to Life:
The surface gravity of Earth is critical to its ability to retain an atmosphere friendly to life. If Earth’s gravity were stronger, our atmosphere would contain too much methane and ammonia. If our planet’s gravity were weaker, Earth wouldn’t be able to retain enough water. As it is, Earth’s atmosphere has a finely calibrated ratio of oxygen to nitrogen—just enough carbon dioxide and adequate water vapor levels to promote advanced life, allow photosynthesis (without an excessive greenhouse effect), and to allow for sufficient rainfall.

The Earth’s Terrestrial Nature Is Favorable to Life:
Earth’s crust thickness must lie within a particular range in order to support life. A thicker crust would negatively impact the quantity of oxygen in our atmosphere; a thinner crust would result in excessive volcanic activity and unstable tectonic plates. In fact, Earth’s crust allows limited seismic activity, resulting in nutrient recycling and carbon dioxide release without destroying all life on the planet. The nutrient and mineral concentrations of Earth’s crust also fall within life-permitting ranges.

The Earth’s Relationship to the Moon Is Favorable to Life:
Few While other planets have an orbiting moon; ours is critical to our existence. Our large Moon is just the right size to stabilize Earth’s orbit and rotation, limiting the variations in our climate and temperature. Without a large moon, the axis of our planet would likely have wobbled dramatically—perhaps by as much as 90 degrees. The role of the Moon cannot be underestimated. Astronomer Donald Brownlee and paleontologist Peter Ward write, “Without the Moon there would be no moonbeams, no month, no lunacy, no Apollo program, less poetry, and a world where every night was dark and gloomy. Without the Moon it is also likely that no birds, redwoods, whales, trilobite, or other advanced life would ever grace the earth.”

GCS Chapter 02 Illustration 04

Illustrations from God's Crime Scene

Like the death scene I investigated, the layers of foundational, regional, and locational evidence in the universe show signs of “tampering.” The forces governing atomic structure, the matter of the universe and the creation of chemicals are conveniently aligned to allow life’s existence. Even tiny changes in these forces have disastrous consequences for life. Similarly narrow ranges exist related to our galaxy and planet. While the appearance of fine-tuning in any one of these cosmic parameters might not be all that compelling, the cumulative nature of these conditions obligates us to seek an explanation.

GCS Chapter 02 Illustration 05

Those who seek to explain this fine-tuning without invoking the existence of a Fine-Tuner, either (1) deny the need for fine-tuning related to the emergence of life, (2) argue fine-tuning is the result of chance or physical necessity, or (3) try to explain fine-tuning as a simple “observational phenomenon”. In God’s Crime Scene, I demonstrate (in detail) why these naturalistic explanations fail to account for the evidence. The appearance of fine-tuning in the universe is part of an overwhelming cumulative case for the existence of God. For more information about the fine-tuning of the universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene, Chapter Two – Tampering With the Evidence: Who Is Responsible?

J.Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene.

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About J. Warner Wallace

J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker and author. J. Warner was a conscientious and vocal atheist through his undergraduate and graduate work in Design and Architecture (CSULB and UCLA); he always considered himself to be an “evidentialist”. His experience in law enforcement only served to strengthen his conviction that truth is tied directly to evidence. But at the age of thirty-five, J. Warner took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for the Christian Worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true. After becoming a Christ follower in 1996, Jim continued to take an evidential approach to truth as he examined the Christian worldview. He eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. J. Warner served as a Youth Pastor for several years, then planted a church in 2006. Along the way, he created and built the Cold-Case Christianity website, blog and podcast as a place to post and talk about what he discovered related to the evidence supporting Christianity. Jim has appeared on television and radio, explaining the role that evidence plays in the Christian definition of “faith” and defending the historicity of Jesus, the reliability of the Bible and the truth of the Christian worldview. Jim also speaks at churches, retreats and camps as he seeks to help people become confident Christian case makers. J. Warner’s first book, Cold-Case Christianity, provides readers with ten principles of cold case investigations and utilizes these principles to examine the reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts. In his second book, God’s Crime Scene, he investigates eight pieces of evidence in the universe to make the case for God’s existence. J. Warner’s professional investigative work has received national recognition; his cases have been featured more than any other detective on NBC’s Dateline, and his work has also appeared on CourtTV and Fox News. He also appears on television as an investigative consultant and had a role in God’s Not Dead 2, making the case for the historicity of Jesus. J. Warner was awarded the Police and Fire Medal of Valor “Sustained Superiority” Award for his continuing work on cold-case homicides. Relying on over two decades of investigative experience, J. Warner provides his readers and audiences with the tools they will need to investigate the claims of Christianity and make a convincing case for the truth of the Christian worldview. You can follow J. Warner Wallace on Twitter @JWarnerWallace

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