In the 1980s, I publicly predicted that evidence for cosmic fine-tuning for human life to be possible would continue to mount until atheists would be left with only one way to avoid crediting God with the fine tuning. That option would be the multiverse: the hypothesis that there exists an infinite number of universes where every individual universe manifests a different set of values for its features compared to all the other existing universes. In that scenario, one could argue that by pure chance alone we happen to live in the one universe where the values of all the cosmic features are just right for human existence. In other words, though the probability is near infinitely small that any individual universe would by chance possess the requisite conditions for life, with an infinite number of universes manifesting an infinite variety of values in the cosmic features, those conditions likely will be met in at least one universe.

It did not take long for my original prediction to be fulfilled. The evidence for ubiquitous, exquisite, and optimal design throughout the universe to make possible the existence of advanced life prompted Paul Davies, as early as 1988, to conclude,1

[There] is for me powerful evidence that there is “something going on” behind it all. The impression of design is overwhelming.

Within a decade of Davies’s conclusion, nontheistic astronomers and physicists began speculating that the multiverse, rather than God, might be behind the apparent cosmic design.2

But there is a fatal problem with appealing to the multiverse to explain away the need for a divine Designer; the same appeal can be invoked to explain away the need for human designers. The multiverse, in the form that nontheists propose, not only explains away God’s design, it also explains away all human designs.

For example, in an infinite number of universes where all conceivable variations on the features of the universes are manifested, there could be an infinite number of planets just like Earth. And on those infinite number of Earth-like planets there could be an infinite number of trees that shed pieces of white bark indistinguishable from 8.5 x 11-inch sheets of paper. These pieces of white bark could fall upon soil containing chemicals that could imprint random ink-like markings on the pieces of bark. Inevitably there will be sets of bark pieces that possess imprinted markings identical to all the research papers published by all the nontheistic research scientists in the world.

As theoretical physicist Paul Steinhardt has pointed out, the problem with the atheistic version of the multiverse is that the hypothesis provides for all possible outcomes.3 There is nothing that such a hypothesis could not conceivably explain. And yet if a hypothesis can explain everything, then it really explains nothing. No experiment or observation could possibly falsify any of its explanations.

Using the same reasoning that nontheists apply to credit the multiverse, not God, with all observable designs in the universe, we could also conclude that the multiverse, not scientists, is responsible for all the research papers published in the scientific literature. This analogy points out a major philosophical inconsistency in nontheists’ use of the multiverse. One cannot use a standard for testing the reality of divine design different from the one used for testing the reality of human design. In other words, if one accepts the reality of human designs based on the physical evidences for those designs, then by the same kinds of investigation and deduction one must accept the reality of divine design.

The example here is just one of at least ten different reasons why the atheistic version of the multiverse does not eliminate the need for a personal, supernatural Creator and Designer. I devoted six pages in my book More Than a Theory to outlining several of these reasons.4 My colleague Jeff Zweerink wrote a booklet on the subject, Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse?

Endnotes

  1. Paul Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature’s Creative Ability to Order the Universe (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), 203.
  2. Helge Kragh, “Contemporary History of Cosmology and the Controversy over the Multiverse,” Annals of Science 66 (October 14, 2009): 529–51, doi:10.1080/00033790903047725.
  3. Paul Steinhart, “Big Bang Blunder Bursts the Multiverse Bubble,” Nature 510 (June 5, 2014): 9, doi:10.1038/510009a.
  4. Hugh Ross, More Than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009), 212–17.
  5. Jeffrey A. Zweerink, Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse? (Glendora, CA: Reasons to Believe), 2008.

Subjects: Anthropic Principle, Apologetics, Fine-Tuning, God's Existence, Intelligent Design, Multiverse, Universe Design 

Check out more from Reasons to Believe @Reasons.org

About The Author

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. I also am eager to equip Christians to engage, rather than withdraw from or attack, educated non-Christians. One of the approaches I’ve developed, with the help of my RTB colleagues, is a biblical creation model that is testable, falsifiable, and predictive. I enjoy constructively integrating all 66 books of the Bible with all the science disciplines as a way to discover and apply deeper truths. 1 Peter 3:15–16 sets my ministry goal, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience." Hugh Ross launched his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why stars are hot. Physics and astronomy captured his curiosity and never let go. At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or "quasars," some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe. Not all of Hugh's discoveries involved astrophysics. Prompted by curiosity, he studied the world’s religions and "holy books" and found only one book that proved scientifically and historically accurate: the Bible. Hugh started at religious "ground zero" and through scientific and historical reality-testing became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God! When he went on to describe for others his journey to faith in Jesus Christ, he was surprised to discover how many people believed or disbelieved without checking the evidence. Hugh's unshakable confidence that God's revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Wholeheartedly encouraged by family and friends, communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. Thus, in 1986, he founded science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe (RTB). He and his colleagues at RTB keep tabs on the frontiers of research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology. In this realm, he has written many books, including: The Fingerprint of God, The Creator and the Cosmos, Beyond the Cosmos, A Matter of Days, Creation as Science, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, and More Than a Theory. Between writing books and articles, recording podcasts, and taking interviews, Hugh travels the world challenging students and faculty, churches and professional groups, to consider what they believe and why. He presents a persuasive case for Christianity without applying pressure. Because he treats people's questions and comments with respect, he is in great demand as a speaker and as a talk-radio and television guest. Having grown up amid the splendor of Canada's mountains, wildlife, and waterways, Hugh loves the outdoors. Hiking, trail running, and photography are among his favorite recreational pursuits - in addition to stargazing. Hugh lives in Southern California with his wife, Kathy, and two sons.

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