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Was the Universe Designed?

Or a lucky accident? - We've written about the "Earth-Moon machine," by which we mean that the presence of the moon in its exact position relative to the Earth, slows down what would otherwise be life-destroying winds that would have halted the evolution of life. We've also recently received a respite from global warming. Is this evidence of God? Now a scientist thinks he sees signs that the universe is a product of intelligent design.

Quantum physicists hope to find at least a partial answer to this question at CERN. It turns out that tiny black holes are relatively easy to generate, and they are gateways to otherregions of space and time. Black holes created in the particle accelerator at CERN would consist of tiny masses squeezed into incredibly tiny volumes. But because of gravity's negative energy, it doesn't matter how small they are, because they can still inflate and expand, just as our universe did in the Big Bang. Meanwhile, quantum physicist Stephen Hawking is exploring the God question in his new book The Grand Design. Writing about the discovery of an Earth-like planet orbiting another star, he says, "That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions--the single sun, the lucky (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to all Anne's Mysterious Powers shows) combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass --far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings. Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

In his 1988 book A Brief History of Time, Hawking wrote: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason, for then we should know the mind of God," and in his new book, he writes: "The laws of nature form a system that is extremely fine-tuned. What can we make of these coincidences? Luck in the precise form and nature of fundamental physical law is a different kind of luck from the luck we find in environmental factors. It raises the natural question of why it is this way."

However, he rejects the creator theory and says that our particular planet-moon-sun system was formed naturally during the Big Bang. He rejects the idea that an intelligent mind is behind the creation of the universe. BBC News quotes him as saying, "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something, rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." But he understands the logic behind religions: "When the beings on a planet that supports life examine the world around them, they are bound to find that their environment satisfies the conditions they require to exist."

In other words, the worlds without these "lucky" juxtapositions will have no intelligent beings on them to speculate in this way. We don't seem to include anthropologists and sociologists in our SETI searches for signals from other worlds, but maybe we should because, according to Hawking, if we discover a planet that harbors intelligentlife, thesebeings will ALSO, by definition, have a religion.In the August 31st edition of the Telegraph, John Gribbin writes: "The great British astronomer Fred Hoyle suggested that the laws of physics were so uniquely conducive to human existence that the universe must be 'a put-up job.' I believe he was right: the universe was indeed set up to provide a home for life, even if it evolved through a process of natural selection, with no need for outside interference. It isn't that man was created in God's image--rather that our universe was created, more or less, in the image of its designers."

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