Mysterious coincidences in the cosmos and the subatomic universe
(From GOD - The Evidence:
The Reconiciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular world
by Patrick Glynn, Prima Publishing, 1997)
1. Gravity is roughly (10 to the power 39) times weaker than electromagnetism. If gravity had been (10 to the power 33) times weaker than electromagnetism, 'stars would be a billion times less massive and would burn a million times faster' . (John Leslie, Universes (London: Routlege, 1989), p.5.)
2.The nuclear weak force is (10 to the power 28) times stronger than gravity. Had the weak force been slightly weaker, all the hydrogen in the universe would have been turned to helium (making water impossible, for example) (Leslie, p.34)
3. A stronger nuclear strong force (by as little as 2 per cent) would have prevented the formation of protons -- yielding a universe without atoms. Decreasing it by five per cent would have given us a universe without stars. (Leslie, p.4)
4. If the difference in mass between a proton and a neutron were not exactly as it is -- roughly twice the mass of an electron, then all neutrons would have become protons or
vice versa. Say good-bye to chemistry as we know it -- and to life. (Leslie, pp.39,40)
5.The very nature of water -- so vital to life -- is something of a mystery. .... Unique among the molecules, water is lighter in its solid than liquid form: Ice floats. If it did not, the oceans would freeze from the bottom up and earth would now be covered with solid ice. This property in turn is traceable to unique properties of the hydrogen atom. ` (Barrow and Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: OUP, 1988, pp143-144, 524-541) Also Cf. D. Wilkinson, Our Universes (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp171-172.
6. The synthesis of carbon -- the vital core of all organic molecules -- on a significant scale involves what scientists view as an 'astonishing' coincidence in the ratio of the strong force to electromagnetism. (Wilkinson, pp.181-183; see also Gribbin and Rees, Cosmic Coincidences, New York: Bantam, 1989, pp.243-247). This ratio makes it possible for carbon-12 to reach an excited state of exactly7.65 MeV at the temperature typical of the center of stars, which creates a resonance involving helium-4, berylium-8 and carbon-12 -- allowing the necessary binding to take place during a tiny window of opportunity (10 to the power minus 17) seconds long.
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February 18, 1999