The word anthropic comes from the Greek word anthropos which means “human” or “man.” So the term “Anthropic Principle” is just a fancy name to describe the numerous highly improbable environmental conditions that exist in the universe that make life possible.
Numerous conditions have been identified that have to have just the right values (in other words, they need to be “tuned” to just the right degree) for any kind of conceivable physical life to exist in the universe.
If any of these conditions were to change even a little, the universe would be hostile to life and incapable of supporting it. I’ll quickly mention a few of these conditions and then I’ll tell you why many scientists think they point to the existence of a designer.
The first life-permitting condition is the force of gravity. If the force of gravity were much stronger everything would collapse. If it were much weaker everything would drift apart. If the speed of light or the mass of an electron, were even slightly different there would be no planet capable of supporting human life. If the force that binds subatomic particles (such as neutrons and protons) together within the nuclei of atoms were stronger or weaker by more than about one percent, the universe would be either all hydrogen or have no hydrogen at all. The energy levels in carbon atoms are just right for life to exist. Change them a little and the universe would be incapable of supporting life. And we could go on and on.
When it comes to these kinds of conditions, Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, states that if any of these constants “was off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, by one part in a million million...there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people.” [August 2006 interview with Salon.com]
Now, the odds that so many conditions in the universe could be so finely tuned has led many cosmologists and physicists to conclude that something supernatural is going on behind the scenes. Donald Page of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Science has calculated the odds against our universe randomly taking a form suitable for life as one out of 10,000,000,000 to the 124th power (online source).
Stephen Hawking said, “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” And elsewhere: “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe would have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” [Brief History of Time, p. 125. Second quote is in Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, p. 134.]
So even scientists who don’t consider themselves Christians are bringing God into the conversation when they discuss these finely tuned life-permitting conditions.
Well, this conclusion (that God is behind it all) of course does not sit well with atheists who are committed to a godless universe. So where do they run? How do they explain the fine-tuning of the universe? (They do acknowledge that what appears to be “fine tuning” exists.) So what do they do with it? Well, they–and this includes the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins–explain away the apparent fine-tuning of the universe with a fairy-tale like hypothesis called “The Multiverse.”
The multiverse? What’s that? Their “multiverse” hypothesis says that there are an infinite number of universes (thus the term “multi-verse”) and that somewhere in the mix of all these universes a finely-tuned universe will appear by chance alone. And we humans just happen to live in that finely-tuned universe (So, ‘There’s no need to believe in God!' they say. 'This universe ended up like this by chance!’).
Well friends, this is a desperate theory that atheists have come up with. What evidence is there for the existence of a multiverse? There is none. There is not a shred of evidence that there is even one universe outside our own, let alone an infinite amount of universes.
I find it ironic that atheists always want to talk about observational evidence, but when faced with the observational evidence of fine-tuning, they come up with an elaborate scheme that has no observational evidence to support it. None! And even if their multiverse theory was correct (and there are millions of universes in addition to our own), that still does not end the debate over the existence of God, for the question would remain:How did those universes come into existence?
Nothing does not produce something.
I think the multiverse theory actually makes the atheist’s dilemma more difficult. For, if the multiverse theory were true, “nothing” not only made one universe, nothing made a lot of universes. Well, I don’t have enough faith to believe in a multiverse. The fine-tuning of this universe–the only one we know exists–is compelling evidence for the existence of God.
The fine tuning of the universe is one of five different lines of evidence I put forth in the brand new edition of our DVD: "Evidence for the Existence of God." You can click here for a bit of a preview or to purchase a copy in our online store ($11.95).