Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2009 8:19 PM
Subject: Evidence for God?
Hello Professor [RECIPIENT],
I walked into your talk yesterday at [university2] curious about what
"evidences" you had for God. As expected, I was left disappointed and
frustrated. As a physics student, I have always wondered how it is
possible for some "physicists" to reconcile a genuine belief in God and
their scientific reasoning. After listening to your lecture, I think I
found how. But first, please allow me to give you some of my thoughts
regarding the scientific basis of your talk, more specifically physics.
Let's start with the fine tuned universe. Despite being vague, you are
correct that the universe will be drastically different and incapable of
sustaining life if some of the fundamental constants were altered by a
tiny fraction. But I was really skeptical about the explanations you
gave, in particular, you mentioned one number: 10^-60. Would you clarify
to me what that number is. It seems that you think it is a fractional
change of one of the fundamental constants (such as the relative
strengths of the forces) that would render our universe incapable of
sustaining life, if so, please give me a credible source.
If I may make a guess, I think that number describes what is called the
vacuum catastrophy. It is the RATIO between the observed energy density
of the universe and the order of magnitude of the vacuum expectation
energy predicted by quantum field theory. And instead of being 10^-60,
it is of the order 10^-120. This is more of an artifact of quantum field
theory than something that is "fine tuned".
You also mentioned how the cosmological constant seem to be fine tuned,
and the universe would either shrink or expand too rapidly if the
cosmological constant shifts a TINY amount. I would like you to back up
that claim, with at least a qualitative demonstration that you
understand: a) what is the cosmological constant. b) How it affects the
dynamics of the universe through the Einstein Field Equations. Again, I
think (and I could be wrong) what you really meant is the fact that the
observed cosmological constant is extremely close to zero, and that
seems to be too much of a coincidence. To that end I invite you to read
some of the researches that provides a theoretical explanation that
drives the cosmological constant to zero, such as the inflation theory
by Prof. Alan Guth at MIT. This theory not only explains why the
cosmological constant is so small. it also explains the uniformity of
the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. For a list of observational
data that supports this theory:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation_%28cosmology%29#Observational_status
Perhaps instead of saying "God made it zero", a more reasonable and
intelligent response is to actually understand why.
Alright, now to Anthropic principle. I am not sure if it is intentional,
but you completely flipped what that principle says. According to you,
the principle states that the universe is fine tuned FOR us. Thus
concluding God must have prepared it carefully, drawing various
analogies involving a tornado and 747. What the principle actually says
is that BECAUSE we exist as intelligent life forms capable of observing
our surroundings, the universe must have had the right parameters for
the formation of galaxies, stars, and life. Therefore it should be no
surprise that when we observe what's around us, it seems specifically
tuned for us. If the universe were not fine tuned, there would be
nothing to observe it. Here is an excerpt from the wikipedia article on
"The argument can be used to explain why the conditions happen to be
just right for the existence of (intelligent) life on the earth at the
present time. For if they were not just right, then we should not have
found ourselves to be here now"
Some people believe that there are many parallel universes, perhaps with
a wide range of parameters, many of which will not support life. In your
presentation, you discredited the multiple universe viewpoint as being
ridiculous and unsupported by evidence, therefore claiming instead of
believing in something far-fetched like that, we should believe in an
almighty being that specifically made a fine tuned universe just for us,
because he loves us and wants to be love... Well... that itself sounds
ridiculous and unsupported by evidence to me. Further, the multi-verse
theory is not complete nonsense being a prediction from string theory,
and parallel universes are predicted to interact with each other through
gravitation, one day physicists may actually confirm them
During your presentation, you mocked atheists who claim the Bible is
scientifically flawed without actually reading the Bible. I find it
really ironic how you discredited the multi-verse theory without any
real understanding. The same can be said for your discussion on
anthropic principle, and the fine tuning of the universe. Personally, I
have no right to say whether the multi-verse theory is ridiculous or
not, and If you think your degree in CHEMICAL physics gives you any more
authority than me, you are horribly wrong.
Physics aside, the other evidences you put forth in support of a
Christian God remain questionable and unscientific. Let me just focus on
one thing in particular: circumcision of babies on the 8th day is
You presented a graph of the prothrombin level in newborns versus time,
showing a minimum at day 3 and a maximum at day 8, in particular, a
decrease from day 8 to day 9, and your graph is cut off after day 9.
Well, to verify your claim I actually did some research. I did not find
much information except in the following link:http://www.trosch.org/the/circumcision-cancer.pdf
This is taken from a Christian website, and on page 3 they sited a graph
supposedly taken from a paper by Owen, Hoffman, Ziffren, and Smith. If
you do a google search on these names and add in prothrombin, you find
that their paper was published on Journal of Pediatrics, and you cannot
get the actual paper unless you pay.
Well, here is the interesting bit: That graph is cut off at the 8th day,
therefore we cannot conclude that the prothrombin level is the highest
on that day (perhaps on day 9 it is even higher). Whereas on your graph,
a clear decrease is shown. Therefore I have to conclude you got your
graph from another source, I challenge you to give me that source. I am
not looking for qualitative explanations of how it decreases after day
8, I ONLY want the source of your graph. I don't know how you do things
at [college], but at MIT and anywhere else, you cannot
alter a graph based on your own interpretation. I certainly hope that as
a scientist, you at least have the honesty to not fudge graphs.
To be frank, and excuse me for being bold, I believe that your
scientific ignorance is the reason for your beliefs. I think I made a
gross understatement yesterday by saying "you don't know much in
physics". In defense, you waved your PhD in chemical physics at me, but
really (please do correct me if I am wrong), I would be very surprised
if you have rigorously done anything beyond basic molecular quantum
mechanics for that degree. Extrapolating from what I currently know, you
are at best a chemist with a mediocre understanding of physics. That
gives you no right to talk about other areas of physics which you have
no expertise at. And ultimately, your attempt as an apologist to justify
the existence of a God based on your shallow grasp of these physical
concepts is futile.
To reiterate, I hope you can provide the following:
1. Elaborate on 10^-60 involved in fine tuning.
2. Explain how the universe would shrink or expand too rapidly.
3. Provide the source where you obtained the prothrombin level graph.
Department of Physics