Imagine…. You want to buy a car. You have Toyota Collola in mind. You desirea red colored Toyota Corolla. One day go to a party. The party has been going on for hours. But nothing interesting has happened before you reached. Just when you reach there a game of lottery is arranged. A lottery ticket costs 54 Rs. You look in your pocket and you find exactly 54 rupees! People line up to buy tickets. When you reach the person selling the ticket he has the last one and he gives that to you.
The lottern is drawn and you win the first prize. And the first prize is a red colored Toyota Corolla. Would you not be surprized? There have been a string of very improbable coincidences which led to your winning. There almost seems to be a design here. It is almost that you were designed to win.
Scientists find themselves in a similar situation. When we look at the laws of nature and the constants of nature we find that they seem to be so finely tuned with one another that would enable intelligent life to exist.
Let me elaborate with some examples:
a) The universe is expanding at a rate. If it were expanding a little slower than it is now it would not have reached a stage that we are at now. It would have collapsed much before stars and planets were formed. If it expanded at a little faster then the density would be too less for masses to collect together and form stars and planets. SO it is expanding at just the right rate.
b) If the coupling constant for electromagnetic interactions was greater than what it is now then chemical reactions would be so violent that large molecules( like proteins, DNA, RNA) would not be stable. If the coupling constant were less then chemical reactions would be so slow that complex molecules would never form.
c) The relative strength of the em force and the nuclear forces is just about right to allow large atoms to form. If nuclear forces were stronger then the universe would only contain neutrons. If weaker then only hydrogen would exist.
So we see tha there have been a series of remerkable coincidences that have resulted in us existing. There almost seems to be a design here. And this is the Anthropic principle. There are two forms of the anthropic principle:
a) Life( and hence intelligent life) is forbidden in any universe except for a very narrow range of values of Physics laws and fundamental constants. So if a universe is created at random with random values of physical constants and laws of nature then life will not exist. So our universe is a very special case: it is just the right one. This is the weak form of Anthropic principle.
b) The strong form of the Anthropic principle states that in a Universe the laws of Physics and fundamental constants will be restricted to those ranges which make intelligent life possible. In short: we are inevitable.
Most scientists believe that the weak form of Anthropic principle is true. But they disagree with the strong form.
But even the weak anthropic principle is pretty amazing if you think about it. There are three possiblilities:
1) Our Universe is one of the many that exist( or have existed). Nearly all are/were lifeless. But our universe which has just the right physical laws and physical constants supports life. So we are a special case amongst the millions of lifeless universes.
2) There is a creator who has designed this universe to be just about right to support life. He has pulled the right knobs of physical laws and physical constants.
3) Our universe is the only one but it is a remarkable coincidence that it can support life.
I personally dont know. But it does make me wonder. Is there a meaning to all this?
Even if I assume that the universe was designed to support life then it would lead me to question if an individual has a purpose in this grand design. Surely we cannot be content by saying that the purpose of our life is to eat, drink and be happy. There has to be a deeper reason! Or is our purpose to fight with our neighbouring countries over pieces of matter(land). Surely not.
Personally I think that if we assume the possiblity that there is a reason why intelligent life exists then there seems only one purpose for that intelligent life: to understand, to ask questions like “why do I exist, why does this world exist, what is this universe, what are its secrets”. And there seem to be only two ways to ask and answer these questions: the way of faith-religion and the way of thought-science. What is your way?
Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides:
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides:
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time and regulate the Sun;