As a physicist, and having studied the nature of the universe in some detail, it is overwhelmingly clear to me that the universe is not designed with humanity in mind. An unimaginably tiny percentage of the observable universe would be capable of supporting human life, and both the spatial and temporal extent of the human race is negligible when compared to that of the universe. I find it bemusing that in light of these facts anyone can maintain we are the central feature of the universe.
Yet the idea that the universe is designed specifically with humanity in mind is perhaps the core idea at the heart of monotheism. Implicitly, at the very least, monotheism reduces the universe to a stage upon which we perform, and are judged before venturing into the after-life.
But the universe appears to be much more than just a stage for us. If a stage is all the universe is supposed to be, why is it so incomprehensibly large? Why is there so much in it that is totally irrelevant to the main act on Earth?
A response I’ve heard to this point before is that the universe is so vast, and humanity’s place in it so small, in order to reflect the vastness and comparative greatness of God to humans. But this sounds like nothing more than vanity, it’s a petty and unnecessary display of grandeur. More importantly however, the universe that’s out there isn’t a paragon of complexity, order or magnificence. The night sky is literally just a collection of randomly dispersed white dots.
Of course I feel, as any sane human should, profound and awe-inspired when I look up at the night sky. The thought of staring into something so vast and unexplored sends shivers down my spine. But the scene in front of me doesn’t make me think this universe could only have been crafted by a supreme intelligence, it looks like a jumbled mess.
My contention is that the state of the universe around us offers far more support to the hypothesis that the universe is not designed for humanity, than it does to the contrary. The universe looks exactly how we’d expect if it were not created.
If judging the lives of humans were the sole purpose for the existence of the universe, which is what you have to believe as a monotheist, then there is a certain way we would expect the universe to appear:
- Small – there’s no need really for a universe larger than (at most) the solar system, everything outside it has virtually no impact on the way we live our lives.
- Young – all the time before humans existed is irrelevant
- Habitable – any area of the universe that cannot support or contribute to the existence of human life is irrelevant
- (Ordered) – I put this in brackets because it’s not really necessary. Order would be a conceivable way for God to showcase his majesty and supreme intelligence, but why would God need to do this?
- Purposeful Design – the subject of creation is humanity, as such everything in the universe should have a purpose with respect to humanity. Other planets, solar systems, galaxies, even animals seem to have no reason for existing.
The universe is not like this at all. The universe looks exactly how we should expect it to look if the existence of humanity is a mere coincidence or accident in the universe. If the universe were not designed for humans we would expect humans to be an insignificant part of the universe – they are. We would expect the universe’s structure to appear fairly random – it does. We would expect the universe to be mostly incapable of supporting human life – it is. We would expect there to exist things in the universe that played no significant role in our lives – there are such things.
To summarise, the universe appears exactly as we should expect if it were not designed. It’s appearance lends far more support to the hypothesis that humans are not the metaphorical centre of the universe than to the contrary. The contrary however is something you have to believe as a monotheist.