The Statistics of Christianity Part 1: How Fine Tuning Demonstrates God Exists

Job 38:8,10 “Who shut in the sea with doors; I fixed My limit for it and set bars and doors.”

My wife recently sent me to pick up a table from someone on Facebook Marketplace, where I had the pleasure of meeting Trevor, a young man who just graduated from University of Kansas with a PhD in Statistics.

Trevor was moving to Colorado for his first job as Director of “Big Data.” As a system engineer and statistician, I told him that statistics, especially fine tuning, demonstrates God’s existence. Trevor, who knew what I meant by fine tuning as it applies to statistics, said he is spiritually minded but considered himself an atheist.

He was immediately interested in my challenge. We spent an hour together in his garage as I went through the logical argument for God’s existence using statistics. It is an easy, and powerful, argument to grasp. Here it is.

Premise 1: Fine tuning requires an intelligent designer. Premise 2: There is great fine tuning in the universe.
Conclusion: There is an Intelligent Designer of the Universe.

To understand this, we need to understand fine tuning and precision. Precision is a term used in statistics to describe a process’s behavior. It refers to a process that yields very similar, repeatable results. Fine tuning goes further by placing limits on the process and then checking how well it performs against those limits.

Notice something significant. Limits on a process never originate from the process itself. To measure process performance, someone or something outside the process must impose limits on that process so it can then be assessed for how capable it is to operate within those limits. So, from where do the limits originate?

There are statistical tools to describe the behavior of any process. Engineers use these tools to describe that process’s level of precision, which is a behavior. But an engineer still can’t tell if that process is capable of meeting the needs of the customer. A highly precise process might still fail. This is where fine tuning comes in.

Until an external source applies limits to that process, we cannot tell how capable that process is to perform to customer requirements. In process and system design, limits always come from intelligent engineers.

Once an engineer (intelligent agent) sets the limits for that process to deliver to the customer’s results, that engineer can now determine the level of performance of that process to operate within those limits.

We do this all the time in normal everyday life. For example, when a young adult like Trevor graduates from college and gets their first job, suddenly they are responsible for lots of bills such as insurance, car payment, student loans, rent or mortgage, and it goes on and on (I miss those easy, carefree college days).

Each month money comes in from their first job (earnings) and money goes out (bills, spending). Do you think a young adult should pay attention to the behavior of the budget process of “Money In – Money Out”?

While that young adult’s budget precision matters, every month they could be precise at $300 in the red (overspending). Overspending creates defects (bounced checks is one example). So, precision is not enough.

To have a high-performing budgeting process, young adults must finely tune their budget. That means they set a limit for their spending so it does not exceed their earnings. Then, if they are wise, they monitor their spending throughout each month to ensure they never exceed their limit. This limit is imposed from the outside by that young adult. Without a limit, no one knows the budget’s capability (even when knowing its behavior).

In the same way, this week’s verse shows how God applied limits in His creation. He reveals His omnipotence to Job by explaining it is His limits set on the seas that prevent them from overrunning the land, so life can exist (we know what happened to life when He removed those limits in Genesis and water covered the earth!).

God tells us He is the Earth’s Intelligent Designer who set limits to the sea, metaphorical “bars and doors.” God finely tuned the seas’ operations so He can get the expected results – life on earth.

A more amazing example of fine tuning is our universe’s expansion rate. In 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered our universe expands at roughly 71 km/sec/mpc. But the amazing finding is the rate is precise to 71 such that only one time in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 occurrences will it differ. That’s precise. But it must stay at this precision or life cannot exist. That’s fine tuning.

There is an intelligent designer outside the universe who finely tuned universal expansion by setting limits to its behavior so the designer gets the needed results – life. The best candidate for this intelligent designer is God.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance” _ Article #548

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