Skeptic: Digits and Fidgets; January 2003; Scientific American Magazine; by Michael Shermer; 1 Page(s)
In the limerick above, physicist George Gamow dealt with the paradox of a finite being contemplating infinity by passing the buck to theologians. In an attempt to prove that the universe was intelligently designed, religion has lately been fidgeting with the fine-tuning digits of the cosmos. The John Templeton Foundation even grants cash prizes for such "progress in religion." Last year mathematical physicist and Anglican priest John C. Polkinghorne, recognized because he "has invigorated the search for interface between science and religion," was given $1 million for his "treatment of theology as a natural science." In 2000 physicist Freeman Dyson took home a $945,000 prize for such works as his 1979 book, Disturbing the Universe, in which he writes: "As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming."
Mathematical physicist Paul Davies also won a Templeton prize. In his 1999 book, The Fifth Miracle, he makes these observations about the fine-tuned nature of the cosmos: "If life follows from [primordial] soup with causal dependability, the laws of nature encode a hidden subtext, a cosmic imperative, which tells them: 'Make life!' And, through life, its by-products: mind, knowledge, understanding. It means that the laws of the universe have engineered their own comprehension. This is a breathtaking vision of nature, magnificent and uplifting in its majestic sweep. I hope it is correct. It would be wonderful if it were correct."