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7.4 Fine Tuned Universe

Intelligent design proponents also raise arguments outside biology. These include the values of fundamental physical constants, the relative strength of nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravity between fundamental particles, as well as the ratios of masses of such particles. They say that if any of these values were even slightly different, the universe would be dramatically different, making it impossible for many chemical elements and features of the Universe, such as galaxies, to form. Thus, they say, an Intelligent Designer of life was needed to ensure that the requisite features were present to achieve that particular outcome.

Victor J. Stenger and other critics say both Intelligent Design and the weak form of the anthropic principle are essentially a tautology; in his view, these arguments amount to the claim that life is able to exist because the Universe is able to support life. Life as we know it might not exist if things were different, but a different sort of life might exist in its place. A number of critics also say that calculations made by mathematicians and physicists suggest that the emergence of a universe similar to ours is quite probable.

Proponent Granville Sewell stated that the evolution of complex forms of life represents a decrease of entropy, thereby violating the second law of thermodynamics and supporting Intelligent Design. This is a misapplication of thermodynamic principles as the second law applies to closed systems only. If this argument were true, living things could not be born and grow, as this also would be a decrease in entropy. However, like evolution, the growth of living things does not violate the second law of thermodynamics, because living things are not closed systems, they have external energy sources (e.g. food, oxygen, sunlight) whose production requires an offsetting net increase in entropy.