Do We Live in a "Golden Ratio" Universe?

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Writing recently about the Golden Ratio, we described how spiral shells grow according to that special ratio, designated by the Greek letter phi (φ = 1.618...), based on the Fibonacci series, that the human eye finds pleasing. Since hurricanes and spiral galaxies also follow the same proportions, it seems that natural laws can explain how non-living spirals in hurricanes and galaxies will grow, but living things like ammonite shells require genetic instructions. This is evidence of intelligent design, because no natural law pulls silicon out of seawater and fashions it into exquisite spirals without being directed by a code. The ubiquity of φ in so many unrelated phenomena, both living and nonliving, suggests a deeper level of design in the universe.

Now two scientists from South Africa say that φ is the key to unifying all of science. A news item from the University of Witwatersrand ("Wits" for short) in Johannesburg summarizes an article of scientific correspondence by Jan Boeyens, a former Wits University Professor and now at the Centre for Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria, and Professor Francis Thackeray, a paleontologist at Wits University's Evolutionary Studies Institute. Writing in the South African Journal of Science, "Number Theory and the Unity of Science," Boeyens and Thackeray relate an astonishing list of apparently unrelated phenomena that follow the Golden Ratio:

  • The curl of an elephant tusk
  • The shape of a kudu's horn
  • Hurricane spirals
  • The distribution of planets in the solar system
  • A biological species constant, T
  • The spiral structure of the cochlea ear-bone in a fossil hominin
  • The logarithmic spirals of galaxies
  • The structure of DNA
  • The growth of many plants (phyllotaxis)
  • The Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Spiral shells of certain mollusks, like snails
  • Spiral shells of living and extinct ammonites
  • Stress patterns in nanomaterials
  • The stability of atomic nuclides
  • The topology of space-time

Boeyens even says that "concepts associated with relativity and quantum mechanics can be integrated, through the number 1.618." He shows briefly how this is done.

To Boeyens and Thackeray, this evidence suggests a deep relationship in the fabric of space-time that includes biology:

We suggest that there is a strong case that this so-called 'Golden Ratio' (1.61803...) can be related not only to aspects of mathematics but also to physics, chemistry,biology and the topology of space-time....

Apart from the Golden Ratio, a second common factor among this variety of structures is that they all represent spontaneous growth patterns. The argumentthat this amazing consilience ('self-similarity') arises from a response to a common environmental constraint, which can only be an intrinsic feature of curved space-time, is compelling. (Emphasis added.)

In concluding, they argue for the unification of all the sciences around the Golden Ratio:

The time has come to recognise that relativity and quantum theories can be integrated, and linked numerically to the value of a mathematical constant -- whether in the context of space-time or biology.

They never explain, though, why this should be so. Is it a requirement of any universe in a multiverse that it must follow the Golden Ratio? That idea would seem hard to defend; advocates of a multiverse typically agree that physical parameters could take on any values, because they wish to avoid the conclusion that our universe's fine-tuned values were chosen by design. We live in a fine-tuned universe, they say, by luck: we won the Cosmic Lottery. A higher-level principle of natural selection dictates that complex life can only appear in a universe like ours.

Multiverse speculations might account for a finite set of lucky draws, but could it explain an all-pervasive ratio like φ? Could you have a universe with constants of gravity, electrical charges, and cosmological constant like ours, but with its space-time fabric following some other proportion? Why not? φ is an irrational number derived from a mathematical series, the Fibonacci series. There are plenty of other numerical series around. Why is a consistent mathematical form even necessary for a universe?

These are deep questions that can only be tested philosophically, because we only have one universe to observe. But it must strike any reasonable person as uncanny that so many phenomena are unified by a certain number, 1.618..., derived from a mathematical series, that permits the existence of "endless forms most beautiful." The idea that nature can be unified in this manner is consistent with intelligent design in two ways: (1) Most contingent values of fundamental constants would preclude observers, and (2) the Golden Ratio gives the universe a beautiful form that aesthetically minded observers can appreciate.

A Powerful Apologetic Method: ABDUCTIVE Reasoning!

"What in the world is 'Abductive Reasoing'?" Well, abductive reasoning is employed by crime scene detectives, car mechanics, and your medical doctor.  Abductive reasoning is when you look at all the known facts, and seek to form the best explanation to explain the data.  Abductive reasoning seeks to find the "inference to the best explanation" for the known facts.   

This is a vital way of thinking and investigating that all serious Christians should be engaged in....

 - Pastor J. 

Question #1: "Can Atheism Explain the Existence of our Universe?"

(pt.2) In this second installment of our new miniseries, "GOD: The Best Explanation?", we begin to investigate whether a personal Creator God might or might not be a good explanation of the features we observe about our universe and reality in general.

In this video we will take a look at Feature #1 that needs to be explained by any good worldview: the existence of the universe. Why is there anything rather than nothing? What is the best explanation for this fact of existence - Atheistic Naturalism? That the universe caused itself? Perhaps it is unexplained?

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What Does One Mean by “the Universe”?

I have a question about contemporary cosmology and how the word "universe" is often used. As you know when a proponent of the Kalam argument uses the word universe" they mean "the entire space time manifold." However a while ago on the forums and on the link at the very bottom somebody pointed out that when physicists like Vilenkin use the word "universe," they are using it differently than proponents of Kalam are. He then gives a quote (via email correspondence apparently) from Vilenkin saying
It is certainly more than what we can have access to. Regions beyond our cosmic horizon are included. But if there are other universes whose space and time are completely disconnected from ours, those are not included. So, by “universe” I mean the entire connected spacetime region.--Alex V.
If this is true then what does this do for the scientific evidence that you and Craig use to defend premise (2) of Kalam? Thanks for your time.
Source of the quote comes from here:
Click HERE to read Dr. Craig's response

“God” and “the Cause of the Universe”

Dr. Craig, I was wondering what the relationship between the proper name 'God' and the definite description 'The cause of the universe' is. A widely held belief amongst philosophers of language is that definite descriptions do not have the same referent in every possible world. For example, 'The man that won the election in 2008' is not necessarily Barack Obama. It may have been the case that John McCain won. So what about the definite description 'The cause of the universe'? If this doesn't have God as a referent in all possible worlds, then there is a possible word in which God is not the cause of the universe. Does this entail that there is no God? If God exists, does he have to be the cause of the universe out of necessity?


United States

To read Dr. Craig's answer please click HERE