It is commonplace to gesture to the astronomical distances in the cosmos as an objection to teoleological arguments. This often means the debate slowly degrades into a pissing contest between “physical size” (small) and “spiritual” size.

But apparently the size of the universe does not reveal that we are insignificant. Rodney Holder writes in the Faraday papers:

“contrary to our intuitions, it turns out that the universe needs to be the vast size it is in order for humankind to exist. This is the size which an expanding universe with density close to the critical value reaches in the 14,000 million years which it takes to evolve human beings. In the simplest cosmo- logical model (which is fine for this purpose) the size, mass and age of an expanding universe are connected by a simple formula. A uni- verse with the mass of a single galaxy has enough matter to make a hundred billion stars like the sun, but such a universe would have expanded for only about a month so that no stars could yet have formed in fact. Thus the argument that the vastness of the universe points to man’s insignificance is turned on its head – in reality only if it is so vast, containing a hundred billion galaxies, could we be here!”



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