Don’t Touch That Dial! (Or we’ll all die!)

Our intrepid hero, Rent a Friend 2000, finds himself waking on the polished white floor of a strange place. After the explosion on the Space Station, he was sure he would wake up in heaven, but it seems he has survived! Miracle of Miracles! After a quick look around, he finds that the sinister Dr. Materialist and the ponderous Dr. Pensive have also both survived, as has humorous and expendable junior cadet, Billy, who they all call “Skippy” because they are all too polite to call him “idiot.”

Look!” says Skippy. “Rent a Friend 2000 is awake!

Thank the improbabilities!” says Dr. Materialist. “We were afraid your life functions may have ceased.”

Yeah! And we was afraid you might’a died too!” adds Skippy.

Where are we?” asks our groggy hero. Looking out the window, he sees red rocks as far as the horizon. “We’re either on Mars or in Colorado.

We are on the surface of Mars,” answers Dr. Pensive. “We woke not long before you. It seems we are in some kind of biosphere.”

A Martian biosphere!” exclaims Rent a Friend 2000. “How did we get here?

We are not sure,” answers Dr. Materialist. “Though improbable, it is not impossible that the explosion threw us from the Space Station and into the Martian atmosphere, where an unusually strong updraft slowed our fall so that, when we landed in this biosphere, we were unharmed by the landing.

I figured we’d a burst into flames on the way down!” shouts Skippy. “Just all KABLOOEY!!!

I find that idea improbable,” says Dr. Pensive. “I do not see how we could have fallen from orbit and survived.”

But if we hadn’t,” snips back Dr. Materialist, “you wouldn’t be here to doubt it.”

And looky over here!” shouts Skippy as he suddenly hops up and runs off like some tiny excitable dog- the kind that celebrities are always carrying around in a purse.
Our intrepid hero follows Skippy to a large panel overlooking the Martian landscape. There are dozens of large dials, each set to different numbers. “What do these do?” he asks.

Don’t touch that dial!” shouts both doctors, “or we’ll all die!

Our hero steps back from the dials and grabs Skippy by the collar to get him away from the panel as well.

Each of these dials is fine tuned for our survival,” explains Dr. Pensive. “Dr. Materialist and I have both deciphered their purpose, and each of these dials is a control for one of the many life support systems in the biosphere. Each dial has at least a thousand possible settings, yet if a single dial is altered even a single position we will all die!

Rent a Friend 2000 pulls Skippy a little further from the panel. “Lucky someone knew we were coming!” quips our intrepid hero.

What do you mean?” asks Dr. Materialist.

I mean,” clarifies our hero, “it’s a good thing someone set all these dials like this so we could stay alive down here.

Oh, I don’t think there is any reason to assume they were set for us,” retorts Dr. Materialist. “It is a happy coincidence, to be sure, but there’s no reason to think they were set for us.”

But, if they weren’t set exactly as they are,” our hero replies, “we’d all be dead. The odds against them being set in just this manner by accident seems beyond impossible.”

My dear Rent a Friend,” chuckles Dr. Materialist, “you sound like Dr. Pensive. The only reason you are here to make that observation is just because they accidentally were set as they are. If they had not been, we would not be here to wonder at the improbable nature of it.”

I think you landed on your head,” suggests our hero with concern. “You think we fell from space and accidentally landed into a biosphere which ACCIDENTALLY has dozens of dials set within a thousandth of a degree for our survival? The odds are far better that we’d have died on reentry.

Like this, KABLOOEY!!!” yells Skippy.

Shut up Skippy. Doctor, it’s impossible that these settings would be as they are unless someone knew we were coming and had set them exactly as they needed to be for us,” our hero explains.

It seems that way,” says Dr. Materialist, “but you need to consider the bigger picture. There were probably a lot of us falling from the Space Station. It was fairly probable that someone would land in this biosphere, and by chance it was us. No doubt there are thousands of biospheres all with different settings. We were just the lucky few who happened to fall into the right one.

Rent a Friend 2000 looks out the window and sees nothing but red rocks to the horizon. “Uh… Doc, where are the other biospheres?

Well, we don’t know. They could be anywhere,” answers Dr Materialist. “We can’t see them. But for us to have happened to find the one with the right settings, clearly there must be a vast number of them all set randomly so that, by chance, one of them would have the right settings for us.”

You fell on your head.

Like this, KABLOO…!!!

So help me Skippy I will shove you out the airlock!

Will Rent a Friend 2000 shove Skippy out the airlock? And if he did, would Skippy find the thousands of invisible biospheres that Dr. Materialist thinks are scattered across the Martian landscape? Or did he just land on his head?

STAY (finely) TUNED!

This argument is actually a very real conversation happening in the realms of physics and cosmology. Our universe is governed by a large number of physical laws- like gravity or the forces that hold atoms together. Each of these forces is fine tuned to a certain quantity or constant.  If any of these forces were to be dialed the TINIEST bit different, our universe would not permit ANY life. And I don’t mean, if you doubled or halved these forces that things would go sideways for us. I mean, if you changed one a single percent, we all die. For many of them, the amount of change which would be devastating to us is SO SMALL that there are not words to describe. For one of these settings, the number of possible settings on the dial would be more than the number of ATOMS IN THE UNIVERSE (author’s note: That is a lot).  Turn the dial and all life ceases. Gravity is a bit more forgiving. Imagine that there was a ruler that stretched across the entire solar system. Each inch represents a different possible setting for the gravitational constant. How much could you change the setting before life became impossible? Maybe two inches. You hit three inches and it’s like this! KABLOOEY!!!!

In the minds of many, this fine tuning can only be the result of intelligent design (i.e. God). This argument is so powerful, and the conclusion so obvious that many atheists have been forced to theorize a super universe of infinite universes, so that our one fine tuned universe is just the happy accident that we fell into.

“Yes, it is unlikely that we have the right settings,” they admit, “But someone had to get the right universe, and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here to wonder at how unlikely it was.”  It’s like the lottery. SOMEONE has to win, right?

TRUE STORY: One year, on my birthday, I got a lotto ticket in my birthday card. When I scratched off the ticket, I saw that OH HAPPY DAY I HAD WON A MILLION…!!!!
“Oh, wait… this is fake isn’t it?”
“How did you know?” my friend asked me.
“Because I won,” I said.

What evidence do we have for the lotto being fixed? There is, as far as anyone knows, only one ticket, and we got it for our birthday. Those super universes full of other universes have never been seen. There is NO PROOF for their existence. The only reason they have been proposed is that some people don’t like the obvious conclusion that comes from realizing how fine tuned our universe it. That many have proposed a “Many Universes” theory only goes to prove how strongly the Fine tuning argues for the existence of God and His having designed the universe.

There is literally NO OTHER REASON this theory exists!

Let me sum up: A recognized fact leads to an unwelcome yet inescapable conclusion, so some invent a fiction for which there is not a shred of evidence. Remember when I said religion and science are not opposites? In this case, religion seems to have actual evidence on its side and “science” has… X-Men comic books? Hmmm….

For more info on this idea, please see Chapter Six of Lee Stroble’s “Case for a Creator,” or search for Fine Tuning (AKA The Teleological Argument) on his web site,, William Lane Craig’s or

And tune in next time for more thought provoking good times on RENT A FRIEND 2000! But don’t touch that dial- OR WE’LL ALL DIE!!!!


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