Finding a Painted Grain of Sand
“What if all the constants had been uniformly different by the same amount? For instance, what if each constant had been 10% less? Would life then have been possible? The answer is a definite no. In order to change the constants in such a way that the universe has a different set of constants but remains hospitable for life, each constant would have to be changed by a different amount, and the changes would have to be coordinated and harmonized in very, very complicated, intricate ways. According to those who study such things, out of all possible combinations of numbers, combinations of constants that allow for life are extremely improbable. Finding a different combination of numbers that would also allow for life would be as unlikely as finding a grain of sand that has been painted red and dropped at random somewhere in one of Earth’s oceans.“
Compared to our time here on Earth, the life cycle of a mayfly is incredibly short with as little as one day of life as a fly. What can I do in just one Earth day? Wake up, drive two hours to go to work, work for 10 hours, drive home for another two, and then barely get my assignments in on time. Really, a day is nothing to me. But if a mayfly spends its whole life in one day, then its going to feel like a lifetime!
As I’m getting older, the years are getting shorter and shorter. This view of time to me is a reflection of the percentage of time that a year takes of my life. When I was 5 years old, Christmas took FOREVER to comeback around again, but then it was just 1/5 of my life. Now, I swear it feels like it comes every three months — and I’m advised that it just gets worse and worse as you get older. 1/28 is FAR smaller than 1/5.
Time is something that we use to measure our daily activities, but its also on of the dimensions of the Universe that stretches out as far as eternity. Because that is as far as we can imagine it to go. On a 5 mile stretch of freeway, riding along it on just a tricycle it will take forever to get from point A to point B. But when you drive that same stretch of freeway in a Lamborghini it will take just moments. Just because we do not have the mental capacity to be able to fine-tune such an environment does not mean that something greater, or even bigger wouldn’t be able to do it in a reasonable amount of time based on their view of time if they exist above our dimension. Finding a painted grain of sand somewhere on Earth is not impossible – its just impossible for us.
What if all the constants were different, but on a scaled level accurate to each constant, would life then be possible? Based on the quote above, the answer to that would be “yes”. If that were the case, then the possibility of life occuring on its own dramatically increases. This means that there could potentially be an infinite number of ways for life to exist, all with their own very specific requirements of constant measurement. . . from one based on infinitesimal constant measurements proportionately scaled up over and over again we’re likely to encounter innumerable variations that would still support life.
Just because it is not something we’re capable of discovering in our short life doesn’t not mean that it is impossible.