Image via WikipediaLet's assume, for sake of argument, that the universe is ultimately meaningless, without purpose and has no reason to care or cater to the needs of rational beings. People who believe this I will refer to as atheists.
I find atheists to be in an interesting predicament since I'm sure only one of two things are possible:
1. There is a theory of everything. (In the scientific sense.)
In this case, even though there is no reason a meaningless universe should be set-up just right to be understood by rational beings inside and out, this just happens to be the case. (Oh how wonderfully convenient for us! :)) Or as Einstein famously said:
"The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it's comprehensible"Einstein was right, and this is the ultimate coincidence problem. In physics, coincidence problems are ones where we find that, for whatever reason, we exist in a special situation in the universe. One that just happens to be suited for our needs. Physicists don't like these and so they are considered problems.
Well, then why do we find ourselves coincidentally in a meaningless universe that just happens to be so well suited for rational beings to understand inside and out? Why is it so well suited to be understood completely through man-made constructs we call scientific theories?
2. There is not a theory of everything. (In the scientific sense.)
In this case science cannot explain everything in the universe. People, like Hawking, trying to understand how the universe works fundamentally using science alone are doing so in vein. (And I am 100% pro-science, but if it cannot explain everything I have to admit it becomes limited in scope.)
People refer to problems with "god of the gaps" arguments with the assumption that all gaps will one day be closed by science. However, if there is not a theory of everything (in the scientific sense) then there will always be a gap a mile wide! (I'm not saying God necessarily goes there, only that the gap exists.) And since the gap is real, as the universe is real and science cannot explain all of it, this means something beyond science, or something that transcends science, is ultimately required to have a full understanding of our universe.
3. What I don't want to hear:
A. "This is just and attempt to prove Christianity." I've said nothing of Christianity. This coincidence problem would be independent of what religions, if any, walked the earth. Don't try to sneak around the problem by attacking religion. That would be a strawman argument.
B. "You have abused the meaning of Catch-22, this isn't technically what the word means." I realize this. This is a blog not a dictionary and I chose the word that for whatever reason I enjoyed the best.
C. "What are you trying to prove?" That being an atheist, you find yourself in an interesting predicament. On one hand the universe is devoid of meaning and yet it just happens to be "set up" for rational beings to understand inside and out. (Again, how wonderfully convenient for us humans! :)) And on the other, if it cannot be understood inside and out using rational thought than using science to understand the whole universe on a fundamental level is pointless, and there will always be a "gap a mile wide" that something beyond or transcending science must fill. (Again, I did not say it is the Christian God... I did not say what it was except it is something beyond/transcending science.)
Ultimately, I am just trying to echo Einstein saying "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it's comprehensible" and find it odd that atheists are not equally perplexed by all this as much as he was.