The metaphor of cosmos as “watch” (a timepiece) captured the imagination of Enlightenment thinkers, confronted as they were with fresh insights into the laws governing motion both near and far. Despite the advance of science since the Enlightenment, the metaphor of cosmos as a watch persists. Indeed, we now know that the physical constants of nature are finely tuned to an almost unimaginable degree, so that, for instance, even slight changes in the force of gravity or electromagnetism would render the universe incapable of permitting life. In a crucial sense, then, the universe is watch-like, its physical constants resembling a precision instrument.
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