Science and Creation
Posted: 26 September 2010 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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There is one fundamental topic we should all try to agree with and this is about the “Origin of the Universe”.

Is the Universe eternal?  Did space-time started at some point?  Did it start spontaneously? Did someone or something created it? What does science tell us about all this?  How certain is science with respect to the origin of the Universe?

If we can agree on an answer based on scientific evidence, I think the ground of discussion would be clearer, the discussion would be more enlightening and our understanding of the world we live in will be better.

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Posted: 28 September 2010 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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dear iamwhoiam,

i appreciate your attempt to find common ground, though i suspect that you would use it as a launching point for justifying the supernatural. just being honest. maybe i’m wrong.

it’s a bit too early for there to exist some consensus on the “origin of everything”. we simply don’t know enough about the laws of physics on a grand scale. just the other day i read an article suggesting that the laws of physics may vary in different parts of our universe. clearly, we still have much to learn.

if you are a faith driven individual don’t be encouraged that science doesn’t have all the answers. it takes work to get those kinds of answers.

when the faithful are told that science has not yet solved this problem or that one, they attempt to satisfy our ignorance by inserting the unreachable being as the explanation. this is nothing more than wishful thinking. no work went into that explanation. it was invented with language. weather gods turned out to nonsense. ocean gods turned out to be nonsense. fire gods turned out to be nonsense. demons causing disease turned out to be nonsense. real answers are a result of hard work.

im new here, so if you are a non-believer, obviously unknown to me, then i apologize.

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Posted: 28 September 2010 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thank you Electric_Monk for your comment and your caring about posing it in the best manner possible.

What I see in this case is the other way around;  actually what I see is that science points very clearly that the Universe had a beginning and following the scientific method we pretty much arrive to the conclusion that there must be a force, out side and predating the Universe.

The main scientific concept behind this idea, that the Universe had a beginning, is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which basically states that it is impossible to have a closed perpetual motion system and this includes the Universe.

Cheers

IAMWHOIAM

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Posted: 29 September 2010 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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iamwhoiam,

I’ll have to admit that my familiarity with Thermodynamics is limited to perhaps 4 or 5 undergrad classes in physics. I liked vectors and optics the best. So, I am not equipped to refute (or support) your statements about Thermodynamic laws in specific terms.

However, let me just offer one suggestion as you carry these ideas forward in your discussions.

This is - don’t forget that whatever we have accomplished in science thus far is limited to our plane(s) of reference. What I really mean by this is that our current understanding in any area of discourse is nearly the best given the available data we have to scrutinize. At some future moment we may discover some previously unknown properties of matter, life, etc that revolutionizes our way of thinking (across many disciplines). The first idea that comes to my mind is how we are using new biological applications to improve medicine but also to perfect computing.

As a direct response to your statement about science indicating a clear beginning, this seems to be true. But I have have to admit my skepticism of the idea that our universe is the terminating entity. To save time, let’s speculate that the terminating entity is 3 levels above our universe - call it Megaverse. Our intellect requires us to identify a beginning - I feel this too. Hopefully you aren’t put off by my employment of Natural Selection here. We are “programmed” by our genes to recognize environmental threats in a cause/effect manner (if I remain here, the lion will eat me). In my opinion, we are forced/limited to applying that same resolution scheme to the cosmos. It is incomprehensible to me (and I daresay you) that the universe has always existed. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I can comprehend 1 million of anything, though I can appreciate the quantity.

If you allow me to carry this modesty forward, I would like to say that we are not equipped to make a declaration about beginnings and endings regarding the cosmos. We have working theories that are now the best available but which might be completely rejected at some future date. Imagine the entertainment of future generations when they look back on our application of “insert obsolete phenomenon”.

The biological pressure to make sense of the world can make one feel desperate. Desperate enough to hypothesize a cosmological parent as the initiator and terminator. In this sense we are all children with respect to the universe. But, this hypothesis, though it seems to serve an important psychological function, has no basis in reality - since there isn’t a single example of evidence to support it. I have heard it said that god exists outside of our physical world. Unfortunately, if this same entity interacts with us daily in the form of answered prayers and miracles, it’s influence has intersected with the physical plane and therefore is observable. In application of my previously stated idea that perhaps matter has properties unknown to us - you might be tempted to say that a god acts in an unknown physical means beyond our current scope of recognition. To this I must fall back on statistical probability. I’ll steal the words of a famous Biologist, “Any being capable of creating a universe must be even more statistically improbable than its creation. If this is the case, then who created that entity?” No holy book can reconcile this problem. Using god as a terminator fails to resolve a first cause - i.e. why is god immune to creation. And to be pointed in my conclusion, any retreat further into the realm of linguistic constructs in order to prolong our discovery of god’s (in)existence risks being characterized as intellectually dishonest. Russel’s Tea Pot.

EDITED FOR SPELLING

[ Edited: 29 September 2010 10:16 AM by electric_monk]
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Posted: 30 September 2010 12:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi Electric and iamwhoiam:

To be honest physics have always put me to sleep.  But I agree with electric monk in saying that we simply don’t know enough right now to know for certain where and how or why the universe started. 

What I am sure though is that when we do learn the truth and the science behind it, theists will find a way to credit their god for it.

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Posted: 01 October 2010 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Hi electric_monk and yogyakarta:

I understand that science, scientific evidence and reason are the basis for our discussions and search for understanding as opposed to old stories or right out superstition.

I also understand that the second law of thermodynamics has a lot to say for the understanding of how the Universe works.

It is very interesting what Albert Einstein had to say regarding the second law :

“A law is more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different are the kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its range of applicability. (..) It is the only physical theory of universal content, which I am convinced, that within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts will never be overthrown.”

“Thus the science of thermodynamics seeks by analytical means to deduce necessary conditions, which separate events have to satisfy, from the universally experienced fact that perpetual motion is impossible”. .........including the Universe’s.

Or what Richard Dawkins himself stated:

“Nothing violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The great astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington put it with memorable irony.
“If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

There are certain premises in math (such as 2+2=4 or that if a>b and b>c, then a>c)  which we consider to hold true always; and theories in science which are considered to be true by the way of physical evidence, deduction, induction, or whatever.  It seems that one of these theories, which is considered an Universal Law, is the second law of thermodynamics.  Einstein and R. Dawkins seem to think so too.

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Posted: 01 October 2010 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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iamwhoiam,

Einstein and Dawkins have contributed excellent stuff to Science. However, we should still allow ourselves to challenge prevailing theories. This is an exciting exercise.

The mathematical formula 2+2=4 is not likely to change. We can probably all agree on that point. I don’t think anyone is wasting a lifetime of work to find an alternate solution. But with Thermodynamics - specifically the closed system example you are correctly proposing - I am willing to concede that an alternate solution does not seem possible given our available frames of reference. But, we are far from exhausting all avenues of exploration. One astrophysicist is working on a theory of the Holographic Universe. Just when we thought we were real - we might instead be a numerical representation of something else. I’m not blinding with science, I raising consciousness.

For argument’s sake - let’s stipulate that a deity satisfies your first cause. Your deity is neither immune to the second law of thermodynamics nor is it immune to needing an explanation for its own existence. I can imagine the deity floating around outside the “closed system universe”, but the deity itself must be in some other closed system. Even with this postulation, we get no where. Once we solve the problems of our immediate universe, we will move on to the levels above, including the deity’s own realm. How will you terminate the postulated deity’s realm? Another deity - a super deity? More realms? It doesn’t help us any.

EDIT:

At this point I will retire from this discussion. I have effectively demonstrated that your invocation of a god to satisfy creation in terms of the second law of thermodynamics presents us with an infinite regress. A hypothetical deity does not terminate this regress and therefore is not an appropriate solution.

10 PRINT ‘LAST DEITY’
20 GOTO 10
RUN

[ Edited: 01 October 2010 11:36 AM by electric_monk]
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Posted: 01 October 2010 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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IAMWHOIAM - 28 September 2010 08:24 PM

Thank you Electric_Monk for your comment and your caring about posing it in the best manner possible.

What I see in this case is the other way around;  actually what I see is that science points very clearly that the Universe had a beginning and following the scientific method we pretty much arrive to the conclusion that there must be a force, out side and predating the Universe.

Cheers

IAMWHOIAM

If so, then the force is as likely to be a “what” as it is a “who.” And as others have stated, what then, caused the “cause”?

Ron

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Posted: 02 October 2010 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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My dear electric_monk, too bad the discussion seems to be moving out of the scientific realm by introducing concepts such as “deities” and “regress” in the argument;  certainly there must be more room for rational and scientific discussion still; there should be lots of room!

I was hoping we could get to some sort of conclusion about the beginning of the Universe based on scientific evidence and it seemed to me that the second law of thermodynamics was a very relevant topic.  Actually the concept of the Holographic Universe is an effort to deal with black holes, their entropy and the need to comply with the second law.

We should first exhaust our scientific arguments, and then if we conclude to the best of our scientific knowledge that either the Universe is eternal, or that the Universe sprang spontaneously at the BB, or that there have been several or infinite “bouncings” of the Universe or that an outside force or energy started it all, it certainly would be interesting to talk in the most rational possible way about the metaphysics of all this.

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Posted: 15 October 2010 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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In addition to the second law of thermodynamics and the need for space-time to have a beginning it is interesting to note that the cosmological models fail as you get very close to t=0.  This is today scientific evidence, this is, the fact that the models fail would be a proof that at the beginning, that day did not have a yesterday as someone said, and that the force behind the big bang was necessarily present before the big bang and not subject to the laws, the forces, the information created at the big bang.

[ Edited: 15 October 2010 08:36 PM by IAMWHOIAM]
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