Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Kicking a finely-tuned can down the road
We live within the context of our own lives. Properly done, this is not a bad thing. It is perhaps the best thing we can do. Perhaps it is what we are meant to do. But there is more.
For there to be life on Earth, there is an infinite number of things that must be just so. If any one of these things, these properties, are altered, we would not be. Say, the dynamo within our planet that sets up a shield that keeps solar radiation at bay, or Jupiter where it is, our helper, collector of the solar systems rocky flying debris, or the properties of water-ice. Finely-tuned. But this is nothing!
For life to exist, the universe must exist. In fact life may not be the point at all. For the universe to exist, the laws of physics must be in place and favorable. There is a thing called the cosmological constant, a number, a formula, that describes an unknown factor that keeps the stars in place. If off in the least, all of what we know, planet, stars, galaxies, the universe itself, would fall in on itself in a instant, and we never would have been. This number is such a knife-edge, the odds of its being just so is an impossible number; one of those "10s to the power of" with thousands of zeros after it. Finely-tuned.
Tis trivial! For the big bang, the birth of the universe, to have happened, take this impossible number and make it seem as an ant crawling on a star. "This" knife-edge number is beyond belief! Something like a trillion zeros. Finely-tuned.
And so what do scientist say? Well, there are some possibilities here. 1) it is all in place by accident. Their conclusion to this is that the numbers are so incredible that to be by accident is just absurd! 2) Design. Their conclusion is rejection because they see no designer. Someone turning all the knobs, I guess. 3)Necessity. Rejection because they see no underlying universal law to make it so. 4)Multiverse. The idea that this is but one of an infinite number of universes, from perhaps an infinite number of big bangs, or not, an thus all possible universes exist, all trying out differing laws of physics, and by chance we are the goof-ball that has the right laws for life to arise. But there must be an infinite variety here to cover every instance of chance, so we exist in other universes as well, living Baazaro lives, doppelgangers if you will. Any possible scenario you can think of exists somewhere in this multi-plexing reality. (Hmm, so God must exist somewhere, and Martha Stewart really is the anti-Christ somewhere)...Most scientist now think this to be the case.
But one of them pointed out that this is just kicking the can down the road, like the idea that life on Earth came from Mars on a fragment of flying rock. But where did life on Mars come from? Thus the idea of multi-verses wilts when one realizes that to make the big bang, the birth-father of all these multiverses, a single set of physical laws must be in place. And likewise, how did this set of laws arise.
Here is my humble, infinitely insignificant, opinion:
A mix of necessity, and God. The first is easy, the second a bit tougher. If it weren't by necessity, it wouldn't be here. The words random and chance simply indicate a situation where all the variables are too complex to understand the development of the result. As mind boggling as this is, the simple fact is, "it", existence, exists. Why God? A personal bias I suppose, but for necessity to happen I feel there must be a basis of logic, reason, and meaning. Meaning runs smack into the God issue. For us "meaning" can only be met and grasped within the context of our own lives. To grasp the grand meaning is probably beyond our capacity; which leads me to our view of God.
To my mind we have on occasion, every now and then, an experience of God. At least many people do; not all. During these events we open a door and find that piece of the sacred within us, and are connected to the experience of the divine "All", our greater Self. It is a stunning experience of spiritual beauty. What we take away from this experience says a lot about us and our context. Many will interpret and misinterpret this experience through the flavors of their lives. In the context of a certain religious faith, perhaps the arts, perhaps science. The point being it is my belief that we do not understand what God is. We view him through the context of our lives; but we are ants looking at a rocket. I think we could do better. Understand more. We must do this by erasing what we think we know, opening up our eyes, and seeing anew. What exactly "is" God. We need to look at what is before us. See what is there for us to see, as best we can, and expand our vision as science has done over the ages; as the universe itself is doing this very moment.
Look how far we have come in science. It seems to me science is now bumping into a barrier. The barrier of its own context. What is on the other side? Necessity? Meaning of some sort? A new form of science where awe is a variable and beauty an attribute? Let us see if we can find a new door to open, and take a peek through.
Perhaps this is all the more true for religion.