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The Meaning Of Life

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The Bible says it simply as: Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

Amos 5:14

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Meaning of life? To live to the glory of God. :)

 

Easy thing to love God with all your heart and all your soul.

Edited by Tunisia

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The only thing that everything in this universe does, without effort, choice, nor chance of reversal, is to play it's part in the increase of entropy.

 

Our planet is a product of the stars. Our plant-life feed off of our closest star, creatures eat of these plants, and we eat of these creatures...

 

Energy is processing energy, with entropy forever increasing. We are stars consuming stars!

 

What if the cause of and meaning to life, are exactly the same?

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That's not an answer Donald , but rather a statement . As to the "Meaning of Life  " Science doesn't know , religion doesn't know nor do you or I know .

To even ask such a question requires consciousness , and science has absolutely no clue about that .  "Stars eating Stars " ? That's just like saying an elephant is an animal .  

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Hi Eclipse

 

You may not like Donald’s answer but if you are speaking the truth when you say that you have no idea what the answer is then you can’t actually know that Donald’s words do not encompass the truth.  Your statement is self-refuting I’m afraid.

 

Maybe there is no more meaning to life than, as Donald states, stars eating stars.  We exist because we have no choice, we evolve because that works, we play our part because that is what evolution and the chemistry and physics behind it lead us to do, if we don’t play our parts we die and other creatures who do survive because that is what really drives life and us.  And yes entropy increases at every step.

 

Russell

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Russel , I do not have to like or dislike Donald 's answer . Nor he mine . You have no better answer as to the How or Why of this reality we experience . It is just as much a mystery to you as it is to Science and as it is to me .  You can merely describe the workings of the mechanisms , which are based on empirical science and observation . Donald puts it in a overly simplistic term , and I am not assigning negativity to his statement , because in essence that much is true . The matter that produced our star and it's planets and all life on the planet is a result of death and birth of other stars . And they are the result of gravity acting upon hydrogen and helium , the process of nuclear fusion which inturn produced the more complex elements and they eventually produced a living organism .  This is basic Science 101 .However you can not determine where the hydrogen came from , or Gravity for that matter . Nor can you answer why . No one can . You are correct in saying " maybe Donald is right , ...stars eating stars.."  

 Maybe , but maybe not  Russel , but you are not sure .Or are you sure of that Russel ?  I don't think so .  Because if you are , please present your findings to the world's foremost theoretical Physicists and Cosmologists. As per the latest data from the startup of LHC , even the Standard Model is being brought into question , as well as present understanding of Physics .  

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IMO Both religion and science struggle to identify that primary cause, that first link that started this chain. Science is more about how things work not why. Perhaps it will take time to reverse engineer to that point if the creator(s) allow that.

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Hi Eclipse

 

You are right when you say that science does not ‘know’ the meaning of life but then there’s an assumption in that statement that can’t be justified I’d have to suggest, you suggest that you believe, without foundation, that life has a meaning that needs an explanation.  All the evidence we have to date suggests that life has and needs no meaning and the only real meaning that our lives ever have are the meanings we invent for ourselves.

 

As for the how question science does indeed give us answers to that one, imperfect and incomplete answers but answers none the less.  Donald explained it imperfectly when he pointed out that we are stars eating stars. To be more precise we are the debris of old destroyed stars eating more debris of old destroyed stars powered largely by modern active stars. 

 

Science explains our form, evolution, it explains our origins, evolution again, and it is attempting to explain the origins of life on which evolution works to produce us.  Simple chemical self replicators are already known, replicators that may well be capable of evolving into us though that’s very early research at this stage. 

 

Science can’t explain the origins of the big bang at this stage though theories exist, a burrowing event into de-sitter space of a virtual particle triggering the expansion of this universe by creating a curvature in this ‘space’.  The key signature of such an event is that it produces zero energy and when you measure this universe the positive energy of matter / radiation etc exactly balances the negative energy of gravity producing zero in total as the model predicts so science has made progress on this front too and the only evidence we have at hand supports the scientific view of the universes origin.

 

From there the process that produced the hydrogen and helium that builds our stars is pretty well understood, we know how the big bang worked from a very tiny fraction of a second after the initiating event, long before there was any matter at all in this universe.

 

Russell

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Hi Russel , there is no scientific view on the Origin of the Universe , and yes a small fraction of time after the initiating event that started the inflation , but nothing beyond ,looking back. As for the origin of the Hydrogen and Helium , that is a total unknown.  I said I agreed with Tanker insofar as his over simplification "stars eating stars " , but stars are the result of basically two gases hydrogen and helium coalescing by gravity to the point of nuclear fusion where the components making up those elements where changed by that fusion into more complex and diverse elements and so on. So yes we do understand how stars are formed.

 

But no explanation of what or why the inflation was started , and no explanation of why an abundance of those elements. As for that unique property of life at least as far as we know , consciousness  - in humans? Do the stars have consciousness ? Why would a Universe born of necessity , for if the Universe is a result of gravity ,mass /energy  , why would consciousness be necessary ? I agree everything is in a state  of entropy , at least as far as we understand the laws of physics , from our local point of view. But is the Universe, observed to be in a state of expansion and acceleration ,also in a state of entropy ? Entropy may well be a physical law or phenomena observed only on our local level. The farther out we look the faster the galaxies are moving away from us , or at least that is how it appears to us.

Edited by ECLIPSE

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Hi Eclipse

 

I mentioned one speculative scientific view of the origin of the universe, the burrowing event of a virtual particle across the potential barrier into de sitter space triggering curvature of that space and beginning expansion / inflation so you are wrong here.  This idea conforms to everything we know of quantum physics and, as I said, it will leave one signature a zero energy universe.  That signature has been observed in this universe but that’s not enough to consider this a proven theory in any sense of the word but it’s an interesting observation.

 

As for the appearance of Hydrogen again you are a bit out of date, during the Nucleosynthesis epoch from around 3 to 20 minutes after the big bang as the temperature of the universe falls atomic nuclei begin to form from the energy of the curvature of space time by E=MC^2.  This initially forms Neutrons and Protons which form rapidly into Helium-4.  The rest follows on from there.  After around 17 minutes the temperature of the universe has fallen too low for nuclear synthesis to continue leaving around three times more hydrogen than helium-4.

 

Yes that plus gravity and the slight irregularity of the universe that we can image in the COBE experiments lead to the formation of stars and thus all the heavier elements we see and are made of today.

 

Consciousness is an interesting characteristic but is it such a mystery, sure we don’t understand exactly what it is but we clearly see what it can do.  Apply evolutionary theory to it and see what conclusions you can draw.

 

Creatures with consciousness can consider and control the world around them to a far greater extent for far less energy input than creatures that don’t have it.  Finding apples could be as simple as sucking on the end of every tree branch you find until you taste apple but it’s far more efficient to be able to see the colour of apples and use a mind to work out where and when to seek them.  More efficient again to understand the seasons and how apples trees react to them so you only spend time on apples when they may be there and more efficient again to learn to plant apple trees yourself.

 

Each step up this ladder has obvious evolutionary advantages so is the appearance of consciousness that allows this such a mystery?  Sure simpler systems could produce most of these behaviours but consciousness is so universally capable that it has advantages far beyond any fixed, genetically controlled system.  Social learning and the passing on of knowledge from one generation to the next in our cultures are also strongly advantageous so again strong drivers for evolution.  You may paint this as some great mystery but that’s just an argument from ignorance fallacy and I’d hope you are above that.

 

Russell

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Again Russell you merely explain mechanics out of observation. Before Hydrogen was what ? What was it that synthesized ? What comprised that Energy ?  Hydrogen like all other particles , atoms etc , have mass , Mass is a form of energy/Matter.  So Energy is assumed to  predicate Matter. Your description and statement is no more or less hypothetical than anyone elses guess.

 

 So too your description ,is not an explanation for consciousness . Consciousness was not necessary to start the Inflation was it ? Nor was it necessary for the formation of stars. The Universe with its galaxies and stars formed without consciousness , it was not necessary , nor was life necessary. The Universe would still be here without life or consciousness.

 In the absence of information , you assume a lot Russell.

     

You mention " the burrowing event of virtual particles across the potential barrier......"- highly speculative indeed. What virtual particles ? and what potential barrier ?

 

 You are right in one sense, where you state-  " but that's not enough to consider this a proven theory in any sense of the word " but yes -" it is an interesting "  [  observation ? ]  , no that "observation " is more like a  theoretical mathematical hypothesis , made in attempt to describe the behavior of quantum particles. And that based on presently understood laws of physics . Data from the LHC although early ,is bringing those laws into question. Even the De Sitter Model is not universally accepted among scientists.  Take your pick Russell .  

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Hi Eclipse

 

You need to understand what science does to understand these explanations.  The basis of science today is to make risky predictions of future findings.  You have to create a theory, usually but not always mathematical, that describes what we observe and then take it beyond what is observed to predict unlikely things that will be observed in future.  If you then observe those findings then you have to admit that your theory holds some truth.  Now just because you’ve made a successful prediction of something not yet observed doesn’t mean your theory is correct but it does lend support to the idea that it is true.

 

There’s a lot of theory and maths involved in the ideas I described but there are predictions of future observations that fall out of these ideas.  The cosmic microwave background is one such, it was predicted well before it was observed, because of these and similar theories.  That’s strong support for the truth of these ideas.  Now there are ideas in what I have explained that range from very solidly supported by evidence to very speculative but all of them conform to the best understanding we have of these physical phenomenon. 

 

The energy source proposed for the creation of matter in this universe and for driving inflation was the curvature of space time itself.  There’s maths around that which, when you run the numbers, could have produced the matter and energy we see around us today.  Yes that’s speculative to some extent but to suggest that scientists have no idea how this happened is simply to misunderstand the current state of play in modern science and to misunderstand what science is and how it works.  Speculation based on all the best knowledge we have at hand followed by testing is a foundational component of science.

 

It was Einstein who showed that matter and energy were interchangeable by the way.  We can today calculate how much energy is required to create all of the particles we see around us so none of that is any sort of mystery.

 

I’m not sure whose idea it was that consciousness or life had anything to do with the big bang in the first place or the ongoing formation of this universe, that’s an unfounded idea out of religion as far as I know.

 

But what I described as the plausible source for consciousness is well founded.  We know that evolution is driven by what works, we know that consciousness is a very valuable thing to those creatures that possesses it.  That benefit is what drives evolution whether it’s better eye’s better muscles, better immune systems or better brains, if it works towards a creatures survival and reproduction evolution will favour it because those creatures who have it will survive and reproduce more often than those that don’t so their gene’s will be progressively more common in future populations.

 

Yes the idea of a virtual particle burrowing across a potential barrier is indeed speculative, not that such events are speculative, they are a well-tested every day part of quantum physics, but that it might have been the trigger for the appearance of this universe is indeed speculative.  As I pointed out if it were true the universe would have to have the balance of energy that this one does so that prediction is valid but it’s not sufficient to test this idea so we’ll have to wait for more information to see if there’s any truth to this idea.  Again I never said any of this was the truth only that the statement that science has no idea is unfounded.  The ideas are untested in some cases or only partly tested in others but they exist.

 

As I mentioned before the change that these findings from the LHC will have on physics is up in the air but it’s unlikely to be as profound as you seem to be suggesting though only time will tell.  As I mentioned before they probably said the same about Newton and Einstein once upon a time.

 

So I’m not sure what ‘pick’ you want me to take, picking is not how science works rather what is needed is a rigorous test of any and all of these ideas.  Some don’t lend themselves to that at this stage, we can’t see anything that they predict that we can test for but great minds will continue to run the numbers and who knows what they’ll come up with.

 

Russell

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Speculative , is not the same  as well tested Russell , yet you use those terms as if  they are interchangeable , they are not . As I said , take your pick , of speculative hypothetical  theories.  Theoretical Mathematics say a lot of things , there is even some math circulating which is supposedly describing what Time really is , but that is also highly speculative.

 As for consciousness and survival ? Well ####roaches are one of the greatest survivors on the planet , I doubt if anyone could classify any consciousness that they may have as superior to that of humans , yet our survival record is far more fragile than their record.  Consciousness is not necessary for survival in the lower species , instinct has sufficed quite nicely for successful and older species than our own.

 Finally, ideas are not fact , and  are subject to change as new information is gathered. So , the ideas science proposes regarding how the Universe got started , are basically conjecture. We know how stars are formed , that is fact , we know our star is one of many in a galaxy and there are billions of galaxies , that is fact. All indications are that the galaxies are accelerating, at velocities commensurate with their distance, the farther the faster it seems. As to why and how is conjecture. Any ideas as to what Time is , or why Time is  , that is conjecture also. There are several ideas as to these questions , they are all conjecture and are so as we speak. That is why I said "Take your pick ".

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Hi Eclipse

 

I agree that some of those ideas are indeed very speculative but I’ve made no secret of that my argument is not that these ideas are not speculative but that they refute your claim that modern science has no idea what’s going it, it has many ideas, ideas that still need testing many of which will prove to be wrong but ideas none the less and, historically, lots of scientific ideas have shown themselves to contain truth as most likely will some of these.

 

I’m not sure where you get the idea that anyone thinks that consciousness is necessary for survival, plants survive just fine without any form of consciousness at all but evolutionary theory shows us clearly that each organism is selected to be good at surviving in its niche and there exists niche’s in which consciousness is clearly a survival advantage and humans, apes and quite a few other of the more complex animals on this planet occupy such.  Thus consciousness is a survival advantage and so it will be selected for by evolution.

 

Science only deals with theories not facts, the ideas produced are hypotheses based upon existing knowledge until they produce new confirmed results at which point they become theories.  The scientific description of gravity is a theory but gravity is also a fact and I’m not about to step off the 17th floor balcony here because I doubt the theory of gravity but the theory of gravity may be wrong.  Apple’s won’t hang in the air waiting on science to catch up if that proves to be the case however.  Same with the formation of stars, we have a well-tested theory that explains how stars form but that is still not a fact.  Einstein put together a theory that explains in great and accurate detail how space/time/matter relate to each other so we have quite a few insights into what time is in that respect.  To suggest that we don’t understand time is to leap beyond the evidence.  Facts are the world around us but science produces theories which attempt to explain these facts.  Sometimes those theories produce correct predictions compared to every test we can throw at them, those are the really good theories, the ones that science should be most proud of.  Star formation is such a theory, relativity and evolution are such theories. Our ideas on the formation of the universe are hypotheses at this stage, they are ideas built on all our current scientific information and that have passed every test they’ve been subjected to to date but they are not tested well enough to become theories so we should all hold them with a grain of salt but to ‘pick one’ as you put it is not how science works.  Science works by trying to work out how to test these ideas, work out results from them that we can see today then see if the results predict reality then you’re making progress towards producing a new theory.

 

Russell

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Russell ,I do take them with a grain of salt . They are theories , and are not widely accepted among the general consensus of the world's physicists and mathematicians . I do not doubt those issues of science that are proven , and there are many , but the issues as to the Origin , cause , etc of the Universe remain conjecture . Yes they are testing their ideas , and as of yet have no answers. Yes they are built upon current information , and we are finding that our conclusions based on that information are flawed. There simply is nothing other than theories regarding burrowing of virtual particles, String theory ,black holes,  or Multiverse . Early results from the LHC are illuminating those flaws in our understanding of physical laws.

Although consciousness is obviously a product of evolution , it is by no means necessary for the survival or even the improvement f a  species . When animal protein was utilized by homosapiens , it freed them from much longer time and effort to gather the same energy  than by foraging a vegetarian diet , which inturn led to development of higher brain development , but the mystery is why in only homosapiens  ? And that higher brain development no doubt led to consciousness or atleast a higher form of it. Since there are differing "ideas " , there are differing theories. And all based on the same known and tested science , yet scientists are divided as to the resulting conclusions. So they remain conjecture , and yes depending on your particular scientific discipline and school of thought , you may in fact "pick one " . Simply because we are gathering more information , does not necessarily mean we are any closer to an answer as to how or why the Universe came into being . We have described , and in most elegant detail , the workings of what we have observed on a local scale and have made predictions limited to that same local level.  However the question of what started the inflation , and why , go beyond what we know of Physics on a local level .

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Hi Eclipse

 

I think we are talking semantics more than anything substantial here but in science the semantics is important.  It is not a theory until it has passed sufficient testing to demonstrate that there is very little chance that it is wrong.  Until then it’s a hypothesis not a theory.

 

The idea I have described which attempts to explain the origin of the universe is not currently a theory though it has passed the one test to which it’s been possible to put it but only time will tell if it ever gets beyond that.

 

Burrowing of quantum particles across potential barriers is well tested, it is how radioactive decay is explained in quantum physics for example, even virtual particles interacting within quantum systems is demonstrated in testing so none of that is mere speculation.  As for such an event crossing into desitter space and triggering a universe that is indeed untested and untestable at this moment but, as you’ve stated, it is based on all of the best of what we know at the moment so it’s far from mere speculation.

 

The problem I have with the way so may theists describe these ideas in science is that they paint them as if they are fairy tales based on the imagination of someone but that is far from the truth, these ideas are very well thought out and based on a huge base of information which is then extrapolated beyond what is known into what may be true.

 

String theory seems to be a bit too open, it can describe so many possible universes, most of which look nothing like this one, and it makes no predictions which can be tested so it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment but who knows what the future may hold.

 

Black Holes are well described though many details are not known but we know how they behave from the outside and we know how to detect them out there in the universe so to paint them as some sort of total mystery is misleading.

 

We’ll have to wait and see what sort of changes fall out of the data from the LHC, they may be nothing much but they could be profound, one thing history should teach us is that making predictions about the future directions of science is almost 100% wrong so I’m going to wait for the data on this one.

 

Wings are not necessary to the development of a species but that doesn’t prevent them from evolving, they are beneficial to a species that possesses them.  Likewise brains are not necessary for a species to improve but they are beneficial to any species that possesses them.  For those that poses brains with consciousness, and we have good evidence that there are at least a few of them in the animal kingdom at the moment, they are clearly beneficial.

 

One of the most profound problems we have with understanding consciousness is that we don’t know what it is with definitions ranging from a higher self-awareness possessed by only a few of the ‘higher animals’ on this planet to those that would include a light switch as a form of minimal consciousness.  I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle but it’s definitely not a settled question.  From Evolutionary theory we also understand that features that persist and increase in any population will be beneficial so consciousness must be beneficial.  Lets face it you don’t have to look far to understand what it has enabled us to achieve as a species. 

 

As for the source of the universe it’s true we don’t know how far we are from understanding where it came from but historically as we bash away at these sorts of scientific problems we are usually making slow progress towards answers.  I suspect the same is true in this case but predicting the future in science is always fraught so I’m not about to guess as to how far we have to go or even if we will ever get there.

 

We have very strong evidence that inflation happened but little information about what may have caused it at this point but that’s where the fun is in science, in trying to fill in such blanks and there are plenty of people trying at the moment to do so for this problem.  Again we’ll have to wait to see what comes of that.

 

Russell

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Russell , I would not classify any of the theories as fairy-tales .  The term itself denigrates what any hypotheses and theories truly are .

 However , the issues you mentioned are in fact untested and many untestable . This opens the door for opinion and conjecture . In that arena , one is no more valid than the other , and any consensus of opinion is what makes any one of them "plausible ". To extrapolate findings in Quantum Theory to a plausible possibility for a cause of the Universe coming into existence is indeed a leap of faith. [no pun intended ]

 Yes we have strong evidence that inflation occurred but absolutely no idea of how or why. That is the truth of the matter . I do not doubt that it is "fun " learning and attempting to coax more information , but at the moment , that's all it is , by your own words . And also by your own words , consciousness is not understood . Yes anyone can say it is beneficial in the course of evolution in view of our present situation , however if we succeed in destroying the planet , then one can consider consciousness as a bad mutation . In fact looking back over our history , one may have  reached that conclusion already . In this quest to understand the nature of reality , we do continue to do the work , ask the questions , insert our ideas , etc. , however we are not there , and again using your own words we may never get there . At the moment we are learning about how this mechanism we call the Universe works , we simply don't know how or why , and that in truth is the profound question . Indeed there are volumes upon volumes of information describing the mechanism as it is seen from our local point of view . But until such a time when and if we discover how and why , all is merely conjecture .

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Hi Eclipse

 

OK then we’re agreed that the idea of “fairy tale” does not fit when classifying any of the ideas of science whether they are well tested or more speculative.  Let’s consider that same idea applied to religions.  The religious books these faiths are based on were written by who?  The real answer is no idea.  They were written with the authority of what?  Again no idea.  Unsupported claims aside all we can really know about them is that humans penned them all despite the claims of higher authorities behind them.  That can quite reasonably be classified as a fairy tale until someone can provide corroboration that there’s more to it than words that someone or group of someone’s decided to write down long before this modern age.

 

Yes we are agreed that many of the ideas I have discussed here are untested and in some cases untestable or only partly testable.  That does not change the fact that they are all based on a huge base of very well tested theory and maths.  They are extrapolations beyond what we can test at this stage but that’s how science moves forwards.  I presented them to counter the idea put that science had no idea and was at best guessing when it attempted to answer these questions.  That is not a reasonable characterization.

 

As for opinion and conjecture I do not believe it should be that simple.  Most children have opinions but as far as they might even think about such things their opinions don’t count for much, well-educated scientists also have opinions but they are well founded opinions based on a huge base of existing information and theory.  There’s really no comparison I’d have to suggest.  Consensus is not required to make an idea plausible, compatibility with the information we gather from the world around us is what makes it plausible.  Einstein’s ideas were thought foolish in the first place by the scientific establishment however he changed minds as his ideas were explored in more detail and kept passing tests.

 

One specific point that I just must discuss is your idea that a leap of faith is required to accept these scientific ideas.  There is no sense in which that is true.  You need a leap of faith to accept a god for which there is no credible evidence but that sort of acceptance does not exist in the scientific field.   No one who actually understands the science here would ever have faith that there is truth in any of these ideas until they have passed quite a few tests.  They may have hopes that a pet theory is correct but science has shown us that we are more often wrong than right when we generate such theories so faith would never be given to such theories unless the person doing so is very naive.  You are wrong when you suggest that faith plays a part on the scientific side of this discussion.

 

There are certainly details of inflation, critical details, that we simply don’t understand but we can model everything from how long it lasted to what effects it had on the universe and we can model things which occurred before it, during it and after it so we are far from in the dark about it but there’s certainly a great deal that we do not understand at this point in time.

 

The idea of ‘bad’ is a human idea, no such exists in nature.  If we wiped ourselves out because our consciousness allowed us to construct machines that we then used against each other nature would move on.  Our bones would feed the next generation of many organisms that share this planet with us, to them our destruction would be a boon.  Most of the organisms that have ever lived are extinct and we’d just add one more to that number and the rest would breathe a sigh of relief to be rid of us.  We are very destructive to this plant and to the creatures we share it with.

 

You push the idea that all our thinking about the how’s and why’s of this universe is merely conjecture but I suspect that you may be deceived in that line of thinking, sure we don’t understand the history of this universe at some points but to suggest that there must be a why is to add a question that the data does not support, a question that may well have no meaning.  The universe may well just be, it may well simply behave the way it does because that’s how the stuff it’s made of works, there may well be nothing behind it but the physical laws that science exposes, no consciousness, no prime mover etc just laws, natural laws.  We don’t have to know what they are for that to be true.  There are very good reasons why we have trouble untangling the origins of this universe or of life within it none of which are dependant in any way on a god but believers have always wanted to paint god into that role.  It really is a glorified god of the gaps approach.

 

Russell

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Hi , Russell , it's not a matter of "faith " , or a  question of a "god gap " . The facts are simple , and true . At this moment , as we speak , the leading edge of science , any branch you may wish to include , know absolutely nothing about the conditions existing , or what existed before the expansion of our Universe  started . It is completely unknown and any idea , notion , fantasy , scientific extrapolation is nothing more than pure speculation .

 The question , not so much as why , but WHAT existed before the Inflation ? The how and why are actually secondary issues  , which first must be addressed is what existed . I made no mention of a god , and the god-gap is a meaningless construct you are using in a meaningless argument . 

 A god-cap , burrowing virtual particle , multiverse , these are all pure speculation . So , as I said before , "take your pick " .We are discussing an issue which is a complete unknown . You can say science is in a better position to make an educated guess , but when dealing with a complete unknown , that becomes a meaningless statement . Yes , some choose , I.D. , some a Creator , some vacuum fluctuation, colliding Universes , etc .All are pure speculation . As to the "history of the Universe " ? Yes you can describe that , but only the segment of that history after the initial expansion . No one can describe anything about pre-inflation history of the Universe . However you are free to speculate , just like everyone else .

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Hi Eclipse

 

You’re right, science does not know what happened before our universe began but science has worked out some of the details of what existed before inflation, we have strong evidence that it contained zero total energy for example as that is the total found in our current universe and the total created by one of the hypothesized ideas of its creation.  That’s not much but it’s not zero.

 

As for knowing you talk as if science ever ‘knows’ things, science deals in degrees of probability not in ‘knowing’.  We believe to a very high degree of confidence that we can model gravity but that level is not 100%, it is not ‘knowing’.

 

I agree that what is the critical question for the precursors to inflation.  Why may well be a question without meaning in this context.

 

I would indeed say that science is in a better position to make educated guesses precisely because there are educated with all the best knowledge that humans have on these questions and extrapolations beyond what is know are far more likely to be true if they are based on an accurate understanding of what is currently known.  Start from false ideas and you have basically zero chance of working out the truth here while starting from true ideas increases your chances of correctly extrapolating beyond what is known.

 

I agree that ID is pure speculation and it contradicts the evidence we have at hand while a creator may well be compatible with our current universe, lets face it they are an open idea so anything is possible, but is there any evidence to support the idea that a creator had any part in this.  Then you have to ask the question where did this creator come from?  Vacuum fluctuations exist, we have modelled, observed and measured them so they have the up side of at least being real.  Colliding universes also have the advantage that at least we know that universes exist and we have some ideas about how they work and an ability to collect some limited data about them.  In both these cases and many more science has the advantage that at least its underpinnings are real, detectable and testable while the alternatives sound more like over developed children’s stories.  That’s not to say they are not true but the odds don’t look good for that possibility.

 

The expansion of the inflationary epoch explains and predicts features of the cosmic microwave background and the homogeneity of this universe which we can measure so even in this area we are not shooting in the dark but we have information.

 

As for before inflation we do have some information, we understand its energy content because, in a closed universe, that must be the energy content of the current universe which is, as I’ve mentioned a few times now, zero.  So we do know that one feature of the pre inflationary universe.  We also know that it had to contain the energy and fields necessary to drive inflation, in other words it had to contain a great deal of vacuum energy or a very strong cosmological constant.  There’s more to it but that’s a start so as you can see we do ‘know’ something about what came before inflation and we understand some of how inflation itself worked because it answers the horizon problem in this universe.  Like all science we may find that some other theory explains all of this better in the future but that theory will not come from religion.  It will not include purpose or a supreme being of some kind.  No that’s not just speculation it is an observation of how successful such ideas have been in the past throughout the entirety of human history.

 

Russell

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With all due respect Russell , science knows nothing of what existed before the presently observed inflation of the Universe . Science knows nothing of what the nature of matter , energy or what physical laws were before the inflation . ID , creationism , vacuum fluctuation , burrowing virtual particles , multiverses , you name it , it's ALL pure speculation .

  You can twist that a hundred different ways , it's still is all a matter of pure speculation . If you wish to assign "odds " on pure speculation , you are free to do so , after all anything is possible . I have to chuckle at your use of the term "true ideas " , which if you think about it, is simply a matter of opinion . Ideas are not true or false , they are ......ideas .

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Mmmm. Can you smell that semantic dissonance?

 

Eclipse. Send me your address. You're getting a dictionary and thesaurus for Christmas. No excuses.

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