From Whence the Universe?

5stringJeff

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GIVEN: The universe exists. Either:

A) The universe has always existed, or
B) The universe began to exist.

If A is true (i.e. the universe has always existed), then the universe has existed for an infinite amount of time.
If that is true, then, by the second law of thermodynamics (which states, "the entropy of an isolated system not at equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value"), all the energy in the universe would be effectively disbursed at equilibrium, and the whole universe would be at about .1 degrees Kelvin.
However, we do not observe the universe as such.
Therefore, A is false, and the universe had a beginning.

If the universe had a beginning, either:
A) the universe created itself, or
B) the universe was created by something else.

A cannot be true, because an object cannot be its own efficient cause. Therefore, the universe must have been created by a Creator.
 
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onedomino

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It has not been thought for 50 or 60 years that the Universe, in its current manifestation, "always existed." There has been a large amount of evidence accumulated during that time supporting the "Big Bang Theory." Fred Hoyle, who published diring the 1950s, was the main proponent of the alternative "Steady State Theory." While it has been shown that the rate of the Universe’s expansion from the Big Bang is increasing, it has not been demonstrated that the rate of expansion will not ultimately slow and reverse; finally concluding in a singularity from which another Big Bang will occur. No one yet knows if there is enough Dark Matter in the Universe to reverse the expansion or not. Thus there is no conclusive evidence to negate the possibility that the Universe is in fact in a Steady State that contains an infinite number of expansions and contractions. Thus, your argument as expressed above fails, and you are going to have to continue to rely on faith for your belief in the existence of God. There are many ongoing experiments designed to quantify the amount of Dark Matter in the Universe. Fred Hoyle would be amused. We are trying to figure out if the Universe comes only in just this edition, or whether what we observe now is just one chapter in an infinite story of multiple expansions and contractions.

By the way,

U.S. Cosmologists Win Nobel Prize

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=4569

A cosmic "baby picture" earns the chief architects of NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer the year's top physics prize.

Two American cosmologists will take home the 2006 Nobel prize in physics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Tuesday. George Smoot of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, and John Mather of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will split the $1.4 million prize.

Both scientists were instrumental in the success of NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer. Launched in 1989 after a decade of development, the satellite was the first to detect faint temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the remnant radiation representing the first light able to move freely through the universe after the Big Bang. "I think of it as the accumulated trace of everything," says Mather, who is now a senior scientist for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

COBE's all-sky map of these temperature variations has been called astronomers' first "baby picture" of our universe. "It's like looking at an embryo that's a few hours old," says Smoot.

It was, he says, the first bold step in our understanding how our universe came to be. The variations, or anisotropies, represent slight fluctuations that gave rise to clusters of galaxies and occur as one-part-in-100,000 changes in the CMB. If COBE hadn't found them at this level, Smoot says, "We'd have to have a whole new model of how the universe was put together — which was always possible, but did not turn out to be the case."

In January 1990, when the COBE team presented its measurement of the universe's average temperature at an American Astronomical Society meeting, the match between theory and data was so good, the assembled scientists audibly gasped. The data points fell perfectly in line with a theoretical thermal spectrum called a blackbody.

The match "says that the radiation really did come from the Big Bang," Mather explains. "There really is not a good alternative explanation for having such a perfect blackbody spectrum."

"It's just a magnificent verification of the Big Bang," Lawrence Krauss at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland told the Associated Press.

COBE was slated to be launched by the space shuttle, but the 1986 Challenger disaster kept it grounded. "We not only had to wait to get into space, we actually had to improve," says Smoot, who during the delay lobbied NASA for additional funds to make the satellite's instruments more sensitive.

In addition to detecting miniscule CMB temperature differences, COBE had to do so against the roaring emission from our galaxy and others. The scientists also had to compensate for the Doppler shift caused by Earth's motion around the Sun, the Sun's orbit through the Milky Way, and the Milky Way's drift within the local cluster of galaxies.

The groundbreaking effort paved the way for still-more-precise measurements taken with NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which determined the CMB was emitted 380,000 years after the Big Bang. It also pegged the universe's age at 13.7 billion years. The European Space Agency's Planck mission, set to launch next year, is expected to sharpen scientists' view of the CMB still further.

"One of the continuing investigations is to get the polarization of this radiation," Mather says. WMAP has already measured polarization changes that occurred after the CMB, when the first stars formed. "Much more is thought to be lurking there in the radiation if we could measure even better."
 

Gunny

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GIVEN: The universe exists. Either:

A) The universe has always existed, or
B) The universe began to exist.

If A is true (i.e. the universe has always existed), then the universe has existed for an infinite amount of time.
If that is true, then, by the second law of thermodynamics (which states, "the entropy of an isolated system not at equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value"), all the energy in the universe would be effectively disbursed at equilibrium, and the whole universe would be at about .1 degrees Kelvin.
However, we do not observe the universe as such.
Therefore, A is false, and the universe had a beginning.

If the universe had a beginning, either:
A) the universe created itself, or
B) the universe was created by something else.

A cannot be true, because an object cannot be its own efficient cause. Therefore, the universe must have been created by a Creator.
ITA. I always get a kick out of the "something from nothing" theory; which, defies physical law.
 
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5stringJeff

5stringJeff

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While it has been shown that the rate of the Universe’s expansion from the Big Bang is increasing, it has not been demonstrated that the rate of expansion will not ultimately slow and reverse; finally concluding in a singularity from which another Big Bang will occur. No one yet knows if there is enough Dark Matter in the Universe to reverse the expansion or not. Thus there is no conclusive evidence to negate the possibility that the Universe is in fact in a Steady State that contains an infinite number of expansions and contractions. Thus, your argument as expressed above fails, and you are going to have to continue to rely on faith for your belief in the existence of God.
The argument still holds. Let's say there is enough dark matter to reverse the expansion of the universe. You are still faced with the question of whether the universe either: A) has been expanding and collapsing from all eternity, or B) it began existing at some point and then began expanding and collapsing. If it has been expanding and collapsing from all eternity, then you run into the inifinite regress problem, i.e. we could not have passed through an infinite amount of time (or an infinite amount of iterations) to arrive at Today. Therefore, the universe still must have had a beginning, regardless of whether there is enough dark matter to cause a universal contraction.
 

onedomino

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The argument still holds. Let's say there is enough dark matter to reverse the expansion of the universe. You are still faced with the question of whether the universe either: A) has been expanding and collapsing from all eternity, or B) it began existing at some point and then began expanding and collapsing. If it has been expanding and collapsing from all eternity, then you run into the inifinite regress problem, i.e. we could not have passed through an infinite amount of time (or an infinite amount of iterations) to arrive at Today. Therefore, the universe still must have had a beginning, regardless of whether there is enough dark matter to cause a universal contraction.
Why is it possible that there may be an infinite number of expansions and contractions in the future, but that there must somehow be a first cause in the past? There is no scientific reason for this. It requires faith. The blackbody radiation measurement referred to above holds no meaning for any future or previous iteration of the Universe since no information is known that can leak beyond the cusp of the singlarity. Stephen Hawking's view, for example, is that what has occurred in previous Universe expansions is essentially unknowable because no information can move beyond its meeting with the singularity. It may turn out that there has not been multiple iterations of the Universe. But to know this we need to measure the amount of Dark Matter. It is the number one research problem in astrophysics.
 
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5stringJeff

5stringJeff

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Why is it possible that there may be an infinite number of expansions and contractions in the future, but that there must somehow be a first cause in the past? There is no scientific reason for this. It requires faith.
It's the law of causation. Every effect must have a cause.

The blackbody radiation measurement referred to above holds no meaning for any future or previous iteration of the Universe since no information is known that can leak beyond the cusp of the singlarity. Stephen Hawking's view, for example, is that what has occurred in previous Universe expansions is essentially unknowable because no information can move beyond its meeting with the singularity. It may turn out that there has not been multiple iterations of the Universe. But to know this we need to measure the amount of Dark Matter. It is the number one research problem in astrophysics.
Regardless of whether we have had multiple iterations of the universe or not, there had to be some type of beginning (see above).
 

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Regardless of whether we have had multiple iterations of the universe or not, there had to be some type of beginning (see above).
I think that is what he is arguing... that the iterations may have occurred infinitely in the past, and therefore may have had no beginning.
 
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5stringJeff

5stringJeff

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I think that is what he is arguing... that the iterations may have occurred infinitely in the past, and therefore may have had no beginning.
Which would lead to an infinite regress, which is impossible.
 

manu1959

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Not all things are impossible Jeff.

Using your logic, who created the Creator?
i will give it a go.........the creator is not subject to the second law of thermodynamics and is not an object and thus can be its own efficient cause.
 

Nienna

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i will give it a go.........the creator is not subject to the second law of thermodynamics and is not an object and thus can be its own efficient cause.
Good try. The Creator had no beginning, and therefore needed no "cause."
 

onedomino

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I think that is what he is arguing... that the iterations may have occurred infinitely in the past, and therefore may have had no beginning.
That's right. It is what Fred Hoyle argued (although in a different form) for decades in astrophysics. His ideas have yet to be fundamentally disproved. It remains to be seen whether Hoyle's "Steady State," or one-time-only Big Bang Theory, is correct. The point is this: while Jeff may have a difficult time conceiving of a system with no first cause, there is nothing scientifically or logically flawed about such an idea. It may turn out to not be true (and to me that seems likely), but the fact is that just because Jeff feels there must be a first cause, does not categorically mean that one must exist. The Hindu religion holds that the Universe has been through an infinite number of expansions and contractions. Does that mean that such a belief is correct? No. It requires faith, as does Jeff's belief in a first cause. There is no scientific evidence that Jeff can point to that requires the Universe to have a first cause. Conversely, there is no scientific evidence that requires that there not be a first cause. If we are intellectually honest with ourselves, we must admit that at this time in human development, we just do not know. We do not yet have the evidence one way or the other. But there is hope. If we can figure out the amount of Dark Matter and Dark Energy that exists in the present observable Universe, then we might be able to say whether or not the current expansion will continue. If we determine that the expansion must continue, then it will probably be safe to conclude that we are looking at the one and only iteration of the Universe and this logically entails a first cause. But if there is enough Dark Matter to gravitationally reverse the expansion, then Fred Hoyle's Steady State theory will not merely contain no inherent logical flaw, it will also be supported by evidence. And as we have discussed, the Steady State Theory does not necessitate the existence of a first cause. Scientifically, the jury is still out, and we eagerly await its decision on the evidence.
 

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That's right. It is what Fred Hoyle argued (although in a different form) for decades in astrophysics. His ideas have yet to be fundamentally disproved. It remains to be seen whether Hoyle's "Steady State," or one-time-only Big Bang Theory, is correct. The point is this: while Jeff may have a difficult time conceiving of a system with no first cause, there is nothing scientifically or logically flawed about such an idea. It may turn out to not be true (and to me that seems likely), but the fact is that just because Jeff feels there must be a first cause, does not categorically mean that one must exist. The Hindu religion holds that the Universe has been through an infinite number of expansions and contractions. Does that mean that such a belief is correct? No. It requires faith, as does Jeff's belief in a first cause. There is no scientific evidence that Jeff can point to that requires the Universe to have a first cause. Conversely, there is no scientific evidence that requires that there not be a first cause. If we are intellectually honest with ourselves, we must admit that at this time in human development, we just do not know. We do not yet have the evidence one way or the other. But there is hope. If we can figure out the amount of Dark Matter and Dark Energy that exists in the present observable Universe, then we might be able to say whether or not the current expansion will continue. If we determine that the expansion must continue, then it will probably be safe to conclude that we are looking at the one and only iteration of the Universe and this logically entails a first cause. But if there is enough Dark Matter to gravitationally reverse the expansion, then Fred Hoyle's Steady State theory will not merely contain no inherent logical flaw, it will also be supported by evidence. And as we have discussed, the Steady State Theory does not necessitate the existence of a first cause. Scientifically, the jury is still out, and we eagerly await its decision on the evidence.

But what of the directionality of time? The nature of time is that it moves "forward." It does not reverse itself. I am no scientist, and I have not read much on this subject, so these are just my own musings. But if time is directional, it must be proceeding from some point.
 

onedomino

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It's the law of causation. Every effect must have a cause.
Jeff, while it may seem counterintuitive, modern Quantum Mechanics holds that your statement simply is not correct. In particular, there is no such thing as the law of causation. Quantum Mechanics, responsible for integrated circuits and many other advances, holds that it is meaningless to speak in terms of causality. The position of a particle in space is relativistic, not Newtonian. This was established in the 1920s. Causality, defined as A necessitates B, is an artifact of language that has no value for modern Physics. Here we are not referring to simple systems such as one plus one necessitates two. Rather, at its most fundamental level, Physics is a statistical system of knowledge, not a determinate system. Even though his theories led directly to the foundation of Quantum Mechanics, Einstein rebelled at the need for Physics to toss causality overboard and resulted in his famous remark, “God does not play with dice.” But as Quantum Mechanics has repeatedly demonstrated through the decades, apparently He does. Consider one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th Century, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle:

http://www.jdtoellner.com/writings/causalityUncertainty.htm

With the advent of twentieth-century physics, both force and causation appear to have been expunged from at least part of science. Einstein did away with the "force" long thought necessary to keep the planets moving in their orbits. For centuries it appeared that something-perhaps God-must push the planets along in their paths. Newton explained planetary motions in terms of a force of universal gravitation but apologized for doing so. In relativity, planets are said to follow their orbits because the orbits describe geodesics, paths of greatest efficiency, in space and time. No force holds them in orbit or pushes them along. In quantum physics causation fails because, given enormous swarms of matter/energy on a tiny scale, the experimenter can predict the behavior of "particles" only in terms of probabilities. Einstein, who helped introduce the statistical approach to physics, felt it was only an expedient and that a cause-and-effect explanation of the behavior of every particle could be worked out if one had sufficient equipment and patience. But Heisenberg showed that a complete cause-and-effect account of subatomic behavior could never be attained by us in the macroscopic world; we are prevented by the uncertainty principle from ever tracing the individual interactions of even a small group of subatomic "particles." Therefore-and this assertion is as much philosophy as science-it is said to be useless to talk about causation operating in a realm where we can never see or examine it at work. We might as well accept that the probabilities are real.
-
 

dilloduck

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I don't think you can really call it a Universe until its about three times older than it already is and we have to make sure its not connected to some other life support system.:bow2:
 

onedomino

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But what of the directionality of time? The nature of time is that it moves "forward." It does not reverse itself. I am no scientist, and I have not read much on this subject, so these are just my own musings. But if time is directional, it must be proceeding from some point.
That is a very important question, Nienna. And this subject is not easy to think about. I agree that time has only one direction. The fact that the Universe may contract to a singularity before another Big Bang does not entail that the direction of time's arrow changes. But the fact that the direction of time never changes, does not constitute evidence that it began at a particular point. Further, there is no evidence that it will ever come to an end. If there has only been one Big Bang and the Universe will continue to expand forever (like the volume of an infinite baloon, although the analogy is flawed), then it entails that time began at a particular point: namely the moment of the Big Bang. It also means that there will come a time when the stars and galaxies have consumed all their nuclear fuel and everything will be cold and dark. But that does not mean that the expansion will stop or that time will end. On the other hand, if the Universe pulses like a beating heart, expanding and contracting, then it does so as time's arrow continues to point in the same direction, without giving evidence that time either began or will end.
 

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