There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called "Closer to Truth". It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He's featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today's cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics - Cosmos; Consciousness; Meaning. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are yet more of my comments on one of the general albeit diverse topics covered, physics and physical reality.
God vs. Physics
So here we have this omnipotent entity, this Maximally Greatest Being (i.e. - God), who is non-physical, who has existed for all eternity (but not infinitely so), and in a timeless state to boot. Then for some totally unexplained reason this entity crossed over the Rubicon into time by creating a physical cosmos, but not an infinite cosmos, out of absolutely nothing for no apparently good reason other than "what the heck; why not; I'm bored" (my quotes). Do you, the reader, have any comprehension of how utterly ridiculous that sounds? If you came across that scenario or concept for the very first time in a novel, you'd be right to question the author's sanity or drug use.
Timelessness is a ridiculous impossibility since that would require an operating temperature of absolute zero (negating any possible change taking place therefore making the concept of time meaningless). A state of absolute zero is not actually achievable. If you have even the smallest amount of change you have time. I wish those advocating pockets of timelessness might, using their powers of philosophical deduction, point out a place(s) in the cosmos that currently exist(s) in a state of timelessness.
The transition from a state of timelessness to a state of time by anyone is impossible since a change (a mental thought at the minimum is required) would of had to have occurred while still in a timeless state which cannot be. You have to think of going from your timeless state to a state of time before you actually do it.
Further, it's an impossibility to create an absolute something from an absolute nothing, especially if you are non-physical to begin with.
An actual non-physical thing is nonsense. A "thing" is an actual something with substance and structure. Non-physical 'things' are just mental concepts without associated substance and structure. One can imagine a Santa Claus of course, and that Santa is non-physical, but that Santa cannot make a transition from that mental non-physical reality to a physical reality. That equally applies to the mental concept of a non-physical Maximally Greatest Being. As in the case of Santa, just because you can imagine a Maximally Greatest Being doesn't of necessity make it so as a physical reality.
Regarding Something from Nothing
True believers state that God created life, the Universe and everything from absolute scratch, out of absolute nothing. Bull!
Something from nothing is impossible on the grounds that 1) there has never been an observation or experiment made that implies or actually demonstrates that my assertion is not true; 2) there is absolutely no theoretical grounds where such a state of affairs could be the case. Faced with a choice of believing based on actual evidence and on theoretical grounds that you cannot create something from nothing, OR taking the word of true believers for it that such a thing is possible and has happened, I'll go with the former for they have still not answered the question about something from nothing with an actual explanation or demonstration. Their word is NOT good enough.
No more philosophical waffle. Evidence that something can be created out of absolutely nothing is now the name of the game. Now it is time for the evidence that will stand up in a court of law or be acceptable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
If I tell you that there's a flying saucer in my driveway with little green men from Mars standing around with ray-guns, you are NOT going to believe me. If I say Santa comes down my chimney Christmas Eve but doesn't leave me any goodies just drinks my milk and eats my cookies (bad Santa) you're NOT going to believe me. If I say my house is haunted or that my cats can comprehend calculus, you are NOT going to believe me and you'd be right NOT to believe me based on just my say-so. You'd require bona-fide hardcore evidence.
And so we turn the tables - the other shoe is on your foot now. I do NOT believe the true believers. I want to see their hardcore bona-fide evidence.
Physics of Free Will
I just might dispute that notion of those who might suggest that there is no connection between your brain and your hair. The brain rules the biochemical roost and bio-chemicals control your hair growth. If you are brain dead then your hair will cease growing. There is a connection. Elementary my dear Watson! In any event, what if you have a headache. Odds are you will take an aspirin or two rather that trying to free will your headache away. If you have a brain tumour will you free will the tumour away or see a surgeon?
Sorry, but if most bodily functions and movements are either autonomous (digestion), subconscious (gag reflex), or instinctive (like sportsmen and women who have no time to think, just react), then maybe all bodily functions and movements, actions and reactions, are reducible down to that trilogy and no free will need apply for the job.
What is Time?
There are those who suggest that time is whatever someone says it is. I say that eight hours have passed; my boss says that three hours have passed. That someone, who in this case is the boss, has his definition of time overrule my definition since he is, well, the boss. So, I guess therefore that every entity with sufficient intelligence to be aware of a concept we call time, who has ever lived and who is currently alive, has made up their own definition of "what is time" and how to measure it. Over the course of human history, confining this to just humans, which would amount to some 100 billion individual humans, each who have come up with their own version of "what is time" and how to measure it, and impose it on a few others for the duration that they are boss. Wow! Since there has never been the absolute one and only one human who has been and forever shall be king-of-the-mountain, the king who has from on high ruled absolutely exactly what time is and how it is measured, then I assume that there is no final and definitive version of "what is time". It's all a case of different strokes for different folks.
Did God Create Time?
"Time" as a something with structure and substance doesn't exist, so God did not create "time". "Time" is an invented word, a concept word, a word that humans use to come to terms with change or rate of change or in other words motion. If there were no change, no motion, it would be meaningless to talk about the concept of "time". Now, if you believe there is a supernatural God (which I don't) who created something from nothing (highly illogical if not downright impossible even for a deity) and that something has motion, therefore changes, then by that convoluted chain, one could say that God created cyclic or quasi-cyclic patterns of motion which humans have assigned the concept word of "time" to. Now, as some suggest, if God created stuff, then God already existed within "time" since if God were in a timeless state He couldn't do anything, even move or wiggle a Godly finger. But if God already existed in "time", then He couldn't have created "time". So no matter how you slice and dice things, God didn't create "time".
Is Time Travel Possible?
Anybody from the future time travelling to their past couldn't avoid interacting with or changing that past even if only altering the local air currents and thus producing the "butterfly effect". However, all that assumes that our time travelling visitor arrives up-close and personal. What if they just observed from afar - say from high earth orbit? Or from the lunar surface? If our time travelling tourist just did some remote viewing say from orbit, say several thousands of years ago, that probably wouldn't result in any actual interaction or alteration of any possible consequence. It could be that time travellers from the future have to abide by a "Star Trek" Prime Directive not to actually interact with the locals and the local environment.
If you went back in time and killed the person who invented time travel before the fact, well who's to say that invention wasn't then or wouldn't then be independently made by someone else later on?
The timeline you are originally from wouldn't cease to be if you didn't do anything to interact with the past, as per those observations from high earth orbit. Your timeline would still presumably still exist for all those who stayed behind in your time-frame and didn't time travel back.
There's also the circular argument that events set in motion in the past by a time traveller from the future were essential to produce the sort of timeline the time traveller came from in the first place.
Some point to various anomalous archaeological discoveries, like human remains in coal seams, as evidence that time travel from the future to the past has been achieved. I'd be more impressed with human remains in coal if they had been associated with some sort of high-tech gizmo's that hadn't yet existed at the time the human remains were discovered. A mobile phone found in a coal seam by humans living in the mid-1800's would set the cat among the pigeons.
Finally, what if it were extraterrestrial time travellers that came to Earth. We in the here and now might be none the wiser about any interactions / alterations they made way back when here on Earth and of course any such interactions / alterations wouldn't have any repercussions on the alien's home planet or to the alien's timeline. ET might not be overly interested in what to us are historically significant events, thus no UFOs over The Alamo. Perhaps ET just time travelled back to the terrestrial Age of Reptiles because they liked dinosaurs! Now if one were to find a skeleton of one of those ET "Greys" in a 200 million year old coal seam that would be interesting to say the least.
Why Not Nothing?
Why is there something rather than nothing? The Nothing / Something question is not an either / or issue. There is BOTH something AND nothing! If everything in the cosmos (all that is or ever will be) is something with structure and substance (i.e. - the standard model of particle physics) then motion, hence change hence the existence of the concept of time, could not happen. In order for something to move (i.e. - change) there has to be some nothingness in which to be able to shift into. If you move you have to push something else aside which in turn pushes something else aside which in turn pushes something else aside but the pushing can only happen if ultimately there is some unoccupied nothingness you can push into.
An electron can whiz around an atomic nucleus unimpeded because there is literally nothing in the pathway of the electron. If there was something in the way of the electron its velocity/motion would be retarded and it would lose energy ultimately impacting the nucleus. This is akin to how a orbiting satellite will have its orbit decay as it bites into something (our atmosphere) ultimately losing enough velocity and energy of motion to re-enter the atmosphere and probably burning up on re-entry.
Regarding Physical Laws
Are physical laws of the absolute no correspondence will be entered into laws? Actually, upon reflection, there are probably at least three absolute physical laws. The first is the speed of light. Thou shall not go faster than the speed of light. That seems to be a really hard and fast and absolute physical law. The second absolute law that's been absolutely documented are those conservation laws. Thou shall not create from nothing nor destroy into nothingness anything of substance and structure. Matter and energy can only change costume. The third law is that of cause-and-effect. Nothing happens for absolutely no reason at all. Thou shall not have an effect without a cause; though shall not have a cause without an effect.
Could Our Universe Be a Fake?
Some say the universe is infinite and therefore it could not be simulated. In other words, any computer simulating the universe would have to be as large as the universe. An infinite simulated universe requires an infinitely sized computer. However a finite simulation could simulate a seemingly infinite universe. Your ordinary planetarium does a pretty good job of this. You have no way of absolutely knowing for sure that the universe is infinite in size or in duration, so it could be all a virtual reality simulation. Finite computer/software crunch power creates a finite simulation.
What does a Fine-Tuned Universe Mean?
The apparent fine-tuning of the cosmos can be readily explained by the simulation hypothesis. Are we 'living' in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe that has been fine-tuned via its software programming to allow us to survive and thrive in the virtual landscape? This is just analogous to our video games being fine-tuned to allow the characters and the players to strut their stuff in a reasonably logical landscape. That being the case, there is no need to postulate a supernatural deity, no need to imagine a Multiverse, and no requirement to rely on the luck of the draw; on against-an-all-the-odds coincidence that all the knobs required for life were set just so. So, what does a fine-tuned universe mean? It could mean a deity, a Multiverse or a coincidence, but then again, it could mean that we just don't exist in the sort of reality we think we do. We dance to the beat of a computer programmer!
What does a Fine-Tuned Universe Mean?
One can just as easily imagine a universe that is not finely-tuned for life but is broadly-tuned for life. That universe would be full of life forms not-as-we-know-it, with silicon-rock life forms (like "Star Trek: The Original Series" concept of the Horta) to silicon-steel life forms as in Gort-the-robot ("The Day the Earth Stood Still") to Fred Hoyle's concept in his sci-fi novel "The Black Cloud" to plasma life forms to life forms surviving and thriving in liquid helium. You could cull out all these possibilities from sci-fi and they could collectively inhabit a broadly-tuned for life universe. Since we have no idea what extraterrestrial life forms are actually out there in our cosmos, perhaps our Universe is broadly-tuned for life in general, but only finely-tuned for us.
Something from Nothing: Coda
The very mention of "the creation of the universe" immediately implies that the universe has been kick-started from scratch, from nothing at all, hence created and thus now exists where previously it didn't exist. Only a before-the-creation-of-the-universe could there be a universe that doesn't yet exist which is pretty nonsensical since the term universe implies a something. It's like saying that only a before-the-conception-of-a-baby could there be a baby that doesn't yet exist. A baby can't exist prior to conception. In that nanosecond of conception, a baby now exists. So the very act of creation implies a something. Before that act there was nothing. There was no transition from nothing to something since in that nanosecond of a nanosecond of a nanosecond when creation began, there was now a something. There was never an association with a nothing and then a something. It's silly to say that before your conception you didn't exist since before your conception there was no you that existed in anyone's philosophy. You only became you, you only became a something, at conception. You were never a nothing since there was no you existing yet in which you could exist as a nothing.
The upshot of this is that I have absolutely no intention of entertaining the premise of creation of something from nothing when 100% of all observational and experimental data make it clear that creation is, in fact demands, something from something. There's not even a theoretical way to generate something from nothing, so that alone seals the fate of any premise that something can be created from nothing. As far as I'm concerned, that concept is dead and buried.
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