Wednesday, January 6, 2016

There's Nothing There - Part 9

So. Here's where we are.

All the scientists before the 1900s thought that the universe had always been here. Forever.

It was full of rules. And the rules made everything happen. The laws of physics and the universe - always here, always making everything happen.

Matter. Always here. Energy. Always here. Stars, planets, galaxies. Always here.

And space - just a big ol' emptiness. Time - a separate thing that they didn't quite understand, and still don't. But, you know. Ticking right along.

Everything was predictable. The laws of physics always did things in the same way, so as soon as we figured out the laws, we could predict what was going to happen.

Everything was pre-determined by the laws of physics. Everything was caused by something else. Cause and effect. That's the way it all worked.

All you had to do was to take things apart to understand how they worked. Then you would know what made them that way. And what they were going to do in the future. Galaxies. Stars. Planets. Living things. Well, dead things that used to be living, usually. Awkward taking living things apart so that they are still, well, living after you've taken them apart.

Pre-determined. Predictable. Logical and reasonable. No weirdness. Weirdness was for religious nuts.

And nothing had a starting point. Certainly not the universe. Starting points were for religious nuts.

And everything comes from something. Always. You always gotta have something to get something else. Anything coming from nothing is for religious nuts.

And then the 20th Century arrived and messed everything up.

It's probably worth saying again that if the universe is like we all thought it was, then there would be 1) no free will and 2) no need for God.

But suddenly the universe had a starting point. Space and time, all wadded up together into Space-Time, began. Then the laws of physics. Began. Space and time and the laws of physics hadn't always been here. Or anywhere.

Then energy. Arrived. And matter. Arrived.

And everything came from nothing. Everything. Nothing.

And then everything that did arrive turned out to be nothing like we thought it was. Space and time were - Space-time. And it could bend and warp and go away and arrive in the first place. Suddenly there were places where there were no places, where all of time could happen in a single instant, where all of the places were in the same place.

And energy and matter. OMG. Particles, which were supposed to be, you know, like, just THERE doing particle things, all nice and predictable and pre-determined, were sometimes like particles and sometimes like energy waves and sometimes there and sometimes everywhere all at the same time and could go from here to there without going anywhere in between and could just pop into existence without any cause and in fact all the matter in the universe just POPPED into existence for no reason or cause whatsoever and EVERYTHING IS SO FRIGGING WEIRD. Which is for religious people.

Worst of all - nothing happens without an observation. There is no reality without an observation. And the damned universe wouldn't even be here with an observation, and is apparently so precisely wired (weird) to produce observers that it would take some sort of weird (wired) magic to set it up the way that it is set up and there's no way out except to conjure ("conjure!?!?") up an infinite number of other universes. Which is supposed to help. But doesn't, because we'll never know if they're there, and even if they are, so what?

And not only did everything come from nothing, but it's still mostly nothing. You could almost say that nothing came from nothing, but the nothing has a really strong appearance of being something. There's really nothing here, but dammit, it looks and acts like a lot of something.

But here's the reality, the coolest thing of all. It seems most likely that although there's nothing really here, that nothing has become something, not because it is something, but because of the interaction between the nothing and the laws of physics, the forces of nature. Which only exist because they can interact with the nothing. 

The tiny bits of particles that aren't really there, and the vast, endless emptiness of space-time.

What's really here, then, is interaction.

Reality is reality because of interaction. Which all starts with observation. Which is an interaction.

Although it is an interaction that has to take place outside of time and space, outside of the 13.8 billion year history of our universe, outside of all of the laws of physics and outside of energy and matter.

So if we're gonna talk about God, that's where it starts.

BTW. If the universe is like this (and it is), then 1) free will and 2) God come back into the picture. Sort of, together.

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