Monday, May 16, 2016

There's Something There - Part 1?

It's Part 1 because there might be other parts, but I don't really know yet. We'll just have to see.

Anyway. Since we're being provocative ...

What you believe about _______ (go ahead, fill in the blank) is irrelevant.

OK, I'll fill in the blank for you.

What you believe about God is irrelevant.

And ...

What you believe about the Universe is irrelevant.

Why, you may ask, am I making such obnoxious statements? Why, you may ask, am I being such a jerk?

Here, let me add some emphasis, see if that helps.

What you believe about God is irrelevant.

What you believe about the Universe is irrelevant.

Let me explain. We'll start with the Universe.

Here's the Thing. The Universe is the way that it is regardless of what you believe about it. It doesn't care what you believe. As we already said that Neal deGrasse Tyson said, the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. Or to anybody.

If you think it doesn't make sense, that's not the Universe's fault or problem. It's your problem.

This picture is not the universe exploding. It's just your garden-variety
star exploding. Actually, not exploding. Collapsing and bouncing.
The nothing didn't explode either. It just expanded really really fast.
You can believe that it's infinitely large, or not.

You can believe that it had a starting point, or not.

You can believe that it's 6000 years old, or 13.8 billion. Or infinitely old.

All that you, and we, and everybody has to go on is the evidence that we have been able to uncover, and will presumably continue to uncover, and we interpret that evidence from our tiny perch in time and space as best we can.

And as we have seen, the evidence changes, and so our understanding of the Universe changes, and presumably it will continue to do so, whether we like it or not.

If Monte Vaughn had shown this much emotion
when I asked her out, well, a win.
The Universe is indifferent to your feelings about it. It's like that cheerleader that I asked out four times in college. Her name was Monte Vaughn. I still remember her name. She was ... indifferent. And remained indifferent. She did not go out with me. She does not remember my name. She may not have actually been a cheerleader, either. But it's a better story that way.

The Universe does not remember your name. It is the way that it is, and it will continue to be that way (that is, dynamic and constantly changing) regardless of your thoughts, opinions or beliefs about it. 

If it's helpful to rename the Universe "Monte Vaughn", go right ahead. It is unimaginably beautiful. And it is not interested in going out with you.

Now. God.

God is something like the Universe.

Either God exists, or he does not. What you believe about that is irrelevant.

That's harsh, but true. But you will not eliminate God with your lack of belief, if he exists. Nor will you cause him to exist via your beliefs, if he does not.

Either he does, or he does not.

(I'm using "he" because constantly having to say "he, she, it or they" is awkward and irritating and so I'm not really saying God is a man or male, but that he is surely more than an "it". "They" would work, but it will irritate the non-Trinity folks and yadda yadda yadda. Live with it.)

Either he does, or he does not.

Your opinion about that is immaterial.

Now isn't that a curious thing? It causes one to wonder, ok, NOW what am I supposed to do?

Well. We could talk about evidence for, let's say, the universe first. But we will quickly run into theories that say, as we have said in
other earlier blogs, 1) the universe is a hologram (and therefore not really here) or 2) the universe is a computer simulation (and therefore not really here.

Plus, since we don't know what either Dark Matter or Dark Energy are, 95% of the universe is a complete mystery to us.

Plus, the universe might be 10**26th times bigger than the part that we can see, and we'll never see any of the rest of it and will never know anything about it,

Or, it might be infinitely big, which is a lot bigger than just 10**26th times bigger, and so the part that we do know something about is infinitely smaller than the rest of it, and (just do the the math) is therefore not really here,

And that's THE OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE, of which you are not even a measurable part of, either. Well, measurable maybe. But very close to infinitely insignificant,

And the part of the universe that we can see, we will never ever be able to go to any parts of it, apart from the part that we are in. Like, even getting to Neptune seems like a stretch. Frankly, even Mars seems like a stretch. I think you could put all the people who've been to the moon in an egg carton. OK, a large egg carton. One that would fit people. Or a roller coaster that seats 12. Like that one. That many people have been on the moon.

And we will never ever know for sure where the universe came from, or whether it is unique and there are lots of other universes, or maybe just a couple or four, a dozen maybe, a gross of universes.

(OK, to be honest, you can't actually be "very close to infinitely insignificant", but if you could, we would be.)

So your personal evidence for the existence of the universe is anecdotal and highly suspect. I would not choose to believe in the universe based solely upon your personal experience. And I don't give a rat's patootie who you are, because even you, you universe scientists, you cosmologists and astronomers, even you have only seen or experienced a tiny tiny fraction that (if the universe is infinitely big) is infinitely smaller than the actual universe itself, and you don't even have much of a clue what it is, either. And you keep changing the story.

No offense. It's kinda hard. I get that. That's actually the point.

I should say, BTW, that I do in fact believe in the actual universe.

Pay attention. This is the subtle and clever part.

1) I understand the universe as well as I understand it because the cosmologists and astronomers have gone out of their way to explain it to me, and 2) I understand that my understanding of the universe will change with further information, and 3) it might change quite radically in quite unexpected sorts of ways, but 4) I have personal experience with the universe. That is, 5) evidence has been presented to me, and 6) I have personal evidence as well.

The universe exists for me because I have some experience with it.

It is not the same experience that anyone else has had, though there is a lot of overlap, so it is both unique and universal at the same time.

Unique and universal. How...


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