May 2008

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Comments

Jim

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinoza

qurtuba

God. Defined by humans as "an entity who is all powerfull, all knowing and aethernal" That same God, whatever the religion, makes us humans fully responsible because we have free will. WELL, is all a stinking lie (or else, see end point)
Such a god would know that, whatever we do, kids will die, wars will happen, storms will destroy etc etc, BUT WILL DO NOTHING TO PREVENT IT. Where's the free will there? Thus, god doesn't exist, free will doesn't exist, or....

End note: God exists, free will is exercised each time we move, AND god is a stinking joker

Joachim Dyndale

The facinating, and really quite freaky, thing about the universe is that we simply aren't equipped to understand it completely. I believe it is impossible for any centient being to understand something which is more complex than itself.

As an example, there's the fact that either something has existed for ever or everything was created from nothing. Those are the only two possibilities - both of which are impossible, by human logic.

Give this fact, I'd be hard pressed to deny that it could be possible that the universe is infinite in *every* direction. Though it seems like it's harder for most people to imagine that things could get smaller and smaller ad infinitum than that things can get bigger and bigger ad infinitum.

Scientists seem to be able to make breakthoughs, from time to time, making it possible to see what we thought were the smallest building blocks of the universe are made of - and also, every time a new and more powerful telescope is created and pointed at a location which was empty when looking through the second largest telescope, they discover that this region is filled with galaxies. This is one of the reasons I've always had problems with scientists saying that they know how big the universe is and how many atoms it contains.

totallymeat

Scott,

There's no absurdity in a regression of ever-smaller particles. That scenarios would just mean that there are no foundational building blocks of the universe, which would seem to stymie your goal of having God be fundamental particles + physics.

If you must insist on there being some fundamental building blocks, then you still aren't saved from an infinite regression. I'll show you what I mean. Let's be a little more specific: by a fundamental particle, I just mean a particle that has no sub-parts and can therefore never be divided.

Think about it like a linked list and you'll get the picture. Imagine the worst case, that there are infinitely many varieties of fundamental particles in the universe. We take the smallest bit of matter known and eventually divide it. We discover a new fundamental particle, but there is still matter left over. We smash the left over matter, and again find a new, smaller fundamental particle with some matter left over. At each stage in our investigation, we will find a new, indivisible, fundamental particle, and yet there will be infinitely many of them, so our investigation will never cease.

The more interesting issue is this: how would you know if you are in such a universe? Email me if you'd like to talk more about it, because there is a lot more.

Cliff Pearson

What's always puzzled me about the fact that we appear to have two distinct sets of 'physical' rules is where does the change-over take place? As things get smaller and smaller (or as the observer looks closer and closer, whichever your perspective), when does Classical Physics give way to Quantum Mechanics?

Is there a smooth transition or a hard cut-off point and has this barrier/transition layer been documented?

Another question that's just occurred to me - is this cut-off point always constant, or is it affected by other forces, such as gravity?

I think I need to get stoned and think about this some more! B->

Vader1941

If a mono-particular universe is God, then its also:

-Satan, the cause of vice and pain (particles ->human ->actions->vice/pain)
-Big Bird
-Mickey Mouse
-You
-Your Mom
-etc.

If the universe is God, then God is Satan, and the clever bastard has been messing with our headsjust for the fun of it.

Brian

Did you just read the book Blasphemy by Douglas Preston? If not, I think you might enjoy that very much, and be creeped out by how close to the book topic you've come.

mijj

my personal current mad theory is that everything is made of 12 different nothings ... all twisted round each other.

Xanthippa

Actually, the Universe is filled with just one kind of 'stuff' - little bits of energy. And, they vibrate in different ways, which we perceive as different kind of 'stuff'... hope this helps....

As for the God thingy.... Most people who use the term imply sentience and intent....something sorely missing in 'energy', however it vibrates. Just read the nearest newspaper - no sentiece whatsoever. I rest my case...

The Doctor

Regarding the LHC, check this out: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20080406&mode=classic

fan

End of the road?

KAVI WAZ HERE

I have free will.

Damn you.

More proof of my free will:
http://thedailysong.wordpress.com/

And if you visit that, then you know you used your own free will! (See, I'm a genius).

Blah Blah Blah

I like Scott Adams, but I'm pretty tired of hearing about the "we don't have free will" or "free will is a superstition" argument. Not because it's true or untrue, but because he offers no sources or outside verification, at least not as far as I've ever seen. He just says that "science has proved we have no free will" or "scientists have proven that the part of the brain responsible for rationalization doesn't show any stimulation until AFTER we act."

For one thing, that's the exact same thing that Creationists do. They say that "scientists are abandoning the theory of evolution," but never give any statistics to back it up, never say which scientists, or even say how they KNOW that. Did they read an article? This is the information age; they could at least offer a link to the article they read, and let people judge its authenticity for themselves.

The same goes for our intrepid blogger here--he's not a neurosurgeon and doesn't claim to have been the one actually operating the MRI machine during these tests, so I assume he read about them somewhere. It seems like he could at least say where, what he read, and why it was so convincing to him. With merely the vague voice of unknown "scientists," his arguments carry no more weight than urban legends, which everyone SWEARS happened...to a friend of a friend of an unverified, unverifiable friend.

Nancy L.

I assumed when I saw you mentioning building blocks of the universe, that you were going to reference this quote by Frank Zappa:

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.


Then again, he also had this gem to say:

It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.

KAVI WAZ HERE

I have free will.

Damn you.

More proof of my free will:
http://thedailysong.wordpress.com/

And if you visit that, then you know you used your own free will! (See, I'm a genius).

whowantssoup

Scott,

What makes you assume there is one smallest particle and that the world isn't built from a variety of smallest particles? For example, the world might be built of micro-microscopic giraffes (giraffes in this case are a particle that can't be broken down into organs, cells, etc) and stones and all the motion in the universe is caused by the giraffes pushing their stones into eachother.

Mark


[Posted by: OlsonBW

Two things.]

And both wrong...

[For those that speak of time. What is time but a measure of how often the earth rotates 360 degrees and how often the earth rotates completely around the sun. Other than that, does time exist? What do you measure it by?]

Time is the one thing that stops everything happening at once. Thats all.

[As for God.

Those that don't believe in God believe so because they have just gotten smart enough to think they know enough to know if there is a God or not.]

No, that's what YOU think people who don't believe in god think.

you have no idea what I think.

David

Finding what the universe is truly and fundamentally made of doesn't make that fundamental material "God." It makes it something else entirely.

Imagine evolution were solidly disproved, but people kept pointing to any new theory that came up and said, "Well, isn't that evolution, then?" Same thing.

DM

I don't really know why, but I sort of assumed that the smallest building blocks from which everything else is made of is just "kinks" in space. Very, very small kinks, which affect other kinks close to them. I'm a little hazy as to what the "kinks" are kinks in, but if I knew that I would be working on the Hadron Universe Shrinking Machine.

latsot

> Nobody has faith like a scientist.

Well done, you don't understand either faith or science. I guess you don't know anything...

UKBJ

Scott,
You really must read Douglas Adams' "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe" trilogy (that contains 5 books). He's covered your point, to paraphrase: once we approach the truth eveything changes and becomes more complicated, some say this has already happened!

He comes up with some brilliant ideas in the funniest books I've ever read - including Garfield and Dilbert strip books. You'd have got along well if he hadn't gone and died so young!

Borjan

Well, since you are obviously interested in such stuff, I recommend the "A Short History Of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

In short and understandable stories, he explains how scientists came to know what they know (like the mass of the Earth, for instance) and lists the things that are really perplexing (like how certain sets of two sub-atomic particles happen to "know" what the spin of the other is instantaneously, even beating the speed of light).

I'm reading it right now and enjoying it immensely.

Scott H.

All true science is God's science!

While I thoroughly enjoy your blog (most of the time) and am a die hard Dilbert fan, I tend to disagree with you every once in a while(though that's common to all human interaction I believe). Anyways, on to my point: what I gathered from this post is that maybe there is one final component that makes up everything on a microscopic level, and the finding of that would give credence to rules of physics guiding everything, which you stated meant that "that such rules of physics would qualify as God." Now here is where I digress. I agree with your sentiment that there probably is some base particle that composes all things and I would agree that all true science follow laws of science. But one blaring fallacy in the "God v. Science" argument is that the argument exists at all. Why should it be one or the other? God, for me, is a perfect being who is ordered and logical, who follows laws perfectly and is our creator. But not our creator alone, but the creator of all things. So in creating all things, of course God is going to follow a logical order of operations. Of course God is going to follow the very laws that govern His creations. The proof of a particle that makes up all things, the proof that there are such exact and perfect laws to explain all things (though we may not yet comprehend all those laws), the proof that there is order in everything in the multiverse, for me, gives credence to a Creator-type being. Which is the foundation for my first line: All true science is indeed God's science.

phaser

Personally, I think the particles will spell out:

"We Apologize For The Inconvenience"

thanks for all the fish, Douglas Adams, RIP

HumbleOpinion

Physicist Steven Hawkings talks about the origin of the Universe on this video: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/242

Either the Universe creates itself through the convergence of the time and spacial dimensions or it is created out of nothing.

The video is short and highly recommended.

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