- Published on Sunday, 31 October 2010 06:51
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 4634
Before the beginning of the Universe, there was nothing. No other universe, no god, no creator, no flow of time. It's hard for us to comprehend but just because we think in terms of now and earlier and later or a beginning to everything, does not mean that this is always true. Physicist Stephen Hawking compares the beginning of the Universe to the South Pole. If you start at the South Pole you can go North just like you can go forward in time from the beginning of the Universe. But you can't go South (p 135 in The Grand Design). Starting at the South pole, there is no South; this is just like at the start of the Universe when there is no earlier time.
This totally destroys one of the main arguments used to prove that there must be a god. Of course, you are still quite free to believe in god - just don't spout forth about how the Universe must have a creator. Realize that this particular argument has no scientific merit.
Another argument put forth - especially by people who have some knowledge of science - is that the universe is so finely tuned that only a creator, a god, could have done this. The parameters are things like the mass of an electron and how many dimensions we exist in (3 plus time). The details are completely in the realm of advanced physics and beyond the scope of this article. However, some simple things come out of this that we can understand - e.g. the freezing point of water, ice floating on water, carbon is suitable for life forms and more.
But again, this idea of needing a fine-tuner is not supported by science. As pointed out in The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, there are almost an infinite number of universes (10 to the power 500. That's 1 with 500 zeros after it!). We happen to be in one that works and that happens to have the parameters that we have. Most if not all the others have parameters that would not support life. My personal view on this is that the math and physics theories that describe all this are currently the best ways that humans can describe this situation and maybe in future millennia we'll find ways to describe it that fit our thinking abilities. Meanwhile, since I trust mathematics, it says that these parameters describe our world, that the math using these parameters works and the world works - so let's not worry about it. Or rather, let's leave it to Physicists to worry about it.
But it is clear that the current math of advanced physics says that there is no need for any fine-tuning needed; there is no need (based on this) for a creator.
Hawking and Mlodinow sum up the Physics relating to the start of the universe as follows:
"Because gravity shapes space and time, it allows space-time to be locally stable but globally unstable. On the scale of the entire universe, the positive energy of the matter can be balanced by the negative gravitational energy and so there is no restriction on the creation of whole universes. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing in the manner described in Chapter 6 [of The Grand Design]. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." (p. 180)
In an interview with the U.K. Guardian published May 15, 2011, Hawking said:
“I regard the brain as a computer, which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,”