Origin of Universe Belief Survey

Actually, periodicity is probably the least complicated material cosmology (less so, for instance, than the Big Bang theory), at least for the purposes of Occam’s Razor. However, “most likely” is neither proof nor certainty.

Oh, and Quadgop:

Your theory is provably bunk, as it does not address the possibility of a world-devouring Star-Goat. No doubt you’re one of those poor blighters that didn’t evacuate the planet :).

The universe by its very nature is inherently hostile to life, which is nothing more than an immeasurably complex reaction between sub-atomic particles, which take place on a chemical, molecular, cellular, individual and biospherical level. Science dictates that entropy will always favor reactions which result in chemical processes reverting to simpler forms (eg. non organic ones), a trend which is occurring on an exponentially increasing level, inevitably resulting in a universe in which life cannot possibly exist.
This is (fortunately) nothing that will happen within the sphere of human existence, or likely the existence of any life this planet is yet to produce.

As to how the universe came to be, I have this to say.
The creation stories of all cultures and religions are fabrications, fiction which has arisen due to the human psychological need to interpret meaning in events which are indifferent to their petty and otherwise meaningless existences.
There is no god/s, no afterlife/reincarnation, no meaning to life, no reason to live beyond the pleasure gained by existing, no reason to propagate ones species other than the deeply rooted instinct to do so.

I was a christian-raised atheist once, but I don’t know what you could call me now… I still think that all religions are frauds, and that empirical thinking is the key to interpreting this universe in an appropriate context, but I have since had an extraordinary revelation. Some time ago, my perceptions began to gradually expand over a period of days, leaving me with a general feeling of disorientation. I felt distanced from the material universe in a way which almost lead me to believe I was going schizophrenic or something… however the disorientation passed, and I began to perceive the veil. This veil of which I speak is the metaphorical veil of perceptions, which limits us in what we can perceive of this universe. I believe the veil exists only as a genetic by-product, a sort of evolutionary coping mechanism which prevents most lesser animals from perceiving more than they can deal with. I think that I could now see the veil because I was ready to see beyond it, for it was now the only thing still in my way. I tore it down (don’t ask me how, I cannot describe this in terms you could relate to, using any language you could understand) and beheld what lay beyond, a realm of unimaginable power. This realm, more properly labeled a dimension, exists parallel (in a non-dimensional sense) to this universe, and given its relative power over this one, may well have been in some way responsible to this universe’s formation. This dimension is the key to power beyond the likes of which science has to offer, for it can be manipulated by one who perceives it to alter the laws of science. I have managed to accomplish this on a very small scale, though the mechanism with which I am able to do so is yet unknown to me. Witchcraft, psychic power, miracles, all these things now seem plausible when viewed in terms of my discovery… no doubt though, both past and modern practitioners were ignorant to the nature of the stuff they were manipulating, much as practitioners of chinese medicine are ignorant to the truth of chemistry and biology, the real powers behind the results they are able to achieve. Think of what can be achieved by altering the laws of physics… faster than light travel, immortality, anything that can be imagined.
I am currently conducting research into the nature of this other universe, with the hope of being able to gain a greater level of control over it, which I might then be able to use to the benefit of all… as I mentioned earlier, the universe is gradually becoming an uninhabitable place, hostile to all life. It is my hope that I may some day change this… make the universe a paradise in which life in all it’s beauty and diversity can exist for eternity.
Note that neither prior, during nor following this episode did I ever use drugs or other psychosis inducing substances, nor is their a record of mental illness in my family. If you don’t take anything I’ve just stated seriously, that’s fine, I don’t expect you to believe what you can’t perceive for yourself, however, just one word of advice. If some time many years from now, you see some guy claiming to be a sorcerer and wielding (quite obviously, so that you can see for yourself) powers the likes of which defy imagination -do yourself a favor, don’t get in his way :slight_smile:

I would say no, the universe wasn’t created.
I tend to use universe to mean “Everything that exists” (for some sense of the word ‘exist’). If you don’t like that definition, replace all instances of the word universe in the following argument spooniverse, meaning ‘everything that exists’. The argument still applies in exactly the same way. Here’s my reasoning:

Assume X created the (spoon/un)iverse. Thus X exists. as it had a measurable effect on the universe. Hence there was a universe before X created it, even if all the universe consisted of was X itself. So what are the possibilities to resolve this apparent contradiction?

  1. X created the universe at exactly the moment it came into being.
  2. X created all the universe except for itself.
  3. X was created by something else.

(Was I supposed to say ‘Hi Opal’ there?)

There are probably more, but that’s all I can think of offhand.
Here’s my response to each of those.

  1. Doesn’t really seem any different to ‘the universe spontaneously came into being’
  2. Well, ok. But that doesn’t actually provide an origin for the universe, as you still have X sitting around causing an inconveniently existing universe before it created everything.
  3. Repeat previous argument for X’s creator.

This of course doesn’t disprove the existence of a creator. It’s just that there doesn’t really seem like there’s a good reason that there should be one.

There is of course the whole issue of time beginning with the creation of the universe and thus it not being meaningful to ask what came before hand - another good reason to say no.

I was reading a really great book which made the point that the old Aristotelian notion of the universe being set in motion by an immovable “prime mover”, although a nice idea was quite flawed.

Aristotles theory (based on observation) basically goes:

  1. everything in the universe is moving
  2. something else which is moving has caused this thing to move
  3. the mover was also moved by another mover
    etc, etc

So tracing the chain of moved and movers right back, we reach the inevitable conclusion that there must have been something which caused the first movement(s), and by definition, this something must have been immovable.

I liked this theory because it allows both a modern scientific interpretation, and also a divine one. However, the book I was reading makes the point that it is equally reasonable to assert that there was more than one prime mover - who says causality emanates from one source?

Then I thought; “Doesn’t this have implications for the big bang theory?”. Why should the universe have been created from a single source? Perhaps there were infinite points which exploded into an infinity of universes. But logically speaking, I would still say anything which can be said to exist is part of the universe, and hence must have had a cause. To say that “cause” and “before” has no meaning, is to demonstrate that your theory is lacking (as they all are). It is usually at this point that I stop thinking and make a pickle sandwich.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is basically saying “If God created the Universe, who created God?”

Turn it around: If God is uncreated, why can’t the Universe be uncreated? In other words, who needs God? Saying “God created the Universe” only pushes the problem back one step.

Conclusion: God is no help. The Universe can exist just fine without him/her/it. Postulating an intelligent creator doesn’t solve any philosophical problems and doesn’t explain any other observations.

I confess. I created the universe last week. You all just think you remember existing before then. I made the universe to appear internally consistent with a presumed age of 15 billion years, but it’s really only 7 days old.

How do you know it’s not?



Well, evolution may have no need of the divine, but if that’s the case, your example sure doesn’t demonstrate it. On the contrary, quite the opposite – unless you are prepared to argue that those computer models sprang spontaneously into existence, without the aid of so much as a single lab tech.

Your models needed a very clever programmer to set them in motion. A person far more intelligent than anything in the program, existing in a dimension completely outside of the program itself…not at all unlike a divine creator. If this very clever programmer had written a program modeled on evolution, in which one sub-routine eventually evolved self-consciousness (i.e., A.I.), we would have an opportunity, perhaps, to observe a situation not unlike our own. Occasionally, one small sub-routine might receive a transcendent flash of insight and realize that there was “something much greater” out there. But all the other bits of the program would just shake their heads and say, “Nah, we don’t have to go beyond our own parameters to explain the computer world…”

blowero: Nice to see again as well, sir.

Actually, I created YOU, and I just made you THINK you created the universe.

Double Bwaaaaahaha.:wink:

Because the universe is not supernatural. Or do you believe that it is? If not, the onus is upon you to show either:

  1. By what natural mechanism did something arise from nothing, when nothingness implies the absence of any mechanism by which something can arise?


  1. What experiment will show that the availability of energy is always steady, rather than decreasing, thus suggesting that the universe is eternal?


I mean, nice to see you again as well, sir.

Supernatural is an empty label which explains nothing.

That’s just the thing. We do not know and cannot know what the conditions outside our universe are. We do not know and cannot know what the mechanism for bringing a universe into being are. The existence of our universe does not tell us anything about why it came to be rather than nothing.

In other words, I don’t know, and you don’t either.

The narrative I subscribe to runs something like this:

The universe is uncreated; it is birthless, deathless, and cyclical. There are catastrophic breaks in between world-cycles which present science doesn’t have the math (and perhaps never will) to model–the “Big Bang” so-called is simply in the same state of affairs as the physics of singularities and the “space” inside event horizons of black holes. That state being, as visible as the back of the observer’s own head sans mirrors–we don’t know how to make the necessary mirrors yet. My narrative investment (“belief” if you’d rather) in the nature of those catastrophic breaks is a somewhat modified version of something in kabbalah known as tsimtsum, or “contraction” (translators assure me).

All of this uncreatedness is an emanation of intelligence, or more properly,awareness. The universe is not the totality of that awareness, but the immanent aspect of that consciousness is the totality of the universe. (The universe is a subset of a larger set.) There never was a nothingness proper. I reject a natural/supernatural division as artificial and meaningless, because that’s what I was told.

If I’m wrong about that, I’ll buy a round at Milliway’s. (The interest accrued on the present two cents will easily pay for the exorbitant costs involved, so that’s a lucky break.)

Of all these replies, I think WillGoForFood has the best one. [I still haven’t figured out how to make the member names bold]

My own thoughts are these:

The universe that can be named is not the real universe; the God that can be named is not the real God, because names are insufficient. Yet, since we must use names, let us say, “all.” I know this to be true intuitively, and cite myself as “proof.” I cannot tell whether I am right or wrong, but if I could tell, then I would most certainly be wrong.

And that’s all I have to say about that!

Oh, I grant you that I don’t know. That’s precisely why I put no faith in any natural mechanism that cannot logically exist. But the challenge was to FriendRob, who asserts that the universe might be uncreated.

And you have called “supernatural” an empty label while at the same time speaking of things “outside our universe”, raising equivocation to a whole new level.

Well, Lib, if I recall my quantum physics right, electrons can spontaneously appear in a vacuum. So there does appear to be some evidence that material things can suddenly exist where they did not exist before, with no known cause.

The fallacy here is “hidden assumption”: your answer implies that only supernatural things can be uncreated. This is not obvious to me.

More hidden assumptions.
a) How do you know the universe “arose”? Maybe it has always been.
b) A universe that spontaneously arose from the quantum vacuum would still provide a mechanism, even though there is “nothing”. That is, the laws of physics may still be operative even in the absence of our spacetime universe.
c) Finally, the onus should not be on anyone to show this, only to show that it is logically possible.

I take it here you are allowing for my (a), but want to know about decrease of entropy? The law of entropy increase is a statistical law that holds true most of the time. No fundamental laws would be violated by a decrease of entropy. In any case, there could be a phase of the universe where entropy decreases. In a cyclic universe, this could happen at the Big Crunch between cycles.

If I can talk you into accepting Chronos as an authority on the matter, he told me that the term “vacuum” is loosely used in that context and does not mean the same as “nothing”. He said that physics does not explain how something could arise from nothing. If the search tool were more efficient, I’d hunt down the reference for you. But if you have the time, you should be able to find it with the phrase “something arise from nothing”.

I think you might mean a concealed premise fallacy, unless you mean a complex question fallacy. Either could be applicable to the phrase “hidden assumption”.

But in any case, the answer does not imply what you think. It does not imply that only supernatural things can be uncreated; rather, it implies that natural things cannot.

More (extremely) informal logic references.
Then you must answer (2), which I see that you attempted.

Please understand that the entity that has arisen cannot be the same as the entity that had the mechanism that preceded it. Also, please understand that phrase “absence of our spacetime universe” presumes the consequent.

The onus is always on the person making the assertion (even when couched as a rhetorical question).

Nothing in that answers the question, which I will repeat for your convenience: “What experiment will show that the availability of energy is always steady, rather than decreasing, thus suggesting that the universe is eternal?”

I should have explained what I meant by “presuming the consequent” vis-a-vis your appeal to things outside our universe. I did not mean the consequent that a mechanism pre-existed the universe, but rather that such a mechanism is natural. It would, by definition, be supernatural.

Yes. That was my point. It’s also the conclusion I made… Sorry, my communication skills aren’t great. What I was doing was starting from the assumption (which I don’t agree with) that there was a creator, working through the possible conclusions. I then analysed the conclusions, found them satisfactory, thus causing me to reject the initial assumption.

Eyep. Too much maths. It’s invading my thought processes. :slight_smile: