This universe has been a slum for the last 50 trillion years at least.

So presumably we’ve all heard about the upcoming heat death of the universe. It’s a long way off, to be sure, but unless we’ve made a huge mistake in determining the laws of thermodynamics it has to come eventually. And while we don’t know what changes far future civilizations will make to the human race, or even whether they’ll create new and more advanced intelligent species, it seems a safe bet that conscious beings cannot exists without increasing entropy. In other words, our species cannot go on forever.

But wait one minute. At least one expert thinks that it may be possible to avoid this unfortunate fate. He suggests that the human race may be capable of busting out of this universe and finding a new home in a different one, thus escaping the heat death and surviving, potentially, forever. Among the possible ways we could do this is by finding a naturally occuring wormhole to a parallel universe, creating negative energy, or even building a parallel universe of our own.

So here’s the question. As things currently stand, science predicts the eventual demise of the human race. This basically backs up the central tenet of the major western religions, namely that humanity is doomed unless a supernatural power intervenes to save us. But if we can, by our own power, escape that doom and propagate ourselves eternally, would that essentially prove the religious worldview incorrect once and for all?

50 trillion years is a long time to wait to win a bet against religious people about whether we’re all going to die.

I guess the thread title is from the point of view of some imaginary head-dead universe dweller, but the universe is currently only 13.7 billion years old and the heat death would be largely complete in terms of rendering life impossible in another 20 billionyears - not quite 50 trillion.

However, the point here is that time is entropy. Even if we could somehow occupy another universe (more strictly another region of the universe), that one would eventually attain a state of maximum entropy as well (or crunch back into a singularity with similarly terminal consequences for Life As We Know It.)

What you’re really after, and what appears to be no less plausible, is a means to get to another region of the universe having an altogether more promising future, ie. just go back in time.

Hang on a sec. Most major religions would argue that it’s not human lives in peril, it’s human souls. Jesus, Muhammed, Moses, Buddha–they’re all talking about spiritual salvation, how to survive after death.

If we manage to escape a basic law of physics somehow and continue the human race, I’m not sure how that proves most religions wrong.

I would suggest that should God exist, and if we survive our technological delinquency and continue our evolution, our knowledge of God will evolve along with us. I say it’s presumptuous for us to believe that we can understand such a being as God in any meaningful way with our little post-monkey brains. Even should there not be a God, there is no reason to assume that religious belief and / or superstition would not also evolve. I say that because, even assuming that all humans become scientifically rationalist, this does not mean that a quest for spiritual enlightenment will necessarily disappear. So long as the questions of 'why are we here?’, ‘is there more to life than this?’ questions of inequity etc. persist, searching for higher spirituality will likely continue, as science will not provide those answers. And might not the huge volume of antidotal stories of ‘God in our lives’ also persist? There is also the possibility that a need to believe in a higher power may be a survival trait and not easy, or wise, to weed out.

Incidentally, should we be able to achieve such a feat of moving to another universe (interstellar colonization would likely be a cakewalk compared to entering a different timeline or universe, if possible) it may be likely that we would stumble across God in the process. Should such a supreme being actually exist, It would have to inhabit more than three physical dimensions in order to have the omnipotent knowledge and power attributed to the basic attributes of God as a creator of all things, all knowing, and timeless. For instance, thought experiments suggest that if one could view the space around them from the vantage point of four dimensional space, you would be able to see a person or object from any angle as well as inside out. One might also be able to manipulate matter in three-dimensional space from a higher dimension in ways that are impossible within three dimensions. An analogy is that if we could reach into a two-dimensional flatland universe, one might be able to lift an object up from its two dimensional space making it ‘disappear’ from the viewpoint of a two dimensional being, as up and down are impossible directions for them to move into on their own.

Thus a being such as God would need to exist in more dimensions than we are aware of in order to have such God-like powers. God would likely inhabit all dimensions, with as many as ten, eleven, or twenty six currently claimed to exist, according to string theorists. At this time, we aren’t even sure if such higher dimensions exist, much less understand their properties in only the most rudimentary way if they do.

We would need a much greater knowledge of the fabric of the universe(s) to make such a transition to a place outside our universe. I believe the greater our scientific knowledge, the more likely we will have means of actually proving (or disproving) the existence of God, as we will need means of testing for spaces that exist beyond our realm.

And even solid proof against the existence of God does not mean that some religious belief might not still continue, only that its focus would be on something other than a supreme being.

The proposal in the OP sounds a lot like the premise of The Devil’s Apocrypha: There Are Two Sides to Every Story. In that story God, Satan and the other supernaturals were beings from another universe who escaped the impending collapse by finding a way into this universe.

Previously known as just The Apocrypha: There Are Two Sides to Every Story, which is what it says on my copy, but I guess calling it “The Apocrypha” was too confusing. Good book, that one, at least so far (despite having purchased it way back when it had a different title, I only recently started reading it and haven’t gotten through very much yet).

Incidentally, I first heard about the book from the SDMB. I love this place.

Many branches of the major religions, most notably the Roman Catholic Church, have certainly been toning down their focus on life after death during recent generations. It seems that the general aim of religion in modern societies is becoming and will continue to become less about preserving individual consciousnesses for eternity, and more about providing meanign and purpose for human lives as we know them by means of telling us how to lead lives on Earth. However, with the entire human race destined for nothingness there’s still no permanent meaning in this world. Even for those who don’t believe in an actual Heaven (or Hell) following death, in such circumstances religion can still provides a means by which the effects of human lives and human decisions are eternal. But if humans can reach new universes and continue repeating that feat forever, then that motivation for religion goes away.

If God does exist than perhaps we will meet Him when we jump out of the universe. Then again, perhaps not. Religions are far from guaranteed to survive. They tend to fade away once they’re no longer useful. For instance, many primitive cultures worshiped a Sun God or deity of some form. Obviously a good idea, since if the Sun God didn’t bring the Sun up into the sky each day, there wouldn’t be any heat or light. But once you learn that the Sun is actually a big ball of gas, and that it “rises” each day because the Earth rotates and brings it into and out of view, then the Sun God no longer commands the same respect.

Now many with a secular mindset might opine that the major western religions have survived for so long because of pure luck, or because they were more willing to use violence against competitors. But it’s also true that their concpetion of God, as formless, omnipotent, and somewhat ambiguous, could be adopted and changed as society progressed. The Jewish/Christian/Islamic God, like CMOT Dibbler, meets the needs of the times. But what I’m speculating is that at sometime in the far future, even those needs may run out.

Assuming that our cosmology is accurate even if incomplete, the universe (defined as that which originated with the Big Bang; anything that exists that is not thereby described is a hypothetical object as of now, yes?) is winding down and will eventually burn out, lifeless and starless.

What our models do not accomodate with any real confidence is how the heck this Event, this Big Bang and its subsequent form we call “universe”, transpired in the first place. Our lack of knowledge and understanding makes any surmises akin to babytalk, but within those limitations (and outside of the nomenclatural conflicts that arise between an everyday vocabulary that assumes time to be eternal in both directions and the rules governing spacetime in the Big Bang model), we don’t have any reason to assume that the Big Bang/universe, having once occurred, could not occur again, or, indeed, an infinite number of times.

My theology expresses it in terms of the universe/Big Bang existing volitionally (“It’s here because it could be and chose to be”), a God/Creation that created itself.

I dunno about “us” getting “out” of this one as it decays to cinders and “into” a newer one. It seems safe to say that neither you nor I will do so nor will we need to.

Again, theologically, I would find it spiritually distressing to contemplate a final irreversible end to all life and energy, a giant “that’s it”, but I don’t find it spiritually distressing to think that this particular fireworks, “our” Big Bang, winks out after its time in the sky so long as the process continues.