The Frontal Cortex

God Is A Black Hole

I had no idea such things were even possible:

One day (far off, no doubt), it may be possible to go into a laboratory on Earth, create a “seed” — a device that could grow into a universe — and then there would have to be a way to get that seed, on command, to safely expand into a separate, infinite, unexplorable but very real alternate universe.

How might one go about creating this personal universe? Well, it’s actually not so hard, at least in theory. According to Robert Krulwich and Brian Greene, all you have to do is create your own black hole, a personal vortex of energy and matter:

Not the big black holes that sit near the centers of so many galaxies, but what Greene calls a “mini black hole.” Black holes, he says, don’t have to be big. They can, in theory, be very small.

What next? Well, then you need to harness something called “the repulsive force,” which will mysteriously transform your universal seedling into a genuine cosmic reality. There’s only one problem with this personal universe: you can’t play with it. Once you’ve started the cosmos going, all you can do is watch it from afar.

Once it’s formed, the inventor couldn’t meet its inhabitants, mine its minerals, collect souvenirs or judge his or her success. The biblical god who many believe created our universe inspected us on the first through sixth day and decided that what He’d done “was good.”

Needless to say, this thought experiment raises all sorts of theological questions. So even if God started the universe – he was just fiddling around in his super-collider – he would be physically unable to intervene. The problem of evil is solved: evil exists because God can’t help it. He was just the seed.

Comments

  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 28, 2006

    Well, then you need to harness something called “the repulsive force,”

    Luke, beware the dark side.

  2. #2 Terry Harding
    November 28, 2006

    So does this mean that our whole universe could be some kid’s science project?

  3. #3 AgnosticOracle
    November 28, 2006

    I have a friend who occasionally makes this argument. His thinking goes like this. Eventually technology will allow us to create universes in the laboratory to study and learn deeper things about physics. Once we have figured out how to do this we will create many of these laboratory universes.

    There are two possibilities for the genesis of this universe. Either it was created naturally or it was created in a laboratory of some other universe. However, both every naturally universe and every laboratory universe will create many laboratory universes. Therefore it is more likely that any given universe will be a laboratory universe. So odds are we are in a laboratory universe.

    There is of course one big kink in this argument. Not all universes are capable of producing intelligent species who could build their own laboratory universes. A modest constraint on universe creation might be that the total mass/energy of a new universe can’t be greater than the mass/energy used to create it. This would make laboratory universes capable of producing intelligent life very rare.

  4. #4 Steinn Sigurdsson
    November 28, 2006

    It is entirely possible, and arguably likely, that the net mass-energy content of our universe is exactly zero.
    The positive mass energy density we observe may well be precisely offset by the negative energy density we observe, integrated over a suitably large volume of course.

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    November 29, 2006

    Could we tell if our universe were made on a lab bench? Or, looking at it another way, if the folks at CERN get into the universe-making business, could they leave a signature in their handiwork?

    Maybe.

  6. #6 Blake Stacey
    November 29, 2006

    Follow-up question: could the universe-makers at LHC have any choice about the physical laws they code into their pet cosmos? Again, maybe: building a universe without the weak nuclear force which still allows the formation of complex atoms — and hence, possibly life — is in theory possible. This “Weakless Universe” has been criticized on several grounds, most important of which is that supernovae in it are not likely to produce as much oxygen as they do in our universe, making life as we know it a more problematic proposition. However, to me at least, this objection doesn’t sound very weighty. We only know of one planet where molecules started doing the biological dance, so if the Weakless Universe can produce even one decent concentration of familiar elements. . . .

  7. #7 Coin
    November 29, 2006

    and then there would have to be a way to get that seed, on command, to safely expand into a separate, infinite, unexplorable but very real alternate universe… The seed, he suggests, could be a black hole. Not the big black holes that sit near the centers of so many galaxies, but what he calls a “mini black hole.” Black holes, he says, don’t have to be big. They can, in theory, be very small.

    Okay, so explain to me how this is supposed to work. What the heck is this “seed”? Why do we need a black hole– is it just for the singularity at the center, or what? Is the idea supposed to be that he thinks you can turn any singularity into a new universe– and if so, is there any reason he thinks so except the implication by big bang cosmology that the big bang started out as a singularity?

    Once you’ve created this “separate, infinite universe”, where is it? I assume the area around your mini black hole doesn’t expand to accomodate it. Is the idea that the inside of the black hole turns into just an infinitely-sized “lump” in spacetime without effecting the world around it? Or is this all supposed to be taking place in “ANOTHER DIMENSION”?

    If you can’t in any way interact with this “universe”, whereever it is, how would you even know the “seed” worked?

    Don’t black holes, especially small ones, evaporate? Let’s say the thought experiment works, and somebody turns a tiny black hole into the seed of a new infinite universe. And then the tiny black hole evaporates. Where does their universe go?

  8. #8 Walter L. Wagner
    September 14, 2007

    The Large Hadron Collider [LHC] at CERN might create numerous different particles that heretofore have only been theorized. Numerous peer-reviewed science articles have been published on each of these, and if you google on the term “LHC” and then the particular particle, you will find hundreds of such articles, including:

    1) Higgs boson

    2) Magnetic Monopole

    3) Strangelet

    4) Miniature Black Hole [aka nano black hole]

    In 1987 I first theorized that colliders might create miniature black holes, and expressed those concerns to a few individuals. However, Hawking’s formula showed that such a miniature black hole, with a mass of under 10,000,000 a.m.u., would “evaporate” in about 1 E-23 seconds, and thus would not move from its point of creation to the walls of the vacuum chamber [taking about 1 E-11 seconds travelling at 0.9999c] in time to cannibalize matter and grow larger.

    In 1999, I was uncertain whether Hawking radiation would work as he proposed. If not, and if a mini black hole were created, it could potentially be disastrous. I wrote a Letter to the Editor to Scientific American [July, 1999] about that issue, and they had Frank Wilczek, who later received a Nobel Prize for his work on quarks, write a response. In the response, Frank wrote that it was not a credible scenario to believe that minature black holes could be created.

    Well, since then, numerous theorists have asserted to the contrary. Google on “LHC Black Hole” for a plethora of articles on how the LHC might create miniature black holes, which those theorists believe will be harmless because of their faith in Hawking’s theory of evaporation via quantum tunneling.

    The idea that rare ultra-high-energy cosmic rays striking the moon [or other astronomical body] create natural miniature black holes — and therefore it is safe to do so in the laboratory — ignores one very fundamental difference.

    In nature, if they are created, they are travelling at about 0.9999c relative to the planet that was struck, and would for example zip through the moon in about 0.1 seconds, very neutrino-like because of their ultra-tiny Schwartzschild radius, and high speed. They would likely not interact at all, or if they did, glom on to perhaps a quark or two, barely decreasing their transit momentum.

    At the LHC, however, any such novel particle created would be relatively ‘at rest’, and be captured by Earth’s gravitational field, and would repeatedly orbit through Earth, if stable and not prone to decay. If such miniature black holes don’t rapidly evaporate and are produced in copious abundance [1/second by some theories], there is a much greater probability that they will interact and grow larger, compared to what occurs in nature.

    There are a host of other problems with the “cosmic ray argument” posited by those who believe it is safe to create miniature black holes. This continuous oversight of obvious flaws in reasoning certaily should give one pause to consider what other oversights might be present in the theories they seek to test.

    I am not without some experience in science.

    In 1975 I discovered the tracks of a novel particle on a balloon-borne cosmic ray detector. “Evidence for Detection of a Moving Magnetic Monopole”, Price et al., Physical Review Letters, August 25, 1975, Volume 35, Number 8. A magnetic monopole was first theorized in 1931 by Paul A.M. Dirac, Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), Series A 133, 60 (1931), and again in Physics Review 74, 817 (1948). While some pundits claimed that the tracks represented a doubly-fragmenting normal nucleus, the data was so far removed from that possibility that it would have been only a one-in-one-billion chance, compared to a novel particle of unknown type. The data fit perfectly with a Dirac monopole.

    While I would very much love to see whether we can create a magnetic monopole in a collider, ethically I cannot currently support such because of the risks involved.

    For more information, go to: http://www.LHCdefense.org

    Regards,

    Walter L. Wagner (Dr.)

  9. #9 Zero-Equals-Infinity
    November 11, 2007

    With due respect to Dr. Wagner, the risks need to be quantified, demonstrated and peer reviewed. To ask science to stop and expect that to happen without substantial supporting evidence is not a realistic expectation. There is an “inertia” driving science. That inertia is historic, social (within the community of scientific researchers, corporate, national and transnational.)

    This is not just a matter of physical science. Other areas where catastrophic risks may lurk beyond our horizon include, genetic research, computer science (in the areas of artificial intelligence, consciousness and direct neural interfacing.) Perhaps singularity has several faces, one of which is physical.

    My personal feeling is that at some point we will cross the “threshold” and what happens after that is anybody’s guess.
    However, it may not be possible to stop or slow the process of discovery. Until an event occurs which shakes our world to its foundations, it is very unlikely that the process of pushing the envelope of knowledge will respect signposts that say “Beyond here there be dragons!”

  10. #10 Zero-Equals-Infinity
    November 11, 2007

    Needless to say, this thought experiment raises all sorts of theological questions. So even if God started the universe – he was just fiddling around in his super-collider – he would be physically unable to intervene. The problem of evil is solved: evil exists because God can’t help it. He was just the seed.

    Perhaps what is called God is virtual, like a fractal equation that contains all that is possible to be expressed in an instantiation. A universe may simply be an instantiation that expresses that virtual seed.

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