“Every true, eternal problem is an equally true, eternal fault; every answer an atonement, every realisation an improvement.” -Otto Weininger

The best measurements of the distant Universe — out beyond our galaxy — have led us to the current picture of exactly what our Universe is doing: expanding and cooling, with its galaxies progressively getting farther and farther apart.

Image credit: Molly Read for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

But what does that mean for our past?

If we’re expanding and cooling, that means our past was less expanded and less cooled, or as we like to think of it, denser and hotter.

Now, if you’re thinking like a scientist, you don’t just want to know what it’s doing. You also want to know — if it’s expanding — both what’s causing the expansion, and by how much it’s expanding. In other words, we’d like to determine the rate of expansion.

And the answer is actually straightforward: if general relativity is your theory of gravity, the Universe’s expansion rate is determined by what type of energy dominates your Universe.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and J. -P. Kneib (Laboratorie d'Astrophysique de Marseille) et al.

In our relatively recent past, while the Universe has been filled with galaxies, stars, planets, and all the objects we’ve ever discovered, the Universe spent most of its time dominated by matter, both normal and dark.

And when you have a Universe dominated by matter, here’s how it expands.

Image generated by me, as are all the subsequent ones unless otherwise noted.

Note that the expansion rate, H, drops over time. This means the Universe was hotter, denser, and expanding faster in the past.

But if we go back far enough, because the Universe was hotter and denser, at some point it will have been too hot to form neutral atoms! There’s another thing that happens, and it’s obvious if you think about it. If the Universe was hotter in the past, that means the radiation in the Universe was more energetic.

Image credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, retrieved from physorg.com.

And if we continue to extrapolate backwards, the energy from radiation will eventually overtake that due to matter. And that causes the Universe to expand differently! How does a Universe dominated by radiation expand?

It expands similar to matter — in the qualitative sense — as the numbers work out only a little differently. But we can’t go back to arbitrarily high temperatures, or all the way back to a singularity; there’s a limit as to how hot the Universe was in its past, as constraints from the Cosmic Microwave Background tell us.

So what came before that? What came before our hot, dense, full-of-matter-and-radiation Universe?

Image credit: Ned Wright.

As best as we can tell, there was a period where the Universe was inflating. Stretching it flat and giving it uniform properties everywhere, cosmic inflation sets up the initial conditions that lead to the Universe we observe today.

Rather than being populated with matter or radiation, the Universe could also be dominated by vacuum energy. (After all, the energy of empty space doesn’t have to be zero, and in fact, isn’t even zero today!)

When a Universe is dominated by vacuum energy, its expansion history looks very different. Let’s take a look…

Notice how the expansion rate doesn’t drop over time! This means that instead of growing like some power-law of time, the Universe inflates exponentially, and in very short order can stretch itself to be not only larger than you can fathom, but googols of times larger than the entire observable Universe!

Now, you might want to know how big the unobservable Universe is. That is, there are very likely parts of the Universe that are more than 46.5 billion light years from us; we simply can’t see the light from them!

So what determines how much the Universe inflates? Let’s take a look at the standard picture of inflation.

Image credit update: Narlikar and Padmanabhan, retrieved from Ned Wright.

The y-axis here represents energy. That is, in particular, the amount of vacuum energy intrinsic to space. Obviously, the amount of vacuum energy in space today is tiny: some 28 orders of magnitude less than we think it was during inflation!

If we want the Universe to inflate a large enough amount to account for the flat, roughly uniform Universe we observe today, we need it to remain in this inflating state for a long enough amount of time. As far as our graph above goes, that means we need to start out on the flat part of this curve.

So long as we can roll or slide slowly enough down this curve, we’ll get enough inflation to produce our Universe. At some later time, you’d expect we’d eventually start to slide closer towards that valley.

And eventually, we’d fall in. That part of it, where we fall into that valley, is where this vacuum energy gets dumped into matter, radiation, and all the stuff that produces the hot big bang that gave rise to our Universe. And, if the idea of inflation is correct, this certainly happened in our region of the Universe; moreover, it happened about 13.7 billion years ago.

But you’ve got to remember, this field that causes inflation — whatever it’s true nature is — is likely to be a quantum field/particle, like everything else in the Universe.

Now, what happens to an electron — a well-studied quantum particle — in something we can study, like a simple atom? Well, you can measure it, and know where starts out at some given time. But give it a while.

Image credit update: likely Carlos Stroud and Zagorka Gaeta.

If it’s a quantum particle, its wavefunction spreads out over time, freely occupying a superposition of whatever states it’s allowed to.

So, how does this apply to our inflationary field above? When we allow it to spread out over time, what do we get?

We get that part of this quantum field, if it’s rolling slowly enough, actually spreads out back past where it started, up towards a state where it will continue to inflate! So, remember our classical inflation picture, that we showed you, above?

In this picture, inflation happens for some time, and then it ends everywhere, all at once.

But if we allow inflation to be a quantum field instead — and of course it must be one — you have to calculate how quickly it spreads vs. how much the Universe inflates vs. how quickly it rolls down the hill. If it rolls down the hill too quickly, or it inflates too slowly, it won’t have enough time to spread out in enough regions of the Universe. But if it rolls slowly enough, inflates fast enough, and spreads out sufficiently quickly, what do we get?

We’ll start with an inflating region, shown in blue. If the potential rolls sufficiently close to the valley, inflation will end, and we can mark it with a red X. But if it continues to inflate, we’ll leave it blue, and generate more inflating spacetime before we check in on it again. And here’s what we find.

Although inflation will end in more than 50% of the Universe at any given time, enough of it will spread back up the hill that inflation lasts an eternity. And this is true for every model of slow-roll inflation we’ve concocted!

In other words, there are regions of the Universe where it inflated in the past, that false-vacuum energy got turned into radiation and matter, and those parts of the Universe had a history very much like our own. But in between those regions, there are other parts that keep on inflating, and so on, and so on, and so on…

Image unknown; retrieved from cienciaeindependencia.blogspot.com.

And that’s why there’s a multiverse, and not just our Universe!

Now, the story I’ve told you is a conservative one. In this version of the story, the fundamental constants are the same in all the different regions of the multiverse, and the other Universes have the same laws of physics — with the same quantum vacuum and all — as our own. But most of what you hear about the multiverse these days are from people who have speculated much farther than that.

The ideas that you hear — multiple false vacua, the landscape, connections to quantum gravity, etc. — are ones that people have speculated upon in recent years. These are mostly driven by including connections to string theory, and they present a whole host of difficulties as well as a great many interesting avenues to investigate. I will not touch upon them here, but when you hear those words, this is the basic story that they all take for granted.

So this basic concept, while it likely isn’t the entire story, is just simple quantum mechanics applied to our best working model of the Early Universe. And what we get out of it is a Universe that, in most regions of it, will continue to inflate for all eternity: our Multiverse.

Comments

  1. #1 Sagar Gorijala
    October 29, 2011

    Please reply to this
    http://sagargorijala.blogspot.com/

  2. #2 David Pearce
    October 29, 2011

    Which of the nine kinds of Multiverse that physicist Bryan Greene discusses (in “The Hidden Reality”) do you find credible?

  3. #3 Ethan Siegel
    October 29, 2011

    David,

    I am unfamiliar with Greene’s nine (really? NINE?) kinds of multiverse; I am much more familiar with Tegmark’s classification of four types.

    What I’ve presented, above, is the argument for the first type of Multiverse, which I think is correct, and hence, which I believe in.

    I think that anything beyond that is too speculative to be believed at this point, at least with any sort of confidence. At least, by me.

  4. #4 dbhb
    October 29, 2011

    Ethan, can I ask something?
    As far as I – an interested non-physicist – can tell, there’s no ruler outside the universe, so you can just as easily take the view that the universe is staying the same size while everything in it is shrinking. Is this in fact an equally valid perspective? Or is there some (non-psychological) reason for favouring the universe-expanding perspective? I’ve always wondered.

  5. #5 Sagar Gorijala
    October 29, 2011

    Yes, Universe will have a finite size. Creation and destruction are impossible and therefore Universe and everything in it/with it remains finite. The Rectangular or Equilateral Hyperbola equation XY=1 or XY=8 or whatever suggests that. How? If X and/or Y equals 0 then we get creation and/or destruction but that’s impossible. Universe is finite.

  6. #6 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2011

    Thanks, it is always good to see people grounded in the conservative view. The other day Sean Carroll started with a bang, of jumping to the non-conservative “how do we get to (and parse) initial conditions” which isn’t a necessary part of any theory. Baby steps.

    @ dbhb, Gorijala:

    You can’t measure (and compare) size here, I think. (Layman here, so hopefully experts jump in.) Bubble universes can be of infinite size AFAIK, since the local time evolution is set by expansion.

    Think of parabolas, that can diverge out to infinity in finite measure along “x” (as a limit of stretched ellipses with minor axis constant). They are infinite along the expanding curve (spacetime as measured by expansion). You can pack an infinite number of these constructs along x.

    In other words, our local measure of spacetime doesn’t tell us squat about the generic measure. And universes are most simplest infinite in space and time.

  7. #7 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2011

    Oops. I haste to add that I am not implying the generic measure is one of spacetime at all.

    If I understand Linde, some results in inflation is derived from using semiclassical particle worldlines, since we are analyzing a quantum field (of inflation).* Who knows if the multiverse has a spacetime at that?

    ———
    I am not qualified to make any claims here though, not having studied QFT. Or GR for that matter.

  8. #8 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 29, 2011

    Another oops, suddenly realizing we were discussing from the conservative view – a pervasive spacetime is the simplest model, I guess. I leave that to the experts; the problem of comparison remains, I think.

  9. #9 John Armstrong
    October 29, 2011

    It might be a good idea to include some note that distinguishes this from the “many-worlds” use of the term “multiverse”, which is certainly the more popular one outside of physics circles.

  10. #10 Bertrand Ducharme
    October 29, 2011

    Think about it: we don’t know what dark matter is, and somehow it overwhelms the matter we can manipulate and experiment with. But we pretend to know what the history of the universe is. Can’t you feel how enormously speculative the whole thing is?!?

  11. #11 Jan Söderlund
    October 29, 2011

    Thank you for a very nice & easy explanation of multiverse theory etc. Even understandable for a layman (I’m a medical student, so far away from the physics classroom). ;)
    Your post got selected by the Zite-app on my iPad, so I found it totally at random.

  12. #12 Russell
    October 29, 2011

    Ethan Siegel:

    I think that anything beyond that is too speculative to be believed at this point.

    Until there is a good theory of wave function collapse, it seems to me that QM implies an MWI-style multiverse. Quantum mechanics is counter-intuitive. But I don’t see reason yet to say that we people aren’t also quantum systems. Once that leap is made…

  13. #13 Scientist
    October 29, 2011

    It could be good to point out for people outside of science that none of this presented on this page is a proof of multiple universes. This is pure speculation.

  14. #14 Mu
    October 29, 2011

    Bertrand, it’s not speculative if you can account for any problems with the model vs. reality with another layer of dark side of the force. If the great attractor pans out, we get the dark multiverse attraction, followed by dark manyworld compression to maintain the balance. With the usual factor of 5 in energy for each new level of darkness, baryonic matter will be down to less than 0.1% of the universe and we can finally drop the observable stuff from the theory, and ultimate enlightenment will be within reach.

  15. #15 Scientist
    October 29, 2011

    This is not hard data, science rely on experiments, not solely on theoretical models. If conclusions which supports the multiverse models would come out of LHC or OPERA, that would be something completely different.

  16. #16 michael
    October 29, 2011

    Enjoyable. We seem to be In need of a modern Thomas Aquinas to harmonize physics and metaphysics, especially when discussing the points at which they seem likely to be shaking hands.

  17. #17 Mark McAndrew
    October 29, 2011

    Hey, “Scientist” (sure you are…!),

    Ethan is actually a real scientist and therefore never, ever, claims proof of anything – and hasn’t in this post either.

    The clue is in the title; “Why we THINK there’s a multiverse.” Did you miss that?

    You accuse him of something he hasn’t done, and never does.

    Your post is therefore pure speculation, without any hard data, etc…

  18. #18 Russell
    October 29, 2011

    “Scientist”:

    It could be good to point out for people outside of science that none of this presented on this page is a proof of multiple universes. This is pure speculation.

    All of physics occupies the realm between proof and pure speculation.

  19. #19 Thomas Neil Neubert
    October 29, 2011

    I should only like to point out that by replacing the concept “universe” with a bigger more hypothetical concept “multiverse” you have solved many of the problems with the “Big Bang universe” model by moving to a “Steady State multiverse” model.

    I would suggest to just call the whole shebang “Universe” capital “U” and move on to the necessary ideas of a “Steady State Universe”. And while you’re doing this please clarify how many spacetime dimensions the “Universe” (i.e. your multiverse) has in your conservative opinion. 4 or 11 or?

    I prefer to think of an 11-Dimensional spacetime “Universe” and dispense with the new jargon associated with the word “multiverse”. In either case, there are more core ideas than you’ve listed above that need to be clarified by the direct or indirect evidence. e.g. baryon assymetry, dark matter, dark enrgy, inflation, quantum gravity, string theory, differentiation of the 8 gluons, etc, etc.

    I prefer to think of the “Universe” as a never ending pattern that can be approximately understood by our mind; but that ultimately all of our scientific thought, all of our excellent models are but descriptions of an appearance that we call the “Universe”. The reality of the “Universe” is an infinitely more complex thing than our must complicated mathematical models and calculations can fathom.

    Further like 19th century scientists, I suggests that concepts are better suited to explore the realities of the “Universe” first; and that use of mathematical models is a secondary (necessary and supportive) step. The 20th century preference for mathematic first brings a newer set of problems, e.g. the 10^500 possible string theories; that can only be solved with clearer concepts all based of course upon and in agreement with experiment and observation. The grand achievements of 20th century physics (i.e. general relativity and quantum mechanics) were first conceptual theories and secondly mathematical.

  20. #20 idealist707
    October 29, 2011

    Multifaceted discussion.

    I wonder if Ethan can explain when a scientist is satisfied, then what makes him satisfied with just one theorem?
    Is it the chance of getting funding, or something exclusively scientific?
    Is it the result of a procedure? What thought process guides a scientist, in contrast to the many non-scientists here?

  21. #21 James
    October 29, 2011

    michael:

    Where, in any of this post, did you see any metaphysics?

    In even speculating about a multiverse, science has exceeded the wildest imaginations of any metaphysical belief system, and shown the world how petty they are.

  22. #22 Russell
    October 29, 2011

    idealist707:

    I wonder if Ethan can explain when a scientist is satisfied, then what makes him satisfied with just one theorem?

    I’ve never known a scientist who was satisfied with one theorem.

  23. #23 Pratik Deoghare
    October 29, 2011

    TYPO

    >> Narlikar and Padmanabhan

  24. #24 Michael
    October 29, 2011

    James, technically you are correct that metaphysics is an arbitrary distinction as everything that is real connects together in an observable way. That is why the study of the nature of God is in the broadest sense the same discipline as the study of matter.

    You are free to insist otherwise but it limits your chance of finding the TOE.

  25. #25 Michael
    October 29, 2011

    Sorry, you are correct if there is no distinction, but if you insist on one it’s otherwise.

    And I enjoy this post very much even on your terms if you choose to limit its possible implications. I hope you understand that.

  26. #26 David McDermott
    October 29, 2011

    Okay SUPER-layman, here, so bear with me…

    You’re saying that there are pockets where the vacuum energy has collapsed into radiation and matter–and thus expansion is no longer accelerating–distributed within a larger field where there exists only vacuum energy?

    How can that be, when we’ve observed accelerating expansion in our local, observable universe?

  27. #27 Ethan Siegel
    October 29, 2011

    dbhb@4 and Torbjörn @6: If the sizes of everything (atoms, rulers, humans, etc) were changing over time, we would observe changes in the fundamental constants of the Universe (Planck’s constant, speed of light, etc.) that determine those things. The constraints on their constancy rule that interpretation out.

    John @9 and Russell @12: MWI is an interesting and oft-talked about interpretation. There are many reasons to doubt that it is an advantageous (or even physically reasonable) viewpoint when compared to the standard (wavefunction collapse) interpretation of quantum mechanics, but the arguments I would make to state my case for that are too lengthy for a comment here.

    Scientist (at many points) and the responses: this is — and I make no pretensions otherwise — theoretical physics. It’s not airy-fairy pie-in-the-sky speculation, but it also isn’t proven the way you would prove that a*b = b*a. You may want to read this recent guest essay that does a wonderful job of explaining, with some brilliant metaphors, what this sort of theory is (and isn’t).

    Thomas @19: although there are many interesting things one can do with even one extra dimension, four is certainly enough to describe and explain everything I’ve written above.

    idealist @20: I try not to make statements like “it is true…” or “it is proven…” or “it is obvious that…”, and instead I remain dubious of anything until I can convince myself that this is, physically, what actually happens under these circumstances. And when I’m sufficiently convinced, and all of my major objections have been answered, that’s when I’m satisfied with the solution to a particular aspect of a problem. Your mileage may vary.

    Pratik @23: Yikes! And thank you; fixed.

    and David @26: The Universe is only just very recently becoming dominated by dark energy. The vacuum energy of the Universe today is at least 18 (and quite possibly many more) orders of magnitude smaller than it was during inflation, and the Universe certainly went through a period of around ten billion years where it was dominated by matter and (before that) radiation. (I mean, just look at it!) There is no reason that the “true vacuum” in the diagram above must be at zero energy, just at a much smaller value than the “false vacuum” shown.

  28. #28 Neil Bates
    October 29, 2011

    Well, interesting, but:
    First, I don’t think that simple separation of causality rightly constitutes “separateness” of a universe, because the space-time should still be contiguous all in between all those regions (each region is accessible to each adjacent region, even if you can’t get all the way over to a distant region by traveling there – you get my meaning, right?

    Second, about differing laws of physics:
    Not to imply the post was focussed on this issue, but since it relates: the popular idea that string theory “leads to” multiverses with various laws is an unwarranted stretch. Basically, they are saying, that if we can imagine a certain “ultimate structure” at the heart of things, well logically it could have been otherwise. Sure, I very much do get that, which is at the heart of the question “why does this possible world ‘exist’ (in a trans-Platonic, sweaty materialistic way) and not others instead?” as e.g. Paul Davies lays out so well in “The Mind of God” and “Cosmic Jackpot.” Some, like Tegmark, go ahead and say that *all* possible universes (definable as he considers “structures” at least) exist.

    But, it’s a long way from that well-put metaphysical complaint about our universes exclusivity or privileged existential status, to saying that the other types of universes can actually *form* out of something other than pure ideas (or even, why did ours – if it did!) Note that virtual particles are coming “out of space” all the time, the rules have to be embedded *in the apparent vacuum* (and it isn’t really then a true vacuum is it – space is a plenum.)

    There needs to be a *dynamics* of not only how this machinery operates, but how it can turn into something else, say when space contracts under enough pressure etc. Otherwise you just have the inclusive metaphysical Platonism of Tegmark and other modal realists but no way to “generate” the other universes from a “real” substrate. Does anyone actually know how to derive such a dynamic of string *change*? How could you connect it to space itself to get the right virtual particles, not just a way to e.g. have two electrons collied so hard they might end up with different physical laws? But laws seems an integrated system of a space-time as a whole, what shaking of “machinery” could turn that into something else, especially an integrated and harmonious one at that?

    (BTW, read Paul Davies on that foundational question stuff like why should one or some possible worlds exist and not others, etc. – he is the best.)

  29. #29 Jack Dawe
    October 29, 2011

    @19 “I should only like to point out that by replacing the concept “universe” with a bigger more hypothetical concept “multiverse” you have solved many of the problems with the “Big Bang universe” model by moving to a “Steady State multiverse” model.”

    One of the most ironic implications of modern (or post-modern) cosmology is that some sort of Steady State Infinite-Universe/Multiverse seems to be implied by many of the new theoretical constructs. Indeed, in the latest of these theoretical extensions, it’s a whole Universe that comes barreling out of the false vacuum, and not simply a single hydrogen atom out of a “true vacuum,” as per Fred Hoyle’s concept.

    But because Hoyle was so wrong — and not just wrong, but wrong-headed, arrogant, and obstinate — in his dismissal of the “Big Bang,” I wonder if resurrecting a similar Steady-State will-of-the-wisp under a larger (as in googolgoogolplex larger) guise, is not likewise ultimately doomed to failure — though it will likely take alot longer to prove that failure.

    I know that alot of scientists — Einstin included — found the idea of a Universe, (and now Infinite Universe/Multiverse), in cosmic equilibrium with itself to be “beautiful,” and hence almost a goal worth proving. But chaos seems to leak into all these beautiful theories, from around the edges, and to demand something still more profound.

    Which is what happened when “the Big Bang” theory was added to, and in a sense supplanted by, inflation.

  30. #30 dbhb
    October 30, 2011

    @27 Thanks for taking the time Ethan.

    What… even if the photons and the Planck lengths were shrinking with everything else? I’m really surprised. I would’ve sworn that those two perspectives were mathematically equivalent and only psychologically different. Gah I’ll never get physics! But I’ll keep trying, and I’ll keep reading.

  31. #31 Stephan Wehner
    October 30, 2011

    I thought saying “multiverse” and saying “wave function of the universe” were the same thing. Is that not most of your explanation?

    Stephan

  32. #32 Thomas Neil Neubert
    October 31, 2011

    Ethan
    Thanks for the clarification on the 4 dimensions.

    Well enough. Lacking any new physical insight; I agree that it is better to remain conservative in speculations. And yes, Tegmark level 1 is a conservative multiverse.

    The problem with even a conservative Tegmark level 1 multiverse is that it is not based on new physical insight and creates one more layer of assumptions that must be overcome.

    A Tegmark level 1 multiverse only apparently solves theoretical problems (e.g. thermodynamic initial conditions, consciousness, etc ). Without new physical insight, such as equivalence principle or the uncertainty principle, and without any new verifiable predictions of a direct or indirect (e.g. Dirac’s infinite sea of negative energy electrons) nature; a Tegmark level 1 multiverse theory doesn’t have even the minimium use of a scientific theory as a description of nature. Tegmark level 1 multiverse defines naked ignorance as scientific hypothesis. A scientific hypothesis must not be gratuitous; it must be arguable in terms of evidence. Saying that the emperor’s new clothes are beautiful is a gratuitous hypothesis that undermines common natural knowledge by promoting naked metaphysics as natural phenomenon. Similarly multiverse metaphysics undermines observation of natural phenomenon.

  33. #33 sg
    October 31, 2011

    What’s the difference between matter and radiation?

  34. #34 Jack Dawe
    October 31, 2011

    E=m(c2) (“radiation”)
    m= E/c2 (“matter”)

    I thimk….

  35. #35 OKThen
    November 1, 2011

    Matter has rest mass. e.g. proton, electron, neutrino.

    Radiation has zero rest mass. e.g. a photon, gluon, graviton.

    E=mc2 means that mass and energy are equivalent.

  36. #36 Wow
    November 1, 2011

    Nothing is ever at rest.

    Therefore nothing ever has rest mass.

    If they’re equivalent, what’s the difference?

  37. #37 Wow
    November 1, 2011

    The problem is, really, sg, what context do you ask the question?

    Because “radiation has zero rest mass … ” is correct if you’re talking about matter under special relativity terms. But if you’re talking about under general relativity, then the answer would be different. If you’re talking about lithography or medical imaging, the answer is “none”, except for the trivial case of “wavelength”.

  38. #38 Carlos Stroud
    November 1, 2011

    I believe that the wire grid image of a spreading electron wave packet credited to an unknown source was taken from a paper that I co-authored with Zagorka Gaeta entitled “Classical and quantum mechanical dynamics of a quasi-classical state of a hydrogen atom,” which appeared in Physical Review A, 42, 6308 (1990).

  39. #39 Ethan Siegel
    November 1, 2011

    For the purposes of this discussion, “matter” is any object whose rest mass energy (the E = mc2 part) is much greater than its kinetic energy, or the energy associated with its temperature (of order ~kBT).

    And therefore “radiation” is anything whose rest mass is negligible when compared with its kinetic energy. For photons, they always act like radiation; neutrinos act like matter now but acted like radiation when the Universe was only a few hundred thousand years old; electrons act like matter now but act like radiation at temperatures over about 10 billion Kelvin (when the Universe was less than 1 second old), etc.

    For a good graph illustrating the transition from a radiation-dominated Universe to a matter-dominated one, check out this post: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2010/12/whats_in_the_universe.php

  40. #40 Arthur Shippee
    November 1, 2011

    “So this basic concept, while it likely isn’t the entire story, is just simple quantum mechanics applied to our best working model of the Early Universe. And what we get out of it is a Universe that, in most regions of it, will continue to inflate for all eternity: our Multiverse.”

    I get the feeling you use “universe” both of the utter entirety of all, and of individual surviving “bubbles” or “islands” within the “multiverse”. Is there an inconsistency of usage here?

  41. #41 Aaron
    November 1, 2011

    Ethan (or anyone who might still be reading these comments),

    Is there a mechanism that keeps inflationary regions from being contained entirely within non-inflationary regions? If not, what would happen if this occurs?

    Also, over what kind of area is the probability curve (wavefunction?) for inflationary strength defined? A sphere of 1 meter diameter? 1 parsec? Is there a mechanism that keeps that probability from being widely different for areas that are close together?

    Sorry if these questions don’t make sense, I’m coming from a BS in math and PhD in economics, so…yeah.

  42. #42 Jack Dawe
    November 1, 2011

    @40: I think you’re having trouble with semantics (ie, word association and value).

    For instance, you seem to have trouble distinguishing between the idea of a “universe” (which could be a bubble infinity) and the “multiverse”, (formerly called the “omniverse”)which could be a set of identical bubble infinities, or a set of infinities of varying types, governed by different laws, etc. Or it could be all of the above, infinitely and eternally generated by inflation falling out of the false vacuum,(Tegmark’s Level IV MultiVerse {?}).

    If you want a quick scan of the different levels of possible multiverses, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse. This entry, written largely in layman’s language, might provide an easier approach to Ethan’s more comprehensive coverage, above.

    @41: vis a vis “mechanisms” controlling inflation, etc. This comment I feel is likewise hobbled by the language. The mechanism I think you mean is false vacuum.

    I’m stumped by your idea of a “probability curve” throughout a given volume for inflation. I don’t think such a curve would have a one-to-one correspondence in spatial values. But statistics and graphs aren’t my strong point (I was an “A” student in algebra, but a “C” student in calculus – twice).

    Anyway, I think Ethan could provide better insights in regard to both these posts, and also correct any misapprehensions I myself might have, on this difficult subject matter.

  43. #43 Mike
    November 2, 2011

    But what about the influence of the Supreme Goat Overlords, who care for us so much and built the universe for our needs? Haven’t you read their obtuse and contradictory tome of salvation? Repent! LOL

  44. #44 Jack Dawe
    November 2, 2011

    We had enough politics on the global warming comment page (see “I AM A SCIENTIST”). For the love of… (name your deity, including yourself, the Cosmic Crow, and/or the Absence of God Almighty Damn)… let’s not get into religion as well.

    Even so, #43, that was fairly funny. “Supreme goat overlords…” Heh heh.

  45. #45 sg
    November 3, 2011

    Thanks for the explanations on matter vs. radiation.

  46. #46 Ned Wright
    November 4, 2011

    Ethan: the charts showing H vs t for radiation or matter dominated Universes are wrong. Ht = constant for any power law model. So for t = 1,2,3 & 4 times t_o, the Hubble parameter is H = 1, 0.5, 1/3 & 0.25 times H_o. This is true for both a ~ t^{2/3} or a ~ t^{1/2}.

  47. #47 forrest noble
    November 4, 2011

    @Scientist, posting lucky #13

    “It could be good to point out for people outside of science that none of this presented on this page is a proof of multiple universes. This is pure speculation.”

    I agree. My opinion is that Hawking, with the understanding that the BB model breaks down in the beginning mathematically, looks to an outside cause of our universe. He does not seem to like the idea that the BB entity had the self perpetuated energy to have been the initial cause by itself or that time was created by a BB beginning.

    Based upon what I have read from his books and writings, he also does not think that the beginning of our universe could have happened from the ZPF alone, without the same possibility to continue for another universe.

    I think it’s all wrong including the Big Bang model, but that’s just my opinion. Hawking probably has a lot of mentally entertaining ideas concerning the theoretical physics of multi-verses.

    I think he is the most well-known proponent of multi-verses.

  48. #48 Ethan Siegel
    November 4, 2011

    Ned @46,

    Thanks for the correction of the (elementary) mistake in the post, above. While the times and relative sizes of the Universe are correct in all the diagrams above, the evolution of the Hubble constant are accidentally given for when the scale of the Universe is two, three, and four times the original value, not for when the time is two, three, and four times the original value.

    In the case of an inflating (exponentially expanding) Universe, there is no difference, but in the cases of matter- and radiation-dominated Universes, there is a difference. The correct values, as Ned notes above, can be found by noting that the product of H*t at any given point in a matter- or radiation-dominated Universe must be fixed.

    Moreover, H*t for a radiation dominated Universe must always equal 1/2, while for a matter-dominated Universe it must always equal 2/3. For our Universe right now, which is transitioning from a matter-dominated one to an inflating state, it just so happens that H*t = 1.00, to the best of our measurement capabilities.

    Thanks again for the catch!

  49. #49 Woof
    November 4, 2011

    I, for one, welcome our Supreme Goat Overlords.

  50. #50 Jack Dawe
    November 4, 2011

    I’m glad somebody does. They’ve earned our welcome, and we should give it.

    On the other hand, if you’ve seen the murmuration of starlings on the yahoo “animals are funny” video page, I think you have to recognize who the true Lords of Creation are — and they ain’t no billygoats, much less a bunch of flatfooted apes with opposable thumbs.

    Birds: last survivors of the dinosaurs, or the dinosaurs back in black, and this times it’s for keeps? The answer you give may determine your place in eternity –

  51. #51 Nick Gotts
    November 5, 2011

    Thanks for that very lucid presentation, Ethan. Does this approach have anything to say about whether inflation is eternal in the direction of the past as well as the future? And does it raise the possibility that we might still be in a false vacuum, since vacuum energy appears to be non-zero?

  52. #52 Duncan
    November 6, 2011

    Just clarifying a point.
    So ‘new’ universes can only bud-off before the ‘parent’ region’s energy becomes matter and radiation ?
    That is, we cannot now expect a new universe to happen in our present day universe/region.
    What about overlapping of universes what happens at the boundaries?

  53. #53 Jack Dawe
    November 6, 2011

    Universes “budding off” from each other is one model of a multiverse, though I don’t think it has much currency now. Particularly the black hole/white hole scenario, whereby a black hole in this universe becomes a Big Bang in another.

    “Budding” via inflation, the way I understand it, works more like an instant grapevine where false vacuum is the stem and universes are the grapes and inflation is what makes the grapes pop out. That’s kind of a crude way of looking at it, but — Correct me if I’m reading it wrong, scientists —

    “Overlapping” (again, my reading of it) would have the appearance of a collision, and would leave circular (or elliptical?) traces in the cosmic microwave background. I think the jury is still out on this one.

  54. #54 Jack Dawe
    November 6, 2011

    “So ‘new’ universes can only bud-off before the ‘parent’ region’s energy becomes matter and radiation ?”

    I didn’t really address that question in my above comment. I would say that, from my understanding of it, once time starts then inflation has fallen out of the false vacuum and the creation event has occurred (even if it isn’t complete) in a pre-baryonic universe.

    “Thereafter,” creation continues on, from what I think should be designated as a timeless or super-temporal realm, like the Goddess Vishnu doing her dance, and throwing out worlds (universes) on all hands.

    Kinda mind-boggling, no?

  55. #55 Andy Bower
    November 6, 2011

    Here is a link to a paper which postulates that eternal inflation is not actually eternal.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.3542

  56. #57 Nihility
    December 29, 2011

    I’ll just leave this here.

    I think Occam’s Razor applies here. But, you say my ‘logical analysis’ is silly pedantry? I’ll give you that. But then, let us think about more of the common meanings of meanings of the word…

    1. Absolutely everything that exists, including existence.

    For the sake of completeness, I’ll reiterate: If this was the definition that’s used, ‘multiverses’ are logical nonsense, because something can’t exist outside of everything. I would use those fancy logic symbols, etc, but I don’t know them. I’ve always wanted to learn though. Anyone have a link they can give me?
    2. A self-sufficient set of existences that don’t act with any external existences.

    If the second version holds true, then it is, by the scientific method laid down so long ago, unprovable, since such a ‘alternative universe’ would not act upon us (Unless the protagonist decided to used a foobar device to teleport here and cause havoc) Perhaps many people would say that being unprovable is the same as being religious. I might agree. And I just had an epiphany about a certain implication. Assuming all that jargon with ‘accelerating universe’ is true, there is matter, that objectively exists, but we will never act upon it, making it, complying with the second definition, its own universe. Although, it has already acted upon us, some time, since we know of its (i.e. the other side of the ‘Big Bang’) existence… This is a stream of consciousness thing, and most likely complete nonsense. This black section, that is. And irrelevant. To get back to my earlier point:
    3. What is observed.
    And with the third possible definition I’ve found, I postulate that, to say there are multiple universes is to say they have been observed. If they have been observed, then they are part of one universe, namely, the one that we observe. Perhaps this is circular and makes no sense. You’re welcome to make another interpretation.

    So, that’s two more, increasing lenient definitions. However, of course this isn’t the full set. What do you think ‘universe’ means, exactly?

    Wikipedia wrote:

    The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists,[1] including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space.[2][3]

  57. #58 Bobby
    August 5, 2012

    I am writing this in the capacity of an official messenger of a higher authority.
    I am God, I am in a meditative or dream state in Eden. The totality of everything that exist is merely the thoughts from my meditative or dream state. This meditative or dream state, period and/or cycle is coming to a close.

  58. #59 phil
    September 21, 2012

    I see a few people mention steady state infinite universe. This is impossible as an infinite past means we would never arrive at this moment in the present. There are no actual infinities in the real universe as this creates unresolvable paradoxes. It is as foolish as claiming any multiverse theory takes away the need for a creator of this universe. The basic question of why there is something rather than nothing is still unsolved. How is it that there is an arena where a multiverse takes place? Hawking smugly made this claim without thinking through the logic. He merely tried to “kick the can down the road”.

  59. #60 Wow
    September 21, 2012

    “The basic question of why there is something rather than nothing is still unsolved”

    Religion isn’t solving it.

    And saying “Goddidit” is just throwing your hands up into the air. Science history is CHOCK FULL of those things that people once said “Goddidit” that has turned out not to be done by God at all.

  60. #61 Zephir
    Prague
    October 17, 2012

    At first, the Multiverse concept is so poorly defined, it’s not even testable. How this concept is supposed to manifest itself? If we reveal something new, how can we sure, it’s an part of multiverse instead of newly revealed part of our Universe? I’m not saying the Multiverse concept is correct or not – because my feeling in this moment is, we even have no sufficient definition for it – so we even cannot answer such a question at all.

    At second, the Multiverse concept provides no apparent predictions, testable the less – which is apparently the result of its poor definition – but it apparently makes no problem for proponents of mainstream physics, string theorists in particular. Because string theory is nearly as vaguely defined like the Multiverse model and it provides no testable predictions too.

    IMO the Multiverse concept is as relevant for observational/experimental physics, as the concept of God. It’s not so accidental, it’s handled in the same way with Brian Greene, Hawking and similar guys, who just used to fight against God obstinately. Instead of refusal of God these guys invented a new replacement for it.

    In my opinion the actual reason for pushing of the Multiverse concept is following. In dense aether model the world is effectively infinitely-dimensional and the eleven-dimensional string theory therefore represents only thin slice of this hyperdimensional reality. This former “theory of everything” actually applies just to tiny portion of the reality (which is very difficult to observe in addition) – so that the only possible solution how to save this theory in the eyes of laymans and grant agencies is to divide the observable reality into many Multiverses, in the scope of which the string theory would still remain valid. It’s a formal trick, the main purpose of which is to save the influential lobby of string theorists, their jobs and salaries.

  61. #62 Zephir
    Still Prague...
    October 17, 2012

    The whole article is based on [Einstein’s expansion paradox](http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/einstein_expansion_paradox-85942) of Big Bang cosmology: the Universe appears globally expanding, although it nowhere expands locally. This paradox bring the notion of multiverse for formally thinking physicists, because they cannot describe the Universe in nonperturbative way.

    Dense aether model explains this seeming paradox with water surface analogy of the space-time: at the water surface the ripples scatter into underwater and their wavelength increases. This happens for every observer at the water surface from every place, although the distance between observer doesn’t change. This is manifestation of extremely high dimensionality of the water surface, which is formed with dense particle environment and which low-dimensional mainstream theories cannot handle, although it’s quite easy to understand and imagine.

  62. #63 Zephir
    October 17, 2012

    In this sense, this character of Universe expansion can serve as an evidence or testable prediction of AWT, because the Einstein’s expansion paradox can be deduced from it.

    Actually this paradox is not the only one, which can be deduced from AWT: another paradox is so-called [complementarity of black holes](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_complementarity), for example. This paradox basically says, the fall into black hole would appear different from perspective of observer inside and outside of black hole. It can be explained with indeterministic quantum mechanical character of black hole thermodynamics, as Lee Susskind already [recognized and noted](http://www.technologyreview.com/view/424073/multiverse-many-worlds-say-physicists). This indeterministic behaviour of Universe or black holes at large scales can be interpreted with AdS/CFT duality at large space-time scales too. There is no actual reason for introduction of Multiverse concept even from perspective of mainstream physicists, because they’ve all theories and models for it already collected.

  63. #64 Wow
    October 17, 2012

    “The whole article is based on [Einstein’s expansion paradox]”

    No it isn’t.

    “Dense aether model explains this seeming paradox”

    Get lost chelle.

  64. #65 RickN
    Somewhere in the Multiverse
    November 29, 2012

    This is indeed an enlightened theoretical model… what I have always loved about successful physics is that it’s often preceded by speculative mathematics but with some level of rigor.

    I don’t expect we’ll achieve a full proof or disproof of the Multiverse theory our life times… maybe we’ll find we’ll only have those answers when we are dead.

    (Now ponder that one ;-)

  65. #66 Dude
    Right behind you
    November 29, 2012

    NERDS!

  66. #67 Dude
    November 29, 2012

    But seriously folks I agree with RickN, there is seriously no way we can know something without a doubt unless we see it. It’s just the way we are, we’re only human. That being said none of us have seen the beginning of time but every one of us will be able to see what’s behind the cold veil of death. We have to pay the ultimate price for the ultimate question. So don’t scoff at the crazy homeless guy at the end of your street who says the world is going to end. Because, your just as right as he is about the beginning of the universe. That is, until one of you reaches the other side. Thank you.

  67. #68 Wow
    November 29, 2012

    Dude, there’s no way you can know something you saw is real.

    If you’re going to want 100% proof, you are worse than the OJ Simpson jury and you’re going to be eternally ignorant.

  68. #69 Dude
    Classified
    December 3, 2012

    Wow I am not going to get into a philosophical debate with you. You have your own opinion and I respect that. And like I said, there’s no way you can know 100% without a doubt that your right unless you see it. Knowing and Believing are two very different things. For example, I choose to be a christian because I believe God exists. But, I have never seen him. But, I most certainly haven’t seen any big bang. Now, I’m not trying to preach or anything, I am merely expressing my beliefs so is the right of all self-respecting human beings. So, forgive me if I have insulted your religions or beliefs that was not my intention. Now, maybe your right Wow maybe you can’t be sure even if you see it. But like I said before, we will never know until we reach the other side. (If I have insulted any of your beliefs or religions once again I am sorry, I know you have to be very careful when talking about someone else’s beliefs)

  69. #70 Dude
    Classified (again)
    December 3, 2012

    Oh and sorry for my bad grammar in the last comment. :)

  70. #71 Wow
    December 3, 2012

    “And like I said, there’s no way you can know 100% without a doubt that your right unless you see it.”

    WRONG!!!!!!

    There are people who have seen David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty dissappear.

    Have a look at some of the optical illusions.

    If you see it, all you know is that your brain formed an image.

    You don’t know it exists.

    How do you know the inside of a brick exists? You can’t see it because if you break it open, you’ve now made two new surfaces.

    This isn’t philosophy, it’s damn well common sense.

    You’re making it up!

    You’re FACTUALLY WRONG.

    Seeing isn’t 100% proof.

    You’ll NEVER see a cold virus, but you’ll FEEL the effects.

    It’s just a load of crap, dude. Stop talking it.

  71. #72 Wow
    December 3, 2012

    “I choose to be a christian because I believe God exists.”

    That’s not a problem.

    But why do you believe that?

    It’s pointless, isn’t it? After all, many believed in Mithras. Or Bhudda. Or ancestors.

    Why do you think you, of all the people of humanity, past and present, have it right?

    Because don’t forget this: EVERY SINGLE ASSERTION of even your nominal God has been re-interpreted for all of 3,000 years (ish), so you’d have to be pretty self centred to think that they won’t change any more.

    “But, I most certainly haven’t seen any big bang”

    And you have never seen your great-great grandfather. But without him you wouldn’t be here.

    (plus why is it that not seeing god wasn’t an impediment? are you saying your ancestor was or is god?)

    “I am merely expressing my beliefs so is the right of all self-respecting human beings.”

    And I’m calling “bollocks” on it because it’s entirely unsubstantiated hope you’re bollocking on about.

    There is only one truth: the god of the bible you claim to believe in DOES NOT EXIST.

    This is known for the same reason we can say that there are no living goldfish orbiting the moon: it is internally contradictory.

  72. #73 Wow
    December 3, 2012

    “we will never know until we reach the other side.”

    Bollocks too.

    If there IS no “other side”, then we will NEVER KNOW IT.

    It’s entirely indicative of the vacuous reasoning. And it is entirely the reason why such faith endures: people are selfish and don’t want to end.

    Ergo, just for you, the universe will insist you don’t end, that you will continue eternally.

    That too is shallow.

    An eternity? THAT WOULD BE HELL. It would be like an everlasting cake where you’re not allowed to stop until you’ve finished the plate.

  73. #74 Dude
    I'm getting closer to you
    December 4, 2012

    You make a great argument Wow, an argument that I may not be able to beat you in but I will try anyway. So, let’s start with your first comment. You are actually starting to win me over with the whole “seeing is not believing” thing. I think you might actually be right with that one, all I was saying was seeing a reality forces it to be true type in Schrodinger’s cat on Google to get what I’m saying. Now as for your second comment, this is where I disagree with you full-heartily. Why do I believe in God you ask? Because I can. And I’m not speaking out of my butt here. There has been historical accounts from more than one person that Jesus exists and DID perform miracles. Now were those miracles just magic tricks or real God-given powers? I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But I have seen miracles and I have seen things that would turn your skin white with fear. You ever seen The Exorcist? The story may have been made up but most of the things the little girl does in the movie were taken from actual reports of excorsism. From speaking in double voices to levitation to bending in ways that is physically impossible. That is why I believe because we can see miracles every day and “Demon-possessed” people. And I’m a bit confused about your argument of why God doesn’t exists. Now moving on you disagree with me when I said everyone has the right to believe in their own account of how humanity came to be. That’s like saying you don’t have the right to say what your saying against me right now. If humanity doesn’t have that simple right then they might as well be mindless slaves. Anyways on your third comment you said there is no other side. Well ok, but where do we go when we die? I’m just confused on where you believe we go when we die. Do we just live in darkness for all eternity or what anyways that’s all I have to say. For now.

  74. #75 Wow
    December 4, 2012

    Dude, Shroedinger’s cat was a way to prove the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum states was bollocks. I.e. the cat isn’t both alive and dead, it’s a damn stupid thing to propose. The cat knows if it’s alive.

    The reality isn’t determined when you look. It already is its state. You just don’t know what it is.

    Now, at the quantum level (good luck seeing anything that size), this isn’t anywhere near a problem because the macro-scale idea of “things” “places” and so on don’t hold because those ideas are brought on by macro-scale phenomena where the other-nature of the quantum-scale processes don’t appear because they are so numerous you can easily use the fuzzy “law of large numbers”.

    So don’t get the cat thing too heavily invested into the “reality” of the universe. It’s about 60 years buried.

    “Now were those miracles just magic tricks or real God-given powers? I don’t know, I wasn’t there.”

    You are begging the question here.

    You have failed to ask “did those ‘miracles’ ever actually happen?

    Several written down in the same book we KNOW didn’t happen. No global flood and no stopping the sun.

    Did.
    Not.
    Happen.

    So we already know it’s not an entirely reliable source.

    Look elsewhere for any proof of any miracles.

    When you have those proofs, you now have to assess why you want to involve god in it here but not in explaining what David Copperfield does.

    A tricky one, hmmm?

    “From speaking in double voices to levitation to bending in ways that is physically impossible.”

    It’s physically impossible to make the statue of liberty disappear.

    You think they were miracles, but you haven’t investigated their miraculous evidence. You’ve just accepted them.

    “you disagree with me when I said everyone has the right to believe in their own account of how humanity came to be”

    No, you’re rewriting what I said. Give it another go.

    “Well ok, but where do we go when we die?”

    Where does “egg-whisking” go when we stop whisking the eggs?

    ” Do we just live in darkness for all eternity”

    No more than we lived in darkness for “all eternity” before we were born.

    No more than “essence of egg-whisk” carries on in darkness when you have finished making your merangue mix.

  75. #76 Dude
    Peeking in your window
    December 4, 2012

    Before we go any further I need to ask you some questions in order to make a better argument. 1. How do you think Humanity came to exist? 2. Where do you think we go when we die? 3. Why are you trying so hard to prove God dosen’t exist? 4. How do you think the universe came to exist? Also I did not mean to twist your words but the way you said them gave me the impression that nobody has the right to believe how humanity came into being. And one more thing, what the HECK does David Copperfield have to do with anything! Oh, and I’m am not very smart when it comes to things about cooking, could you give me a different example about the whole “egg-whisking” example.

  76. #77 Dude
    Ringing around the rosie
    December 4, 2012

    Also why do you think it’s impossible for God to exist.

  77. #78 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “why do you think it’s impossible for God to exist.”

    dude, you’re not reading, are you.

    Here it is again:

    “There is only one truth: the god of the bible you claim to believe in DOES NOT EXIST.

    This is known for the same reason we can say that there are no living goldfish orbiting the moon: it is internally contradictory.”

    Are you listening, or are you merely waiting for a chance to say something?

  78. #79 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “1. How do you think Humanity came to exist?”

    We evolved like all life did.

    “2. Where do you think we go when we die? ”

    We decompose into the constituent residual molecules which are useful for the building of the bodies of plants or other animals.

    However, there’s nothing with #3 that has anything to do with either of those two. If I were “trying hard to prove no god exists” this doesn’t mean this is the reason why my answers to the above are what I give. These answers are not to prove god doesn’t exist. They merely show god isn’t necessary.

    And what does David Copperfield have to do with anything?

    YOU CLAIM MIRACLES YOU HAVE SEEN.

    Well people have seen David Copperfield do “miracles”. Seen with their own eyes.

    But somehow they don’t think this is God’s power being channelled through David Copperfield.

    Is it just because he claims he’s an illusionist rather than a Son of God?

    But in any case David Copperfield does “miracles” but no god involvement at all, despite being seen 100% by his audience.

  79. #80 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 5, 2012

    @ Dude

    Agree with Wow all the way, but will try to put it in different context. No one here has anything against anyone’s personal religious beliefs. Be it Christian or Hindu or whatever.
    Religion tells you how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.
    And that particular thing has been a source of wars and revolutions many centuries ago. But eventually it was settled. Even church accepted it. Instead of diving head first into very tricky topics about Multiverse, maybe it would be better if you studied the evolution of religion, philosophy and science from ancient times to present. Our modern times are not just a puff that we woke up one day to. it’s a process that evolves over centuries. You are advocating a form of Artistotelian thought that has been know not to be true for centuries. Why do you do that?

    We are not mixing science with religion here, but you are mixing religion with science here. It doesn’t work.

    Jesus is not talking about how heaven’s go, he is not talking about how cells divide and how reproduction works. Christianity is not about that. Why do you put your holy book where it doesn’t belong. Salvation… isn’t that what it is about? Salvation is not the domain of physical world. Science deals with a physical world.

    I do get a sense that you are an ok and open person, so don’t get this the wrong way. You seem to have some problems how to incorporate what christian scools teach you with what science teaches.

    To resolve that, I again advise you to learn as much about history of thought and philosophy as you can. Question everything. You will see how the thought evolved from Thomas Aquinas to st Augustin, to Kepler and Descartes, Galileo and then Newton etc…

    It’s not about “Why are you trying so hard to prove God dosen’t exist?” .. did anyone here ever mention God untill you? Do you see God in the title? Nope..

    You are trying to defend God from what you believe are things that show less and less room for him. But again, this is your personal thing. God is not material. Do not look for him in material world. Do not think science that deals with material attacks God. Science doesn’t even care, for batter or worse.

    If you want to know more about the history of science and religion, I’ll be happy to help, but not in this topic, since it’re irrelevant to the subject.

  80. #81 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    There are possible god things that may exist, but nobody really believes in them because they are emotionally valueless.

    1) The God As Prime Mover. Deist. Started it off and did and does nothing else. Such an entity would never appear to exist because they do nothing.

    2) The God As The Sum Of All Things. Pantheist. But this isn’t really any different from calling it “universe”. If you don’t want to call it that, you may as well choose “Cucumber” or “Cromulence” which at least don’t come with the baggage “God” does. Since it does nothing other than what science looks at, nobody really believes in that one either.

    NOTE: by “nobody believes”, in a population of several billion a one-in-a-million outside chance happens several thousand times. But you wouldn’t constitute any blanket statement using these outliers without explicitly labelling them as not-the-norm. Which those claiming “God could exist” never do, so that they can then leverage open the knowably-incorrect god-theories in because the believers will think “See! They think (my) God could exist!” without every mentioning or acknowledging the (my) qualifier.

  81. #82 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 5, 2012

    @ Wow

    IMO it’s a matter of view between two polarities. A purely materialistic/mechanistic view of the world (or Universe). As proposed by Hobbes. Which I don’t particularly like. Or a dualistic aspect as viewed by Descartes and i.e. Newton.

    In first matter is the absolute. Everything else is a side-effect or a result of it. Thoughts, will… all of it are just illusions. There is no free will, we are all automatons driven by few “program” codes. No room for ANY super-natural thing/effect whatsoever. Not very pleasant thought, but it might be true.

    Or a dualistic approach where thought/will is above matter. Something of a more Platonic influence. I think, therefore I am … of Descartes. In this view, there is room for something “divine” in the Thought realm. The physical world is matterialistic and devoid of anything divine. But there is a world of thoughts, of prima forma… where divinity could reside.

  82. #83 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “In first matter is the absolute.”

    Nope.

    Light isn’t matter. We absolutely know it exists.

    Potential fields are not matter. Ditto.

    I think you’re setting up a strawman, whether intentional or not.

    “No room for ANY super-natural thing/effect whatsoever.”

    So far every room that the super-natural thingy has been proposed to have its abode has turned out to have been incorrect.

    When you’ve been wrong 100 times, why would you keep saying “Well, maybe THIS is the place!!!”?

    “Or a dualistic approach where thought/will is above matter.”

    Define thought and how it works independent of matter.

    “In this view, there is room for something “divine” in the Thought realm.”

    There’s something “dexitrobopic” in the thought realm too. If you’re going to use words, use them in the meaning they have or define your meaning more explicitly. Otherwise we’re using “dexitroboper” at each other, neither knowing what the hell the other is talking about.

    Why does “thought” get to be a place divinity resides? We have a huge range of thought from the almost programmatic thinking of amoebas, through reflexive/driven thought in the insects, to self-centred thought of the lower animals, the abstract thought in many mammals and some birds, all the way up to the sense of self in primates and some other genera.

    All divine? If not, where does it start? Why?

    The problem with your thought here is that it’s even less based in extractable certainty than the multi-brane cosmologies. At least they have some ideas of mechanisation and resultants.

  83. #84 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 5, 2012

    @ Wow

    Let’s get one thing clear… I am not a proponent of either, altough I admit that I am not fond of the solely mechanistic view.

    Secondly, I haven’t used “matter” in physics terminology but philosophical. In that context “matter” is everything we can observe or measure with our senses. As opposed to i.e. fairies or angels. So light and potential fields fall all under that category. And everything is a result of physical laws… no spooky action at a distance. That’s the view of the Universe that resulted from Hobbes and Naturalist movement in the 15th and 16th century.

    But do some research and see what was motivating both Kepler and Newton in resolving celectial movement. They weren’t atheists. They sought some way that described “higher” perfection in material world. Both of them believed, and Newton especially, that there is an underlying order that “emanates” to the physical.

    I’m not drawing any strawman. This is not a defence of religion, since they are in different waters. What I’m saying is that as then, so now, are there two classes of thought.

    Why you choose to bite on all and everything is beyond me.

  84. #85 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    I’m not pigeonholing you, SL.

    The discussion of thought, though, is a considerable undertaking and tying it to divinity isn’t really going to help define it.

    When we have a good idea of what constitutes thought, awareness and consciousness we can maybe start asking questions of how this pertains to non-mechanistic processes.

    Much like people did with, for example, lightning, thunder, diseases and so on when considering them “proof of god’s anger”. When someone stopped and asked themselves “How does it actually happen” and tried answering, progress was made.

    If a mechanism for one of these were NOT forthcoming, the scope for supernatural causation would have been stronger.

    But people had to understand what diseases were before they could talk of supernaturalism. I.e. toxicity and poisoning look a lot like severe diseases. Parasitism can be seen with similar outward signs. And you have bacterial and viral infection too. Denudation of gut flora and over-sterilisation today are disease-like.

    And each have different mechanisms. If you’d tried to use the parasitism method for the common cold, you would have found no parasite and therefore incorrectly conclude that this disease (the cold) had no natural mechanism (parasite causing it) therefore God.

    So when we have a good understanding of the terms we call “thought” we can peel away the mechanistically caused versions (that non-mystically imbued life have) from any possible mystical version (that humans have).

    At the moment, thought covers so many things that cannot be construed to support a supernatural worldview without becoming absurd.

    Which is all the evidence I need that thought is mechanical, if emergent.

    (it’s a little like the catch-all-God used by “sophisticated theists”. While they don’t define it, they allow the definition of Christian-KJV-NewTestament-Protestant-God which demonstrably cannot exist. If they defined it more closely, the refutation may not be forthcoming)

  85. #86 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “But do some research and see what was motivating both Kepler and Newton in resolving celectial movement. They weren’t atheists.”

    They had no choice. Death and ostracism (or at least no schooling) was the other option.

    Kepler spent years and years trying to fit god into the system (god as evidenced by the purity of mathematics). It’s only when he stopped thinking of putting god in there he gained headway.

    Keplers’ theism held him back. It wasn’t the cause of his breakthrough.

  86. #87 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 5, 2012

    @ Wow

    “When we have a good idea of what constitutes thought, awareness and consciousness we can maybe start asking questions of how this pertains to non-mechanistic processes.”
    – I agree with this completely.

    “So when we have a good understanding of the terms we call “thought” we can peel away the mechanistically caused versions (that non-mystically imbued life have) from any possible mystical version (that humans have).”
    – That’s true also. But this is not yet so. When and if that happens, yes.. religion, spiritualism, mysticism.. all of that will become obsolete. But today they reside in this realm. In the realm of thought. Not in the realm of physics. That’s why i wrote it. Cause Dude’s God, or any God today can only reside in the domain of thought and ideas. In the realm of “matter” so far he’s been proven not exist.

    “They had no choice. Death and ostracism (or at least no schooling) was the other option.”
    – mmm.. with this I’m not so sure. For Newton even more. This is 17th century, and there was no inquisition in england. Royal Society exists etc… It’s not the Dark Ages any more this post-Renesance in fool bloom.

    “Keplers’ theism held him back. It wasn’t the cause of his breakthrough.”
    – again with this we can agree to disagree. Kepler’s laws came as a quest for finding “divinity” in math. I could argue that if he wasn’t looking for it, he might have not cared why they are eliptical. :) But neither you nor I could argue what drew them. I’m just saying that being a scientist doesn’t have to mean one isn’t “believing” in something more. However futile or correct that is.

  87. #88 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “That’s true also. But this is not yet so. ”

    However, claiming divinity lies in thought is rather cart-before-horsing, isn’t it. Begging the question.

    Wrong, in other words.

    “But today they reside in this realm.”

    No they don’t. Begging the question again. If the items “mysticism” “spiritualism” and “religon” lie in the realm of thought as you propose, that presupposes that the supernatural (embodied in any, either or all of those three things) actually exist.

    Except you’re already attending that this may not be the case.

    So why are you ignoring that you’re jumping the gun here?

    What if deists are right and the supernatural exists, but thought isn’t it? Your statement is wrong.

    What if there is no supernatural? Wrong again.

    What if the supernatural exists in something else? You’d be wrong.

    Indeed the number of ways you could be wrong is indefinite and large.

    Yet you’re supposing at the outset that they exist there at the moment.

    Is the supernatural some sort of cockroach? When you look at them (shine a light on them), they scurry away to somewhere else? That thought is supernatural until we look and then it hides somewhere else? Why is it doing that?

    At the moment you’ve got “thought” and very badly defined. The only definition we have so far precludes the supernatural by reason of internal absurdity. Because we haven’t defined the realm and therefore even a stick “thinks” potentially and we have no reason to exclude its processes in the realm.

    Define your terms.

    When you have that, we can then at least begin to assess the claims that this “thought” is supernatural in origin, as opposed to emergent and therefore not supernatural.

  88. #89 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    ““Keplers’ theism held him back. It wasn’t the cause of his breakthrough.”
    – again with this we can agree to disagree. Kepler’s laws came as a quest for finding “divinity” in math”

    Only in the same sense as the Kansas Board of Education has people who agree to disagree on the value of Pi.

    Keplers laws came out of him DISCARDING GOD in the processes involved. His faith may have stymied his work for years, decades even. It was only dropping his god that got him to the laws.

    They were antithetical to his laws. Not a driver.

  89. #90 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    Keplers’ faith would have had him (and indeed did for years) keep circles and the regular polygons in his laws.

    His faith would have left his discovery to someone else.

    But he had the courage of his RATIONALITY to discard his faith and get an answer that actually works. If he hadn’t dropped his faith there, he would have failed.

  90. #91 Dude
    Finishing the fight
    December 5, 2012

    I only have a couple questions left then I’m done (arguing against two people always results in a painful defeat). 1. How do you know there’s not another side or how do you know there’s no place we go when we die? (After all, there have been people declared dead but still have came back to life. In fact two good books about such people were called 90 minutes in Heaven and 23 minutes in Hell. Both these people were declared dead for the time they were in heaven and hell) And finally I have a question for you that even I know the answer to. 2. Are Christians and the belief in God a good thing or a bad thing? (This question is more of a test than a question of knowledge).

  91. #92 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    1. Ridiculous question.

    2. Another one: the two don’t connect. Try asking questions, rather than making statements.

  92. #93 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “After all, there have been people declared dead but still have came back to life.”

    Define dead.

    There are cells in the sausage you may have cooked in the last week for dinner that were alive.

  93. #94 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    Dude, your #1 could just as well be replaced with:

    How do you know this guy isn’t the Son of Godhood?

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

    How do you know that there aren’t lizard alien overlords taking over the world?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke#Reptoid_hypothesis

    Google “Russell’s Teapot”.

  94. #95 Dude
    Back in Black
    December 5, 2012

    For the first question it’s not ridiculous. You’ve told me before that our bodies break down and decompose when we die. That’s true but where do WE go. Some people say our souls go to heaven, some people say we are reincarnated. But where do YOU think we go. Or do you think we live in darkness for the rest of eternity or what? Oh and when I said dead, I mean like heart and mind have stopped not breathing, no pulse, nothing. Because in the book 90 minutes in heaven which is an auto-biography about a real person in a real car crash that really took place. In the book paramedics rushed to the scene of the crash and found the body of the auto-biographer,(I forgot his name, you can look it up) and the medics declared the man dead. He had no pulse, he was not breathing, and his heart wasn’t beating, he was not alive. For 90 minutes he was like this and then miraculously he came back to life. Doctors were dumbfounded by this and had no explanation for it. A couple months later, the auto-biographer wrote about his experience being dead and how he had been in heaven for 90 minutes. And when I say dead, I mean dead. So once again, where do YOU think we go when we die. My second question WAS a question. I want to know whether or not you think Christians and the belief in God a good thing or a bad thing? So one more time. Do YOU think Christians and their belief in God a good thing or a bad thing?

  95. #96 Dude
    Back in Black (again)
    December 5, 2012

    Oh in response to Sinsia Lazareck’s first comment, I was not trying to mix Religion with Science. In fact, this all started when I used my religion and another belief as an example to explain that seeing is believing, (which I have come to realize that seeing is not believing). The problem was, that when I mentioned God Wow started saying that God wasn’t real. Naturally I started defending my religious beliefs. That might sound stupid to you, but imagine this, imagine that you had someone you loved and that another person came over and hurt that person you loved. A normal human’s reaction would be to defend the loved one that got hurt. In relatively the same way that loved one is my religion and right now I am defending it and I will do so to my dying day. As of right now I can’t tell if this is an argument with Wow or an enlightening experience, maybe it’s both but I’m still happy I had this conversation. I’m happy I had this conversation because not only has it exercised my debate skills (which needs work) but I also feel like my IQ has gone up a bit. :) But all joking aside this was a pretty healthy argument that has prepared me for future arguments. I feel as though I’ve lost this argument (it’s pretty hard arguing 2 against 1). Still with all do respect, you guys haven’t proved that God doesn’t exist. In fact all I’ve heard about God not existing, is something about a fish orbiting the moon. Which, by the way, could actually happen if you some how mutated the fish (or gave it a space suit especially designed for the fish). Still thanks Sinsia Lazareck for trying not to be insulting. And some advice to you Wow, if you try to be a leader it’s probably best not to insult someone’s religion. In fact that’s what started a lot of wars. Anyways thanks for the debate, it was … enlightening.

  96. #97 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    No, it is ridiculous.

    If you insist on an answer, it would be have you got any evidence to think there is an afterlife?

    But it’s a bloody pointless answer.

    And anyway, when your questions are answered, you don’t really do anything but gallop on to the next silly statement. So really, why bother?

    “our bodies break down and decompose when we die. That’s true but where do WE go.”

    WE stay there. WE are dead. Dead people don’t get around much. Unless there’s a fight by scavengers over the bits.

    Living is a process. You live, you stop living. The “Stop living” is a privative we call “dead”. And like “Stop walking” doesn’t mean there’s an “essense of walkingness” that continues on in an “after walking”, dying doesn’t mean you go on living.

    “He had no pulse, he was not breathing, and his heart wasn’t beating, he was not alive.”

    There is still brain activity going on for people who have had their heads cut off.

    They don’t come back to life and walk about again, but they are still alive despite having nothing to breath with (mouth and lungs separated) and the heart has no pressure left to restore the beat.

    But your man without a heartbeat and no breath doesn’t appear irrecoverably dead.

    As to what he “saw”, the brain sees all sorts of things. Apparently if you’re shot in the chest and the major aorta is ruptured you will die quickly but with an euphoria.

    He didn’t see an after life because we can re-create the same visions with pumping chemicals or sticking electrodes in living people’s brains. They never once die, but they “see” what these “dead” people saw.

    Moreover, these “dead” people say they’ve seen what they’ve been brought up to see. Which since this changes based on culture, means that people have seen vastly different things.

    If you hear of someone seeing a man walking toward the victim wearing a red jumper from one witness, but another witness says he was wearing a duffle coat that was blue, then you count the testimony suspect and discard it.

    Unless, apparently, you think it “proves” god.

  97. #98 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “Do YOU think Christians and their belief in God a good thing or a bad thing?”

    Which one?

    Christians or their belief in god?

    Because otherwise it’s a bloody stupid question still.

    Just because you put a question mark at the end of a statement doesn’t make it a question.

    Answer me this: How long is a piece of string?

    Go on.

    Or is it a bloody stupid question?

  98. #99 Wow
    December 5, 2012

    “which I have come to realize that seeing is not believing”

    Seeing can be believing, but that doesn’t make it real.

  99. #100 Dude
    Killing Zombies
    December 5, 2012

    You were right on the brain activity thing but it the brain activity ONLY lasts for 16 seconds NOT 90 minutes. So, you believe when we die that’s it. Well excuse me if I find that hard to understand. And as for that other question that you are having a hard time to understand. Considering my 8 year-old little sister could answer this, and I’m not exaggerating I litterally got up from my desk walked over to my little sister and I asked her this question. And she answered it perfectly. So, let me make this clear. Do YOU think that being a Christian, and following God the way he wants you to, is a bad thing. Yes or No or Both simple as that. Because I can name you a HUGE list of leaders who brought up America succesfully by following the Bible and it’s teachings.

  100. #101 Dude
    Punching wooden blocks
    December 5, 2012

    If you need to research this, think about the Renassiance time period and think about the history of America and it’s great leaders.

  101. #102 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    Dude, how will thinking of deists who were in the main as close as you got to atheists help?

    Your assertion was “ho heartbeat, no breath == dead”. Now you’re backing down on that. If you have to go back and fill in post-hoc rationalisations about how “that doesn’t count”, you’re indicating your assertions are incorrect.

    This is why you have to be PRECISE about what you’re talking about, otherwise all you’re doing is post-hoc “doesn’t count” wriggling.

    You’re looking at the claims credulously.

    We can recreate the visions by stimulating the brain.

    There’s no need for an afterlife to explain the “visions”.

    “my 8 year-old little sister could answer this”

    Yup, so it’s easier to believe in fairy tales is what you’re saying.

    “Do YOU think that being a Christian, and following God the way he wants you to”

    OK, you’re changing it YET AGAIN.

    Now your problems are

    1) You’re presupposing that the christian god exists (else he cannot want you to do anything).

    2) You’re asserting that ONLY the Christian god is god.

    3) You’re conflating the people with the practice (still)

    4) You’re assuming that people are following what the bible says and that you get to pick which ones. YOU MUST STATE what it is YOUR “god” wants you to do.

    The one in the christian bible says that you must kill children of unbelievers, that slavery is fine and dandy and that stoning people for breaking the rules (and there are so many of them…) to death.

    How many christians follow those rules?

  102. #103 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    “I litterally got up from my desk walked over to my little sister and I asked her this question.”

    Which one?

    And why do you think she answered the question? Because she said “yes”?

    Problem here: she’s thinking “I am a christian, and I follow god (because that’s what christians do, and I’m a christian), and I am good and nice (because that’s what christians are, the book says that says I’m a christian and I’m following god and I know I’m nice), so yes, christians are good”.

    Alternatively, she may be thinking “The Bible says God is Good, therefore yes, god is good”.

    You’re hearing “Yes”.

    You’re hearing “Yes” to a question your question isn’t confined to.

    Here’s one for you. Maybe your 8 year old sister can manage it whilst you’ve remained ignorant of it:

    Are you going to clean up your room tonight or are you going to sit down ant watch telly?

    You can’t answer yes or no because there are two questions and they aren’t even related. You could sit and watch telly AND later on go and tidy your room.

    All you’ve displayed with your homily about your 8 year old sister is that you both have been brainwashed.

  103. #104 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    Dude, absent the insistence that life must be something supernatural our non material, your question about “what happens to us when we die” is identical to this one. See if you can answer it.

    When you stop walking, where does the walking go?

  104. #105 AngelGabriel
    We've all been brainwashed
    December 6, 2012

    We’ve all been brainwashed
    There is no way around it
    So we must stop, pause and reflect
    Is any authority out there
    Who can tell us without exception
    How to live
    How to do science
    Or is there any authority in here
    Can we trust our mind, our senses, our logic
    Is everything inside and out biased subjective
    Fairytales have metaphorical use
    The metaphors of knowledge
    Whether art, word or number
    Do not capture
    They only point
    To what can be expressed
    Is precision more fundamental
    Than ambiguity
    Are not both inherent in every bit of knowledge
    Is knowledge wisdom, reality, or other
    Does knowledge resolve
    Matters of belief
    Whether in gods or logics
    In quiet observation
    Subjective inside and out
    Is there any fundamental resolution
    Yes of course
    The pragmatics of life and
    Science must be attended
    It is better to
    Put your left shoe on your left foot
    Build accelerators mindful of relativity
    Behave with tact or humor before a tyrant
    But is there any fundamental system
    Absent of nonsense
    Is a system, such as an animal or child
    More or less full of nonsense than
    A system, such as a scientist or high priest
    And do you know
    For sure or just pragmatically

  105. #106 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    “Or is there any authority in here”

    Yes. You do yourself what you yourself will do.

    “Can we trust our mind, our senses, our logic”

    To some degree.

    “Is everything inside and out biased subjective”

    No, but how we recognise it is subjective. Hence the scientific method which asks independent confirmation.

    For things not open to this method, you need to ask “What if I’m wrong”.

    Note: The Spanish Inquisition thought this, but did it wrong.

    They thought “What if we’re wrong in accusing this person of being a witch?”.

    They didn’t think “What if I’m wrong about there being a god and afterlife?”.

  106. #107 Dude
    Fighting an age old fight
    December 6, 2012

    1. So your telling me, that no brain activity for 90 minutes doesn’t equal dead? Riiiiiight. 2. I asked my 8 year-old little sister, (youngest in our family) this question. Is that specific enough for you? 3. My sister didn’t answer this question saying Yes, in fact she gave me the answer I was looking for, and surprise, surprise, she didn’t need me to repeat the question 6 times. 4. I honestly can’t tell if your trolling me or you are just incapable of answering this question. (Sorry to be so rude but your driving me crazy). When I asked “are Christians and their belief in God a good thing or a bad thing?” this is what I meant. I will try to put this in the most simplest terms possible for you. Christians believe in God, God (even if you don’t believe in God he can still be used as a symbol that has inspired armies, and led them to victory) has usually a good thing in history. But he also has been used by evil “Christians” in history as a means to get what they want. But God has also been a game changer in history, he has made great leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln seem even more great. How, you might ask? Those leaders followed his principles,(The Bible) in order to become the great men we know today. But at one point in human history God was used by the Vatican in order to seem great. The Vatican said only they have the right to read the Bible and arrested anyone else who preached God’s word. So, I have practically given you the answer, so I will ask this one more, single, flippin time. Do you think Christians and their belief in God a good thing or a bad thing? (If you, somehow still can’t answer this question I will answer it for you).And I’m pretty sure some Spanish Inquisitors thought “What if I’m wrong about there being a god and afterlife?” Also I will try to answer your walking question. I think our walking goes to a dimension. A dimension we have not discovered nor do I think we will discover. The miles or steps we walked will be recorded in history for sure, but who’s recording it? And are memories just a thing in our mind? Or are they a different dimension entirely? This probably sounds ludicrous to you but I think that’s because you only believe in things that you can see in the world around you, and are unwilling to think outside the tiny box we live in.

  107. #108 Dude
    Fighting Grizzly Bears
    December 6, 2012

    Now you’re probably wondering “Dude why do you believe in God? After all, you can’t see, taste, touch, or smell him. So why do you believe?” I have a couple reasons why I believe in God. 1. I have been brought up in a Christian house and a Christian community. (No I’m not Amish). 2. People keep saying that the possibility of God is ridiculous, but a random explosion in space, “Big Bang” that a 1 in a trillion chance in creating us isn’t ridiculous? 3. Scientist basically say that my great great great etc, grandfather was a fish or some aquatic animal that somehow evolved into a monkey and then into a human. “The Evolution Theory” Ladies and Gentlemen. 4. Let’s say for a second, that I’m right, if I am and there is a God and there is a heaven. Then, that means when I die and I go to heaven, I get to live in paradise for the rest of eternity. 5. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, not that big of a deal, other than millions of people will probably say “I told you so!”. Once again, I’m sorry if I offended anyone’s beliefs or religions I was merely exercising my freedom of speech and religion. Thank you.

  108. #109 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    “1. So your telling me, that no brain activity for 90 minutes doesn’t equal dead?”

    No, I’m saying you keep changing what you want to count as dead.

    If you want more on the subject, how do you know that this actually happened? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in medical journals or even newspapers on this miracle. Only quack sites who are there solely to peddle the idea that there is proof of an afterlife (who can hardly be called independent in this) have any mention of something similar.

    “2. I asked my 8 year-old little sister, (youngest in our family) this question.”

    Yup, your little sister believed in Santa Clause too. Is that simple enough for you.

    And please replace “this” with the actual question. You keep changing it.

    “My sister didn’t answer this question saying Yes, in fact she gave me the answer I was looking for”

    Because you have both been brought up under the same brainwashing scheme. And you haven’t said what her answer was by the way. You’ve only now said what it WASN’T.

    “she didn’t need me to repeat the question 6 times. ”

    Given that the question in each of those 6 times still were ridiculous questions that you have failed even once to fix, all this proves is that your sister is as unaware of the error in the question as you are.

    In her defence (apart from being 8), she hasn’t had the problems pointed out 8 times to her. You don’t have that excuse.

    “When I asked “are Christians and their belief in God a good thing or a bad thing?” this is what I meant”

    Yes, and when I asked “What’s the difference between a duck’s legs?” that is exactly what I meant.

    You still haven’t answered that, have you.

    “Christians believe in God”

    Problem: they believe in their god. So change it to that.

    “God has usually a good thing in history. ”

    Nope, its usually been the method for committing atrocities throughout history.

    And that God hasn’t been solely the Christian one. Which is why your abuse of the label god is confusing the issue.

    “But he also has been used by evil “Christians” in history as a means to get what they want”

    So when you say “usually a good thing”, did you weigh up each of the good and bad things done? Did you?

    No, you “know” God is Good because you’ve been told time and time again he is and DO NOT QUESTION THIS.

    “But God has also been a game changer in history, he has made great leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln seem even more great. How, you might ask?”

    Oh, you betcha!

    By the way: you’re STILL begging the question. If your god doesn’t exist, he can’t have done ANYTHING to those dudes.

    To attribute your god to their attributes, you FIRST have to show he exists.

    Unfortunately, you then have to show he did something.

    Neither of which you’ve managed to do.

    “Those leaders followed his principles,(The Bible)”

    Oh, dear. Revisionism.

    They were NOT following the bible.

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

    is one example. John Adams said that the christian faith was a great evil on humanity.

    “in order to become the great men we know today”

    Apparently you don’t actually know them.

    But even if you were correct, they would have done good by following the bible (which, remember, wasn’t the case and they provably didn’t). Not that god made them do it.

    They were deists, not christians.

    “So, I have practically given you the answer”

    An answer.

    An incorrect answer.

    So, practically, you haven’t given an answer as to how these fellows were great because of god.

    “Do you think Christians and their belief in God a good thing or a bad thing?”

    Which do you want answered?

    The christians or the god?

    “And I’m pretty sure some Spanish Inquisitors thought “What if I’m wrong about there being a god and afterlife?””

    Why? God told you?

    Snrk…

    “Also I will try to answer your walking question. I think our walking goes to a dimension”

    OK, stick a fork in you, you’re a loon troll.

    “And are memories just a thing in our mind?”

    Yes.

    “Or are they a different dimension entirely?”

    No.

    “This probably sounds ludicrous to you”

    It is.

    Thing is, you only seem to believe things if they prove god exists.

    “unwilling to think outside the tiny box we live in”

    You’re unwilling to think.

    All you do is prattle on about what you’ve been told from ONE SOLITARY LITTLE BOOK of fairy tales from the Bronze Age.

    Try thinking. Within the box to start with, you need to practice the baby steps first.

  109. #110 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    “I have a couple reasons why I believe in God. 1. I have been brought up in a Christian house and a Christian community.”

    This doesn’t prove your god exists.

    It only proves your religion exists.

    “2. People keep saying that the possibility of God is ridiculous, but a random explosion in space, “Big Bang” that a 1 in a trillion chance in creating us isn’t ridiculous?”

    Is a fallacy.

    First of all, God is infinitely less likely than a big bang.

    Secondly, even if the Big Bang were false, that doesn’t prove god.

    “3. Scientist basically say that my great great great etc, grandfather was a fish or some aquatic animal that somehow evolved into a monkey and then into a human.”

    No, I think a turbot is far more intelligent than you.

    But still, this isn’t proving god.

    Are all your proofs merely a rejection of ideas? And you whine about me limiting my thinking.

    And according to your book, your great great great etc grandfather was a pile of dirt.

    Do you like and respect dirt more than monkeys or fish?

    “4. Let’s say for a second, that I’m right,”

    So you only believe because you want a sweetie? This is EXACTLY the same reason those dudes flew planes into buildings and killed 3000 people. Lets say for a second they were right about Allah. They are now in heaven and those sinful americans are in hell.

    Sound reasonable?

    And yet again, this isn’t proving god. It’s still begging the question. Explicitly this time “lets say there is a god, therefore that proves there is one!!!!”.

    “5. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, not that big of a deal”

    Not according to Islamists. Or Sunnis. Or Zoroastrans. Or….

    Indeed if any religion is right other than yours, you’re going to be tortured eternally.

    The only “Not a bad thing” is if ALL religions are false. Then you’ll NEVER KNOW because by the time you find out, you won’t be able to find out ‘cos you’re dead.

    If this is an argument for or against god, surely it is an argument AGAINST it.

  110. #111 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    And don’t forget, Dude, the god in the christian bible DOES NOT EXIST.

    It can’t.

    It would be logically impossible, even for an all-powerful being because it has the same being not doing what it says it does. Like if he’d proved himself omnipotent and infallible by making an immovable object then moving it.

  111. #112 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 6, 2012

    @ Wow

    I’ll continue our discussion on duality here

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    since this discussion has nothing to do with Multiverse.

  112. #113 Wow
    December 6, 2012

    No worries.

    I think there is evidence enough that Dude has only been trolling (cf “walking goes of into another dimension”).

  113. #114 Dude
    Gone with the wind
    December 8, 2012

    You wanna know something impossible? This whole argument. THAT is liking moving an immovable object. You see, you act like you know me. Saying, “your unwilling to think” you see, I do think, I think just like any other human being on this planet that apparently blew up when it got hit by that meteor a long time ago, and somehow repaired itself. I think “Dude what if your wrong, what if you grandfather was a chimpanzee?” then I say to myself, “If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if I’m right and there is a possibility that there is God and that there is a paradise that I can live in for all eternity wouldn’t you strive to get there too?” The truth is, I don’t know if theres a God, I don’t know if my Grandfather was a chimpanzee. I don’t know if we get reincarnated when we die. But I know this, none of us have seen the beginning of time, none of us have seen the big bang, none of us have seen God create the Earth. So why do we keep on squabble and bikker of who’s right and who’s wrong. Human nature I think. The human nature of being able to say I’m right and your wrong and it feels so good to be right. I think our argument here is the perfect example of that human nature. What’s the phrase again, oh that’s right “when an unstoppable force meets an imovable object”. So you know what? You win. You win. Am I gonna stop believing my beliefs? No. But it is pointless to fight an argument in which no one is going to stop arguing so therefore the only winning move would not be to argue at all, so you know what? You win. Congradulations, whoopty flippin doo. All I have left to say is, I hope I don’t see you in hell. But, hey you have nothing to worry about especially since you, a human, that evolved from a fish to a chimpanzee, know how ALL the universe began in the first place apart from the fact that you werent there. So, you know what. You. Win.

  114. #115 Wow
    December 8, 2012

    “You wanna know something impossible? This whole argument”

    Hang on, you can SEE this argument taking place. You’re even IN it.

    It can hardly be called impossible if it really is going on.

    But you can’t think straight, can you. Religion has ruined your ability to do so. And THAT is why the christian FAITH is wrong and a bad thing.

  115. #116 Wow
    December 8, 2012

    “But if I’m right and there is a possibility that there is God ”

    Then there’s a 1 in tens of thousands of chances to one against you having the right one. Getting the wrong one will have you roasting in hell for eternity.

    If all you have faith in is a sweetie for being good, you have no religion, you have bribery.

  116. #117 Wow
    December 8, 2012

    My god, you godbotherers get pissy when you aren’t allowed to speak rubbish without consequence.

  117. #118 Wade
    Paris France
    March 20, 2013

    You say the universe was expanding faster in the past. My understanding is that it is expanding faster now (than in the past. and at an ever increasing speed.

  118. #119 Wow
    March 21, 2013

    Yes, both can be true.

    You see, if the rate of expansion changes, it can be faster in the past than now and be slower now than in the past AT A DIFFERENT TIME.

    Seriously, what’s with the deliberate obtuseness? Or are you GENUINELY that thick?

  119. #120 Levi Schmidt
    wisconsin
    May 8, 2013

    There should be only one infinite universe instead of multiple universes.
    As the picture above shows that there are multiple universes that are in the shapes of spheres. If you draw a triangle on the surface of the earth the angles will equal to more than 180 degrees. If you connect three stars together in the universe the equal to exactly 180 degrees there for saying that the world is infinite

  120. #121 Wow
    May 9, 2013

    “There should be only one infinite universe instead of multiple universes.”

    Why?

    If you’d said “Could” or “I think there should”, well, that’s opinion, but you’re stating as fact that there should be only one.

    So there must be a reason in the science for this constraint.

  121. #122 Sean T
    May 9, 2013

    Levi,

    Prove that if you draw a triangle with three stars, that the angles total 180 degrees. (Hint: If you pick three points in the room in which you are sitting and measure the angles of the triangle that’s formed, you will measure 180 degrees, despite the fact that the earth is a sphere.)

  122. #123 lauren. sal
    loving life
    February 5, 2014

    Wow, you were so mean to Dude! i believe that what you were saying was correct and that there isn’t a god, but seriously, Dude was just saying his opinion and you wont change his beliefs over the internet. No mater how stupid you might think it is.
    TRUST
    ME
    so just try be a little kinder next time, OK?
    “if you could reason with religious people there would be no religious people”

  123. #124 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    February 5, 2014

    @lauren.sal #123: You’re new here, aren’t you? :-) “Wow” is rude and profane to everyone, not just the anti-science religious folks. Every once in a very long while he has something useful and helpful to say, but mostly it’s just vitriol and personal insults to anyone he disagrees with.

  124. #125 Wow
    February 6, 2014

    “Wow, you were so mean to Dude”

    OK, yes, I was.

    However, he deserved it, so where, exactly, is the problem?

    Meanwhile you’re quiet on Dude’s rudeness. Did I go to his place of worship and tell everyone that their god was fiction and that they were all blind fools?

    No?

    It’s rude, though, isn’t it.

    But somehow that’s an accepted rude.

    So kindly take this in the manner in which it is offered: I couldn’t give a rats arse if you think I’m rude or don’t like me or my rudeness because you only take umbrage at rude when it suits you, therefore it is totally dishonest.

  125. #126 Niko
    USA
    February 12, 2014

    Hey… sort of off topic… LOVE your posts. Could you recommend a couple books for the layman that dig deeply into topics like this? Not just this, but about the Big Physics Questions, and Cosmology, etc? Keep in mind, I’m a lawyer (i.e. dumb; prone to making multiple words one… herein, wheretofor, etc.)

  126. #127 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    February 12, 2014

    @Niko #126: I’d recommend Feynman’s little book “QED” as the place to start. No math, but fully rigorous in how it treats quantum mechanics. Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” is a good intro to modern cosmology (though it predates the discovery of the accelerating expansion). Susskind and Hravobsky’s “The Theoretical Minimum” is good, but assumes some prior knowledge.

    Avoid Michio Kaku if at all possible, along with any of the several books which try to “explain” physics in terms of “Eastern mysticism.” They generally get both wrong :-/

  127. #128 lauren sal.
    loving life
    February 14, 2014

    to Michael Kelsey
    hey thanks for giving me the heads up!!! :)yeah I’m only 13 but this whole multiveres thing is really interesting (even though I don’t understand it…yet) I understand that wow is rude and cruel even though he is so smart! But thanks for looking out for the little guys/girls :)

  128. #129 lauren sal.
    loving life
    February 14, 2014

    to wow,
    hey dude, i don’t hate you. i think your really funny and your comebacks, however mean and vicious, are cool. (and yeah, dude was mean…) sorry i forgot about that! i try harder next time :)

  129. #130 INDOSMOKER
    the circle
    May 27, 2014

    woah……………………………

  130. #131 Talavar
    Feet on ground
    October 6, 2014

    The reason we assume there is a multiverse is because of the cosmological constant. without it being perfectly set, we wouldn’t be here. So, to avoid intelligent design, They said .. “The cosmological constant is set perfectly.. if it was a fraction, of a fraction off, we wouldn’t be here.. its set to .000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000001 Of a percent.”.So to say that we are still a product of chance they said “well then there obviously must be 10^1580000 universes.”

  131. #132 Wow
    October 6, 2014

    Wrong, Talavar.

    You’re making the mistake that only one value changes and that its change CANNOT CHANGE ANY OTHER VALUE.

    There’s a shortfall in the resonance frequency of 3He->C in nuclear fusion of 4%.

    That 4% is *amazingly* just that difference that can be supplied by a star that undergoes fusion, if that 4% didn’t exist, carbon and other heavier elements wouldn’t exist!

    This forgets that if it were different, the temperature of a star that can sustain fusion would ALSO change. And then it would *amazingly* be “exactly the right number without which it wouldn’t work!”.

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