Throwback Thursday: The Most Astounding Fact About The Universe (Synopsis)

“Is no one inspired by our present picture of the Universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers, you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.” -Richard Feynman

There are many scientific facts that are simply remarkable when it comes to the Universe, including the stories of the stars, of galaxies, of matter, of life, of atoms and of subatomic particle. In short, every aspect of nature we can think of has its own unique, remarkable story.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Image credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

But there's one fact that supersedes them all: the fact that the Universe itself can be understood, scientifically. This is much more profound than most people realize, and also the most powerful guide we have to unpacking and understanding the cosmos itself.

Go read the full story of the most astounding fact about the Universe.

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"Is no one inspired by our present picture of the Universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers, you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age." -Richard Feynman Back in 2008, Time Magazine interviewed Neil de Grasse…
“I lie on the floor, washed by nothing and hanging on. I cry at night. I am afraid of hearing voices, or a voice. I have come to the edge, of the land. I could get pushed over.” -Margaret Atwood We had a great run with Messier Monday, followed by a fun mini-series on Mini-Movie Monday, but now it's…
"For me, the study of these laws is inseparable from a love of Nature in all its manifestations." - Murray Gell-Mann When you take a glimpse into the deep Universe, beyond the gas, dust, stars and planets of our own galaxy, you enter the realm of the galaxies. In general, they come in two types:…
“People say sometimes that Beauty is superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not so superficial as Thought is. To me, Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” -Oscar Wilde…

A truly beautiful and inspiring post! Thank you!!!

By Claudio A. Tel… (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

if gravity could turn off on a whim, it would not mean that there are no universal laws, only that gravity is not one of them. how would it be possible to have a universe at all without fundamental laws?

By mARK bLOORE (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Well said, Ethan.

I think for once I agree with an article here!

However, I would add one other thing that makes science possible: Human rationality, and our trust in it.

(Unfortunately, atheists have to make the philosophically irrational assumption that our rationality resulted from a non-rational process (i.e. evolution).)

By See Noevo (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Unfortunately god botherers believe any old shite, including what atheists think.

Why IS it irrational to say that intelligence happened because evolution allowed it?

it's FAR MORE irrational to believe that intelligence always existed. You have no reason (root word) to think that is possible.

Hell, you're not intelligent now.

I second that the reason science is possible is human rationality, and our trust in it, meaning if it happens that science is false then the life we are living will ultimately be false since our lives are based on it.

By Kothibe Sediba… (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Wow's an angry elf.

By Ragtag Media (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

You have made a great point, the hole concept of the universe being able to act on random is scary and I am so glad that that is not the case because then we will always be in the dark not able to understand every thing that we have come to understand today.

By T. Duvenage (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think most astounding fact about the universe is human consciousness itself. Twinkling stars having nothing on the little child that looks up and wonders what they are.

The universe is trully something complex because it has all the things in it.

By Kothibe Sediba… (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Nopw, Wow is fighting back the god botherers who have no manners and is of the human, not fictional elf, species.

Ragtag is confused. Or butthurt.

It is quite comforting to know that the fundamental laws of nature are constant everywhere in the universe, seeing as we know so little about it despite having discovered so much about it over the past few decades. It seems the more we find out, the more we know, the more we find out we do not know. The universe is so unbelievably large and complex I wonder if humankind will ever find out everything about it. But it is both good and exciting to know that we can rely on the laws of nature, that particles and energies are the same universally, to learn more about the universe. We can now trust that our experiments and viable ones, because we have controlled variables, knowing that the fundamental laws of nature are the same everywhere. That is a great and encouraging thought!

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By Sarah McMurtry (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

But there’s one fact that supersedes them all: the fact that the Universe itself can be understood, scientifically.

Notice the word scientifically there #3? What we know doesn't come from the internally inconsistent, unsupported historically, geographically, or geologically, stories written first by a bunch of ignorant goat herders and modified through the centuries to fit the whims of the men who were in charge of the religious structures of the times.

Tip: when it comes to deciding which of two groups of people to believe when they describe reality, stay away from the crowd that has to rely on an imaginary deity as their source.

In this case i think the science we have does not follow human rationality, i think it follows the principles that the universe has laid out. It then follows that humans should see the evidence in the way our universe is structure. Human rationality is diverse an is always changing but the laws of the universe will never change.

While Atheist Physicists are quick to condemn Theists for believing in a Creator, they have their own fantasy's such as the many worlds, string theory, parallel worlds, an infinite universe where copies of ourselves can be found, and other unprovable concepts etc.

While Atheist Physicists

A phrase as pointlessly meaningless in combination as "flooded footstand".

they have their own fantasy’s

Please check up on the difference between contraction and possesive apostrophe.

And they're called theories, and they're not at all like your fantasies, since we actively try to test them to see if they are reality.

If you're all butthurt over being lauged at for your moronic ideas, feel free not to parade them around on a science blog.

Nobody here is asking you where you go to your weekly cult meeting so we can disrupt your meeting and slag you all off. It seems like you don't have the common decency to do the same.

Very un-christian of you.

To dean #12:

“Notice the word scientifically there #3? What we know doesn’t come from ... a bunch of ignorant goat herders …”

And how much science would be getting done if the earth had no human minds, if it had only goats but no goat herders?

Tip: when it comes to deciding which of two groups of people to believe when they describe reality, stay away from the crowd that has to rely on an irrational or non-rational process (i.e. alleged evolution) to provide the rationality with which they describe reality.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

And how much science would be getting done if the earth had no human minds

1) Irrelevant, since that has bugger all to do with the statement this was a response to
2) Look in the mirror. And look at the "no science" you've been doing,even with all that "human mind" you have going on there.

Goat-herders is more dismissive of the relative merits of the people in the time they operated, but absolutely accurate of the "knowledge" that was applied to those myths. They placed the unknowable universe into terms that people whose general mental ability was that sufficient to herd goats, with all the inaccuracies and errant nonsense that inevitably (and without blame assigned to them: they literally could not know any better) followed.

What WAS moronic and deserving of scorn was the later minds, with much more knowledge about what to expect from reality, insisting that these goat-herder-level cognitive models were BY FIAT the right, true and eternally correct realities of existence.

And whose failings continue to get worse with each generation, since each generation has so much more capability to be better at understanding, therefore fall much shorter of the minimum expected abilities, unlike the original goat-herders.

We DO stay away from the crowd that has to rely on an irrational or non-rational process (i.e. alleging only "alleged evolution") to make yourself feel safer in a world that really doesn't give a shit about you or your desires.

And that, people, is the reason why so many cling to religion: it makes the believer feel as though they're special, when all they really are is "special needs".

The universe had to be exactly as it is and no other way. It formed in a way that led to simple and then more complex life and, ultimately, to sentient life. Without sentient life there would be no universe because there would be no one to observe it.

If a universe formed and no one was there to observe it would it actually exist? Resoundingly - NO!!

By Peter Puccini (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

Shall we fear the wrath of Khan, I mean Wow. Hey Wow grow up and act like an adult, quit acting like a bully, this isn't high school.

You can if you want, Tone. Thing is, unlike the religious, I won't kill you for doing so in the wrong way according to a book of myths.

Oh, it's adults here in the real world: if you can't stand the heat, stay in the kindergarten where your told you're special and wonderful and loved.

@Wow
The opinions I expressed about the supposed theory's of many worlds, string theory, and parallel worlds among others are untestable nonsense according to Peter Woit.

@ Wow
I guess if I met you one on one you would likely be a decent guy.

Theories that is.

And how much science would be getting done if the earth had no human minds, if it had only goats but no goat herders?"

The goats would get exactly as much science done as the ID folks get done.

Neither group you mention do any real science, nor do they provide any useful information about the world.

@Wow
The opinions I expressed...

Yes, opinions are like arses: everyone has one. You seem to forget that dean's comment, and mine, were ALSO opinions. Yet somehow you want to scare us out of them, or belittle us for making them.

Yet when YOUR opinions are made fun of or you're belittled, you suddenly cry like a little baby and whine about it.

See the double standard?

Of course not, you're the persecuted christian, you CAN'T be wrong!

Except you are.

Tell you what, tell us where your church is and we'll turn up where you are and piss and moan about the evils of christianity and the stupidity of faith and the religious nutters and you try the "It's only an opinion, as supported by Richard Dawkins!", see whether that works.

Oh, by the way, why is your Peter right in his claim? Or do you just not know nor care about that?

And why did you just throw him under the bus? Do you not have your OWN opinions, or is EVERYTHING you say informed by authority figure?

Silly me. Of COURSE it is! GOD tells you everything you must do, and he always will, right?

Tone, I AM a nice guy. Even one-on-one I would not put up with the self-aggrandizing and inviolable stupidity of the religious, though.

BECAUSE I am a nice guy.

I really do believe that every religious whack-job could *EASILY* to better than they are, they just are afraid to try.

The reason why terrorism is taken by the religious is that is the entirety of religion: it IS terrorism.

DO THIS OR YOU WILL BE INFINITELY PUNISHED!!!!

But it's "normalised" and therefore you only see it elsewhere. In, for example, "not religions" like Islam (or "the wrong version of Islam if you happen to identify with Islam yourself".

Now, if you want to continue talking offtopic nonsense with me on religion, this is NOT the thread to do it.

That would be some other site that actually DEALS WITH religious issues.

Go there. Tell me where. It cannot require an account.

@ Wow
One on one I would not try to convince you of any of my opinions, only have a drink or two or more, like all people should do.
Thank you very much
BTW were you ever In the Air Force.

Yup, back to the infants school "I could, but I won't bother".

You know why that's a load of bollocks? YOU CAME HERE AND SPOUTED OFF.

NOBODY asked you to.

You did yourself.

Because you wanted to convert, because you think your asinine myth is valid and therefore everything else is evil.You even believe you get mystic brownie points for doing it.

You are free to have your opinions.

You aren't free to say they're right. You got to do more work than just claim.

Something you and the other god botherers never managed to do.

Wow #18 is one angry camper.

Oh, Wow will SAY he’s not angry. But that’s just bluster. For we read
“We DO stay away from the crowd that has to rely on an irrational or non-rational process (i.e. alleging only “alleged evolution”) to make yourself feel safer in a world that really doesn’t give a shit about you or your desires. And that, people, is the reason why so many cling to religion: it makes the believer feel as though they’re special, when all they really are is “special needs”.”

Wow lives in a world which he thinks “doesn’t give a shit about” him or his desires, or anyone else's.

Wow seethes with anger at religious types, especially Christians, who don’t feel angry and hopeless like Wow.

Wow!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

Yes, when you are pissing about, it's *me* that's the angry camper, because you're perfect: God tells you so, right?

Or is it that you're full of crap?

Oh yeah, it's the latter.

Wow lives in a world which he thinks “doesn’t give a shit about” him or his desires, or anyone else’s.

Everyone does, you dipshit.

And you can't talk about seething with anger, you're brim full of it for teh ebil science wot doesn't have god.

I think it is amazing, were it not for Henrietta Leavitt, we would not have known how the universe continuously expands, and yet even though it is constantly changing it always obeys the same laws and principles.

By D. Bredenkamp … (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think it is amazing, were it not for Henrietta Leavitt, we would not have known that the universe is constantly expanding, and yet even though it is ever changing, everything still obeys the same universal laws, providing us the opportunity to study it scientifically. :-)

By D. Bredenkamp … (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

“From the weakest, lowest-frequency photon of light to the largest galaxy ever assembled, from the unstable atoms of Uranium decaying in the Earth’s core to the neutral hydrogen atoms forming for the first time 46 billion light years away, the laws that everything in this Universe obeys are the same.”

And to think that these natural laws are the only laws known to man, or at least to atheists, to not have a law giver.
Atheists would say these laws just… made themselves up.

Also, these natural laws, which are obeyed throughout the immense universe, provide an order to the entire universe, an order which, to my mind at least, would appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

"to my mind at least, "

Since your mind clearly doesn't understand science at all, it is no surprise the laws of thermodynamics are beyond it.

One mystery of the godbotherer is why they're always so livid at science all the time, despite "God and the universe loving them specifically and personally"?

Is it because they know,deep down, that its a load of bollocks but are shit scared of the reality? Just like the religious should be the MOST happy to die, but in reality are the LEAST happy about it and fight the most to delay their entry into heaven. Because it doesn't exist, they know it, and they fear death, so cling to their myths like a baby to its comforter.

And to think that these natural laws are the only laws known to man,

Infinitely less arrogant than thinking there's a transcendent omnipotent being that they understand, and that only man has the ability to do this.

Aliens can understand the laws of physics. It's not confined to man.

And as can be seen evidently by the godbotherers, many men do not understand it at all.

would appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics.

The appearance is entirely a fiction of your inability to understand a damn thing.

Thermodynamics is a model of the internal energy of a body.

Water crystalises and loses energy by becoming more ordered. Is a slushie God ground up and syrup poured over? Or is the idea that it doesn't obey the second law of thermodynamics a red herring?

I hope it's the latter, otherwise I've eaten many a god in my time.

Thanks for the inspiration!

It made me want to understand chaos theory deeper. Siegel's point here illustrates the profundity of one of the aspects of chaos theory explored in James Gleick's book on that subject.

This aspect being

Highly complex, yet seemingly ordered and obviously functional systems may arise when the system's basic components follow a few simple rules.

Cosmology is our map to understanding the universe and everything in it.
This complex and dynamic study field has allowed us to understand time, space, gravity and the ultimate fate of the universe.
Understanding the universe means understanding its civilizations, and the interactions between them, as well as it's planets, both as separate entities and as a complete system.
Thus, cosmology, or the fact that the universe can be understood scientifically, is crucial to understanding the significance and purpose of our existence.
This is, indeed, powerful and profound; much like this article!

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By Daena Lund (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

Wow has a lot to say about this, interesting to see a different perspective but I prefer Paul J's interpretation - not a threat to God and being scared of heaven because we don't know for sure that it exists, but simply acknowledging and appreciating that we do know and can rely on facts about physics. And we do not intend to limit it to just man using or knowing these laws about physics and the universe, man is just the only species we know that can understand our insight and gained knowledge on the universe.

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By Sarah McMurtry (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

Actually, the most astounding fact about the Universe is that it has always existed, and will always exist. Always changing, but always existing in one form or another. There was no beginning, and there could not have been a beginning, this would be a "scientific" fact, since it is not possible to form somethinig from nothing, because "nothing" could still be something since it requires space and time. When man's so-called science comes in the picture, (which is also constantly changing with knowledge) we learn that we really do not know anything at all. We just "think" that we know. Also, we think there are fundamental absolutes of science, but there is no way that we can prove that this is fact. There will always be exceptions that come with time and knowledge, to challenge what we thought was fact, which shows us that we really do not know very much..

By Yochannan (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

When man’s so-called science comes in the picture, (which is also constantly changing with knowledge) we learn that we really do not know anything at all.

Wait, so now it is a bad thing to revise our descriptions of the universe to reflect what has been learned from observation and new data? Your comment makes no sense.

Actually, the most astounding fact about the Universe is that it has always existed, and will always exist.

Two claims that cannot be stated from knowledge, only on desire.

It doesn't LOOK like it existed forever, and it certainly hasn't existed into the future yet, so we can't say how long it will last.

So both claims are pretty much declarations of intent of the one making them, not a prescription of truth or even evidenced conjecture.

There was no beginning, and there could not have been a beginning

It MUST have had a beginning. If it didn't, then infinite time must have passed to get here now, and that cannot happen: infinite time has never and will never come to pass. That's the definition of infinity.

It must have started some finite time ago for us to be here afterward to see it existing a finite time later.

It's also odd, dean, isn't it, that those most likely to claim that "mere man cannot know" are the first ones to make absolute claims as to what is.

It's like they don't consider themselves human or something.

"The laws of the Universe are the same everywhere". Well, this is where the rubber hits the road.
This is just an hypothesis, and you just have ZERO proof of this. Worse, if Einstein is to be believed, it's FLAT WRONG. No, the highest probability is that we find ourselves in a point of singularity (PS) in our Galaxy, and that outside this point, the laws of physics as we know them have ceased to apply. Outside of our PS, the light can travel million times faster than what we think, and so on...
Outside of this PS

The universe is so vast and complex that it raises questions that may or may not be answered. The universe is unpredictable. It is said that the laws of the universe are simple and symmetrical, which leads to my question.Is there a possibility that somewhere in our Universe, the laws of physics are entirely different from what we know?

By DS Moosa (15027504) (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

I really like the large, colourful images of the universe in the blog, and there being numerous images between the paragraphs makes the blog very aesthetically appealing, as the universe is a very fascinating thing to look at. However, criticism could be the insubstantial amount of information, or the very short paragraphs that make up the written part of the blog, limit my ability to give an opinion on the topic. When I clicked on the link given at the end of the blog, there was much more explanation and information on the topic given, so that does lessen the flaw. I found the explanation from the link very interesting, so it is disappointing to not have more of it in the original blog.

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By Sarah McMurtry (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

OK Wow, just how ignorant can you be? How long must somthing have existed before it becomes forever? Even the Hebrew Bible defines "forever" as something beyond what is known. Even the ancients were not stupid enough to think they knew it all. Time can't possible have had a beginning, it has always existed, and will always exist. Even if you are not around to be a witness to it. Therefore everything that does exist has always existed (in one form or another) and is constantly changing. Even that is observable. If you say there was a beginning, I will ask you what existed "before" your begining. Was your big bang or "thing-a-ma-jig" that made the big-bang hanging in nothing or endless space all by it'self before it dcided to blow it'self up? Yes, it is true man cannot and does not know much of anything.....there is much much more.

By Yochannan (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

You have made a great point, the hole concept of the universe being able to act on random is scary and I am so glad that that is not the case because then we will always be in the dark not able to understand every thing that we have come to understand today.

By U15054153 (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

May I ask if the universe is a closed system or not?

By Polly Dibetso (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

OK Wow, just how ignorant can you be?

I'm quite ignorant of the depths of human stupidity when it comes to religion.

How ignorant can you be?

How long must somthing have existed before it becomes forever?

Infinite time. As I already said. Are you trying to see how ignorant you can be, or is this normal for you?

Even the Hebrew Bible defines “forever” as something beyond what is known.

Gosh. Words translated from one language to another will not carry exactly the same meaning?!?!? Wow, never new that! (sarcasm, by the way).

But it's rather irrelevant if you're blathering on about my comment that the universe cannot have always existed, since the phrase was "has always existed" and "will always exist", and wasn't in any way in ancient Hebrew, but modern English.

Therefore everything that does exist has always existed

To be valid, the "Therefore" must be following a statement that proves the claim following it. Yours does not.

Also everything has not always existed. As said, if it always existed, it needed infinite time to pass for us to observe it, which can never happen.

Is there some congenital problem going on here?

Or just cogitational?

Even that is observable.

No it isn't. You;d have to be observing for the entire time to do so, and you weren't observing anything before you existed.

If you say there was a beginning, I will ask you what existed “before” your begining.

Nothing.

Was your big bang or “thing-a-ma-jig” that made the big-bang hanging in nothing

Yes.

or endless space all by it’self

No.

before it dcided to blow it’self up?

It made no decision. Gravity does not DECIDE to make you fall. Rocks don't decide to drop.

Yes, it is true man cannot and does not know much of anything

You seem to think YOU aren't limited like that. YOU insist you know it always existed.

Your problem is you don't know, you are ignorant and you think that you must be normal and that nobody else knows any better.

This is not true.

there is much much more.

That can be true, but that doesn't mean we don't know a lot, and cannot.

Man could not fly.

Until it worked out how to.

Not everyone is limited by your abilities.

The good thing about the universe is that it's really interesting and more things about it are to be revealed n discovered

By Polly Dibetso (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

I don’t really agree with the statement that the universe can be understood because there is still so much to explore and information that has not yet been gathered. Maybe we can say that the current information we have about the universe can be understood. The universe is really remarkable and something to appreciate, but in my opinion, will we ever be able to say that we really understand the universe and its content?

By Wilhelm Briers… (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

Even if it's given as true that there's so much to explore yet, it doesn't actually mean that the universe cannot be understood.

Doesn't follow.

The universe is truly astonishing and continues to facinate every human being.The amount of stars in our universe cant be understood because we dont have the technology to find the edge of the universe yet and until then the universe will continue to bewilder any and all who looks up at day or night. How are stars counted and how accurate are these numbers?
U15046746

By A.C van Zyl (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

How are stars counted and how accurate are these numbers?

They use integers, and they are absolutely accurate, being defined as precisely the number they represent.

If you want to try again without a silly question, you may find yourself without a silly answer in reply.

Earlier, I wrote that these natural laws, which are obeyed throughout the immense universe, provide an order to the entire universe, an order which, to my mind at least, would appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics.

On a similar line, perhaps, Polly Dibetso asked if the universe is a closed system or not.

Nobody has responded to either of these points with other than dismissive, derisive dreck (e.g. dean #36, Wow #39).

By See Noevo (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

Not only is Wow an angry elf, he is a bad spelling elf. He spelled nope NOPW...hahaha And we are suppose to believe him when he tells us that he is the enlightened one?

He must be a D..E..M..O..C..R..A..T.. sad face

By Ragtag Media (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

@Ragtag Media #60: You should be careful about pointing out the mote in Wow's eye, while blindly waving about the beam in your own.

1) bad -> badly. Misuse of adjective as adverb.
2) hahaha. Missing spaces and terminal punctuation.
3) suppose -> supposed.

You also seem to be rather confused about the correlation between political persuasion and intellectual skill.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

@See Noevo #59: You should be really careful about what you choose to cite for your antiscience arguments. Bringing up "the second law of thermodynamics" without any understanding of its domain of applicability is a certain demonstration that you're a particular kind of YEC, and utterly opposed to any form of factual argument. Think of it as Godwin's Law as applied to science.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

Or a learned phrase used by creationists because they've seen the video that claims it's a winning argument.

Reality never bothers them. That it never does work hasn't stopped them believing in it.

He must be a D..E..M..O..C..R..A..T..

You must be republican, then, to decide that anyone you don't like must be democrat.

I'm not even in the USA, as is around 98% of humanity.

an order which, to my mind at least, would appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics.

We have two possibilities here:

1) the universe has it wrong
2) your mind has it wrong

which is more likely....?

Nobody has responded to either of these points with other than dismissive, derisive dreck

That's because the "questions" were only dreck themselves, dearie.

Twinkling stars having nothing on the little child that looks up and wonders what they are.

If you could read its mind, you;d likely hear "I wanna poop" or "Can I eat that?" than "Oooh, I wonder what I am..?".

This is just an hypothesis, and you just have ZERO proof of this.

Only because for you, since you hate science, you demand it have 100% proof. Never a requirement for you to prove your claims.

But induction is fine. It's used all the time. And there's plenty of evidence that the same laws apply everywhere. The fine structure constant and the emission spectra of cold and hot nebula indicate that this is true back at least 10 billion years and therefore 10 billion light years away.

And we have no reason to believe that the laws of nature would be different in different places at different times.

Do you have any PROOF that they aren't the same?

"Do you have any PROOF that they aren’t the same?"

Don't make it so hard for him Wow. For starters just a teeny weeny bit of evidence suggesting that we might occupy a slightly special place in the Universe will do.

Sadly.

Really, he *can* do better. There's really no problem other than the fervent desire NOT to.

See Noevo,

I know that you probably won't listen to me, but I'll give it a shot anyway. The popular definition of entropy as "disorder" is just that, a popular definition to help non-scientific laypeople to understand the concept. It is not a scientific definition. The "order" produced by the laws of physics does not result in a decrease in entropy.

This definition of entropy as disorder is one I have personally always disliked. A better definition that is accessible to non-scientists is that entropy represents the spreading out of energy. An increase in entropy occurs whenever energy moves from a more concentrated to a less concentrated form. Consider, for instance, the sun. The sun, simply by virtue of its radiating energy into space, represents a massive increase in entropy. The energy produced by the fusion reactions in the sun is concentrated while it is part of the sun. Upon being radiated, this energy spreads out through space thereby causing a large increase in entropy.

The second law also does not say that the entropy of any particular part of the universe cannot decrease. A local decrease in entropy is certainly possible so long as a corresponding increase in entropy occurs somewhere else.

"The universe itself can be understood scientifically," I agree however in his book, "The Grand Design" Stephen Hawking states that "Because a law such as gravity exists the universe can and will create itself from nothing," this does not make sense to me. Scientists should make statements that do not confuse us as that will be futile. There are so many theories explaining the creation of Earth so from your statement I guess it's up to an individual to believe the one that he or she understands?

By TRK Ngaka u15103634 (not verified) on 08 Apr 2015 #permalink

an order which, to my mind at least, would appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics.

The response you received to that comment was appropriate and thorough: combining the fact that you don't understand something with the fact that you have no intention (or, likely, the ability) to educate yourself on the topic does not lead to the conclusion that your question has any substance. You have (in other posts) simply repeated the fact that evolution is false because you don't believe it (no science in your posts), you have, in a different set of posts on Ethan's blog, advertised your self-imposed ignorance by saying that there should never be any time or money spent studying things that have no immediate application, and that didn't trust people who did. Stop pretending you have any substantial questions about science - you're merely looking for an explanation of the science so you can say "blah blah blah false because my book of mythology says so".

To Sean T. #71:
Do you believe the universe is an open system or a closed system?
If you think the universe is an open system, what is it open to? That is, from where are the new inputs coming?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 08 Apr 2015 #permalink

Do you believe the universe is an open system or a closed system?

Does not matter, does it?

Or if it does, why?

If you think the universe is an open system, what is it open to?

Nothing. "Open" in astrophysics is a feature of the curvature of space.

That is, from where are the new inputs coming?

It does not mean the same thing as "the opposite of a closed system in thermodynamics".

If you're wondering why all you get in answer to your demands is "dreck", the problem is not on this side of the internet but somewhere between your keyboard and chair on your side of the internet.

Sean:

This definition of entropy as disorder is one I have personally always disliked.

However, that's not the definition. It's a mangling or popular phrase for it, but entropy is not disorder but the lack of order.

Moreover, the only real problem comes from people who don't understand, nay, do not WANT to understand how to apply it.

They think that water freezes and that's a violation of thermodynamics.

But what happens is that there is less order in the total system afterward because the system lost photons when it cooled radiatively, and those photons are very disordered: randomly spurted all over the place.

What's left may be ordered, but if you're going to throw away stuff, why are you surprised that there's no conservation?

You don't chuck out the half-full box of cereals then wonder why you ran out of breakfast cereals.

Well, you do if you're nuts.

See NoEvil for example...

Scientists should make statements that do not confuse us as that will be futile.

Given that all you need to confuse yourself is the wish to be confused, attempting to avoid confusing you IS truly futile.

Given that you've confused me as to how scientists should manage this trick, does that mean morons should not make stupid demands like that because it confuses us and that is futile?

I guess it’s up to an individual to believe the one that he or she understands?

Only in so far as it's up to the individual as to whether they believe in Satan's All Present Power and worship him.

I.e. until and unless that is passed on as a requirement or normative to others, or pressured to become a required learning.

Of course a member of a species calling itself homo sapiens sapiens to be worthy of that name would prefer to try to understand the different theories, and then with that understanding, check their validity, and proffer conditional acceptance of the one that most nearly is consistent with observed and understood reality.

Please note that if you wish to take the old testament teachings, you will have to excise one of the two versions of creation within it, and have agreed with everyone else that that is the only correct one, otherwise it fails at the validity checking state with itself.

Of course christianity doesn't actually HAVE a theory of creation of the earth since that doesn't happen in the new testament, and the old testament is not a part of christianity, so christians will have to search outside their religion for explanations.

Never mind, eh?

sn:
scientists around the world have no problem squaring the way the universe works with the laws of thermodynamics. You do. If you want people to think you have any case, you need to put up the mathematics to support your argument.
Until do, and the math is vetted, you're just another whiny kook.

There are so many theories explaining the creation of Earth so from your statement I guess it’s up to an individual to believe the one that he or she understands?

If you mean the creation stories of different cultures or religions - those are not "theories" in the way science uses the term. They are theories of the type a drunk person would use to explain how he ended up naked and tied to a light pole on a side-street of the main downtown boulevard: with no support from reality and only marginal historical or entertainment value to them.

It's amazing to think that the universe and everything in it is constantly changing and new discoveries are being made everyday.... But even though the universe is so vast and new things are being discovered, the old and the new still obey the same scientific laws.

These facts are truly astounding, how the laws are constant in every part of the universe and how the laws which govern us here on earth are the same everywhere, but this causes me to question if your blog somehow suggest the existence of life on other planets because if every planet and or galaxy abides by the same laws and there is the suggestion of the big bang theory then I would then be led to conclude that there is life in outer space. Maybe even other human beings in outer space that look exactly like us or maybe aliens.

These facts are truly astounding, how the laws are constant in every part of the universe and how the laws which govern us here on earth are the same everywhere, but this causes me to question if your blog somehow suggest the existence of life on other planets because if every planet and or galaxy abides by the same laws and there is the suggestion of the big bang theory then I would then be led to conclude that there is life in outer space. Maybe even other human beings in outer space that look exactly like us or maybe aliens

oh how interesting.

(15053840)
These facts are truly astounding, how the laws are constant in every part of the universe and how the laws which govern us here on earth are the same everywhere, but this causes me to question if your blog somehow suggest the existence of life on other planets because if every planet and or galaxy abides by the same laws and there is the suggestion of the big bang theory then I would then be led to conclude that there is life in outer space. Maybe even other human beings in outer space that look exactly like us or maybe aliens

Its indeed amazing how till this day all discoveries in the universe still obey the same scientific rules as the ones made before. This shows that scientific knowledge is indeed durable.

By T Masilonyane (not verified) on 14 Apr 2015 #permalink

The universe is so unbelievably large and complex but it is fascinating to know that we can rely on the laws of nature, that particles and energies are the same universally, to learn more about the universe.

This is a truly astounding fact about the universe, there is so much one can learn about the universe if they never cease to want to learn more. I learn something new every time I read this blog. Scientific knowledge is durable indeed indeed, imagine the improvements that will have been made in the next ten years?.very interesting.

By HS Madonselsa (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

Its amazing to see the discoveries that have been made of our universe, science just keeps getting better don't you think? on the point that the world did not have to be as it is: that should solidify the existence of a higher power.