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God and Goldilocks: Our Universe
The more we know, the less we know..Click thumbnail to view full-size
"The Universe is Queerer Than We Can Suppose!"
I suppose I should lead his article with the fact that I don't believe in the metaphysical: that includes anything that hasn't - or cannot one day - be explained in scientific terms and facts...or even accepted theories, such as evolution, for example. This includes god and gods; things that go "bump" in the night (unless it's my own bed-head on the rare nights I get lucky), or UFO's, although I am receptive to any stranger whom might arrive from deep space, I just don't think they have done so yet.
But, lawdie, isn't it hard to try and comprehend how - and even, what - is the universe, that apparently expanding enormity of heavenly, ahem, bodies and deep space that surround our own relatively miniscule planet? And just when we are happy with the idea of its expansion, these damn boffins tell us, "Well, yes, it's expanding, but you couldn't go to the leading edge and try to see what lies beyond because you would only arrive back at where you came from as space curves." As if, of course, we could accelerate enough to cover the million-trillion miles, or so, to reach the edge anyway.
Also, we just got happy with the "Big Bang" theory and the "fact" that the universe was created in nano-seconds from a pin-point of matter to become everything we are, we see, and what we will be.
But now they tell us that this little concentration of all matter is a "Singularity," and actually cannot even be seen if you were somewhere handy with an electron microscope to do so!
In fact, the big bang theory seems to be going the way of the Dodo and is replaced by the term, "Inflation Theory," or a sudden expansion." And how, baby! Terms like "Vacuum energy" are being banded about and "Scalar field," (Don't ask, neither they nor I have a clue what these suggestions really mean). How do we take in the apparent fact that "There once was nothing, and now there is this Universe?" Starting to sound a bit like "In seven day he made the Earth," etc., isn't it? No wonder religious beliefs have lasted so long, man just finds it hard not to find a reason he can latch onto for everything in his life and what came before and - especially - what might come after this brief dance in the sun.
The poor old mind boggles as it tries to find some closure in theories such as the "universe-within-universes," (the old world- within-worlds theory on a grander scale). Or that space and time are not subject to our own mundane laws of physics but operate on alien principles far too esoteric for us to comprehend, never mind explain. The biologist Haldane, once famously stated, "The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer that we can suppose." At times, we seem to be in the same position as the ancients who could find no explanation for their own sun and moon, never mind all else in the universe, so decided to see them as gods and make sacrifices to them,
And how about the emergence of life on our world? OK, it's easy to say, "Well, the conditions were right for the chemical processes to begin - maybe lightning sparked-off a particular soup of chemicals." So the universe sure turned out well for the little ape-like creatures, Homo sapiens, and all the myriad forms that have come before. At least, we think it has. But suppose the singularity which spawned all the stars, planets and galaxies, etc., can reverse itself? In a flash, like water running down some vast drain, we might in an instant return to that invisible singularity where it all began. For sure, we would be crushed! Or at the very least living on top of the neighbours we had been trying to ignore for 20 years!
But if everything stays in perfect pitch and balance, the universe will keep on calmly expanding infinitely - at least, indefinitely - scientists call this the "Goldilocks Effect" after the tale by Southey of the fortunate child who found love amongst the Three Bears. So all we have to worry about will only really worry the grandkids,' a trillion times removed, as our sun finally gives up the ghost, becomes a supernova and eliminates the solar system and all life within it.
But, hey, don't panic, I am convinced mankind will be long gone by the time about another 5 billion years has past - the period left to us.
So, if we can’t explain how the singularity got there or all the other mysteries of space-time that so bother physicists, isn’t it time to say the theists have it right and that the hand of a Supreme Being is the only explanation for how all this began, even if, yes, we were wrong for centuries over Adam and Eve and that evolution was part of the Maker’s plan?
You all know what’s coming, don’t you? A great big and emphatic NO! We don’t want the return to some 3rd Millennium Dark Ages, thank you, with the High Priests calling the shots and all the learned texts by cosmologists and the rest being destroyed, and non-believers being burned at the stake, or worse, sent to live in Harlow (or Philadelphia!).
On the contrary, we want our scientists to soldier-on with all the new equipment available to them and more arriving every day: particle accelerators, immensely powerful super-computers, radio telescopes that can peer into the hidden depths of the universe, and, perhaps soon, the return of a space program by the enlightened nations that will finally have man exploring and finally colonizing nearby planets and relieving the awful burden imposed on man and all the creatures of this brave and tired planet, Earth...Before it’s too late!
God, if you’re there and listening, you had your turn and made a mess of things for years, you ain’t getting another shot at us!