By Josh Greenberger
For years scientists have been telling us how the universe began. Do we really know? Or do we need another six billions years to figure it out?
To date, our space explorations, manned and unmanned, have uncovered a world of intriguing, perplexing, puzzling, fascinating, and even awe-inspiring phenomena. Whether we understand it or not, the universe we live in seems to be a highly organized system or set of smaller systems functioning in harmony. All of its components work within a framework of very structured, precise, and clearly defined laws of nature. If this were not so, the universe could not possibly have survived in its present state of complexity for any long period of time, certainly not for thousands of years. If the laws of gravity were to cease functioning for only one moment, all orbiting bodies throughout the universe would move into different orbits. For life on earth, this would be catastrophic. If the "strong force" which holds together sub-atomic particles were to cease functioning, all matter in the universe would disintegrate. Obviously, the laws of nature function every moment of every day, with utmost precision.
Our universe contains atomic and sub-atomic particles not visible to the naked eye and sometimes not even visible with sophisticated instruments. It also contains planets, stars, huge galaxies spanning hundreds of thousands of lightyears across space -- some of which are so far from earth that they appear as mere specks in the sky -- and galaxies billions of lightyears apart. The laws of nature are so complex that they support millions of forms of life on our planet while maintaining the integrity of the cosmos as a whole. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for the most intelligent human being to even imagine a more complex system, let alone come up with a functioning design of anything nearly as complex.
And as much as modern man has already learned, we're just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg concerning the complexities of the laws of nature. There have been people who have devoted virtually their entire lives to discovering and studying the laws of nature. Doctors have studied medicine. Astronomers have studied the skies. Biologists have studied vast numbers of life forms. Physicists have studied the laws of nature governing the cosmos right down to those governing events on the quantum level. And the list goes on. Yet, not one of these endeavors has thus far resulted in the complete knowledge of even one subject. I'm not talking about knowing everything about every subject. I'm talking about knowing everything about only one subject. It hasn't happened yet. And you'd think that after all the scientific discoveries, achievements, and sophistication of the twenty-first century, such knowledge might at least lie in the foreseeable future. But that doesn't seem to be the case either. In many instances, it's quite the contrary. Some branches of science seem to become increasingly elusive in direct proportion to our sophistication. For the "cut and dried" physical world this is supposed to be, this kind of complexity almost rivals spiritualism itself.
Now, an intelligent person would ask himself, "Where did all this complex ingenuity come from?"
A 'BIG BANG?'
There is a theory generally referred to by scientists as the "big bang." No, it has nothing to do with the fourth of July. When the fourth of July ends, we're usually left with a lot of exploded shreds of garbage. When this purported "big bang" ended, it allegedly left us with debris which somehow evolved into a highly complex and organized universe. How? Beats the heck out me. Let's see if it beats the heck out of you.
Big-bang theorists hold that the universe roughly fifteen or twenty billion years ago. There was this "something or other" which exploded. Since then the universe has been expanding. Everything in it evolved from the stuff of that explosion.
Let's see if we understand this. In spite of the fact that just about any kind of an explosion we could cause would result in nothing but chaos and destruction, we're being told, against all logic, that an explosion is what began the process of building the inconceivably complex system we now call our universe. Isn't that a bit like saying that if you blew up a Rubik's cube the little pieces could conceivably become more complex than the original cube? It is common sense that an explosion will create a general state of fragmentation and disarray. After ripping a system apart, isn't it rather absurd to expect the resulting chaos to become more intricate and organized than the original system? When you think about it, after an explosion, it is unrealistic to expect a system to even maintain its previous level of complexity, let alone evolve into something more complex.
An example: If you took every nut, bolt, and part necessary for the construction of a car, piled them up on top of a bomb, and blew them up, would you ever expect the parts to fall down into a functioning car by mere chance? How many times would you say you'd have to blow the pieces up to get a functioning car? Fifteen million? Seventeen billion? Or do you think it could never happen? Sure the pieces would fall into different configurations and shapes after each explosion -- configurations which may be pleasant to look at with an abstract, artistic eye. Configurations which may even inspire you with thoughts like, "Where's the broom?" But to think that you could eventually get into a car and drive off is confusing the laws of probability with intelligent design. If you blow up the pieces of a car, all you will ever get is a pile of junk. And maybe a few lumps on your head from falling debris. But that's about it.
The scientifically accepted theory of the origin and evolution of our universe says, in effect, that if you blew up the parts of a car you could get a lot more than just a car -- you could accidentally get a supersonic jet or a space shuttle! This is a better story than what used car dealers give you.
UNSUPPORTED BY SCIENCE ITSELF
If the idea that chaos cannot accidentally turn into design and organization makes sense to you, congratulations! You have something of a knack for thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that energy decreases in utility, moving from a state of order to disorder and finally to a stage of randomness and decay.
The notion that a "big bang" can be the seed for a universe such as ours is in direct violation of this law. In a big bang scenario, rather than order turning into disorder, the precise opposite happens -- chaos not only turns into organization, but into an ingenious system of mind boggling complexity. This doesn't coincide with scientific principles, and it certainly doesn't hold up logically.
When confronted with the second law of thermodynamics as it relates to the evolution of life, many scientists respond that this law does not apply to an "open system." Earth, they say, is an open system since it is influenced by extraterrestrial systems. So, let's say you cannot use this argument against life on earth. But, how do you do away with the second law of thermodynamics when it comes to the entire universe? The entire universe cannot possibly be an open system -- there are no outside systems to influence it. Even if we were to discover "other universes" (of anti-matter, for example), it would still not make our universe an open system. Anything we discover becomes part of the "big picture" of our entire universe or part of one big super universe. Thus, after all is included, we inevitably wind up with one huge closed system. How did this entire system turn into a workable machine of inconceivable sophistication by accident?
Answer: It didn't, because it couldn't.
There is no logical or scientific basis whatsoever for an entire universe to develop out of chaos. Such an occurrence would need an "outside" force. And since we've already included literally "everything" in our definition of "our universe," there are no outside forces left. Consequently, since our universe is in existence and is in a complex state, its only possible origin would have to be a force not within the confines of our physical world. In short, we'd be talking about a force unlike anything we are acquainted with on a physical or scientific level -- quite conceivably something of a spiritual nature. Perhaps it is this spiritual aspect, the only true logical option, which scientists are trying to avoid.
Without getting involved in the spiritual implications of our physical universe for the moment, let us note what is relevant here: the structure of our universe, like genetics, shows a high degree of intelligence and sophistication in its design and implementation. Perhaps the intelligence required is so overwhelming that some individuals simply find it too mind-boggling to consider. But attributing the super-phenomenal feat of the development of our universe to an accident of chance is not the answer. Aside from it not being scientific, it falls somewhat short of sound, level-headed thinking. There's certainly no evidence supporting such an accident. The mere existence of our universe does not prove it was formed by accident. If anything, our universe does give every indication of having been designed with intelligence. Studying just about any branch of science will tell you, without any great reasoning abilities, that there is intelligence in the design and implementation of the laws of nature on every level. So, it might be more scientific to take this into account rather than adopt a fantasy which cannot be scientifically or logically substantiated.
THE DOUBLE STANDARD
There seems to be a double standard in logic by which some people accept scientific theories. When the layman accepts theories of evolution without possessing much knowledge of them, he obviously puts his trust and faith in those who perpetuate these theories. This trust is sometimes expressed as "they're the scientists, they must know what they're talking about." And it is this kind of blind allegiance which sets the layman's science-related logic on a different level than the logic he uses in daily life.
To date, virtually every planet and moon explored in our solar system has proved to be full of inexplicable puzzles, mysteries, and contradictions of theories (as pointed out in other chapters in EvolutionDead.com). Some of these discoveries are beyond present scientific understanding. Some are even beyond anything we expect to understand in years to come. In addition, some events outside our solar system are so baffling that scientists can only explain them with strange entities like black holes and quasars, which are themselves only theoretical. Some events outside our solar system cannot be explained even with theoretical science. Some events on the quantum level are so baffling that they seem to defy common sense and logic.
So, how is it that when it comes to explaining "how it all began," scientists give the impression of having a sufficient understanding of the laws of nature governing the entire universe allegedly billions of years ago? Wouldn't one first need at least an impeccable understanding of what is happening in his own backyard, our solar system, before explaining the mechanics of the entire universe? Surely the entire universe is more complex than our "puny little" solar system. And wouldn't such an "expert" have to possess an impeccable understanding of quantum mechanics as well as the mechanics of distant heavenly bodies in his own time before attempting to describe events which allegedly brought all of these entities into existence billions of years ago? Certainly events billions of years in the past cannot be easier to decipher than events in our own time. So how can anyone seriously claim to understand how our universe developed into its present state?
Perhaps it is necessary to go into the dimensions of our universe to put this question into proper perspective:
The diameter of our sun is about 865,400 miles. Our solar system is about 9 billion miles in diameter. Our nearest neighbors outside our solar system are the stars Proxima and Alpha Centtauri, each about 4 lightyears away. (One lightyear is about 6 trillion miles, the distance light travels -- at 186,000 miles per second -- in one year.) These stars are only two of the billions of stars which make up our galaxy, the Milky Way. An average galaxy is believed to have a diameter of approximately 100,000 lightyears. The Milky Way is only one galaxy in a local group of 30 galaxies spanning a total of about 3 million lightyears across space -- if you travelled at the unimaginable speed of light, it would take you about 3 million years to cross this local group of only 30 galaxies.
It is estimated that there are at least fifty billion galaxies in the universe.
When you think about these proportions for a moment, you begin to realize the awesomeness of this place we so casually refer to as our universe.
Then, after hearing the theories behind the phenomena believed to exist deep in space -- black holes, supergiants, supernovae, quasars, pulsars, neutron stars -- you begin to realize that the "other end" of the universe is not only far away but also holds wonders which only a few years ago would have been considered somewhere between science fiction and the absurd. Even today, most of these objects are speculative and far from pat concepts.
Is this the universe which came into existence through a series of accidents billions of years ago? And who are the ones perpetuating this? The same people who have given us "pat" answers about our own solar system in our own time?
We do not yet understand how phenomena deep in space work in our time. We do not yet understand how our solar system works in our time. We do not yet completely understand how our own planet, earth, works in our time. We do not yet understand how many living organisms on our planet work in our time. We do not yet understand how even some small organisms of the bacteria and virus variety work in our time. We do not yet understand how sub-atomic particles, so fundamental to our existence, work in our time. But, somehow, we do understand the process which allegedly brought all of this into being billions of years ago and caused it to evolve. Is someone pulling our leg?
How can anyone simply accept theories of how a universe of such unimaginable proportions and complexity came into being from the same scientists who seem so confused every time we send a rocket to explore an area of space only a stone's throw from earth? How can anyone accept theories of the origin of our universe, which implicitly include the origin of the basic elements of matter and life, when these same elements are not yet understood today? Isn't it obvious that our comprehension of the universe is shallow, at best?
SHORTCOMINGS OF OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIG BANG
In 1998 scientists discovered something that baffled the heck out of them. Our understanding of the expanding universe was that it might eventually collapse under its own gravitational pull. Or, if its gravitational pull was not strong enough, it would just keep expanding, but at a slower rate, much like any other explosion.
What scientists discovered, however, was that the universe's rate of expansion was speeding up! This was absolutely astounding. There was, and still is, no science to explain this. Sure we have more theories (dark matter, being the major one), but at the moment it's all a big mystery.
What this boils down to is that we've had pretty much of a "pat" theory for about a half a century, based on what we thought was solid science. Then, reality threw us a curve, and our most fundamental understanding of the universe went out the window.
WHERE'S THE LOGIC
This is where the big puzzle of the double standard comes in. The greatest mystery of all is how some people put trust and faith into scientific theories when, given the same circumstances in a more practical situation, the absurdity would be conspicuously obvious to them. Suppose you had your bicycle checked out by a mechanic who gave you a three hour speech on how bicycles work. He described in depth the physics of pulleys, gears, momentum, and friction, then told you that your bike was in excellent shape. But the moment you got on your bike it fell apart. Would you go back to the same "mechanic" to have your car checked out? Would you fly a plane that had been okayed by this mechanic? Who, in his right mind, would reason, "He may be dishonest or ignorant about bicycles, but, after that speech on pulleys and gears, he must be competent when it comes to planes and other complicated mechanics." Most people would not allow this crook to adjust their kites, let alone evaluate the condition of their planes.
Why, then, does it not seem odd to these same people that scientists have little problem figuring out how a vast and complex universe with the staggering dimensions of hundreds of billions of lightyears of space allegedly worked billions of years ago, yet have difficulty understanding how our "drop in the bucket" solar system works today? How do scientists go from relative ignorance of the laws of nature of our own solar system in our own time to a well rounded understanding of the forces behind the entire universe in a time long gone?
The answer, of course, is that scientists obviously do not have a well rounded understanding of the physics and mechanics of our universe today, and certainly cannot have any kind of a decent understanding of the universe in the past. The objective here is not to malign scientists. They obviously do understand the science behind cell phones, rockets, heart surgery, etc. We have proof of that. But how the universe (or life, for that matter) began, that's a different story. Readily accepting accounts of the origin and evolution of our universe only shows a tolerance for misinformation in scientific matters which goes far beyond what one would accept in more practical circumstances. If you find these theories fun, that's great. But if truth is of concern to you, proceed with caution.
by Josh Greenberger
This has been an excerpt from his free book on evolution at EvolutionDead.com
Josh Greenberger: A computer consultant for over two decades, the author has developed software for such organizations as NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, AT&T, Charles Schwab, Bell Laboratories and Chase Manhattan Bank. Since 1984, the author's literary works have appeared in such periodicals as The New York Post, The Daily News, The Village Voice, The Jewish Press, and others. His articles have ranged from humor to scientific to topical events. Visit his site: shopndrop.com
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