On the Religion of Basis Forum user Edgar has touched on a theme which relates to the essence of all religions: was the Universe designed by the Creator? The website www.physlink.com asked Nobel Laureate in physics (1979) Steven Weinberg to answer this question. Dr. Weinberg stated, “I was asked to speak out about possibility of detecting in the Universe some signs of its creation.”
It’s natural that Weinberg can’t find such signs since in his article he states he is not a believer. Even so, let's consider what he has to say.
“That any possible universe could be explained as the work of some sort of designer. Even a universe that is completely chaotic, without any laws or regularities at all, could be supposed to have been designed by an idiot,” says Weinberg.
He's correct and since in our Universe, in spite of the existence of Occasionality, there are acting Laws and Rules, then the response must be a positive one. If however, in it there were acting only Occasion and Chaos, then no living being could appear, and included in that number we humans discussing these themes.
“I’d guess, that if we were to see the hand of the designer anywhere, it would be in the fundamental principles, the final laws of nature…," he continues. "We don’t know the final laws yet, but as far as we have been able to see, they are utterly impersonal and quite without any special role for life. There is no life force.”
But what does he mean by “exclusions” and “living force?”
Of course, if Weinberg means the notorious vitalism, which, by the way,
many famous scientists adhered to half a century ago, then it is unconditionally not,
though mystery of the emergence of life still remains unsolved.
It is well known that physics studies only inanimate nature, and biology and genetics have, in particular, their own laws, which don't follow directly from any physical laws. Maybe, this then is the “exclusion” of which he speaks.
But if we believe this, shouldn’t DNA, without which all living beings cannot exist and which contains information in the form of genetic code that transfers to future generations, be called “the living force?" Such logic is not as blameless as it appears at first glance.
Here it seems appropriate to hear from another Nobel Prize winner in physics, Charles Towns. Distinct from Steven Weinberg, he is a believer. He states in an article devoted to the convergence (tallying, approaching) of science and religion: “… a close examination of the atomic makeup of a man may of necessity blur our view of him as a living, spiritual being.
In any case, there seems to be no justification for the dogmatic position, taken by some that the remarkable phenomenon of individual human personality can be expressed completely in terms of the known laws, governing the behavior of atoms and molecules”.
Further Weinberg says, “I have to admit that, even when physicists will have gone as far as they can go, when we have a final theory, we will not have a completely satisfying picture of the world, because we will still be left with the question “why?”
We address this moment in the motto of The Religion of Basis and in the title of the site: We can’t answer the question “Why.” Therefore, there is a God.
“But religious theories of design have the same problem. Either you mean something definite by a God, a designer, or you don’t. If you don’t, then what are you talking about? If you do mean something definite by “God” or “design”, if for instance you believe in a God who is jealous, or loving, or intelligent, or whimsical, then you still must control the question “why.” he continues.
Mr. Weinberg, did you stop to drink vodka this morning? Yes or no? If no, then do we generalize that you have remained an alcoholic, and if yes, then you were an alcoholic earlier. With Creator it's not a simple yes or no.
In the Religion of Basis the Creator doesn’t possess human traits or features. It’s not necessary since He is The Creator.
If you say, “It seems to me, that our hopes to understand the human mind are also groundless, as hopes to understand a weather in particular, and the meaning of universal laws, acting already for billions of years, in the whole,” then the same can be said of The Creator. But this doesn’t diminish either The Creator Himself or the physical laws.
“Some physicists have argued that certain constants of nature have values that have been mysteriously fine-tuned to just the values that allow for the possibility of life, in a way that could only be explained by the intervention of a designer with some special concern for life.
I am not impressed with these supposed instances of fine-tuning,” states Weinberg.
Well, whom and how? Here the words “ I am not impressed” sound rather as belief and not as science, and belief, as it is well known, is a personal business. But if we have to consider the following test in an objective way, then we must note that Weinberg discusses only one world constant of the eleven, approved in the capacity of basic fundamental constants, according to latest constant list, which was composed by a group of famous physicists and cosmologists.
However, he does remark, “In any case, there is one constant whose value does seem remarkably well adjusted in our favor. It is the energy density of empty space, also known as the cosmological constant.” This is a density of the vacuum energy, also known as cosmologic constant. But its choice doesn’t seem especially lucky, since this constant present by itself is in essence dark energy, about which we know almost nothing.
In all fairness we should note that in the Standard model of elementary particles there are 26 constants used in theoretical calculations that can be deduced from three basic ones. Together or separately these fundamental constants determine the look and development of our world, and if they would be “some other”, then, possibly, our Universe itself would not exist nor the life in it.
Further Weinberg speaks of “the supposition that the Universe consists of a multitude of parts with different magnitudes of values, called by us “natural constants.” And, that is why they can take any value of magnitude in these “parts” of multi-Universe.
These suppositions follow from the theory of the inflating universe (also called the theory of the multi-universe), developed by Alan Gooth, Andrey Linde, and others over the past decade. It is interesting to note that this theory still is not a generally adopted paradigm.
Andrey Linde is a Russian physicist, who in the 1980s emigrated from Russia to Switzerland and then in 1990 to America, where he is a Professor of the Stanford University. Before we address in Linde's words the ideas of “an honest man or almost honest” let us review some ideas.
The standard theory of the Big Bang (BB) comes from several initial suppositions: mass and temperature at the moment t = 0 are infinite and the classic views on space and time lose sense, that in the whole is adopted to call it a cosmologic singularity.
Beginning with the moment of t = 0 and up to several hundred seconds after, the Universe begins to expand with colossal speed. This burst or instantaneous expansion is called the BB.
However, this theory can’t answer the following questions:
1.What was before BB?
2.Why is the Universe is gomogeneous and isotropic?
3.Why did all its parts begin to expand simultaneously?
4.Why is the Universe flat? (This means that Euclid’s geometry is correct – parallel straight lines do not cross).
5.Why are there in the Universe so many particles? More than 1087!
Lastly, Linde asks, “According to the standard theory of the Big Bang (at the time t = 10-43 s) the mass (energy) of Universe surpassed value 1080 metric tons."
Mass = Energy: E = mc2 . Before Big Bang there was nothing and then suddenly there appeared 1080 metric tons of matter. FROM WHERE?
To create the Universe, it was necessary to gather 1080 tons of explosives, compress them to the size of pea and explode all the parts simultaneously with precision up to 10-43s. Who or what?”
“The inflation theory of multi-Universe solves many problems of the theory of the Big Bang and explains how it is possible to create the Universe from 1 milligram of matter of a special kind,” adds Linde.
The Big Bang Theory answers many but not all questions about the origin of the Universe. It does not address the initial singularity of the Universe.
Beginning with moment t = 10-43s the Universe expands with great acceleration up to the moment t = 10-30 s (what is called inflation), and then about five billion years ago this expansion again starts to accelerate ( due to dark energy). The initial weight of the Universe at the moment of its birth according to this theory is less than milligram versus a current weight of about 1050 tons.
These are preliminary statements. To fully comprehend the theory one, of course, needs the appropriate math, but the Religion of Basis site, like this blog, is for general usage and application of this math would scare away most visitors. It is better then to trust Linde’s words, and consider only the final results:
1. Inflation makes the Universe a flat, homogeneous and isotropic one: in the simplest variants of the inflation theory inflates 1012 fold (!) during inflation. But since we can see only a small part of the Universe with dimensions of about 1010 light years, it appears flat, homogeneous and isotropic.
2. It turns out so that galaxies can produce themselves through quantum fluctuations. Quantum fluctuations exist everywhere. They are like waves, which quickly emerge and vanish. Inflation draws them together. When their wavelengths grow large enough, they “freeze”, stop moving and vanish.
So, “from the very beginning there was the Big Bang, then there was an acceleration of the Universe – inflation, then there emerged quantum fluctuations, which froze, then these frozen fluctuations led to the emergence of the structure of Universe. At this time the Universe was very hot”. But why so hot?
It turned out that, “Quantum fluctuations during inflation can divide Universe on many parts, containing different scalar fields. The Universe becomes a set of many universes with different laws of physics.”
Linde is not the first physicist to state that there exist other universes, but he is one of a few who relate to this as to no mathematical abstraction. John Horgan, an American scientific journalist, visited Linde as his guest in California, a visit he describes in his book. “Taking the anthropic principle as basis.., as Alan Gooth and several other astrophysicists do, Linde likes to deliberate about the possibility of the creation of an inflating Universe in the laboratory.”
It is possible that engineers will manipulate a seed before inflation in such a way, that it will develop into a universe with certain dimensions and physical laws. Thus, we can put a message into the very structure of a new universe. Factually, as supposed by Linde, our own Universe could be created by creatures from other universes, and by physicists like Linde in their awkward attempts to discover the laws of Nature.
"Linde presented these ideas carefully, observing my reactions. Only in the end, having seen with satisfaction my open mouth, he afforded himself a slight smile. However, his smile vanished as soon as I wondered, what can be the message, embedded into our Universe. '
“It seems," he said sorrowfully," that we have not grown up enough to learn this." Linde became still gloomier when I asked him, does it bother him that his work may turn out to be, I tried for a long time to find the adequate word for nonsense. "During periods of depression I feel myself a complete idiot," he answered, " I play with very primitive toys."
"There is some limit for rational knowledge," he said. "One of methods to study something irrational is to jump into it and simply meditate. Another one is to study the boundaries of the irrational by tools of rational."
Linde has chosen the last variant, because physics offered a way “not to say a complete nonsense” of what happens in the world. But sometimes, admitted he, “I fall into depression, when I think, that I will die as physicist.” In slightly different form, this idea is shared by another famous cosmologist, British Professor Sir Martin Rees in the article “In The Matrix.”
“One thing that struck me recently, and I found it a really disconcerting concept…
Now life and complexity means information-processing power; the most complex conceivable entities may not be organic life, but some sort of hyper-computers. But once you accept that our universe, or even other universes, may allow for the emergence within them of immense complexity, far beyond our human brains, far beyond the kind of computers we can conceive, perhaps almost at the level of the limits that Seth Lloyd discusses for computers – then you get a rather extraordinary conclusion. These super or hyper-computers would have the capacity to simulate not just the simple part of reality, but a large fraction of an entire universe."
"And then of course the question arises: … Could we ourselves not be part of what we think of as bedrock physical reality? Could we be ideas in the mind of some supreme being, as it were, who’s running a simulation? But they also lead to the extraordinary consequence that we may not be the deepest reality, we may be a simulation. The possibility that we are creations of some supreme, or super being, blurs the boundary between physics and idealist philosophy, between the natural and supernatural, and between the relation of mind and multi-verse and the possibility that we’re in the matrix rather than the physics itself”.
We have to return to Steven Weinberg who notes, “My life has been remarkably happy, perhaps in the upper 99.99 percentile of human happiness, but even so, I have seen a mother die painfully of cancer, a father’s personality destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease, and scores of second and third cousins murdered in the Holocaust. Signs of a benevolent designer are pretty well hidden… I don’t need to argue here that the evil in the world proves that the universe is not designed, but only that there on signs of benevolence that night have shown the hand of a designer.”
And we cannot but agree. And that is why the Religion of Basis postulates the non-intervention of The Creator into the future of the Universe and its people and limits His actions to the act of Creation.
In conclusion we should listen to the opinion of the arbiter in the question of the relation of religion and science – Albert Einstein. Einstein several times addressed this theme, in particular in his articles entitled “Religion and Science” and “Science and Religion.” Einstein had a very specific relation to religion, and he wasn’t a believer in the usual understanding of this word, but it should be noted that he was not atheist as many believe. Steven Weinberg is of the same mindset.
Einstein's articles “Religion and Science” and “Science and Religion” are frequently cited by adepts of different religions as well as by atheists. Sadly most quote from them out of context to support their believer or atheist views. To avoid these distortions it is best to address Einstein himself and track his thoughts from beginning to end.
“Feeling and longing are the motivating force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us… With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions - fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death… In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear."
Social impulses are another source for the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards and punishes. This is the social or moral concept of God.
The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development of religion from one of fear to one of morality, a development continued in the New Testament. Common to all these types is the anthropomorphization of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level.
But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling.
It is difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God, corresponding to it…
Religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived I man’s image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. ( Now there is such church, which corresponds to cosmic religious feeling – this is the Church of Religion of Basis).
Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another. (And Einstein himself, undoubtedly, has to be counted as such people).
How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.
(This is also a objective of the Church of Religion of Basis, we should add ourselves).
It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.
It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.