Astronomy Cosmology News

Just because the universe is huge does it necessarily follow that we are insignificant?

Spread the love

Laszlo Bencze Further to “Why Neil deGrasse Tyson cannot replace Carl Sagan” (Tyson can’t step into Sagan’s shoes because they have been buried with the man), Laszlo Bencze comments,

The tone of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos echoed that of many smart young college boys, of which I was once one. Within this existential world view, the subject (my young self) views himself as cleansed of all ancient superstition and is thus able to see things clearly. Standing as it were on a high and cold mountain peak where the air is thin and the vault of the heavens crisply seen, with a full stomach, nestled in a warm down jacket and with a girlfriend standing not too far away, me and Carl Sagan take on Truth where Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, and Woody Allen have all failed. We have the courage to face meaninglessness square on without flinching. We understand ourselves to be pitifully insignificant and yet, wonder of wonders, we are not crushed by this devastating knowledge because…well, shoot, our stomachs are full, that down jacket helps, and don’t forget the girlfriend. In short our views are philosophically unsound, self-referentially incoherent, and worthless as a screenplay. No, this view of the universe can only suit a documentary TV show hosted by an expert so pompous that Napoleon crowning himself emperor comes across as an amateur in the hubris race.

It’s a view that ignores mind. How do we come up with this stuff in the first place? How can we be pondering things that our evolved peers—pigs, monkeys, and such—so successfully ignore? How can we understand “meaning” itself if all is meaningless? Oh, by the way, just because the universe is huge, does it necessarily follow that we are insignificant? Does a syllogism to that effect repose somewhere in the NASA archives?

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG

For the way in which cosmology has now become fantasy, not fact, see The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

Follow UD News at Twitter!

8 Replies to “Just because the universe is huge does it necessarily follow that we are insignificant?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Casey Luskin weighs in on Cosmos here:

    Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson: Same Old Product, Bright New Packaging – Casey Luskin – March 10, 2014
    Excerpt: Another sign that Cosmos has a materialistic agenda is the fact that its executive producer is celebrity atheist Seth MacFarlane (the creator of Family Guy),,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....83031.html

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this comment:

    It’s a view that ignores mind. How do we come up with this stuff in the first place? How can we be pondering things that our evolved peers—pigs, monkeys, and such—so successfully ignore? How can we understand “meaning” itself if all is meaningless? Oh, by the way, just because the universe is huge, does it necessarily follow that we are insignificant? Does a syllogism to that effect repose somewhere in the NASA archives?

    ‘Mind’, contrary to what materialists presuppose, is much more important in the grand scheme of things than they ‘think’. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the progress of quantum mechanics over the last century or so. Here is a post, slightly amended, that I posted about a month ago that gets this point across:

    I first, much like everybody else, was immediately shocked to find out that the observer would have any effect whatsoever in the double slit experiment:

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit and Delayed Choice Experiments – video
    https://vimeo.com/87175892

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment and Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement in the preceding video:

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    …the “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought to be.”
    Richard Feynman, in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol III, p. 18-9 (1965)

    Of course, atheists/materialists were/are in complete denial as to the obvious implications of mind in the double slit (invoking infinite parallel universes and such to try to get around it). But my curiosity was aroused and I’ve been sort of poking around finding out a little more about quantum mechanics and how the observer is central to it. One of the first interesting experiments in quantum mechanics I found after the double slit, that highlighted the centrality of the observer to the experiment, was Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries. Here is Wigner commenting on the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries,,,

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: When I returned to Berlin, the excellent crystallographer Weissenberg asked me to study: why is it that in a crystal the atoms like to sit in a symmetry plane or symmetry axis. After a short time of thinking I understood:,,,, To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    Wigner went on to make these rather dramatic comments in regards to his work:

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” –
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961

    Also of note:

    Von Neumann–Wigner – interpretation
    Excerpt: The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as “consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]“, is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V.....rpretation

    Then after Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, I stumbled across Wheeler’s Delayed choice experiments in which this finding blew my socks off as to the central importance of the conscious observer’s free will in quantum experiments:

    Alain Aspect speaks on John Wheeler’s Delayed Choice Experiment – video
    http://vimeo.com/38508798

    “Thus one decides the photon shall have come by one route or by both routes after it has already done its travel”
    John A. Wheeler

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    Genesis, Quantum Physics and Reality
    Excerpt: Simply put, an experiment on Earth can be made in such a way that it determines if one photon comes along either on the right or the left side or if it comes (as a wave) along both sides of the gravitational lens (of the galaxy) at the same time. However, how could the photons have known billions of years ago that someday there would be an earth with inhabitants on it, making just this experiment? ,,, This is big trouble for the multi-universe theory and for the “hidden-variables” approach.
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2.....r.html.ori

    “It begins to look as we ourselves, by our last minute decision, have an influence on what a photon will do when it has already accomplished most of its doing… we have to say that we ourselves have an undeniable part in what we have always called the past. The past is not really the past until is has been registered. Or to put it another way, the past has no meaning or existence unless it exists as a record in the present.”
    – John Wheeler – The Ghost In The Atom – Page 66-68

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Then I found out that the delayed choice experiment had been extended:

    The Experiment That Debunked Materialism – video – (delayed choice quantum eraser)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xKUass7G8w

    (Double Slit) A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser – updated 2007
    Excerpt: Upon accessing the information gathered by the Coincidence Circuit, we the observer are shocked to learn that the pattern shown by the positions registered at D0 (Detector Zero) at Time 2 depends entirely on the information gathered later at Time 4 and available to us at the conclusion of the experiment.
    per ‘bottom layer’ website

    And then the delayed choice experiment was refined yet again:

    “If we attempt to attribute an objective meaning to the quantum state of a single system, curious paradoxes appear: quantum effects mimic not only instantaneous action-at-a-distance but also, as seen here, influence of future actions on past events, even after these events have been irrevocably recorded.”
    Asher Peres, Delayed choice for entanglement swapping. J. Mod. Opt. 47, 139-143 (2000).

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    i.e. The preceding experiment clearly shows, and removes any doubt whatsoever, that the ‘material’ detector recording information in the double slit is secondary to the experiment and that a conscious observer being able to consciously know the ‘which path’ information of a photon with local certainty, is of primary importance in the experiment. You can see a more complete explanation of the startling results of the experiment at the 9:11 minute mark of the following video:

    Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment Explained – 2014 video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6HLjpj4Nt4

    Related notes on ‘interaction free’ measurement (in which detector interference and ‘decoherence’ is ruled out):

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    The Renninger Negative Result Experiment – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3uzSlh_CV0

    Elitzur–Vaidman bomb tester
    Excerpt: In 1994, Anton Zeilinger, Paul Kwiat, Harald Weinfurter, and Thomas Herzog actually performed an equivalent of the above experiment, proving interaction-free measurements are indeed possible.[2] In 1996, Kwiat et al. devised a method, using a sequence of polarising devices, that efficiently increases the yield rate to a level arbitrarily close to one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....xperiments

    Experimental Realization of Interaction-Free Measurement – Paul G. Kwiat; H. Weinfurter, T. Herzog, A. Zeilinger, and M. Kasevich – 1994
    http://www.univie.ac.at/qfp/pu.....994-08.pdf

    Interaction-Free Measurement – 1995
    http://archive.is/AjexE

    Realization of an interaction-free measurement – 1996
    http://bg.bilkent.edu.tr/jc/to.....rement.pdf

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    And then, as if all that was not more than enough to firmly establish that a conscious observer is central to the experiments of quantum mechanics, I stumbled across something called Leggett’s Inequality. Leggett’s Inequality was, as far as I can tell, a mathematical proof developed by Nobelist Anthony Leggett to prove ‘realism’. Realism is the notion that an objective reality exists independently of a conscious observer. And, as is usual with challenging the predictions of Quantum Mechanics, his proof was violated by 80 orders of magnitude, thus once again, in over the top fashion, highlighting the central importance of the conscious observer to Quantum Experiments:

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.
    Leggett agrees with Zeilinger that realism is wrong in quantum mechanics, but when I asked him whether he now believes in the theory, he answered only “no” before demurring, “I’m in a small minority with that point of view and I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” For Leggett there are still enough loopholes to disbelieve. I asked him what could finally change his mind about quantum mechanics. Without hesitation, he said sending humans into space as detectors to test the theory.,,,

    (to which Anton Zeilinger responded)

    When I mentioned this to Prof. Zeilinger he said, “That will happen someday. There is no doubt in my mind. It is just a question of technology.” Alessandro Fedrizzi had already shown me a prototype of a realism experiment he is hoping to send up in a satellite. It’s a heavy, metallic slab the size of a dinner plate.
    http://seedmagazine.com/conten....._tests/P3/

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Verified to 80 orders of magnitude)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    The following video and paper get the general point across of what ‘giving up realism’ actually means:

    Quantum Physics – (material reality does not exist until we look at it) – Dr. Quantum video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ezNvpFcJU

    Macrorealism Emerging from Quantum Physics – Brukner, Caslav; Kofler, Johannes
    American Physical Society, APS March Meeting, – March 5-9, 2007
    Excerpt: for unrestricted measurement accuracy a violation of macrorealism (i.e., a violation of the Leggett-Garg inequalities) is possible for arbitrary large systems.,,
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007APS..MARB33005B

    But, as if that was not enough, I then stumbled across something called the ‘Quantum Zeno Effect’,,

    Quantum Zeno Effect
    The quantum Zeno effect is,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect

    The reason why I am very impressed with the Quantum Zeno effect as to establishing consciousness’s primacy in quantum mechanics is, for one thing, that Entropy is, by a wide margin, the most finely tuned of initial conditions of the Big Bang:

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”

    How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.
    (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)

    For another thing, it is interesting to note just how foundational entropy is in its explanatory power for actions within the space-time of the universe:

    Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012
    Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,
    Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,,
    The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,,
    http://crev.info/2012/10/shini.....rk-energy/

    In fact, entropy is also the primary reason why our physical, temporal, bodies grow old and die,,,

    Aging Process – 85 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A91Fwf_sMhk

    *3 new mutations every time a cell divides in your body
    * Average cell of 15 year old has up to 6000 mutations
    *Average cell of 60 year old has 40,000 mutations
    Reproductive cells are ‘designed’ so that, early on in development, they are ‘set aside’ and thus they do not accumulate mutations as the rest of the cells of our bodies do. Regardless of this protective barrier against the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations still we find that,,,
    *60-175 mutations are passed on to each new generation.
    Per John Sanford

    And yet, to repeat,,,

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    per wiki

    This is just fascinating! Why in blue blazes should conscious observation put a freeze on entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than the 1 in 10^10^120 entropy is?

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

    Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:17
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    Unto The King Eternal – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLPYRhOQcCU

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    On the contrary. That is a very atheistic way of thinking. Physical size, as we know, means nothing to God, whatsoever.

    He created the whole universe out of nothing, and everything anywhere else he might have created (no…. no multiverse, chidren…), and could annihilate it all with a simple wish.

    It’s paralleled in terms of his lack of ‘human respect’.

    Psalm 62

    ‘Common folk are only a breath,
    great men, an illusion.
    Placed in the scales, they rise;
    they weigh less than a breath.’

    I found it interesting that most versions, unlike this RC Grail version, among others, include the ‘common folk’ with the ‘great men’ as weighing less than a breath – which the first line does not suggest.

    It is very reminiscent of the mental contortions some translators must have gone through, in order to change the meaning of the text, below, by substituting the word ‘because’ for ‘although’ in the verse, Isaiah 53:9, below:

    ‘And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’

    This, mark you, despite the burden of both Old and New Testaments referring to the ‘rich man’ as a type of the wicked, in contrast to the ‘poor man’, as a type of the ‘true Israel’, the ‘virtuous man’. Most notable, perhaps in Our Lady’s Magnificat.

    But I’m getting away from the point. It’s not unusual to hear an atheist say something like, ‘Why would an almighty god find time to bother with insignificant little beings like us, and listen to our prayers?’

    But to God, the size of the universe, mind-boggling as it is, is insignificant, while a single human being that he created is so sublime in his eyes, that he lived a mortal life and died a shameful death in great agony for us, as a tangible expression of his love for us – and would have done so if any of us were the sole person he had created.

    So, basically, he’s pulling the atheist’s leg. ‘For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.’

  6. 6
    Blue_Savannah says:

    I guess we shouldn’t be spending so much money researching bacteria which are incredibly tiny compared to our world and therefore MUST be insignificant.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Cosmos Revives the Scientific Martyr Myth of Giordano Bruno – Jay W. Richards – March 10, 2014
    Excerpt: Copernicus died peacefully in his bed just as his book, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, was hitting the bookstores (such as there were in 1543). And his most famous disciple, Galileo, despite being censured by the Holy See, died peacefully as well. So it falls to Bruno, who had no scientific achievements, to stand in as a martyr for science. I’d venture that virtually no one other than scholars of Christian history would even know the name of Giordano Bruno but for the propaganda machine of scientific materialism, which needed a martyr for its metanarrative.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....83061.html

  8. 8
    JGuy says:

    This is an idea that has recurred to me, and I find it as a common false paradigm. It boils down to the error of conflating significant size with significant value. If size implied significance in the sense of importance or relevance, then we wouldn’t be consistent with our thinking when we cut down tree’s which are larger than people. But there are many examples one can come up with here. What is more significant, the apartment building you live in or your spouse? One may object this is being made up from our perspective, but it would then be an admission that the kind of significance is itself significant in this context.

    And I agree with Axel that to God the size of the universe is not a matter of significance.

    God could have created a universe that makes this universe look like an atom compared to itself. And God uses weak things to overcome strong.

    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    (the stars were like a footnote)

    etc…

Leave a Reply