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Philosopher and writer Jim Holt asks why universe exists

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Following on Jim Holt’s book, Why does the world exist?, here is his TED talk:

9:50 So we have these two extremes now. We have sheer nothingness on one side, and we have this vision of a reality that encompasses every conceivable world at the other extreme: the fullest possible reality, nothingness, the simplest possible reality. Now what’s in between these two extremes? There are all kinds of intermediate realities that include some things and leave out others. So one of these intermediate realities is, say, the most mathematically elegant reality, that leaves out the inelegant bits, the ugly asymmetries and so forth. Now, there are some physicists who will tell you that we’re actually living in the most elegant reality. I think that Brian Greene is in the audience, and he has written a book called “The Elegant Universe.” He claims that the universe we live in mathematically is very elegant. Don’t believe him. (Laughter) It’s a pious hope, I wish it were true, but I think the other day he admitted to me it’s really an ugly universe. It’s stupidly constructed, it’s got way too many arbitrary coupling constants and mass ratios and superfluous families of elementary particles, and what the hell is dark energy? It’s a stick and bubble gum contraption. It’s not an elegant universe. (Laughter) And then there’s the best of all possible worlds in an ethical sense. You should get solemn now, because a world in which sentient beings don’t suffer needlessly, in which there aren’t things like childhood cancer or the Holocaust. This is an ethical conception. Anyway, so between nothingness and the fullest possible reality, various special realities. Nothingness is special. It’s the simplest. Then there’s the most elegant possible reality. That’s special. The fullest possible reality, that’s special.

Who told Holt there was such a thing as an “ethical conception”? Scrub down the room.

11:42 But what are we leaving out here? There’s also just the crummy, generic realities that aren’t special in any way, that are sort of random. They’re infinitely removed from nothingness, but they fall infinitely short of complete fullness. They’re a mixture of chaos and order, of mathematical elegance and ugliness. So I would describe these realities as an infinite, mediocre, incomplete mess, a generic reality, a kind of cosmic junk shot. And these realities, is there a deity in any of these realities? Maybe, but the deity isn’t perfect like the Judeo-Christian deity. The deity isn’t all-good and all-powerful. It might be instead 100 percent malevolent but only 80 percent effective, which pretty much describes the world we see around us, I think. (Laughter) So I would like to propose that the resolution to the mystery of existence is that the reality we exist in is one of these generic realities. Reality has to turn out some way. It can either turn out to be nothing or everything or something in between. So if it has some special feature, like being really elegant or really full or really simple, like nothingness, that would require an explanation. But if it’s just one of these random, generic realities, there’s no further explanation for it. And indeed, I would say that’s the reality we live in. That’s what science is telling us. At the beginning of the week, we got the exciting information that the theory of inflation, which predicts a big, infinite, messy, arbitrary, pointless reality, it’s like a big frothing champagne coming out of a bottle endlessly, a vast universe, mostly a wasteland with little pockets of charm and order and peace, this has been confirmed, this inflationary scenario, by the observations made by radio telescopes in Antarctica that looked at the signature of the gravitational waves from just before the Big Bang. I’m sure you all know about this. So anyway, I think there’s some evidence that this really is the reality that we’re stuck with. More from transcript.

But didn’t that big discovery he is hyping end up being identified as probably cosmic dust? So it isn’t the reality we are stuck with after all.

And we also think that there is some ethical conception that lies above the reality we are stuck with?

Best keep looking, with a different guide.

See also: In search of a road to reality  and

The bill arrives for cosmology’s free lunch

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12 Replies to “Philosopher and writer Jim Holt asks why universe exists

  1. 1
    Yarrgonaut says:

    This is an interesting talk, but I still think a reasonably educated theist can easily poke a few holes in it. Firstly, the Ontological argument may be a “bad argument” in terms of inability to convince people of theism, but it’s still logically valid (plantinga’s version), and most concede it’s premises. Furthermore, even when a particular theist doesn’t accept the full Ontological argument, many still believe in the logical necessity of God, and that he’s the reason, and answer to existence. Logical necessity is a single premise of the Ontological argument, and the Necessity of God has been independently incorporated into Theology for a long time, so his attempt to try and include theists in his dilemma kind of falls flat.

    Second, an appeal to a metaphysical multiverse doesn’t really solve Holt’s dilemma, as like the “fullest possible world” it’s very existence should equally place him in a position where his actions are without meaning, and there is absolutely nothing suggesting its existence other than Holt’s own desire to answer this issue by suggesting that existence itself is mediocre.

    As far as the inflationary multiverse goes, the inflationary multiverse itself requires fine-tuning, so even if we appeal to a multiverse, we’re met with appearance of direction, and guidance. But if the inflationary multiverse isn’t finely tuned, and does exist (however speculative), this still fulfills the role as a “fullest possible world”. The physical constants of our universe on the other hand make a strong case that our universe is finely tuned, so absent a multiverse, the physical world suggests that our universe is special, and purposeful, either a “fullest possible world”, or some other purposeful or special world. (like the examples he gave, the best possible world that are, or the most elegant world but in this case, that are intentionally designed) In other words, you have fine tuning, or you’ve got a multiverse, and neither one is suitable to Holt’s argument.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to answering the question, ‘why does the universe exist?’, the first answer from naturalists, for milenia, was that the universe has always existed for no reason at all, i.e. ‘the universe just is’. On the other hand, for thousands of years, the Bible stood alone in its prediction that the universe was created,,,

    among all the ‘holy’ books, of all the major religions in the world, only the Holy Bible was correct in its claim for a transcendent origin of the universe. Some later ‘holy’ books, such as the Mormon text “Pearl of Great Price” and the Qur’an, copy the concept of a transcendent origin from the Bible but also include teachings that are inconsistent with that now established fact. (Hugh Ross; Why The Universe Is The Way It Is; Pg. 228; Chpt.9; note 5)
    The Uniqueness Of The Bible Among ‘holy books’ and Evidence of God in Creation (Hugh Ross) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjYSz1OYG8Y

    The Most Important Verse in the Bible – Prager University – video
    http://www.prageruniversity.co.....Bible.html

    The Uniqueness of Genesis 1:1 – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBXdQCkISo0

    ‘Let There Be Light’ should actually be translated ‘Be Light!’. In other words, it was not a request.
    Hebrew Essentials with Danny Ben-Gigi – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=norscAfZcPg

    “The Bible is frequently dismissed as being anti-scientific because it makes no predictions. Oh no, that is incorrect. It makes a brilliant prediction. For centuries it has been saying there was a beginning. And if scientists had taken that a bit more seriously they might have discovered evidence for a beginning a lot earlier than they did.”
    John Lennox
    Quote taken from the 1:58 minute mark of the following video,,,
    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

    Naturalists fought the notion of a beginning of the universe tooth and nail. In fact, the term ‘Big Bang’ was a term of derision, invented by Fred Hoyle, for the notion that the universe had a beginning. Here’s a radio recording of Fred Hoyle, around 1950, disparagingly naming the creation event of the universe as ‘The Big Bang’: (He personally favored the ‘steady state’ model for the universe)

    History of the Big Bang – Simon Singh, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....2g#t=2340s

    The ‘Big Bang’ is really a wrong word picture for capturing what went on at the creation event of the universe, for the creation of the universe was certainly not anything like we would normally envision an ordinary explosion to be like:

    “The Big Bang represents an immensely powerful, yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time. All this is accomplished within the strict confines of very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human mental capacity by multiple orders of magnitude.”
    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer – closing statement of the following video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=360s

    Eddington termed the creation of the universe ‘repugnant’,,,

    “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me.”
    Arthur Stanley Eddington – 1931. The end of the world: from the standpoint of mathematical physics. Nature 127:447-453.

    Yet with the discovery of the Cosmic Background Radiation, and other lines of evidence,,

    Evidence For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss – video
    https://vimeo.com/91775973

    ,,,with this evidence,, the Bible has been vindicated in it prediction for the creation of the universe and even atheists, (if they want to remain ‘scientific’), have to accept the fact that there was a beginning to the present order of things,,

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    (NASA Astronomer Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p. 116.)

    Yet of course, God creating the universe is still unacceptable for atheists. Thus, though it took a while, atheists now embrace the multiverse as if it were settled science instead of being the complete ambandonment of scientific rationality and reason that it actually is..

    But Who Needs Reality-Based Thinking Anyway? Not the New Cosmologists – Denyse O’Leary January 2, 2014
    Excerpt: Logic and reason are likewise irrelevant. Consider the multiverse claim that there are “infinite copies of you and your loved ones leading lives, up until this moment, that are absolutely identical to yours.” Mathematician George F. R. Ellis notes that, if so, the deep mysteries of nature are too absurd to be explicable and that the proposed nine types of multiverse in one scheme are “mutually exclusive.” True, but in a multiverse, “inexplicable” is okay. “Absurd” and “mutually exclusive” are meaningless concepts. It is equally meaningless to assert that one event is more probable than another. As David Berlinski puts it, “Why is Newton’s universal law of gravitation true? No need to ask. In another universe, it is not”(Devil’s Delusion, p. 124).,,,
    Science writer John Horgan pointedly asks, “Is theorizing about parallel universes immoral?”
    “These multiverse theories all share the same fundamental defect: They can be neither confirmed nor falsified. Hence, they don’t deserve to be called scientific, according to the well-known criterion proposed by the philosopher Karl Popper. Some defenders of multiverses and strings mock skeptics who raise the issue of falsification as “Popperazi” — which is cute but not a counterargument. Multiverse theories aren’t theories — they’re science fictions, theologies, works of the imagination unconstrained by evidence.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....80281.html

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    As to answering the question, ‘why does the universe exist?’, the first answer from naturalists, for milenia, was that the universe has always existed for no reason at all, i.e. ‘the universe just is’. On the other hand, for thousands of years, the Bible stood alone in its prediction that the universe was created,,,

    among all the ‘holy’ books, of all the major religions in the world, only the Holy Bible was correct in its claim for a transcendent origin of the universe. Some later ‘holy’ books, such as the Mormon text “Pearl of Great Price” and the Qur’an, copy the concept of a transcendent origin from the Bible but also include teachings that are inconsistent with that now established fact. (Hugh Ross; Why The Universe Is The Way It Is; Pg. 228; Chpt.9; note 5)
    The Uniqueness Of The Bible Among ‘holy books’ and Evidence of God in Creation (Hugh Ross) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjYSz1OYG8Y

    The Most Important Verse in the Bible – Prager University – video
    http://www.prageruniversity.co.....Bible.html

    The Uniqueness of Genesis 1:1 – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBXdQCkISo0

    ‘Let There Be Light’ should actually be translated ‘Be Light!’. In other words, it was not a request.
    Hebrew Essentials with Danny Ben-Gigi – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=norscAfZcPg

    “The Bible is frequently dismissed as being anti-scientific because it makes no predictions. Oh no, that is incorrect. It makes a brilliant prediction. For centuries it has been saying there was a beginning. And if scientists had taken that a bit more seriously they might have discovered evidence for a beginning a lot earlier than they did.”
    John Lennox
    Quote taken from the 1:58 minute mark of the following video,,,
    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

    Naturalists fought the notion of a beginning of the universe tooth and nail. In fact, the term ‘Big Bang’ was a term of derision, invented by Fred Hoyle, for the notion that the universe had a beginning. Here’s a radio recording of Fred Hoyle, around 1950, disparagingly naming the creation event of the universe as ‘The Big Bang’: (He personally favored the ‘steady state’ model for the universe)

    History of the Big Bang – Simon Singh, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....2g#t=2340s

    The ‘Big Bang’ is really a wrong word picture for capturing what went on at the creation event of the universe, for the creation of the universe was certainly not anything like we would normally envision an ordinary explosion to be like:

    “The Big Bang represents an immensely powerful, yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time. All this is accomplished within the strict confines of very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human mental capacity by multiple orders of magnitude.”
    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer – closing statement of the following video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=360s

    Eddington termed the creation of the universe ‘repugnant’,,,

    “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me.”
    Arthur Stanley Eddington – 1931. The end of the world: from the standpoint of mathematical physics. Nature 127:447-453.

    Yet with the discovery of the Cosmic Background Radiation, and other lines of evidence,,

    Evidence For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss – video
    https://vimeo.com/91775973

    ,,,with this evidence,, the Bible has been vindicated in it prediction for the creation of the universe and even atheists, (if they want to remain ‘scientific’), have to accept the fact that there was a beginning to the present order of things,,

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    (NASA Astronomer Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p. 116.)

    Yet of course, God creating the universe is still unacceptable for atheists. Thus, though it took a while, atheists now embrace the multiverse as if it were settled science instead of being the complete ambandonment of scientific rationality and reason that it actually is..

    But Who Needs Reality-Based Thinking Anyway? Not the New Cosmologists – Denyse O’Leary January 2, 2014
    Excerpt: Logic and reason are likewise irrelevant. Consider the multiverse claim that there are “infinite copies of you and your loved ones leading lives, up until this moment, that are absolutely identical to yours.” Mathematician George F. R. Ellis notes that, if so, the deep mysteries of nature are too absurd to be explicable and that the proposed nine types of multiverse in one scheme are “mutually exclusive.” True, but in a multiverse, “inexplicable” is okay. “Absurd” and “mutually exclusive” are meaningless concepts. It is equally meaningless to assert that one event is more probable than another. As David Berlinski puts it, “Why is Newton’s universal law of gravitation true? No need to ask. In another universe, it is not”(Devil’s Delusion, p. 124).,,,
    Science writer John Horgan pointedly asks, “Is theorizing about parallel universes immoral?”
    “These multiverse theories all share the same fundamental defect: They can be neither confirmed nor falsified. Hence, they don’t deserve to be called scientific, according to the well-known criterion proposed by the philosopher Karl Popper. Some defenders of multiverses and strings mock skeptics who raise the issue of falsification as “Popperazi” — which is cute but not a counterargument. Multiverse theories aren’t theories — they’re science fictions, theologies, works of the imagination unconstrained by evidence.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....80281.html

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.,,, the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:
    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    Thus, the atheists position has, for lack of a better word, ‘evolved’ from ‘the universe has always existed for no reason at all’, to now ‘the universe was created for no reason at all’.

    Thus, the atheists answer is always, and always has been, at bottom, that the universe exist for no reason at all. Thus, it is complete nonsense for an atheist to even pretend that he can give a coherent answer to the question of, ‘why does the universe exist?’.

    But since the Bible stood alone in its prediction that the universe was created, perhaps we would do well to see what the Bible’s answer is to the question of, ‘why does the universe exist?’?

    Revelations 13:8
    “the Lamb was slain from the creation of the world”

    1 Peter 1:20
    He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

    Romans 8:20-21
    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.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Music:

    Alison Krauss – There Is A Reason
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWXNm9b6pKs

    Supplemental note to Jim Holt’s belief that we live in a mathematically ‘ugly’ universe, perhaps he would do well to explain the ‘mathematician’s sense of beauty’ that has led to some very profound discoveries before he goes off lamenting how ugly it is??? (Or perhaps make a mathematical discovery himself before complaining about it)

    Graham Farmelo on Paul Dirac and Mathematical Beauty – video (28:12 minute mark – prediction of the ‘anti-electron’)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfYon2WdR40

    How the hunt for the Higgs boson began – Nov. 2010
    Excerpt: Higgs collected his papers and, step by step, took the audience through his theory. Dyson listened intently. He thought Higgs’s work was beautiful.
    http://io9.com/5682875/how-the.....oson-began

    Of related interest to ‘mathematical beauty’ guiding discovery is the discovery of the Amplituhedron:

    The Amplituhedron (21:12 minute mark) – Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By27M9ommJc#t=1272

    Also of interest, ‘The argument from beauty’ is a Theistic argument:

    Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God:
    Excerpt: Beauty,,, can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this `idea’ of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form.
    http://www.quodlibet.net/artic.....etic.shtml

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of note to the ‘mathematical elegance’ that Holt shunned:

    How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe – Dr. Walter L. Bradley – paper
    Excerpt: Only in the 20th century have we come to fully understand that the incredibly diverse phenomena that we observe in nature are the outworking of a very small number of physical laws, each of which may be described by a simple mathematical relationship. Indeed, so simple in mathematical form and small in number are these physical laws that they can all be written on one side of one sheet of paper, as seen in Table 1.
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9403/evidence.html

    The Underlying Mathematical Foundation Of The Universe – Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491491

    Quote from preceding video:
    “Occasionally I’ll have a bright engineering student who says, “Well you should see the equations we work with in my engineering class. They’re a big mess.”, The problem is not the fundamental laws of nature, the problem is the boundary conditions. If you choose complicated boundary conditions then the solutions to these equations will in fact, in some cases, be quite complicated in form,,, But again the point is still the same, the universe assumes a remarkably simple and elegant mathematical form.”
    – Dr. Walter Bradley

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    related note:

    Creation of the Cosmos – Walter Bradley – video
    https://vimeo.com/9238831

    Dr. Walter Bradley explains the requirements for life of any imaginable kind – WinteryKnight – August 2014
    https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/dr-walter-bradley-explains-the-requirements-for-life-of-any-imaginable-kind/

  7. 7
    Sirius says:

    Some questions are too basic to answer. “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is one. “Why does the universe exist?” is another. Einstein’s attempt to define space and time in terms of our velocity with respect to an absolute, c, is another. c, the speed of light, is distance divided by time. So we go around in a circle. Space and time are basic; they are absolutes. So we can’t answer the question “What is time?” It is part of the answer to other, less basic questions.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: This morning, for unrelated reasons, I have had to address some of the themes at 101 level, here. I think that may be of help. KF

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Sirius you claim that:

    “Space and time are basic; they are absolutes.”

    Actually since space and time were created in the Big Bang they are therefore not ‘basic. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics has stated in regards to space and time (as well as to material reality itself) that it ‘has no need of that hypothesis’ 🙂

    LIVING IN A QUANTUM WORLD – Vlatko Vedral – 2011
    Excerpt: Thus, the fact that quantum mechanics applies on all scales forces us to confront the theory’s deepest mysteries. We cannot simply write them off as mere details that matter only on the very smallest scales. For instance, space and time are two of the most fundamental classical concepts, but according to quantum mechanics they are secondary. The entanglements are primary. They interconnect quantum systems without reference to space and time. If there were a dividing line between the quantum and the classical worlds, we could use the space and time of the classical world to provide a framework for describing quantum processes. But without such a dividing line—and, indeed, with­out a truly classical world—we lose this framework. We must ex­plain space and time (4D space-time) as somehow emerging from fundamental­ly spaceless and timeless physics.
    http://phy.ntnu.edu.tw/~chchan.....611038.pdf

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Sirius, why there is something rather than nothing surfaces a wide range of deep worldviews issues (as linked in 8 above) and thus is not too basic to address. Just, it goes beyond the compass of the cramped blinkers scientism would put on our minds. KF

  11. 11

    Like most arguments about how a perfect god wouldn’t make a universe like the one we see, Holt fails to think through his imagined utopia-verse beyond a limited-scope snapshot of what he personally thinks “perfection” (both physical and ethical) should look like.

    Much like political utopia-dreamers, Holt forgets that to have the kind of “perfection” he wishes, chance occurrence (the unexpected) and individual freedom (free will) must be done away with by an exertion of top-down absolute predictability and control.

    How can Holt even imagine what a perfect universe should look like, physically and ethically, unless he knows why it was created? How can one judge a creation in terms of “perfection” unless one knows the purpose the creation is supposed to serve?

    Besides, if the universe rally was a stick and bubble-gum contraption instead of exquisitely finely-tuned, it wouldn’t have survived long enough, or be interesting enough, for Holt to be here making such inane comments.

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    This kind of “click bait” headlines sells well:

    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.u.....2014_09_06

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