Isaac Asimov once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “The universe is infinite and eternal.” It seems the latest scientific thinking confirms this view. When materialists debate religionists, the sarcastically-named Big Bang always comes up and the religionists will say this was God’s initial cause while the materialist will say it ignites the ontological argument of who created the who of the first cause in an infinite series of regressions.
But the latest thinking born of string theory and the enticing concept of the brane (a spatially extended mathematical concept that appears in string theory) suggests that ours is simply one in what could be an enormous or infinite number of universes that make up what is now termed the multi-verse. If this is true, and the initial spark that created our reality came as a result of two colliding branes, then we must consider that a multi-verse has always existed, even though our human brains go apoplectic at this thought, and therefore confirming Asimov’s statement.
Obviously, this thinking doesn’t require a God (god?) but some would call this amazing uni(multi)verse a god in itself which comprises a philosophy called pantheism. This universe, with its rats and roaches and death and disease and genocide, as well as its rainbows and sunsets and love and joy and dancing, is simply our little bubble like the child’s bubble spray at the summer picnic.
Other universes may have less of a rigid yin and yang; less of an equal good and evil, joy and depression, love and hate. This is how our physics happened to play out. This may be the only god we have and if so, he’s quite talented but like members of our own species, has a serious dark side. If we analyze scientifically our little non descript version of a universe, we quickly arrive at what has come to be called the anthropomorphic principle; namely that if any of these miniscule particles, interactions and energy exchanges at ground zero of the big bang had even been a nano-micron(my word) off – the conditions would have been inadequate to allow the mad expansionistic super hot then rapidly cooling star making strategy of our particular universe to emerge.
The religionists love this one, yet further evidence of their ‘Great Designer’ but if the multi-verse is reality, then perhaps our universe is the 100 trillionth attempt that just so happened to get the conditions right for complexity and ultimately life. Instantly this unbelievable coincidence becomes almost an inevitability.
Perhaps another one of these brane collisions fired off another big bang that created some giant intelligent Octopi who developed the science to analyze their own bubble and came to the same octopomorphic conclusion as we – namely that without a muon’s electrical charge of -.46 etherons (I just made this up), their own Octopomorphic universe would have immediately collapsed. From this, some particularly mad and imaginative Octopus may have surmised a giant omnipotent omnipresent omniscient brethren Octopus in the sky who watches over his brood in their watery abode with great care and concern. Yet the Octopi may be as mistaken as our own limited, emotional, carnal, impulsive species.
Randomness, combined with eternity, might allow the typing chimpanzee to come up with Hamlet or the multi-verse to come up with our own universe. But I think all will admit, whether materialist or religionist, that at the core of life is a deep mystery. Stephen Hawking may have said it best when he asked, “Why did the universe bother to exist at all?” If all this is truly random and arguably meaningless, what, in nature’s name, is the fricking point? This thought brings to mind a philosophy called panentheism which ratchets up pantheism by several exponents. This idea says that the multi-verse is only an aspect of god who himself needs to grow and learn in a journey of self discovery.
This compelling philosophy is rare in that nothing we know of science, the universe or life itself contradicts its premises. This certainly cannot be said of any of the great Western religions. Panentheism, along with other philosophies, potentially lends itself to a highly developed and humanistic morality from which civilization and society might progress. Religionists often harangue that morality is impossible without God. Must this be true?
I could continue this article into a 10,000 word thesis on metaphysics et al but that isn’t my purpose. This is simply an icebreaker. Be it physics, religion, morality or string theory, greater minds that my own certainly have some compelling thoughts. Let’s get the ball rolling.