As everything, it starts with the Big Bang. Even before I say anything further, I'd like to make a point that can be most eloquently illustrated by one of my favourite Terence Mckenna quotes:
"The Standard Model that we inherit from physics has..., it opens with something called the Big Bang. Interestingly, the way science operates is, it says, "Give us one free miracle, and then we can explain everything". Well, if science gets one free miracle, then, I think, every ideology ought to be given the same advantage. So, I think, that the miracle of the Big Bang is an unlikelihood so preposterous that it could almost be seen as the limit case for credulity. What I mean by that is, if you can believe that, you can believe anything! I mean, if you believe that the Universe sprang from nothing in a single instant from an area considerably smaller than the cross-section of a gnat's eyebrow, then I'd like to talk to you after the show about purchasing a large bridge across the Hudson river that's been in my family for generations."
So basically, we give science a free miracle unquestioningly and accept that the Universe happened to materialize from nothing. Fair enough, I mean it's not really, but let's move on for now. Let's pretend it makes sense so far. So you have a hot ball of energy that has the mass of all the billions of galaxies in the Universe today and it's not collapsing back into a black hole instantly even though its escape velocity is like a trillion times the speed of light. Fine. So why is it expanding? Is it supposed to? Has it got to? Anyway, there is this hot ball of exotic energy soup that is expanding God knows why. What does it even mean that it's hot. You say it's a property of energy. What gave it a property? How does it know it should have properties, and how many and what kind? So after a while as it "cools down" energy condensates into something the Universe had never seen before - matter. Why energy would do that, no one knows. You say it's the result of the laws of physics. Yeah but where did the laws come from? Why are there laws even? How did the Universe know it was supposed to have laws? And what determined what the laws would be? Was it all an accident that all the constants were exactly what they needed to be for the Universe to be stable? And for matter to appear? As though it had a plan. What was the ultimate plan? Apparently not the creation of matter because it didn't stop there. All these particles formed atoms, which formed stars, which formed galaxies. What a dull picture indeed. Imagine the miracle of a Universe jumping out of nothing just for boring galaxies to form with stars and planets so they can all just fall back together in a Big Crunch or expand forever until it all falls apart and the Universe becomes a desolate place with one atom per square light-year anywhere. Surely there must be something more.
And guess what. So it happened that the Universe had another thing up its sleeve, called chemical bonds! Wow, nice trick. How did it know? Not only have you carbon among many other elements, now you have water and other chemicals as well. So you have a Universe with energy turning into particles turning into atoms forming stars and galaxies and turning into molecules. You already guessed the next step, matter decides it will come alive, for no apparent reason. Guess it's just another law of nature, another accident. And so it happens that this thing called life, whatever it is, it evolves! It becomes more and more complex, eventually being coded into DNA. Hold on, coded? If there is a code, shouldn't be there someone writing it? Apparently not, this code can write itself. Amazing stuff! But not even remotely as amazing as a bunch of atoms and molecules forming an organism that can move and multiply becoming self-aware, by developing something exotic called consciousness, something that has thought processes, not just any kind, but abstract thinking, art, imagination, and something that asks itself questions like "Who am I?", "Where did I come from?" and so on. As Mckenna says, the Universe is a novelty generator. Consciousness is at least as exotic compared to the boring life of instinctual existence as the phenomenon of life itself compared to lifeless matter. A few important questions emerge here that deserve a new paragraph.
Do you really need any measure of a leap of faith to think that maybe, just maybe, conscious life is not the end product of the Universe? This is it. We are the ultimate product, there is no more. Does the Universe seem to you that stupid from what's happened so far that it would "run out of ideas" and stop here? The other question that you must ponder parallel to this is, do you think all the stars that exists today, and the galaxies that they make up, are the first generation since the formation of the first ones? Are these the same ancient original ones that formed 13 billion years ago? Shouldn't we have had one or more generations already some of which went supernova so all these heavy elements making up all these planets all across the Universe (you don't seriously think planets are a local phenomenon now do you?) could and coalesce and solidify and spread across space? Here comes the interesting part, because you laugh when you learn that we humans used to think that we are the centre of the Universe, that everything revolves around us. The irony is, with the number of humans on this planet still believing that we are the only life in the Universe, we are still EXACTLY in that infantile state. A few hundred years from now people will laugh how anyone could be so self-centred and naive as to think that this is it, this is the place, this is where it all started, where life emerged in the entire Universe, for the first time, yes it's us. As I will point out on a side-note, not impossible, just very highly improbable.
Let me illustrate why I think this is absurd. I would take you on a short trip, I would say into the future, but probably even the present will do. You must realize that every time we land a probe or an automated motor vehicle on a satellite or planet there is a possibility of life, microbes, bacteria etc. being transmitted. Even if it weren't, you surely realize that as soon as humans start colonizing space it will be a fact. The nature of life and its evolutionary properties is that it adapts to its environment and develops accordingly. How it knows it's supposed to is another question, as if it were programmed so self-aware beings can develop. Who knows. Anyway, you must admit that cross-seeding of life through meteors etc. and in a massive event in the case of planetary annihilation as would happen if we were to collide with another solid planet, is a definite possibility. As you look further into the future, say only a few billions of years from now, it's quite a high probability scenario that our galactic neighbourhood will be teeming with life, all unique according to the local environment. And 3-4 billion years from now, by which time there will be hundreds, maybe thousands of planets where the development of life will have reached the same level as we are at, those all different and unique beings will be asking themselves the same questions, like where they came from. And you would like to say: "This is it, this is the place, the one and only, where it all started." Wouldn't it be a valid assumption, wouldn't it be a realistic scenario that maybe, just maybe life got seeded here from somewhere else? That we are not THE centre of the Universe. We used to think so in terms of celestial mechanics, but we are still thinking so in terms of emergence of life. If the seeding of life from planet to planet is a realistic thing, why assume it is starting/has started right here? What would make us so special? What if? What if life arrived here from somewhere else? What if you followed the chain back in time and space you would realized there must've been 100s of branches off the main line, and branches off the branches, maybe conscious life has been doing this as a deliberate project, with an agenda, or multiple species with different agendas? How evolved do you think they could be if "simple" conscious life is not the end product of the Universe, which it probably isn't, and their planets got seeded 8-10 billion years ago? It doesn't even have to be much earlier than Earth, see how much human consciousness has evolved in the past 100 years? Where do you think we will be in 1000 years? How much our mental capacities have evolved in the past 10.000 years? Where do you think we will be in 100.000 years? Yet do you think humans are even capable of imagining what kind of exotic development is possible to emerge from conscious beings? Let alone even further steps. Let me quote Mckenna again:
"For monkeys to speak of truth is hubris of the highest degree. Where is it writ large that talking monkeys should be able to model the cosmos? If a sea urchin or a raccoon were to propose to you that it had a viable truth about the universe, the absurdity of that assertion would be self-evident, but in our case we make an exception."
What if there is an even bigger agenda that the Universe is all about? Even if it is just unfolding spontaneously, without a plan, the nature of the Universe seems to be like a playground with infinite possibilities and with an overarching tendency of stuff to become more and more complex, exotic, and novel, as if endlessly trying to exhaust those infinite possibilities. My favourite argument that skeptics like to use trying desperately to deny the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe (not really realizing its vastness, how could they be expected to, with our limited mental capacities) is when they say how inhospitable other planets must be and how special ours must be, and we are the right distance from the Sun, and water, etc. etc. Correct, life wouldn't exist on most of the other planets - life AS WE KNOW IT! But again, how closed a mind must one have to think that ours is the only possible kind of life, or indeed, consciousness that can exist in the Universe? That it is not possible for a different kind of life to emerge in a different environment? We even assume things like the laws of the Universe are all the same regardless of location and time, forever and for always. Who said so? Again I must quote Terence:
"And the basic message of materialism is that the world is what it appears to be: a thing composed of matter, and pretty much confined to its surface. The world is what it appears to be. Now, this, on the face of it, is a tremendously naïve position, because what it says is the animal body that you inhabit, the eyes you look through, the fingers you feel through, are somehow the ultimate instruments of metaphysical conjecture… which is highly improbable."
What if all that we can sense is not all that there is? Well obviously it's not, we can't even guess what dark matter is, let alone dark energy. And if you still think that when we have figured those out the Universe will have run out of surprises and we will have learned everything and gained an ultimate understanding? Sounds much like when Lord Kelvin said in 1900: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." And we all know what happened within the following few years. So what shall we discover next? Maybe there are planes of existence we cannot interact with, at least not at our stage of evolution. Planes existing at different levels of vibrations, just like the light we see is a tiny section in an infinite spectrum. Like the densities you can read about in the Ra Material. http://en.wikipedia....erial#Densities or in much more detail http://llresearch.or..._one_book_1.pdf , the first of a 5-book series that changed my life forever.
My 2 cents for tonight.
Edited by Still Waters, 22 November 2013 - 03:28 PM.
Fixed post at OP's request