God and the multiverse
Posted on Friday, 22 May, 2009 | 0 comments
Columnist: Peter Fotis Kapnistos
When it was originally published in 1902, “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James established the first psychological analysis of religion. It paved the way for the clinical and paranormal branches of psychology created by Freud and Jung.
William James's book remains the best introduction to his pragmatic way of thinking, his almost devotional respect for discoveries of the human mind, and his unique claims upon the significance of personal experience. James's classic study is of fundamental importance not only to the awareness of religions, but to modern psychology and psychiatric medicine. Underscored with personal accounts of belief and possession, intoxication, and near-death experience, James's theories of conversion, saintliness, ecstasy, and mysticism continue to raise new questions and stir up fresh debates.
But some extreme adjustments have been made to the realm of science since then. It nowadays looks as if a groundless (and maybe financial) fear of touching the electrified “third rail” of intellectual disapproval prevents many researchers from speaking out about the varieties of unworldly experience. Just one year after William James published his psychological analysis, Orville and Wilbur Wright launched their famous first aircraft flight. Our contemporary space epoch finally got underway. Today, perhaps space exploration also influences the scientific viewpoint of the paranormal. For regardless of how skeptical we may be of the unknown, there is really nothing very “normal” to be said about walking on the Moon or encountering distant worlds. New technological miracles surprisingly awaken old insights of traditional beliefs. As a result, some of the greatest efforts of modern skeptics to block the bonding of unconscious archetypes are merely wasted labors in our current point in time.
It is often impatiently said that the scientific analysis of unidentified phenomena is a measureless tangle of confusion. Yet, in point of fact, most paranormal experiences belong to around only five chief categories or varieties. This small number of varieties may be interrelated. Hypothetically, they could all be scientifically explainable if irrefutable evidence for the underlying nature of God is precisely established. Life-Sustaining Cosmos
Perhaps mankind’s most archaic belief is the idea that the original basis of life dwells in deep space (as opposed to a crystal in a cave, for example). Although countless deities and household idols have played a part in many mythologies of the world, it was almost universally acknowledged by ancient cultures that the supreme creative being and eternal spirit of life was a celestial Godhead or immortal sky-parent who resided in the lofty heavens above stormy mountains and forged a long history of cosmological creeds.
Today, some biologists think the need for God may be a central feature stamped deep into our genome. According to the book, “The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes
,” by Dean Hamer, chief of gene structure at the National Cancer Institute, human spirituality may be an adaptive trait, located in one of the genes that also happens to code for production of the neurotransmitters that regulate our moods.
As fate would have it, an unexpected approach is now emerging in the native ranks of evolutionary biology with a brand-new “panspermia theory” in opposition to Charles Darwin’s original “warm pond” explanation
. Today, we know that organic compounds are very common extraterrestrially. Because life appeared on Earth shortly after the planet had cooled down, with actually very little time for prebiotic evolution, the most current evidence suggests that life was transported from deep space to the Earth –– by the impacts of comet-type bodies.
Instead of Darwin's little pond, astrobiologists today picture a huge impact crater carved into a seafloor basin where a life-bearing comet once collided with our planet. Here is the starting point of all life on Earth –– an all-encompassing seed (panspermia) for the original roots of terrestrial life. Although not exactly a common phenomenon, there’s nothing magical about such a hypothesis. It simply implies that complex organic molecules were outgassing from a volcanic seafloor fissure made by a prehistoric comet collision. That's probably how life originally appeared on Earth, according to recent facts. And because humans are life forms, we can physically relate to our extraterrestrial seedling –– possibly even on a genetic level. Francis Crick
shared the 1962 Nobel Prize with James Watson for their discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Crick in addition made public a theory with biochemist Leslie Orgel that complex genetic codes could be spread by intelligent life forms using space travel technology in a process they called “directed panspermia.”
The first panspermia theory was mentioned in the writings of the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras in the 5th century BC. Various scientists including Lord Kelvin and Svante Arrhenius revitalized it in modern times. In the 1970s, Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe
proposed that life arrived on Earth by being showered as living cells from comet-type bodies. Recently, a whole range of radiation-resistant microbes has been recognized and has forced us to expand our notion of what is biologically possible in deep space. The latest discoveries strengthen the astrophysical panspermia hypothesis and strongly suggest that life is a cosmic phenomenon. Supporters of the “Electric Universe”
theory argue that the plasma astrophysics of Hannes Alfven best explain the synaptic interface of life by the interaction of electromagnetism on cosmic plasma.
In a 2007 report for “Scientific American,” theoretical physicist Paul Davies
reflected on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. He cited a conference in 1995 when renowned Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve called life a cosmic rule and declared it almost definite to be found on any Earth-like planets. De Duve’s announcement underpinned the conviction of many scientists that the universe is teeming with life. Dubbed “biological determinism” by Robert Shapiro of New York University, this theory is sometimes put across as: “Life is written into the laws of nature.” The panspermia theory is also mapped out as “Cosmic Ancestry
,” a development of Fred Hoyle’s original concept by Brig Klyce and James Lovelock. Supporters of Cosmic Ancestry maintain that –– like mass and energy –– life has no primary origin. It is written so profoundly into the laws of nature that the blueprint for life in the universe cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be altered from one form to another.
The cosmic storage of life’s genetic material is analogous to a self-repairing heat and mass transfer assembly. The large-scale motion of microscopic ice grains in deep space and their irradiation by ultraviolet light energetically recycles life’s synthesis by way of numerous microbial “splash-back” transmigration routes plotted by the shock waves of comet-type collisions.
Cosmic Ancestry indicates that together with the “conservation of mass and energy,” studies should also consider the “conservation of synthesis.” It’s a simple transfer rule that merely says: As the mass of a relativistic system
decreases, its energy will increase, and vice versa. Its value must always be greater than zero, for without at least some conservation of synthesis, an interchange of mass and energy would not be possible.
An ideal state for the conservation of synthesis can be pictured as an equal mixture of mass and energy intertwined like an oscillating filament in a vacuum, which is a rather handy description of the quantum world. The most efficient synthesis found in nature is of course “biosynthesis,” or the metabolism of life. If a superior intelligence or God is indeed behind the laws of physics, perhaps the trinity of “Mass, Energy, and Life” are three aspects of only one thing –– the fluctuation of a void:
* Father - Singularity of Infinite Mass
* Holy Spirit - Quantum of Absolute Energy
* Son - Synthesis of Intelligent Life
According to the former head of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins
, perhaps at times God does intervene in quantum mechanical uncertainty to nudge nature’s designs, because the chaotic unpredictability of complex systems impacts our future. “It is thus perfectly possible that God might influence the creation in subtle ways that are unrecognizable to scientific observation. In this way, modern science opens the door to divine action without the need for law-breaking miracles,” Collins recently said.
But if the mind of God or some type of higher consciousness is hardwired into the stuff of space-time, how did it get there? Is there a commonsense reason why the initial conditions of the big bang were fine-tuned, spot on, for a life-sustaining cosmos –– or is consciousness just a weird and spectacular accident? What caused the big bang in the first place, and where did the matter that became the universe come from?
If the universe started from the singularity of a big bang and subsequently expanded, it seems likewise possible that it might also do the opposite and contract to a big crunch. There is a logical symmetry to such an effect. If the universe were fated for a big crunch, it would either contract to a singularity (a point of infinite density and zero volume) and everything would cease to exist; or otherwise, it might bounce back with a great outburst. This “big bounce” would be very similar to or perhaps exactly the same as the big bang before it. The theoretical multiverse is said to be the collection of multiple possible universes that together consist of all of reality. As luck would have it, William James first coined the particular term “multiverse” in 1895. The various universes within the multiverse are usually called parallel universes
Today, a mixed bag of multiverse theories is taken into account. Astrophysicist Thomas Gold
once proposed the reality of “other universes nesting within our observable space.” For physicist Michio Kaku
, loop quantum gravity of the multiverse may be linked to the upcoming science of teleportation. The ekpyrotic
model by Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok is a forerunner of the widely held cyclic models in which the universe goes through infinite, self-sustaining big bounce cycles, with an eternity of alternating big bang and big crunch mirror-image phases repeating forever.
Theorist Peter Lynds recently proposed a model (“On a Finite Universe with no Beginning or End
”) in which time is cyclic, and the universe repeats an infinite number of times. However, because it is exactly the same cycle that repeats, it can also be interpreted as taking place just once. The result is a two-phase multiverse loop that has no beginning and no end, but is finite and circumvents singularities. Problems such as monopoles, matter–antimatter imbalances, and why initial conditions at the big bang appear to be so specific require no additional solutions.
A key feature of Lynds' model is his reasoning of thermodynamic time reversal. Rather than the second law of thermodynamics being violated and entropy decreasing, the order of events suddenly turns around in Lynds’ cyclic universe so the singularity is avoided and entropy can continue to increase.
Stephen Hawking once thought that if the universe began to contract, the whole thermodynamic arrow of time must reverse with it. “Everything would go into the reverse of the way we experience things today: light would travel back to the stars, and broken eggs on the floor would miraculously put themselves back together again.”
Physicist Ronald Mallett
presently leads a controversial time travel research study. But the second law of thermodynamics shows that processes involving heat transfer tend to have one direction and to be irreversible. This law also predicts that the entropy or measure of disorder of an isolated system increases with time.
Lynds claimed: “If all of the laws of physics, with the exception of the second law of thermodynamics
, are time symmetric and can equally be reversed, it became apparent that if faced with a situation where entropy might be forced to decrease rather than increase, rather than actually doing so, the order of events should simply reverse, so that the order in which they took place would still be in the direction in which entropy was increasing. The second law would continue to hold, events would remain continuous, and no other law of physics would be contravened.”
No conservation laws would be breached in this cyclic model because it’s only the order of events that gets turned around. We can go to a Saturday cinema matinee and watch a movie shown in reverse with all of its actors walking the wrong way around. But that won’t strangely turn the clock back to Friday. In a related way, Peter Lynds thinks that reversing the order of events near a singularity in respect to entropy does not necessarily mean that the thermodynamic arrow must also reverse. However, it does provide a very good scientific justification for the big bounce.
The distinction between past and future may be irrelevant near a singularity. Yet all time symmetric physical processes apart from the second law of thermodynamics could be reversed to take place in the direction in which entropy is still increasing. In this direction no singularity would be encountered. Events would simply recoil into their equivalent reverse alignments and carry on from where the singularity would have been if the order of events had not turned around.
According to Lynds, it becomes obvious that the big bounce would not only lead events back to the big bang, but it would actually cause it. The universe would then expand, cool, and sooner or later our solar system would take shape again: “If one asks the question, what caused the big bang? The answer here is the big crunch. This is strange enough. But is the big crunch in the past or the future of the big bang? It could equally be said to be either. Likewise, is the big bang in the past or future of the big crunch? Again, it could equally be said to be either. The differentiation between past and future becomes completely meaningless. Moreover, one is now faced with a universe that has neither a beginning nor end in time, but yet is also finite and needs no beginning.” God from Machine Era
How can the mind of God fit into the cyclic universe? As computers get smarter, machines could become more intelligent than humans within a few decades, leading to a technological singularity. Many scientists take it on faith that machines will sooner or later become conscious. Perhaps the simplest way to achieve this would be to fit existing life forms (such as neurons or microbes) into biocomputer chips. In 1993, the scientist who coined the phrase “technological singularity
,” Vernor Vinge, said: “Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”
The Acceleration Studies Foundation (ASF) is a group of technologists and futurists that explore the accelerating development of special domains in science and venture to weigh up the anticipated technological singularity. The president of the ASF, John Smart, maintains archives on the singularity hypothesis. His latest thoughts relate to information and computation studies and evolutionary developmental
Smart and others like him suppose the technological singularity could max out as a “black hole analogous computing system.” According to theoretical physicist Lee Smolin
, such a structure is likely to be an integral component in the replicative life cycle of our “evo devo” universe within the multiverse.
In the ancient recitals of Greek tragedy, a projecting crane arm was used to lower actors playing gods onto the stage. The Latin phrase “deus ex machina
” came from Horace’s advice to dramatists never to draw on a god from the machine to explain their story line. Even so, evolutionary developmental scientists at present hope that two separate processes of Cartesian dualism –– mind and matter –– can work together inside the technological singularity to create a universe. They suggest that the initial conditions of the big bang are the result of an evolutionary selection process involving universe adaptation in the multiverse and universe reproduction via “intelligent black holes.”
Smart and his contemporaries currently propose that “Earth's local intelligence is on the way to forming a black-hole-analogous reproductive system, and then seed (germline) formation to produce another universe within the multiverse.” Roger Penrose confirmed with Stephen Hawking
that a singularity must result inside a black hole. Gravity becomes infinitely strong at its center, causing the geometry of space-time to infinitely curve to a point of zero volume. Physicist John Wheeler
, who coined the terms “black hole” and “wormhole,” thought a big crunch to be the possible ultimate fate of the universe. It’s not difficult to see the likeness between a black hole and a big crunch. However, there is a distinction between the two. (A black hole has the entire universe outside it. With a big crunch there is nothing outside the collapsing area because it represents the whole universe.)
Modern physicists and information theorists hope that a unified “information physics” will soon become known, allowing them to understand our universe as a quantum computing system. Several theorists support the cyclic multiverse model because “development in biology can also be thought of as a cyclical process, a movement from seed, to adapting organism in the environment, to a new seed.”
Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson
, recently said we can see that “mind” (which we may call an informational process) has an ever more pervasive impact on “matter” (local physical processes) as a function of its complexity. “Over time, complex systems become guiders and shapers of at least their local universal dynamics,” Smart suggested.
According to molecular biologist Sean Carroll
, evolutionary developmental biology seeks to resolve differences between processes spanning the scales of cells, organisms and ecologies. It shows potential to deliver a meta-Darwinian paradigm in biology. And evo devo’s hottest theory is that intelligence may transfer learned information into a new universe by means of a black hole.
John Smart wrote: “A black hole is the last place you want to be if you are still trying to create (evolve) in the universe, but this seems exactly where you want to be if you have reached the asymptote of complexity development in ‘outer space,’ have employed all finite local resources into the most efficient nonrelativistic computronium you can, and are now finding the observable universe to be an increasingly ergodic (repetitive, uncreative, ‘cosmogonic’) and senescent or saturated learning environment, relative to you. In other words, the more computationally closed local computing and discovery become, the faster you want the external universe to go to gain the last bits of useful information in the shortest amount of local time, before entering an entirely new zone of creativity (black hole intelligence merger, natural selection and new universe creation).”
Yet, finding the old universe uncreative and no longer useful from one point of view could bear an awful resemblance to an unspeakable Golgotha Event: “As the external universe dies at an accelerating pace, you are locally learning every last thing you can about it as it disintegrates in virtually no subjective time.”
There’s more than one way to scientifically scrutinize such an event. On one hand, a minuscule black hole normally created in space could undergo a near-collision with an intelligent life form and siphon off some of its genetic data. Or, on the other hand, a microscopic black hole produced in an experimental reactor
could similarly be directed to smash into organic life. Both paradigms may be connected through some kind of information entanglement or what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” In one description, the person receiving the action might be lifted up on crossed planks like a human lightning rod to draw a miniature black hole from the pitch-black sky. In another version, a subject might be pinned down like a living target assembly in a high-energy physics laboratory to absorb man-made black hole disintegration. Even if our Golgotha Event illustrations seem exceptionally miserable, an intelligent living target could breathe information into a microscopic black hole to lay down the initial conditions for the universe’s reverse cycle –– and thus ensure that it sets off a life-sustaining cosmos.
What could be more all-powerful than creating a universe with pure consciousness? Singularity theorists call it “universal transcension” and consider black holes to be vast genetic intelligence transmission systems. A black hole could in theory pick up intelligence or biological consciousness without wiping out structural complexities. Stephen Hawking speculated it could do this if advanced intelligence is built out of some type of organization below the atom in size. (There are 25 orders of magnitude between atoms and the Planck length for the possible requirements of intelligent systems.)
John Smart confirmed: “Not only do intelligent black holes appear to be ideal pre-seeds, picking up and packaging the ‘last useful body information’ in the universe before they leave, but they may also be ideal vessels for merging, competing, cooperating, and engaging in natural selection with other intrauniversal intelligences. This is because black holes, and only black holes, allow a special kind of ‘one way time travel’ for merging with other evolutionarily unique universal intelligences in virtually no subjective (internal) time.” Holographic Multiverse
Physicist Alain Aspect showed that under certain circumstances subatomic particles are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them –– even if they are billions of miles apart. The holographic principle
by Gerard 't Hooft and Leonard Susskind suggests the universe is akin to a giant hologram. David Bohm, Karl Pribram, and Michael Talbot presented the "whole in every part
" nature of a hologram as a new way of knowing the universe. Every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. If a hologram of an object is cut in half and illuminated by a laser, each half will still contain the entire image of the object. At some deeper level of reality, perhaps the Golgotha Event is not an individual accident, but the extension and fractal
of an underlying built-in cosmic unity.
During the Middle Ages, belief in cyclic time was routinely outlawed by the Church. Yet the Bible actually spelled out a two-phase universe: The big bang was in Genesis, with the customary account of creation. The big crunch was described in Revelation. After squeezing through the gap of a bottomless pit, “a new heaven and a new Earth” finally came forward, without a sea. Perhaps the image of a deep well was the dying hint of an impact crater that opened in a seafloor when a life-bearing comet fell to our planet. The visionary Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
encouraged meditation for the development of a close, interpersonal relationship with universal transcension –– in order to believably know “what it feels like” to experience and cross the singularity of a multiverse.
Author’s website: http://reporter.blackraiser.com/Article Copyright© Peter Fotis Kapnistos - reproduced with permission.