Reversing the Copernican Principle

October 20, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, New Spirituality, Scientific Revolution

In his book, Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics has Betrayed the Search of Scientific Truth, Jim Baggott sets out six principles that he believes should serve as criteria to judge a credible scientific theory.  One of these is the Copernican Principle, which he describes as follows: ” The universe is not organized for our benefit and we are not uniquely privileged observers.  Science strives to remove “us” from the centre of the picture  making our  existence a natural consequence of reality rather than the reason for it. ”

In my interview with Jim Baggott on October 21, 2013 (Conversations Beyond Science and Religion) we talked a little bit about the validity of this principle and I want here to expand on a few points I did not have time to make during the show.

As an initial matter, Copernicus did not invent the Copernican Principle.  Rather, he is credited for finding that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rather than the Sun around the Earth.  Metaphorically, Copernicus’s finding has led a long line of thinkers to conclude that what he really showed was that man is not the “crown of creation;” that we are not special in any way, but simply collections of organic molecules roaming around on a random planet circling the sun, which in turn is part of a galaxy that itself circles other star formations out among the vast, impersonal universe.   Where once we were the center of the universe, now we are leftover stardust.

Modern physics has taken this finding and turned it into a working principle of science.  Since Copernicus showed that humans are not the center of the cosmos, the thinking is that science must also be practiced with this principle firmly established. We are to treat the problem of existence as a puzzle that can only be solved if we assume that what we call “reality” is separate from “us,” and only answers using this framework will be considered scientific.

But this approach imposes a handicap upon our thinking that we don’t need and cannot justify.

It may be considered humble to take the position that we are a natural consequence of a reality “out there,” but it also leads to a lack of responsibility if this very same reality instead comes from “in here.”  It also leads to the foolhardy belief where we  imagine the world  – and our bodies — are machines operating beyond our control, when exactly the opposite is true.

The progress of science is steadily showing that the Eastern mystics were right: the world is a product of our internal states, or as Sir James Jeans said 100 years ago, the universe is looking more like a great thought than a great machine.  Quantum theory shows a connection between consciousness and the physical world.  Atoms are not things and have no existence outside of the mind.  To be is to be perceived.  Parapsychology studies show the power of the mind over the body and the external world,  The obvious fine-tuning of the universe and the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” strongly suggest that a mind sits behind creation.  In dreams and hallucinations we witness the mind conjuring up an outside physical world mistaken for the world at large.

As we take a broader view of the evidence, the reality we thought was out-there draws closer to us — and then we realize it is us.

The Copernican principle is not science, but part of the holding pattern we sit in until we have time to study the reality we thought was out there.  We then realize, as shown by the evolving “new thought” movement, that the world is a product of the “in-here.”  The world is a reflection, a dream, of internal states.  It is time we recognize this unavoidable truth and finally accept responsibility for the world.  Copernicus was right about the Earth and the Sun, but wrong about the role of humans in the cosmos.  It will turn that we are the spiritual center — and hence the crown of creation — after all.

 

 

And So We Patiently Wait for Science to Discard the Real World Out There

October 9, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism

            ‘We all agree that your theory is crazy.  The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.”

Niels Bohr

Modern physics is at a crossroads. Since the time of Einstein, it has pursued a quest to unify the laws of physics using a naïve realist or materialist approach.  This viewpoint holds that there is a real world independent of the scientific theorist, that ultimate reality is a material thing (matter) rather than a mind, and that the mind has no influence on the world.  Most theorists likely assume that discarding the realist perspective is too crazy. And that’s the problem: modern science will not be able to unify the laws of science working within the box of materialism.  Instead, as might be expected, it will need to go outside the box to arrive at a unified theory

Front-page announcements such as the finding of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, the search for dark matter, and musings over string theory and the multiverse, have masked the basic truth that today’s scientific worldview has reached a dead-end in attempting to assemble an all-encompassing world outlook while operating under the heavy burden of naïve realism.

Lee Smolin, in his book, The Trouble with Physics, in recognizing the conundrums facing modern physics, identifies five problems that any unified theory of physics must solve.

These are:

  1. Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature.  This is known as the problem of quantum gravity.
  2. Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense.
  3. Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single, fundamental entity.
  4. Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.
  5. Explain dark matter and dark energy.  Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scales.  More generally, explain why he constants of the standard model of cosmology, including the dark energy , have the values they do.

Dr. Smolin should be credited with articulating in a concise and direct manner the five great problems standing in the way of a unified theory of physics.  But in pondering how future scientists may come to solve these mysteries of science, Smolin also reveals the prejudice of the modern scientific theorist: he acknowledges that “physicists have traditionally expected that science should give an account of reality as it would be in or absence. “  Belief in a “real world out there,” he writes, “motivates us to do the hard work needed to become scientists and contribute to the understanding of nature.”  In other words, Smolin defines “science” as practice that can only occur if the practitioner assumes a “real world” independent of the observer. Having accepted on faith the very obstacle preventing progress in the first place, it is no wonder that modern scientific theory remains mired in the same old intellectual quicksand.  Like a hot-air balloonist wondering why he cannot reach the stars while tethered to a fence post, modern science can make no further progress toward a unified theory until it lets go of the “real world out there.”

In this article, I will do something crazy.  I will provide answers to each of these problems and show that a unified theory becomes readily apparent if Mr. Smolin and his university colleagues simply let go of their treasured assumption that there is a real world independent of us.

In considering this assumption, we might first ask, why should the universe obey the commands of the scientific theorist in the first place? Isn’t it true that the world existed before the theorist came on the scene? The job of science is to understand the world as it is, not as scientists assume or wish it should be.

It should not be considered as simply a coincidence that, as shown below, when we eliminate the independent-world assumption, we come upon the outline of a theory that solves Smolin’s five problems

So let us start with the first problem:

Problem 1:    Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature.  This is known as the problem of quantum gravity.

The two fundamental theories of the physical world, general relativity (gravity) and quantum theory, are in fact incompatible.  At small scales, the herky-jerky quantum effects conflict with the smooth continuous force of gravity.

This problem, however, is a consequence of the independent-world assumption.  This view assumes that there is a world outside of the theorist that must be pounded into a form understandable by the scientific mind.  The theorizing mind looks at the assumed physical world and believes that it can understand how it operates.  Large masses follow the law of gravity; small masses, at sub-atomic levels, follow the contradictory ways of quantum theory. But suppose there are neither large nor small masses independent of human experience; suppose masses of any size, and in fact, the entire physical world, is a projection of the mind.

Now, for those who believe the mind is incapable of conjuring up a three-dimensional appearance of a world from nothing, consider the simple example of hallucinations.  In an hallucination, the mind of one person is able to create a three-dimensional image of a person or object that blends into the natural world.  How is this possible?  As Oliver Sacks notes in his book, Hallucinations, one remarkable feature of hallucinations is that they appear “compellingly three-dimensional.”

So if the world is a projection of the mind, we would expect this thing called matter – the supposed substance to the physical world –  to dissolve into nothing when we tunnel into it.  And, interestingly, this is exactly what quantum physics shows: at the root of reality are not things, but energy bundles, wave equations or, in different words, the stuff of which dreams are made.  This alternate viewpoint I call the “real dream worldview.”

Turning to gravity, we would expect the physical world, this creation of an infinite mind, to be in the form of a three-dimensional work of art, a grand animation, or computer simulation, where stellar bodies are placed throughout the cosmos to provide a beautiful backdrop to life.  (As we will see below, this approach explains the dark matter problem, assuming it is a problem.)

This picture of the cosmos, as the stunning background scenery to life on Earth, does not fit within the mechanical model of modern, materialistic science.  Modern science would prefer these stellar bodies to follow the dictates of impersonal, objective laws of nature, though when we consider these laws in detail, we find they must have an internal source. This was also the conclusion reached by two of the greatest thinkers in history, David Hume and Immanuel Kant.  David Hume believed the ultimate source to the regularities of nature is our need and belief for those laws.  Kant believed the laws of nature are part of the structure of the mind.

Again, if we want to solve the problem of physics we will need to reinvent the box, not work within the same outdated box.  This is precisely what Einstein meant when he famously said that we cannot solve the problems of science using the same level of consciousness that created them.  The core problem here is that scientists continue to ignore his advice.  They continue to use materialism to hammer the physical world into a shape they can understand, not realizing that it is their attitude toward the problem that is standing in the way of a solution.

Problem 2.   Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense

This problem is also easily solved through the real-dream worldview.  A fundamental dilemma with quantum theory is that at the root of reality we find a phenomenon that does not fit into the naïve realist framework; specifically, we do not find a thing, or a little ball-bearing, but rather, a wave-thing; a substance that changes from a particle to a wave depending on the experiment run.  Worse, the identity of this entity seems to depend upon what the conscious observer is looking for:  if he tries to find a wave-like feature he finds a wave; if he searches for a particle he finds a particle.

This result demonstrates, to many scientists, that this phenomenon we call a “thing” does not have an identity independent of the observer, because if it did, its character would not depend upon the choice of the conscious observer. The shape of the moon, as Einstein once said, does not depend on how one observes it: we want a real world out there that does not depend upon an observer.

Einstein’s quest to locate an objective world remains the quest of many leading scientists, including Lee Smolin.  To them, quantum theory gives an incomplete picture of the physical reality these theorists hope exists out there.

But these theorists miss the point.  We know there is an external world because life would not be possible without one.  We also know that there is an unbreakable connection between mind and the world, as shown not only by the findings of quantum theory, but also by the placebo effect, psychic phenomena, dreams, and hallucinations. Why should there be a world independent of the observer and who ever said we needed one?  Rather, it should be fairly obvious that the dreaming mind strongly desires an external world – since that is point of dreaming – and the fact that the mind has delivered to us the external world desired should be a cause for celebration, not to embark on a mad rush to find another exotic particle.

So quantum theory is a puzzle to the modern scientific theorist because they have considered it from the wrong perspective.  It is impossible to have a theory that will describe the “real world” as it would be in our absence because there is no such world.  Therefore, quantum theory can only be considered incomplete if theorists apply it to their independent world.  Quantum theory tells us there is no independent world, but theorists are not accepting this conclusion.  When we eliminate the independent world assumption, however, we find that quantum theory is in fact the true physical science to a dream world.

Problem 3: Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single, fundamental entity.

Problem 4: Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.

I have combined these two problems because they are essentially the same problem.  Smolin’s Problem 3 seeks a unified theory that would combine the four fundamental forces and the 24-0dd particles of the Standard Model into one overarching theory.  This seems like a necessary result because it is hard to imagine that the world began as anything but a unity; it just seems too odd that at the very beginning of time there happened to be four  separate forces (gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear, strong force) and 24 different particles that would later combine to form a picture-perfect universe.

So if the world did begin as a unity, then it must still be a unity and there must be one theory to explain it. On this point we have to remember that one of the chief criticisms of creationism is that it seems ludicrous to suppose that God, or any force, created the existing universe in one fell swoop; some sort of growth or evolution appears essential.  But this is the same problem that science confronts when it seeks to explain the universe as resulting from the big bang.  Any such explosion, as cosmologists acknowledge, must have had very special initial conditions to have grown into the universe standing before us.  So instead of supposing that the God created the entire universe in one miraculous act, cosmologists suppose that some unidentified force created the initial conditions of the big bang in one miraculous act. It’s the same problem in a different form.

Problem 4 asks a similar question: Despite the wide disparity in the strength of the four forces and the masses of the elementary particles of the Standard Model, there must be a natural way to explain them.  As Smolin notes, the “constants specify the properties of the particles.  Some tell us the masses of the quarks and the leptons, while others tell us the strengths of the forces.  We have no idea why these numbers have the values they do; we simply determine them by experiments and then plug in the numbers.”

This problem is actually not a difficult one to solve.  All we have to do is to change our perspective and look at the world as coming from us instead of at us. Remember, materialists assume the physical world exists outside of our internal states and then try to imagine how it created itself and human life.

The hierarchy problem of physics asks why is it that the masses of the elementary particles span 13 orders of magnitude? The answer is that scientists look at the world as if it were built from the small to the large, or from the inside to the outside: from a collection of small particles that somehow snowballed in a three-dimensional world.

The opposite perspective explains more and is in fact true: the three-dimensional image came first and the inner parts align because they look up to the whole; another way to express this point is that the melody came to the mind first and the notes follow the melody; in the materialistic worldview, scientists scratch their heads wondering how these synchronized notes  the particles of the Standard Model of physics all line up to form the matter in the universe.  But they are looking at the problem from the wrong perspective: the three-dimensional image of the world came first and the parts align because they look up to the whole.  So these two problems are easily solved as well.

Problem 5:     Explain dark matter and dark energy.  Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scales.  More generally, explain why the constants of the standard model of cosmology, including the dark energy, have the values they do.

Dark matter is the missing mass that cosmologists believe is holding the universe together.  It turns out when they apply the law of gravity to the physical appearance of galaxies and other cosmic structures cosmologists reach the conclusion that there should be a lot more mass than meets the eye – in fact dark matter is supposed to make up over 75% of the total mass in the universe.

Dark energy is the repulsive force that is imagined to be accelerating the expansion of the universe.  This unknown force was named because cosmologists have been unable to explain why the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating: to them there must be some hidden background force that is giving the expansion a turbo-boost.  Ironically, dark energy is such a significant force that it is thought to comprise almost 75% of the total mass and energy in the cosmos.

But modern scientists know neither the nature nor source of either dark matter or dark energy, thus creating one of Smolin’s five mysteries.

But again both dark matter and dark energy are easily explained through the Real-Dream worldview. Under this view, neither dark matter nor dark energy exist.  In the final analysis the three-dimensional picture of the cosmos is exactly that: a three-dimensional, artistic rendition of a cosmos. It is not a world created outside of us by gravity and the other forces. The cosmos follows the laws of the mind before it follows the laws of nature.

The other component of Smolin’s question is explaining why the dark energy has the value it has.   This particular question is also known as the cosmological constant problem.  Under quantum theory, even empty space has energy, since there is always a quantum uncertainty over the energy value of a vacuum.  But if scientists add up the energy value of the vacuum energy in the cosmos they come up with a value that is 10120 greater than the value of dark energy.  This is the problem: why is the actual value of dark energy so low?

From what we have covered to this point, the answer should be apparent: dark energy does not exist and modern cosmologists are simply looking at the picture of the cosmos from the wrong perspective.  Again, we are looking at an artist’s rendition of the cosmos.  The artist is God and we are actors in the drama of God’s quest to understand itself.  Physical forces and particles have their values because they are part of a unified, harmonic whole: they align because the grand picture was sculpted first, and the parts trail behind, like the tail of a comet.

So in the end, if the objective is to explain the world as opposed to perpetuating a false assumption, then giving up the “real world out there” is the right thing to do scientifically.  But leading scientists are not ready to take this step, believing that it is somehow unscientific to discard a real world out-there, but “scientific” to hold blindly to an unwarranted assumption.  Would it not make sense to first adopt the correct metaphysical standpoint and then engage in the practice of science?

And so we patiently wait for the scientific community to discard the “real world out there” and finally set us free to find a true theory of everything.

 

Tags: real world out there, smolin, theory of everything

News Flash: The World is Not Made Out of Particles

July 25, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Particle Physics, Quantum Theory

In a  recent article, What is Real?, published in Scientific American, Meinard Kuhlmann, Professor of Philosophy at Bielefeld University in Germany, breaks the news: the world is not made out of particles after all.

This conclusion may come as a shock to the vast field of particle physics and the thousands of physicists working at the $6 billion Large Hadron Collider in Europe.  As Professor Kuhlman writes, “one must conclude that ‘particle physics’ is a misnomer: despite the fact that physicists keep talking about particles, there is no such thing.”

Quantum theory, in fact, spelled doom for particles almost 100 years ago, but modern physics has not quite absorbed this point into its worldview.  Quantum theory, as Professor Kuhlman writes, is based upon on the fundamental precept that no such thing as a particle can be localized in a particular place or time; Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle forever dispelled the notion that we can know the exact location and momentum of a thing.  As Heisenberg himself said, atoms are not things. Rather, the closer physicists look, the more Shakespeare appears to have been on the right track: the world is made out of dream-stuff.

Yet, remarkably, science has constructed the giant edifice of particle physics, symbolized by the Large Hadron Collider, in defiance of the findings of quantum theory.  Professor Kuhlman writes that particles are inferences from experiments but are not real in the sense that they actually exist in the manner we believe they do.  He has a point and is on the right track.  Particles are what they have always been: concepts; things we want to exist and find at the root of reality.  But they do not exist without the mind desiring them.

It is this point we will need to ponder for a little longer.

Tags: quantum theory

Is Intelligent Design Science?

July 24, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Conversations Beyond Science and Religion, Darwin

On my upcoming radio show, Conversations Beyond Science and Religion, webtalkradio.net, scheduled for posting on July 29, 2013, I interview Professor Michael Behe of Lehigh University and author of the controversial book, Darwin’s Black Box.  This book, which the back cover says helped launch the intelligent design movement, contains a devastating attack on Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  We are conditioned to reject the intelligent design movement as unscientific (if not unAmerican) and to believe that the Darwinian camp, led by Richard Dawkins (of Blind Watchmaker fame), must be right.  While taking this stance, I would guess many people have not really  examined for themselves natural selection or Behe’s version of intelligent design.  And this may be the biggest problem facing opponents of Darwin: it doesn’t matter what the facts show, to be a true scientist one must be a materialist (matter, not mind, is fundamental) and reject any role of intelligence in the make-up of the physical world and of life.  But advocates of this position have never explained why science and mind are mutually exclusive.  Further, the universe seems to be telling us we have no choice: from the mathematical laws of nature, to the fine-tuning of the universe, to the irreducible complexity of living things, mind seems integral to the world.  Perhaps the world is waiting for science to evolve and  finally embrace , rather than ignore, the facts of our most unusual existence.  Is intelligent design science?   It looks it will have to be in one form or another.

Conversations Beyond Science and Religion – The Higgs (God) Particle Made Easy – Almost

July 23, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Conversations Beyond Science and Religion

In 1993, Noble prize-winning physicist, Leon Lederman, published a book entitled, The God Particle. The book was about a particle, hypothesized most prominently by Peter Higgs, which is associated with a field that permeates the universe and gives mass to the elementary particles in the Standard Model of particle physics. On July 4, 2012, physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, the world’s largest particle accelerator, announced they had discovered signs of a new particle that looks an “awful lot like the long sought after” Higgs particle. So does this mean that the secret to the universe has now been revealed and that with the God particle in its sights, there is nothing left for particle physics to discover? Or does this discovery simply convert the mystery of particle mass into the mystery of the properties of the Higgs field? Learn what the Higgs particle really is and what the recent discovery really means in this episode, where host Philip Mereton talks with John Gunion, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of California at Davis, and co-author of the The Higgs Hunter’s Guide.

 

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Tags: God particle, Gunion, Higgs

The Mystery of the God Particle – The Unpublished Newsweek Letter

July 23, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Higgs Boson, Multiverse

Here is a letter to the editor of Newsweek, commenting upon Lawrence Krauss’s article, The Godless Particle, published in the July 16, 2012 issue of Newsweek.

 

The Higgs finding illustrates a serious problem with modern physics and cosmology: scientists want to bedazzle the public with the latest discovery of “the secret to the universe” and the consequent vanquishing of God, but remain tight-lipped about the assumptions embedded in their theories and the mysteries remaining. While Lawrence Krauss and others triumphantly proclaim that the Higgs particle (assuming it has been found in fleeting collisions of elementary particles) solves the mystery of mass, they remain silent about how the Higgs field itself arose. As the more forthright Nobel prize-winning physicist Martinus J.G. Veltman notes, with the Higgs particle “ignorance about the origin of mass is replaced by the ignorance about the particle-Higgs couplings, and no real knowledge is gained.” In other words, the Higgs field is supposed to bestow mass upon particles but no knows why such a field happens to have the peculiar properties to perform this feat. This leads to the further mystery of why these particles and forces are precisely adjusted to allow for a stable universe and life itself to exist. This fine-tuning problem then leads to the choice currently confronting modern cosmology: either our universe happens to be the only perfectly adjusted one out of a vast landscape of multiple universes, or else cosmology’s theoretical framework is out-of-kilter, and there is an intelligence lurking behind the scenes after all. Scientists like Professor Krauss, who overstate the progress of modern science in understanding our world and fail to disclose their assumptions, do a disservice by leading the public to believe the mystery of the universe has been solved even though, when the full picture is drawn, the mystery only grows deeper.

Tags: God particle, Higgs, Krauss, Newsweek

Are we Spiritual Beings Having a Physical Experience?

July 9, 2012 | 1 Comment

Categories: Consequences of a Dream World

Our modern mindset conditions us to look at the world as physical beings, collections of matter and dust; advanced robots; machines with a brain.   Into this materialistic framework, we have a hard time fitting spirit, the notion that there is something more than mere inert, lifeless stuff at the core of existence.  Spirit and matter have never gone together well, like a light breeze blowing through the Grand Canyon, spirit does not affect matter, and may be simply an illusion.

But this attitude leads to a big what if?  What if we are in fact spiritual beings having a physical experience. who have fooled themselves into thinking that our essence is matter, rather than spirit?  In his controverisal book, The Phenomenon of Man,  French Philosopher and Jesuit Priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, wrote that indeed, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.  Suppose we take this as our starting point, and then venture out into the world and its ideas.  Where does it lead?  In his new book, Divine Living: The Essential Guide to Finding Your True Destiny, Anthon St. Maarten, takes Chardin’s perspective as true and re-interprets much of our human experience.  And it starts to make more sense.  Anthon in my guest on the latest installment of Conversations Beyond Science and Religion. 

Tags: Chardin, spiritual, St. Maarten, worldview

Conversations Beyond Science and Religion – Is the Multiverse the Final Answer?

June 28, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Conversations Beyond Science and Religion

An unavoidable fact of science is that the universe is finely-tuned to allow life to exist. Fundamental forces and constants, from the rest mass of the electron to the sun’s distance from the Earth and the strength of “dark energy,” appear to be adjusted to ensure a stable universe and the possibility of life. Scientists, faced with this fine-tuning, confront the age-old dilemma of whether to bring a supreme being into the picture or to seek a “natural” explanation. But science’s natural explanation for the fine-tuning problem is a humdinger: an increasingly number of physicists are jumping on the multiverse bandwagon, supporting the idea that our universe is just one of a near infinite series of other universes, forming a vast landscape of other worlds. On this show, guest Bernard Carr, Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary, University of London, and editor of the book, Universe or Multiverse, joins host Philip Mereton in a conversation on the development of the multiverse and whether this amazing idea is science’s final answer to why the cosmos appears so finely-tuned.

 

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Tags: anthropic, Bernard Carr, fine-tuning, mutliverse, universe

The Eternal Question of Life and Death

June 18, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Conversations Beyond Science and Religion

The classic Hindu text, the Bhagavad-Gita, tells the story of the five sons of the deceased King Pandu, who are exiled to the forest through the treachery of a jealous cousin.  Thirsting for water, the five brothers come upon a crystal lake; as they prepare to take a drink, a voice comes out of the forest and says, “before you drink, first answer my question.”  The first four sons ignore the voice, take a drink and fall dead.  The fifth son, Yudhisthira, stops, and listens to the questions.   The voice asks, “of all the world’s wonders, which is the most wonderful?”  Yudhisthira answers: “That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes he himself will not die.”  The voice was of the god Dharma, who proceeded to bring the four brothers back to life.

This story either speaks to something eternal in us, or shows that most people cannot face death.  But maybe this is the same thing, for the concept of death must be hard for an eternal creature. To approach this question, we first must define what “we” are, with the two leading choices being a machine or a mind.  If we are fundamentally machines, then we will surely pass away into the grave, left with only a hope that something spiritual in us will live on.  But if we are fundamentally mind, then eternity comes a bit closer.

In his book, Is There Life After Death: The Extraordinary Science of What Happens After We Die,  Anthony Peake offers a new perspective on the mysteries of life and death.  I discuss these timeless questions and others with Anthony Peake in a radio show entitled, “A Life After Death,” on Conversations Beyond Science and Religion, which you can download here.

 

Conversations Beyond Science and Religion – Beyond the Inflationary Big Bang

June 18, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Conversations Beyond Science and Religion

The universe began with the Big Bang, right? But how did this chaotic, random event lead to an ordered, balanced universe? Recognizing this problem, in the 1980′s, cosmologists developed a new theory called the inflationary Big Bang. This new model called for the early universe to inflate at super-warp speed in the blink of an eye; if this occurred, cosmologists said, it would be possible for the Big Bang to have produced the universe we live in without needing finely-tuned initial conditions. So the inflationary Big Bang made its way into college textbooks, television documentaries, and popular science books. Professor Paul Steinhardt, of Princeton University, is one of the leading theorists who refined the inflationary model into the form it appears today. In a recent Scientific American article, however, Professor Steinhardt raises serious doubts over the inflationary model, showing that it actually requires more fine-tuning than the original Big Bang theory. So where does cosmology go from here? On this show, Professor Steinhardt, along with host Philip Mereton, traces the development of the Big Bang theory and discusses what lies ahead for cosmology.

 

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Tags: Big Bang, fine-tuning, inflationary, Paul Steinhardt, Scientific American