Monday, July 02, 2007

No place left for God

From a story via Bad Astronomy, it looks like there's an interesting new theory coming out which might explain what happened prior to the Big Bang. Essentially, it turns into another universe contracting down to almost nothing, then undergoing a Big Bounce to come back out again.

Anyone else thing that if this theory gains ground, it's going to drive religious people crazy? If the universe had no beginning, the concept of a God creating it goes right out the window. Sure, some of them might come up with ideas like a secondary temporal axis, but this isn't going to be tractable to the public. What they're going to have to do is deny, deny, deny. If this theory becomes commonly accepted, expect it to see just as much controversy as evolution.


Akusai said...

One thing that always irritated me in the four years I spent in phil and religion classes is that religious folk tend to take it as a given that their god is somehow 100% less absurd than the concept of an infinite series. Whether it be an infinite series of universes, each born from the last stretching forever back into metatime, or elephants all the way down, they say that creating an arbitrary stopping point and calling it "God" is a far better way of doing things.

They never think about this. I asked one why an infinite series was somehow more absurd than god and he just tilted his head and looked at me funny. I don't know why, but all-knowing, all-powerful, insivible, unproveable skyman is somehow far more tenable to them than infinity.

That said, I think this idea, if it gains ground and a solid support, will drive the religious crazy, but I think their tactics will be similar to the ones they take with evolution: they'll simply appeal to the base-level assumptions of the dumbest common denominator. "This looks designed!" will become "God has to have started it sometime!"

They're suckers for arbitrariness: arbitrary morality, arbitrary beginnings, arbitrary metaphysics...

Bronze Dog said...

One thing I mentioned a while back when talking about alternatives to "First cause" was a big causality loop: The "last" effect was the "first" cause.

He said there'd have to be a God to get the loop started in the first place.

I love Star Trek, but that's not how time loops would work: Either it's a complete loop which causes itself, and thus requires nothing from the outside, or it's not a loop at all.