Supermassive and Super-hungry Galactic Core Black Hole – NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
Thursday, January 07, 2016 10:49 AM
Think of existence as a river—think of the novas as upriver and the black holes as downstream—something explodes into our existence and, after a little while, something leaks back out of existence. We used to think of the cosmos as static—nowadays we think of the universe as a long, slow-motion explosion—but existence is neither so simple nor so unidirectional. We are told of matter and energy that are ‘black’, meaning that we can’t see anything there, but we know from its effect on what we can see that ‘something’ is there—albeit a something that can’t be seen or understood.
Then there’s dimensionality—quantum physics indicates that there are as many as twelve different dimensions, give or take. We can see and understand the three dimensions of space—and if you add Time as the fourth, you get four easily understood dimensions to existence—so, in what direction do the other dimensions extend? Are we as ignorant of Nature’s true nature as a flatlander is of a sphere—but six or eight times more ignorant? This new Multiverse idea—is that like saying that our entire universe is like a point on a line—and that there are an infinite number of universes in both ‘directions’ along that dimensional line? Probability itself suggests that our universe is just a single roll of the dice—and that other universes exist where things went differently—a new universe for every atom that turns left instead of right, up instead of down.
For all the incredible cleverness of advanced physics, all our scientific information seems to indicate that we don’t really know much—that we can’t really know much. Imagine that—science proving that science is virtually useless. Think of the technology—the smelting of alloys, the nuclear energy, electron microscopes, gene-splicing, robots on Mars, and laser spectrography—yet the ultimate message of all our research is that there is more to know than we could ever expect—that knowledge exceeds our senses, our intuition—even our imaginations.
Strangely enough, this all still cuts both ways—we can view it as proof that there was never a God who created a flat Earth with a Sun and Moon moving across its sky—or we can view it as proof that only something unimaginably omniscient and omnipotent could create this puzzling universe. On the one hand, ‘excess’ dimensions are proof of the supernatural—there are things we can’t see. On the other hand, the ancient scriptures of the main religions show an ignorance that could only come from early humanity—with no sign of input from a creature that really knows the universe’s workings.
Thus when evangelicals claim that the ways of God passeth all understanding—I can’t disagree—but when they claim that the Creator picked out individual humans to talk to, or had temper tantrums that resembled natural disasters—or my favorite—that humanity was created from whole cloth instead of evolving from bacteria along with the rest of biology—well, I see a lot more humanity in all of that than any hint of a Supreme Being. I find myself in the awkward position of finding the universe even more mysterious than the wildest zealot’s claims—but completely unable to accept the nonsense in our sacred texts dating from the pre-shoes era of human history. Show me a God who created the Higgs boson particle and I’ll go to church on Sundays—if you know what I mean.