God and the Multiverse November 25, 2012. An Orderly, Rational, Comprehensible, Beautiful Universe. Conclusions
IntroductionSessions • Nov 4: Introduction. A Universe with a Beginning • Nov 11: A Multiverse with a Beginning • Nov 18: A Universe Finely Tuned for Life • Nov 25: An Orderly, Rational, Comprehensible, Beautiful Universe. Conclusions. PowerPointsavailable on-line at: www.stjohnadulted.org/multiverse-home.htm
Primary References4. An Orderly, Rational, Comprehensible, Beautiful Universe. Conclusions. • Stephen M Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0268021986. • Robert J Spitzer, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0802863836 • Paul Davies, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? Mariner Books, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0547053585. • Paul Davies, The Mind of God. The Scientific Basis for a Rational World. Touchstone, 1993. ISBN-13: 978-0671797188.
Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Book of Common Prayer, page 827. For Knowledge of God’s Creation
IntroductionGoals • To show how discoveries in modern astronomy and cosmology are: • compatible with a belief in a creator God, • can be most rationally explained by a creator God who deliberately created a universe — or multiverse — that would be fruitful of life.
IntroductionWeek 1: A Universe with a Beginning • Observational cosmology has firmly established, from multiple lines of evidence, that our universe began 13.7 billion year ago in an event called “The Big Bang.” • The past is finite; there is a past limit to physical reality
IntroductionWeek 1: A Universe with a Beginning • This scientific confirmation of a beginning to the universe empowers the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God (The “second way” of St. Thomas Aquinas, 1224-1274, based on the idea of causation): • 1. Everything we see in this world is caused. • 2. Nothing can be the cause of itself. • 3. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes – because the universe has a beginning. The past is finite. Therefore: • 4. There must exist an uncaused first cause not of this world • 5. The word God means “uncaused first cause not of this world”. • 6. Therefore, God exists. St. Thomas Aquinas
IntroductionWeek 2: A Multiverse with a Beginning • There is not a shred of observational evidence for any physical reality beyond the universe we see, the universe that began with the Big Bang. • There are however some physical theories that allow for (although do not require) “other” universes or “alternative” universes, not directly observable from our own – other universes: • that could have given rise to our own universe, • whose existence would mean “the Big Bang” was not truly the beginning of all of physical reality.
IntroductionWeek 2: A Multiverse with a Beginning Our observable Universe + these unobservable “other” or “alternative universes” = The “Multiverse”
IntroductionWeek 2: A Multiverse with a Beginning • We considered all the serious Multiverse scenarios: • Level I Multiverse = “Quilted” Multiverse • Bouncing Multiverse • The Eternal or Chaotic Inflation Multiverse • The String / M-Theory Landscape Multiverse • Braneworld Cyclic Multiverse = EkpyroticMultiverse • We found all these multiverses require a beginning because of considerations of thermodynamics (the buildup of entropy) and /or the Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem. • There is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine – including the giant “machine” we call the “universe” or “multiverse. • This requirement for a beginning means a Multiverse also empowers the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.
IntroductionWeek 3: A Universe Finely Tuned for Life • We looked at the “Teleological Argument” for the existence of God: the world looks like it was deliberately designed for a purpose. • Formally: • 1. Human artifacts (for example, a watch) are products of intelligent design. • 2. The universe resembles these human artifacts. • 3. Therefore: the universe is (probably) a product of intelligent design. • 4. But the universe is vastly more complex and gigantic than a human artifact. • 5. Therefore: there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who designed the universe.
IntroductionWeek 3: A Universe Finely Tuned for Life • Results from modern cosmology empower the Teleological Argument for the God’s existence, for the laws of physics seemed incredibly “fine tuned” or “adjusted” to give rise to a universe that would be fruitful of life(= the so-called “anthropic coincidences”) • One example of an “anthropic coincidence” we looked at: the natural modes of vibration in a carbon atom nucleus seemed deliberately “designed” to make it possible for helium to be “fused” into carbon, oxygen and heavier elements – elements critical for life as we know it. • Fusion of three helium nuclei into a carbon nucleus = Triple Alpha Process.
IntroductionWeek 3: A Universe Finely Tuned for Life • The man who discovered this, the atheist Fred Hoyle – who derisively had coined the term “Big Bang” because the idea of a beginning to the universe seemed to smack of religion – was so stunned by this apparent “fine-tuning” of the modes of vibration of the carbon nucleus that he “lost his atheism.” He later wrote: • ‘Would you not say to yourself, “Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”’ Fred Hoyle, 1915-2001
IntroductionWeek 3: A Universe Finely Tuned for Life • We looked at the only other explanation for the apparent “fine-tuning” and signs of “design” in the laws of physics – a multiverse consisting of an unimaginably enormous array of universes, each governed by a variation in the “laws” of physics, causing most to be abortive, sterile places – and invoking “Ockham’s razor,” suggested the most rational, most satisfying explanation for the “fine-tuning” is the existence of an unimaginably powerful and intelligent designer, consistent with God.
IntroductionThis Week: An Orderly, Rational, Comprehensible, Beautiful Universe • This week we will look at some additional questions, questions science is unlikely ever to be able to answer or explain: • Where do the laws of physics come from? [or] Where do the “meta-laws” of the Multiverse come from? • Why is there any order at all, why not just chaos? • Why should the laws of physics that lead to a universe fruitful of life and of conscious, intelligent beings (ourselves) also be laws that those conscious intelligent beings: • can comprehend? • find to be aesthetically beautiful. • What gives “fire” to the law of physics; what gives palpable “reality” to the potentiality they describe?
IntroductionThis Week: An Orderly, Rational, Comprehensible, Beautiful Universe • Then we wrap up everything up from these past 4 weeks to conclude that the best, single, most rational explanation for all of it is a creator God who deliberately created a universe — or multiverse — that would be fruitful of life.
The Laws of PhysicsOrder in Nature • If we study the world around us, we see order, striking regularities: • The orbits of the planets and their moons are simple geometrical shapes; their motions display precise mathematical rhythms. • Patterns and rhythms are found within atoms. • Bridges and machines behave in an ordered and predictable manner. • These regularities are clearly real; they are not merely patterns “imposed on” nature by our minds. • Physicists, discerning these fundamental patterns, • have found they can be best distilled and expressed using mathematics. • Have come to regard them as “laws” that do not merely describe, but “govern” the universe. They are the eternal, bedrock truths upon which the universe is built. Orbit of the Moon Around the Earth Electrons “orbiting” the nucleus of an atom
The Laws of PhysicsOrder in Nature • Remarkably, these mathematical distillations of the regularities seen in nature have allowed us to uncover new things in nature, often things we never suspected: • Newton’s law of gravity, for example, gives an accurate account of planetary motion, but it also explains the ocean tides, the shape of the Earth, the motion of spacecraft, and much else. • Maxwell’s Theory of Electromagnetism went far beyond a description of electricity and magnetism, by explaining the nature of light waves and predicting the existence of radio waves. • Study and formulation of the truly basic Laws of Physics have revealed deep interconnections between different physical processes, connections that we otherwise never would have discerned or even guessed. Newton’s Universal Law of Gravity Maxwell’s Equations of Electromagnetism
The Laws of PhysicsProperties of the Laws • Many of the “properties” that physicists attribute to the Laws of Physics are properties that theists commonly attribute to God. • The Laws are Universaland Perfect. • The Laws apply unfailingly everywhere in the universe and at all epochs of cosmic history. No exceptions are permitted. • The Laws are Absolute. • The Laws do not depend on anything else. They do not depend on who is observing the world, or on the actual state of the world.
The Laws of PhysicsProperties of the Laws • The Laws are Eternal. • The Laws do not change in time. • This timeless, eternal character of the laws is reflected in their expression as timeless, unchanging mathematical structures. • The Laws are Omnipotent. • Everything that exists is subject to the laws. Nothing escapes them. They are “all-powerful.” • The Laws are Omniscient (in a loose sense). • Systems in the world do not have to “inform” the Laws of their current situation in order for the laws to “govern” them. The “Laws” seem to already “know” their situation.
The Laws of PhysicsNature of the Laws • So what is the true nature of these Laws? In what sense do they “exist,” and where do they “exist”? • Most scientists think of the laws as something “out there” that they are discovering, something transcendental. • A related question: all of the fundamental laws are expressed in mathematical form. What is the nature of mathematics? Where do mathematical forms and structures exist? • Galileo: “The great book of nature can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. And this language is mathematics.” • English Astronomer James Jean (pioneer in the study of stars): “The universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician.” • Many mathematicians also think of themselves as “discovering” mathematics forms and structures that exist “out there,” forms and structures that exist in a transcendental realm. Einstein’s Equations of Special Relativity Einstein’s Equation of General Relativity (replacing Newton’s Theory of Gravity)
The Laws of PhysicsPlatonic Nature of Mathematics • The idea that mathematics forms and structures exist “out there,” in a transcendental realm was the view of Plato (427 – 347 BC). • Plato is most famous for his theory of Forms or Ideas: • All triangles have in common participation in the “Form of the Triangle” that exists in a divine, eternal, simple, indissoluble, unchanging, self-subsisting reality, existing outside space and time (= the “Platonic realm). Furthermore: • All beautiful things have in common participation in the Form of the Beautiful; all good things have in common participation in the Form of the Good that exists in the Platonic realm. Plato, 427-347 BC
The Laws of PhysicsPlatonic Nature of Mathematics • Many mathematicians are “Platonists.” The Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrosewrites: • “Mathematical truth is something that goes beyond mere formalism. There often does appear to be some profound reality about these mathematical concepts, going quite beyond the deliberations of any particular mathematician. It is as though human thought is, instead, being guided towards some eternal external truth—a truth which has a reality of its own, and which is revealed only partially to any one of us.” • Examples that inspired Penrose to adopt Platonism include: • the system of complex numbers, which he feels has “a profound and timeless reality.” • something called “the Mandelbrot set.” Roger Penrose, 1931 -
The Laws of PhysicsPlatonic Nature of Mathematics • The Mandelbrot Set was discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1980. • The set is produced by the incredibly simple iteration formula: • zn+1 = zn2 + c • where z and c are complex numbers and z0 = 0. • The Mandelbrot set consists of all the points on a complex coordinate graph for which the function z2 + c doesn’t diverge under iteration. Benoit Mandelbrot, 1924-2010
The Laws of PhysicsPlatonic Nature of Mathematics • Zooming in and “exploring” one small section of the Mandelbrot Set, using the computer: from YouTube video “Mandelbrot Zoom” by M. Eric Carr / Northlight Computing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEw8xpb1aRA)
The Laws of PhysicsPlatonic Nature of Mathematics • Roger Penrose writes: • “The complete details of the complication of the structure of Mandelbrot’s set cannot really be fully comprehended by any one of us, nor can it be fully revealed by any computer. It would seem that this structure is not just part of our minds, but it has a reality of its own. . . . The computer is being used in essentially the same way that the experimental physicist uses a piece of experimental apparatus to explore the structure of the physical world. The Mandelbrot set is not an invention of the human mind: it was a discovery. Like Mount Everest, the Mandelbrot set is just there.” Mandelbrot Set zoom-in image from: http://www.misterx.ca/Mandelbrot_Set---Thumb_Print_of_God.html
The Laws of PhysicsNature of the Laws of Physics • We are faced with deep and profound mysteries: • The “Laws of Physics” seem to be eternal, bedrock truths upon which the universe is built. • They are universal, perfect, absolute, eternal, omnipotent and omniscient in their scope. • They seem to physicists to exist “out there” in some transcendent “Platonic” realm. • The Laws appear to be encoded in mathematic forms and structures, and these mathematic forms and structures also appear to exist in some transcendent “Platonic” realm. • How can these mysteries be explained?
The Laws of PhysicsNature of the Laws of Physics • For a Christian, a satisfying explanation is: • The Platonic realm where mathematical forms and structures exist is the realm of God. • The laws of physics seems universal, perfect, absolute, eternal, omnipotent and omniscient in their scope because they rooted in and crafted by God, the creator of the universe. • If the idea of God is rejected, then the existence of both the Laws of Physics and the mathematical structures in which they are encoded become profound and unanswerable mysteries. • Where do they come from? • Who “sent the message”? • Who devised the code? • How could something that seems so obviously to belong to the realm of the “mind” just simply be “there” — freefloating? Michelangelo: The Creation of the Heavens (detail), 1508-12, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
Intelligible LawsWhy are the Laws Comprehensible? • Human beings have come to understand the world, at least in part, through the processes of reasoning and science. • We have methodically explored our physical world as well as mathematics, and by so doing have unraveled some of the hidden “cosmic code,” the “Laws of Physics,” the subtle tune to which nature dances. • There is nothing in the Multiverse explanation for why the universe appears designed to produce life that requires that life have such a deep level of involvement, such a deep level of connection with the Laws of the Universe / Multiverse. Neil Armstrong on the Moon, Apollo 11 mission, July 1969
Intelligible LawsWhy are the Laws Comprehensible? • That is: there is no obvious reason why we humans should be capable of comprehending the fundamental Laws of Physicsthat undergird the universe. • If there is no God, if we are products of a mindless evolution, merely creatures formed in a jungle crucible of “dog eat dog” natural selection and survival of the fitness, what evolutionary purpose was served by our ability to comprehend higher mathematics or discern quantum mechanics? • If Windows XP involved 45 million lines of source code, Mac OS X 86 million lines of source code, wouldn’t you expect that any “cosmic code” that undergirds the operation of the universe would most likely be incomprehensible by any finite intelligent being?
Intelligible LawsWhy are the Laws Comprehensible? • A Christian can speculate God deliberately designed the universe • with laws that would be comprehensible to the conscious, intelligent beings (us, for example) that the universe was designed be fruitful of, • because God wanted those creatures, intended to reflect God’s “image and likeness,” to have some understanding and appreciation of the creation, an understanding and appreciation that they could share with the Creator. Michelangelo: The Creation of Man, 1508-12, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
“Beautiful” LawsBeauty, a Guide to Discovery in Physics • Not only are the Laws of Physics comprehensible to humans, but theoretical physicists – those who spend their lives studying the Laws – describe the laws as aesthetically beautiful. • It is widely believed among scientists that beauty is a reliable guide to truth, and many advances in theoretical physics have been made by the theorist demanding mathematical elegance of a new theory. • Einstein, when discussing an experimental test of his general theory of relativity, was once asked what he would do if the experiment didn’t agree with the theory. He was unperturbed at the prospect. “So much the worse for the experiment,” he retorted. “The theory is right!”
“Beautiful” LawsBeauty, a Guide to Discovery in Physics • Paul Dirac, the theoretical physicist whose aesthetic deliberations led him to construct a mathematically more elegant equation for the electron, which then led to the successful prediction of the existence of antimatter, echoed these sentiments when he judged that “it is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment.” • Roger Penrose, the mathematical physicists, describes creative work in physics as the creative mind “breaking through” into the Platonic realm to glimpse mathematical forms which are in some way beautiful: • He cites beauty as a guiding principle in much of his mathematical work. • Countering a view of mathematics as cold, dry, and rigorous discipline, he notes: “Rigorous argument is usually the last step! Before that, one has to make many guesses, and for these, aesthetic convictions are enormously important.” Paul Dirac, 1902-1984
“Beautiful” LawsElegance and Beauty of Maxwell’s Equations • As a college sophomore physics major at Rice University, when we finished a year of study of Maxwell’s four equations that encoded all the phenomenon of electromagnetism, it seemed very appropriate to: • celebrate the elegance and beauty of those four equations, an elegance and beauty that we could now appreciate to some degree, • acknowledge the ecstatic “high” many of us now felt, in the manner our physics professor proceeded to do: • He raised a large banner displaying the four equations before the amphitheater of physics students, to the finale of the Overture of 1812.
“Beautiful” LawsWhy are the Laws “Beautiful”? • A Christian can speculate God deliberately designed the universe • with laws that would be comprehensible and beautiful to the conscious, intelligent beings (us, for example) that the universe was designed be fruitful of, • because God wanted those creatures, intended to reflect God’s “image and likeness,” to have some understanding and aesthetic appreciation of the creation, an understanding and aesthetic appreciation that they could share with the Creator. Michelangelo: The Creation of Man, 1508-12, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Giving “Reality” to PossibilityWhat is the Source of Being? • The Laws of Physics prescribe the behavior of the fundamental constituents of the universe. • But does knowing the Law, the prescription, the “cosmic code,” explain: • the existence of the universe, • that fact the universe is • that the universe has being? • The Laws of Physics, the “cosmic code” only describes possibility, potentiality. It is the “software” that prescribes the behavior of “hardware.” It is the “dream” of a possible world. • What gives the “hardware” being / palpable reality? What makes the “dream” real?
Giving “Reality” to PossibilityWhat is the Source of Being? • Perhaps someday science will find the “Final Theory of Everything,” the entire cosmic code that prescribes the behavior of everything in the universe. • Such a “Final Theory of Everything” will still only be: • the code or law for how “things” behave, • “software” that prescribes the behavior of “hardware,” • the “dream” of a possible worldthat has somehow become real. • It can never answer the questions: • What gives “being” to the “things”? • What makes the “hardware”? • What turned the possible world into a “real” world?
Giving “Reality” to PossibilityGod as the Source of Being? • A Christian however does have an answer: • the “things”, • the “hardware”, • the “possible world become real” • – the universe – • has been created, made real, and is continuously sustained in being by God.
Putting It All TogetherSummary of the Problems • Week 1 & 2: The Universe had a beginning (before which there was nothing). A Multiverse (if real) must have a beginning (before which there was nothing). Yet from nothing, comes nothing. What then could have caused the Universe / Multiverse to begin? • Week 3: How do we explain that the Universe appears to be incredibly fine-tuned – as if designed -- to be fruitful of life? • This Week: How do we explain that the Laws of Physics are both comprehensible and aesthetically beautiful to the life the universe appears designed to produce? • This Week: What gives “fire” to the Laws of Physics; what gives palpable “reality” / being itself to the potentiality they describe?
Putting It All TogetherThe Best Explanation • The best explanation, the only explanation that can answer all questions is: • a creator God who deliberately created a universe — or multiverse — that would be fruitful of conscious, intelligent life, • a God who wanted that conscious, intelligent life, intended to reflect God’s “image and likeness,” to have some understanding and aesthetic appreciation of the creation, an understanding and aesthetic appreciation that they could share with the Creator.
Putting It All TogetherThe Best Explanation • A common objection is: but who created God? What caused God? • In our “realm of reality:” • (1) the universe has a beginning (= “before” the beginning there was nothing) • (2) from nothing comes nothing, • (3) everything has a cause that is not itself; everything is dependent or contingent on something else • We have an intractable problem explaining why there is “something (the universe) and not nothing” • The only way out of this intractable problem is to hypothesize a different “realm of reality” where (1) and (3) don’t hold. • It is perfectly logically coherent to say God the creator is in a “realm of reality” where • (1) There is no beginning. • (3) God’s “cause” lies within God’s self.
Putting It All TogetherThe Best Explanation • This then is the description of God that “Natural Theology” (the name for what we’ve been doing these past 4 weeks!) has led us to: • a creator God who deliberately created a universe — or multiverse — that would be fruitful of conscious, intelligent life, • a God who wanted that conscious, intelligent life, intended to reflect God’s “image and likeness,” to have some understanding and aesthetic appreciation of the creation, an understanding and aesthetic appreciation that they could share with the Creator. • Such a God is fully consistent with God revealed to us in the Scripture, with God revealed to us in Jesus, The Christ, Our Lord and Savior.