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We don't know how the universe began, and we will never know (backreaction.blogspot.com)
220 points by nsoonhui on Aug 27, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 580 comments

John Wheeler popularized the term "it from bit" and the idea of a participatory universe. The limits of human observation aside, it could be that the universe itself doesn't really know how it began. If a superheated plasma is indifferent to being in a 5 dimensional black hole as opposed to a state where only space exists, then, in a sense, there isn't any difference between the two explanations (given that the plasma is the entire universe).

There's this phenomenon in science where you think something is arbitrary, it could've happened in any number of ways. Then you do some digging and find out there is actually only one possible way for it to happen, none of the other ways make logical sense. And it's not a matter of initial state or anything, but of geometry or something.

Sometimes, after I put down the crack pipe, I wonder if there is only one possible way for the universe to exist, and knowing it isn't a matter of observation, but of abstraction, that irreal logical constructions are actually not abstract enough to explain the universe, etc.

Maybe a variable initial state doesn't make logical sense at the end of the day. Maybe the numbers we have to plug into the models to make them work are like pi or the zeros of the zeta function, maybe they just fall out of some result in group theory or sth idk

The origin can’t be explained, because if it was explained it wouldn’t be the origin anymore.

So the question of the origin is ill-posed. Yet there has to be an origin because an infinite history makes no sense.

In the end, nothing makes sense. God must be laughing at us.

Even secondary states might be impossible to explain, by the GP argument.

> Yet there has to be an origin because an infinite history makes no sense.

The origin has infinite history.

> God must be laughing at us.

No, because God is, like us, the descendant of something else, or else has infinite history.

What if the history is cyclic? Then there is no origin.

I guess God has to be not like everything else. He has to have access to a larger set of axioms or something. Transcendence allows him to go beyond what makes sense. I mean, I’ve no idea what I’m talking about, but I have to acknowledge that the universe exists even if its existence makes no sense. I feel like I have to resign in the end, and I’m not even a religious person.

> What if the history is cyclic? Then there is no origin.

But what started the cycle?

I guess we as humans are the ones at fault here, because we can't accept something infinite as an answer in the real physical world.

> > What if the history is cyclic? Then there is no origin.

> But what started the cycle?

It's a bit like asking where is the beginning of a circle, it doesn't make sense..

If you look at the circle on a piece of paper, yeah, it doesn't make sense _after_ it's been drawn.

But it does have a beginning, you had to pickup a pencil, placed the carbon tip on the surface of the paper and then finally you were able to draw a circle.

So yes, it makes sense _before_ the circle even existed. Something created the circle, it didn't materializa itself out of nothing.

>No, because God is, like us, the descendant of something else, or else has infinite history.

God could have no beginning. This makes sense because God exists outside of our conception of spacetime. We have to have a beginning, because in the universe we live in the laws of time and nature say everything has to have a beginning.

All of your questions will be answered in the next season of Loki.

The laws we know of anyway.

Maybe we’ll eventually figure out that when something passes through a singularities event horizon, that is the superheated ‘all energy’ state the universe was/is/has always been born from.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing that’s happened!

1) You just rephrased 'God has infinite history' I don't see the point.

2) 'nature say everything has to have a beginning' uh?? If you imagine the Universe expanding then contracting cyclically where is the beginning?

Which comes first, x/2 < x or x < 2x ?

I think mathematical statements don't have causes but constraints. Could be that the universe is somehow constrained to exist because of some incredibly abstract truth.

>an infinite history makes no sense

Yes, it does. It's just an uncomfortable notion for people raised in Western philosophy.

Can't it be some kind of self-explaining recursive thing - Doesn't it have to be? I think this is what Christopher Langan is on about with his CTMU theory.

After I pick up the crack pipe from my HN brother, I come to the same conclusion. Most questions aren't even answerable in a cosmic context because they become ill formed at that level.

After requesting the crack pipe from my fellow traveler, I conclude that the answer doesn’t matter. The universe Is.

Putting down my bong and loading another, I remark to the travelers that the human brain is the only set of atoms in the universe which wonders why they are there. All the other atoms seem perfectly happy to exist at all.

> only set of atoms in the universe

Being a passerby on the street after hearing someone say that while they grind their next dose, I stop and comment that that was an incredible narcissistic observation for someone from a species who hasn't even colonised another solar system yet.

While wondering around the market, I come and hear and will notice that ironically the fact that this universe have “narcissism” in itself in it just proves, also maybe not that happily, that we exist regardless of being able to colonise systems or not. Because we are and we think. We exists.

After hearing your comment, I humbly say that I was merely referring to the fact that, even if we exist, we might not be the only entity that does.

The universe is only made of matter so it is true in the sense that it exists but it is not the definition nor the root of creation of Existence itself. That’s where the “I AM” from the Bible echo even more what you say and add so much meaning to it. God Is.

I’m a big fan of the blog, but disagree with this entry. Her argument could be applied to the idea of the Big Bang itself: we can never receive light from any further back than the “surface of last scattering”, so the notion of a hotter prior epoch is an extrapolation. The extrapolation is a good one as it uses independently-tested laws of evolution, at least to the point these laws presumably break down, as she points out.

Similarly, it’s entirely conceivable that we may find independent ways to test which of the proposed modifications of the evolution laws is correct, for instance by using data collected from binary mergers. Then, these modified laws would lead to a modified story of what happened near the Big Bang. Alternatively, it may happen that all but one or a few of the proposed modifications do not play nicely with the other forces of nature at a theoretical level.

Or maybe not, but we certainly can’t rule out this possibility a priori.

Moreover, her point about not having a multi-universe data set would dismiss all of cosmology as mere “ascience” — again, including the notion of the Big Bang itself.

Instead, I think it likely that the present multiplicity of early universe proposals will be pruned as more data becomes available.

> Her argument could be applied to the idea of the Big Bang itself

What's wrong with that?

The thing about science is that it cannot pretend that it knows. It needs to prove. To which end, I don't think we should be supposing that we're going to know. Otherwise we're doing religion.

Science is, effectively, religion/faith in a particular set of base presumptions (axioms of set theory or logic theory guide all "logical" reasoning). Basically, limits of human mind understanding things come with just having to trust some things are simply so.

The biggest difference from things more commonly referred to as "religions" is that science invites you to challenge all these assumptions and look for a better (and smaller, simpler) working set that still explains all the phenomena we observe at least as well as the sets of axioms we currently use. And it knows that all the knowledge we gain is simply the approximation of the real stuff, and that we can only work to improve those approximations.

No. Faith is belief without evidence or belief in the presence of contrary evidence. If we were to suppose the "base presumptions" of science were on the same level as religious claims, then they could be arbitrarily ignored without real-world consequences.

I guess you are unacquainted with formal axiomatic basis for the most formal of all sciences (mathematics).

Eg. natural numbers are defined by assuming that there exists one, and that there is a successor to one: everything else flows from that (this is an older system, but more approachable than the set theory one).

Basically, we never, ever prove that one indeed exists, or that it has a successor: these are assumptions that have so far proven to work well, but we can never tell for sure.

In the past, axiomatic systems have been found to be "wrong" when matched against reality (most notably the axiom of parallelism and hyperbolic geometry), so there's nothing to say that any of the other ones are "correct".

So we have faith that one exists and that it has a successor. Without evidence, just like you say.

Again, none of this makes science useless: it is an approximation of reality that we always work to improve. But some things we can't prove, so we have just assume they are so (otherwise known as faith).

Numbers are a human construct, just like words in a language. They don't "exist" in the same sense as anything physically real. Nobody has "faith" in the number one, it's just a concept that's proven to be universally useful. If it weren't useful, people wouldn't (and couldn't) conceptualize it. Again, faith is believing in something despite lack of evidence or despite evidence to the contrary.

Disclaimer: not a scientist.


For the sake of the argument: Have you seen evidence of scientific fact-x? (For example x=“water is made of H2 + O”)

Since set of “x” is so wast, no matter who you are, for most of “x” the answer will be “NO”. Time, accessible equipment and brain-capability constraints force us to outsource the evidence check to others. (even smartest scientists read papers instead of reproducing all experiments)


I would like to distinguish two meanings/aspects of word “Science” used by in various contexts:

- scientific method - hypothesis, experiment, …

- “institution of society” -distinct group in society, view/expectation by the rest of society, education, trusted sources and similar

Methods of science and religion are very different. But as “institutions”, they do have some parallels.

- Both offer basic explanation of reality.

- In both cases people trust stuff written by others.

- Both have consistency if you accept some basic truths.

To sum it up:

I (and most) believe that “carbon has 6 protons“ without evidence. The basis of this belief is trust in science (the institution of society) based on its authority, stated principles&process. But in the end laypeople don’t have evidence for that.

You can e.g. electrolyze water at home and see bubbles. Of course this proves nothing but the fact that water has something in it that makes bubbles at plus or minus, and regularly so. You can add salt/soda and see that it goes faster. All this is not a direct evidence of H or O or what electricity is, but at least some indirect one that can be progressed further, even if you won’t.

You can buy a complex device like a microwave oven or a chemistry lab and experiment with them, checking how they map to scientific knowledge, and asking on physics/chemistry SE about your findings and getting answers from people completely uninterested of fooling you, who are not knowledgeable of what you’re doing besides what you described.

It’s harder with C=6, but by messing with chemicals you can at least make some natural sense of what 6 means in that theory.

Religion at its face value cannot be experimented on at all. Any coincidences (if you find what to experiment on) are so irregular that can only be explained by statistics, even if you won’t. The only way to “study” religious knowledge is to fall for an interpretation of the day, which is always based on some experimental knowledge which others extracted from nature, because these people are interested in converting more adepts from a general population.

You’re correct that there is no direct way to learn and proof to yourself due to materialistic limitations. But when you take plausible interests and statistical phenomena into account, you can easily see yourself what has much more evidential depth and innocence of presupposition.

I trust scientific facts proportional to the evidence I have that these facts are true. This is not the case for faith, wherein disproportionately large amounts of trust are demanded without any evidence.

Our model of the atom allows us to accurately predict chemical reactions. Religion has no predictive power whatsoever, and none of its unique "truth" claims are provable or falsifiable.

People who uncritically trust "science" as regurgitated by pop-culture media are more akin to theists.

This isn’t a good comparison. Science can do something religion can’t: it can predict what will happen ahead of time based on prior knowledge. Religion works backwards to explain why a thing that happened was the will of some god (in the example of Christianity).

This then has practical, real-world implications. Praying harder never seemed to stop a bridge collapsing but a better understanding of physics allowed humanity to build bigger and stronger bridges.

It’s treated that way by the masses but it most certainly isn’t. You aren’t going to find the origin of reality via science but science is used to describe reality.

Otherwise I agree. It will always be our approximation and until we meet aliens and do science with them we can’t be sure all of reality isn’t a construct of the human mind.

Going back to the simplicity statement from the video: you can model the universe as the product of your imagination but it seems surprisingly consistent if it is. It’s clear that the universe continues existing even when you’re not paying attention to it. For this to be true either:

* Your brain is storing and processing the entire universe all the time * Your brain is constantly rewriting its own memory on a mass scale to pretend the universe is consistent

Both of these seem way more complicated than just “the universe exists and you’re a part of it.”

(Yes, I know our brains rewrite history but not on the scale required to make all of reality seem consistent in this way)

> Science is, effectively, religion/faith

No. No no no no no!!!

Science is a process. The result of that process is explanations for phenomena. And the reason this matters is that the particular explanations produced by the scientific process turn out to give you the power to make extraordinarily accurate predictions about (certain aspects of) the future, and thus give you a tremendous amount of leverage in becoming the master of your own fate.

It is absolutely not a religion, except insofar as it is the only thing mankind has ever come up with that truly gives us the gift of prophecy.

You may see the above as a critique of science: I actually consider it a positive aspect that puts it way above traditional religions.

The fact that I recognize there are both faith and religious elements to science only makes it easier to explain how and why science is better than religion.

Note that science similarly includes a lot of areas where our predictions are not "extraordinarily accurate" (all the statistics-based science, like medicine, social sciences...) in any particular case, yet it's still science because we recognize the limits (eg. "with a large number of samples, this will mostly happen").

The scientific method lacks two features that distinguish religions from other human activities:

1. A doctrine whose source is authority (usually but not always a deity) rather than observation and

2. Rituals based on that doctrine

One might argue that the actual human practice of science sometimes involves the acceptance of authoritative doctrine (e.g. peer-reviewed papers) and associated rituals (e.g. conferences), but that is not quite true because the rituals are not based on the doctrine. Scientific conferences are not held because there is a peer-reviewed paper that says that they should be, they are held because empirically they help to advance the scientific process (or at least did in the past). Religious rituals exist entirely because of authoritative doctrine. There is no reason for (say) communion or baptism other than what is written in the Bible or proclaimed by the church.

> science similarly includes a lot of areas where our predictions are not "extraordinarily accurate"

Sure. Science isn't perfect. The view it provides us into the future isn't flawless, it's just vastly better than anything else humans have ever tried.

Not to lend any credence to the antiscience above, but nothing about science being a process or even the falsifiability and other safeguards of that process preclude it from religious adherence. Even if they’re extraordinarily accurate processes, “it” absolutely can be and sometimes is treated as religious. Elevating science as a process of knowledge acquisition does it a disservice too. Scientists make mistakes, have attachments to their areas of study, and have a lot of complicated incentives that nominally would be anathema to the “process” even if they’re following the process … faithfully.

How is it anti science to say the science is just our best approximation?

> Similarly, it’s entirely conceivable that we may find independent ways to test which of the proposed modifications of the evolution laws is correct, for instance by using data collected from binary mergers. Then, these modified laws would lead to a modified story of what happened near the Big Bang.

Sure, but you have to start from observations of the binary merger, not from what you'd like the Big Bang to be like, like most of these theories do. Starting from predictions about the origin of the universe is unlikely to produce good testable theories, since there is nothing to test there. You have to look at phenomena that are actually still happening in the universe to guide your research, and only then extrapolate.

Einstein's equations are time reservable and deterministic, so the evolution has only one path and ultimately it doesn't matter which end you start at, you'll get to the other unique end point regardless. The problem is to get the correct start conditions that makes the other end of the path end up somewhere plausible.

It is largely a matter of training and temperament if you think it's more rewarding to start from the observations of current phenomena that all have some uncertainty and laboriously work backwards to predict an early universe that doesn't match the observations and then have to start over, or if you think it's better to start from the distant past and work toward the now only to find a problem and having to start over.

Sure, the equations themselves lead to the same place.

But this is only true if they are the right equations.

If you look at an existing phenomenon that maybe relativity doesn't describe well enough, and find some modification to these equations that explains it better; and then you go and check that indeed this new model explains all known observations better - you have a pretty solid new theory. You can then expand this theory into the early universe and see what consequences it would have for the inflation model.

However, if you start from the big bang and want to modify Einstein's equations, what will guide you to a better model? Most likely you will use your intuition on how the universe must have begun - but then, chances are, your modified laws will predict entirely the wrong thing about the current universe; or, you can add terms to the existing equations that have no influence in the current universe, but then, by Occam's razor, your theory should just be discarded since it explains all observable phenomena equally well, but is more complex.

Look, the entire problem is that wherever people start, their modifications lead to entirely wrong predictions.

To be very clear this also happens when you start with a theory that describes the local universe well, indeed the fact that when general relativity extrapolated backwards gives blatantly unphysical results is the entire issue we are trying to solve!

She does apply it to the big bang as well. She says that it's just the simplest explanation we have and that it's probably wrong too.

As I read the post, she takes the fact of a Hot Big Bang (narrowly construed in the modern sense of a homogenous, hot initial state prior to which vanilla GR breaks down, not as a literal singularity) to be a fact knowable by the normal process of science. Whereas the question of what came before that — I.e. what modified description takes over at higher temperatures yet — is placed in a different epistemic category of forever unknowability.

Of course, for any theory that applies within a certain domain, there’s always the question of what happens beyond that domain (“what came before that… and before that… and before that…?”). But this infinite regress isn’t particularly noteworthy. If I understand her correctly, she is claiming to be able to draw a particular line and to say that we can know things on one side of this line but— even in principle — can never know anything past this particular line.

She certainly understands her stuff. But I respectfully disagree with her conclusions — I see no reason to think that we might not make progress on the question through the normal process of science.

I don’t think people are understanding the subtlety of what she’s saying here. She’s saying that since there are no predictions to be made, there’s nothing falsifiable in any of the many theories. Worse, if the theories _do_ make falsifiable predictions that still will only reduce the imaginative space, not reduce it down to one theory, and that instead we choose between theories on the basis of how many “constants” they require.

This argument isn’t invalidated by possible future discoveries. It’ll still be possible to generate competing elegant mathematical models that only differ in ways that are unobserved.

Yes, but this is a generic rubric to apply to all frontiers of science: falsifiable theories are good; unfalsifiable theories are bad; even when you falsify a theory, there will always be room to fudge and rescue it by making it more baroque; the principle of parsimony should be applied to give less credence to baroque theories.

I see no reason to place the frontier of "what happened right at / before the Big Bang where vanilla GR breaks down" in a different epistemic category than all other frontiers of science, as the blog post seems to do. i.e., I see no reason that we should not build models and collect data in order to expand into this frontier, as we profitably do in other areas of science.

There’s a couple of easy explanations for this 1) It’s her field of expertise 2) There aren’t any other frontiers of science where so much publicity and money is being spent on stuff that doesn’t look like it will ever advance science.

A concise shorthand for "non-falsifiable theory" is "faith".

Only if you choose to believe that a non-falsifiable theory is actually true. Otherwise it's not faith, merely a hypothesis.

As anyone who’s watched Dinosaur Train could tell you, a hypothesis is “an idea you can test”.

Dinosaur Train doesn't get everything right. An untestable hypothesis is still a hypothesis. Even an unfalsifiable hypothesis is a hypothesis. But testable hypotheses are better then untestable (and unfalsifiable) ones because, well, you can test them to see if they are false.

  But, after all, who knows, and who can say
  Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
  the gods themselves are later than creation,
  so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

  Whence all creation had its origin,
  the creator, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
  the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
  he knows — or maybe even he does not know.
-- Nasadiya Sukta (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta)

Okay, this is truly bizarre. I came here to share this exact quote (after reading a prior comment about how the universe itself may never know), only to find that someone already posted it... whose handle is the same one I use on other sites, because I share the same initials.

Genuinely thought I'd gone crazy for a moment and posted this with an alternate account.

I would say it's an unlikely coincidence, but not truly bizarre.

- It's common for desi names to start with A or K

- It's common for desis to use initials when referring to themselves

- Some desi surnames are over-represented in the population

- People with desi names are likely to come in contact with South Asian culture irrespective of their environment or if they speak the relevant languages. Or rather, they are more likely to have these avenues to begin with if they ended up with such a naming scheme.

- There are only so many foundational or well-known texts in any culture, so if there is a relevant passage, it has a high likelihood of being cited

It's not that different from a Jay Smith and a John Smith quoting a relevant C.S. Lewis or Biblical passage and having a jsmith handle.

'Maybe the creator doesn't know what he created.' Meaning he suffers from dementia and forgot what he created? I suppose that's possible.

Ha, maybe.

Or perhaps creation to the creator is like breathing to us. Do you remember how many breaths you took yesterday?

Or maybe there is no creator, only a self-creation.

If we will never know, then there should be some kind of proof that the beginning of the universe is un-knowledgeable, sort of like Godel's theory of incompleteness. But there is none, so the affirmation is incorrect:

We don't know if we will never know.

There are plenty of things we will never know and that there is no way of ever knowing. Here's some.

Given this 10k year old pot


What is the name of the person that created this pot, What day did they create it? Were they in a relationship at that time? Did they have children? How many siblings did they have?

There's no way to know. You can theorise time travel to find out or you can weasle into believing we'll somehow make machines in the future that can measure every facet of every atom related to the creation of the pot in such a way as to be able to trace their trajectories through time backward but both of those are grasping at straws, things that are unlikely to ever actually come to pass.

The reality is we'll never know the answers to those questions.

The same is true of how the universe began.

The best we can do is follow our theories of how the universe works backward and see where they lead and then try to create those initial conditions and see if we get the results we expect. It may be impossible to create those initial conditions though and even so, we'd be guessing at what those initial conditions actually were as we'd be assuming that running our calculations in reverse is true describe the actual initial conditions whereas they really only describe assumed initial conditions.

Human history stretches back 200,000 years according to some estimates. The agricultural revolution started about 12,000 year ago in multiple locations around the world. The first civilization was Sumer, started some 8,500 years ago. The first known writings are from Mesoamerica around 5,300 years ago. Socrates was put to death 2421 years ago. Cesar was killed 2066 years ago. Christianity began 2000 years ago, and Islam began 1412 years ago.

Most of human history we will know nothing about. At most we'll find a few hints of complex cultures and technology spread out across time. These people were just as intelligent as you and I, yet their lives will forever be shrouded in a mysterious past.

Proof requires axioms, and the universe hints towards what they are but isn’t explicit.

Per thermododynamic axioms, incompleteness is implied by the arrow of time and information atrophy. This would imply an unknowable beginning.

You got the direction backwards. Increase in entropy means that the farther back you go in time, the less information the universe has in it in some sense. The initial state of the universe would therefore be very simple, having low entropy. If the state were simple enough, then in principle, we could figure it out in exact detail. The thing that thermodynamics says is unknowable is the distant future of the universe. We can predict that it will be dark and cold and empty and sparsely filled with ever-more red-shifted radiation, but it's impossible, even in principle, to know the details of exactly where each individual particle in going to end up.

Maybe we are thinking of S=k ln(0 or 1) then? Undefined or zero is not a great place to start:)

>then there should be some kind of proof that the beginning of the universe is un-knowledgeable

Sabine literally addresses this in the piece:

>"As I said earlier, you can always do this, because for any evolution law there will be some initial state that will give you the right prediction for today. The problem is that this makes a simple explanation more complicated, so these theories are not scientifically justifiable. They don’t improve the explanatory power of the standard cosmological model. Another way to put it is that all those complicated ideas for how the universe began are unnecessary to explain what we observe. It’s actually worse. Because you might think we just have to wait for better observations and then maybe we’ll see that the current cosmological model is no longer the simplest explanation. But if there was an earlier phase of the universe that was indeed more complicated than the simple initial state that we use today, we couldn’t use the scientific method to decide whether it’s correct or not. The scientific method as we know it just doesn’t cover this case. Science fails!"

There are countless of competing models you can invent that explain the beginning of the universe and everything you see, provided you make them sufficiently complex. The problem is, that's not science.

It's like saying: the standard model explains everything but the beginning. Let's say God caused the universe and then he went away. Technically that's an explanation, it doesn't violate physics as we know it, but it's not scientific. And given that we can't run repeated experiments on the early universe because we only got one, assuming the standard model explains everything but the early universe implies it is out of the reach of science.

We may not know the answer to how the universe began, but a time loop at the beginning of the universe is my favorite explanation. Gott and Li proposed this model and you can see Gott explain it elegantly here: https://youtu.be/raTqAyLikLU

The thing about time loop is that, how and when did it began? I just can't wrap my head around something being here, there and everywhere at all times.

You're right. In fact a time loop has the same something from nothing problem any other theory has.

Imagine a flatlander universe. Package up time in another dimension and you can represent their entire existence as a static 3d cube. Timeloops would just be a static torus in the cube.

The same is true of a 3 spatial dimension + 1 time dimension universe. You can view it as a static 4d tesseract. Timeloops are just a 4-taurus. Where did that 4 Taurus come from? It's the same something from nothing problem.

It's something we learn very early in the philosophy of science, is that our vision of the world will always be inherently limited by the capabilities of our perception and the way we process it

with time loops. It began half way though me writing this sentence — that's the thing

There are only two alternatives for the origin of the universe: Either creation out of nothing, or no creation through eternal existence.

Both are hard to wrap your head around.

That's the thing about time-loops; you don't need to have a start and a beginning. There's a good movie about that concept; Interstellar.

Interstellar is pretty much nonsense even given the premise. Even if you are talking about time travel you can easily make something more plasuible than that.

Also Interstellar had information passing from the future to the past which isn't really what's typically sufficent to consider it a time loop.

The time loop is allowed by the current understanding of physics. The math checks out.

Interstellar has one, but for that topic I'd suggest Predestination: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination_(film)

I'd also suggest watching it before reading that plot synopsis.

It's a metaphysical assumption, meaning beyond the realm of experimental science. Science has inherent limitations, and cannot be used to explain everything. This is a good starting point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If3cNUixEBM

How did I know before I clicked that link that it was going to be apologetics.

Faith is not a shortcut to knowledge. "Hey, we can't yet find the answer to big questions through rational means, so let's try irrational means!"

You can throw around words like "apolegetics", but that doesn't make it less correct.

Islam has proof and evidence (e.g. http://provingislam.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTsEZXx8kRg, https://www.reddit.com/r/islam/comments/hxn276/here_are_some..., and much more). Don't present a false dichotomy between science and faith where there isn't any for us in Islam.

Interesting how you just said science "cannot be used to explain everything" and yet now you're claiming "proof" and "evidence" (i.e. science) for your particular religion. Make up your mind.

I for one am glad that Gott has finally joined youtube to explain to everyone the meaning of the universe and everything. Cool move bro!

Thanks for the link. I love how Gott started with simple everyday objects.

He is a great teacher and a really awesome person in general.

Why is there even such a gigantic universe? Like what is the purpose of it - why was there a Big Bang? If I really think hard about these questions it makes me uncomfortable and anxious.

The universe is as big as it is because of the word size used by the machine which runs the simulation. Most of it seems to be 'wasted space' but that is just a consequence of the large word size needed to have an accurate enough simulation.

I used to ponder this too much as a child. Why is there something instead of nothing.

The most satisfying answer for me was that you must first define nothingness. But the moment it's been defined nothingness ceases to be. It seems to me at least that somethingness (suchness) [1] and nothingness are cross-reference negation of the other. So it can't be one or the other but must be both.

This probably is not making an sense. Later I stumbled into Buddhism [2] which seems to have this undefinableness as a core of experienced reality.

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suchness

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tath%C4%81t%C4%81

Why anxious? the answers to those questions, while interesting and entertaining, aren't relevant to you today. Just be glad you get to experience this tiny little part of the universe for the brief time you're here.

Is the universe gigantic enough and long-lasting enough that my consciousness will come back in some form after I die?

Uncountably many will that differ from you by random degree on uncountably many dimensions. How much like you do they have to be, to actually be you?

Everybody reading this differs from you by only small degree. You differ from yourself-of-yesterday by a typically smaller amount, and -of-last-year by a less-small amount.

"Your" consciousness, no. But consciousness in general may be eternal. Death of your self is like a drop of water returning to the ocean.

There is no evidence to believe that's true, so you shouldn't believe it and assume that your current life is all you have. Enjoy it to the fullest while it lasts.

Why do you need a reason? Maybe there is no purpose. The universe just is, period.

If you look at an ant, do you ask yourself "Why is this ant here?".

> Why was there a Big Bang?

Big assumption to make there. The big bang is a theory and it is not at all proven to have happened.

In a gigantic universe, it’s statistically more likely that something interesting like you will happen in it.

I read this somewhere else so it would be nice someone can quote the origin, but think of it this way - you were dead for billions of years before you were born, you weren't anxious then. once you are dead you won't feel the anxiety again, so why bother worrying about it now when there are a whole lot of other things you can do.

Any theory of everything has to fall into one of the options of Agrippa's Trilemma - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma

Looking at a static stone and deducing where it fell from may work based on the current rules you know today but no one tells you these are the only rules. We have to look at science as best guess for the moment and not as absolute truth.

Maybe it stops being science and starts being math, but I don’t think that means we should discourage people from doing it. That said, I am sympathetic to an argument that we may not need to fund such inquiries.

“We will never know” sounds overly pessimistic to me; I could imagine someone from the 10th century claiming we will never know the trillionth prime number.

I think that the evolution of physics has actually been a series of discoveries of new things that are impossible. We used to think that many things were possible if only we knew the right spell, or invoked the right god, or just worked hard enough.

Then as people studied nature more thoroughly and systematically, they started observing laws that simply can't be crossed - conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, the increase of entropy , the limited speed of causality, the uncertainty principle - to name some of the bigger ones. All of these have put limits on something we used to think of as unlimited.

There are many more non-existence proofs in math as well - so even in pure math, you can't escape this accumulation (probably the most famous such problem, one long attempted that ultimately proved impossible, is "squaring the circle", or in modern terms, the fact that pi^n is irrational for any rational n).

> “We will never know” sounds overly pessimistic to me; I could imagine someone from the 10th century claiming we will never know the trillionth prime number.

There are tons of stuff we as human beings we'll discover and be pretty confident about it. There are other things we'll never know. I think that's part of being human, to know our limits.

Reminds me of something Karl Popper philosophized about. I'm completely butchering it ofcourse, but it goes along something like this - Every scientific theory is waiting to be falsified by future generations. He concludes that everything in Empirical sciences cannot be proven, but instead they're only falsifiable.

The fact that things we have accepted as scientific fact have, in the past been proven to be utterly false points to the fact that any of the scientific facts we believe in may be false. And then there's always the possibility that you're a brain in a jar and this is just a dream so everything you believe is actually false. (wake up)

Things like the big bang seem to be things after the beginning of the universe. In the same way, the issue with a god is "who created god, and who created that who created god...". If he's eternal, who/what made him eternal? We have the same problem in science, and I think any explanation/theory would have the same problem. Also, I dislike that when some physicists explain this they say, "sure, you can get something from nothing" and then change the definition of 'nothing' for their explanation to work. I feel like it's a disservice to not just admit mayyybe we don't know some things. Disclaimer: not a physicist and maybe missing something.

Indeed. We'll never know the beginning of everything; science cannot accomplish that, religion cannot provide satisfactory answers, and philosophy will always leave you half empty half full.

That being said, discovering things is fun, so as human beings we should not stop doing science/religion/philosophy/etc ever.

the issue with a god is "who created god, and who created that who created god..."

It is if you assume God is bound to the chain of causation, but obviously any creator is likely unbound by the system of laws in which his creation exists, the same as when we create a video game we stand apart from it. I always liked the Dr. Quantum Flatland as an example of god-like capabilities wrt dimensionality:


By the same logic the universe itself (as opposed to its contents including the laws of nature) then the universe isn't necessarily bound to the internal system of laws, and all the same arguments can apply there with no need for a creator!

Even if the creator exists outside their creation under different laws of physics (if any), who created the creator or how did the creator come to be?

(I can’t watch the video right now.)

That question assumes the default state is they didn’t exist already

But how does this "uncaused cause" add anything to our understanding of the cosmos, beyond adding one more entity?

Why not say that God was created by God_1, who just already existed?

seems like both your Gods were created by a SuperGod who is programming the simulation in Python

> did the creator come to be..

Time, and causuality, is a construct inside of our universe. Asking who created the creator is like asking which way is down when you are in outer space..

If you can’t use the concept of causality outside of the universe, then the idea that there’s a creator outside of the universe who caused the universe is already out of bounds.

> who caused the universe is already out of bounds.

"caused" can mean a different thing. Imagine causualty in a 3d FPS video game, and the creation of the game itself. Though they are similar in semantics, one is different from the other.

Ah, well in that case, the parent poster can just say that asking about the cause of the creator is a valid thing to talk about, because they mean a subtly different kind of ‘cause’ than the kind of cause you told them wasn’t valid to talk about outside of the universe.

They can, but that wouldn't be too interesting to anyone in this universe. Or that it how I read it. Just like a being in a game wondering what caused the game company/programmer to write the game..

The reason will have no consequence to the beings in the game, and thus they will only be interested in the causuality mechanism within the game..

I infer then that you think the concept of a creator outside of our universe who caused it is a concept of no consequence. If so, then on that we agree.

recursion is one of the possible explanations as well. No beginning, no end.

In the case of the Bible, it makes it explicitly clear that God is uncreated. Asking the question, "Who created an uncreated God?" doesn't make much sense in that case.

To be clear, it makes a ton of sense to ask such a question.

The underlying assumption to the question is why only one thing is allowed to be uncreated .. ? Are there others like them, much like here on Earth where we have many authors writing many books? The Bible doesn't answer those at all, it starts in media res (despite its first three words!)

(I have other complaints about such a God but)

The Bible very explicitly teaches that there are no other gods. Here is one passage among many.

Isaiah 44:6-8 ESV

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. [7] Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. [8] Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any."

In other places, it says pretty explicitly that there are other gods:

Pslams 95:3 ESV

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Psalms 97:7 ESV

All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!

Deuteronomy 32:8 NRSV (less henotheistic in other translatins)

When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods;

And there are others. We know pretty clearly from historical sources that the early Jews were henotheistic (recognized the existence of other gods, but only worshipped YHWH), and that is preserved in the oldest parts of the Old Testament. Even Genesis often uses a plural when God talks about his works - today that is often explained as talking about himself and the angels or even the holy trinity, but it is very likely it originally referred to the god of Israel and the other (lesser) gods in the heavens.

Yes but why should we care what the bible says, especially when what it says contradicts science?

> it says contradicts science?

contradicting science is no great flaw. "Science" contradicts itself from time to time.

It would be more accurate to say that science corrects itself. At any given time there are ideas which appear to have been verified as much as possible, others which are near speculation, and others which are quite uncertain with evidence for and against.

What I think the parent means by contradicting science is rather different: the Bible says things which go against ideas which we believe have been verified by evidence, but the Bible won’t be changed to reflect that understanding. On the other hand, science will change its idea of what it thinks to be true as more evidence becomes available. Nobody changes things in the Bible.

If God exists outside of time, it's not possible that he had a beginning. A common trap I see people fall into when thinking about God is that they struggle to think in any other terms but the ones they're familiar with.

Because how can we even apprehend anything existing outside of time?

Of course, but then immediately leads to the question: if we admit that it is possible for God itself to be un-created, why can't the universe itself be uncreated as well?

The attributes between the universe and The Creator would need to be differentiated.

In other words, the properties of that which is uncreated would need to be defined so they can be distinguished from something that is created. These properties have to be understood and accepted as an exclusive set that cannot be "distributed" or "shared" among other beings; in order to dispel the notion that there can be multiple uncreated beings or beings that are created that share attributes with The Creator.

That was a popular theory for a long time, although I think it's declined over the years. I don't recall the reasons why, though.

Probably the Big Bang and evidence of inflation and the CMB. There is a lot of credible evidence that our universe had a definite beginning.

Note that I wasn't arguing against the big bang, or even cosmology itself. I was only pointing out that the concept of God doesn't add anything to the conversation.

It's also important to note that the big bang theory completely leaves open the question of what there was in the tiny tiny universe before inflation. Basically, the current BBT describes how the universe evolved starting from some time t=t0 + 10^-36 seconds. But that leaves a gap after t0 but before this time.

Finally, the question of existence from nothing is traditionally extended to the supposed singularity that existed at t0 as well, though that is on shaker ground.

I was just suggesting a reason why the solid state theory of the cosmos fell out of favor - evidence to the contrary.

Sure, but this thread wasn't referring to the solid state theory - it is referring to the philosophical problem of creation from nothing.

That is, in our usual life, everything that exists comes from something else that exists. But we can't easily apply this rule to the very beginning of the universe (be it the big bang or whatever other model).

So, the question is - how do we handle this? Thomas Aquinas said that this is itself proof of God's existence: the universe did not exist at some point, then God created the first thing. Of course, the next logical question is - ok, then how does the rule apply to God? And the religious say - well, the rule doesn't apply to God, only to creation.

But, if we accept that the rule isn't universal, then we can also choose not to apply it to the beginning of the universe. Instead, we can tweak the rule to say that everything except the singularity at the beginning of the Universe is created by another existing thing; the singularity itself was always there and requires no explanation. This is perfectly consistent with the Big Bang theory, and is in fact how most scientists conceptualize it (or, they say that questions about the origin of that singularity make no sense, since time itself began once the singularity started inflating, but this is philosophically similar).

Of course, we can posit anything we want about that singularity and its past (if any), and we will never contradict another theory, since there is no remnant in the existing universe of what came before inflation, so whatever theory we want will be consistent with the current universe.

Did a different universe collapse into that singularity, perhaps one with slightly different constants of nature? Sure, why not. Was it a regular black hole in another, larger, universe that still exists, but which is too far away from us to be detectable in any way now that space-time has expanded so much? Possibly, why not. Did gods and demons fight until they a powerful sorceror cast a spell to imprison them into single point, where they and there magic were ground to dust and exploded in the inflation? Perfectly coherent with all known physical theories.

There are also hypotheses stating that the universe has always existed and that the Big Bang was just a phase change.

This blows away all religious arguments trying to plug a creator in there: since the universe was never created, it doesn't need a creator.

   The reason for easiness in regard to the complete otherness of His Essence and His unrestrictedness is this: most certainly, the Maker of the universe is not of the same kind as the universe. His Essence resembles no other essence at all. Since this is so, the obstacles and restraints within the sphere of the universe cannot hinder Him, they cannot restrict His actions. He has complete disposal over the whole universe and is able to transform all of it at the same time. If the disposal and actions that are apparent in the universe were to be attributed to it, it would cause so many difficulties and so much confusion that neither would any order remain nor would anything continue to exist; indeed, nothing would be able to come into existence.
   For example, if the masterly art in vaulted domes is attributed to the stones of the domes, and if the command of a battalion, which properly belongs to its officer, is left to the soldiers, either neither of them would ever come into existence, or with great difficulty and confusion they would achieve a state completely lacking in order. Whereas, if in order for the situation of the stones in the dome to be achieved, it is accorded to a master who is not a stone himself, and if the command of the soldiers in the regiment is referred to an officer who possesses the essential quality of officership, both the art is easy and command and organization are easy. This is because, while the stones and the soldiers are obstacles to each other, the master and the officer can look from every angle, they command without obstacle.
from Quran's Light

This is what I don't get:

"... if the universe expands today, this means if we look back in time the matter must have been squeezed together, so the density was higher.

If the universe expands today, how does it follow that it was also expanding yesterday, or a million years ago? Maybe universe expands, then contracts again cyclically?

The reason expansion yesterday is plausible if we see expansion is simply that's it's far more plausible nothing so special happened yesterday as to change the motion of the entire universe.

The universe is not a little trickle of water down the wall in the bathroom you can easily redirect with your little finger, the universe it really big, so you need something equally big to make it change behaviour.

The oceans used to seem really big to us too, but each rising tide wasn’t destined to continue rising—the tides turned out to be cyclical, even though we couldn’t imagine anything but gods or magic to be powerful enough to cause the change. Perhaps we’re in a similar trough of understanding here?

I'm not sure I get your point, are you saying the moon and the sun, the things we now know cause the tides, are small things?

My point is that you could replace a couple words in your comment to get the following, and it would've been conceivable for a person to say a thousand years ago on their first day at the ocean. And yet it wouldn't have been accurate.

> The reason tides always rising is plausible if we see tides rising now is simply that's it's far more plausible nothing so special ever happened as to change the motion of the entire ocean.

> The ocean is not a little trickle of water down the wall in the bathroom you can easily redirect with your little finger, the ocean is really big, so you need something equally big to make it change behaviour.

Are you aware that the tides rise and recede twice a day? Nobody has ever tough a tide would go on for ever, simply by the definition of what a tide is.

But even beside that, the reasons why the ocean has tides are very big indeed. You could try making the argument with a Tsunami, but those also require huge motions of the Earth to happen at any impressive scale.

Finally, the ocean remain big even now!

Honestly I don't get what you were going for, it like an argument version of when sideshow bob is trapped in a field of rakes, every step brings pain.

> Maybe universe expands, then contracts again cyclically?

It's possible, but you're going to have to come up with a theory for why whatever 'force' is driving the expansion goes from negative, to positive, and back.

Is there a good theory as to why Universe is expanding and acceleration its expansion? Dark Matter? Dark Energy? Cosmological Constant? Those are more like "We can not really explain it so we assume there is something like "Dark Energy" which causes it all.

We live inside an engine piston?

And what wheel drives the inner workings of that piston?

Maybe a better analogy would be a spring that goes from contraction to expansion and back again? A lot of things behave like waves so could it be some space field swinging in a wave-like pattern? Is there some evidence for the expansion to have also happened say 10B years ago in the CMBR?

> If the universe expands today, how does it follow that it was also expanding yesterday

The universe is not only expanding, it's expanding faster and faster... it's very hard to see how anything could explain the rate of expansion could have started off negative, then instead of just collapsing into itself, it reverted somehow and then started accelerating. The simple explanation is that it has always expanded, though at a slower rate, just like in the future it seems it will continue to expand at a faster rate.

I agree it is a simple plausible explanation and Occam's Razor argues that simple explanations are the most likely. So yes maybe it is the most likely explanation. But that is not the same as saying we know it is the explanation.

Big Bang itself is a counter-intuitive explanation: Something came out of nothing.

> But that is not the same as saying we know it is the explanation.

No scientist says that. If evidence ever comes up against any scientific theory (and that's why we call it a theory) it's readily replaced with the most seemingly correct theory.

> Big Bang itself is a counter-intuitive explanation: Something came out of nothing.

Can a theory of creation exist that does not involve something coming out of nothing?

Perhaps not. I'm just pointing out we should not dismiss theories simply because they are counter-intuitive.

There is another theory, which says universe expands then contracts, then expands and so on and it has always, always been like that. I understand many scientists today don't vote for that theory but I think it is less counter-intuitive than something coming out of nothing.

IMHO it is equally hard to wrap our head around the concept of inifity (has always been there) versus there being a start or end to time and space.

It's a bit weird because if we try to think about the end of space our brain immediately asks "well what is beyond the end?" and so implicitly expects there to be more and more - ad infinitum.

But on the other hand if we think about something being infinite then our brain immediately tells us "hold on! that seems fishy, I've never experienced something infinite, it has to start somehow" and so implicitly expects there to be a limit to everything.

To me infinity is the (more) natural circumstance.

We are used to just going forward, if there is an obstacle it can be removed somehow. And even if we go around Earth and arrive back to where we started we can then realize: Hey I should be going up instead, not in 3D circles.

If then space itself turns out to be curved and round, based on what we have learned so far, we can reason hey there must be some extra dimension (something like "up") which I am missing so far. I must go there to truly experience infinity.

One can argue though that dimensions themselves are a limit. Going around in a circle is infinite in 2D but limited in the third dimension. So one would ask what about the N+1th dimension? Are there infinite dimensions?

Maybe infinity is indeed more natural to us since our brain accepts and indeed expects that there is something unknown just to be discovered.

But I guess we are coming back to the point of the video/article. There does not seem to be a way to know for sure and we can think and argue about it till the end of time :P

My strong opinions, weakly held:

* God is not a good hypothesis for any secondary cause. The creation of space-time as we currently understand it must have had a secondary cause. Let's patiently keep looking for a scientific hypothesis (theoretical or empirical) that is an incremental improvement on what we already know.

* Religious people who conceive of God as the creator, believing that the word 'creator' refers to the creation of the universe at some point in the past, are completely misunderstanding the use of the word and need to do some more homework.

* Non-Religious people should stop conflating 'metaphysical' statements with religion. Can we agree that we need to make metaphysical statements from time to time if we are having a conversation to understand something 'about physics'?

> Religious people who conceive of God as the creator, believing that the word 'creator' refers to the creation of the universe at some point in the past, are completely misunderstanding the use of the word and need to do some more homework.

Can you explain what you mean here - I couldn’t follow

Sure. I'll try.

There are two senses to understand the word creator. I'll illustrate both by analogies to the way 'we' create as people:

(1) A violinist is creating the music that you are currently hearing. Here and now in the present. (2) A painter created a painting in the 19th century, and you can see the artifact on the wall in a museum.

In the case of (1) the creator brings the song into being out of nothing. More or less, don't squabble over sound waves. :^). When the violinist stops playing, the music stops. Here and now in the present.

In the case of (2) the painter finished the work 'at some point in time' and we can have all sorts of interesting conversations about when exactly the artifact was created. Did the painter really paint it in the way some book said that he did? Does the painter maintain any connection to the painting after it's finished? etc.

You see, if the proper sense of the word creator is actually (1). Then all discussions about (2) are distractions.

So, it's important to remember that, for example, knowledgeable Christians refer to God as the creator in the sense of (1). There may or may not be some interesting discussions to be had about whether God is a creator in the sense of (2) but they are conversations about secondary causes, and very much irrelevant to God's existence and the role as the primary cause.

> So, it's important to remember that, for example, knowledgeable Christians refer to God as the creator in the sense of (1)

I am very curious why you think that - given that the Bible and all common teachings of it that I've ever seen very explicitly define God as the creator in the second sense (Genesis very clearly describes past events - not just Let there be light and so on, which could be taken as metaphors for every day dawning, but also Adam and even and all of their descendants, which are described and were understood throughout history as ancestors, not metaphors). The Jewish calendar is even numbered since the year of creation.

Also, while I'm now atheistic, I received at least basic Eastern Orthodox education in school, and the very explicit notion there was that God was the creator of the universe; I also know modern Catholic teaching explicitly names God as the cause of the Big Bang itself, or whatever else science finds to be the mechanism by which the observable universe formed.

Also, while many do accept the possibility of miracles, even some commonly recurring miracles (like the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ during Holy Communion during every Sunday Mass), the working of the natural world is accepted as ordained by God, but not personally directed by Him - this is quite explicit at least in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, where any direct intervention of God on Earth is seen as a miracle, usually related to a Saint.

Note: I am not saying that there are no Christians that believe what you are saying, or that it somehow runs counter to Christianity. I am only saying that I don't think it is a common understanding of Christianity, even one limited to more literate/knowledgeable Christians; e.g. I don't think the Pope believes what you are saying.

What the GP is talking about, is the traditional distinction made in philosophy between in fieri and in esse causation. A causes B in fieri if A was necessary for B to begin to exist–but once B exists, it can continue to exist even if A ceases to exist. A causes B in esse if B can only exist as long as A continues to exist (and do whatever is needful to sustain B in existence.)

You will not find this idea directly stated in the Bible anywhere – these terms were developed in mediaeval scholastic philosophy (although the concept arguably goes back further). Among Roman Catholics, it is certainly the standard view–indeed, I think it is actually an official dogma that God continuously sustains the universe in existence (creates it in esse), as opposed to the deist view that God created it in fieri but its continued existence no longer depends on him.

Many Protestant philosophers invoke the same distinction. Philosophy of this kind is less popular in Eastern Orthodoxy (especially in recent times) – but when Orthodox thinkers have taken an interest in these kinds of philosophical topics, their views on them tend to be broadly similar to Catholic views, so I'd expect them to endorse the distinction as well.

> I don't think the Pope believes what you are saying.

This stuff is standard in seminary training for Catholic priests – so I'm pretty sure Pope Francis knows it – and although we can't know what's going on in his head, why would he disagree with it?

This content is nicely titled: 'Creation isn't what you think it is.' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o8mGHN9t10

It gives a nice quick and better overview of the point I was trying to bring out. The video here is produced by the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC.

> I don't think the Pope believes what you are saying.

I can't speak for the Pope, but you can quite confident that the definition of creation expressed in the video is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and very likely identical or essentially identical to the teaching of the Eastern Orthodox church.

> I am only saying that I don't think it is a common understanding of Christianity

You're Right! And I stand by my statement. :^) Common Christians need to do more homework.

> knowledgeable Christians refer to God as the creator in the sense of (1)

How does this relate to the idea of creation in 7 days? Doesn't it imply that creation is something that happened in a particular point in time (ie the first 7 days in time), like (2)?

Yes. The Bible does include a creation of the world story which if taken literally would lead to an interpretation of God as the creator in sense (2).

But the point is that there is this other sense, (1) above, in which God is the creator. This is the dominant sense and is present throughout the Bible as well as the classical tradition that unifies the teachings of the bible with basic philosophy. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'

Interesting, a distinction I’ve not thought too much about - I appreciate the extra explanation

"misunderstanding the use of the word"

Aka, I've used someone else's redefinition of the word away from the vernacular understanding, to redefine it to support my view of the world. See also "recession."

Not quite. Although I fully understand the feedback. There are 2 equally valid senses in which the word creator can be used. Both conform to standard definitions but each used in a different sense.

I tried to add clarity in the response above. Thanks!

I took it to mean "god is somewhere, you need to explain how that somewhere and god themselves came into being"

On this note, did you know that the official age of the universe is 432 × 10^15 seconds and the diameter of the universe 7 × 432 × 10^15 light-seconds? An amazing coincidence.

Therein lies the True eternal distinction between Reason and Faith.

Reason is that which can be known and where it ceases becomes Faith. They are separate parallel structures, to mistake one for the other is folly.

We know that everything we can see originated as a single point of one uniformly distributed substance.

We know that everything we can see will return into one uniformly distributed substance (Heat and red-shifted light).

Belief is Necessary to fill in the gaps between creation cycles (Or its rejection entirely).

>Reason is that which can be known

Nah. Reason is just the best model we have at the time, given the evidence that we have.

For example, Newtonian physics is a pretty darn good way of looking at the universe and it works well. It was thought of as "known". But of course, I'm sure everyone here knows that Einsteinian physics replaced Newtonian physics with a more accurate model of the universe.

Faith is different in that it is based on no evidence. For example, in christendom, they say there's a heaven, with no testable evidence, or that there's a god, let alone the one that they think exists as opposed to Kali or Uhuru-Mazda, or the other hundredss of thousands of gods that have been professed to be real.

>Belief is Necessary to fill in the gaps between creation cycles (Or its rejection entirely).

eh....despite what the author says, it is conceivable that a scientific solution could be found for the creation. But with faith, just saying "God done it" is something that requires no work, no new knowledge, and not even an attempt at new knowledge. Belief is something necessary when one is just too lazy to try to figure out the actual solution, or to disprove one's belief and accept that it is wrong.

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth…”


Faith is the justification that people give when they believe something for no good reason.

You can believe anything based on faith, therefore, it's not a reliable path to truth.

Only reason is.

The faster our civilization gets rid of faith, the better off we'll be.

Fides et ratio was written to address that problematic way of thinking (what you just expressed). Maybe give it a read.

Could you outline what's problematic about it here?

In his famous talk "A Universe from Nothing", Lawrence Krauss makes the same point, if slightly less definitively. ("We may never know", and that's okay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo)

By analogy he describes how, due to the expansion of the universe, Milky Way residents 100 billion years from now will be unable to observe the cosmic background radiation or any galaxy but our own. Civilizations wil evolve, invent science, use the best tools possible, and incorrectly conclude that the universe consists of one single galaxy alone in a vast sea of empty space.

When we triply rewrite hard drives, we understand that information can be destroyed. Sometimes the universe does the samething. Sometimes information is irretrievably lost.

In Hindu scriptures there are many many universes that are bubbles perspiring from a particular form of Vishnu as he lies down. With each breath the universes are formed and destroyed, for us the time is very very slow but at his level he is literally breathing in and out and the bubbles come and go.

Alright finally an explanation on why all the other explanations work. To me the most convincing theory how the universe began is this one: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Wbb1cqubo

Is there infinite?

Tough for finite things to try and understand much less comprehend such a simple and complex quandary.

What happens if there really is infinite no beginning and no end. Or what if there is an Alpha and Omega - such a beautiful thing to not understand.

What if it never began and has simply always existed? That is the likely scenario, as the moment you think about it beginning, you again face beginning from what? What was that called before the universe other than the universe?

If the universe is infinitely old - well, what’s the probability that, untold (yet finite) aeons ago, a planet existed just like this one, in which history unfolded in exactly the same way, even the pettiest details of our lives being precisely the same? I think the probability is arbitrarily close to 1 - not just that our lives have happened exactly the same before once, but an arbitrary - even infinite - number of times - and we should expect will again in the future. Would it follow that Nietzsche was correct in his doctrine of eternal recurrence?

But if there exist an infinite number of copies of myself, all exactly the same - why should I consider myself to be any one of them individually, as opposed to all of them equally? If they are all the same, are they not identical? In which case - the past isn’t infinite after all - rather time is finite and circular.

Another way to put it - any finite spatial volume must contain finite information (see the Bekenstein bound) - hence can only exist in a finite number of distinguishable states. Given infinite time but only a finite number of possible states to visit in them, it has to visit the self-same states again and again - an infinite number of times

Well, there's also the possibility that the universe occupied some single state (say, the singularity posited by the big bang theory) since t=-inf to some t0 when it exploded, and that the dynamical laws are of such a nature that it can never return to that state.

Right now, the prevailing model of cosmology (lambda-CDM) basically says that the universe can never return to an earlier state, as it is constantly expanding (and that expansion is accelerating). In this model, the universe has an infinite number of possible states, and is in fact guaranteed to never visit a previous state, even though it has an infinite future ahead of it.

> Well, there's also the possibility that the universe occupied some single state (say, the singularity posited by the big bang theory) since t=-inf to some t0 when it exploded

What's the actual difference between these two positions:

(A) the universe was in state X for an infinite amount of time, then suddenly transitioned to some other state Y

(B) time began at t=0 with the universe in state X, and it immediately transitioned to some other state Y

They seem effectively identical, with seemingly no way for us to tell them apart. (B) seems simpler than (A), so by Occam's razor we ought to prefer it to (A), unless we have some specific reason not to. What could such a reason be? Well, I suppose (A) might lead to simpler mathematics. However, in actual fact, I don't believe that's true; and even if it were, it still might be reasonable to conclude that the "infinite static before-life of the universe" was just a mathematical artefact, without any physical reality.

Other problems with this view: (i) time is usually understood as a succession of instants which are somehow distinct – could an infinite succession of instants, all exactly the same as each other, actually count as "time"? (ii) why, if the universe had existed forever in a single state, did it suddenly transition to a new one? That seems harder to explain than the universe just existing with a finite past.

So, I think an infinite past only really makes sense if the infinite past involved an infinity of distinct universe-states – which I think might lead to the consequences I was suggesting.

> In this model, the universe has an infinite number of possible states, and is in fact guaranteed to never visit a previous state, even though it has an infinite future ahead of it.

Let me present a variation on the Boltzmann brain argument: the universe is vast, yet the volume of it which is actually relevant to humans is quite small. Humans cannot ever know or care about the state of the universe as a whole, only that subsection of it we can somehow observe–which is at most the observable universe; but, if we accept the possibility (even only as exceedingly unlikely) that nature is deceiving us (other galaxies don't really exist, it is just randomly arranged photons which by amazing fluke are exactly the same as what we'd observe if other galaxies did), the knowable subsection could be a lot smaller. No matter how stupendously unlikely such as scenario may be – so long as its probability is not strictly zero, in an infinite future, any constant non-zero probability is going to converge to unity.

Consider the current state of this galaxy – does Lambda-CDM guarantee that the universe will never visit a future state, which contains a Milky Way-sized volume, whose state is exactly the same as the state of this galaxy right now? You can repeat the question for "solar system-sized volume with exact same state as our solar system has right now" or "Earth-sized volume with exact same state as Earth has right now". Or a volume with the same size as the current observable universe, and the same state as it?

Our human brains cannot grasp the idea of "it simply always existed".

Imagine a non-human being (e.g., "god", "beings from another dimension", "beings from an advanced civilization", etc.) telling us the theory of everything (with maths and all, if you want), and the end saying: "btw, there is no origin, and no end. Realiy has always existed". Do you think our scientists (or any other kind of curious human being) will say "Alright, got it. Won't keep investigating then. Thanks!". That won't happen, our human brains cannot understand that concept, and there will always be the "but how does it work?!"

Then we have a lot of explanation needed as to why entropy was low and smooth between 13 and 14 billion years ago.

> "What was that called before the universe other than the universe?"

If it was "before the universe" then it wasn't called anything, because there was nobody here to give it the name "universe"?

Just because everything within this universe has some preceding cause doesn’t mean that the universe itself can’t have a beginning without anything preceding it.

This is an interesting and important point. I'll attempt to rephrase your point slightly differently:

Everything we observe in the universe has a sequence of linear causes stretching backward in time. However we can't be sure from these observations that Universe (or multiverse or something similar) itself has been caused in a similar way. -- I hope I got that right.

But is the physical universe (or multiverse or something similar) that we experience a good candidate for the uncaused base reality that just exists?

A good reason to think not is that universe is composed of stuff and parts that change relative to each other. If something changes, ie goes from potential to actual, then there is something that is more actual, or more real, from which we should be able to explain the change.

Another way to say it is that we may not know what base reality is, but in order for it to be a good candidate for 'the' base reality, it should be completely simple. And the universe as whole, by all appearances, is quite complex.

A random tear in infinitely dense nothingness. Might be a lucky one-off

Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits by John D Barrow — rest in peace — is an excellent book about the aspects of the Universe we can never know. For example, the visible Universe and whether constants are constant.

When this blogger starts by pushing back on philosophers, I think they may mean scientists like Barrow, which is a shame because he makes for very compelling reading. In fact, have I not seen warnings here, from reputable posters, about this Backreaction blog?

In any case, I recommend the ahem “philosophy” book heartily.

The only thing that can maybe be understandable for us is an infinite universe. What was before 0? -1. What before that? -2.

But how can we ever understand how out of a state of nothingness came something? That is where the science "ends" and the door to philosophy opens.

Those are similar problems like "Why is there not nothing?", "Why are the laws of nature not different?" etc.

To add to your point, why should there be nothingness? Who is to say that 0 is before 1? There's 1/2 somewhere right? And 1/4 before that, etc.

It's not obvious that there "should" be nothing, rather than perpetual something. It's not obvious we should work with integers and not the reals. Or the rationals. Or the rationals without zero, which cannot exist as a denominator (in the common definition of the rationals). It's not obvious that we've ever detected zero. And why a line? Why not a circle? And even if a line, couldn't it be the limit of a circle whose radius tends to infinity? Etc.

In projective geometry negative infinity and positive infinity meet :-)

I am sure all pot smokers know the answer. The observable universe is in a much larger universe with many like itself. Sometimes universes collide and form a new universe. There is an infinite stack of these much larger and much smaller universes (more like a fractal tree actually); some are hot and some are cold but even cold universes can collide make a hot universe.

Soma drinkers, lotus eaters, born-again mushroom enthusiasts.. We know how the universe began, trillions of different ways. Creativity and imagination are as much part of fundamental physics as quarks and entropy.

> So if you read yet another headline about some physicist who thinks our universe could have begun this way or that way, you should really read this as a creation myth written in the language of mathematics.

I thought that was very insightful. Today people try to pawn of all sorts of opinions as “science” by covering them with the language of science.

I dont think we can get there.

First, we would need to solve time. I am not sure if we are able to grasp it. Then we must figure out what happened at T-1 or T-2, which I think will be simple once we understand time.

The theory creates a start and then explains the progress from there. but not what caused it.

In theory of the cylinder than the universe travels to that is good but it does not explain how everything came to be.

We have a simple to state problem. There was nothing, then there was something.

Much like in Genesis ""And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.""


Science says there was a big bang and from that everything was created. and we have figured out a model to explain (most) of the evolution since the big bang. Which means we can say no god did it.

But the way the story begins is in my opinion quite similar.

In one version god is used to explain what created us. Which then leads to the question of who created god and to answer that we need to figure out time.

(I am aware that there are equations that explain what was at t-1 or explain that there was nothing and even asking the question of what was at t-1 is crazy. I do not have the background that could allow me to understand the equations, but every which way you do it you end up with a question of what started it, or what was before what was the trigger to get it going.

Perhaps you can say that the universe has always been there, forever, sometimes it shrinks sometimes it expands, and we have a nice perpetuum mobile.

> We have a simple to state problem. There was nothing, then there was something.

Natural language is woefully inadequate to express these issues, but believe it is a mistake to state the problem like this. There can be no concept of “before” if there is a T0. Perhaps the “why is there something rather than nothing?” version comes closer to what we are asking.

to which the current best though unsatisfactory answer is “because!”

Hawking’s history of time actually anwsers this question with „we don’t know and don’t have any information from before big bang we can access to use in research”.

which means that science then states that T-1 "We have absolutely noe clue and we will never have one"

So a spaghetti god monster could have created it? It could but you would never be able to prove it.

Not quite. There is still the possibility that at some point in the future we will be able to figure it out unless it can be proven that it is impossible.

The only observation is that currently we don't know. Could it be the spaghetti god monster? Maybe. Maybe not. We simply can't tell at the moment.

There are things we don't know the answer to. We just have to keep looking.

Please stop construing your religious beliefs with sciences. Sometimes the answer is simply we do not know.

The story's title isn't explicit about the means by which the knowledge is gained, nor exactly which details are being sought.

I think it's a mistake to treat the scientific method as the only plausible source of knowledge. My opinion is obviously based on a particular worldview, but so is a claim that the only useful source of knowledge is the scientific method.

the god of gaps is more and more god of cracks

Watching tons of PBS Spacetime the only theories oI see is that Universes are constantly being created with different properties, with an externally rare one having the right conditions for life to be possible.

Still leaves the same questions as to why a bunch of universes are being created or where the energy comes from.

End of day there isn’t anything I’ve seen other then a true all powerful God or equivalent being responsible.

I sense you just expressing your view on the matter, but I think that this is a very weak argument for God's existence. It's completely plausible that we will at some point in the future have good materialist explanations for the existence of energy or the size of the multiverse etc.

Unlike in Genesis, the light was not created before sun.

Grafting god onto science by cherry picking things that were guessed while throwing away all the incorrect statements is a bit disingenuous, no?

Is this satire? Or are you literally being so literal?


That was around 9 billion years before the Sun.

Why does there have to be time before The Big Bang?

IIUC, the hypothesis is that everything was packed into one super-dense black hole.

Wouldn't there not be any time?

However, you play around with words the same question always remains what was before.

Where did this super dense black hole come from? What caused it to be? What was it before it was a black hole?

Our current theories for the origin of black holes as far as I know does not include the spontaneous appearance of a black hole for no reaosn.

  > However, you play around with words the same question always remains what was before.
  > Where did this super dense black hole come from? What caused it to be? What was it before it was a black hole?
These theories are just that - thought experiments to try to come up with possible explanations. They are not claimed as proven or facts.

There are a lot of open equestions. It is work in progress.

  > Our current theories for the origin of black holes as far as I know does not include the spontaneous appearance of a black hole for no reaosn. 
There are actually theories that black holes can form spontaneously. This is because particles are theorized to be able to spontaneously form and under the right circumstances they'd form a black hole. They would most likely though evaporate nearly instantly. But again that is not proven.

The way we currently view time there was no time before the Big Bang. No space = no time

Of course we don't know. That does not mean we should stop searching for the answer.

But before we try to understand how the universe began, maybe a better starting point would be: how did we begin?

Finding out what exactly happened to us that made us different than the rest will lead to answers to greater mysteries of this world.

"We don't know how fire comes to life, and we will never know."

"We don't know how to defend ourselves against beasts, and we'll never know."

"We don't know how disease spreads, let's just hug it out, we'll never know."

"We don't know how to fly like a bird, we'll never know."

"We don't know how to land the booster of a rocket, we'll never know."

"We don't know how to cure that form of cancer, and we'll never know."

What a ridiculous defeatist attitude. History has proven that, so far, we've been very reliable at figuring out things that were deemed impossible.

I'd say we already know. It would be infinitely arrogant of us to think we're the originals. We're likely inside an inescapable but observable simulation, inside a simulation, repeat for any unknown number of times. That's probably how "the universe" (our universe) began.

Our parent universes probably have far more complexities to them that have been stripped from ours, for the sake of computational simplicity. Perhaps the actual originals, or any of our parent simulators, know exactly how the universe came to be. We might figure it out, too.

None of those things are impossible based on known physics. Traveling backwards in time to observe the beginning of the universe, and/or somehow existing outside the universe in order to do the observation, is impossible. Could we learn new physics that make it possible? Yes, but it is still a totally different class of problems than the ones you listed. Those were ONLY a question of knowledge. The problem at hand is a question of both knowledge AND the laws of physics actually allowing for that knowledge to be had. There was never any reason to assume that we would be unable to cure a certain type of cancer with the right knowledge alone.

> We're likely inside an inescapable but observable simulation, inside a simulation, repeat for any unknown number of times. That's probably how "the universe" (our universe) began.

That's just deferring the question. If we're a simulation inside a larger universe, then how did that universe begin? Although I'd argue if we're in a simulation then we're still a part of the host universe, even if kept in isolation, and it's that host universe we should ultimately care about when asking the big questions.

I agree that the title is kind of defeatist and I'm not against scientific research on finding the source of universe, heck I optimistically hope humans find it within my lifetime. That said, all your examples are really miniscule and dare I say, easy, as compared to the scale of understanding the universe.

You present an interesting semi-fictional point on simulation.

What seems arrogant to me is to think that we, as human beings, can know everything given time and space.

This universe became just in universes bubbles explosion. One day, we will be able to determine which of the marbles of universes in the universes bag of marbles collide to create this one new marbles. Sciences is here to go further, not to stop thinking at the edge of one way of think.

Ok, then how did the “marble bag” came into existence?

It arose from the dream of a flying space turtle

I really love when science goes so deep, it loops back around into philosophy. When I took intro philosophy in college, I really was pleased how deeply it is ingrained in everything else. There’s a reason people like Descartes are well known in both math and philosophy.

We may have a better understanding someday though.

Roger Penrose's Cyclic Universe theory is quite intriguing to me, but unfortunately still doesn't answer the question if there was an initial created universe or an infinite amount of prior universes (aeons).

the radius of the visible universe is about 14.0 billion parsecs (about 45.7 billion light-years), while the age of the universe is 13.787 ± 0.020 billion years. I must have missed out on some caveats to the speed of light.

You did - space-time can expand with unbounded speed, and that is what happened in the early universe. Remember that the big bang is not some point in space-time which we are moving away from, it is a point in space-time that has expanded to the size of the current universe (and keeps expanding).

The speed of light is only a limit on how fast matter/energy can move through space-time.

The speed of causation is also so unintuitive imo, but also a must to make anything make sense logically. After watching many hours of youtube i still cant wrap my head around it. Say you're accellerating 1g forever you never reach the speed of light for other observers.. Whats cool about gravity is that the spacetime 'train tracks' are tilted slightly into the earth so youre pulled down, but the earth is resisting tou going into it. Just waving your hands around is the same feel as playing with magnets

I think the most intuitive explanation I've seen for c is that in fact everything always moves at a fixed speed, c, in space-time - either through space or through time (from past to future). You can neither increase nor decrease your total speed, you can only change its direction - the larger the space-only component is, the smaller the time component is.

Additionally, mass deforms space-time such that a little bit of your motion towards the future is directed to the center of mass instead.

You just discovered the Big Bug theory.

I think we're limited by our genetics. There's a limit to our species intelligence.

To a monkey an iPhone is just a rock.

To humans the universe is equivalent to a piece of chorizo on a telescope.

Yes we are limited by our genetics but what does that mean when you consider that we are starting to learn how to manipulate our genes?

Evolution doesn't seem to stop. Science is advancing at an increasing pace and the boundary is pushed forward each and every day. What might become of humans in a million years?

This is a very good point. As from, so to.

All it takes is one person with a mutant super-intelligence gene to bring forth a new step for human kind or one scientific discovery on how to hyper evolve a new babies intelligence.

And we have several billion more years before the sun shuts down, so hopefully that will emerge.

Never is a strong word.

I wonder if we really want to know, or if we'd rather enjoy speculating for all eternity. Seems like the journey is more fun than the destination.

"The issue is that physicists can’t accept the scientifically honest answer: We don’t know, and leave it at that."

This sentence jumped out for me. Is there some kind of crusade going on that I have missed the beginning of? This feels like a strange sentence in this piece and feels like a (misguided) attack.

Early pixel blob analysis (I don't know a better way to put this, check Figure 5 in the paper) from the James Webb:


Suggests that the universe may be older than the Big Bang theory predicts. There are a lot of qualifiers on both sides of this, so I would suggest sitting back with some popcorn and enjoying the spectacle of a lot of primate descended life forms earnestly debating something that in many cases they couldn't even be bothered to read up on.

I can't open that link right now. If that's what I'm expecting it to be, the abstract begins "Panic!" as part of a disco pun?

If so: https://youtu.be/I7lxzS6K9PU

and: https://youtube.com/shorts/1S2CxPUZDOY?feature=share

Haven't read the article but I remember some mentioning these analysis are quite useless without spectra. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can explain this.

The purpose of science is to try to understand the world. Even if we never can answer how the universe began, I hope we never give up trying.

The job of science is to tackle answerable questions. There are lots of these not started on yet.

Maybe save the unanswerable questions for after.

Agreed completely.

I think she justifies the "attack" towards the end of the piece, where she talks about the many theories that purport to explain how the universe began. Her point is that you can always create a coherent mathematical model that "explains" this, but since it is logically impossible to check it, you're not proposing a scientific theory.

I don’t often go looking in Astronomy or cosmology journals, but I’d be surprised if either scientists were trying to publish articles like that — or if they were, that they could pass peer review.

On the other hand, if you are working on theories that can extend into the early universe, it’s not unimportant to try and figure out where the model breaks down. Maybe t=0 isn’t possible, but t=1s? 1ns? 1ps? How much can we feasibly describe?

I’d argue that not exploring the limits of models is also bad science. Knowing the limits is a fundamental part of communicating a model.

> I’d be surprised if either scientists were trying to publish articles like that — or if they were, that they could pass peer review.

The article we're discussing itself even links to one such paper [0]. All of the others she mentions are also published works - Penrose's CCC [1], the ekpyrotic universe [2], Hawking's no-boundary state [3] etc.

> On the other hand, if you are working on theories that can extend into the early universe, it’s not unimportant to try and figure out where the model breaks down. Maybe t=0 isn’t possible, but t=1s? 1ns? 1ps? How much can we feasibly describe?

Sure, but this is a different thing. Many of these are adding elements to the existing theories, and then predict a new initial state given the modified evolution laws.

[0] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10714-021-02790-7

[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1808.01740?context=astro-ph

[2] https://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0103239

[3] https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.07702

The point of publishing those articles is...to publish them though. Like, you have an idea, you write it up, submit it and note that it can fit known data but isn't currently testable. Done, and important. Maybe it goes nowhere, maybe it inspires someone, but the point of journals is in the name: they're journals of work in the field, shared so the community can explore and benefit from them.

They're not publications of "what is definitely true", they are fundamentally explorations of what could be, or the more important "this is kind of interesting where could it lead?".

> note that it can fit known data but isn't currently testable.

But the thing is, theories about the beginning of the universe will never be testable, they aren't just not currently testable.

So, if your theory has no novel predictions about the future, but it adds extra parameters to obtain a different prediction about a past which exists beyond what can be measured, then you're wasting your time creating this theory, and wasting reviewers' and readers' time publishing it; and you're wasting money researching it.

This is what Sabine usually writes and complains about - research money being spent on research that is at best unlikely to bear any fruit, and at worst navel-gazing, especially when there are very real problems in physics that are not receiving significant research.

This is why she complains about people researching the beginning of the universe, or black hole entropy, or grand unified theories, or the hierarchy "problem", or looking for supersimmetry or for WIMPs in ever larger particle accelerators.

Instead, she wishes more people were researching the measurement problem, non-linearity in quantum mechanics, high-energy physics through radio-telescopes instead of particle accelerators, to name a few things.

Now, I don't know anywhere near enough to say that she is right, but I do believe she is not trivially wrong, like you seem to be suggesting.

Yes but you missed the beginning because the origin is almost as old as the age of enlightenment.


from what i've read, physicists gladly accept what they don't know and make a point to admit that

Sabine H. That’s her horse.

She's fantastic. She doesn't hesitate to call out the physics community on its idiosyncrasies. She is a necessary check and balance on the mainstream body of researchers.

She’s basically a check and balance on public perception of research, she isn’t a particularly influential physicist

I'm increasingly sceptical. She's not in research anymore but has found success running an "I know what I'm talking about" contrarian blog.

If she was a software developer we'd rightly start to wonder about grand pronouncements coming from someone no longer practicing in the field.

When your market doesn't exist if you actually agree with anyone, the incentives start to be questionable.

> She's not in research anymore

What are you talking about?

She is still publishing proper research papers as recently as this month!


Some people pick up weird ideas about her and I really wonder why.

So you're right - Research Fellow at Frankfurt Institute of Advanced Science [1]

However her broad ranging commentary which tends to take the tone of "this field should listen to me but doesn't" as is the case with this article (and a few others she's done such as about the LHC[2] or black-hole information loss[3]) leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

[1] https://www.fias.science/en/fellows/detail/hossenfelder-sabi...

[2] http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2020/10/particle-physicists...

[3] http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2022/04/i-stopped-working-o...

It's the honest answer.

Our best cosmological theory applied backwards results in singularity. That's bad. See her droplet example.

According to maximally projected Penrose diagrams in singularity time and space evert into the multiverse. You move in time and space flows around you. https://youtu.be/4v9A9hQUcBQ

And according to our other most successful theory, space-time is divided into chunks. And boiling. Opposite of infinitely divisible, smooth relativistic space-time.

Not to mention if we go with current astronomy theory, we end up with unexplained dark matter and dark energy, that give different answers depending on the methodology.

Yea, the intractable mystery is the existence of spacetime.

Whether time has an origin, and whether we can measure how distant it is from us are questions that could be answered.

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