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Hypothetical "loophole"...

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Posted by Mark on November 5, 2001 18:41:11 UTC

Alex says that all mathematical logic (and hence conservation laws of nature, which in turn dictate physics), follow from a single underlying as-of-yet undiscovered symmetry.

He posits this as the ultimate pro-atheistic argument; and indeed it probably would be should his hypothesis prove correct (via painstaking experimental and theoretical/mathematical advance; if it is even possible to prove). He says that the entire universe in all its splendor, beauty, wonder and glory... can be reduced to numerical values of just a handful of physical constants (namely: G,e,D,lambda, and a few others I can't think of right now) and their mathematical relationships; constants of which themselves follow as logical consequences of deep mathematical symmetry.

Simply summarized in Alex's style... God cannot exist because there is no room for him in laws of nature.

The universe itself follows from intrinsic, eternal, unchanging, platonic, symmetry principle. Therefore nobody created the universe... it was a chance event which out of the infinite of possibilities amongst an infinite of universes, had just the right mix of finely tuned numerical values that gave rise to life, and eventually and inevitably, intelligent life.

However herein lies the loophole...

Because of this symmetry, the emergence of life and therefore intelligent life, was inevitable. In fact ALL possibilities are inevitable! (life, no life, universe, no universe, etc.). Therefore, any civilization that becomes advanced enough in theoretical physics/mathematics, will have full mastery of the universe (within the window of permitivity of laws of physics), and be able to manipulate matter/spacetime at its deepest most fundamental level. At this point, anything that is potentially technologically possible, will be potentialy recognized, and any further technological advancement will be limited only by the laws of physics themselves (not by annoying technical difficulties or experimental barriers as is the current case for us Earthlings).

If such chance of advancement is inevitable by very definition of "infinite possibilities" in probability, then can it be that a civilization will get so advanced as to be able to tamper with the determination of physical constants of newly forming infant universe? If so, let's simplify by saying that it is just one advanced individual with unlimited technological assistance. Could this individual have encouraged our universe's physical constants to be what they are? Thereby having a hand in the nature of our universe? Could this hypothetical individual have the technical capability of influencing events in our universe via some channel, whilst remaining far removed from "scientific" detection with Earth's current technology, by living in his own separate universe?

This may all seem speculatory and imaginative... but the idea of whether or not an advanced civilization will one day be able to escape inevitable death of universe is taken seriously by most scientists. It is recognized by ALL scientists that death of universe and all life trapped within, is inevitable; whether it be ill-fated gravitational collapse, or thermodynamic heat death (eternal expansion).

Both scenarios are completely devastating to prospect of "survival" of any civilization no matter how advanced. The only option is to escape into another universe (or of course die with universe). If escape is taken to be a viable possibility, then it opens up the option of civilization not so much escaping... but rather just visiting as well. If that is possible, then how do we know that we aren't visited in subtle ways by advanced being... just because laws of physics in our universe dictate impossibility of "God"?

Basically my point is... just because laws of physics in our universe does not allow any room for "God"... does not mean that the fundamental underlying mathematical symmetry that gave ultimate rise to infinite universes... could not have at one time or another produced a being capable of influencing our lives without being seen, heard, scientifically explained, etc... as Alex argues against.

It's like saying that if our universe was a logical inevitability... then so too was a civilization being created sooner or later who qualifies for label of "God" (able to influence our life and give purpose to our existence without being noticed). If all possibilities are taken seriously, then symmetry dictates that "advanced civilization/no advanced civilization" are equal and opposite possibilities. Therefore, givien an infinite of trial and error... the emergence of a "God" was inevitable.

This is not an argumrnt against logic and conservation laws... it is in accordance with Alex's hypothesis being proved true. Therefore both Alex and I could both be right. Laws of nature leave no room for "spiritual God"... but do not say that an advanced entity cannot eventualy emerge (in fact it's inevitable that such a bieng exist by consequence of symmetry; exist, not exist). There are no laws of physics that say that an entity could not "tamper" with our everyday life while we don't even know it. For all practical purposes, this technologically/theoretically/mathematically advanced entity can be called "God"... the concept of which poses no threat to scientific consistency or validity of laws of physics (consequences of conservation symmetries).

Once again... the prospect of advanced civilization being able to escape inevitable demise, thereby being able to somehow get from one universe to another (at least considerred now and then by serious cosmologists and astrophysicists)... means that it would technicaly be possible to influence events of one universe from afar in another universe. If you believe that such a feat is possible (amongst an infinite of possibilities), then you must believe that it is already happening and will continue to happen... Perhaps the idea of a "God" isn't dead just yet Alex...

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