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REPLY #51 TO
"RELIGION"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).


(R) Since physicists cannot see beyond the Big Bang we are left with a beginning which cannot be explained.
(MB) What we have, at present, is an absence of direct evidence for what may have preceded the Big Bang (if, indeed, the concept of "preceding the Big Bang" has any meaningful connotation since the dimension of time itself would have been created in the Big Bang). We can describe the process mathematically and produce a viable theory whose explanations can gain general acceptance. However, science requires that theories be supported by direct evidence before they can be raised to the level of proof.
    It should be noted that failure of a theory to gain 100% support or absolute proof does not mean that it is 0% accurate. Since all theories are inherently probabilistic, competing theories should be judged against each other by comparing the relative levels of support for each. A theory that is, for example, 75% probable is more worthy of adherence than is one for which the level of probability is near zero.



(R) "I have read about the Many Worlds hypothesis (which can never be detected - much like some concepts of God!),"
(MB) Again, this is a mathematical construction. It should be noted that, in the Many Worlds hypothesis, no one universe either causes the creation of, or is a part of, any other universe, so failure to detect other universes is not required either to postulate their existence or to accept the existence of our own under this model. Models postulating creation by a Supreme Being require that such a being is the cause of the universe and that he is a part of it. Therefore, such models are not equivalent to the Many Worlds hypothesis.


(R) "the Oscillating Universe theory (which has been disproved due to the accumulation of entropy),"
(MB) Under an oscillating universe model, there would be no "carry-over" of entropy from one incarnation of the universe to the next. Universal entropy neither creates nor destroys energy, it is only a change in the organization of the total amount of energy in the universe. Since that total amount never changes, entropy cannot "accumulate" in the sense required to debunk an oscillating universe theory.


(R) "Infinite Regression theories (thought to be absurd),"
(MB) This is true only if one posits that time is a continuum that is independent of the universe(s) in which it exists.


(R) "and some concepts of a Creator."
(MB) There are many such concepts in the accumulated mythology of Man. Since they can't all be correct, the only way to give any particular concept any credence is to demonstrate why it should be preferred over any competitor. This will require some form of evidence to support that concept.


(R) "It seems to me that the "best" answer as to why the universe exists must be attributed to a Creator because of the failure of its opponents. Thanks for reading!"
(MB) Why is this the "best" answer? Why does the notion of a Creator become the default answer if no theory of science is found to be acceptable? Such a notion, if it is to be acceptable, must conform to the same standards of evidence as any other idea.
    In the absence of success for any current scientific theory, there are alternative answers that are better than abandoning one's intellect and simply declaring "God did it". One is to acknowledge that, since our knowledge and understanding are always increasing, the definitive answer may, as of yet, be unknown or even unconceived and that our current course of inquiry will eventually lead us to it. This is a reasonable admission that our science is not yet perfect, but that we are on the right track and don't have to resort to fairy tales to fill the gaps.




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