This is in response to Universe.
At times The Universe feels like God in new robes. The Big Bang (it’s capitalized!) has a remarkable amount in common with Genesis. Many scientists at the beginning of the 20th century including Einstein were believers in a static universe. This was in part due to abhorrence towards the supernatural implications of the Big Bang.
Religious leaders felt vindicated by the Big Bang, as though it proved that we were “created.”
Reading my co-bloggers previous post we see that science uses the word universe more as an expedient and not to explain existence in itself. However, given our penchant for piecing together phenomena temporally it is inevitable that a new creation myth would arise that accommodates the modern scientific belief. Wikipedia defines the universe as “everything we perceive to exist physically, the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter and energy.” It defines God as a “single omnipotent being” and “overseer of the universe.” The two become interchangable even in terms of “creator” vs. “cosmos” depending on who you talk to or what you read.
There are many scientists that entertain and encourage these trains of thoughts, so one cannot simply blame the layman. An example is the notion of a “unified theory” or “theory of everything” – which smells again remarkably like God, or Leibniz’ Monadology. There is nothing wrong with this and it is quite fun to speculate, but holes can be poked in these arguments that shade their limitations.
Brian Greene in The Elegant Universe, claims that “for the first time in the history of physics we therefore have a framework with the capacity to explain every fundamental feature upon which the universe is constructed.” He is referring to string theory. His use of the word universe does not refer simply to a closed system.
Another way to word this phrase would be to say “for the first time in the history of the physics we have tempted ourselves into sculpting a fixed definition of a fundamental feature of the universe and indulged in the notion that such a definition encapsulates reality, which is right in line with our mythmaking inclinations as humans.”
We have a funny tendency, and not one without merit, to devise assumptions based on collected evidence. However, rarely are we satisfied to say that our evidence is lacking, being limited to only our experience and capacity, and we cannot adequately explain what is “going on”. Our words always seem to suffice.
It’s remarkable that our little human brain can conceive the “universe” as a systematic whole. We can make sense of what we observe, but beyond that reality is a bit out of sight out of mind. There are many things we can’t explain at all except in elusive and rough terms – starting with our own living consciousness.
In the end we will never be able to explain where we “came from,” and as activephilosophy once pointed out science isn’t necessarily well equiped to answer this question either. This in no way takes away from the magic of life and in fact makes it all the more amazing that we are here and now.