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Irrational creation

  1. Mar 15, 2009 #1
    I am participating in an atheist/theist forum and don't have a physics background.

    An idea is
    - everything we are aware of is within the cosmos
    - hence logic, or any process susceptible to logic, also only exists within the cosmos
    - ergo the universe was probably created by means we would find irrational, e.g. love
    - a creator god is by definition outside the cosmos
    - etc.

    Whether this is a scientific hypothesis would seem to rely on the possibility of one day creating, from scratch, a universe in a test tube. Depending on any special pleading (starting environment, etc.) it would then be falsified.

    Does the idea have a formal name, can it be disproved more easily, and is it madness writ large?

    (If this would have been better placed elsewhere then apologies all round)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2009 #2
    Scientific hypothesis? No, officially no. No way in any secular country.

    Do some physicists muse over this as a favourite pastime? Yes, M. Kaku, Einstein, S. Hawking just to name a few. Kaku posits the universe is vibrating strings dancing to the mind of god in a grand symphony. I don't think any rational scientist is actually talking about a religious type of god tough.

    Without evidence, this is all pure philosophy.

    "Turtles all the way down", infinite regress.

    The never-ending cause and effect chain is a logical trap for every scientist, so most would say the universe is illogical or unknowable, or everlasting(BB-big crunch) or simply an illusion.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  4. Mar 15, 2009 #3
    Agreed. Removing the god bit though, is there any credibility in "logic, or any process susceptible to logic, also only exists within the cosmos". Put another way, does logic work because it is part of the same physical system or because it is 'out there' with Plato?
  5. Mar 15, 2009 #4
    My take on "logic" is that it's finding out the laws that rule the universe and conforming to them, a behaviour generally referred to by humans as "being rational". If the laws of physics, as we know them, were different our logic would probably be different too.
  6. Mar 15, 2009 #5
    Everything we are aware of and quite a bit we are not aware of.
    Logic is based on, is an abstraction of, experience.
    No reason to think the universe was 'created' at all. Infinite regress problem.
    Outside of space/time is meaningless. Its like calling a unicorn: invisible and pink. Its a contradiction. If it exists, by defintion, it exists within the universe, since universe basically means 'everything'.
    If you created a universe in a test tube, that new universe would be part of our universe, or both 'our universe' and the 'new universe' would actually be parts of 'the universe'.
    Not to someone who believes.
    And yes, mad as a hatter.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  7. Mar 15, 2009 #6
    Exactly the subject in the other forum. You've given me a conspiracy theory:)
  8. Mar 15, 2009 #7


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    You've jumped from "is within the cosmos" to "is only within the cosmos." Those are different, so there is a logical flaw here.
  9. Mar 15, 2009 #8
    I think that’s my poor wording. The nub is to treat logic in the same way as everything else - if there is no outside/pre-existence to our universe then ‘logic’ is a member of our universe. The inconsistency is then that somehow god can then be treated differently, existing in some non-dimensional absence, and JoeDawg says no, don’t be so silly.
  10. Mar 15, 2009 #9


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    Well, there is also the distinction between physical, real objects vs. abstract ideas.

    Yes, all the physical, real objects we're aware of are within the cosmos.

    But you can't conclude, from that, that abstract ideas like logic cannot "exist" (whatever that means) outside the cosmos. If there are intelligent beings outside the cosmos, they could be aware of logic.
  11. Mar 15, 2009 #10
    They would have to be physical in some sense, part of our world, in some sense, or we wouldn't be aware of them.
  12. Mar 17, 2009 #11
    How do you derive the conclusion that the universe was created by 'irrational means'? I don't follow your logic.
  13. Mar 18, 2009 #12
    You are treating logic as a object, which I think is wrong. Our universe seems to follow a certain logic, because our logic has developed by observing the universe. Logic is simply the formalized abstraction of the observed pattern of our universe. It doesn't exist in our universe, it is a description of how things work in our universe.

    The inconsistency is that the 'universe', which is everything, by definition, must include any gods, or its not everything. So something creating the universe makes no sense. So the very idea of a god creating the universe is nonsensical.

    Saying the universe was therefore created using a different logic or in an irrational manner is like saying the unicorn is pink, but you can't see it because its invisible. You're ignoring the implied contradiction that something that is invisible is by definition, not pink.
  14. Mar 18, 2009 #13
    Not necessarily. Imagine an automata, like Conway's Game of Life. As humans, we can write emulators for this automata. We can construct patterns and run them. And the rules of the game are Turing-complete, so we could possibly even create an entire virtual world inside the game.

    Now, imagine an artificial creature reasoning about his man-made world. What could he ascertain about the "universe". Well, if he is very clever, he might be able to see that there are fundamental laws everything must obey. The smallest measurable distance is a unit. There exists a fixed frame of reference. The fastest an object can move in free space is half the speed of light. The fastest information can propagate is the speed of light itself. The world has perfect symmetry with respect to 90º rotations and mirroring. The creature would perform experiments by smashing gliders and spaceships into each other, often creating familiar forms, such as still life or oscillators, but sometimes more exotic patterns.

    But would this artificial creature inside an automata world be able to discover anything about his creators? Surely he has one, because I programmed him myself. I can watch him. I can pause him when I have to take a nap. But he can't see me. I could, if I wanted to, destroy his world, create a new one. I could interfere whenever I wanted to. But assuming I don't, to him, it wouldn't matter one way or another if I exist.

    The idea of a creator isn't completely nonsensical. It's just so aesthetically unappealing.
  15. Mar 18, 2009 #14

    The universe is everything that we are and can be aware of. It does not follow that the universe is everything that exists in any form. What about other universes? If there are billions of other universes are they essentially part of our universe? If they are, are you part of me too?

    If we create a life form that's not aware of our existence, would this automatically mean that we will cease to exist?
  16. Mar 18, 2009 #15
    Tac-Tics’ Game of Life analogy is a good one. Can a creature in the game fully determine how its universe came into existence, and would it then find the explanation logically sound? The argument says probably not, since the alien-programmer-god type of solution would be unlikely to comply with the creature's rules of logic.

    Although, if I remember correctly, part of Conway's intent was to preclude any appeal for an intelligent creator in any universe.

    I naively thought we had busted this, but then you guys come along and...
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2009
  17. Mar 18, 2009 #16
    You could argue that claiming that something made the universe or that something occurred before the universe is like arguing that there is something north of the north pole, that there cannot exist any time before time existed. As mentioned, the universe is defined as everything that exists, so something existing outside the universe is like claiming that something that exists does not exist.
  18. Mar 18, 2009 #17
    There is nothing north of the north pole on the Earth. But if you lay out an atlas of the arctic, you might find just north of the north pole, there is a cup of coffee on a coaster.

    In my game of life analogy above, I may be placing bets on the artificial world. The outcome of events in the artificial world have an impact on the "real" world. I may lose a lot of money. I may get a lot from my dealings. However, my financial loss or gain has no effect on the artificial world I've created. They are certainly part of MY universe. Am I part of theirs? Again, we are assuming I keep my temper, and absolutely refuse to interfere with their world. Things they do affect me, but things I do do not affect them.
  19. Mar 18, 2009 #18
    You are still stating that the coordinates of a dimension is applicable outside said dimension.
  20. Mar 18, 2009 #19
    I'm also stating that the Universe may not be a sphere. It may just be a map of a sphere.
  21. Mar 18, 2009 #20
    The issue would be that it is possible to imagine our universe as a bubble of space-time, in which we are trapped forever, that exists within something else that has neither space nor time, i.e. it depends on the definition of the word universe.

    Whether that stands-up to inspection by a physicist I can't say, although I suspect she might quote Pauli - not even wrong.
  22. Mar 18, 2009 #21
    So you agree that your position is invalid?
  23. Mar 18, 2009 #22
    Of course that's what I'm saying. Why would I take a hard position on nonsense philosophy.

    Saying it's like asking "what's north of the north pole" doesn't prove anything. The analogy could very plausibly be a false one.
  24. Mar 18, 2009 #23
    In a medium that already exists. That's not creation, that's manipulation.
    All is part of the universe.

    Creation has no analogy, because its nonsense.
  25. Mar 18, 2009 #24
    You can create a game of life with an initial state. That's no manipulation.

    Just because you claim something is nonsense doesn't mean what you're saying isn't.
  26. Mar 18, 2009 #25
    Sure it is. It has hardware doesn't it. Can't have software without hardware.
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