Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Question regarding the universes origin.

  1. Dec 27, 2014 #1
    Is an eternal and dynamic universe the only sensible universe? I mean clearly creation ex nihilo is absurd, so either reality is inherently absurd or its eternal, mechanical, and logical with no clear "beginning".
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Hi Silvers, to a large extent I share your attitude, but I would express it differently so as not to risk offending or antagonizing people who have different ideas about what is sensible and what is absurd.
    Here's what I'd say. I don't know of any observational evidence that reality had a beginning, or that existence had a beginning.

    For example in cosmology there are various bounce models that fit the data just as well as the older model that breaks down right at the start of expansion.
    the bounce models time extends back thru the bounce to a contracting phase of the universe, a reality similar to ours except contracting rather than expanding.
    Not to say that is RIGHT. It is just one line of investigation that one can point to, to dispose of arguments people make about something mysterious (or ex nihilo) happening around the start of expansion. there is potential confusion about what is meant by "singularity" and "big bang theory". There are active areas of research about the start of expansion and different approaches to modeling it, resolving the "singularity" and going back farther in time.

    So I'd point to ongoing research, with non-singular models that fit the data just as well as the older model that breaks down, and say there's no evidence that existence ever had a beginning, maybe it always was. And I'd let people draw their own conclusions. I'd avoid saying this or that philosophical belief is "absurd", because it seldom does any good to antagonize people who basically think differently.

    BTW I hope things are going well with the AMU courses. I think you said in another thread that you were studying Applied Math and planned to do a Masters at WKU Bowling Green in computational math. Sounds like a challenging program! but potentially very interesting, and involving valuable skills. For that matter, one of the hundreds of application areas for computer numerical simulation of large-scale systems is cosmology itself! The condensation of gas clouds in the early universe, the formation of structures such as filaments, clusters, galaxies, .... the "falling together of stuff" in other words.
  4. Dec 27, 2014 #3
    Hi marcus!

    I apologize if I came off as antagonistic and/or offensive and I agree that there are quite a few different ideas concerning cosmological origins. This question though really does keep me up at night and its one I desperately wish to have an answer to. I just want existence to be logical and cohesive like mathematics; and the idea that its just an incomprehensible mess at its highest levels scares me to death. On a lighter note, I'm doing ok in my courses. Point set topology and axiomatic set theory are really difficult but I'm having alot of fun in them!.
  5. Dec 28, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I'm glad you are having fun with point set topology! I'm too sleepy at the moment to say anything coherent or to the point but want to say that the best teacher I ever took a course from in my entire life was John Kelly who taught point set topology back in those days. He wrote a textbook on topology that was used back then. He motivated the subject, we learned to prove theorems, he made proving theorems fun, solving problems exciting. I feel fortunate to have had that one semester course with him, still a welcome memory after some 50 years.

    When I meet foreigners (its a university town here and there are often foreigners where I take walks outdoors, or at the supermarket check stand) I sometimes ask them to teach me to say "the universe is beautiful" in their language. Or just the two words: world beautiful.

    In Hindi it is "Dunya sundar" (dunya means universe, the u is a long oo Doonya soondar)
    In Arabic it is "Ahlem jameel" (Ahlem means world or universe)
    In Tongan (spoken on the Pacific island of Tonga) it is "Mamani faka-ofo-ofa" (the word for beautiful is spoken quickly as one word, faka.ofo.ofa not broken up as I wrote it)
    In Mandarin dialect Chinese it is "Sz-jeh pio-liang" and the word for "very" is han so you can say "Sz-jeh han pio-liang" (universe very pretty)

    I suggest to believe that the universe and nature is beautiful and orderly, and that humans are capable of learning and understanding much more if we are patient and keep working at it. And learn to live together in a long run healthy way. Step by step the monkeys will learn, and nature will be understood.

    It's 11 PM here (pacific time) time to hit the hay :)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook