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Speculate about the biggest question there is

  1. Aug 19, 2007 #1
    How do we end up in this system of order, complexity and beauty - the universe, the human organism, that of all other highly complex subsystems?

    What caused the singularity/big bang? An omnipotent/omniscient/omnipresent/infinite presence? Is the universe and its finetuning simply an accident in the presence of parallel universes (w/ different initial conditions)? Is it merely a simulation? Is it something abstract that we don't comprehend?
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2007
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  3. Aug 19, 2007 #2


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    Actually, to me, a much bigger question is why do my socks keep disappearing??
  4. Aug 19, 2007 #3
    According to David Hume,

    A designer must be at least as complex as its designer. If Nature, but its complexity and order requires a designer, than it follows that this designer needs a designer. Since the designer is so complex, it too would need another designer and so on ad infinitum. Unless we want to invoke an infinite series of creators, we would need to conclude that complexity and order can arise without a purpose. We could respond by resting content with an inexplicably self-ordered divine mind but then why not rest content with an inexplicably self-ordered natural world?

    An unsupported ad hoc hypothesis for this will not do.

    Science is weak agnostic towards the things it doesn't claim to know. When science doesn't know something, it doesn't try to hide it.

    The Universe may be fined-tuned for our specific kind of life, but probabilities can only be done from the front-to-back, not the other way around.

    Sit down with three friends and shuffle and hand out a deck of cards. After you have done that, note the configuration. You can easily see how improbable these configuration is. You can play cards for the rest of your life without getting the same configuration you did. Yet it happened.

    The Big Bang is a theory of the development of the Universe, not the origin.


    Ponder the old myth of the earth. Surely, the earth cannot just float in space? Naturally, the earth rests on the back of an elephant. Well, what does that stand on? Hmm. Well, it stands on four turtles. Well, what does those stand on? Hmm. A gigantic superturtle! What does that stand on? Nothing, because it can float on its own.

    We might as well conclude that the earth can float in space on its own, rather than standing on an elephant, standing on four turtles, standing on a giant superturtle being able to just float in space.

    Maybe they are trapped in one of those curved, hidden dimensions inside the giant flying superturtle? :biggrin:
  5. Aug 19, 2007 #4
    Good feedback, Moridin

    What if this "infinite series of creators" is a collective infinite presence in itself? An "everything" so to speak...

    The flying spaghetti monster seems more likely that that hypothesis.

    I will go more in depth later
  6. Aug 19, 2007 #5
    I used 'Purpose' to refer to 'consciously directed' in this context.

    That would at least remove the giant superturtle.
  7. Aug 19, 2007 #6
    Speaking of probability; lets say there is a set n with initial conditions that fulfills the requirements for life. Obviously we would be in a jackpot element of that set, since we're self-conscious. But the complexity and "higher art" of our universe is still too high, I think intelligent life can exist at way more primitive levels of design (if it is design). We didn't only hit the jackpot, we hit the jackpot of jackpots of jackpots.
    There is something; the question is what! At this point we can probably only make educated guesses, the more rational, intelligent, and open-minded, the better.
  8. Aug 19, 2007 #7

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    Note: This thread has been moved to the Metaphysics & Epistemology subforum.
  9. Aug 20, 2007 #8
    The problem is that natural selection (that started as soon as the primitive molecules could reproduce) is a deterministic process, not a random one or one based on chance. NS gives the illusion of design. Also, humans are just one species among billions and we are not at the top of a great chain of being because such a thing does not exist (instead; it is the tree of life).
  10. Aug 25, 2007 #9
    This is true--natural selection is by definition the "non-random reproduction and survival of genotypes" (see any textbook on Organic Evolution). I think this fact is not well appreciated and the source of much confusion when folks discuss details of "evolution" of life forms.
  11. Aug 27, 2007 #10
    Would you consider that humans are at the top of the great food chain?
  12. Aug 27, 2007 #11
    There is no "great food chain" for humans to be on top of--I suggest you read any of the editions of the textbook by Eugene P. Odum titled 'Fundamental of Ecology".
  13. Aug 28, 2007 #12
    Would you consider that humans are at the top of the great chain of predators?
  14. Aug 29, 2007 #13
    No, of course not--consider the correct answer to your question the next time you SCUBA within home range of Great White Shark. You see, there is no "great chain" of predators within the trophic dynamics of ecosystems--all is a web.
  15. Aug 29, 2007 #14
    Actually, I agree with you. There is no great chain of predators, only one master predator. Think how difficult it would be to try and quantify how many whales, sharks, and fish the great predator species has killed. Must be in the billions or tens of billions. After we finish speculating about the biggest question of all, maybe the second biggest question would be--why and how has one of the tens of millions of species become so much more powerfull and dominant than all the rest?
  16. Sep 2, 2007 #15
    Mental capacity develop to technology. It all began with the primitive tools.
  17. Oct 8, 2007 #16
    My biggest question would be: Who am I?

    In the context of the countless possibilities such as: In a game; I could be a pet, that I am unaware of; I could be a figment of someone's or my own imagination; I be living two lives, in two different "worlds" but I can't remember thisr world when I am in the other one and vice versa.

    As I stated possibilities are endless.
  18. Oct 11, 2007 #17
    The biggest question in my view is

    "How to live life?"

    This is the question that is of prime interest for all branches of study. If we all come to some conclusive answer or theory(though I don't think its answer can be absolute) it will solve the greatest problem of man "Being happy."

    I think the central theme or purpose of any study is this. "How to live life?"
  19. Mar 14, 2008 #18
    I can't argue much with speculating in either of those directions. They're both fundamental to any more fulfilling experience of living.

    When it comes right down to the nitty gritty of what drives most of us here where science (that many faceted sub set of philosophy) reigns, i think we've collectively demonstrated what we consider to be the biggest questino there is:
    What is the nature of reality?
    We seek understanding about this from Planck scale magnitudes to multiverse scale magnitudes. We seek this beyond localized time/space. In the name of this quest we seek to see (inductively, inferentially) into the future and to uncover the past beyond even that 'great singularity'... into the infinite regress 'before' what seems to be what is.
  20. Mar 14, 2008 #19
    Sorry if i confused anyone beyond their usual confusion comfort level. I only read the last two posts before chipping in with my thots. Now that i've read the whole thread i'm ready to weigh in on the big question: Socks?
    I once named a kitten Socks because it had a special talent for disappearing and then turning up in the oddest places. Mentioning the little fur ball isn't that far off topic i'm thinking because most people (those who wear socks, anyway) can relate to this great mystery in life. Somebody, somewhere, at some time must have done some form of study into the matter. The minds and methodology and patient rigour that go into making up science must at some time or other have been brought to bear on this mystery. Any somebodies involved would likely have had a scientific mind set - that mix of curiosity that wants to know and wants to be reasonably assured of the veracity of whatever it is they're ready to think/beleive they know. The sort of mind that would seriously investigate the phenomena of missing socks is likely the sort that would be cautious and precise about the sorts of questions they ask... and the ways and contexts in which they ask them. Hmmm? Which has me wondering about whether they'd actually consider the sock question worthy of their efforts. I mean... The mystery might still only be one of the great unknown mysteries because there are no serious vested economic interests involved. Where is the potential for a Nobel? Hmmm... The answers might have to wait until the politics and economics of science undergoes some evolving.
    So that brings me to 'All that can be possible must be.' This, i suggest, is the case if we consider the implications of infinity and the anthropic principle.' I don't think the suggestion originally implied by Helicobactor -that complexity necessitates some "omni" sentient creator - is something that we can seriously any longer say is truly necessarily so. In terms of attempts to answer the question, "What is the nature of reality?" it seems to be a steer in the direction of some classic old propositions that seem to have been/can be/should be retired.
    Simulation speculations tho, and explorations of the true reach of our comprehension... These seem to be furtile territory for big questions too.
    My reality is plaid.
  21. Mar 22, 2008 #20
    Well we were born into it...are start would be when we are aware of the things and workings around us...untill that point there would be no you nor would there be any complex past that you think of... * my socks tend to disapear as well* In true infinity the is a creato that created itsself then there isnt true order and dis order but not...
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