Over the past 2000+ years, three undeniable trends have emerged in our on-going studies of life, the Universe and everything. It’s probably worth while keeping these in mind when pondering the cosmos and what future discoveries are likely to show.
Firstly, our place in the central scheme of things has gone from be-all-and-end-all uniqueness, a rare life form produced in God’s image, the cream of all there is and ever will be, to, well, just another life form in the Darwinian scheme of things. Detection of extraterrestrial life, especially extraterrestrial intelligence will be the final straw (nail) in that scenario (coffin).
Secondly, we’ve shrunk in possible significance because the size of the Universe keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger as instrumentation and observations get better and better. We’ve become displaced in addition. Earth is no longer all there is (the be-all-and-end-all of real estate) and the centre of everything (we’ve been moved from the CBD to the boonies several times over) in addition. We’re not located at the centre of things and as our visions of the size of the Universe has ever increased over time, will there ever be an end to it?
Thirdly, cosmological shared sense has decreased, given way to weirdness. Or, depending on your point of view (POV), weirdness has increased over time in all things cosmological. The well ordered and shared sense cosmology of Genesis or the ancient Greeks was pretty straight forward. already up by the life and times of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Brahe and Newton that was nevertheless pretty much the case, albeit with the invention of the telescope things did get a little weirder (and more unsettling) with respect to Genesis (and the Church) and the ancient Greeks (and other ancient societies like the Chinese). Then, ever accelerating, the weirdness quotient, the scientific fertilizer, really hit the fan! In fairly short order, uncommon sense descriptions of the cosmos and the stuff in it. Concepts like relativity, space-time, quantum mechanics, black holes, wormholes, dark matter, dark energy, antimatter, atomic structure, and string/superstring theory. Nothing made much shared sense anymore. I speculate that’s a trend that’s also likely to continue. In fact, you can probably bet on it.
Now on to the Big Questions (and little answers):
Q: Did God or character Create the Universe or Multiverse?
A: Here I opt for character. If God can create one universe, God can create more than one universe (but what would be the point of doing so?). If character can create one universe, then character can create more than one universe. Since character isn’t intelligent, creation of multi-universes (the Multiverse) is more like to be a natural than a supernatural event. That is, it’s probably illogical to create more than one universe where one will do – so that eliminates the God hypothesis since we assume that a God would be logical. character however tends to be prolific. Since character, that is the laws of physics as we understand them, can adequately explain the creation of a universe(s), there is no need to popularity to a supernatural being or higher authority or universal designer, or at all event.
Q: Is There A Universe or A Multiverse?
A: Here I opt for the Multiverse. But the background to the Multiverse, that which contains the Multiverse, is something I call the “Superverse”. There is, always has been and always will be a super great area (call it the all being “Superverse”) of nothing – that is, the vacuum (lowest possible) energy (state) which seethes with quantum activity and pervades everything. That’s the bottom line. I don’t know how big the Superverse of vacuum energy is, maybe it’s infinite (but cosmologists, physicists and I too like to steer clear of the can-of-worms that is infinity), but when I consider the following progression, logic indicates ‘pretty damn big’. Just as an atomic nucleus is tiny relative to an atom; an atom is tiny relative to you; you are tiny relative to Planet Earth; Planet Earth is tiny relative to our solar system; the solar system is tiny relative to the Milky Way Galaxy; our galaxy is tiny relative to the super-cluster of galaxies of which it is a part; our super-cluster of galaxies is tiny relative to the observable universe. That’s as far as knowledge can take us, but if the progression continues, then our observable universe will be tiny relative to our Universe; our Universe is tiny compared to the Multiverse, all of which resides with the Superverse energy vacuum!
Q: What is the Origin and Fate of Our Universe? Is the Universe Open or Closed? Will There Be A Heat Death or A Big Crunch? How Can A Universe Be produced?
A: I opt for death by Big Crunch despite all the evidence currently against it! I reason as follows – we know matter can create energy. The reverse is also possible – energy can create matter. That’s because, as per Einstein’s famous equation, matter and energy are opposite sides of the same coin. And consequently the all pervasive, all surrounding, vacuum energy, seething with quantum uncertainty (albeit certain quantum activity), will now and again produce particles, consequently reducing the overall energy of the vacuum. This energy debt must ultimately be repaid, so said particles usually decay (annihilate truly) back into pure energy and rejoin the vacuum pretty quick-smart. But, it’s possible that those particles, could, by chance, evolve into an complete universe. Particles, if they exist long enough, will be placed under all manner of quantum effects and consequently evolve into a universe instead of being closest reabsorbed back into the energy vacuum. The energy debt however nevertheless must be ultimately repaid, but who’s to say how quickly that is required? So, ultimately, in order to repay that energy debt, our Universe will need to ultimately collapse (undergo Big Crunch) back into the Superverse energy vacuum from which it originally came and pay the energy debt. The Universe (our Universe) begins and ends as pure energy – energy borrowed from the vacuum; energy returned to the vacuum. How exactly that Big Crunch is going to come about I know not, I’m just convinced it will happen.
So, why aren’t new universes being produced from scratch in our backyards (where the energy vacuum holds sway as it does everywhere)? Because, for any given tiny area (like your backyard), under the comparatively low probabilities of the exact circumstances coming together just so, it’s going to take trillions of years for it to happen. But, given the great acreage of the Superverse, new universes probably pop into (and out of) existence on a fairly regular basis. It’s like you are fairly doubtful to have a meteor land in your backyard tomorrow, but somewhere tomorrow a meteor is likely to hit our planet.
Now, what if the vacuum energy (Superverse) can not produce a universe? Well, the next best (second) option I suggest is the black hole as a universal motherhood idea. That is, the extreme conditions that produce a black hole in one universe ends up producing a new universe in a different place (clearly), maybe in a different time. Our black hole connects us to that new universe, but no physicist would advise you to make the trip! at the minimum this origin-of-a-baby-universe doesn’t rely on a Big Crunch ending.
The third best option is the Big Crunch of one universe producing the Big Bang of the next, but from observations, the prospect of a Big Crunch is dicey at best. But, I like to give the prospect of a Big Crunch the assistance of the doubt. Further, there’s nothing to say that option two, black holes, couldn’t produce a baby universe that would end up cyclic – Big Bang – expansion – contraction – Big Crunch – Big Bang, etc. Reproduction and reincarnation!
Lastly, albeit doubtful in the extreme however I’ve sure sci-fi writers have a ball with this idea, is that progressive E.T. could manufacture a universe using the laws of physics, especially quantum physics, to do so. If character can manufacture a universe, could not intelligence also manufacture a universe? Call it the mother of all engineering achievements. Now this differs from God creating universes, in that presumably God knows He/She/It can do so and knows the outcome to the Nth degree, but to E.T., this is just a scientific experiment. Whether an E.T. produced universe would take on a life and evolution of its own, who knows? Now you’d think that creating a rapidly expanding universe in the laboratory would end up destroying said lab and surroundings. Of course maybe the physics of baby universe creation dictates that the universe forms in other places and/or elsewhen! One other scenario is that once universe creation becomes so routine as to end up being part and parcel of the science lab curricula at E.T. Junior High School, then it’s going to be universes galore – maybe that why we have a Multiverse!
Q: Does Our Universe or Multiverse Have an Existence that’s Finite or Infinite in Time?
A: The philosophical answer here is ‘infinite’. One can never get away from the question “Well that’s fine, but what happened before that?” already if our specific Universe had a beginning, there was a before the Big Bang that extends the timeline back, and back, and back. If our Universe continues to expand forever, well forever equals infinity. If our Universe continues to expand forever, well forever equals infinity. If our Universe ends in a Big Crunch that kick-starts off the existence of another universe, then the timeline of the cosmos continues onward, ever onward.
Q: To Quantum or Not to Quantum the Big Bang?
A: Here I opt for the Big Bang as a non-quantum event. I just can’t figure out how you can cram the complete contents of our Universe into a space smaller than an atom at the point of origin. In any event, if the point of origin of the Big Bang were a singularity, then because singularities can’t have zero dimensions and infinite density – that just makes no sense at all – then said singularity could have been large enough to go beyond the volumes commonly associated with quantum physics.
Q: Are the Laws of Physics the Same or Different in Various Universes?
A: The answer here is unknown and probably unknowable. However, I speculate that there is only one kind of physics possible – as Einstein is quoted, ‘did God have any choice in the matter?’ – or maybe not. Anyway, my reasoning is that assuming that all universes arise from a shared cause, say the Superverse vacuum energy or via Lee Smolin’s black holes as universe generators, or the unexpected off of universes via disorganized/eternal inflation, with no evidence to the contrary, it’s probably more logical to speculate that only one kind of physics exists, and each universe will be the same – physics wise. But, what if you introduce extraterrestrial intelligence into the picture? Maybe, just maybe, intelligence progressive enough to create universes, may be intelligent enough to tweak the laws of physics and alter them. That certainly would be easy enough to do if you produced computer software that simulated universes, each software package having different physics programmed in! So, maybe it’s just in addition to fence sit on this issue.
Q: Is our Universe (Hence Ourselves) Really Real or Simulated?
A: The odds overwhelmingly favor our reality as being a simulated one. If that could be proved, it would also be likely proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. If all terrestrial life is simulated, who else is left to simulate us but extraterrestrials? I just bet we’re some alien’s Ph D thesis. The possibility of course exists that humans from what we would term the future have simulated us and the running simulation has only reached a simulated early 21st Century. Of course this is a fairly unpalatable theory, so I’ll just conclude here that the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of my being wrong.