Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You First

So what happened first? You know, at the very beginning? The very very VERY beginning? There was that big bang, and we're now learning what happened after that. But what happened before the first moment? Does that question even make sense? Is the first moment still the first moment if something came before it?

These questions are real noodle-benders. Some physicists say that we cannot asked what happened before the big bang because there's no such thing as 'before' the big bang since that's when time began as well. Yeah. I think I just blew some brain cells trying to figure out the limits of language and whether or not it can encompass questions about the beginnings of our universe. The coolest answer I've seen so far comes from a satire piece Edward Current did on christians fighting atheists where he actually quotes a physicist that I can't find the source to:
As part of a quantum fluctuation, a singularity spontaneously inflated into a vast field comprising matter and energy in a constantly expanding fabric of space and time, causality also arising in the process - thus making a causative agent not only unnecessary but impossible.
At least we can all agree that using logic and reason to know what happened after the big bang works, but understanding concepts around and 'before' that point might be near impossible - although fun if you like breaking your brain.

Well we can all agree - except for creationists.

Of course creationists claim the answer is so, so easy. To explain where this incredible, wonderful, complex, vast expanse of mass and energy originated from, creationists declare that positing a god makes the most sense. Clearly the best way to explain how this universe was 'made' is to declare a maker.

Except ... who made the maker? And why do creationists never care about who made god? It's been my experience that they immediately claim 'nobody' made god because apparently he wasn't made.

Well, why can't the universe be made by a 'nobody'?!?!? Opining the existence of a god doesn't answer all or any of the questions, but (if true) would simply raise even MORE questions. Where did that god come from? How did he/she/it get here? Is there an even more powerful god? Until we regress to infinity in this childish game of trying to wish any imaginary character into existence.

We're lucky to live in a day and age where we know more about our origins than any other generation in history. We are the universe become aware of itself. I for one have no problem even relishing the mystery of our beginnings (especially since my frail mind hurts when thinking about it anyhow, it's much easier to stand in awe). But I will not muck it up with childish fantasies and piss-poor logic. If we accept the reasoning by these creationists like Ray Comfort and Ken Ham then why not let Santa Claus start the universe? Apparently believing in a magical being that can do it will simply make it so.

Or not. I'd rather spend my time doing something useful, like clipping my toenails.

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