Posts Tagged ‘Time’
J C Flugel, an eminent psychologist of the mid twentieth century, pointed out (Man, Morals and Society):
When those who assert the existence of God, at the same time reveal that they ardently desire Him to exist, we are justified in feeling a little skeptical.
The skepticism arises because one has to suspect “wishful thinking” is the basis of their assertion. The desire that God exists burns so furiously in the believer’s busom that they convince themselves it must be so. It is a self deception.
There is another, a better reason for skepticism, that of the scientist. The scientist is skeptical on principle about any claim that is not tested until such time as it is adequately tested and shown to be so. It is a principle that excludes all self deception and gullibility, which otherwise would lead us to accept whatever we choose or prefer out of the many available explanations whether possible or impossible.
Added to the skeptical principle in science is the principle of Ockham’s Razor, introduced in the later middle ages by a cleric in an attempt to eliminate what might be called Sufism—the multiplication of “explanatory” entities—from Christian theology. It found its most valuable place in science in successfully keeping scientific hypotheses to a minimum of complexity.
So, for example, the believer will say the postulation of God explains inexplicable things like the existence of the universe, why we are here, what we do after death, and so on. It does no such thing, and violates both the skeptical principle and Ockham’s Razor.
Take the case of the creation of the universe. We can certainly observe the world in which we live, but we cannot observe a God. The believer invents an entity, God, for which there is no direct evidence, to explain a very large and evident entity that we know does exist, then says that the nonentity created the large and evident entity, QED. On the skeptical principle, we have to reject the argument because there is still no evidence for the imaginary entity, God, other than our new conjecture that He created the universe. That is circular. God is a fudge! His imagined supernatural nature is another fudge, one which explains why God cannot be detected!
And we now have two entities to consider, the universe which we confirm in our daily lives, and God, which is a fudge to explain the universe, but otherwise leaves no traces anywhere. We are actually no better off, because, even if we are convinced by the fudgy explanation, we still have something to explain—God. Contrary to the clerical Razor of Ockham, we have mutiplied entities from one to two, and are left as badly off as before with an explanation for one of them still needed.
That, of course, is no problem to the Christian, devoid of any need for principle, but overflowing with Sufi answers. The existence of God needs no explanation because He is eternal, He lives forever and is the Prime Mover of everything else. Yet God is explained by introducing a new principle, that of an eternal life for God. But, if God, the imaginary entity, can be eternal, we are left with the question of why the universe itself could not be eternal, again using Ockham’s razor to cut out the superfluous entity with the astonishing properties it has to have for it to perform all these miracles.
The universe is before us. If it were eternal, then that would suffice to remove the need for the postulate of God. The believer will jump forward full of agitation, telling us that science has shown the universe has a beginning in the Big Bang. It is not eternal, so we must go for the believer’s hypothesis of God. Well, if believers could formulate God mathematically, we might begin to be convinced, but so far they cannot. Science however has found and tested a large number of mathematical theorems that can still offer us naturalistic explanations, even if they are getting more and more wonderful, beginning to look like Sufi science, perhaps, with the difference that these mathematics work!
The discovery of complex numbers allows physicists to postulate virtual events, events that take place in complex time. Maybe complex time is God, for the Big Bang has been explained as no bang with the use of complex time. We think of time as being linear, starting from the Big Bang, but complex time yields a multidimensional time, not just the linear one, and that means time need not begin at all. The linear time that we experience is an illusion, and what seems like a bursting forth of vast amounts of energy in linear time is more of a continous pulsation in virtual time.
Then again, there is the theory of quantum mechanics which has led to truly wonderful things, not least of which is the notion of the multiverse. It seems that all events possible can happen somewhere in this multiverse which therefore is indeed conceptually infinite, though there may be a limit set by the graininess of space and time themselves, but even so there could be so many universes withing the multiverse, that even God would need assistance. Unless of course we postulate a multitude of Gods serving each possible universe, and perhaps a multi-God in change of the lot!
Science is apparently confirming that something transcends the universe we can observe directly, just as believers have believed. It is the multiverse. Perhaps that is God, but it is not a personal God at all. If anything, it is like the God of the Stoics and the Deists, a set of transcendent laws that even the believer’s local God must be subject to.
Sorting the terms gives this simple equation:
( tv )2 – ( to )2 = ( tc )2
Using the difference of two squares, it reduces to the same form as the original hypothesised equation. When we trace back our observed time to zero at the Big Bang, universal time has the value tc, the time that corresponds with T in our original surmise, the time we took to be Planck’s time, a fundamental unit of time. For universal time to reach zero, our observed time has to become imaginary. It suggests that there never was a Big Bang. On the miniscule scale, time is eternal. Perhaps that will actually please Christians.