I found this video on YouTube and the arguement it made intriged me. I wanted to post it here to get your feedback.

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I've waded thru this whole thread to see if somebody already mentions it, and finally Free Thinker adds it to the discussion, thank you.

The First Law of Thermodynamics was not violated because the Big Bang did not explode "out of nothing". The singularity was not nothing. The singularity was everything. In one, tiny, dimensionless point. The universe has no center because the singularity had no center--it was the center. And the outside edge, and everything in between, all crammed into a single point. That's what singularity means.

Time doesn't make any sense apart from space. Space doesn't make any sense apart from time. If you don't have space, there's no room for anything to move. If you don't have time, there's no way to take a measurement (because that takes time). If you don't have space-time, you don't really even have things, because there would be no way to tell. In a singularity, where everything is all in one point, there would be no way to tell if anything was happening, because all the energy (there was no matter in the singularity because it was too hot) is in one point, so how would it be possible for something to happen relative to something else? That's why space-time is really just one inseparable phenomenon. You can't have one without the other, because you need one to be able to notice the other. There was no space-time in the singularity because there wasn't "room" for it. The singularity was a dimensionless point. Space-time is dimensions. It's logically contradictory to think of time existing "in" the singularity.

It's also logically contradictory to think of space-time "outside" of the singularity. It's logically contradictory to think of the singularity with regard to any preposition, because our space-time itself arose out of the Big Bang. There are multiverse theories that posit many universes arising out of many Big Bangs, but it's meaningless to think of them as existing "next to" each other in some sort of meta-space-time universe where Singularity One is three feet "from" Singularity Two and pops it's Big Bang ten minutes "before" Singularity Three does. It's hard for us to think without using prepositions, but they simply don't apply when you're talking about a multiverse of singularities.

I highly recommend The Whole Shebang and God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist for discussions that help illuminate these ideas.

As for Rupert Sheldrake, the demonization of reductionism, and intelligence as a fundamental force of the universe, well dear, oh dear. This is all such unmitigated woo.

Sheldrake's "research" has never been replicated using proper controls, in part because he refuses to provide details as to how he gets his results. This is not science. It is snake oil.

Reductionism is routinely bashed by "holistic" thinkers, but it is, of course, the only way we ever manage to actually gain any understanding of things. Obviously, the bigger picture is important, but you can't build a bigger picture without the fine-grained details. It's like trying to make an oil painting without using any particles of pigment. It's just nonsensical on its face. As far as I can tell, holism is just a way of trying to sell people something that doesn't add up by convincing them to ignore fundamentals. It's either a deliberate sham, or pure intellectual laziness.

As for a universal intelligence, well that sounds great, except for the overabundance of extreme stupidity that surrounds us. Would an intelligence design a solar system that routinely sends large rocks crashing thru to wipe out most life forms on the third planet? Would an intelligence arrange for species to breed themselves into oblivion the way we are doing? Would an intelligence put the optic nerve bundle on the front side of the retina (but only in some species)? A three-year-old would know better. As soon as I see any sign of intelligence in nature's "design", I'll change my tune, but random ratcheting more than explains all the complexity we see.

And as for mind/brain dualism, oh my. Here's a simple fun fact: When people's brains are sufficiently damaged, they stop thinking. QE-fucking-D. I recommend Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain for a very accessible explanation of how the brain leads to thought. Though I don't know why you'd need this supporting documentation if you've ever seen a zombie movie.

One more thing. If you want to buy the above books (or anything else) from Amazon, please use A|N's "search Amazon" link on the right of this page (under the friendly green "Donate online" button) so that Amazon will make a small donation to A|N (without raising the price of your purchase).
Well, with no meta-intelligence in the universe, there's no tingling Spidey-Sense(TM) to alert me that my services are needed somewhere, Rupert Sheldrake notwithstanding. (BTW, isn't Rupert Sheldrake pretty much a supervillain name if ever there was one?) Besides, my cape was at the cleaners. But I am sorry I arrived to the thread so late.

I would add that I don't think heavy mathematics are required to understand a lot of the more esoteric explanations of the wacky universe around us. Higher mathematics (not that I'm an expert) do seem to be needed to provide proofs of these concepts, however. For example, I don't understand e=mc-squared all that well (except that it's a simple formula for converting energy to its mass equivalent and vice versa), but relativity can be understood using diagrams and thought experiments. Physicist Richard Feynman did a lot of important work this way--he had a tough time understanding things thru math alone, though he could definitely produce the math when he needed to. His memoirs are really enjoyable reading--a great window into the thinking of a genius who made genius look like anybody could do it.
Just because ALL is expanding outward from this locus does not mean that it started out from there/then.

How could it be otherwise?
Hi Larry,

The Big Bang was more like a balloon blowing up than a bomb blowing up. Once it started expanding, everything inside expanded away from everything else (though there were, and are, things that just happen to have relative velocities toward each other--the Milky Way will eventually collide with Andromeda, for example). I think of it as being more elastic than explosive. In any case, it's not expanding "into" anything--the "insides" of the universe are just stretching. Like a balloon, as it has stretched, it has cooled. The singularity was immensely hot, but as it expanded, things spread out, and that leads to cooling.

Since it started as a singularity, there is no "center"; everything in the universe was at the center to begin with, so it still is because the universe is expanding, rather than shooting stuff away from a central point. Since space-time is curved, there is no edge, either. In three dimensions, it would be like walking around the surface of a sphere; you go in a straight line long enough, and you end up back where you started. Same with space-time; lines that look straight are actually curving, bent by space-time.

The rate of expansion has not always been the same since the Big Bang. See this Wikipedia page, particularly the section on inflation.

The singularity was indeed a single point. That's what singularity means. If it had had size, then space-time would have been present, since it would have had an inside. But being a single point, dimensions had no room to exist. In our universe, black holes are singularities. They are a single point with large mass. This does weird things to space-time because of the huge gravity field. With enough mass to form a singularity, gravity is so strong that light can't escape it. At a certain distance from the singularity, the gravity field is weak enough that light can escape (the inward acceleration of gravity is less than the outward velocity of light). This distance is the event horizon, and that radius is quite large (star-sized or more).

But since we don't know anything before our universe started expanding, we don't know what was "outside" it. Some theorize that the singularity that started our universe was merely a black hole in another universe. Even if that's true, we won't be able to learn much about that other universe, apart from perhaps what it is made out of. It's true that the word "universe" means "everything", but it was coined before the Big Bang theory. It hasn't really kept up with the times, and for some reason, scientists just changed the definition to fit, rather than come up with something new. It probably has something to do with how hard it would have been to get everybody to stop referring to our universe as a universe and use the the new term.
It's the First LAW, not the First Theory, and it MUST hold true, even in a singularity, if our universe did indeed form from the Big Bang.

Not necessarily. It's only the first "law" because we haven't seen it be violated before. Indeed it may be a true law of the universe. But before the universe existed (aka the singularity) who is to say what the laws of nature were? We can assume they were the same, and they may have been, but until we have some observations of the singularity (not holding my breath on that one) then we don't know what the laws were there/then.
You are correct, it is badly worded. As I said in a different post, I'm saying "before the big bang" as in our linear concept of time. More appropriately it would be to say at the moment of the big bang, or even better just say we don't know what the laws of physics are in the singularity.
Again, I think we have to careful when talking about "before the singularity" because as far as we can tell right now, there is no before the singularity. We really lack the words and possibly the intellects to wrap around this question...and that is why it is generally handled with math.

I always felt the universe to be like a large body that breaths and has a beating heart so to speak. Now if it breaths in and out or out and back....know what I mean?

No, I don't know what you mean, unfortunately. I've thought about the universe being something like a living being, but I don't think that's what it is. I don't know. I'm comfortable with that answer until we get more data. Anything else is just conversation...which I'm fine with. I just want to make sure that's all it is taken as.
The universe might be cyclical, but the evidence doesn't point that way. I have thought of the universe as a living being...mostly after reading a short story by David Brin talking about black holes being living universes that evolve. But there isn't any evidence.

From the ice of the Antarctic 20 million years old and spontaneously return to life, or in the deepest part of the ocean in water 700o or more not water any more but a toxic soup and there is life in abundance and with this in mind one can assume some intelligence.

Where did you start assuming intelligence in this? You started with:

Not an intelligence by a long shot

...I'm a bit lost. Are you trying to say that life desires to thrive literally, or are you just being metaphorical? Life in its most basic doesn't desire anything...simply put the chemical reactions that tend to make the most copies of themselves are the ones that survive. That's life.

So, no I didn't get what you meant by the universe being a large body that breathes and has a beating heart. In my views of a "living universe" I never imagined it so organic, for I see no evidence for it. A living universe, from what I can tell, is just a wild conjecture with no evidence. Fun to think and talk about though...

And sorry if I came off disagreeable, I'm just looking for clarification.
"Again, I think we have to careful when talking about "before the singularity" because as far as we can tell right now, there is no before the singularity. We really lack the words and possibly the intellects to wrap around this question...and that is why it is generally handled with math."

So far I can only believe that we really don't comprehend the nature of the "singularity" or what may or may not have existed either before or during its presence before the Big Bang. How long did it exist prior to going "bang"... and in what "state"?

Someone didn't like my question: "Why did it go bang?". OK... then HOW did it go bang? What initiated and/or precipitated its going bang? Apparently, the math-mystery-a-titians think they've arrived at "when". But since material reductionists believe that nothing happens intentionally, what's left... exactly?

Someone remarked earlier that the authors of "Irreducible Mind" relied primarily upon studies originating as far back as 100 years ago (i.e. those of William James and FW Myers), as if that somehow invalidated the material. Hmmmm. How long ago did Einstein conceive of his theory of Relativity?

According to Wiki: "Special relativity is a theory of the structure of spacetime. It was introduced in Albert Einstein's 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" "

I might point out that this took place more than 100 years ago.

Meanwhile, I seem to recall that Stephen Hawking is credited with having elaborated upon Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Wiki: "...(in) the late 1960s, he (Hawking) and his Cambridge friend and colleague, Roger Penrose, applied a new, complex mathematical model they had created from Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.[16] This led, in 1970, to Hawking proving the first of many singularity theorems; such theorems provide a set of sufficient conditions for the existence of a singularity in space-time. This work showed that, far from being mathematical curiosities which appear only in special cases, singularities are a fairly generic feature of general relativity.[17]
He supplied a mathematical proof, along with Brandon Carter, Werner Israel and D. Robinson, of John Wheeler's "No-Hair Theorem" – namely, that any black hole is fully described by the three properties of mass, angular momentum, and electric charge."

Our own Larry Lawson tells us that he willingly defers to these mathematicians' theories and conclusions concerning space-time even though he (Larry) does not personally comprehend their calculations.

OK... but this, then, constitutes an "act of faith". Believing in something that one does not personally comprehend, offered by those in whom one has placed one's confidence.

Imagine the guffaw which involuntarily escaped by lips when I found the following on that same Wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking

(Bold emphasis mine)

"Hawking was in the news in July 2004 for presenting a new theory about black holes which goes against his own long-held belief about their behaviour, thus losing a bet he made with Kip Thorne and John Preskill of Caltech.

Classically, it can be shown that information crossing the event horizon of a black hole is lost to our universe, and that thus all black holes are identical beyond their mass, electrical charge and angular velocity (the "no hair theorem").

The problem with this theorem is that it implies the black hole will emit the same radiation regardless of what goes into it, and as a consequence that if a pure quantum state is thrown into a black hole, an "ordinary" mixed state will be returned. This runs counter to the rules of quantum mechanics and is known as the black hole information paradox.

Hawking had earlier speculated that the singularity at the centre of a black hole could form a bridge to a "baby universe," a term coined by Canadian Astrophysicist Chad Bryden, into which the lost information could pass; such theories have been very popular in science fiction.

But according to Hawking's new idea, presented at the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, on 21 July, 2004 in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, black holes eventually transmit, in a garbled form, information about all matter they swallow:

"The Euclidean path integral over all topologically trivial metrics can be done by time slicing and so is unitary when analytically continued to the Lorentzian. On the other hand, the path integral over all topologically non-trivial metrics is asymptotically independent of the initial state. Thus the total path integral is unitary and information is not lost in the formation and evaporation of black holes. The way the information gets out seems to be that a true event horizon never forms, just an apparent horizon.[20]"

Having concluded that information is conserved, Hawking conceded, awarding Preskill a Total Baseball, The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia.

Thorne, however, remained unconvinced of Hawking's proof and declined to contribute to the award.[21]

Another older bet – about the existence of black holes – was described by Hawking as an "insurance policy" of sorts. To quote from his book A Brief History of Time:

"This was a form of insurance policy for me. I have done a lot of work on black holes, and it would all be wasted if it turned out that black holes do not exist. But in that case, I would have the consolation of winning my bet, which would win me four years of the magazine Private Eye. If black holes do exist, Kip will get one year of Penthouse. When we made the bet in 1975, we were 80% certain that Cygnus was a black hole. By now, I would say that we are about 95% certain, but the bet has yet to be settled."
—Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (1988)[1]

Looks like Kip Thorne might spend a certain amount of space-time allowing a volume of blood to rush from his brain...... XD
"As for a universal intelligence, well that sounds great, except for the overabundance of extreme stupidity that surrounds us. Would an intelligence design a solar system that routinely sends large rocks crashing thru to wipe out most life forms on the third planet? Would an intelligence arrange for species to breed themselves into oblivion the way we are doing? Would an intelligence put the optic nerve bundle on the front side of the retina (but only in some species)? A three-year-old would know better. As soon as I see any sign of intelligence in nature's "design", I'll change my tune, but random ratcheting more than explains all the complexity we see."

Jason!? Do you mean to imply that the presence of "stupidity" somehow disproves the very existence of "intelligence"?

If some activity is "random" it can be neither "stupid" nor "intelligent", right? And all results would have to be random and accidental... or am I missing something?

Frankly, I have to believe that the existence of "stupidity" is a clear indication of the only sort of "intelligence" we have ever known - FALLIBLE intelligence.

Are you denying that humans possess intelligence, or that human creativity is not intelligent just because so much of it is "stupid"?

I mean... the successful inventors of the joy buzzer and the dribble glass would beg to differ with you... as would the organization which presents the Darwin Awards each year:

http://www.darwinawards.com/

(March 1989, South Carolina) Michael Anderson Godwin was a lucky murderer whose death sentence had been commuted to life in prison. Ironically, he was sitting on the metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix the TV set when he bit down on a live wire and electrocuted himself.
ORIGINAL SUBMISSION

DarwinAwards.com © 1994 - 2009
Submitted by: John Francis
Reference: News of the Weird, Gizmodo.com
Heidi, you're missing, I suspect on purpose, that only intelligent beings have intelligence, fallible or otherwise. No reductionist I know of thinks nothing happens without intention, but obviously a being capable of intentionality must be the thing doing the intentional act. The universe as a whole or in its undergirding laws and constants clearly has neither intelligence nor intention. The laws and constants work together to make things move according to fairly simple rules. That is all that is needed to produce intelligence in certain emergent scenarios. That doesn't make the universe intelligent. The Anthropic Principle can easily be dismissed for the circular mirage that it is.

Further, it is emphatically not an act of faith to accept the learning of the scientific community as being reasonable approximations to the truth, and acting on that premise. The reason that faith is not involved is because scientists and mathematicians independently verify each other's work. Nobody takes the word of any one scientist as gospel, especially if they don't show their work and allow it to be replicated. That would be acting on faith. Only seriously misguided people would do such a thing. That you would equate trusting scientifically ascertained knowledge with taking something on faith suggests that you are a theist troll.

That you continue to ask about what happened prior to the Big Bang further fuels my suspicion. Space-time can't survive a singularity, in either direction. Even if information of some kind can be transmitted thru a black hole (which has yet to be proven), I suspect that information will have lost most of its structure, in the same way that ashes in a fireplace can tell you about what material was burnt, but not what shape it was in prior to burning.
But since material reductionists believe that nothing happens intentionally

Really? Find me a person who says this. I call bullsh*t. You are making fallacious claims to attack a group you don't like. I fall in that group, but guess what, thinking beings do things intentionally. Inanimate objects and natural forces don't.

You just compared the theory of relativity to an act of faith? So you are just an anti-science creationist now. Guess what (ad hominem time) dumbass, accepting scientific theories backed up by research, modified to fit the evidence and back by the vast majority of the scientific community aren't taken on faith. They are taken on evidence. This work done 100 years ago for the book you love has since been debunked by further research. Relativity stands.

Your ignorance astounds me. You attack someone for having faith because they accept relativity, yet you know nothing of neuroscience and reject it out of hand because its outcomes make you uncomfortable. You act on faith, therefore to you so must everyone else. (Ad hominem time again) Well, again, dumbass, not everyone functions like that. Some of us actually want testable ideas held up by repeated experiment to build our worldviews.

Go join a church where your idiocy belongs and stop making atheists look bad with your new age whoo bullshit.

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