April 19, 2010

Creation – Something out of Nothing

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , , at 12:43 PM by E. M.

WARNING – this post is a bit longer than usual and its chock full of scientific stuff. Depending on how technical you are, it may take a couple of reads to sink in. I apologize in advance for any resulting aneurysms.

The physical universe is the result of a First Cause.  The First Cause is defined in the information source known as the Judeo-Christian Bible.  The Bible calls the First Cause “God”

Up until now, I’ve reduced the origins of the physical universe into immaterial concepts like “information” and “principles”, and described the universe itself in terms of its governing rules such as causality and thermodynamics.  But we don’t just experience the physical universe conceptually.  We can touch it, taste it, hear it, smell it, and see it.  Its fair to ask , when will I finally talk about the more tangible aspects of the universe ?(or how can you answer “what’s the point?” if you never get to the %&@$# point?!)

I hear you.  In this post I endeavor to give a practical answer to how the physical universe could come into being from the First Cause.  Once we reach the end of this post, hopefully you will understand why I had to give so much seemingly “vague” background information first

Now, according to the Bible, God simply spoke everything into existence – “And God said let there be light”, and suddenly light existed. (And God said, “let there be colon cancer”, and the first McDonalds opened).  This seems rather fanciful, but lets take a systematic approach with this and start at the beginning.

The basic building block of matter is the atom.  Everything we see, mountains, trees, oceans, even our physical bodies are made up of trillions of atoms too small to be seen without powerful scientific equipment.  As the picture at the top shows, an atom consists of a nucleus at the center, and one or more negatively charged particles called electrons that orbit the nucleus at high speeds.  The picture above is he common way atoms are presented because it makes them easy to visualize, but he proportions are WAY off.

The size ratio of the nucleus to the orbit of the electron is about 100,000 to 1.  In other words, if the nucleus were the size of the head of a pin, the orbit of the electron would be over 100 meters away.  If we were on a football field, and the head of a pin (nucleus) was at the 50 yard-line, the electron’s orbit circumference would be the end zones on either side!

The VAST majority (99.99999~%) of an atom is…nothing.  Empty space.  Ok, so if the building blocks of matter are primarily empty space, then why do physical objects seem solid?  That’s because of the electrons. Due to their electric charge, they repel the electrons in other atoms and groups of atoms (molecules).  Remember in grade school when you’d have two magnets that would stick to each other because they had a different electrical charge, but when you’d turn one over the similar charge would make them repel each other?  Like that.

So then, when you have an object made of billions of atoms and molecules like the chair you’re sitting on, the repellant force of all those electrons is so great that it seems solid, when it encounters another object made of billions of atoms and molecules (like your butt).

The more electrons present in each atom, the more solid and dense an object seems, which is why iron, which has 26 electrons is more solid than water, which has 10 electrons, and which is more solid that helium, which has two.  But in reality, this “solidness” is an electro-magnetic illusion because, again, the vast majority of an atom is nothingness.

But wait, it gets worse.

An electron itself is almost without mass.  Electrons “behave” a lot like light (which has no mass).  Many scientists believe that the apparent mass that an electron has is only inferred form the electro-magnetic energy created from its fast orbit of the nucleus.  So in essence, the particle responsible for the phenomenon that makes objects tangible is not “real”

But wait, it gets even worse.

The nucleus (composed of particles called protons and neutrons) does have definitive mass.  Protons and neutrons are each made up of three sub-atomic particles call “quarks”.  Quarks are so small that they cannot be observed by scientific equipment.  We only know they exist based on secondary evidence.  This puts us in the crazy world of particle or “Quantum” physics.

Sub-atomic particles are unimaginably small – so small in fact that the laws of physics become fuzzy and cause these particles to behave very strangely.  The Copenhagen Interpretation and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle show that sub-atomic particles have no definitive independent locality or even existence when scientists are not observing them.  In other words, sub-atomic particles cannot be said to definitively exist unless an intelligent being is actively looking at them!  If that does not freak you out, then you didn’t understand it.

Quantum physics is so odd that it even disturbs the scientists who study it.  Niels Bohr stated, “Anyone who is not shocked by Quantum theory has not understood it.”

Richard Feynman said, “Of all the theories proposed in [the 20th Century], the silliest is Quantum theory…the only thing that Quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct.”

So in summary, what can we say about physical matter via the atoms that make it up?

  1. 99.9~% of it is nothingness
  2. Its physical tangibility is an electro-magnetic illusion
  3. The tiny fraction of 1% of it that actually is “real” doesn’t exist unless an intelligent being is thinking about it

So……….we know that the universe exists, but nothing in it is what we’d define as “real” on a fundamental level.  What do we do with this information?  Why, analyze it of course!

Do we know of anything else that exists and is immaterial, consists primarily of electronic energy, has a dramatic effect on what we call physical matter, and only exists as a product of intelligence?  We do.  We’ve discussed it before. Information!  Or more specifically thought.

Ok, brace yourself…The universe and everything in it  is nothing more than a thought in the mind of God! (granted, a really, really complex thought, but still…)

The metaphysical ramifications are staggering.  Everything we see as physical existence – stars, planets, mountains, oceans, birds, bees, flowers, trees, the Grand Canyon, and Disneyland, are all figments of God’s imagination (ok, I won’t blame God for Disneyland.  That’s just not fair).

Everything exists because God is thinking about it.  Including us.  (I wonder what would happen if God stopped thinking about it?  Never mind.  This post is theoretical enough as it is).

With this in mind (no pun intended), God speaking everything into existence is not so far fetched.  In fact, it kind of makes sense, especially if His spoken words correlate perfectly with His thoughts.

Think about dreams you’ve had at night or fantasies your created in your mind.  You dismiss them as not being real, but in essence, they work on the same principles as divine creation.

PLEASE note that I am NOT getting all New Age-y on you and saying that we can create or alter objective reality with our thoughts in the manner that books like The Secret (and some popular Televangelists) say you can.  We are not God.  We do not have the nature of the First Cause.

But then…what about us?  We’re different from anything else in known creation.  We have volitional will.  We can intentionally act apart from God’s will and initiate situations that He may not want to happen.  How and why did God create us this way?  I’ll tell you in one week…

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published

April 12, 2010

Love is a Three-Way

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , , at 9:21 AM by E. M.

The TrinityBased on human understanding, we know that the First Cause of existence is “right” and “just”; righteousness and justice describe the nature of the First Cause.   The Judeo-Christian Bible gives us more details about the First Cause (God).

Most of the characteristics that we attribute to God (merciful, holy, compassionate, all-knowing, all-mighty, etc.) are the effects of His nature.  But one of the most prominent characteristics of God in the scriptures as well as popular culture is “love”.  One of the first Bible verses kids learn is “God is love”.  If you asked the average person to describe God’s most prominent trait, they would most likely say that He is “loving” (followed by “really old”,  “really loud”, and “possessing an obscenely large beard”).

Even those who doubt or deny the existence of God acknowledge love as His defining characteristic.  On more than one occasion I’ve had some disgruntled person ask “If God is so loving, then why does He allow [universally acknowledged “bad thing”] to happen?”  (FYI – I will actually answer that question in two weeks)

So what exactly is “love”?  Asking that question leads to a diversity of subjective answers ranging from “a strong affection” to “about $50 an hour”.   But since we’re talking about God’s love, we need to go to the Bible to get His definition.

The first Biblical mention of the word love is in Genesis chapter 22, where God commands Abraham to take his precious son Isaac, whom he loves more than anything else in the world. . .  and climb to the top of a mountain and kill him as a sacrifice of faith.

Granted, on the surface this seems like an odd way to introduce the concept of love to the reader, but this event is intimately tied to the ultimate example of God’s love which is highlighted in the most famous verse in the Bible; John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

According to many Biblical scholars, the sacrifice of God’s Son took place on the same mountain where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac.  God stopped Abraham before he completed the sacrifice, but by being willing to faithfully carry it out, Abraham prophetically acted out God’s ultimate act of love.

These two defining “love” moments in the Bible have two important things in common; they involve sacrifice, and they are done for the benefit of another (for God in Abraham’s case, and for all of humanity in God’s case).

A sacrifice is the giving of a value without personally getting anything in return.

So, Biblically speaking, love is giving a value for the benefit of another without the expectation of getting anything in return. There’s more exposition on this idea here.

God’s love is not only crucial to answering, “What’s the point? (and we will finally get to that answer in 3 weeks.  I promise), it also has a defining impact on another vital aspect of God’s identity.

John 17:24 states that love existed before the universe itself.  That presents us with something of a problem.  From the definition we have, it looks like love requires the existence of at least two persons – the giver of love and the receiver.  We usually refer to this as a “relationship”, but the Bible does not use that word.  The Bible calls the love interaction a “fellowship”.  However this complicates things even more, because a definitive model of fellowship requires at least three persons, each loving another directly while receiving love indirectly from the third person.  (Here is a link that explains fellowship in detail).

So love existed before the universe and requires no less than three persons.  But we know that the only thing that existed before the universe is the First Cause.  There is only one logical solution to this dilemma: if the First Cause is love, and love requires at least three persons, then the First Cause must be three “persons”.

Once again, the Biblical description of the First Cause reflects this aspect of God’s nature.  The Bible gives implicit evidence that God is three persons – specifically called the “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit”.  This concept is called “The Trinity”.

The Father is called God throughout the Bible.  The Son is called God in John 1:1-14, 1 John 5:20, Titus 2:13, and Romans 9:5.  The Holy Spirit is called God in Acts 5:3-4, and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.  All three are credited with the creation of the universe; The Father in Psalms 102:24-25 and Job 38, the Son in John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:16, and the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2, and Job 26:13.  More detail on this subject is available at this site.

It bears mentioning that despite the Biblical evidence, several religious traditions strongly disagree with the idea of God being three persons for various reasons.  Fortunately I’m not religious, so I’m not terribly interested in why the idea of the Trinity runs afoul some religious traditions.

Yet and still, it is reasonable to ask why God is presented both as a singular mind AND three persons in the Bible.  How do we resolve this?  Well, if the Trinity is the First Cause, then all three persons must have the exact same nature – right and just.  If all three persons are always and completely right and just, then they are always and completely in perfect, harmonious agreement.  Thus they speak and act as one, whether presenting themselves individually as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, or when they present themselves corporately as “God”.  What goes for one goes for all.  They only seem to differentiate in role and hierarchy, and they’ve all obviously agreed to assume and maintain their roles.

So we’ve added some significant depth to the identity of the First Cause that has hopefully deepened our level of understanding of the principles and providences that existed before the universe.  And that’s all well and good, but I have admittedly been dwelling in the realm of the theoretical and existential up to this point and said very little about the practical matter of the physical universe itself.

Yet all the things we see, hear, touch and experience are “real”, not theoretical and conceptual…right?  So enough about what the First Cause is, lets talk about the BIG effect.  What is the universe and how did the First Cause, well, cause it?  We’ll get into that next week.  The answers are guaranteed to surprise you, or your money back.

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published

March 15, 2010

The Principle Answer

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , at 11:32 AM by E. M.

Note: this post borrows HEAVILY from Modeling God.  Specifically here, and here.  For more in-depth information on the concepts presented in this post please go to the links presented.

All right, I’m (finally) ready to identify the First Cause of existence.  Lets begin with a recap.  Information is transcendent and time-less, and can have a dramatic affect of the physical world.  Principles are the first cause of information. Principles are qualitative (subjective) and quantitative (objective) values.  The First Cause of existence must consist of causeless principles; principles that require no preceding cause.

The qualitative principle that defines the First Cause is “Right”.  The concept of being right is causeless.  At the most basic qualitative measure, something is either right or it is “not right” (wrong) – yes or no, true or false, etc.

The First Cause cannot be wrong because “wrong” is actually a measurement of how “less than right” something is.  In other words, “wrong” cannot exist without “right” existing first. You wouldn’t know that something was wrong unless you had something “right” to compare it to.  (We know that “Spam” is wrong, because filet mignon exists).  And, of course the First Cause cannot be right and not right because we know that contradictions are impossible.

Not only is the First Cause “Right”, it is always and completely Right.  How?  Well, since the First Cause consists of principles, and principles are the first cause of information, then the First Cause is always completely right because it has all the information in existence.

The First Cause must also be a quantitative principle.  That principle is “justice”.  Justice is inherent balance. Justice states that if a value is taken, it must be replaced exactly.  Or if a value is given, then it must be paid back in the same proportion. (On a physical/cosmological level, justice is the first cause of the second law of thermodynamics).

Like “Right”, justice is causeless.  Balance (or stasis) is inherent.  As in the “right” example above, we wouldn’t know what injustice, fairness, or balance was unless justice/balance existed to compare it to.  The First Cause is always and completely Just because, again, it has all the information in existence to insure complete balance.

Now before you start scratching a hole in your head, realize that we all believe in the causeless nature of Right and Just.  We all believe that things are either right or wrong.  Even moral relativists who claim that there is no right or wrong contradict themselves because they believe that moral relativism is “right”!

We all believe in justice.  We prove it anytime we say, “that’s not fair!” We know justice exists and we rely on it as motivation for all our actions.  When we do something, we know that there are consequences which we expect to conform to a code of justice.  We work because we feel we justly deserve compensation.  If someone does something nice for us, we believe that they should be justly thanked.  If someone does something wrong to us, we believe they deserve to suffer just punishment.  Even those who intentionally do wrong and commit injustice recognize “right” and “just” by their intentional violation of it.

So, in summary, the First Cause of existence is Right and Just.

And that concludes this blog, thank you and goodnight.  Watch your step on your way out.  Be sure to tip your waitress.

Oh…you’re still here.

I know what you’re thinking – “Is that it?!  Is that all the First Cause of existence is?  A set of $@%# principles?!  The great force that birthed this grand universe, the cauldron of creation that flung the galaxies against the black of space, that formed the great nuclear furnaces we call stars, that holds atomic structures together and caused the formation of the fantastic metaphysical complexity known as life… is nothing more than the abstract principles of “Right and Just”?  Is that all the First Cause is?  Really?

No.  I’m NOT saying that’s all the First Cause is.  I’m saying that’s all we can know about the nature of the First Cause based solely on Human understanding.  Anything else we know about the nature of the First Cause has to come from a source beyond human understanding.  Logically, the best source of additional information about the First Cause would come from the First Cause itself (and since we know that the First Cause is Right and Just, we can probably trust what it says about itself).

But does the First Cause actually “say” anything about itself?  As a matter of fact, I believe it does…

More Next Week

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published

March 8, 2010

Spirit in a Box

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , at 12:33 PM by E. M.

The First Cause of the physical universe is causeless, supernatural, transcendent, and eternal.  The First Cause of the physical universe can only be described in non-physical terms…because the First Cause is non-physical.

This shouldn’t actually be all that surprising, because when contemplating the answer to “What’s the point?” (the question that started this whole thing), we intuitively know that whatever the “point” is, its outside of our physical selves.

The tough part is that we naturally tend to define how “real” and substantive something is by its physical proof.  We rely on proof that we can see smell, touch, taste, and/or hear.  But if the First Cause of the universe is non-physical (immaterial) AND greater than the material universe (the effect), then we’re going to have to become comfortable with the idea that some of the things we consider immaterial may actually be more “real” than what we can experience with our physical senses. (Don’t worry; when we get to my April 19th blog post, that sentence will make complete sense.  Probably).

What kinds of things are immaterial, transcendent, and time-less, yet are substantive enough to have a dramatic effect on the physical/material world?

In a broad sense, I’d have to say that the answer is “information”.  Let’s use something in close proximity to demonstrate what I mean – your computer system.  The system in front of you works because of functioning hardware and software.  Hardware is, of course, the physical/material parts of the system – the monitor, the CPU, mouse, keyboard, etc.  But all that hardware is nothing more than expensive paperweights without software.  Software is the information and rules that tell the hardware what to do and how to do it.  Software has a dramatic affect on the physical.  This information makes the physical “work”.

Software is information.  But even the most powerful software is immaterial.  If you take a blank disk or other storage device, weigh it, then load it up with all the software that it can hold, and weigh it again, you will find that it weighs exactly the same as before.

Information is weightless.  It has no mass.  If information has no mass, then it transcends the physical world.  Information is also time-less because according to Einstein, time can only affect objects with mass. (Remember, whenever someone wants to show how smart they are, they always reference Einstein).

“Information” is as broad a concept as “the universe”.  In fact, like the universe, information is an “effect”.  So to get a better understanding of it, we should use the ladder of causality that we used on the physical universe.  We need to find the “causeless” cause of information.

Information is an effect of knowledge.  Knowledge is an effect of intelligence.  Intelligence is an effect of the ability to understand.  Understanding is an effect of thinking.  Thinking is an effect of interpreting stimuli.  The ability to interpret stimuli is governed by qualitative (subjective) and quantitative (objective) principles (values) that we apply to the stimuli.

The interesting thing is that since humans are thinking beings (for the most part), we conform to the computer systems example above.  The most valuable part of the computer – the most “real” part if you will, is the software, not the hardware. The “real” part of the computer system (software) is immaterial and transcendent.

And so is the real “you”.

What makes you, you is not “hardware”; not the physical body you occupy that is slowly wearing down, losing elasticity, gaining liver spots and losing hair.  The real you; the things that make you special and unique  – your personality, your intellect, your understanding, your memories, your experiences, your knowledge, your talent, your will…all your information – the real you is “software”.  Your software makes your physical body function and tells it what to do.  Your physical actions are just an effect of your will.

If the real you is software, then the real you has no mass.  The real you is immaterial and transcendent.   The real you is eternal.  There is a term for this.  Its called “spirit”.  The real you is spirit.  The first cause or your spirit are principles (we’ll address this more at the end of April).

The First Cause of existence is also spirit.  The First Cause of existence is “principles”.  But unlike the first cause of your spirit, the First Cause of existence must consist of causeless principles; principles that require no precedent cause.  Are there causeless principles?  And if so, what are they?

More answers in one week

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published

March 1, 2010

Where and When

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , at 1:18 PM by E. M.

So here’s where we are – we know that existence exists, and we know that one of the cardinal rules of existence is causality.  We also know through the rules of causality that the finite universe in which we live had to have a First Cause (a cause without a preceding event).  And we know that the First Cause has to be supernatural since there is no natural way to have energy and matter come into existence out of nothing.  What else can causality tell us about the First Cause?

Under the rules of causality, not only must the cause be greater than the effect, but it must also be independent to, or “outside of” the effect.  So the First Cause of the physical universe has to be outside of the universe (the technical term for this is to say that the First Cause is “transcendent”; it transcends the physical universe).

The universe consists of time, space, matter, and energy.  We dealt with matter and energy in the last post, now we need to address time and space. Space is locality.  Space defines “where”.

Ok, so where exactly is “outside the universe”?  Well that’s actually not a valid question because “where” implies that the First Cause occupies some specific location or space…and “space” is a part of the physical universe that the First Cause must be outside of  (if you just said “huh?” you’re probably not alone).

Our perceptions and senses are rooted in the physical universe so it’s tough to wrap our minds around the idea of something that exists without being in a “where”.  We can only conceive of transcendence conceptually.

But wait, it gets worse.

“Time” is also a part of the physical universe, so the First Cause has to also be outside of time.  Time is how we perceive and measure events sequentially (first one thing happens, then another, then another, etc.). We perceive time in a linear way – everything has a beginning, middle, and end.  Think of the time-lines your school teachers would draw on the chalk board during your history lessons (I apologize for any trauma these memories may cause you).  Time defines “when”.

But since the First Cause is outside of time, it does not have a “when”.  From our perspective, it has always been.  It never “wasn’t” and it will never “not be”. It has no beginning, middle, or end.  It simply…is.

The First Cause is eternal.  The “where and when” that the First Cause occupies is referred to as “Eternity”.  Again, this is something that we can only conceptualize. We have no ability to perceive it with our senses.  We can only conceive of eternity in the abstract (or as a cologne I wore in high school that did not make me nearly as popular as I had hoped.  Although it was a significant step up from Old Spice)

So far I have been examining the First Cause as it relates to the physical universe, but all the terms I’ve used to describe it (causeless, eternal, transcendent, supernatural, etc.) are all non-physical.  What if its because the First Cause is non-physical (immaterial)?  If the First Cause of existence is immaterial, what are the implications?  More next week.

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published

February 22, 2010

Super. Natural.

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , at 1:00 AM by E. M.

NERD ALERT!!  The following post discusses themes that fascinate science geeks such as myself, but may bore, annoy, anger, or give migraines to normal well-adjusted people. Proceed with caution.

We’ve established Causality as a cardinal governing force of existence.  Causality states that every effect has a cause, and that cause is independent of and greater than the effect. We also saw that a finite system like our universe had to have an initial cause that was itself “causeless”,  meaning it had no preceding event.

What can we know about the First Cause of the universe? There are essentially two options: either the First Cause is natural (conforming to the proven laws of nature), or it is supernatural (occurring by means that somehow go beyond or exist outside of the natural scientific laws of the universe).

[This is where the really geeky stuff starts.  Hang in there.  I’ll try to make it as painless as possible]

The tangible stuff in the universe consists of matter and energy.  I’m going to focus on energy, as recent discoveries in particle/quantum physics regarding the nature of matter, specifically on the subatomic scale show that at the most primary levels, matter is fundamentally less substantial and measurable than energy [feel free to get an aspirin if you need one].  In other words, matter is fundamentally less “real” than energy.  This point will become even more important in an upcoming post I’m planning for April.

Among the primary natural laws that govern the universe in regards to energy are the laws of Thermodynamics.  The first law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed.  So if energy (and the matter it affects) cannot be created or destroyed in natural law, then one would have to conclude that the energy and matter in the universe have always existed and the universe in infinitely old.

The problem is that the second law of Thermodynamics essentially states that over time, the heat that energy produces dissipates throughout a system (this is called Entropy).  So then if the universe has always existed for infinity (which it must according to natural law) then entropy would be complete (all the heat energy would have dissipated) and the universe would all be the same temperature (cold).  This is called Heat Death.

This is obviously not the case.  So much so that scientists agree that our universe is finite and thus had a definitive beginning.  That brings us back to the original question about that nature of that beginning (cause) and presents a HUGE problem for proponents of the idea that the cause of the universe is a natural one.  At some point, matter, and energy did not exist, and then they came into being.

But the first law of thermodynamics tells us that it is IMPOSSIBLE for this to happen naturally.  But we know it did because…well we’re here aren’t we?  That leaves us with only one option.  However the universe came into existence; whatever the First (causeless) Cause was, it HAD to be supernatural (outside of established natural law).

Aside from being supernatural, what else can we say about the First Cause?  Stay tuned…

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published

February 18, 2010

Causality (or, why ask why?)

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , at 12:04 AM by E. M.

I was informed that the brevity of subject matter in Monday’s post caused it to ring a bit hollow.  In light of that, I’m temporarily breaking my once-a-week posting pattern and adding my post on Causality early.  This does not represent a lessening in my trademarked laziness.  Consider it an aberration.  Normalcy ensues again next Monday

In my last post I began discussing existence by defining the two cardinal rules that govern it – causality and non-contradiction.  The rule of non-contradiction simply states that contradictions cannot exist; something cannot be AND not be at the same time.  Existence can’t exist and not exist.  So since we know existence exists, we can go on from there (I know.  I can’t believe I wasted an entire post on that either).

The second rule is Causality or “cause and effect”.  This rule states that for every effect, there is a preceding cause, and that cause is independent of, and greater than the effect (“greater than” means that at the very least, the effect could not exist without the cause).

We all intrinsically believe in cause and effect and rely on it to make sense of our world.  Whenever you ask the question beginning with “why?” you are essentially asking for a cause.  For example, whenever I throw my head back and yell “Why are people so stupid?!” (which I inevitably do anytime I call customer service, read the comments section on a political website, or drive in Los Angeles), I am observing an effect (abject human stupidity) and looking for the cause (my current theory is that stupidity is exacerbated by  a combination excess fast food, and subliminal messages played during the broadcasts of manufactured “Reality TV”.  Research is ongoing).

Everything we see is an effect of a cause, and that effect may be the cause of a subsequent effect.  For example, my birth is an effect of my parent’s relationship (from what I’ve been told, this “effect” was greatly aided by half a bottle of cognac and an improperly inserted IUD…but I digress), and their relationship is an effect of their births, which were an effect of their parents’ relationships, and so on, each relationship and birth going further up the “ladder of causality”.

We can also see from a cosmological standpoint that our lives are an effect of the anthropic (human life optimal) nature of Earth’s environment (distance from the Sun, composition of the air, the water cycle, et al.) which is an effect of the Earth’s formation, which is an effect of our solar system, which is an effect of the Milky Way galaxy, etc.

However the cosmic ladder of causality does not have an infinite regression. We know from science that our physical universe is finite; it had a definitive beginning (I’ll get into that in detail in the next post).  So at some point, the elements (effects) that make up our universe (time, space, matter, and energy) did not exist… and then they did.  This initial effect had to be due to a First Cause, or “causeless cause” – a cause with no preceding event.  A cause, which by definition is independent of and greater than the effect (the universe).

It is vitally important that we identify, define, and do our best to understand this First Cause, because whatever it is, it is the source of everything we see, know, and experience.  The answer to “What’s the point?” is intimately tied to the First Cause

Based on what we know from science and human understanding, what can we definitively say about this First Cause?  I’ll begin to discuss that in the next post.

Remember to subscribe to this blog to receive new posts when they are published