Category Archives: Science

Why we exist

Just an hour ago my wife and I had an argument over our neighbor and I cut her short telling her I wasn’t interested in these types of inanities (I know, I know, telling this to your wife can be disastrous).  We’re still not talking but I found this engaging essay on "Why we exist" and I couldn’t help wondering, "Exactly what happened during the Big Bang that led us to this argument?"

Whenever life throws at me existential perplexities I usually think about my place in the universe and why things happen the way they do.  I am not referring to cause and effect.  As the essay says billions of things exactly had to be the way they were in order to enable us to exist.

Even setting aside the issue of being here and now, the probability of random physical laws and events leading to this point is less than 1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, equivalent to winning every lottery there ever was.

Personally I believe our perception of the universe and the life as it exists is based on our current knowledge.  There was a time when people thought the earth is flat and the sun goes around the earth. This perception existed for thousands of years until scientists discovered, over a period of some centuries, that the earth is not flat and the sun does not go around the earth.  The essay says if the chain reaction that happened during the Big Bang had even slightly altered life wouldn’t have existed.

I think we very easily believe that there is just one big bang in the history of the known universe and there were no other big bangs.  For all you know big bangs are happening all the time in the universe.

And life must also be different in different cases and we may not be even able to define or recognize different definitions of life.  It is all about perception.  Right now we believe life is all about thinking, feeling and understanding things around us or beyond our consciousness. Life may hold altogether a different meaning in another part of the universe.  Maybe intelligence doesn’t even need a body to exist or to feel.  Maybe there are big globules of intelligence floating around the sizes of suns and stars in various parts of the universe.

Coming back to why we exist and why things happen the way they do.  It will certainly take us a while to understand this if at all we understand one day.  I don’t believe that the history of our perception begins with the Big Bang because lots of stuff must have happened in order to trigger the mother of all the bangs (according to history of the bangs we know). It may not usually be a scientific question.  Intelligence and human emotions are beyond science.

There is another realm we are unaware of.

Does time travel both ways

Recently I stumbled upon a scientific link (unfortunately I lost it) that talked about certain regions in the universe where time travels backwards and even both ways sometimes.  Can it really happen?

I personally feel time is a human concept.  It goes in one direction because we age more and not less and therefore we see everything else around us with that perception.  Of course we come from matter and then go back to matter and this can be something like going back in time but it’s not like you can go back 2 weeks and take care of chores you missed. My limited knowledge of science doesn’t let me see time as a physical entity.  It is there, we are all aware of it, we have clocks to track it but we cannot actually see it or feel it.  So it is hypothetical and it is primarily used to organize and synchronize our activities.

Why scientists think that time can travel backwards is because right now our universe is expanding.  From a center it is going away so time is moving in a particular direction. Once our universe has expended enough it will start contracting (something like yo-yo) and this will how the time will start moving backward.  It doesn’t make sense.  Whether our earth moves from left to right or from right to left (in relation to the sun) and provided no disaster occurs how is it going to affect the way we grow old or build bridges or destroy forests?  If the earth changes direction the bridges are not going to disappear all of a sudden and children are not going to enter the wombs.

Or maybe I don’t understand the concept of time properly and somewhere I’m confusing it with present, past and future.  Maybe present, past and future have got nothing to do with time.  Any ideas?

Does God really not exist?

Stephen Hawking thinks according to laws of physics the universe could have happened on its own and we don’t need a god to create it. According to him and many other scientists there is a theory that can explain every existing law of physics and if we are able to understand that theory we have understood the mind of God.

I think all the scientists jump the gun when they denounce the existence of some unknown power that we often prefer to term as “God” at the drop of a hat. You cannot say things just happened. I know, I may have a limited knowledge of time and I may not be aware of the true concept of what is beginning and what is end and in what direction moves what, the commonsense says there has to be something or someone eventually. You may not like to call it God but whatever triggered the current universe must have some kind of origin. It’s like, although you can say that a marble will roll down a slope automatically, someone puts that marble at that place from where it can roll down. So there is some force that somewhere initiated something that resulted in the kind of universe that we currently have.

Scientists perhaps get mixed up with that original “God” with mythical and prophetic worldly gods. For instance, Christians say that God created this world in “n” days, Muslims say something else and Hindus have their own idea of creation and destruction. These gods may be just works of fiction or delusion but it doesn’t mean that there is no ultimate power. It may not be human or something we can relate to. It can be a complex blob of intelligence that just floats around creating universes, or anything.

With our limited understanding it won’t be humanly possible to go to the beginning of things because if you actually think there can be no beginning because there is always something before the beginning. Something like, before you were born there were your parents and before they were born there were their parents and before our ancestors were born there were apes and monkeys and before apes and monkeys were born there were other forms of lives and before those other forms of lives came into existence there were some chemical reactions and before those chemical reactions there were some chemicals that caused some other reactions, so on and so forth. It doesn’t seem to end and I don’t think it can ever end because before everything there is something else. This seems so bizarre that even before God there has to be some super God that gave rise to the god that created the universe.

Maybe that’s why we come up with simple explanations and routine denials because once you start thinking about that literally, there is no end to it. That’s why we talk of the origin of the universe or the big bang theory and were normally don’t talk about what was there before that.

How will we be after 5000 years?

Here’s an interesting take on how the earth will look after 5000 years, but the article actually talks about what will we become after 5000 year if we don’t destroy ourselves by then.

In 5000 years we won’t require our bodies to live. If mortality and immortality are biological concepts, does this mean we’ll become an immortal race? But why no body?

With advances in technology we’ll be using our bodies less and less. See this video for example:

And this is a very small example of how very rapidly we’re reducing the amount of work our bodies have to do. If we can do this in say, 100 years, imagine what we can do in another 300 years. Although evolution takes its own time, in 500-600 years, and even earlier, we’ll figure out how to live without depending upon body, and even without depending upon machines. The above article says that there will come a stage when we’ll derive energy from the nearby galaxies and control the surrounding solar systems. I don’t think by that time we’ll need to get energy. Our consciousness will produce (I know it defies the first law of thermodynamics but I’m not talking in that sense) on its own.

So what about sensory experiences? Two partners can already enjoy sex with each other (remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?) by simply wiring their brains together even while sitting (or lying, or standing, on in the padmasan position) half way across the globe. So if sex can be enjoyed this way, I’m sure other sensations can be experienced too.

Not everything supernatural is irrational

I wonder why some people feel it hard to believe Prahlad Jani’s claim that he hasn’t eaten or drunk for more than 80 years. It’s not like he’s saying he has flown to the moon and back a couple of times. We sometimes develop biological peculiarities that science cannot explain with current level of understanding. When we think about extra-terrestrial life scientists already believe there can be life forms beyond our understanding. Why, even on earth we keep finding life forms living in the extreme temperatures of volcanoes and miles beneath the arctic ice – would you call that supernatural?

This is not to say that we should believe in superstition. For me superstition means when you promote a belief and earn money with it or harm people. Even people like Deepak Chopra come under that category, for that matter. He sells a way of life and earns lots of money with it. We should all fight superstitions that are used to keep people suppressed and backward.

If you simply say that you haven’t eaten for 80 years, then what’s the harm? Instead of moronically rejecting him outright, we should unravel the mystery, if there is one. This is how humanity has evolved.

In terms of being supernatural, life in itself is supernatural. Whenever I look at my daughter jumping around, running around in the house and spreading light around her, I feel, yes, she’s a miracle. She was not there a few years ago. And then she’s here, out of nothingness. I’m not talking about her physical existence, I’m talking about her soul, her thoughts, her attitude, her outlook. If you can see beyond biology, physics and chemistry, what can be more supernatural than life itself?