Monday, April 7, 2014

A Cosmic God is Scientifically Possible or, at Least, Logical

I like to call myself an Agnostic that likes to speculate, and today I want to share something that seemed pretty profound when the idea struck me.  It occurred to me, when pondering the modern, scientific, view of the universe, that someone could make a pretty good argument for the possibility of God (or at least a God concept) that is based on logical deduction and scientific ideas.  I really haven't seen this done to any degree of satisfaction, so I figured I would offer it up as my own contemplation.  To me, it is a thought experiment for those, like me, who demand better than your standard faith based explanations. . but also don't mind allowing for some reasonable speculation and maybe even a little imagination.
There are three important scientific concepts we will need to achieve this:
1) The infinite universe.  Scientists say that an infinite universe is very possible and there are some popular theories which express this.  One is called the "multiverse" theory which describes an infinite amount of "bubbles" each containing their own time/space universe. Another one is the oscillating universe theory which describes our universe as going through an infinite cycle of birth, age, decay, and rebirth in various ways all within the same "bubble" of time/space.  
2) Immortality.  Science suggests that immortality may be possible in the future.  One area this is possible is in medicine.  There are predictions that within the next 100 years or so medicine will be able to slow or halt the aging process.  Another field suggesting immortality is computer science and artificial intelligence.  Even now we are approaching the memory and processing power to handle the thought process of the human brain.  This has led to the prediction that the mind may eventually be something that can be translated into software and "uploaded" into an artificial brain which can extend both the human life and the processing power of thought indefinitely.

3) Evolution.  This is the theory that the universe is moving from the simplicity of the hydrogen atom to the complexity of stars, planets, galaxies, human life and beyond.  This evolution is thought to be driven, by random events, happy accidents, natural selection, and lots of time for it to happen.  We can even look at our own intellectual development of civilization, philosophy, sciences and technology as a sort of intellectual evolution which began when our brains were advanced enough.  This will continue to evolve.  A trillion years from now, it will still be evolving.  We truly do not know where the limits might be.
So, if we believe in even the most remote possibility of these things, then we have a very basic thought experiment to consider:   Multiply an immortal intelligence, in an evolutionary universe by infinity.   The result may not be the Biblical God of Earth, but it is certainly something that could resemble a cosmic God.
So the formula is: 
God equals Intelligence multiplied by Infinity.  This is what I would call the "Infinite Intelligence"  or the "Cosmic God" formula, which I present as logic rather than actual math.   This formula describes the logical outcome of evolution, as we know it, when it has an infinite amount of time.  It is a similar principle as the one used by scientists when they try to explain our own existence as a series of accidents and coincidences happening over vast amounts of time.  The answer to unlikely random events is always time, lots and lots of time.
There is a cliche thought experiment of an immortal monkey sitting at an unbreakable typewriter randomly poking keys.  It is said that this monkey, given enough time, will eventually type the works of Shakespeare out of pure random action.  A staggering amount of time is needed for this to happen.  Last I heard the estimate was something like a million times the estimated lifespan of the universe before we finally got Shakespeare.  . but the possibility was never 0%.  In infinity, however, this vast amount of time may as well be a single second.  The odds of getting Shakespeare from the monkey in infinity are 100%.  In infinity, the chances of every possible interaction of atoms in the universe happening are 100%.  In fact, the chances are 100% that it will happen over and over, an infinite number of times, as the chances come around again and again, infinitely.
There is another peculiar characteristic of infinity on a timeline.  The past and future are sort of the same.  The past extends so far back that all the same possible events we can conceive in the future also present themselves as history.  In the infinite past the monkey has already typed Shakespeare, the universe has already created life and pushed it to it's final destiny and the intellect and self awareness we know to exist, as ourselves. .  has already reached it's full potential.  It has already overcome all limitations that are possible to overcome and mastered everything that can be mastered.

In infinity, the past is particularly mystical.   In the infinite past, there would be no time before these events described above had happened.  There is no finding a moment before something in an infinite past.   There would always have been plenty of time for the same thing to happen even earlier, and then earlier than that. .  and so on.  While we could imagine a sequence of events leading to the evolution of an intelligence into God, it is literally true that there could never be a beginning moment for that to happen in the infinite past.  What comes from the infinity behind us, has no beginning, it simply IS.  And so, in the infinite past, the monkey doesn't just type Shakespeare by chance, it has always been.  God does not evolve, God has always been.  The universe did not evolve into perfection, it has always been something that evolved into perfection.  There was no time "before" any of this in infinity.  This is a bit of a paradox, but it is only so because we cannot properly comprehend infinity in the first place.  Our minds are linear.  If we attempt to look outside this linear perception, however, the implications of this are huge. It suggests that the current state of non perfection we observe in ourselves and the universe must be a deliberate and strategic state, not a randomly occuring one.  Randomness is in direct conflict with the implications of the infinite past that tells us that the universe already achieved evolutionary perfection. .  or as I said. . . the universe has always been something that achieved perfection. .  
So, ironically, the question of the cosmic God really rests more on faith in science than faith in religion.  Do you believe science when they say that infinity is possible in the cosmos?  Do you believe in the process of evolution naturally pushing the universe into more and more complexity?  In the infinite past, the odds are 100% that life in some past universe made itself immortal and evolved into an ultimate intelligence with mastery of all matter. . .which then started a new universe of it's own.  If it is even remotely possible, it has already happened.   In fact, as I said, there would be no time when this hadn't happened.  Evolution and linear time are just concepts we must embrace in order for our minds to try understanding how it could happen. 
So this is a very heavy question to ponder.  It took the universe, 13 billion years to evolve into you, who now sit here and wonder about it.  That is 0% of infinity.   What could it evolve out of someone like you if it had an infinity more of evolution to work with?   What we could call God does not only appear possible in an infinite universe, the proof that we ourselves exist makes it very likely to be inevitable as an inherent part of the past and future.  We are the proof.  The rest is just adding time to us. 
There are a lot of details to ponder in this.  How could a past universe of intelligent beings evolve into a single cosmic personality?  Why would a cosmic God fracture a perfect universe and make it "dumb" again?  Why would a cosmic God make itself invisible to the creation?  What is this infinite intelligence trying to accomplish?   This, of course, goes even further into speculation and I am focused only on the raw logic of the "God premise" for now.  I've actually thought a lot of these out already and I have ideas that build upon this basic premise.  Maybe I will sit down and write all those down at a later time.

So, do I think I have proven God's existence?  Well, certainly not in a very testable way. .  I have an untestable premise built on untestable theories.   I'm sure plenty of skeptics will still be unsatisfied.   My real goal here, however,  has not been scientific proof as much as scientific speculation.  I wanted to create a scenario that makes sense based on things we know and can relate to.   It is not testable as much as it is a sensible deduction about admittedly untestable things.   Astronomers do this all the time when trying to explain the universe.   In fact, I would say that my form of agnostic speculation is in the tradition of cosmology rather than religion.

There are many theories and proposals in cosmology that are ultimately untestable, but not totally written off unless better answers present themselves.  The "multiverse" mentioned in the beginning with endless "bubbles" each their own universe with it's own physics, is just one of them.  There is also scientific speculation from the string theory crowd about multiple dimensions, speculation from the dark matter/energy crowd that there is some particle in the universe that makes up the majority of all substance,  but it's totally undetectable. . or that gravity may actually behave very differently in places where we can't measure it.  There is even speculation from the quantum mechanics crowd that matter is somehow influenced by thought, or that the whole universe is dominated by a "cosmic consciousness" which is more dominant than matter.   These theories have critics but somehow we are still allowed to speculate about them without being shut down or shut out of the conversation.  I think it might be useful to do a similar thing with our God concept.. .   so that faith alone is not the only quality needed to start speculating about the possibilities. . and criticism needs to start talking about something besides the well established premise that faith alone is illogical. . .  and not enough for some people.