The Big Cosmic Picture There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called "Closer To Truth". It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He's featured in one on one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today's cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics Cosmos; Consciousness; Meaning. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few of my comments on one of the universal topics covered: The Big Cosmic Picture. Ultimate reality is "The Twilight Zone"! When it comes down to what is our ultimate reality, I've been forced to conclude that we are between a "Twilight Zone" rock and a "Twilight Zone" hard place. The 'rock' is that when trying to come to terms with quantum physics weirdness, one is pushed into a corner kicking and screaming via having to acknowledge that based on experimental and observational evidence, the ultimate fundamental constructs of our cosmos, Mens Puma Caterpillar the elementary particles, exhibit awareness or consciousness and exercise a limited range of free will. Any detailed examination of just the famous (or infamous) double slit experiment will alone verify that. The 'hard place' is the Mens Puma Rio Racer explanation, the only explanation IMHO that ends up making any sense at all of quantum weirdness, and that is we exist in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe. The entirety of quantum phenomena is just one (of many) software programs, in this case the software program that runs the realm of the micro. There's another software program that runs the realm of the macro, and that's why quantum physics and classical physics cannot be unified. There is no Theory of Everything nor can there be. So, if you reject the simulation hypothesis, you have to confront the ultimate reality that electrons, for example, are to a greater or lesser degree, 'alive'. If you reject that then you need to accept the idea that ultimate reality is contained within the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, the need for virtual reality software in order to explain the electron's apparent 'aliveness'. As I said, you have just crossed over into "The Twilight Zone"! The ultimate question we can ask about all of reality, at least for starters, is which one of three reality scenarios is the correct one. Reality scenario number one is the reality of Mother Nature and the various laws, relationships and principles we have discovered, and will continue to discover, in the sciences, especially the physical sciences. This is probably the reality most of us embrace in our daily lives. The second possible reality is that of a supernatural reality where some sort of deity or deities can override at any time those scientific laws, relationships and principles. In other words, miracles can happen. This supernatural reality can encompass all sorts of things that physics would reject, like say many of those events that are related in the Bible like the Sun and the Moon standing still in the sky upon command. Many people adopt this form of reality being the legitimate reality scenario. Finally, reality scenario number three incorporates the idea that reality is but software programming and that we are virtual beings that exist in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe. The software provides those scientific laws, principles and relationships, but software can be tweaked throwing monkey wrenches into the works (are physical constants always so constant?), and programmers can make mistakes resulting in various anomalies (like an accelerating universe for example). Then too, software can accomplish anything the mind can imagine and thus any sort of paranormal phenomena can be accounted for without difficulty, like say crop circles whose existence cannot be denied yet which really do defy rational explanation. The simulation hypothesis has two variations. The first is the standard software version. The second alternative is the wetware version. Reality is all in the mind; reality is a dream. Either you are imagining or dreaming up this life, the universe and everything or someone else is doing the imagining or dreaming and you are just part of their imaginary life, the universe and everything. So those are the choices that will help determine what really is reality, and once that question is answered, we can slice and dice that scenario and uncover those deeper levels inherent in that version of reality. What's Fundamental in the Cosmos? Obviously, what is most fundamental are the building blocks that end up creating the structures that are part and parcel of the cosmos. Fundamental means something that exists that cannot be broken down into something even more fundamental. Fundamental is where the buck stops. Given our current understanding of things, the buck stops with electrons and quarks and neutrinos and photons and a few other bits and pieces. In another context, you would say a brick is more fundamental than a brick wall since a brick can exist without there being a brick wall, but a brick wall cannot exist without the brick. The same with Lego Blocks. Oxygen and hydrogen can exist independently of water, but water can't exist without hydrogen and oxygen, so hydrogen and oxygen is more fundamental than water. An oxygen atom cannot exist without neutrons, protons and electrons, but neutrons, protons and electrons can survive and thrive without producing oxygen. Finally, a proton cannot be a proton unless you have quarks. The question is, will quarks and electrons and neutrinos and photons, etc. ever be found to be constructed of something even more basic? Who knows? But until that day comes, the fundamental buck stops with those building blocks. Does Cosmology Provide Meaning? Meaning (and purpose) is probably only appropriate in a personal context. The cosmos just is. Any meaning or purpose in your life is provided for you by you, albeit perhaps with assistance from parents and family, teachers and friends, inspiration from books and movies, theology and philosophy, etc. But ultimately, the meaning and purpose buck begins and stops with you. It's a cop out to pass the buck and rely on anything else, including science and even cosmology, to tap you on the shoulder and tell you what your meaning and purpose is. Why is the Universe So Beautiful? Why is the Universe so beautiful? What makes you think the Universe is beautiful? Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. There is no scientific measurement of beauty. There are many things I consider beautiful that would horrify the aesthetics of others; objects that would have no appeal whatsoever. Others find things beautiful that I find absolutely revolting. Sorry, beauty and elegance are words that do not belong in a scientist's vocabulary when scientists are conducting science. The Universe is what it is. Would my cats consider the Universe beautiful? What about chimpanzees? What about the dinosaurs? Mens Puma L.I.F.T. They probably didn't consider the Universe very beautiful when that asteroid struck 65 million years ago. In fact can you consider the Universe beautiful when it has the potential to wipe us out in a cosmic nanosecond? I mean not only impacting asteroids, but a really nearby supernova wouldn't be an object of beauty as it is zapping us into the dust bin of cosmic history. Ditto for gamma ray bursts. Now I personally consider the Universe to be beautiful, but the key word is "personally", as a person, as an individual, not as a scientist. We can all agree that Mars, the Red Planet exists. We will not all agree that Mars is beautiful. A scientist needs to be professionally objective and stick to scientific descriptions and observations and not let personal impressions get in the way of that. What makes the Universe Fascinating? What makes the universe fascinating probably revolves around the fact that there are more of the Big Questions involving the Big Picture that come to the fore when contemplating the macro cosmos as well as the micro cosmos relative to most other topics. However, if the universe were the only fascinating game in town, then everybody would be a physical scientist. A biologist would say that biology is fascinating; an archaeologist would say that archaeology is fascinating; a musician would say that the near infinite variety of music is fascinating; a mother would say that her baby is fascinating; and the same logic would apply to a chess or a baseball player, an economist, an historian, a theologian, and so on. Different strokes for different folks, now that's fascinating! There Mens Puma Dallas are three possibilities to reality. There is Mother Nature's reality. In Mother Nature's reality things Womens Puma Engine Cat Low just are. There was no reason why there is this and not that. The second reality is a supernatural reality, or if you will God's reality. Since God is an intelligent being, and since intelligent beings are reasoning and reasonable beings, and since God created the cosmos, then it stands to reason that God created the cosmos for a reason(s). Lastly, there is virtual reality, a non supernatural Supreme Programmer who created our Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe. We can assume that this video game fanatic and computer software programmer, a flesh and blood fallible nerd, also created our virtual reality landscape for a reason(s). There is a variation on that theme where one replaces software for wetware, and that our virtual reality, our simulated cosmos, is virtual because our reality is but contained within a dream and within a dreamer's reality. Presumably when someone dreams, what they dream is ultimately based on some sort of reason(s) or reasoning best known by and within the inner workings of the dreamer's mind. The dreamer Womens Puma Future Cat might not know, but the dreamer's mind does. So, there you have it. Pick and choose your reality and then you know whether the cosmos that corresponds to that reality have a reason for being. Does Consciousness Cause the Cosmos 1? One possible form of reality is that life, the universe and everything is a wetware simulation. It might be that you have imagined or dreamed or daydreamed up the entire cosmos from scratch and that all reality just exists in your mind; in your consciousness or perhaps subconscious. Or, perhaps someone (or something) else has consciously or perhaps subconsciously dreamed up life, the universe and everything and you are a part of their mentally generated reality. I'm not sure how this possibility could ever be disproved, so in theory, maybe a consciousness did cause the cosmos. Now as long as that entity that contains that consciousness doesn't wake up or decide to invent a different cosmos, then all is right with the cosmos we virtually inhabit. Does Consciousness Cause the Cosmos 2? Assuming that the cosmos is not a simulation but a really real place, and assuming that only living things exhibit consciousness, then consciousness played no part in the creation, or even the early evolution of the cosmos. If the Big Bang event scenario is correct, even in the broadest context, then immediately post Big bang, and probably for quite some time thereafter, the cosmos was not even close to being a Goldilocks Universe and thus the cosmos was devoid of life and devoid of consciousness. Immediately pre Big Bang, assuming a before the Big Bang (which I do), the conditions would also not have been suitable for life, as say in any Big Crunch that would of eventuated just before the Big Bang. Any time close to that Big Bang event, on either side of that Big Bang event, is not a time any intelligent and conscious life forms would want to find themselves in. As we note in the movies, and in real warfare, any time that bomb is about to go off is a good time to head in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, in space time either side of the Big Bang event, there may not have been any other direction to head into. And so the odds suggest no life and no consciousness pre Big Bang as well as post Big Bang and thus consciousness played no role in and around the Big Bang event. Must the Universe Contain Consciousness? Must the [rest of the] universe contain consciousness? Absolutely not, any more than the rest of the universe MUST contain other extraterrestrial life forms. Life on Planet Earth, or at least a lot of life on Planet Earth, has consciousness. But, that could be a one off fluke. You can't argue consciousness being a bit of a universal property throughout the cosmos from a statistical sample of one. The universe can contain consciousness since some terrestrial life forms exhibit consciousness, like ourselves, but that doesn't mean it MUST contain consciousness across the cosmic board. An extraterrestrial life form like a virus on the Planet Zork may not of necessity exhibit any consciousness. It might be hard to argue that a virus exhibits consciousness, and viruses could well be distributed throughout the cosmos via that seeding process known as panspermia. What does an Expanding Universe Mean? Before deciding what does an expanding universe actually mean, if it actually has meaning, one has to figure out which of two possible expansion scenarios is the correct one, though I understand that at present there is no actual observational experiment that can distinguish between the two. The current standard cosmological model has space itself expanding, the expansion of space being driven by dark energy (whatever that actually is), an apparently intrinsic property of space itself. In other words, space, and the Womens Puma Speed Cat dark energy of space is a thing, and space, being a thing, carries the galaxies in piggyback fashion, like that overused analogy of paper dots pasted on the surface of an expanding balloon. I reject that standard model on the grounds that it implies the continuous creation of something (dark energy and space with structure and substance) from absolutely nothing, a pure violation of those conservation laws so beloved by physics. The alternative Mens Puma High Tops scenario is that the galaxies, matter and energy, are all expanding through existing space. Space in this scenario is not a thing, just the concept of a container that contains matter and energy in the form of galaxies. The galaxies are no more being carried piggyback by space than the bits and pieces that come flying out of an exploding stick of dynamite are being carried by the space they are moving through. The galaxies, like the bits and pieces of that exploded stick of dynamite, are moving through space. Now when that issue is decided, we're in a better position to discuss meaning. IMHO, the cosmos is infinite in size. The basic reason is that only an infinite cosmos gets around that very nasty philosophical question of what lies beyond the boundary even if there doesn't appear to be a boundary? Now I know people like to state that the Earth has a finite size yet you can keep on keeping on going around and around and around until the cows come home. A terrestrial traveller could conclude Mens Puma Engine Cat that the Earth is infinite in length. However, that traveller can escape the finiteness by travelling in another direction UP! Once you realise that even in the cosmos, if you are travelling around in never ending circles, if you can find an UP direction, then another UP direction and another if necessary, you'll find that the cosmos is infinite. Of course there doesn't have to be any valid analogy between the finite Earth and the cosmos. It could be in the cosmos that if you just pick a direction and start trucking, you can keep on keeping on trucking forever and ever and ever, amen, without ever putting your footsteps into your previous footsteps. Every step you take and every view you view is unique, never to repeat. What would an Infinite Universe Mean? Well one thing an infinite universe would mean is that there could be no way that mankind, or any extraterrestrial civilization for that matter, could ever explore and eventually colonize the universe. An infinite universe would also suggest that the Big Bang could not have created the universe from scratch since even 13.7 (give or take) billions of years of expansion doesn't translate into an infinite universe. The Puma Shoes Big Bang could however have happened inside of an already existing infinite universe, just a minor 'pop' in the infinite universe's humdrum existence. It would be akin to a supernova going off in our galaxy, a something of relatively little consequence. An infinite universe could also never contract back into a state of a Big Crunch since that would take an infinite amount of time to achieve.