Someone made the cake

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This week, I though it would be good to blog about cosmology. I've been reading week's New Scientist magazine for years. In its pages, on a regular basis, there'll be an article on how physicists are trying to come up with a solution to solve thorny problems regarding the Big Bang; the beginning of our universe. Unfortunately, this has been going on for literally decades with no sign of any significant progress. A big part of the problem is that there are several glaring problems with the current, Materialist view of the universe's birth. They are 'Boltzmann's Well Ordered Universe Problem', 'The Baryon Asymmetry Problem' and the 'Fine-Tuning Problem.' These problems are clear, straightforward and simply refuse to go away. What's interesting is that they can all be solved if one adopts a particular Dualist view of the universe. In my new non-fiction book, 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong', I've explained how that works and I thought it would be fun to post it here:

Scrambled Egg

At the beginning of the twentieth century, several astronomers noticed something odd about galaxies. When they studied the motion of remote galaxies by measuring their red shift (similar to a Doppler Shift), it seemed that all the galaxies were all moving away from us and each other. There seemed to be only one conclusion, that the universe itself was expanding. It was as if the universe was like the surface of a balloon and everything on that surface was moving away from everything else as the universe ‘inflated’.

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This startling fact did match a consequence of Albert Einstein’s General Relativity, which predicted that the whole universe should be expanding. In 1927, Georges Lemaître, a Belgian Catholic Priest and astrophysicist, took note of this new information. He concluded that if everything in the universe is expanding away from every other thing in the universe, then the universe must have originally started from a single point. Lemaître called this single point from which the universe sprang the ‘Primeval Atom’ or ‘Cosmic Egg’. These names are evocative and apt, but they aren’t half as much fun as ‘Big Bang’. This description was coined by astronomer Fred Hoyle during a 1949 BBC radio broadcast. Hoyle didn’t believe the universe was expanding and his choice of phrase, whether deliberate or not, wasn’t exactly complimentary or scientifically accurate. Since space and time also started at that first moment, nothing had any size, nor was there anything to explode into, thus making a ‘big bang’ impossible on all counts. Nevertheless, the phrase stuck.

Since that time, the Big Bang has become established as the definite way that our universe started and physicists, astrophysicists and cosmologists have worked hard to understand exactly what happened at that moment and shortly after. They’ve made great strides forward, but they have come up against three paradoxical facts about the universe that defy official scientific explanation. Here they are, in no particular order:

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Paradoxical cosmological fact 1: The Baryon Asymmetry Problem.

According to physics, both matter and anti-matter can and do exist in the universe. In fact, a pair of matter-anti-matter particles can spontaneously appear together, due to the strange, quantum nature of reality. Knowing this, it’s clear that at the beginning of the universe, equal amounts of matter and anti-matter should have been created, since the Big Bang is supposed to have been an unbiased, ambivalent, physical event.

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But if equal amounts of matter and anti-matter had been created, then they would have annihilated each other in a bright flash of light, leaving nothing physical at all. Clearly, this didn’t happen, hence the paradox. Cosmologists are very unhappy and perplexed by this problem. They have made many efforts and conducted many experiments to try and prove that more matter is made during collisions than antimatter, which would have created a matter surplus at the beginning of our universe, but so far this has entirely failed. According to physics, the existence of our universe is therefore impossible.


Paradoxical cosmological fact 2: The Fine Tuning Problem.

Our universe is a beautifully balanced phenomenon. Stars shine, planets revolve, all enabling life to exist, but in order for the universe to work in this way and not, for example, collapse into a random mess of light and neutrinos, the laws and ratios of the universe have to be within a certain range. If the ratios of certain charges, or the stable states of certain particles were different, no atoms would form, no stars would shine and the universe as we know it would be impossible. This is perfectly reasonable, but what is odd is that it would take only the tiniest, tiniest change in several of those key ratios for everything to fall apart. But according to the official scientific view, the universe and all its laws and ratios are a random creation. But if this is the case, then the likelihood of the universe popping into existence with just the right laws and ratios for the suns to shine and living things to exist is vanishingly small. According to the physics, the existence of our universe is therefore virtually impossible.

Paradoxical cosmological fact 3: Boltzmann’s Well-Ordered Universe Problem.

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Ludwig Boltzmann was a 19th-century Austrian physicist whose work helped develop the whole field of thermodynamics. For example, Boltzmann helped devise the Second Law of Thermodynamics, mentioned earlier in this book, which states that disorder is always increasing in the universe, a phenomenon known as entropy.

Cosmologists knew all about entropy when they studied the beginning of our universe. They knew that entropy always increases and they also knew that our universe now is relatively well organised. Therefore, they concluded, the beginning of our universe must have been extremely well organised, since disorder increases over time.

Unfortunately for their theories, it soon became clear that the early universe was very disordered; it was a mess of fundamental particles washing around willy-nilly in a super-super hot soup of boiling, primitive ingredients. Clearly the beginning of the universe wasn’t well-ordered at all. Somehow, the entire universe ignored entropy; it went from being very disordered to very ordered. According to that aspect of physics, the existence of the universe we see around us is therefore impossible.

If we refer just to the three paradoxes mentioned above, our universe is therefore triply impossible. Fortunately, cosmologists seem to have taken these multiple impossibilities in their stride. Normally, such a multitude of glaring paradoxes would force an entire field of science to completely re-evaluate its fundamental assumptions, but that hasn’t happened yet and cosmologists happily turn up to work everyday with only the odd comment, possibly made by the most junior of them, that their current paradigm may actually be as batty as a particularly capacious belfry after a very productive mating season.
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This problem in cosmology is a little like the conversation between Alice and the Queen in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ where Alice insists that she can’t believe impossible things. The Queen replies:

"I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!”

Carroll, perhaps, was making a wise point; that human beings are actually very good at believing anything if they try hard enough.

Cosmologists may be unwilling to change their view of the Big Bang, regardless of the current paradoxes, but the answer that solves all the paradoxes mentioned already is actually quite a simple one.
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To use a metaphor, our universe is like a very tasty cake; it’s got just the right proportions of ingredients mixed and placed in just the right way for it to win a prize in the village fête. In addition, all the egg shells, nut shells and wheat husks that were part of its ingredients were carefully removed early on in its creation. Not only that, but the cake’s recipe is a work of genius. Everyone who gives it a nibble is agreed; it’s a wonderful, brilliant, perfect cake.

The only problem for everyone at the fête is that a group of scientists, who are the official reporters on how the cake was made, insist that the cake appeared when a set of random, raw ingredients collided in a kitchen explosion. They explain with assured confidence that certain random, unprocessed ingredients were lying around and then, in one sudden event, ‘bang!’, a delicious cake appeared. These scientists ignore the immediate comments made by several people at the absurdity of their idea. They especially ignore the comment made by one wag that most of the egg in the explosion seems to have ended up on their faces. Most of all, they ignore the view of virtually everyone else at the fête, who think that someone made the cake.

Our universe is just the same; the only way to solve the three cosmic paradoxes mentioned earlier is to accept that the universe was a creation by an intelligence who then continued to positively influence its state. The only way to solve the baryon asymmetry problem is to accept that an intelligence created the positive matter and didn’t create the accompanying anti-matter. The only way to solve the fine-tuning problem is to accept that an intelligence carefully chose the values and ratios of the universe so that atoms would be stable and suns would shine. The only way to solve Boltzmann’s well-ordered universe problem is to accept that an intelligence positively influenced the formation of the early universe, thereby working against the effects of entropy, until it was ordered enough for suns to shine etc. In other words, someone made the cake.

For more on that subject, and other exciting topics besides, do please check out the book.

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