February 25, 2014
February 25, 2013
7000 Years in the Making
By aaronphipps in Science
For over 7000 years the greatest minds of mankind have wrestled with the great cosmic question – what is the universe and what, if any, is mankind's place in it?
Today more than ever humankind may be close to that ultimate answer. Paul Davies, an English-born physicist and current professor at Arizona State University, has tackled this question head on. Following the pioneering steps of such vanguard theorists as David Birnbaum and Simon Morris, Davies explores the intellectual landscape in his groundbreaking The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life? (Mariner Books, 2007). He elaborates on the question of whether the universe itself was designed in such a way as to make humanity inevitable.
The Weak and Strong Anthropic Principle
Two central concepts in the argument over humankind's necessity in the universe are the
weak and strong anthropic principles. The weak anthropic principle is the argument that life's emergence in the universe was happenstance and accidental. This principle is a core tenant of older theories, such as Randomness, which assert that all cosmic existence is utterly random and without purpose – just the result of a passive selection mechanism.
In contrast, the strong anthropic principle asserts that the emergence of life is inevitable because it is built into the basic laws of the universe. That is to say, that the very laws of nature overwhelmingly have guided the universe to create intelligent life. This would be central to Davies' concept of the Goldilocks Enigma that the universe had to be just right for life to have spawned and that with so many random factors at work, it would be absurd to think it could have occurred by sheer luck. As Cambridge biologist Simon Conway Morris puts it, “There is, if you like, seeded into the initiation of the universe itself the inevitability of intelligence.
The quantum argument
The strong anthropic principle can sound absurd to modern scientists. There is an intrinsic bias towards disregarding life as a fundamental part of the universe. This has been ingrained by the long-standing reign of Randomness. But the strong principle actually has a sound grounding in modern physics. It can be observed most strongly in quantum physics.
In quantum physics, it is accepted theory that observation affects the results of experimentation. More to the point, observing a phenomenon is actually a causal factor in its achieving a particular outcome. One of the most popularly adhered-to ideas to explain this oddity is quantum multiverse. In a quantum multiverse, there are an infinite number of parallel universes which can potentially exist.
When an observer measures the results of a quantum decision, they, in effect, force nature to make a decision. For instance, say an electron is knocked away from an atom and it can leave in a trajectory to the left or right. In quantum mechanics the direction it takes is indeterminate. Not only can the electron exist either to the left or right, but until it is measured, it exists in both places. Only when it is observed, will it finally come to exist in one place or another.
In a quantum multiverse, what is happening is that the uncertainty of direction splits the universe in two, one where the electron goes left, one where it goes right. The act of observing in and of itself forces the observer to choose a particular universe of existence. If the observer sees the electron on the left, then that is the universe which the electron continues existing in. By the laws of quantum multiversing, the universe expands infinitely and at all times in reaction to these uncertainty choices resolving. The theory sounds odd, of course, but this isn't philosophy – this is the current state of the science of quantum physics.
What is interesting is the interaction of observation. Observation is necessarily carried out by something aware – something that thinks. For quantum multiversing to function properly, humankind must be a part of the universe to drive the observation – hence, humankind would need to be a fundamental part of the universe for it to work properly.
This likewise highlights another theory, that proposed by private scholar David Birnbaum. In his theory of Potentialism, he cites as one of the key strengths of the universe, it's Infinite Potential. This is reflected quite clearly in the multiversing paradigm. Humankind's observational power not only displays the ability to affect the universe, but also to shape the multiplicity of infinite quantum parallel multiverses.
Life and intelligence as a part of physical reality
An important key to legitimizing the importance of life and intelligence in the cosmic order is being able to identify it as a valid, physical force in the universe. This is not so hard a task as it might seem at first. The study of thought and, by extension, spirituality remain squarely in the domain of philosophy, spirituality and religion. This is so because there is no science currently at hand which can quantify and measure such phenomena.
What is commonly incorrectly assumed though is that since something can't be quantified it cannot be proven to exist. This could not be further from the truth. Thought can be shown to be as fundamental a force in the universe as mass or electricity.
Take a simple example of throwing a ball. If one picks up a ball and tosses it, on the surface the cause and effect seem obvious – the thrower is the cause, the ball sailing through the air is the result. This is not the case though. The original impetus, the prime mover that caused the reaction was the conscious decision of someone to throw the ball. Viewed properly, the throw itself, while the cause of the ball's motion, is also the effect of the person's decision to take the action of throwing. The thought is the prime mover in the action, the throwing is further down the sequence of events. Without the person's conscious decision to take action, the ball never would have moved.
Similarly, conscious thought can describe order in more intricate actions where the lack of conscious design would make the actions seem random and pointless. Consider a scenario Davies illustrates of a person cooking supper. To an observer, they would see ingredients being moved about, spices chosen, heat applied to ingredients after mixing... None of the actions, in and of themselves, make sense outside the context of conscious thought. It is the cook's decision to make supper that is the designer and prime mover of all the resulting actions. It is what makes sense of what is occurring.
This is the reason Randomness and Teleology (the theory that the universe moves with intent and willful purpose to evolve) differ so much in their tenants. Randomness sees only mathematical unpredictability in the universe. Since they cannot predict individual events with certainty, they conclude that all actions in the universe occur without reason.
When adding consciousness to the cosmic equation though, new possibilities for order come to light. While the pure mathematics of Randomness tries to calculate a formula for when cumin or oregano will be lifted from the spice cabinet, Teleology understands that Randomness never asked the simplest question of all – what is the universe cooking currently? There is no randomness involved at all. The observer just hasn't understood what the recipe is.
The future of cosmology
Mind is a physical force in the universe. Not only does it have measurable impact, but quantum physics has shown its necessity in quantum phenomena and the great power it has over sculpting our universe. Previous tools such as Randomness, fail in their determining the ultimate nature of the universe because they fail to account for the significant place of thought both as a physical force and its role as a prime mover. Moreover, this prime mover, can give light to the seeming randomness of creation by describing the teleologically driven path the universe proceeds along. After seven millennia, mankind is only now emerging to understand the central place they inhabit in the grand order of cosmology.
Mind and consciousness
But what impetus led to the emergence of mind and consciousness? Indeed, what impetus ignited the universe? What impetus is driving the entire cosmic dynamic? Is there a direction to the cosmos?
Of course these questions and variations thereof have bedeviled mankind for thousands of years. Conceptual theorist David Birnbaum of Manhattan has proposed a dynamic – which has tantalized the global academic and theological community – which just-so-happens to succinctly and simultaneously resolves all these questions. Plus about a dozen other hitherto intractable issues.
Birnbaum’s proposed Quest for Potential** uniquely scientifically elegantly answers these questions. Birnbaum’s shorthand notation for Quest for Potential** is Q4P**. Per Birnbaum, eternal Q4P** harnessed the eternal equations of Physics-Math to ignite the cosmic order and thereupon drive it onward and onward towards ever-greater complexity/extraordinariness through this day. Only the Birnbaum formulation (Summa Metaphysica volume I: 1988, volume II: 2005 and volume III: 2014) adequately unifies the disparate cosmic building blocks. Encapsulated in one simple formula Q4P ( Q4P ( Q4P – or Quest for Potential nested infinitely – the Birnbaum formulation succinctly works. Wrapping-around Einstein macro-physics and Planck micro-physics – and lancing the classic Greek metaphysical questions to boot – Potentialism elegantly offers the most powerful and all-encompassing cosmology, to-date, 7,000 years and counting...
DAVID BIRNBAUM PHILOSOPHY / METAPHYSICS
Cosmology, Metaphysics & Philosophy: See sample testimonial on Summa Metaphysica, David Birnbaum's philosophy treatise:
“The 21st century has seen a rise in new theories of cosmology. At the forefront has been Potentialism. The theory was developed by independent scholar David Birnbaum of Manhattan [via] his 3-volume treatise Summa Metaphysica. The theory is an iconic paradigm challenge.”
- The Epoch Times, June / 4 / 2014