Causality and the Universe

A commenter by the name of Don felt left this comment on an old post I wrote ‘This Is How The Universe Happened, It Wasn’t Magic‘, attempting to refute the scientific logic with the below logic. I replied to him, and wanted to turn it into a full-blown post for two reasons. First to communicate the latest research in science, and secondly, because I spent a lot of time writing it, and this is now my fiftieth post, yahoo! (is that three?) Continuing on, this misunderstanding is the clearest instigator of deistic and theistic belief (which is not in itself bad, but believing in something because you don’t understand something else is probably never a good reason). His comment has been corrected for spelling errors (which were quite rampant), otherwise it was left as is.

Don W. Zylstra:

Your logic is flawed: what caused the point of singularity prior to the big bang? If it was at rest, as Newton pronounced, it would stay at rest. If all energy and matter were condensed into a single point, and at equilibrium, then what caused it to move from a point of stability (i.e. 2nd law of thermodynamics) to the big bang? Where did the energy and matter come from in the first place? The whole concept here has been studied by philosophers: Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas  Saint Augustine, John Locke, and recently R.C. Sproul. If there ever was a time when nothing existed, then nothing would still exist today. If something does exist, then there are only 3 options: 1) Reality is an illusion; 2) Reality was self-created: or 3) reality was created by a self-existent being. On the first point, Descartes ruled this out, because we doubt, we exist. Second point cannot be, because things cannot create themselves from nothing. On the third point, either energy and matter are eternal and have always existed (which is not rational); or the self-existent being that created things was God, which is a logical conclusion. It is especially logical given the revelation of God to mankind throughout history.

The logic behind the big-bang does not pan out, and scientists cannot provide any adequate explanations to [the] most basic philosophical arguments against the big-bang being a “natural” phenomena.


Well, let me explain. Your first mistake is assuming that people, philosophers or not, from between 200 to 2,000 years ago (where very little was objectively known), knew what they were talking about. They didn’t, they were guessing using the best data available to them, which wasn’t much.

You then make the logical inference that because inside the universe, something cannot create itself (true), then the universe cannot either (which is a guess, some would say a reasonable one). Let me tell you why this is probably not the case by using an example. Inside the universe, everything is subject to a universal speed-limit, the speed of light, known as c. Nothing, under any circumstances, theoretical or otherwise, can travel faster than this speed. But, the universe is expanding, and the rate of expansion is getting faster. There will be a time, far in the future, when all other galaxies outside of our local cluster, will disappear into nothing, because the rate of expansion of the universe will exceed that of the light emanating from their galaxies (i.e. the light will not be able to travel fast enough to overcome the expansion). So while nothing can travel faster than light INSIDE the universe, the universe itself is not subject to this limit as it can expand faster than the speed of light (this is not a theoretical observation, it is fact).

So let’s move onto your argument. Yes, everything inside the universe has to follow the laws of Thermodynamics. But you make an assumption that the instant of the Big Bang, follows the same laws as after the Big Bang. Again, we know that what occurs inside the Universe, does not necessarily occur outside the Universe. So your option 3 is not logical. It makes inferences, and then pretends the inference is logical, rational points that cannot be refuted. I refute it thus!

Before we continue to the next phase, it is helpful to know that in recent experiments, physicists were able to weigh the entire universe, and calculate the net total energy of the universe. The result was zero! i.e., all the positive energy (matter) plus the negative energy (gravity) resulted in the number, 0.00.

We need to now understand the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The basic principle is that you cannot (accurately) know all the different attributes of a given thing simultaneously. The easiest example with which to show this is an electron spinning around an atomic nucleus. It is impossible to know both the velocity (direction & speed) of the electron, and its position. The more you know one, the less you know the other. Under no circumstances is it ever possible to accurately know both. So when you take a region of space, remove all the matter, energy, particles, and spacetime. What remains is a quantum field and gravity (neither of which can be removed). This is as close to nothing as it is possible to get. If we measure that region of nothingness, we can definitively know the amount of time over which we are measuring it, therefore we cannot know how much energy there exists in it, and since it can’t be zero (otherwise that would be definitively knowing), therefore, energy exists and it came out of nothing. Alluding to the previous net energy of zero, because gravity exerts a net negative energy, and we can’t break the 1st law of thermodynamics (i.e. you can’t create or destroy energy), and since we removed the positive energy (matter) before the experiment, the ‘universe’ recreated positive energy (matter) out of nothing so that the 1st law of thermodynamics isn’t broken. It’s very counter-intuitive I know, but that’s the science, i.e., with no logical or illogical inferences, but rather logical extrapolations of scientific theory, experiment, and fact.

Ergo, the universe can create itself. Your macro-viewpoint of cause-and-effect cannot be applied to the Universe as a whole. God does not explain anything, because then you have to ask, what created God. And you can’t just say he is uncaused, because I’ll say, why can’t the Universe be uncaused? (this is where theologians and religious people invent answers) And as I’ve just shown you, the picture of the Universe we have today, tells us it is uncaused. This is not a philosophical opinion, but a result of the latest scientific research performed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, Laura Mersini and thousands of others.

Therefore, given the evidence, option (2) is the logically correct one. Reality created itself.

Fourat Janabi is the author of Random Rationality: A Rational Guide to an Irrational World, available for $1.99 on Kindle, and $7.99 on Paperback. Subscribe to this blog for updates (with your email) and receive a link to download Random Rationality for free…

14 thoughts on “Causality and the Universe”

  1. So what you have presented here is merely a counterarguments using theories that merely question the related theories. You state that something cannot create itself, and thus nullify the rest of your argument. Energy cannot be created or destroyed (2nd law of thermodynamics), therefore there’s not going to be such a things as “bang” and then there’s energy from nothing. All the so called experiments do, is to bring into question the validity of the previous hypothesis. That’s why the “Big Bang” theory, has been changing ever since it was thought up. Hundreds of billions of years turned into a few billion years, etc. Also, the uncertainty principle (also bear in mind Bhor’s take on the principle) doesn’t state that if you can’t accurately measure various attributes simultaneously then it must have come out of nothing. Thus your conclusion to the latter is false. The principle doesn’t at all help the argument. And your comment:
    “Your first mistake is assuming that people, philosophers or not, from between 200 to 2,000 years ago (where very little was objectively known), knew what they were talking about. They didn’t, they were guessing using the best data available to them, which wasn’t much.”
    – is entirely untrue. Pretty sure they were the founders of the science we know today. And one could conclude from your statement, that really all so called evolutionists are doing is “guessing”.
    Also, as to your blog subtitle – everything *can’t* be known. That’s why we still learn and theorise. We will *never* know everything about everything. Even in science.

  2. I did not present a counterargument, but maybe since your blog is political in nature, I imagine you see everything as political in reality. To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a hammer. I presented the scientific facts as they stand now. We have very good reasons, experimental, theoretical, and observational to commit to the theory.

    And actually, if you followed the example, which you clearly didn’t. I said two things. That inside the universe, and The Universe are two different things. Something inside the universe cannot create itself, just as something inside the universe cannot travel faster than the speed of light. The universe itself can expand faster than the speed of light, and the latest theories based on experimentation and data suggest that the same is true for the creation event.

    The 1st law of thermodynamics (energy cannot be created or destroyed), not the second as you say, is not broken by this fundamental picture of creation, it actually exists because of it! Gravity is negative energy, so when time exists, there must be energy to counteract the negative gravity, thus keeping the (experimentally-verified) net total energy of the universe at zero.

    The Big Bang Theory is only a theory in so much as the Theory of Gravity is only a theory, but the fact that you (and 99.99% of people) won’t jump out of a 10-story building makes the argument for me. Theory means something different in the scientific vocabulary, refering to an accepted set of facts.

    Previous mis-statements about the age of the universe, were made in error due to illogical propositions and experiments as a result of science taking its baby steps, and we have now overcome such problems. To hold it accountable now to what happened decades ago, is no different than me holding you accountable for what you said as a five-year old. You didn’t know enough to make any reasoned judgments about the world for it to have any significance now. Science is the same way.

    Whether or not they were the foundation of science bears no matter to the fact that they knew very little compared to us today. You seem more offended because you perceive it like I am offending their honour… They don’t have the objective knowledge of a 6th grader today in terms of the seasons, planet, solar system and sun, moon, sometimes even mathematics, electricity, tv, radio, the internet etc. So I am not wrong, and they used only their completely subjective faculties. Whether what they said is right or wrong, what the science says today is far more important.

    Evolutionary scientists are not guessing at anything. They dig up fossils, use accurate methods to ascertain their age, relate it to everything else found in its approximate genus, and catalogue the differences, collecting data all the way. Not to mention today, they can also watch evolution in live action in bacteria and schools of fish, and thanks to genetics, we can see the genetic relation we share with every other animal on this entire planet, down even to bacteria. There is no conceivable way that evolution could be overturned.

    The blog title is tongue-in-cheek…There may come a day when we know everything (that day would be billions of years from now if it exists at all).

    1. “I presented the scientific facts as they stand now.” There is your problem. If you were presenting science “fact” they would have stood, currently stand, and will stand forever. You listed a lot of theories as fact because the whole of science does not agree with what you presented.

      1. Do you know the difference between theory and fact? Ok, so, since it looks like you know what the science “says”, why don’t you spell it out what it really says?

  3. Fourat, scientific theory does not equal scientific fact. Ergo, the conclusion you made is flawed (it may be right or it may be wrong, but we cannot know).

    Now I’m no physics or astronomy expert, but if we perceive the universe as expanding and accelerating (which we do), we have no idea where that energy comes from and by what mechanism. An acceleration of the whole mass of the universe does not seem to have an equal and opposing force, therefore the total energy of the universe cannot theoretically be 0.

    1. Yo, that;s why I said it was a mix of scientific theory, fact, evidence, and observation. Together, they make up the most probable creation event of the universe, actually positing answers that don’t beget yet more questions.

      To tackle your points one-by-one, we know where the energy is coming from (empty space), and even how much of it there is (73% of the total mass-energy of the universe), but we don’t know what it is, only having a theory (we think its the repulsion of empty space). The person who figures it out has a nobel-prize waiting.

      The mass of the universe is not accelerating, the space between the mass of the universe is expanding, and thus there is an illusion of expansion. The three laws of thermodynamics are in no way, shape, or form violated. Trust me, otherwise physicists would have just said what you did in their thousands and this theory would have been scrapped before it made it to its first day…

      When it comes to stipulating as such and such or refuting this or that, I’ll listen to the scientists and their peer-reviewed experiments instead of human intuition, and both of those say the universe’s net energy is zero using observation and mathematics (not theory). That energy come out of nothing because of the conservation of energy law, and (I didn’t mention this in the post) that 99.99% of the mass that makes up mine or your body, as well as everything else’s, is constantly appearing, disappearing, then reappearing into empty space every second of every day.

      Remember you told me the story of the first picture of the atom? We knew how it looked for decades before we ever saw it. This case is somewhat similar, and yes there is uncertainty, but it is the most probable scenario for the creation of the universe (though they are other theories, for now they are more unlikely). 🙂

  4. No the first mistake is that you(think)you are the first ….to think …….You are the 5th such spices on this planet ….and with thoughts like this you might not last …..never assume that what you know is all there is ……thats when the universe will suppress you ….till you come around to its way of thinking

    You have the science and the math …..BUT YOU DONT HAVE THE ability to apply them and change Matter …..Let me know when you think your ready for that formula …..(^^^)

  5. I think its inapropiate just to say things like “outside the universe” or “before the universe”, even in if this post was directed to uninformed readers, because time and space were born WITH the universe. The universe contains everything that is measurable there is no outside, no “empty space” in wich it unfolds, the expansion we see is kind of a illusion, like one scientist said once “to say that the universe expands its like saying that the sun raises every morning”. I am surprised you didn`t talk more about the counter-intuitive or alogical nature of the theories relating to the origin of the universe, since we are material beings bound by the laws of nature we can`t really describe or observe with our tools what happens “outside nature” because that would like using a microphone to observe the stars. These counter intuitive facts are of the reasons why people dont simply believe or care about these theories, they dont understand that the universe doesn`t follow our logic because its only a byproduct of our evolution.

    1. Very good point Schizoid. I concur with you, but unfortunately our language doesn’t allow us to express properly the counter-intuitive nature of creation, and if we are to properly express it, it unfortunately means we need to use the lingual expressions religion and metaphysics used to bring it back around, in the process, appropriating these words or expressions. I see no way around that, but that might be my shortsightedness… How do you propose we get around that?

  6. Have you thought about adding some differing opinions to the article? I think it will really enhance everyone’s understanding.

  7. So explain how all that structure you talk about came to be balanced in such a way as to allow a universe such as ours to come into existence? Why would the unified force split exactly balanced into the four forces so matter can coagulate form the raw energy of the early universe? We as humans living in this universe can only make sense of it when we model it based on another reference frame. To understand observable phenomena in the universe requires us to create physics for “before the singularity”. Then we will need another one to explain the before the singularity physics. On and on into infinity of before the before the before structures that begot all the others that eventually begot us. Is this not a fool’s errand, intellectually a dead end? Buy the way we now have experiments that show action at a distance. When two electrons are created one spins one way the other the opposite way. Separating the two and forcing one to change spin direction and the other instantaneously changes spin. The action is faster than light. China scientists have experimentally proved that this is the case on earth. They are planning an experiment to perform in outer space at greater distances to further refine the data. Once this is put into a technology we will realize “subspace communications” like in Star Trek. So instantaneous transmission of information faster than light across light years will soon be a reality. Physicists have lamented that a new chapter in Theoretical Physics will need to be created to explain this effect. It defies current understanding of the physical world. In short we do not know everything. We will be perceived in a few hundred years to be as ignorant as the early scientists you talk about. So do not say that there is no God or intelligent designer. We arrogant humans cannot rule it out just yet.

  8. When scientists say that the universe can simply come out of nothing without any divine intervention, they think of the universe in terms of its energy content only. In the book ‘The Grand Design’, page 281, scientist Stephen Hawking has written that bodies like stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing, but a whole universe can. The message is very clear from this: The total energy of a whole universe is zero and that is why it can come out of nothing; but stars or black holes will fail to do so, because their total energy is not zero. But universe means not only its energy; universe means its space-time as well. So if we now apply the same logic to space-time as well, then we can say that the total space-time of a whole universe must also always have to be zero, because in that case only a whole universe can appear out of nothing. Here my question is: How does the total space-time of an ever-expanding universe always remain zero?
    As the universe appeared out of nothing, so initially there was no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Scientists have successfully shown how the total matter-energy content of the universe has always remained zero. But we are not satisfied with that explanation, we want something more. We also want to know how the total space-time content of the universe has always remained zero. And it should always remain zero if the universe has actually appeared out of nothing. Otherwise scientists will have to explain as to whence appeared the extra residual space-time that was not already there at the beginning.
    If stars or black holes cannot appear out of nothing simply because their total energy is not zero, then can a whole universe appear out of nothing if its total space-time is not zero?
    The last question above will further boil down to this one: Do the physicists think that energy cannot just appear out of nothing, but space-time can, supposing that the total space-time of the present universe is not zero?
    Or, do they think that like life, mind and consciousness, space and time are also emergent entities only, and therefore, not directly coming from big bang nothing?

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