Wouldn’t Heaven be Boring? [Random Rationality Chapter]


[Free Chapter]

Lets pretend that the Abrahamic god does exist, and that depending upon your Earthly actions, you will be met with a heavenly eternity, or perhaps a fiery one, like myself and perhaps even those 93% of scientists who selfishly work to improve the human quality of life developing new medicines, knowledge and insights into the Universe expanding the tools we have at our disposal.

You lead a good life, you help the poor, you follow the 613 commandments and so on; and upon your Fortunate death you are received at the pearly gates.

How will you spend your first year in heaven? Re-connecting with loved ones perhaps.

How about your first decade? Long walks on cloud 9 picking the brains of Jesus, Abraham, Mohammed, Einstein, Elvis, and perhaps even the big G himself, exploring the vast sanctum of his infinite knowledge using the heavenly version of our own big G; Google.

God = Google? I’m just throwing it out there and seeing what sticks.

How about the first century? Trying all the experiences you were too scared to do while you were a lowly mortal, only to find out the thrill is gone now that Death no longer lingers close by.

What about the next thousand years, and the million after? And then the trillion after that, and the next 10 trillion years after your first big T party? Now what?

I guarantee you one day, you’re going to want to not be there. What could possibly make eternity fun?

If you have ever eaten more than 5 chocolate bars in a row, then you probably know what heaven will feel like it. The first one tastes amazing; by the second your taste buds are a bit desensitized, but it still tastes good, ditto with the third and fourth, until you finally try on a 5th one for size, and it tastes like nothing, just a bland paste while your mouth goes through the motions.

We all had this feeling as kids, and perhaps as teens for the sweeter toothed among us, and even now for myself. But take that feeling, multiply it by a really large number and you’ll get a taste about how boring heaven would eventually get. One day, it will be no different from death.

Does the eternal darkness seem so scary now?

This is chapter 4 from my eBook Random Rationality: A Rational Guide to an Irrational World available on Kindle and Paperback.

Does God Have A God?

Turtles All The Way Down

I consistently come across debates, books, and articles by Dr. William Lane Craig, where he make vain attempts at using science to prove God. I have no doubt that he is a very highly educated man, which can be deduced solely from his use of language, but he has the unfortunate bias of already being convinced of the existence of God before the science even comes along and so extrapolate out his bias for God and as such, does little more than shift around and use big words in eloquent sentences that sound logical, but which are anything but when critically explored. In every debate that I have watched of Craig, his logic and reasoning are almost fool-proof if no prior understanding of science is known, which luckily I have. Slightly off-topic but related. It seems to me, his language is far more linguistically robust (and dare I say, poetic) than that of the majority of the scientists that he debates against and I do believe that this use of language circumvents (at least partly) much of the intellect of the audience at times.  When was the last time you heard of  a scientist whip an audience into a fervor? I need not askwhen the last time you asked a preacher do the same thing, we’ve all seen on it, either on tv or in person.

Consider this example; really the only example that needs refuting and to which I will devote my time too, by Mr. Craig. His first, and singular point in regards to the existence of God in all of his debates is the scientific principle of causality; that this Universe has been caused i.e. it had a beginning at some distant point in the past, and that since causality cannot in essence cause an effect before it begins to exist, therefore there must be an external cause, by a transcendent being he calls God. However, in invoking that God created the Universe vis-a-vie cause and effect, he refuses to go one step further and ask ‘What caused God?’, and makes the assumption that God is timeless by way of a few logical and philosophical calculations. In doing this, he thinks that this notion explains the existence of God, and that it is more sound than not having a god.

My first thought when presented with this reasoning was, what is the difference between the Universe creating itself, as opposed to being created by an external personal entity? Well, for me, the answer is word magic. Especially when it is within the scientific laws of physics that a Universe can actually be spontaneously created from nothing according to Stephen Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design.

This theistic notion of beginning in itself doesn’t make much sense from a scientific perspective (no matter how much Craig wants it too). As anyone who studied high school physics will recall, time is relative, and not an absolute function of the Universe. That is, to different observers in different places around the Universe, time is a different and personal thing, much as our own thoughts are. There is also nothing in the laws of physics that expressly say time moves forward, it is free to move backwards as well and I’m sure there are Universes in which time does indeed move backwards. Therefore, the concept of time and events having a definite beginning and a definite end cannot be assumed to be valid, and Dr. Craig’s first assumption is that the Universe has a finite past. Although the Universe seems to have a beginning from our perspective, that does not mean that was the beginning, nor that there was nothing before it.

According to Stephen Hawking, the 4th dimension of time’s inception was as a spatial dimension, this occurred when the Big Bang was small enough to be governed by both the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Theory, which eventually morphed into what we know as time. So, this being the case, prior to the morphing of the 4th spatial dimension into a temporal dimension, how could one define a beginning? For all we know (and perhaps more likely), it could exist like that for infinity, putting into question the notion of a finite past. Time is in essence, the material rate of change. Without a temporal dimension, can something be said to begin, that is to change from nothing to something, and then change continuously?

Pursuant to this, many scientists today are moving on from the notion of the big bang being the beginning, and there is tantalizing physical, as well as lots of theoretical evidence to suggest that we live in a multiverse, and our Big Bang and Universe are just small events and places in this Multiverse. According to the theory, there may be upwards 10^500 Universe’s, and ours is but one among them. This is a number beyond any notion of imagination. As Stephen Hawking put it in The Grand Design, if you could count one integer per millisecond since the Big Bang, which is a thousand times a second for 13.72 billion years. By now, you would have only reached 10^20.

Since time is merely a dimension, and perhaps, not an intrinsic property of Multi-verse, than the issue of where did everything come from, or rather, what cause everything to spring forth, becomes in a sense, irrelevant. If time doesn’t exist outside of our Universe, than what can be said of existence? It has been found that the total energy of the Universe, when added all together, is exactly zero. No word magic or tricks, literally ZERO. Does Cause and Effect still hold sway in causing into existence that which cancels itself out mathematically. What is true is that there is a lot more to be learnt, and we are still a ways off from fully understanding the Universe, how it came to be, and the greater multi-verse. I have made a few assumptions in my reasoning, but those assumptions (I like to think) are logical and will be what comes to pass. If that is not the case, then I am content with changing my argument based upon the new evidence at hand if it ever shows up. Something those that argue for the existence of God never do.

Naturally, once this new theory, M-theory becomes verified, validated and accepted, Craig will simply re-arrange and re-purpose his argument and move his transcendent cause back a few steps to suit his already defined and unchangeable notion of God, and twist the science in trying to solidify his conclusion, and persuade others who aren’t very well-versed in scientific matters on the nature of existence.

According to this logic, merely extended a few extra steps (though he attempts to explain it away), God, the cause of our Universe, must Himself have a cause, and though he wishes it away with philosophical statements of grandeur, timelessness, and personality, doesn’t make it so. So with this in mind, perhaps, God, like a majority of people on this insignificant speck of dust flying through space, believes in a God to explain His own creation, and the conundrum ever spirals upwards, each God believing in an ever greater God.

How different is this analogy to that little old lady who stood up in Bertrand Russell’s lecture, after he had just finished explaining how the Earth revolves around the Sun, which in turn revolves around the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, and said that everything he just said was nonsense, that the Earth is flat and actually supported on the back of a turtle. To which he replied, “What is the turtle standing on?” too which she countered that it rests upon the back of another turtle which rests upon another turtle, and so on into infinity. I guess God is a turtle… She was just making stuff up that best agreed with her philosophical intuitions, much as Dr. Crag does at the intersection of theology, philosophy, and science where things get very, very murky.