Friday, July 14, 2006

Funny thing about the universe... (Part 3 of 3)

Part I, Part II

Imagine a simple universe:

Basically it’s a box with space for nine items that can be in one of two states, empty or full. Nine possible locations two possible states 2^9 = 512 possible combinations. Now, imagine that you could label this:

As state "A", and this:

As "B" and so on. Eventually you’d have labeled all the states with some combination of letters. If matter spontaneously recycles back into the universe then it stands to reason that given enough time (remember, you have infinite time) even very low probabilities will come to fruition. Given enough time the improbable becomes a certainty. So one can imagine that the evolution of this simple universe might occur from state “N” to state “E”, “V”, “E”, “R”, “O”, “D”, “D”. Or some such, and that’s all fine and good, but wait a bit longer and perhaps the states unfold in this order: NEVER ODD OR EVEN. You see that it’s palindrome. And just as a hundred monkeys banging away at keyboards will produce Shakespeare, so this simple universe will eventually make Shakespeare, perhaps King Lear, and then King Lear backwards, making one very long palindrome. Complete time symmetry. In which direction then can we say the “arrow of time” is pointing?

And though the real universe is much less simple than the one pictured (duh), the principle transfers. Max Tegmark in Scientific American (May ’03) says that there are roughly 2^10^118 possible states in our universe, and each state could be similarly labeled (whoa, tha’d be a TON of letters though). So the metaphor is still valid, and so is the time symmetry problem.

And just as Thomas Aquinas always gave Aristotelian steady-state philosophy the benefit of the doubt when discussing God because “if he were to start with the premise that the universe had a beginning, then his task would be too easy! Obviously, if there was a beginning, something had to bring the universe into existence,” (Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator). However, Dobson admits that the symmetry problem in his steady-state theory doesn’t get away from what he smugly calls the “Interior Designer”. He says that in order to measure change, it must be compared to something that doesn’t change. Something unchanging can’t be part of an eternally changing universe, and therefore must be external to the universe. Hmm, an external unchanging timeless base by which we measure change… could not another name for this be God?

It's a funny thing about the universe: it requires a deposit of faith into something external to the universe in order to make sense. I’ve had debates about evidence for God in a big bang scenario, but this has recently come to my attention, steady-state models don’t quell the debate either.




**Cuba, I Remember You is a book about family, love, relationships, and survival in difficult circumstances that all readers will find to be a wonderful reading experience.
Bettie Corbin Tucker
For IP Book Reviewers
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See more about the book at:

A collection of 14 short stories, all in Spanish and English, based on the author’s experiences of childhood before and after the Communist revolution. Includes Appendix for educators wishing to use the book in Spanish or English foreign language classes. Lots of nostalgia for those who knew Cuba in the 50’s and 60’s and plenty of humor for readers in general. Includes also many period family photographs that illustrate the stories and bring them vividly to life!

About the Author

Dr. Oscar M. Ramírez-Orbea, was born in Camagüey, Cuba, in 1955. He emigrated with his family to the US in 1966, after completing elementary school in his home country. He longs one day to return to his native city of Camagüey and to all the fond memories it holds for him. CUBA, I REMEMBER YOU/CUBA, TE RECUERDO is Dr. Ramírez’s first narrative work. More

Available now from Airleaf Publishing ( or call today to order your copy at 1-800-342–6068.

Product Details
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: Airleaf Publishing; 1st edition (January 10, 2006)
Language: English, Spanish
ISBN: 1594539553

By the same author:

Cuba, Between History and Legend
A collection of short stories based on Cuban legends and unusual histories, all told in thoroughly original and creative ways. All stories are narrated in English and Spanish on facing pages. Includes also substantial background information on the actual events on which the stories are based, as well as references for follow-up reading, and historical illustrations for all the stories. For brief descriptions of the stories, go to On the market by year’s end. Cuba … like you’ve never read it before!

Por el mismo autor:

Cuba, Entre la Historia y la Leyenda
Una colección de cuentos cortos basados en leyendas cubanas y en eventos insólitos de la historia de Cuba, todos narrados en un estilo originalísimo y de gran fantasía. Se narran todos los cuentos en inglés y en español, en páginas opuestas. Incluye considerable información adicional sobre el fondo histórico de cada cuento, al igual que sugerencias para otras lecturas sobre la misma temática, y se incluyen ilustraciones históricas de cada uno de los cuentos. Para leer breves descripciones de cada cuento, favor de dirgirse a En venta hacia finales del año. Cuba ¡como nunca te la imaginaste!

Michael Turton said...

It's a funny thing about the universe: it requires a deposit of faith into something external to the universe in order to make sense.

No, it doesn't require any "faith" at all. It's an inference from known data and methods: the universe must have come from somewhere/something, because it is here. The more interesting problem with this statement is the second half: "to make sense." Statistics, cosmology, and relativity are counterintuitive and do not "make sense." Perhaps your problem in coming to terms with the lack of design and a designer in the universe lies in the issue of "sense."


D.J. Skull-Fog said...

Although relativity and to a higher degree quantum theory are counter intuitive they do make sense mathematically. What I mean by "make sense", in this instance (a steady-state model of the universe), is that in order to gague the very change of the universe (something we call "the passage of time") the model requires an external entity that does not change. Becuase without it causality (the requisite for "sense") is meaningless.

Check out "Astronnomy" magazine October '05 (vol. 33, issue 10) about multiple universe theory, or the above mentioned "Scientific American" May '03. And then we can talk about the deposit of faith that you have in multi-universe theories.