Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, the anthropic principle, and God.

When asked if I believe in god (or just a god... any god...) I often fall back on the answer that although I don't believe in any superior being interacting with humans in any sort of way, even after death, I do believe that that there must have been something out there that started this whole universe thing going. I mean, what put all the elements out there in the first place? Why not just nothing?

Well, that qualification for the existence of a god may not be necessary anymore. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (remember him?... the random numbers guy who spoke at the Perimeter Institute.. ) have released a scientific explanation to the origins of the universe without the necessity of a god.

"As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

Our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws. That multiverse idea is not a notion invented to account for the miracle of fine tuning. It is a consequence predicted by many theories in modern cosmology."

We don't need the almost 1000 comments on this article in the WSJ at the time of posting to tell us that this is obviously still quite a controversial conclusion. However, it would be really interesting to read up on the particular aspects of the laws of gravity and quantum theory that do predict spontaneous creation of universes. Hopefully there'll be a layman's book out soon?!


ps. Is 'god' capitalized? I've heard this before but here's a pretty good article summing it up.

"Confusion is caused by the fact that Christians don't typically ascribe a personal name to their god - some use Yahweh or Jehovah, but that is pretty rare. The name they use happens to be the same as the general term for the class that being belongs to. It's not unlike a person who has named their cat, Cat."...

Sunday the 5th, Toronto walking tour

Looking to get out of the house Sunday afternoon? Try this:

Back alleys have a rather seedy reputation, disregarded primarily as the sites of rats and garbage. But Graeme Parry has taken it upon himself to shed light on the oft-ignored beauty of Toronto's laneways. Sunday's tour will weave through the labyrinth of alleys in the Queen West, Trinity Bellwoods, and Little Portugal areas, showing walkers the brilliantly coloured, innovative street art sprayed on walls and garages, and the cottages and homes lining the lanes. Parry, who has been offering these tours for seven years, injects a unique perspective on the city's legacy of decay and rejuvenation. Meet in front of Pizza Pizza at corner of Queen and Bathurst streets, Sunday 1 p.m., FREE.

CBC Retrobites

Good morning!...

Old CBC interview bites for yer ass.

Aldous Huxley on tranquilizers and mescaline. Follows to alcohol... need to follow up on this dude...

Margarat Atwood on death, food and babies.

Leonard Cohen (CBC Retrobite with Adrienne Clarkson)

Bobby Fischer on chess and female 'players'...

Stan Lee on human psychology and Spiderman