Traveler

Life, Death and an Isotropic Universe:

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The universe we live in is believed to be isotropic.  Some claim that science has not proven this notion but is there anything in religion that rejects our universe as isotropic?  The essence of an isotropic universe is that the principles that are true are universal (the same everywhere).  The terms of universe and universal are obviously tightly connected.   In theory, if principles change then it is thought that we have traversed from our universe into another.  For the sake of understanding – if a hydrogen atom is coupled with two oxygen atoms we will have a water molecule – and it does not matter where in our universe we are – the result will always be the same – both in time and space.

One of the questions surrounding the Big Bang theory has to do with the universe being isotropic.  In short – there are no “bangs” that are isotropic, let alone a “Big Bang”.  Bangs are anisotropic.  But in our universe even anisotropic materials and events are evenly or smoothly spread.  Thus the creation of that which is anisotropic in our universe becomes isotropic.  Are you confused yet?

One of the great spiritual questions concerns life.  Most individuals are convinced that earth is not the only place in the universe where life (as we know it) exists.  There have been great debates between science and religion that center around and deal directly with life.  The truth is that our universe is very hostile towards life.  Science has not found a trace of intelligence life anywhere.  The big question coming out of all this is – are we alone?  Is life in this universe an abnormality and mistake?

From our scriptures we are told that prior to the fall of Adam and Eve there was no death.  That all things, in essence, were in an eternal state that did not change or deteriorate over time. But from all the existing evidence – our universe is not only in a state of change – but change that is best described as violent and hostile to life.   That because of the fall – man was exiled to a very unique world described as “the loan and dreary world” where death was unavoidable and enviable.

So here is my question – How unique is earth to this universe?  We are led to believe that G-d has created many worlds – are such other world hostile to life as we know it?  Is life here unique in that in order to survive we must live off of other life?  Is death unique to our earth?  How violent is life on other worlds?  Why dinosaurs? And why are they gone?  Why are most species (over 90%) that once lived on this planet now extinct?

 

The Traveler

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

Science has not found a trace of intelligence life anywhere.

True, but it seems arguable that science has not been able to penetrate very deep into the universe. According to the Planetary Habitability laboratory (http://phl.upr.edu/projects/habitable-exoplanets-catalog/top10), the farthest exoplanet (not even considering planet type or habitability) is about 30 kly away. For comparison, it is estimated that our planet is about 30 kly from the center of our galaxy, so our "bubble" of observing exoplanets consists of only a small portion of our Milky Way. I don't know what it would take to detect intelligent life outside of our solar system, but it seems almost certain that we have barely even begun to search and we are severely limited in our ability to search. At present, I'm not sure science can even begin to answer the question.

1 hour ago, Traveler said:

How unique is earth to this universe?

I guess it depends on what characteristics you consider when you say "unique". Clearly, within our observation limits, Earth is the only one with confirmed life, but there are several "rocky, Earth size planets" within our observation limits.

1 hour ago, Traveler said:

We are led to believe that G-d has created many worlds

As much as I despise semantics, I get hung up what we mean/scripture means when it says "world" in this context. Is a star/solar system considered a world? A galaxy? A universe?

I'm not sure how to answer the questions of how hostile other environments would be to life without assuming isotropy. Assuming life on other worlds is similar to our life, then I would hypothesize that all life exists under similar hostile conditions. Would life existing under non-hostile conditions be similar enough to us to be recognized as having the same Father?

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33  And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34  And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35  But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you.  For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power.  And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

(Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:33 - 35)

Elder McConkie and Elder Callister have both taught that Christ's infinite atonement covered all of God's creations, no matter which world they lived on.

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9 hours ago, MrShorty said:

True, but it seems arguable that science has not been able to penetrate very deep into the universe.

Two thing in the search for intelligent life - at least as intelligent as life has evolved on earth.

First.  We can search the far reaches of space to detect electromagnetic radiation carrying radio, TV or microwave communications.  This approach has not identified any intelligent life that uses these forms of communication.  Since electromagnetic radiation travels at the speed of light - we are able, in essence to listen to whatever solar system, galaxy, supercluster or system that we can see.

Second is related to the first.  The most efficient energy source known is nuclear fusion or fission.  Both produce a distinctive electromagnetic signature (emp).  This also travels at the speed of light and would identify any intelligent use of such for a power source if it is used for war or peace.

There sort-of is a third possibility.  Because we have advanced to the point that we are generating such signals - it means that we are like a light house beacon broadcasting across the universe that there is intelligent life here on earth.  But so far this would have only reached into space little more than 100 light years.  Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across.  This means that we have only reached about 1/10 of one percent of our own galaxy and have yet to reach any other galaxy.  So it is unlikely that any one could respond to our beacon. 

All this means that the best possibility of intelligent life comes to us through the possibility presented by the religious notion of divine intelligent life.  But such life may not create any discernable means that we are currently aware of - that would allow us empirical means to recognize.

 

The Traveler

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Re: points 1 and 2 -- yes we can look for those radiation signatures. Realistically, how far away can we see and positively identify them? I am no radio astronomer, so I really don't know, but what do our radio emissions look like against the backdrop of our sun -- and the broader universe? How far away could one realistically be to distinguish our radiation signatures from naturally occurring radiation?

Re: point 3, I agree that part of the problem of our being detected by others is that we have only been transmitting/radiating unnatural radiation for about 100 years, so there is only about a 100 ly bubble in which we could be detected by those emissions (assuming they could be differentiated from the naturally occurring radiation from the sun). By the same token, a radiation signature from another civilization needs sufficient time to get to us. It took us some 4.5 billion years (of a 10ish billion year life cycle of the sun) to get to the point of radiating unnatural signatures. We need to look at a star during the "time" when that star might be harboring intelligent life. How narrow/wide is that time window?

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18 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Re: points 1 and 2 -- yes we can look for those radiation signatures. Realistically, how far away can we see and positively identify them? I am no radio astronomer, so I really don't know, but what do our radio emissions look like against the backdrop of our sun -- and the broader universe? How far away could one realistically be to distinguish our radiation signatures from naturally occurring radiation?

Re: point 3, I agree that part of the problem of our being detected by others is that we have only been transmitting/radiating unnatural radiation for about 100 years, so there is only about a 100 ly bubble in which we could be detected by those emissions (assuming they could be differentiated from the naturally occurring radiation from the sun). By the same token, a radiation signature from another civilization needs sufficient time to get to us. It took us some 4.5 billion years (of a 10ish billion year life cycle of the sun) to get to the point of radiating unnatural signatures. We need to look at a star during the "time" when that star might be harboring intelligent life. How narrow/wide is that time window?

Background noise (like from a star) is going to be much stronger than a regular intelligent signal.  However, it is not that difficult to filter out the kind of frequencies that occur from various kinds of stars and other background radiation.  This kind of filtering is done naturally by various predictor and other life forms.  For example, there is evidence that migrating birds and aquodic life forms use faint electromagnetic radiation for location.  In fact the background radiation can be very helpful as a "carrier wave".  This technology is also used to determine the elemental composition and age of various stars.  When I was working for the defense department (anti submarine warfare) we used similar sonar detection systems.  The ocean can carry a lot of sonic information and with triangulation we were able to determine; the identity, location, speed, bearing and load of a vessel from hundreds of miles away - even if such a vessel was in a convoy of several vessels.

The theory in SETI is that there is a probability of intelligent life that has evolved to our level or greater among the billions of stars just in our milky way  galaxy that we should be able to detect something of a repeating nature.  There have been a number of electromagnetic burst of interest but in theory the signal would be repetitive.  But for all the theoretical probabilities - nothing has been found and there is no good explanation for that.

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19 hours ago, MrShorty said:

It took us some 4.5 billion years (of a 10ish billion year life cycle of the sun) to get to the point of radiating unnatural signatures. We need to look at a star during the "time" when that star might be harboring intelligent life. How narrow/wide is that time window?

 

It might have taken that long.  It possibly could have taken ten of thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of years for the Earth to be formed and placed where it is.  We do not know.  There is so much theory we cannot solve about the origin of the Earth because of our minute amount of time we have been studying and keeping records.

But I do not like it when people preach that the LORD formed the Earth in six twenty-four hour periods.  The physical evidence on the Earth simply does not show that.

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7 hours ago, Still_Small_Voice said:

 

It might have taken that long.  It possibly could have taken ten of thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of years for the Earth to be formed and placed where it is.  We do not know.  There is so much theory we cannot solve about the origin of the Earth because of our minute amount of time we have been studying and keeping records.

But I do not like it when people preach that the LORD formed the Earth in six twenty-four hour periods.  The physical evidence on the Earth simply does not show that.

My question here - for those that believe in a young earth ---- Why would a G-d of truth create the "heavens" and the earth in a shorten amount of time and then leave a preponderance of empirical evidence  that it was not done in such a short time?  If it was to "test" our faith - why would a G-d of truth test our faith based on deliberate discerptions? 

 

The Traveler

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The point I would hope to come from this thread is the possibility that the intelligent life of this universe is very different than the life we are so familiar with here on earth.  That such intelligent life is not threatened by the obvious threats to us.  Assuming such is the case - what would be indications of such intelligent life?

 

The Traveler

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I don't know about indications, but, at some point I wonder about the implications to what it means to be a child of God created in His image. Based on what @askandanswer pointed out -- that some like Elder McConkie have taught that Christ's atonement here on this planet is sufficient for all of God's creations (children?) throughout the universe -- I assume that we would believe that other intelligent life is also created in God's image. If they are too different from us (both in physical form and in lifestyle), then I would wonder what that means to be created in God's image.

If nothing else, and interesting thread to spark some challenges to these assumptions.

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21 hours ago, Traveler said:

My question here - for those that believe in a young earth ---- Why would a G-d of truth create the "heavens" and the earth in a shorten amount of time and then leave a preponderance of empirical evidence  that it was not done in such a short time?  If it was to "test" our faith - why would a G-d of truth test our faith based on deliberate discerptions? 

 

The Traveler

There could be several answers...

1.  Sometimes we worship science and put it above everything else, when the truth is that we know very little.  We THINK our dating methods are accurate (and everything that we see and know says that they are), but as no one has actually LIVED that over 1000 years...much less 5000 years...and even our written records can't really validate more...it COULD be that our dating system, or dating methods are actually flawed quite a bit more than what we imagine or think.

2.  There is a belief that the Lord made things from existing matter.  It could be that he simply took our world from a world that already existed and formed it in the planet we know now so that we could exist on it (of course, that doesn't explain the science showing that man has been around for thousands of years earlier than 6000 years ago..but we are just going off why there may be discrepancies between how it was created vs. how we think science show sit was created).

3.  Despite what we think we know about water aging, we may not know as much as we think we do.  The Flood, the quake that separated and broke the continents, and other items actually age things greater than our science has accounted for.

4.  If things were eternal in the Garden of Eden, or at least man did not suffer mortality, it could be that things around them DID experience a more mortal state...depending on where they were.  We have no idea how long Adam and Eve actually spent in the Garden, it could have been millions of years or longer before Eve finally decided she had enough and was going to eat that fruit on the tree.  That's a Long time to deal with that temptation...and that snake kept on pestering her that whole time (okay, a little tongue in cheek, but it does relate a theory of the variations of time).

Not that I ascribe to these, but these are some explanations I've heard over time regarding the differences between what science shows and what people believe.

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We were intelligences before we were spirits before this life.  (There has not been anything revealed on what an intelligence is.)  But I wonder sometimes how long we lived as spirits in the pre-existence before we came to the Earth.  It could have been hundreds of thousands of years or billions of years or longer.  Time does not matter as much when you do not die.

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17 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

There could be several answers...

1.  Sometimes we worship science and put it above everything else, when the truth is that we know very little.  We THINK our dating methods are accurate (and everything that we see and know says that they are), but as no one has actually LIVED that over 1000 years...much less 5000 years...and even our written records can't really validate more...it COULD be that our dating system, or dating methods are actually flawed quite a bit more than what we imagine or think.

2.  There is a belief that the Lord made things from existing matter.  It could be that he simply took our world from a world that already existed and formed it in the planet we know now so that we could exist on it (of course, that doesn't explain the science showing that man has been around for thousands of years earlier than 6000 years ago..but we are just going off why there may be discrepancies between how it was created vs. how we think science show sit was created).

3.  Despite what we think we know about water aging, we may not know as much as we think we do.  The Flood, the quake that separated and broke the continents, and other items actually age things greater than our science has accounted for.

4.  If things were eternal in the Garden of Eden, or at least man did not suffer mortality, it could be that things around them DID experience a more mortal state...depending on where they were.  We have no idea how long Adam and Eve actually spent in the Garden, it could have been millions of years or longer before Eve finally decided she had enough and was going to eat that fruit on the tree.  That's a Long time to deal with that temptation...and that snake kept on pestering her that whole time (okay, a little tongue in cheek, but it does relate a theory of the variations of time).

Not that I ascribe to these, but these are some explanations I've heard over time regarding the differences between what science shows and what people believe.

I realize that your are attempting to broaden the scope in our quest for truth and understanding.  But I would like to respond to the questions you have addressed:

#1. I believe Latter-day Saints are in a unique position - particularly in the use of science.  There are many reason but I will only bring one to the fore front of this discussion.  Our prophet and one of his councilors chose as their lives work; the field of science.   The other picked the judicial system - that operates very similar to scientific discovery - that is to only accept as true that which can be demonstrated - or for which there is evidence.  In short, there is no reasonable reason to think anything is flawed without evidence.  The assumption of science is that anything that can happen can be engineered to be replicated.   This follows the concept that by "obedience" to the defining principles - anything achievable can be achieved.   If scientific methods of temporal measurements are flawed or misunderstood - we need an example - then the example must have reason to apply.  Otherwise we are dealing with pseudo science - which is far more flawed than science.

#2. The idea that all things that currently exist are derived from that which previously existed is one of the defining principles of evolution.  Evolution is another word for change.  The fact that there were once dinosaurs and now there are none is proof and admission of evolution.  If G-d made this planet and solar system from pre-existing stuff then by definition G-d's creation is a process of evolution.  I am quite surprised that some Latter-day Saints (and even Traditional Christians) reject to the notion of evolution as a process of creation.  Even the idea that there were 6 days of creation is an admission of and belief in evolution.  My point here is that if we can think of possibilities of discrepancies - why is it that such possibilities are applied mostly to science rather than religion?

#3. This relates back to Newton's laws - the short version is that without incentive (force) to change - things will not change.  Science has demonstrated a possible answer explaining forces that could shape our world.  Until we have a plausible and demonstrable alternative why think would could be is false?

#4. Time is measured by events - the only way that we can say time has passed is if there is something to demonstrate that time has passed.  This means that time Adam and Eve were in Eden is irrelevant.  This is part of Einstein's theory of general relativity.  In short it is what changed (or sequence of changes) and not the time it took that is important.  The point that I personally find most difficult to deal with from religion - is the notion that there was no death (even anywhere outside the boundaries of Eden) until after the fall.

 

Thanks for your input

 

The Traveler

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3 hours ago, Traveler said:

Time is measured by events - the only way that we can say time has passed is if there is something to demonstrate that time has passed.  This means that time Adam and Eve were in Eden is irrelevant.  This is part of Einstein's theory of general relativity.  In short it is what changed (or sequence of changes) and not the time it took that is important.  The point that I personally find most difficult to deal with from religion - is the notion that there was no death (even anywhere outside the boundaries of Eden) until after the fall.

Likely there was no death in the Garden of Eden or just Adam and Eve were immortal beings until they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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6 hours ago, Traveler said:

I realize that your are attempting to broaden the scope in our quest for truth and understanding.  But I would like to respond to the questions you have addressed:

#1. I believe Latter-day Saints are in a unique position - particularly in the use of science.  There are many reason but I will only bring one to the fore front of this discussion.  Our prophet and one of his councilors chose as their lives work; the field of science.   The other picked the judicial system - that operates very similar to scientific discovery - that is to only accept as true that which can be demonstrated - or for which there is evidence.  In short, there is no reasonable reason to think anything is flawed without evidence.  The assumption of science is that anything that can happen can be engineered to be replicated.   This follows the concept that by "obedience" to the defining principles - anything achievable can be achieved.   If scientific methods of temporal measurements are flawed or misunderstood - we need an example - then the example must have reason to apply.  Otherwise we are dealing with pseudo science - which is far more flawed than science.

#2. The idea that all things that currently exist are derived from that which previously existed is one of the defining principles of evolution.  Evolution is another word for change.  The fact that there were once dinosaurs and now there are none is proof and admission of evolution.  If G-d made this planet and solar system from pre-existing stuff then by definition G-d's creation is a process of evolution.  I am quite surprised that some Latter-day Saints (and even Traditional Christians) reject to the notion of evolution as a process of creation.  Even the idea that there were 6 days of creation is an admission of and belief in evolution.  My point here is that if we can think of possibilities of discrepancies - why is it that such possibilities are applied mostly to science rather than religion?

#3. This relates back to Newton's laws - the short version is that without incentive (force) to change - things will not change.  Science has demonstrated a possible answer explaining forces that could shape our world.  Until we have a plausible and demonstrable alternative why think would could be is false?

#4. Time is measured by events - the only way that we can say time has passed is if there is something to demonstrate that time has passed.  This means that time Adam and Eve were in Eden is irrelevant.  This is part of Einstein's theory of general relativity.  In short it is what changed (or sequence of changes) and not the time it took that is important.  The point that I personally find most difficult to deal with from religion - is the notion that there was no death (even anywhere outside the boundaries of Eden) until after the fall.

 

Thanks for your input

 

The Traveler

For some of your responses, regarding whether science is flawed or not...even when we can replicate scientific experiments or studies they can still be flawed.  Prime example, Newton's laws of physics.  Though they hold true or seem to hold true when watched from an elementary level, when you get further into the atomic and nuclear processes many of them break down.  Einstein physics in large replaced many of the Newtonian principles on a smaller scale, but even that, these days is having difficulties regarding how they are presented when looking at it from the Quantum arena of physics. 

Science is never true or accurate as it is always changing.  The rules of it can always change as we discover more about our universe, and what we know today may not hold true for tomorrow. 

Thus, though I think in the end science and the gospel will merge together, that time is not yet.  There is probably no creature of the universe that understands the laws and the science of the universe as much as the Lord, but in comparison, our knowledge is probably like that of ants.  Ants understand what they can see from their perspective, but cannot progress beyond a certain level (at least in this point of their evolution) because they cannot see beyond their own view of the world.  They do not have a perfect view of the world and the universe, and I would garner to say...neither do we as of yet.

That said, I still ascribe to science fully, but i do not think we are quite as smart as some assume we are in these fields, or know as much as some deem we know.

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3 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

For some of your responses, regarding whether science is flawed or not...even when we can replicate scientific experiments or studies they can still be flawed.  Prime example, Newton's laws of physics.  Though they hold true or seem to hold true when watched from an elementary level, when you get further into the atomic and nuclear processes many of them break down.  Einstein physics in large replaced many of the Newtonian principles on a smaller scale, but even that, these days is having difficulties regarding how they are presented when looking at it from the Quantum arena of physics. 

Science is never true or accurate as it is always changing.  The rules of it can always change as we discover more about our universe, and what we know today may not hold true for tomorrow. 

Thus, though I think in the end science and the gospel will merge together, that time is not yet.  There is probably no creature of the universe that understands the laws and the science of the universe as much as the Lord, but in comparison, our knowledge is probably like that of ants.  Ants understand what they can see from their perspective, but cannot progress beyond a certain level (at least in this point of their evolution) because they cannot see beyond their own view of the world.  They do not have a perfect view of the world and the universe, and I would garner to say...neither do we as of yet.

That said, I still ascribe to science fully, but i do not think we are quite as smart as some assume we are in these fields, or know as much as some deem we know.

Though your comments do apply to our understanding of science - I am of the mind that our understanding of divine principles (things spiritual) is far more lacking in our mortal state than things empirical (physical). 

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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