Before the Big Bang

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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mexi cali
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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since the Big Bang starting with a dense fog of hot radioactive gas ultimately leading to the formation of elements leading to the formation of stars leading to the formation of planets and galaxies leading to the formation of life and finally consciousness
But from where?

Ex Nihilo?
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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steven lloyd wrote: May 12th, 2023, 1:49 pm From "The Quantum And The Lotus"

The reason why "nothing" can't become "something" is that in order to do so, the "nothing" would be done away with. But how is it possible to get rid of something that does not exist? Nothingness is a mere concept defined in relation to existence. It does not have the slightest reality on its own, because it cannot be conceived in the absence of existence. Nothingness cannot be transformed. If something appears, it means that the potential for manifestation was already present.
This has been my belief for years. "Nothing" is a human construct that doesn't exist in the natural world. There has never been nothing. Just an endless cycle of expansion and contraction with no beginning or end. Our brains can't handle the no beginning part. But nothing has never existed.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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steven lloyd
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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JLives wrote: May 16th, 2023, 11:21 pm
steven lloyd wrote: May 12th, 2023, 1:49 pm From "The Quantum And The Lotus"

The reason why "nothing" can't become "something" is that in order to do so, the "nothing" would be done away with. But how is it possible to get rid of something that does not exist? Nothingness is a mere concept defined in relation to existence. It does not have the slightest reality on its own, because it cannot be conceived in the absence of existence. Nothingness cannot be transformed. If something appears, it means that the potential for manifestation was already present.
This has been my belief for years. "Nothing" is a human construct that doesn't exist in the natural world. There has never been nothing. Just an endless cycle of expansion and contraction with no beginning or end. Our brains can't handle the no beginning part. But nothing has never existed.
There are those in the field of quantum physics who would agree with you. It does to some point eliminate that pesky question of "original cause" or "potential" existing in an infinite and timeless vacuum before creation. However, many other quantum and astrophysicists disagree with this idea as the current evidence indicates that the universe is not only expanding, but it is expanding at an accelerating rate, and that there is not enough matter in the universe for gravity to have an effect in stopping that. Still, there is an acknowledgement that we don't know what impact dark matter might play (and apparently there is a lot of dark matter) or the theory that everything (energy and matter) is connected at a subatomic level.

There is agreement that something cannot come from nothing, and the way our universe evolved depended on what are called "initial conditions". From the book "The Quantum And The Lotus", ...

If these constants and initial conditions were just slightly different then we wouldn't be here talking about them. The universe, right from the start, seems to have carried the seeds that allowed for the emergence of consciousness, of an observer. In the words of the physicist Freeman Dyson, "The universe in some sense must have known that we were coming."
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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steven lloyd wrote: May 16th, 2023, 12:11 pm I also believe that all God's are the same God - simply different understandings based on culture, history and other factors. However, as I've also said I don't see God as some diety or something that exists outside and independent of us. Aligned with both Buddhism and quantum physics I accept that everything everywhere in an infinite universe (energy and matter) is connected at a subatomic level and that there is a purposeful force that holds this connection. Buddhists don't use the word God to refer to this force but for lack of a simpler one I often will. I know others who simply refer to it as "The Universe" with the understanding that includes everything and everyone, is responsible for our creation (cause and effect) and has purpose. We don't need to know what that ultimate purpose might be. We can deduce it's purpose to date by acknowledging our existence. As for what lies ahead we can know that the universe will unfold as it will.
I'm enjoying the conversation and ideas. I'm struggling with a piece you wrote. Maybe it's my lack of understanding on your intention or maybe I'm reading into something that wasn't intended.

I agree fully, that we don't need to know what a purpose might be. It's religion that tries to impose a purpose on us. And since religion is man made, it's people imposing purpose on others. We don't know what the purpose is, but we also shouldn't presuppose that there is a purpose. Just as we shouldn't presuppose that there is a god. I think that, often, people who believe in a god will try to mold their understanding of the universe in such a way that allows space for a god to exist; there is no need.

Where I get a bit confused though is this line: "We can deduce it's purpose to date by acknowledging our existence."
We exist. We know this much. We still don't know if there is a purpose, or what that might be. I don't have any reason to believe that we are the purpose of anything. No reason to think we're that special. In fact, I think it's hubris to presume that me, my family, my city, country, planet, or even galaxy is anything special. I'm not trying to misread your sentence. If I have, please share your meaning. :)
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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I am discussing these ideas from the perspective of theories of quantum physics, as well as the philosophical examination of Buddhism. As such, any idea of a man made deity or "God" really has no relevance. While ideas of metaphysics and spirituality have some relevance, religion does not. In talking about the purpose of the universe, most Buddhists and quantum physicists would suggest it's very existence is its purpose. Cause and effect plays an integral role and it is a long string of cause and effect (a leading to b leading to c leading to ... etc) that lead to the creation of stars and then galaxies and then life and then consciousness. We don't know where creation will go from here, but we have good ideas on how the current state came to be. The big question still, a question being critically examined by both Buddhists and quantum physicists, is how did it start. Has it been an infinite ongoing process of expansion and contraction, or was it an "original cause" or purpose that already existed in a timeless and infinite vacuum? Current evidence and scientific knowledge contradicts the idea of an infinite process of expansion and contraction.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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Unless of course we are still in the first expansion.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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Dead right wrote: May 18th, 2023, 12:24 pm Unless of course we are still in the first expansion.
Well, according to known astrophysics there will not be another, unless there is some as yet unimagined process other than a contraction as a cause of the next expansion. So, if this is the first and only expansion then we are left with the questions of "initial conditions" and "original cause".
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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Dead right wrote: May 18th, 2023, 12:24 pm Unless of course we are still in the first expansion.
In my view there's never been a first. It's always been. Just an endless cycle of expansion and contraction.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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JLives wrote: May 18th, 2023, 3:26 pm
Dead right wrote: May 18th, 2023, 12:24 pm Unless of course we are still in the first expansion.
In my view there's never been a first. It's always been. Just an endless cycle of expansion and contraction.

As already stated there are those in the field of quantum physics who would agree with you and it does to some point eliminate that pesky question of "original cause" or "potential" existing in an infinite and timeless vacuum before creation. I also used to accept that idea (not saying I know what is true now) but how would you then reconcile your view with the current evidence that indicates "the universe is not only expanding, but it is expanding at an accelerating rate, and that there is not enough matter in the universe for gravity to have an effect in stopping that" - a condition that would be required before a contraction could occur? How would you account for that?

As also stated there is an acknowledgement that we don't know what impact dark matter might play (and apparently there is a lot of dark matter) or the theory that everything (energy and matter) is connected at a subatomic level. I know that we can't know but do you use the existence of dark matter and/or the interconnectedness of all things to explain how this infinite cycle of expansion and contraction could continue or do you have some other idea(s)? Sincerely curious.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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steven lloyd wrote: May 18th, 2023, 6:06 pm
JLives wrote: May 18th, 2023, 3:26 pm
In my view there's never been a first. It's always been. Just an endless cycle of expansion and contraction.

As already stated there are those in the field of quantum physics who would agree with you and it does to some point eliminate that pesky question of "original cause" or "potential" existing in an infinite and timeless vacuum before creation. I also used to accept that idea (not saying I know what is true now) but how would you then reconcile your view with the current evidence that indicates "the universe is not only expanding, but it is expanding at an accelerating rate, and that there is not enough matter in the universe for gravity to have an effect in stopping that" - a condition that would be required before a contraction could occur? How would you account for that?

As also stated there is an acknowledgement that we don't know what impact dark matter might play (and apparently there is a lot of dark matter) or the theory that everything (energy and matter) is connected at a subatomic level. I know that we can't know but do you use the existence of dark matter and/or the interconnectedness of all things to explain how this infinite cycle of expansion and contraction could continue or do you have some other idea(s)? Sincerely curious.
I would respond we know very little as a species and as a layperson I know nothing comparatively speaking. But everything we find in every other area seems to be cynical but always moving forward. A 3d spiral maybe. It doesn't make sense that the universe would be linear. What else is in the natural world? Maybe the black holes are part of it and eventually turn into a super black hole contracting all matter. Then it explodes again.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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JLives wrote: May 18th, 2023, 9:27 pm I would respond we know very little as a species and as a layperson I know nothing comparatively speaking. But everything we find in every other area seems to be cynical but always moving forward. A 3d spiral maybe. It doesn't make sense that the universe would be linear. What else is in the natural world? Maybe the black holes are part of it and eventually turn into a super black hole contracting all matter. Then it explodes again.
I would agree we know very little, and that there is so much left to be discovered. The black hole idea is very interesting, but it would have to be an awfully large black hole to suck in an entire infinite universe. I find the discussion of creation and intent to be quite fascinating and very much enjoy the examination of these ideas in quantum physics and Buddhism (it is also very interesting to see the congruence that sometimes exists between both). From the Buddhist perspective ...

Buddhism considers that phenomena (the universe and consciousness) aren't really born, in the sense they pass from nonexistence into existence. They exist only in terms of what we call "relative truth", and have no actual reality. Relative truth comes from our experience of the world, from the usual way in which we perceive it - that is, by supposing that things exist objectively. Buddhism says that such perceptions are deceptive. Ultimately, phenomena have no intrinsic existence. This is the "absolute truth". In these terms the question of creation becomes a false problem. The idea of creation becomes necessary only if we believe in an objective world ...

In terms of absolute truth, there is no creation, no duration, and no end. This paradox is a good illustration of the illusory nature of the world of phenomena. It can reveal itself in an infinite number of ways because its final reality is emptiness. So, with the Big Bang theory, do we have an ex nihilo creation, a creation out of nothingness,or the expression of some kind of preexisting potential that is not yet manifested in the universe?

The Big Bang, or any other "beginning" of a given universe can't happen without cause and condition. The world of phenomena can't have come from nowhere. One of Buddhism essential ideas states that because things have no independent reality they can't really "begin" or "end" as distinct entities. The idea of the universe beginning and ending belongs to relative truth. In terms of absolute truth its meaningless.

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Re: Before the Big Bang

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Gravity is the force that controls the new beginning and the end. Was gravity created at the same time as the first two elementary particles.
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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Dead right wrote: May 19th, 2023, 7:29 am Gravity is the force that controls the new beginning and the end.
But current scientific knowledge states there is not enough matter in the universe for gravity to even slow, let alone reverse the acceleration of the expansion of the universe (a condition that would be required for a cyclical universe). How do you account for that? Dark matter? Black holes? Current scientific theory suggests that the universe will continue to expand until it just ends (or maybe evolves into something else), unless some other not as yet understood force intervenes. Perhaps dark matter will have an effect we as yet underestimate, or perhaps some black hole, or holes, will implode and in that explosion create a brand new universe or universes. However, if this were the case there is nothing to say the same "initial conditions" would exist to create life or consciousness. If this is a infinitely recurring pattern maybe the creation of life and consciousness in a universe only occurs once in a billion times. Hmmm 🤔
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Re: Before the Big Bang

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steven lloyd wrote: May 19th, 2023, 9:47 am But current scientific knowledge states there is not enough matter in the universe for gravity to even slow, let alone reverse the acceleration of the expansion of the universe
Our current scientific knowledge is far ahead of what we knew 100 years ago and I have faith that we will continue to progress.
Hopefully I will be around long enough see some of the results.

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