Some rambling about cosmology and the nature of life

This was getting too long for the page about Tina and me.

   - Robin

Here is a bit of cosmology - concerning the metaphysical questions of the origin of the Universe, irrespective of whether what we observe in astronomy began 13.7 billion years ago, or very much longer ago.  To me, "Universe" means everything which exists, including all gods, spirits, etc.  So I think it is meaningless to say "God created the Universe".

  • The Universe is an extraordinary thing, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.

  • I have no idea how the Universe came into being - and I don't think anyone else does either.  The real question is "Why is there anything at all?".  Why is there such a thing as time, the three dimensions, gravity, electromagnetism and (according to current theories of particle physicists) the strong and weak nuclear forces?  Then there are the questions about matter, energy and how they are are distributed. I don't believe the "Big Bang" any more than a religious explanation - and I am adamant that scientists are writers are mistaken when they write things like "Our knowledge of physics is good enough now for us to calculate the conditions prevailing back to an incredible 10-45 (0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001) seconds after it all started. (Golub and Passachoff in The Nearest Star, 2001) etc.  Science cannot know such things.  Science develops theories which are testable - and by experimenting and thinking, theories should be developed which explain reality in increasingly accurate and elegant ways.  This is much better than faith and religion - but there are limits to what can be known or tested.  Furthermore, theories must be tested against observations, not refuted or ignored because they do not fit in with currently accepted theories.  I think two current paradigms are mistaken: the Photon Paradigm of quantized electromagnetic radiation and the Big Bang Paradigm.  ("Photon Paradigm" is a very rare term, according to Google in late 2007.  The most prevalent - and perhaps most misleading - paradigms are generally not recognised as such by those in their grip!)

  • We can have no real knowledge of the origin of the Universe.  The best we have is feelings, and for me, gratitude and happiness that there is something after all, and that it is on such a vast scale, with such scope, delicacy and depth.  Nor can we know the true extent of the Universe, since we fully connect with some aspects of it and only partially connect with others.  So how could we know about aspects we don't connect with, or how many "aspects" there are?  We don't know what we don't know.  (I am with Donald Rumsfeld and The Pentagon on this:

  • I think this life is the one that matters.  On about 20 November 2001, I read or heard the phrase "The spirit lives best in the flesh" - but I can't remember where. (Google - finds no such phrase.) I totally support this- The spirit lives best in the flesh!  Fritz the Cat would have dug this phrase too.  I think there is a life after this one - but as far as I am know, the next life is probably a trip to the recycling depot.  How we get recycled - individually cleaned and refilled or collectively crushed, melted together and remoulded into something different - I don't know.  But there is evidence that in some cases at least spirits are reborn not long after the end of the previous life - at least according to the work of Dr Ian Stevenson .  Maybe, in the next phase of life beyond this stint on Earth, it will be our turn to be someone's "guardian angel".

  • I can't take any religion's claims seriously. (Tina and I are very wary of "New Age" stuff as well - and of any assumption that Eastern philosophies tend to be better than those from the West.)  The major religions are all very recent in the time-scale of humanity.  None of them, to my knowledge, have proper respect for the vastness of the Universe or its real richness on a physical level.  Worse still, many religions talk down this life and claim the next is, or can be, vastly better - because their business is selling tickets to the next!  That is why the name of our planet is often spelt "earth".  I advocate for the proper capitalisation of "Earth".

  • Here's another disproof of the validity of some prominent religions which attest that firstly God (or multiple gods) exists and that secondly this God (or gods) expects humans to have a thorough and detailed knowledge of this God or gods.  Some religions insist individuals will be condemned to Hell unless they get this right. Since it is evident that humans, with their best efforts and complete sincerity, when trying to understand creation arrive at a vast and perplexing array of incompatible conclusions, I argue that if there is such a God or gods, with such expectations, then he, she, they or it have made a real mess of humanity and/or their attempts to reveal the truth.  Since these religions generally insist that God is all-powerful, all-loving and that the whole Universe was created for us humans, I argue that such religions are clearly wrong in one or more of these beliefs!  
  • Regarding intelligent design, why does the mammalian retina have the nerve connections on the light-side of the sensory cells? (  Why is our only proper source of Vitamin D the same short-wavelength UV-B light which also gives us sunburn and skin cancer?  Why are humans designed so the mother who contracts a viral disease early in pregnancy is likely to have a child who later develops the devastating condition schizophrenia? (

  • Metaphysics is interesting, but I wouldn't pursue it so much as to distract from the rest of life.  There are more than enough reasons to live and to develop my own morality and approach to life without fussing too much with theories about the next life, worlds beyond, religions or gods.

  • People who take an active pleasure and interest in other people and other living things have many more sources of pleasure, motivation and satisfaction than those who think only or mainly of themselves.  Life is not a zero-sum-game.

See my site for some astronomical cosmology - and Hubble Space Telescope images of over 1000 galaxies a long way away.