My God of Gaps - Philosophy

My God of Gaps

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

‘But God who creates out of nothing, who almightily takes from nothing and says, ‘Be’, lovingly adjoins, ‘Be something even in apposition to me.’ Marvelous love, even His omnipotence is under the sway of love!’ - Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55)

The deeper one breaches into the realms of scientific realities it becomes more decisively clear how far-lying the ultimate truth of things is from our grasp. The answer to ‘existence in time’ jumps from infinity to infinity and as we trace it back to its starting point, we find several infinities enfolding in a singularity and the only answer plausible to the objective mind to the question of where this singularity came from, is - ‘from nothing’.

The objective mind had been mocking at the need of any ‘first cause’ that does not have a cause to itself, surely if the first cause doesn’t need to have a cause than the whole theory based on the vital need of a cause to every effect is defeated by its own tool. But it should surprise us that such an objectivity can agree on the possibility of a pack of infinities coming out of ‘nothing’, after all if so much could have just appeared from nothing then so could a new galaxy appear out of nothing right where our own is, nor should we be surprised if a monkey comes into existence right in front of us from nothing, or even if we find ourselves encountering God like that, someday, out of nowhere.

We must though inspect the possibility of a monkey coming into existence right in front of us, how is it different or more complex than the ‘supposed’ quantum singularity - that makes it look like so impossible. Is it not that we are today, thanks to science, aware of the complexity of the design and organization in the deeply layered structure of a monkey that bind its working from the DNA level to the organ level and to the neural one – that we deem it impossible to even think that such complexity could arise, all working and packed-up simply out of ‘nothing’. Yet we do find it possible to imagine a singularity that is packed with infinites and has the DNA coding for the making of the whole universe, to be maybe - a soup of non-conscious, non-ordered, non-coded, yet super-energized oneness – a Super-Chaos in other words.

Is the objective mind not asking us here, to think of two things that are extremely impossible in its own diction, as to be rather easy possibilities in this specific case – ‘spontaneity’ and ‘order from chaos’? Is the reason, for the objective mind to become so liberal all of a sudden, not a dupery? Only when it found the singularity to be an event, so remote from scientific scrutiny that it found happy grounds for indulging in the hitherto agog urge for delusion? Where science seems to be unable to reach, are those places where it is objectively correct to replace order with chaos or cause with spontaneity!

Surely the objective man would not be happy with such answers as ‘chaos and spontaneity’ either, but there is a gap between his knowledge and the ultimate reality of things, a gap that is intransversable by sense perception. The gap between existence and non-existence – the question of the creation of the first singularity – of spontaneity verses causality. Perhaps it is a choice between humility and arrogance that follows us at every horizon mere-science refuses to transverse, for science at its very onset has been defined as laws of nature deduces from observable facts and of theories induces from observable facts – so what cannot be observed and still exists is simply not the domain of science. Yet! It does exist!

The realist would think about the thing that has caused the singularity to be, and would be left with three inevitable choices – the thing is another material cause equal in complexity to the singularity but this makes it just another cause; the thing is superior to singularity and originated it from a position independent of universal time and space, which is Supernatural; or the thing is a ‘nothing’.

Still how do we accuse a learned person such as a realist to be arrogant when science itself has trained such a person to accept life in the framework of the laws of nature? Why is it that a monkey cannot appears from nothing as we would instantaneously think that Laws of Nature cannot be broken - but how is it that when we go back and back in time we feel that laws of nature can comfortably be broken. The truth of the matter is that, going back in time,  the laws of physics actually break before the singularity is reached and scientists extrapolate more backwards in time ‘supposing’ that the physics equations would still hold. And when they finally reach this assumed singularity, some of them like to take a second jump from there to ‘nothing’. Yet there surely are others who would conclude that if singularity existed it may have had a different set of laws and singularity itself must have been cause by ‘something’ that operates in a different set of laws independent of ours.

At this plain of cleavage the human conscience is faced with a question mark – reality is not of one kind – the physically perceived one – but can be of many kinds. There can be several kinds of parallel realities right here in the universe we live and there can be more reality outside our 4D universe. This reality of sorts that we face so many times at the edges of science, urges us to admit the defeat of the mere physical existence as an unsustainable proof in time and space, both for the past and the future, as all theories of physics and math are incomplete and unable to provide a reasoning for the jump from nothing to something or vice versa.

So will these ‘gaps’ in our perception of the Universe, be filled with more observations in time. Like when we know more about the forces of nature and how they interact perhaps we will know how the gap between the plank epoch, beyond which the laws of physics as we know them now, ceases to exist, and perhaps then singularity may be surmounted. Perhaps we will know another set of laws that tell us of another realm of some different physical nature and how the one converts into the other. But the issue of how singularity came to be from non-existence will still remain the same. Perhaps again there will be another great mind who will tell us the singularity was not the earliest point and there is yet another series of events hitherto unexplored – but will that change the quest of ‘something from nothing’, no!

It is as if we are on great voyages of discoveries but the distance we want to traverse, if we symbolically take it as from zero to one, like Zeno’s paradox, will always be yielding, ever-complex and more and more intricate, yet it will never be traversed. Perhaps because the way we are looking for truth is taking us deeper and deeper into details, each detail being marvelous and awesome, yet the indulgence is introvert and real truth lies only at a giant leap – a leap from the mere physical to an appreciation of wholesomeness and the beauty it beholds.

Now, one would say of such talk as purely aspirational as opposed to the scientific man who believes only on matter-of-fact things. This is not true. In fact the matter-of-fact is that scientists depends more on aspiration than anyone for their advancement. Remember Einstein said,

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”.

So here it is, more of science is theories and less of it is proven, observed facts. But there is a notion in the scientific community, to be more and more adamant on the belief upon theories that have not been refuted by observation for a longer and longer period of time, even if it hasn’t been proven in all this time either. But if theories are not factual, what are they? It goes like this, many time the facts about a phenomenon are trivial and do not give a complete picture of how nature is working around that phenomenon, yet human thought is never satisfied with an incoherent and incomplete picture, it wants a picture that is simple and beautiful and that works without distort. So great minds in science take those facts in the simplest form, build a whole castle of theory upon it as to how the world should be working and find the right mathematics that can fit their ideas into a discrete formulation. It also goes that because math is inexhaustibly extendable, it has the capability of accommodating the wildest of ideas into its stretches as long as known fact are not being violated. But then, they will eventually have to be violated if they simply are not giving way to the seemingly simplest and most probable ideas – and that is the time for a paradigm shift and a need for a new facet of math that goes along it.

But before this shift of paradigm there is a long tug of war between factual data and scientists who want certain amount of these observed facts to be proven incorrect because they are not cohering with their theory and somehow their theory seems more closer to ultimate reality then those trivial fact that don’t prove a lot much by themselves. Therefore we see many times scientists presenting theories widely beyond experiment and observation yet because they had started their argument from a set of scientific observations readers are led to the illusion that perhaps to the end the theory is nothing but science even though theory had entered pure speculation or imagination as soon as the facts had been exhausted. For instance there may be many scientists and their followers who have a theory that ‘there is no God and that the Universe was not created’ preset in their minds and they want all of science to progress in service of this theory, and though they look down at theology and philosophy as belief-systems based on crude fact that have been proven wrong in time – they profess exactly the same position in their belief on such theories that are based on crude fact the likes of which have periodically been proven wrong in time.

Professor Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist and a theoretical cosmologist, is an example. Before criticizing on Hawking it must be emphasized that it is precisely this power of imagination based on a strong scientific bases that make some scientist greater than most others – and Hawking seems to have a great sense of imagination indeed. Hawking has theorized that prior to the Plank Epoch the Universe was a no-boundary and an infinite-finite Universe. He says that as prior to the Big Bang, laws of physics would be broken down, the conditions prior cannot be measured by any means therefore they do not matter to us - so for us time would begin at the Big Bang. According to Hawking although all evidence and law seem to predict singularity but since a singularity of infinite density is hard to explain without an external cause, an alternate is necessary. Hawking suggests that if there is sufficient matter in the Universe it will bend all light towards itself and this would, within the framework of Relativity, prove that the Universe is within a horizon. Hawking wants a finite Universe but he just doesn’t want one with a singularity and to get rid of that he proposes to look at space-time with the Imaginary Time - which is a mathematical tool that uses complex numbers in place of real ones and maps out a Universe which is not a Singularity at time zero, rather as we approach t=0 at the edge of the Universe we find a curved space-time that goes on around itself forever, making it finite but with no boundaries. One should reckon that not any part of this whole paragraph is a certain truth but all are parts of one theory or another and that the motivation behind setting the theory is not to simply find what nature has to offer but to tame the process of knowledge-acquisition as to yield a desired outcome.

A layman could bethink, considering space in the 3d perspective that the Big Bang would have spread out from a point equally in all directions so the event-point would be at the center of the universe and zero time would be located at that center. In the 4d space perspective, light that reaches us from the farthest galaxies has come a very long way, so as we look further out at the universe, we are looking back in time, which means that the location of zero time is at the edges of the universe. But this is not so - what is coming to us from the distance is the information about that part of the Universe but that does not mean that the edges necessarily present the oldest time, rather they must present the latest time, though it may be the case that the oldest galaxies are found at the edges. So if we want to calculate t=0 we must determine where the center is, and if Hawking is right about the Past Time Cone, which starts from our point of sight and goes out to the edges, then perhaps Singularity was situated at our point of sight not at the horizon of the Universe… so much for imagination…

Yet in Hawking’s interpretation Singularity does exist in the classical, general relativity perspective but is only escaped in the imaginary-time perspective. One wonders, that if both perspective exist at the same time, would it imply that Singularity is both a truth and not a truth!

Quoting Hawking: ‘This absence of boundaries means that the laws of physics would determine the state of the universe uniquely, in imaginary time. Thus, the universe would be a completely self-contained system. It would not be determined by anything outside the physical universe that we observe.’

Easy to catch from all this is the notion that even great scientist are not just scientist, they too are human, driven by bias of immovable beliefs. It is as if science and math are tools for wish-fulfilling – observations are not imposing facts upon the men of science rather they are at will to choose from one format or the other from the infinite kinds of fields and spaces made available in math to best fit the ideas they like. Only, there is a problem, math cannot lie, so every space-field used as a base for conceptualization of a theory will reach a horizon where it will be exhausted by the same type of scenario, a scenario that points to some realities that are not answerable in the physical realm.

One wonders – is science not the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to humanity – it is revealing, satisfying, energizing and full of awe. It is so open to possibilities it keeps our compulsive cravings ever intrigued – it is beautiful in its simplicity and enchanting in its complexities. Surely one who is mesmerized by science and math will probably not come out its spell alive. Yet science is just one domain of the many that constitute our thought system -  what makes us human is the capability of our thought to encompass ideas far beyond the physical realm, we conceive reality beyond what observation has to offer - infinity is the field we love to play. The human mind that is filled with imagination, and raises the questions that it answers with the tools of concept-building and theorizing and tries to legitimize all this with observable data wherever possible – is this human mind not superior to mere facts on the table?

Human thought is an infinite field of ideas that is unpredictable, seemingly spontaneously, excited at probabilistic intervals, this is when a ‘great question’ arise in what we identify as ‘great minds’. Science is not taken forward by everyday matter-of-fact observations as much as they are driven forward by unique ideas that have not been observed, but seem so much closer to reality that one is compelled to interpret the observed fact in ways that would bring us to conclusions that lead to reality as we desire it to be. Moreover it is the abstract powers of the human thought system, such as articulate language, use of symbols to express ideas, ability of combining ideas to make new ones, ability to isolate things and name them, to be able to visualize things at different depths thereby changing the matrix of perception, the ability to generalize to make laws and to specify to make evidence, to be able to construct and be a part of intricate social webs… (and the list may go on), it is these abstract a priori abilities that urge us to the path of knowledge, not mere objects that become part of knowledge a posteriori with experience.

This infinite field of the human thought and experience, diverse in topology, is enacted upon with great pulls analogical to the gravitational forces that bind and move the whole Universe, yet they are both un-identifiable. These forces of thought and experience pull each mind, but also pull humanity as a whole into a pattern that seems like an evolution of ideas but really is mere oscillations. This pull is the urge to find the truth about all things, to then find the ultimate reality, to then find the ‘Theory of Everything’ – and a pull that presents on every mind a compulsive question, the question of God – a question that each sentinel has to answer with a yeah or a nay.  

So is God the God-of-Gaps or is God the Theory-of-Everything? Does logic go like I see an apple, I don’t see a God therefore an apple exists and God doesn’t. Or does it go like, I see an apple, probability tells me that mere evolution couldn’t have done it unless there was maybe a quantum realm made of conscious forces that could be instructed to decohere in a unique way into a field that would be projected in 4D classical space as an apple – repeat logic: does this conscious quantum realm make its own instructions or are instructions fed externally – repeat logic: does this conscious quantum realm also construct its own material or was it constructed. Guess what, logic can only take us in circles, like the spin of an electron, but the real thing is the tilt. Will the electron tilt with the Universal tilt or will it tilt towards the objective magnet.

So basically the ‘gaps’ we are taking about, like the hard problem of consciousness, the behavior of the electrons or photons in the quantum realm or the question of ‘from where the hell did singularity just come from’ or how random hits can cause order and beauty or how a unique thing such as ‘life’ exist in a predominantly life-less Universe, and that if one electron cannot make another electron or one atom cannot make another atom and this is a Universal rule, then how this characteristics associated uniquely with life appear on Earth alone. Life itself is one unsolvable problem that does not give itself to a mathematical formulation. It is not a physically measurable entity therefore it does not have a physical cause. It may be logical to assert that life or soul or consciousness, being non-objective entities, as we ‘know’ them to be, are products of objective matter and the interactions between it – but that would mean that we are accepting the possibility of non-matter coming out of matter, which means we approve the existence of non-matter in the first place – and if there is such a thing as non-matter consciousness that would mean that metaphysical reality exists besides and perhaps beyond material existence.

Today many thinkers in science realize the lack of definite answers to many challenging phenomenon in different fields of study. They are trying to answer the inevitable how and why questions with phenomenon like parallel Universes or several non-interactive Universes existing in the same space or Universes oscillating from one state of existence to another – at the heart they are trying to find any answer that would be void of God – but in all such efforts they tend to make the picture of reality look more complex, when science had taught us to be straight and simple. The Occam Razor suggests that there be a supercomputer, made and controlled by a super-scientist who knows more than we know, who sees more than we see and who controls the system from outside it, as knowing, seeing and controlling from outside are phenomenon well acquainted to human experience and such that we can hypothesize upon for such a Knower/Controller.

My God of gaps is not just a filler, He fills, He binds all phenomenon, He makes the laws and the fields and the material that goes with each field, He does make parallel Universes and He does make several mutually exclusive fields work side by side in the same space and He also will oscillate this system into another one at an approaching time – but more then all that He has the answer to the question embedded in the human soul of ‘what ultimate reality is’, and He alone has the power to one day show us to the edge of the Universe and fill the gaps of our vision for once.

‘Originator of the heavens and the land (from nothing), when He has decided a command He only says “Be,” and it is’. Quran (2, 117)