Theory - we are part of a bigger organism...?

Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution.

Theory - we are part of a bigger organism...?

Post #1  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 1:27 am

What do you think of the theory that we are part of a bigger organism?  For example, do you think that the cells and enzymes within us know that they are part of us?  Do you think that their sense of time is the same as ours in that, their life spans seem ridiculously short to us, but it could be a legitimate lifetime to them?  We may be part of a bigger organism of which we are unaware, in which our lifespans seem ridiculously short.  And our "universe" could simply be an organism; and we could be a "universe" to many smaller curious creatures within us, who wonder where they are and why they exist.  

What do you think????
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Post #2  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 1:52 am

Doctor X wrote:The elements you mention--cells, enzymes--are not conscious.

--J.D.


What do you mean by conscious?  I'm not arguing, just trying to understand.  Enzymes, in particular, are intelligent.  They sort through particles, choosing and discarding to build strands of DNA.  Don't you have to have some type of intelligence to perform any task, much less a complex one like that?  Isn't it possible that we don't fully understand the tiny particles within us, and that if our organism studies our activities, that they don't fully understand us?
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Post #3  Postby jmercer » Mon May 02, 2005 2:01 am

Jeweliete wrote:
Doctor X wrote:The elements you mention--cells, enzymes--are not conscious.

--J.D.


What do you mean by conscious?  I'm not arguing, just trying to understand.  Enzymes, in particular, are intelligent.  They sort through particles, choosing and discarding to build strands of DNA.  Don't you have to have some type of intelligence to perform any task, much less a complex one like that?  


Jeweliete, enzymes act autonomously.  You don't have to be intelligent for your heart to beat.  Amoeba's don't need intelligence to find, absorb and digest food.  Plant's don't need intelligence to grow toward the sun.
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Post #4  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 2:25 am

We're kind of getting away from the main question of my topic, however...

I'm aware that my brain does not direct the actions of the enzyme.  But doesn't there have to be a center of some type of intelligence within the enzyme itself for it to choose and discard particular particles?  Regarding the heart - this is not comparable as the heart is directed by electrical impulses to perform a repetitive activity.  The heart does no discerning as does the enzyme.  

But, as I was saying above, my main question is - do you think we could be part of a bigger organism?  (Not - do you think our cells and enzymes are as intelligent as us?)  Everywhere in nature you see microcosms and microcosms of microcosms - even in composition such as the earth being 70% water and our bodies being 70% water.  Our bodies could be a universe to our cells, and we could be cells within a bigger universe.  This is what I want to hear thoughts on.

And...hehe...what about the theory that the universe is expanding?  You know us humans tend to gain a little heft as we age...could our organism be getting that middle-age spread?  Ok, I'm just kidding on that one...
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Post #5  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 2:30 am

Jeweliete wrote:What do you mean by conscious?


Doctor X wrote:Exactly what the word means.


So they are in a coma?

Jeweliete wrote:I'm not arguing, just trying to understand.  Enzymes, in particular, are intelligent.


Doctor X wrote:No, they are not.  They react and worked based upon understood rules of physics and chemistry.  


They are intelligent enough to understand physics and chemistry?

Jeweliete wrote:Isn't it possible that we don't fully understand the tiny particles within us, and that if our organism studies our activities, that they don't fully understand us?


Doctor X wrote:Methinks you try to extend metaphor into reality.  That one can say a crowd of people moves through a intersection like an ameoba moving though . . . through . . . through . . . an intersection does not make the crowd an amoeba.


You lost me on this one.

Doctor X wrote: You last sentence is a rather broad argumentum ad ignorantiam--that "we do not know" something does not make the impossible and disproven possible.


When I say "isn't it possible", I'm merely asking if we can keep an open mind on the subject.  However, if my theory has been disproven, then case closed.  Evidently, we know all there is to know about the intelligence of enzymes.  How is it that sometimes, though rarely, enzymes make mistakes and the DNA is mutated?  If an enzyme is merely programmed with physics & chemistry data then, like a computer, it should never make a mistake.
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Post #6  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 2:54 am

Jeweliete wrote:I'm aware that my brain does not direct the actions of the enzyme.


Doctor X wrote:Does it not?  Complicated thing that!  The needs of the brain can direct--eventually--the production and destruction of enzymes.  Granted, you are not consciously saying, "hey!  More of that acetylcholine esterase."


Yes, yes, we were talking about the actions of the enzyme, not the determination of its life cycle.  Even most humans don't control when they are born and when they die.  


Jeweliete wrote: - even in composition such as the earth being 70% water and our bodies being 70% water.


Doctor X wrote:Depending on your body size, salt intake, heart function, et cetera.  I am aware of no "fresh water" areas of the body.


Right, and the earth is also contains mostly saline bodies of water.  Your point being that fresh water on earth makes our bodies not a true microcosm?  In that case, you're right.  I'm also aware of no trees within the human body!

--J.D.[/quote]
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Post #7  Postby b_sharp » Mon May 02, 2005 3:15 am

Jeweliete wrote:We're kind of getting away from the main question of my topic, however...

I'm aware that my brain does not direct the actions of the enzyme.  But doesn't there have to be a center of some type of intelligence within the enzyme itself for it to choose and discard particular particles?  Regarding the heart - this is not comparable as the heart is directed by electrical impulses to perform a repetitive activity.  The heart does no discerning as does the enzyme.  


You are trying to anthropomorphize a chemical reaction. Enzymes make no decisions, they simply form a chemical bond if they happen to bump up against a specific chemical.  Most atoms will bond with other atoms to form more complex compounds. This is such a case.

But, as I was saying above, my main question is - do you think we could be part of a bigger organism?  (Not - do you think our cells and enzymes are as intelligent as us?)  Everywhere in nature you see microcosms and microcosms of microcosms - even in composition such as the earth being 70% water and our bodies being 70% water.  Our bodies could be a universe to our cells, and we could be cells within a bigger universe.  This is what I want to hear thoughts on.

In the manner you hypothesis? No!
Just because we are a colony does not mean we are a component of another larger physical colony. However, our society has , by some,  been considered to act 'alive'.
And...hehe...what about the theory that the universe is expanding?  You know us humans tend to gain a little heft as we age...could our organism be getting that middle-age spread?  Ok, I'm just kidding on that one...

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Post #8  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 3:18 am

Yes, Doctor X.  Let me just say this:

This idea that I posted is wild and virtually untestable.  So almost worthless to discuss.  I just wanted to throw it out there.  I'm always looking for a possible answer to the "big" question - the one they consider unanswerable.  The one that we just need some sort of paradigm shift to understand (i.e. what line has no beginning and no end - a ring).  How can the universe be endless?  What are we missing?  Being that all organisms seem to be part of a bigger and similar structure, I thought maybe we aren't the end of that pattern.  But maybe we are.  Regardless, us little humans on the pale blue dot within the tiny solar system that is so insignificant even within our own galaxy much less the universe, will probably never know.
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Post #9  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 3:25 am

I also want to say that this is not a theory I'm at all vested in - I just think it's interesting to talk about.  The fact that there is no evidence to back up the theory, actually believing it would require the same type of faith that religion does.  I certainly don't have that.  I just love tackling these big questions with wild ideas and enjoy the conversation.

:D
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Post #10  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 3:44 am

Doctor X - We did test the theory that we could be part of a larger organism?  Where can I read information on this?
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There is some analogy

Post #11  Postby real_skeptic » Mon May 02, 2005 7:54 pm

I mean, if you are purely materialistic, enzymes follow laws of nature (chemistry and physics), and our brains are complicated machines, which employ sets of rules and so on, but also rely purely on the laws of physics.

So you could say that like in so many areas, there is an hierarchy of complexity here, which is basically the same. So the question is - does the next level in the hierarchy conform to the definition of "organism"?

Because an hierarchy of complexity does not necessarily imply that. The enzyme is more complex than its atoms, and you will agree that an enzyme is not an organism, even though it has sub-parts.

So, an organism is built of separate parts that are inter-dependent, but in itself is independent. That's murky, because nothing is truly independent. We can't live without vegetables and/or animals to eat. So what's different between the dependence on food and the dependence of the hand and the brain? Perhaps the fact that it's the same hand and the same brain. You can eat this cucumber or that one, but of all the right hands in the world, you can use only yours.

So, you have to describe us as part of something which has a functionality, and whose parts require each other, specifically, to perform that function. I don't think you have enough observations of any super-structure in which humans are a part, to even come close to such a description.

So you may jump and ask 'but just like the enzymes don't know they are part of us, perhaps the we are not able to perceive the super-organism". This smacks of religion. And as was pointed out, enzymes are not intelligent, we are. Enzymes cannot detect patterns, we can. Enzymes cannot speculate, we can, and so on.

So the fact that the argument moved from the "super-organism" to the question of enzyme intelligence should not be seen as an attempt to evade the question, but as an attempt to show that the argument from ignorance should not be used. We are not ignorant, we have ways to study our surrounding.

Anyway, I think that if you are looking for a super-organism you probably have to confine yourself to Earth, because we currently do not communicate with any other part of the cosmos - which means that we can hardly be said to be parts of the same machine. And I think our pattern-matching abilities would have long been able to detect the Earth as a super-organism if it was one.

Anyway, it's hard to say that the Earth lives... It does not replicate, has no genetic material, and its "metabolism" is no more than a simile.
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Post #12  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 8:15 pm

Real_Skeptic,

The earth is so insignificant in the scheme of things that I wasn't thinking of it as an organism.  I actually was considering that perhaps the milky way galaxy, so expansive to us, is just one cell in a bigger organism.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:  It's just a wild idea.  And, I agree, to believe it would take the faith of a religion.  I just think there must be some answer to the unanswerable questions:  (1) When did the universe (time) begin and will it end?  (2)  Does the universe have a beginning and end (space) or does it just go on forever.  And is that even possible?

So fellow Skeptics, you don't like my wild idea.  Let's hear some of yours...
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Post #13  Postby real_skeptic » Mon May 02, 2005 8:43 pm

About the Earth, as I said, there is no communication between it and other parts of the universe. Perhaps some exchange of random radiation and particles, but nothing that can be called communication.

Therefore, it cannot be part of an organism. Unless, of course, it's a non-functional part, in which case the point is moot.

Anyway, as regards your questions, I don't know why you think they relate to super organisms of any sort.

The universe started with the big bang. Whether it will end or not is still being debated. There is no "before" because the big bang is the beginning of time. I think similar concepts apply to where it ends. These questions and answers are more a matter of cosmology, of matter and energy, basic concepts. At that level, it's simple structures that rule, physics, not even chemistry and certainly not biology.
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Post #14  Postby no one in particular » Mon May 02, 2005 8:44 pm

Jeweliete wrote:So fellow Skeptics, you don't like my wild idea.  Let's hear some of yours...

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Post #15  Postby Flash » Mon May 02, 2005 9:32 pm

Maybe Jeweliete thinks of pantheism the theory proposed by the philosopher of Enlightenment Baruch Spinoza where everything in our Universe including our bodies and consciousness are part of some gigantic cosmic being, god in case of Sinoza. The problem is that there isn't a shred of evidence in support of this theory so that we can only harmlessly speculate I guess.
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Post #16  Postby jmercer » Mon May 02, 2005 9:58 pm

Doctor X wrote:No.  Yet when I think about it, clearly jmercer is part of something's rectum [Stop that!--Ed.]

--J.D.


Heh - just think how unhappy I could make you if I simply kept myself closed for a few weeks...  :lol:
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Post #17  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 10:03 pm

no one in particular wrote:
Jeweliete wrote:So fellow Skeptics, you don't like my wild idea.  Let's hear some of yours...

If there was a better way to go then it would find me. I can't help it...


A Fiona fan - no way!!!!  AWESOME   :D  :shock: 8)  :!:
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Post #18  Postby Jeweliete » Mon May 02, 2005 10:07 pm

real_skeptic wrote:About the Earth, as I said, there is no communication between it and other parts of the universe. Perhaps some exchange of random radiation and particles, but nothing that can be called communication.


Couldn't we be part of something similar to a cell - a proton, neutron, or electron type thing - that doesn't communicate in order to exist?

And whoever said that maybe I think the bigger organism is God - no no no.  I'm saying that maybe we are part of a bigger organism - a physical one - and maybe there are many of those organisms in existance.  The cells within our bodies must consider us their universe...I'm sure they have no clue what they are a part of...
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Post #19  Postby real_skeptic » Mon May 02, 2005 11:18 pm

Jeweliete wrote:And whoever said that maybe I think the bigger organism is God - no no no.  I'm saying that maybe we are part of a bigger organism - a physical one - and maybe there are many of those organisms in existance.  The cells within our bodies must consider us their universe...I'm sure they have no clue what they are a part of...


There you go again, saying that cells "consider". Cells don't have the equipment to consider anything. It's not that they don't see the big picture because of its scale. They don't see it because they don't have the equipment with which to do research, i.e. a thinking apparatus. This analogy is false.

Cells have no idea that they are part of a liver. They don't have an idea that they are part of a retina. They don't have an idea that they are part of a cone. In these cases, the scale is very much one that intelligent beings would be able to grasp. But cells are not intelligent beings and so they don't grasp their part in the grand scheme of things.
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Post #20  Postby Jeweliete » Tue May 03, 2005 12:06 am

real_skeptic wrote:
Jeweliete wrote:And whoever said that maybe I think the bigger organism is God - no no no.  I'm saying that maybe we are part of a bigger organism - a physical one - and maybe there are many of those organisms in existance.  The cells within our bodies must consider us their universe...I'm sure they have no clue what they are a part of...


There you go again, saying that cells "consider". Cells don't have the equipment to consider anything. It's not that they don't see the big picture because of its scale. They don't see it because they don't have the equipment with which to do research, i.e. a thinking apparatus. This analogy is false.

Cells have no idea that they are part of a liver. They don't have an idea that they are part of a retina. They don't have an idea that they are part of a cone. In these cases, the scale is very much one that intelligent beings would be able to grasp. But cells are not intelligent beings and so they don't grasp their part in the grand scheme of things.


Yes, but you're missing my point.  Who cares if they know they're part of a bigger organism - they still ARE.  So just because we're unaware of much beyond our own galaxy, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  I'm tiring of my own theory here though...I want to hear someone else's ideas about these big questions.
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Post #21  Postby jmercer » Tue May 03, 2005 12:53 am

In order to accomodate your viewpoint, cells would have to have intelligence.  Intelligence requires self-awareness and the ability to learn.

There are no examples of cells being self-aware or learning.
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Post #22  Postby Jeweliete » Tue May 03, 2005 2:05 am

jmercer wrote:In order to accomodate your viewpoint, cells would have to have intelligence.  Intelligence requires self-awareness and the ability to learn.

There are no examples of cells being self-aware or learning.


If you think that cells need to be intelligent in order to accomodate my viewpoint then you don't understand what I'm trying to say.  I'm saying that almost every particle in the world is part of something bigger, and most of the time the particles AREN'T aware of what they are a part of.  Our cells dont' know they are part of us, and whether they are curious or not has nothing to do with my point.  Why should the building of particles into bigger organisms stop with us?

http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/SMALL/GP ... 000886.jpg

Look at these photos taken by NASA - of galaxies in deep space.  Within the expanse of the universe, even galaxies are tiny.  If we are part of an organism, perhaps galaxies are equivalent to cells and we are particles within the cell.
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Post #23  Postby JO 753 » Tue May 03, 2005 5:28 am

Sorry, Doc. You dont get to say that since we have only observed galaxies for the bare equivelent of a photograph which is of no value in showing function.

I get what you mean Jeweliete.

If you see a trend in a mass of facts, its productive to seek specific evidence that can disprove or support possible theories.
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Post #24  Postby Jeweliete » Tue May 03, 2005 1:41 pm

Doctor X wrote:But . . . like . . . um . . . galaxies do not behave like cells.  They do not perform functions--either as a single-celled wee beastie or as part of a tissue.

--J.D.


I don't think anyone is getting me.  The example of galaxies being cells is just a way for me to explain to you what I'm saying - that we could be part of a bigger organism.  I'm not saying galaxies are cells or even that we are part of a bigger human.  I don't know specifically what we are a bigger part of, if anything, much less what role our galaxy plays in the organism.  I just think it's interesting to think that we may be a microscopic particle of some type in a bigger organism.
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Post #25  Postby JO 753 » Tue May 03, 2005 1:59 pm

Do you mean like all life on Earth is the physical manifestation of a single life force, whether intelligent or not?

Or maybe that each species has something like an overlord, manitou, gaurdian angel, or at least a cumulative memory?

I recall some scientist had a theory that was something like species memory. One peice of evidence was that some birds in England eventually discovered that they could get milk by poking thru the lid on bottles left on porches by the milk man. The deliveries stopped during WW2 for longer than the life span of that species, yet when they resumed, the birds started doing it again immediately.
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Post #26  Postby Jeweliete » Tue May 03, 2005 3:07 pm

JO 753 wrote:Do you mean like all life on Earth is the physical manifestation of a single life force, whether intelligent or not?

Or maybe that each species has something like an overlord, manitou, gaurdian angel, or at least a cumulative memory?

I recall some scientist had a theory that was something like species memory. One peice of evidence was that some birds in England eventually discovered that they could get milk by poking thru the lid on bottles left on porches by the milk man. The deliveries stopped during WW2 for longer than the life span of that species, yet when they resumed, the birds started doing it again immediately.


That's a much more spiritual theory than what I'm proposing.  First of all, the earth is just a small part of our solar system, which is insignificant within our galaxy, which is insignificant within the universe.  So I'm not proposing that the earth or it's beings have any significance whatsoever.  I'm saying that the big questions are these:

1.  When did time begin and when will it end?
2.  Is the universe finite or infinite?

I don't think our current understanding of things will help us answer these questions - we need some sort of paradigm shift.  I'm proposing that our entire galaxy may be a tiny particle within a bigger organism.  I don't know what type of organism - I don't even know if it's "living" or some other state that we don't understand.  I'm just saying particles build to make things - why should we be at the top of that pattern?  Also, what we consider a "universe" could be just one of many of these organisms.

I use the cell analogy to illustrate (our cells -if they could think- might consider us their universe and of course they wouldn't be aware of any other universes).  But people get bogged down in proving that galaxies don't operate like cells and miss my point.

I admit it's a wild idea - I'm just enjoy tackling the big questions and throwing ideas around.  I'm really really interested to hear someone else's ideas to answer these big questions...
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Post #27  Postby jmercer » Tue May 03, 2005 3:38 pm

Jeweliete wrote:
jmercer wrote:In order to accomodate your viewpoint, cells would have to have intelligence.  Intelligence requires self-awareness and the ability to learn.

There are no examples of cells being self-aware or learning.


If you think that cells need to be intelligent in order to accomodate my viewpoint then you don't understand what I'm trying to say.  I'm saying that almost every particle in the world is part of something bigger, and most of the time the particles AREN'T aware of what they are a part of.  Our cells dont' know they are part of us, and whether they are curious or not has nothing to do with my point.  Why should the building of particles into bigger organisms stop with us?

http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/SMALL/GP ... 000886.jpg

Look at these photos taken by NASA - of galaxies in deep space.  Within the expanse of the universe, even galaxies are tiny.  If we are part of an organism, perhaps galaxies are equivalent to cells and we are particles within the cell.


One objection is that galaxies, star systems and planets are composed of largely inanimate, non-organic matter.  The bulk of the matter composing any given galaxy are it's suns; the composition of any given star is not conducive to life.  The same is true for star systems and planets - the bulk of the matter within those are inorganic.

Another objection is that galaxies, star systems, planets, etc., do not consume anything, emit waste, grow, or replicate themselves.  These are all qualities associated with life.

Finally, galaxies do not have an organization.  Look at any 1,000 red blood cells in your body, and you'll find that they're almost identical in size, shape and content. Galaxies don't share that particular characteristic.

The bottom line is that there's no indication that your model actually exists... so Occam's razor pretty much applies. Good discussion, though - I haven't seen a Gaia argument this well done in a long time. Congratulations. :)
Last edited by jmercer on Tue May 03, 2005 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #28  Postby Electric Monk » Tue May 03, 2005 3:39 pm

Jeweliete wrote:I'm saying that the big questions are these:

1.  When did time begin and when will it end?
2.  Is the universe finite or infinite?

I don't think our current understanding of things will help us answer these questions - we need some sort of paradigm shift.  I'm proposing that our entire galaxy may be a tiny particle within a bigger organism.  I don't know what type of organism - I don't even know if it's "living" or some other state that we don't understand.  I'm just saying particles build to make things - why should we be at the top of that pattern?  Also, what we consider a "universe" could be just one of many of these organisms.

I use the cell analogy to illustrate (our cells -if they could think- might consider us their universe and of course they wouldn't be aware of any other universes).  But people get bogged down in proving that galaxies don't operate like cells and miss my point.

I admit it's a wild idea - I'm just enjoy tackling the big questions and throwing ideas around.  I'm really really interested to hear someone else's ideas to answer these big questions...

I think that everyone must speculate at one time or another in their lives about whether or not our universe is part of a larger ensemble of some sort. Frequently it's when they discover the "solar system" model of the atom. That's what did it for me. It gets people wondering, even though we know that this is an inaccurate picture of the quantum level. In your case, it might be cell biology.

Maybe instead of using "cell" and "organism", you could use a more neutral term, like "structure".

We know that galaxies form clusters and superclusters. But there does not appear to be anything with enough complex interaction there to be more as a whole than they appear to be individually. If there is something to the idea, it really would have to be at the level above our universe.

The problem there, of course, is that we have no way of determining what lies beyond our universe, or indeed beyond the nearest 13.7 billion light years of our universe. (The inflationary model allows for nearly an infinite size to our spacetime.) All we can do at this point is speculate.

So, here's my question for you. If our universe did make up an element of a larger structure of some sort, how would this answer either of your big questions?

On the other hand, I do think that our current cosmological understanding helps us answer these questions. From my reading, a very likely answer is that Time began with the birth of our universe, 13.7 billion years ago, and that if the inflationary cosmology is accurate, then our universe is vast beyond our ability to ever know, but is not infinite.

Outside of our universe is the realm of the reallybig questions, in my opinion. There we can talk about the multiverse, bubbles in the false vacuum, and 12-dimensional "branes" colliding on the timescales of trillions of years. These are all real hypotheses in the domain of cosmology. If the terms aren't familiar to you, then you've got some fascinating and awe-inspiring reading ahead. People around here can recommend some great books on the subject.

I need to go to work. :)

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Post #29  Postby Jeweliete » Wed May 04, 2005 12:23 am

Electric Monk wrote:So, here's my question for you. If our universe did make up an element of a larger structure of some sort, how would this answer either of your big questions?


You're right.  While it answers the question of our universe, it opens up a whole new can of worms.  And really, the question isn't answered on the most basic of levels - our concept of everything needing a beginning and an end (time & space) still has not been answered.  Damn!

ElectricMonk wrote:On the other hand, I do think that our current cosmological understanding helps us answer these questions. From my reading, a very likely answer is that Time began with the birth of our universe, 13.7 billion years ago, and that if the inflationary cosmology is accurate, then our universe is vast beyond our ability to ever know, but is not infinite.


So Time hadn't begun when our universe was just a "soup" before the big bang?

ElectricMonk wrote:Outside of our universe is the realm of the reallybig questions, in my opinion. There we can talk about the multiverse, bubbles in the false vacuum, and 12-dimensional "branes" colliding on the timescales of trillions of years. These are all real hypotheses in the domain of cosmology. If the terms aren't familiar to you, then you've got some fascinating and awe-inspiring reading ahead. People around here can recommend some great books on the subject.


You're absolutely right.  And, despite the interesting reading, I doubt we will ever really have answers to these questions.

:cry:
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Post #30  Postby b_sharp » Wed May 04, 2005 4:11 am

Jeweliete wrote:
Electric Monk wrote:So, here's my question for you. If our universe did make up an element of a larger structure of some sort, how would this answer either of your big questions?


You're right.  While it answers the question of our universe, it opens up a whole new can of worms.  And really, the question isn't answered on the most basic of levels - our concept of everything needing a beginning and an end (time & space) still has not been answered.  Damn!

ElectricMonk wrote:On the other hand, I do think that our current cosmological understanding helps us answer these questions. From my reading, a very likely answer is that Time began with the birth of our universe, 13.7 billion years ago, and that if the inflationary cosmology is accurate, then our universe is vast beyond our ability to ever know, but is not infinite.


So Time hadn't begun when our universe was just a "soup" before the big bang?


What soup? I never did like soup.

No BB, no universe. The universe is contained in the BB which is still occurring.

Time 'may' have started 1 Planck moment (time period? don't ask!) after the start of the big bang.

ElectricMonk wrote:Outside of our universe is the realm of the reallybig questions, in my opinion. There we can talk about the multiverse, bubbles in the false vacuum, and 12-dimensional "branes" colliding on the timescales of trillions of years. These are all real hypotheses in the domain of cosmology. If the terms aren't familiar to you, then you've got some fascinating and awe-inspiring reading ahead. People around here can recommend some great books on the subject.


You're absolutely right.  And, despite the interesting reading, I doubt we will ever really have answers to these questions.

:cry:
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Post #31  Postby b_sharp » Wed May 04, 2005 4:24 am

Jeweliete wrote:
Doctor X wrote:But . . . like . . . um . . . galaxies do not behave like cells.  They do not perform functions--either as a single-celled wee beastie or as part of a tissue.

--J.D.


I don't think anyone is getting me.  The example of galaxies being cells is just a way for me to explain to you what I'm saying - that we could be part of a bigger organism.  I'm not saying galaxies are cells or even that we are part of a bigger human.  I don't know specifically what we are a bigger part of, if anything, much less what role our galaxy plays in the organism.  I just think it's interesting to think that we may be a microscopic particle of some type in a bigger organism.


Of the innumerable universes out there, all the universes that have the same fundimental laws as our universe are analogous to protons. There are a number of other 'basic' fundimental universes that are analogous to other particles we observe making up matter.  These hyper particles make up hyper atoms make up hyper molecules which in turn make up hyper matter.  Which unfortunately doesn't matter.

Unless Horton makes himself known.

This *will* drive you crazy.
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Post #32  Postby Electric Monk » Wed May 04, 2005 6:49 am

Jeweliete wrote:So Time hadn't begun when our universe was just a "soup" before the big bang?

"Before" gets to be an especially slippery concept when there is no time. Not something I can easily wrap my head around. There are lots of ideas and speculations in the current scientific and popular literature (see Brian Greene and Michio Kaku for some examples). One of the possibilities is that time "moved" along the mathematical imaginary axis (are you familiar with the concept of imaginary numbers resulting from the square root of -1?) This is an idea promoted by Stephen Hawking. Others think that time existed prior to the singularity that preceeded the Bang.

ElectricMonk wrote:You're absolutely right.  And, despite the interesting reading, I doubt we will ever really have answers to these questions.

:cry:

Yep, we may never be able to collect the evidence to really answer these questions. The best that we may be capable of is to whittle things down to a few models that fit all the data available within our universe. Then again, it's possible that gravitation operates between universes, (explaining why it is comparitively weak in ours), giving us a path by which to examine "neighboring" universes. I'm not about to give up on human ingenuity quite yet. :)

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Post #33  Postby JO 753 » Wed May 04, 2005 1:53 pm

Planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies or universes coud be analogous to cells in a larger being that functions in such an alien way that we woud simply not see it, even if we find a way around the time span problem.

It takes a strong and flexible imagination to get past what is familiar to us.
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Post #34  Postby Jeweliete » Wed May 04, 2005 1:57 pm

Electric Monk wrote:
Jeweliete wrote:So Time hadn't begun when our universe was just a "soup" before the big bang?

"Before" gets to be an especially slippery concept when there is no time. Not something I can easily wrap my head around. There are lots of ideas and speculations in the current scientific and popular literature (see Brian Greene and Michio Kaku for some examples). One of the possibilities is that time "moved" along the mathematical imaginary axis (are you familiar with the concept of imaginary numbers resulting from the square root of -1?) This is an idea promoted by Stephen Hawking. Others think that time existed prior to the singularity that preceeded the Bang.


Re:  Before time
That is a hard concept to wrap one's head around.  I think it's similar to trying to imagine that you really didn't exist before you were born.  It's hard to imagine - where was I?  Did I not exist?  There was no "I"?  Perhaps our universe, like us, was born with the big bang, and truly didn't exist before that just like us.

I am familiar with Briane Greene's books.  I bought one for my dad recently because Greene offered an accessible explanation of string theory.  I remember "i" from algebra, but I'm not familiar with how this relates to "before time".  I'm familiar with the singularity concept.
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Post #35  Postby hammegk » Wed May 04, 2005 1:57 pm

jmercer wrote:In order to accomodate your viewpoint, cells would have to have intelligence.  Intelligence requires self-awareness and the ability to learn.

There are no examples of cells being self-aware or learning.


Know of any examples of bees, or ants, being so? They do of course communicate via photons (as we do). We have little understanding of 'communication' (and its' implications, if any) via other bosons.
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Post #36  Postby Jeweliete » Wed May 04, 2005 2:00 pm

JO 753 wrote:Planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies or universes coud be analogous to cells in a larger being that functions in such an alien way that we woud simply not see it, even if we find a way around the time span problem.

It takes a strong and flexible imagination to get past what is familiar to us.


I think you're getting me JO.  Have you ever seen Carl Sagan try to explain the 4th dimension?  He sets up a two dimensional world and asks you to imagine beings that only understand 2 dimensions (forward, back & side to side).  Then he asks you to explain the concept of "up" (the third dimension) to these 2 dimensional people.  It's hard - they just don't get it.  That's why I think there's something we don't understand that would help us answer these questions.
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Post #37  Postby Electric Monk » Wed May 04, 2005 5:05 pm

Jeweliete wrote:Re:  Before time
That is a hard concept to wrap one's head around.  I think it's similar to trying to imagine that you really didn't exist before you were born.  It's hard to imagine - where was I?  Did I not exist?  There was no "I"?  Perhaps our universe, like us, was born with the big bang, and truly didn't exist before that just like us.

Yeah, except that in the case of the universe, "before" didn't exist either.  :shock:

Jeweliete wrote:I am familiar with Briane Greene's books.  I bought one for my dad recently because Greene offered an accessible explanation of string theory.

Excellent! I bought my dad "Elegant Universe" for the same reason, and I recently read "Fabric of the Cosmos". Much that is just speculative, but a good read.

Jeweliete wrote:I remember "i" from algebra, but I'm not familiar with how this relates to "before time".  I'm familiar with the singularity concept.

The concept of imaginary time "before" the bang seems to be something where the math works out, but can't really be pictured. Or at least I can't. I do like the fact that there are all kinds of good ideas out there, all being actively explored.

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Post #38  Postby jmercer » Wed May 04, 2005 8:37 pm

hammegk wrote:
jmercer wrote:In order to accomodate your viewpoint, cells would have to have intelligence.  Intelligence requires self-awareness and the ability to learn.

There are no examples of cells being self-aware or learning.


Know of any examples of bees, or ants, being so? They do of course communicate via photons (as we do). We have little understanding of 'communication' (and its' implications, if any) via other bosons.


Bees and ants communicate first via pheromones and then by visual displays.  Obviously, I can't prove self-awareness or individual consciousness in ants or bees, but there is evidence that they can learn behavior on a very simplistic level.

Besides, you can't compare insects with cells.  Compared to cells, insects are incredibly complex.
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Post #39  Postby jmercer » Wed May 04, 2005 8:39 pm

Jeweliete wrote:
Electric Monk wrote:
Jeweliete wrote:So Time hadn't begun when our universe was just a "soup" before the big bang?

"Before" gets to be an especially slippery concept when there is no time. Not something I can easily wrap my head around. There are lots of ideas and speculations in the current scientific and popular literature (see Brian Greene and Michio Kaku for some examples). One of the possibilities is that time "moved" along the mathematical imaginary axis (are you familiar with the concept of imaginary numbers resulting from the square root of -1?) This is an idea promoted by Stephen Hawking. Others think that time existed prior to the singularity that preceeded the Bang.


Re:  Before time
That is a hard concept to wrap one's head around.  I think it's similar to trying to imagine that you really didn't exist before you were born.  It's hard to imagine - where was I?  Did I not exist?  There was no "I"?  Perhaps our universe, like us, was born with the big bang, and truly didn't exist before that just like us.

I am familiar with Briane Greene's books.  I bought one for my dad recently because Greene offered an accessible explanation of string theory.  I remember "i" from algebra, but I'm not familiar with how this relates to "before time".  I'm familiar with the singularity concept.


Which book was that? I've been looking for a good book about string theory that I can actually get my head around. :)
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Post #40  Postby Jeweliete » Thu May 05, 2005 12:35 am

JMercer - The Elegant Universe.  Here's a link to a book review.
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookse ... 8111&itm=1
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