Wonder of some over everything
being 'just right' ...
(Top Posts - Science - 030602)

... for us to be here, on this earth, at this time, with
the presence of everything needed for humans to

That could be debated from several standpoints, but
I'll approach it from the following single view, in this
post ...

If the chances of there being something like 'us' was 1 in
a million since the 'big bang' -and- there were a million
to the millionth power of total'openings/possibilities' for
something like 'us', ever (in other words, what one might
think of as an all-but infinite --if not infinite-- number of
chances for there to be an 'us', ever) ...

.... Well then, it would be quite astonishing if not even
one of something like 'us' ever existed.

.... Point in fact, the closer one gets to infinite 'open-
ings/possibilities', given *any* chance of something
like 'us', a naturalistic entity in a naturalistic cosmos,
it becomes all-but certain something like 'us' will, in
fact, exist at some point in a physical world, con-
strained by physical law, and probable that multiple
instances of something like 'us' would exist over the
all-but endless --if not endless-- sojourn throughout
all that ever was, is, or ever will be ...

.... You might think of it as the all-but certainty of 'us'
or something like 'us' existing many times over given
a much greater and all-but limitless --if not limitless--
'open set' - the realm of possibilities limited only by
the physics of all that is or all that has been or ever
can be, anywhere, any when, any way, any time, any
place, any dimension, ever ...

- - -

A recent theory that includes a possibility of an 'open set',
in this case, viewing our presence at this time in this part
of the cosmos as a result of a 'cyclic universe' ...


- - -

Some Glaring Flaws With the Attribution of a God
As the Default Explanation for Us 'Beating the Odds' ...

Some say 'oh, there must be a god because the odds
against us existing are so high and, hey, here we are'.

Some glaring flaws of that position are the assumptions
that we exist within a finite set, a finite time (only possible
since the big bang or since god said ... let there be light),
a closed cosmos (all that is or that can be bounded by all
that occurred in our dimension since the big bang or since
god said ... let there be light) ...

.... In other words, a view that 'this is it - the first and only
shot at it, ever', and all we can detect is all that ever was
and all we do not -or- cannot know is 'the supernatural'.

With all those 'limitations/assumptions', they then boast
that the odds of 'us' being here are only applicable to that
finite set of possibilities (what they think of as all that is,
ever has been, or ever could be).

Given a big bang (or a god / let there be light event), they
assume that the events which transpired were the beginning
of all events (i.e., they assume eternal nothingness [aside
from god, of course] prior to the big bang and our uni-
verse as the entire set, all that is / has been / ever can be) ...

However, as theoretical physics and exploration of the
quantum world has unveiled, there are many naturalistic
theories that unveil the 'open set' I refer to above, the
big bang as being nothing but an event, one of an all-but
infinite --if not infinite-- number of events, along the con-
tinuum of the fabric of all that is / has been / ever will be.

Much of theoretical physics entails exploration of the
possibilities, nay, probabilities of multiple dimensions,
multiple universes, alternate physics, and, in essence,
a cosmic continuum of which our 'little' universe and
'time' are but a minute part, very important to us, but
nevertheless, all-but infinitely tiny within the all-but infinite
--if not infinite-- 'open set'.

- - -

Odds - Looked at Another Way

Another way of looking at it is if the odds of an indivi-
dual winning a lottery is 1 in 57 million, and an individual
wins a lottery, that event is totally comprehensible from
the standpoint of physics and mathematics, as a result
of all that has been and all that is, a naturalistic continuum
entailing many random events and happenstance ...

.... Trying to add a supernatural entity to the picture
may make for a nice 'self-serving' claim for some
folks ('God led the winner to purchase the ticket' or
'God chose the winner' might be claimed), but point
in fact, those claims are best understood as reflections
of human desire to credit an immortality-granting super-
being for 'good things' to try to decrease discomfort
with death, increase self-importance/ego, and elevate
social status by imparting a thumb's up to the perceived
icon of 'good things' in a particular society.

- - -

Consideration of Multiple Instances of Sentient Life
at this Time in Our Particular Universe

To sum up, given all of the above, we're still left with
the incalculably v-------------------------------------
---------------------------------t beyond vast distances
between entities capable of life within our tiny portion of
space/time/matter/energy within the 'open set' ...

.... Even if sentient life were present at the current time
in only 1 of every 100,000 solar systems (note - 1 in
100,000 is quite an arbitrary figure used for example
purposes ... the actual frequency of sentient life may
be much higher or much lower), given that the number
of solar systems is estimated (again, arbitrary estimate
based on recent discoveries of the likelihood that solar
systems are quite likely a naturalistic element of a high
percentage of star systems) to be something on the
order of ...

80 billion (~number of galaxies in the universe)
X 100 billion (~average solar systems per galaxy)
8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (8 sextillion)
total solar systems in the universe

do the math - the universe would then contain
80,000,000,000,000,000 (80 quadrillion) solar
systems with sentient life

However, keep in mind that due to the vast beyond
vast distances between galaxies and between solar
systems within galaxies, almost all of that sentient
life is beyond our reach - in fact, the only sentient
life we could even dream of contacting without
such fancy things as worm holes and the warping
of space, are within our single lonely galaxy, the
Milky Way.

In essence, 79,999,999,999 galaxies beyond our
reach, and only 1 with any hope of 'contact' ...
within that one galaxy, how many solar systems
with sentient life based on the 1 in 100,000 formula

1 million ... wow ...

However, we're still talking vast distances here and
a small fraction of solar systems with sentient life,
so we best get busy looking if we ever expect to
find even one of the (possibly) vast numbers of
sentient beings in our galaxy, and as for contacting
them ... and/or hearing from them ... well ... don't
hold your breath, even within our single galaxy, the
distances between solar systems with sentient life
are so great that we may never be able to have
meaningful contact with even one sentient creature
apart from our itsy bitsy piece of the cosmos, our
home, mother earth ...

- - -

The human mind struggles to grasp the signficance (or
relative insignificance) of our place in the universe when
taking into consideration the vast numbers of stars, solar
systems, pulsars, quasars, unknowns, dark matter, planets,
galaxies, black holes, and the vast beyond vast distances
between every single entity ... here's a small sampling try-
ing to put it into something the human mind can compre-
hend ...

- - - - - - Size of the Universe - - - - - -

A perspective on the size of the universe...

If the entire solar system were reduced to the size of a grain
of sand, our Milky Way galaxy would be *21 kilometers*
across and our nearest big galaxy, Andromeda, would be
*483 kilometers* away. The size of the observable universe,
on this scale, would be *over 4 million kilometers*.

A quote from -Imagining the Universe: A Visual Journey- ...
"Although the universe may be finite, it is unbounded. No
matter where one is, one appears to be at its center. We
cannot talk usefully about what lies beyond the limits of
the universe, because space itself can only be defined by
the matter it contains. As to what matter space does contain
there is great mystery. Most of the matter in space--perhaps
90 percent of it--is invisible."

Update (July 23, 2003): Dark energy's rush to turn off universe
Excerpt: "... a mysterious force called dark energy ... is
pushing the universe apart, faster and faster. Only 4 per
cent of the universe is made up of the ordinary material
of planets and stars. Another 26 per cent is invisible dark
matter. The remainder [70 percent] is dark energy. ... Dark
energy is the big mystery in physics right now. It's the most
important thing in the universe, as there's more of it than
anything else. ... The team revealed the imprint of dark
energy by combining their map of millions of galaxies with
findings from NASA's Microwave Anistropy Probe. NASA
scientists last February produced a map of the universe
a mere 380,000 years after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years
ago. ..."


Radius of the Earth = 6,400 kilometers

Distance to the Moon = 400,000 kilometers

Distance to the Sun = 150,000,000 (150 million) kilometers

Distance to Pluto = 6,000,000,000 (6 billion) kilometers

Distance to Proxima Centauri (our nearest star apart from
the sun) = 40,000,000,000,000 (40 trillion) kilometers

Number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy =
most estimates have the figure pegged at
400,000,000,000 (400 billion)

Distance to Sirius (the brightest star in the
sky) = 80,000,000,000,000 (80 trillion) kilometers

Size of the Milky Way galaxy =
450,000,000,000,000,000 (450 quadrillion) kilometers

Number of galaxies similar to the Milky Way galaxy
in the universe = over 100,000,000 (100 million)

Number of galaxies in the universe (total of all
kinds) = over 80,000,000,000 (80 billion)

Number of stars in the visible universe (total of
all kinds) = over 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (70 sextillion)

Distance to the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest
big galaxy (to the Milky Way galaxy) =
21,000,000,000,000,000,000 (21 quintillion) kilometers

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are part of
the "local" galaxy cluster of about 30 galaxies, the
size of which is =
30,000,000,000,000,000,000 (30 quintillion) kilometers

The size of the observable universe =
180,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (180 sextillion) kilometers

- - -

Numeric reference chart:

1 kilometer = 0.62 miles

American system used for large numbers:

million ... number followed by 6 zeroes
billion ... number followed by 9 zeroes
trillion ... number followed by 12 zeroes
quadrillion ... number followed by 15 zeroes
quintillion ... number followed by 18 zeroes
sextillion ... number followed by 21 zeroes

- - -

But If Something Like 'Us' is Likely to Exist in
an 'Open Set', Why Doesn't the Same Logic
Apply to a God?

The 'open set' refers to the naturalistic physical
cosmos of all that ever was, is, or ever will be. As
to all its properties, that is yet unknown but is open
to exploration and scientific theory, including that
existing within the area of mathematics and that
which is explorable within the areas of physical

As for God, as defined by most in cultures that
ascribe to a 'non-cyclic one and only' universe,
it contradicts the 'open set'.

Most folks, while comfortable with the odds of
a God being greater than zero, imagine God to
actually be the creator of the physical world, an
entity apart from the physical world, always exis-
tent, not a result of natural law, but instead, a part
of supernatural omnipotence, quite a different
conjecture altogether than are the odds of some-
thing like 'us' existing, ever, within an 'open set'
consisting of all-but limitless --if not limitless--
chances for something like 'us' to exist, ever.

The constraint of the 'open set' is physical law,
not unlimited possibilities for anything including
that outside the scope of physical law (i.e., that
which is called supernatural or make believe or
God) actually existing.

Something like 'us', considered purely as a phys-
ical construct, a result of a naturalistic cosmos,
with limitations within the boundaries of physical
law, a naturalistic entity, a reality, is an entirely
different point of consideration than is something
like a God or a comic book character being real
rather than imaginary ... scientists have yet to find
a God existing anywhere other than in the imagina-
tion of the human brain.

One suspects that the God concept is an outgrowth
of our evolution and would be wise to consider the
way in which the human brain was slowly turned on
(through hundreds of millions of years of evolution)
when viewed from the current position of the species,


the way in which the human brain of every surviving
fertilized human egg is slowly turned on during gesta-
tion, barely starting to work many weeks after con-
ception, trying to make sense of its dark/mysterious/
wet world in which sounds and nourishment are its
initial introduction to what will become, if it's lucky,
an exit through an incredibly tiny space into a myster-
ious world in which large beings are scurrying about
and babbling strange sounds that are much clearer
now than they were back in the good ol' wet womb
days ... and ... ahhh, a nipple, must have nipple ...
hmmmmmmm, go(o)d ...