General Question

ninjacolin's avatar

What came first the Universe or the concept of the Universe?

Asked by ninjacolin (14243points) December 24th, 2010
46 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

If you ask 3 different people you might get three different answers to the question how was the universe formed?

One might say: “The universe was formed by the God of an ancient book.”
Another might say: “The universe came from a flash of light.”
Yet another: “The universe came from a great big bang.”

All three of these conclusions are true to the individual who possesses them. Another answer, outside of what the individual believes is true simply doesn’t exist.. right?

That is, if the answers to the universe are not conceived/believed by someone, then those answers are not definable as True. The only things that are True are things believed to be true. Everything else, is non-existent. Like space aliens or Lava monsters or World peace. These things seem to fail to exist at least as long as no one believes in their existence…

But what comes first? Our belief that the universe as we know it exists or does the universe exist first, creating our beliefs about it’s various properties?

Merry Christmas 2010, flutherites. :)

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marinelife's avatar

Well, if we knew the answer to this, we would know if there was a God or not. Since it would have been God who conceived the notion of the universe, and then implemented it using the Big Bang.

I, for one, don’t know. I don’t think anyone does.

kess's avatar

The universe is all things all cohesive and united as One.
It exist without the aid nor encouragement of another.

It is the beginning and the end both united as one.
Before it is nothing and after there is also nothing.

Since the Universe self existing as one, without beginning nor end
Truth is itself.

Moegitto's avatar

Since this is a “1 or 1” question, I opt for the latter. Regardless of your “belief” the universe was either created from God’s original concept, or created from the thesis of the big bang. The main problem we’re having as of now (still), is we don’t understand the creation of the universe. The big band was the action, but with any massive action like that, there’s a chemical and scientific thesis (e=mc2 is one). And as said a million times, God himself knows why he created the world.

marinelife's avatar

@Moegitto I like the idea of a big band playing at the beginning of the universe. Something like this?

laureth's avatar

Re “The only things that are True are things believed to be true.”

I have a problem with this. Some things are demonstrably true, and believing otherwise does not change them.

Rarebear's avatar

“All three of these conclusions are true to the individual who possesses them.”
No. Two of of your three examples are wrong, and one is correct. The universe started with the Big Bang, which has extensive experimental evidence. If someone believes your other two examples, they can certainly believe it, but it doesn’t make it true.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Rarebear They are “True to the individual who possess the beliefs.” Untrue to those, like yourself perhaps, who don’t possesses those beliefs.
“they can certainly believe it, but it doesn’t make it true.” – Actually, it does. For example, you might believe whatever conclusions the extensive evidence you’ve been exposed to has convinced you of.. yet, you may be wrong. “Truth” is something humans conclude exists. There’s no objective truth greater than that of the observer’s subjective opinion.. is there? Your answer will always be your opinion, btw. You, the individual, are the Truth determiner. You alone seem to decide what is and isn’t real.

@laureth “Some things are demonstrably true, and believing otherwise does not change them.” – Those things that are “demonstrably true” are exactly things believed to be true.

flutherother's avatar

I think we have to say the Universe came first but in a very unfinished way and it has been evolving ever since. I am not sure that God had it all worked out in the beginning and he may be relying on Man to work out the fine details. We assume science is discovering the laws God devised but maybe not. Perhaps we are creating the laws.

marinelife's avatar

@ninjacolin Truth exists separately from belief. It is weird how people have come to think that their beliefs exist as truth despite evidence.

cazzie's avatar

Oh… someone needs a class in cosmology. Please read more science books.

ninjacolin's avatar

“Truth exists separately from belief.”

Is this true? Or is this just your belief?

MilkyWay's avatar

I think personally that the universe comes first, as if it didn’t… would we exist?
Again this is MY opinion, so it really doesn’t clear anything.
It’s enough to drive one crazy, so don’t think about it all the time my friend, believe me I’v tried.

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin @marinelife Is absolutely correct. There is truth, and there is belief. One can have beliefs that are completely false and the simple belief of them doesn’t make them true.

ninjacolin's avatar

How would you substantiate your claims? What determines whether a given premise is true or false, @Rarebear?

ninjacolin's avatar

@queenie haha, awesome. I’m already crazy, that’s why I feel safe having this discussion.

I’m not sure the universe would exist without us to believe it exists. Without someone to conclude: “The universe exists”.. who would there be to conclude “The universe exists” ??

josie's avatar

The Universe.

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin It’s the difference between scientific realism and postmodernism. If you’re a postmodernist, then you believe that truth is subjective and depends upon the point of view. If you’re a scientific realist, you believe in an objective truth. I’m obviously very strongly in the second camp.

ninjacolin's avatar

As a scientific realist, @Rarebear, how is the objective truth of a premise determined?

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin Great question. It’s determined by rigorous testing and verification.

ninjacolin's avatar

thank you

Verification by which authority?
sorry for the interrogation style, I’m watching inglorious bastards. it’s very good but it’s making me paranoid! haha

Zaku's avatar

Depends on one’s belief system. In the frame of reference in which the question is being asked, what came before humans? Did that state of things have concepts?

Or looked at another way, it depends on what one means by “the universe”.

In my personal cosmology / origin mythos, I say the universe we are in has always been, and always will be. So there is no time when the universe “began” or “came into existence”, so the question doesn’t apply to the universe as I imagine it.

And, if someone somehow convinced me that there was an event where the universe as we know it started out, then I would say what was before that and what caused that, and why would that not be considered part of the universe, or the past history of the universe? And, what is greater than this “universe” that was created, that this universe exists within? To me, any “universe” that gets created doesn’t really deserve the full meaning of the word universe, because it seems to me there must be some past and some larger context in which such a thing would be created and exist. Or else, why would it come into existence? What caused it, and what was the context for that cause? The idea that in the beginning there was nothing, just says to me that the speaker doesn’t know what there was before there was stuff he thinks he knows about.

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin Verification by other tests and independent sources. The more a hypothesis is verified, the stronger the theory becomes.

littlebeck30's avatar

the universe. The concept of the universe only arrived when language came about, in my opinion

ninjacolin's avatar

@Rarebear sources and tests don’t verify things. People verify things. Scientists are a bunch of humans who subjectively observe evidence and form subjective conclusions about what they saw. Fallible humans determine what is true and what is false. Even our most trusted scientists are often “corrected” by scientist later on.. those ones are often again “corrected”.. and again.

Based on this evidence, rigorously tested and observed over and over again, my realist scientific conclusion is that Truth is determined by the observer.

ETpro's avatar

@ninjacolin What a totally baffling Great Question. If created by an intelligence, then the Universe came from the concept. If eternal, then the concept came from the Universe. We do not as yet know which is true. The origin problem. I think that with the googols of quantum entangled particles within it acting as synapses, the Universe itself as an almost infinite intelligence. But before the particles got entangled, before the particles existed to react with one another, who decided the rules of quantum mechanics?

I don’t know what such a tiny, insignificant creature as me could do with this knowledge if I did know the answer; but I know that I yearn with every quark of my body to know it. Want to make this my best Christmas ever? Supply the answer to this.

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin No, sorry. If you drop an apple, it falls to the ground. It falls to the ground whether or not you observe it doing so.

laureth's avatar

@ninjacolin – re: “Those things that are “demonstrably true” are exactly things believed to be true.”

Not always so. People have believed a great number of false things to be true.

Moegitto's avatar

@marinelife Disturbed, thats a big band!!! I meant big bang :)

LostInParadise's avatar

The concept of Universe as Universe is the invention of man and whatever other sentient beings may be out there. Before that concept, it is just a lot of stuff. It takes a mind to be able to conceive of it in its totality.

MilkyWay's avatar

YOU guys are using words I don’t understand . . . and that’s saying something!
at school I was known as ” the walking dictionary”.
my school didn’t recognise good vocabulary i guess.
anyway, I’m with ninjacolin on this one

ninjacolin's avatar

@ETpro I wish I had an answer for you. I like giving gifts but I was under the impression that the mystery was the gift I was sharing. :) Yea, thanks for making it even bigger of a problem then I realized it was. @Zaku‘s reply is kinda similar in that “it” probably didn’t start with our universe and maybe it never did start at all somehow, which would be weird.

@Rarebear show me an apple that fell to the ground that neither of us can observe.

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin Now you’re just being silly.

ninjacolin's avatar

No, no, I’m serious. You said: “If you drop an apple, it falls to the ground. It falls to the ground whether or not you observe it doing so.” and I say.. prove it!

ninjacolin's avatar

We’ll call the above challenge problem A.. but there’s a deeper criticism to your statement, @Rarebear.

When you say “an apple” you’re referring to, roughly, the group of particles that comprise the substance of the thing you’re referring to as an apple. But once you remove language from the equation you no longer have a “group” of “particles” that might “comprise” anything! all you have is base unidentifiable whatever no different from the whatever around it nor any different than the whatever 10 miles or a million miles away from it. Without definition, there isn’t anything to “fall.” The whole notion of an apple falling from a tree to the ground is something very specific to a subset of humans who happen to speak a high level language.

It doesn’t stop at observing science experiments. It’s everything. The fact that day follows night, or that spring follows winter.. or the idea that believable conclusions come from rigorous experimentation… everything we believe to be true is a conclusion we’ve come to.

Consider a court case and the way a lawyer and his client have to paint a picture for the judge and jury. Based on the story they were made to believe including the evidence they’ve observed, the court takes actions to affect the reality of the lives at stake. Without observable evidence, it’s assumed that things just didn’t happen. Innocent until proven guilty.

Observation determines things. It’s like the Heisenberg principal on crack.

Paradox's avatar

The term concept means to be able to percieve in the mind. There had to be a conscious observer to have any concept of the universe. Personally since I think there is a god/creator but I believe this creator created itself (yes an odd belief but I want to avoid an endless loop of creators). The universe came first then the concept of the universe formed from a disembodied conscious intelligence that evolved when order arose from chaos after several hundred billions of years of time to evolve a conscious awareness from a machine-like intelligence.

There is a growing (but still small) scientific argument for what I’ve mentioned and it’s called the grid theory of the universe. This theory (which has actually been accepted to a high degree by Russian scientists but not the west) accepts the ‘Big Bang” as an actual event but was preceded by an evolved conscious intelligence which learnt to master collapsing the quantum wave functions to create what we perceive as “real” matter. This theory is much different than the cyclic big bang theory that Sir Roger Penrose supports or that of the Steady State Theory that Fred Hoyle supported but combines elements of each.

Perhaps the ‘Big Bang’ occurred as an abstract event which was set in motion by a pre-existing intelligence which formed/evolved from a deeper level of reality then we perceive through our own abstract senses made of the same quantum waves/particles which have been shown to not behave in a truely real matter. Perhaps there is a deeper level of reality that we aren’t aware of because our consciousness/minds are forced to perceive abstract matter through brain-minds made of the same abstract quantum particles. I think most theists and atheists would disagree with me here but that’s my own take on this.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox How far between branes and brains?

ninjacolin's avatar

@Rarebear here’s some thoughts I don’t quite know what to do with:
– The “real world” seems to exist science-realistically independent of individual minds.
– The truths of the real world are revealed to and interpreted by individual minds.

I guess both of these statements are the aforementioned observances by my fallible mind. So I feel like I’m dictating these things as truth.. but only on my own authority.

mattbrowne's avatar

Creating concepts requires intelligence.

Moegitto's avatar

@mattbrowne Hence “Intelligent Design”

mattbrowne's avatar

@Moegitto – Yes, but truly intelligent design of natural laws doesn’t require micro management and playing dirty tricks with DNA molecules.

Moegitto's avatar

@mattbrowne maybe it’s part of the plan

mattbrowne's avatar

@Moegitto – There’s no evidence that God suspends our natural laws from time to time. He sticks with them.

Moegitto's avatar

@mattbrowne Won’t know till we ask him…

Zaku's avatar

If one or more deities created the ‘verse we seem to exist in, then what state of existence did he/she/it/they exist in when they did that? What caused that state of existence to exist, etc.?

Clearly, it seems to me, we do not provably know, without invoking faith.

ninjacolin's avatar

We wouldn’t know with faith either. Faithmeans we believe something, but it doesn’t mean our beliefs are accurate.

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