Saturday, June 05, 2004

Now You Know

Went trolling through my 'To Blog' file this morning, and found a couple of related (kind of) ones that I couldn't pass up.

First, there is the brief survey of Andrei Linde's current reflections on 'chaotic inflation':

Among the many curious implications of Linde's theory, one stands out for our present purposes: It doesn't take all that much to create a universe. Resources on a cosmic scale are not required. It might even be possible for someone in a not terribly advanced civilization to cook up a new universe in a laboratory. Which leads to an arresting thought: Could that be how our universe came into being?

"When I invented chaotic inflation theory, I found that the only thing you needed to get a universe like ours started is a hundred-thousandth of a gram of matter," Linde told me in his Russian-accented English when I reached him by phone at Stanford. "That's enough to create a small chunk of vacuum that blows up into the billions and billions of galaxies we see around us. It looks like cheating, but that's how the inflation theory works—all the matter in the universe gets created from the negative energy of the gravitational field. So, what's to stop us from creating a universe in a lab? We would be like gods!"

Linde, it should be said, is famous for his mock-gloomy manner, and these words were laced with irony. But he insisted that this genesis-in-a-lab scenario was feasible, at least in principle. "What my theoretical argument shows—and Alan Guth and others who have looked at this matter have come to the same conclusion—is that we can't rule out the possibility that our own universe was created in a lab by someone in another universe who just felt like doing it."

[. . .]

"You might take this all as a joke," he said, "but perhaps it is not entirely absurd. It may be the explanation for why the world we live in is so weird. On the evidence, our universe was created not by a divine being, but by a physicist hacker."

Hmmm. I rather like that thought, actually.

In a slightly different vein, perhaps you've already heard the story of Don Sneed's 'God Number: Mathematical and Scientific Proof of the Existence of God':

Mr. Sneed has developed an associated scientific theorem: "Definity-Uninity-Infinity" that substantiates the identification of the specific number that represents God. The theorem has been registered with the United States Copyright Office and has been issued a certificate as an original work. "Definity-Uninity-Infinity" sets forth a new, more realistic and sensible view of the innate structure and order of the Universe, Mr. Sneed states: "is created, sustained and controlled by God; then, now and forever." The viewer is able to easily understand Mr. Sneed's mathematical and scientific proof of God's existence.

Wow... if that were any more interesting I might have to find a way to disbelieve even more in that kind of God.