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The Universe and Your Significance

- Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:42:34 EST 7UdqYDqD No.54926
File: 1421880154554.jpg -(416926B / 407.15KB, 2560x1440) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. The Universe and Your Significance
I've noticed this a lot when people take about outer space and the universe they always like to mention how "insignificant" it makes them feel.
"Yeah man space, wow, you know it really puts my life into perspective; how insignificant we are in the grander scheme of things."

This is my opinion but I think that's such a belittling thing to say its also unsettling how common it is a thing to say when talking about the universe.

Granted the universe is huge, and in comparison us tiny humans are very very tiny. Doesn't make us insignificant though, or our lives meaningless.
You are the most significant person in your life, because without you, your life wouldn't exist. Who cares if you don't become famous or invent something that changes the world, you are the universe experiencing itself through your life, defining it with every thought, action, emotion and experience you have.

Sure you are a tiny droplet in an ocean of water, however what is an ocean but a multitude of droplets?
Vesto Slipher - Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:03:00 EST 4HbkLal6 No.54927 Reply
not difficult at all. the significant thing is our complexity. the entire abstraction collectively that I use simply to say this to you is a testament to that.

however, it is true that "because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

we are a pretty deep branch in the fractal.
Kiyotsugu Hirayama - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 02:27:52 EST rnS8ucQw No.54928 Reply
1421911672754.jpg -(49371B / 48.21KB, 500x640) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
Although I think we are indeed significant to ourselves, but maybe not o much to the universe. We shouldn`t let our own selfworth be befined by what other think of us though. So my opinion would be:
"Yeah man space, wow, you know it really puts my life into perspective; how small we are in the grander scheme of things."

Source on this?
> it is true that "because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."
Vesto Slipher - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:38:03 EST 4HbkLal6 No.54929 Reply
Hawking, The Grand Design. He continues, "spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
Vesto Slipher - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:40:29 EST 4HbkLal6 No.54930 Reply
also we are significant in that we collapse wave functions into particles when we observe stuff. so there's that too.
Russel Hulse - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:58:37 EST KDyPdy6t No.54931 Reply
The Universe knows itself through us, we observe it, we give it meaning.

The dinosaurs did a poor job at observing, and got shrekt by an asteroid.

Lately we've taken our collective focus off space as well, where's our asteroid?
Rudolph Minkowski - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:59:01 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54932 Reply
So does any particle in Copenhagen, nothing special about people.
Urbain Le Verrier - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:53:35 EST JmerEvmR No.54933 Reply
Hes sayng that as if spontaneous creation is a simpler and therefore more likely explanation than conscious intent, and as if it invalidated the question about its cause, cause of gravity, etc.
Fact is that its equally at odds with logic, and no one should feel superior for choosing it over god as the final answer.
The only winning move is to not ask.
Friedrich von Struve - Thu, 22 Jan 2015 23:03:40 EST 4HbkLal6 No.54934 Reply
the winning move is to consider what is observed. his comments on god are essentially occams razor. no need to go one step further than the big bang and ascribe feelings, will and some idea of form to a god entity until we actually catch a glimpse of it(scientifically, of course).

but I like the first part of the quote because it's a good expression of the inevitability/causality of life. since there is a rule like gravity, there are accretion disks that form and condense into planets and solar systems etc and we just happen to be on one of those planets. it's like asking, "why am I me?"

I love thinking about universal constants and the overtone series and the periodic table. these are the rules of the universe, and they're the same everywhere.

I wonder often what aliens would drive, or what kind of noodles they'd make. Is their jazz music like our jazz music?
Urbain Le Verrier - Fri, 23 Jan 2015 00:09:35 EST JmerEvmR No.54936 Reply
Taking away an atribute of an unknown force is not occams razor. We still dont know the story, and observable things remain merely universal, not giving us a shred of a clue as to whats outside.
If we ever found the ultimate physical law that explains origin of all other laws, and by extension every emergent phenomenon in the universe, we would end up with nothing left to explain this law.
It really is dumb and arrogant to think one guess is better than other without the means of proving it, especially when it pertains to existence itself, and this goes for theists and atheists alike.
Howking has faith that gravity can exist without invoking god or any other cause, and faith shouldnt be discussed academically.
Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin - Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:09:01 EST 4HbkLal6 No.54937 Reply
I'm not sure exactly what your point is here. there is that which science observes, and it should be considered, and there is that which science does not observe, which does not warrant speculation or wishful thinking. You seem to be skirting "Russell's teapot" territory.
Charles Bolton - Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:25:48 EST 6nQZulbH No.54938 Reply
1422062748807.jpg -(21396B / 20.89KB, 380x353) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
My point is that Hawking is flat out wrong when saying that theres no need to invoke god only because we can invoke the final boss of the universe - "gravity".
this does not resolve, simplify or even slightly illuminate the issue of existence vs non-existence, as his smug face seems to imply, but I might just be a judgmental dick to a man with no control of his facial expression.

god remains the the occams razor of the unprovable, magic being the close second
George Hale - Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:11:54 EST XJHlYsmW No.54939 Reply
>the issue of existence vs non-existence,

Doesn't exist. It's all in our heads. There's no purpose or meaning to life to think about beyond what individuals decide their own purpose is.
Charles Bolton - Sat, 24 Jan 2015 03:26:02 EST ksAXy5yQ No.54940 Reply
We are not so insignificant because you are not just 1 human, we are the ancestors of every human who will ever live long enough to expand throughout the galaxy and we are the creators of the machines that may one day shape the entire universe. Even if you don't breed, or your lineage dies in less than a thousand years, the choices you made have effected countless others far into the future.

We may only be drops in a bucket, but without drops there can be no water in the bucket.
Charles Bolton - Sat, 24 Jan 2015 03:38:53 EST ksAXy5yQ No.54941 Reply
>issue of existence vs non-existence
It's a non-issue if you ask me.

It doesn't matter whether or not god exists because appealing to a higher force in order to gain favor is an ultimately selfish and pointless goal in this world. Abandoning the search for knowledge in favor of reaching the short conclusion of "god did it" gets us absolutely nowhere. There is nothing to be gained from complacency.

And I think you misunderstand the use of occam's razor, a short conclusion is not always the simplest. It begs too many unanswerable questions. A good example can be found in algebra, leaving an equation unsimplified just because it's too hard to solve and just declaring that it's "simple enough" does not mean the equation is simplified.
Annie Cannon - Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:08:30 EST 74Y2ClkV No.54957 Reply
My idea has always been that in the context of the universe, significance as a concept is is invalid. Everything in the universe is just as significant/insignificant as everything else.
It just seems like a hippy concept to underrate humans and mankind in general (because of all what we've done and all). For those of you, take your own advice and kill yourselves.
Annie Cannon - Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:10:27 EST 74Y2ClkV No.54958 Reply
hippy idea* (how insignificant we are in comparison to the vastness of everything)
Annie Cannon - Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:27:53 EST 74Y2ClkV No.54959 Reply
>Abandoning the search for knowledge in favor of reaching the short conclusion of "god did it" gets us absolutely nowhere. There is nothing to be gained from complacency.
The conclusion of whether god did it or not itself is academically unnecessary. Whether or not one believes if god did it, for a person that wants to know the process of HOW it was made, it changes nothing.
The way I see it, God could've done it, or could have not but the process of it would still remain the exact same.
Edward Pickering - Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:56:10 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54965 Reply
It actually changes quite a lot. A cosmologist would look at the fine tuning problem of the cosmological constant and say we don't understand the physics. Someone who believes god had it all planned out however has no issue with fine tuning. That question motivates whole fields of physics.
John Wheeler - Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:57:54 EST 6nQZulbH No.54966 Reply
fine tuning of the cosmos should be equally fascinating from a scientific standpoint to theist, atheist and agnostics alike. just because you believe god did it doesnt automatically stop you from questioning how.
you put up a strawman and a false dichotomy, no wonder you concluded that atheism inspires physics.
Gerard Kuiper - Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:36:41 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54973 Reply
>fine tuning of the cosmos should be equally fascinating from a scientific standpoint to theist

Why? For an atheist it is a problem. For a theist it is evidence of gods work. Fine tuning is not a how but a why, that question is different.
Isaac Newton - Sat, 31 Jan 2015 11:55:39 EST 6BB3s9Mz No.54975 Reply
Because the belief that god made the universe wont stop a logical and curious person from trying to understand phenomena within the universe.
Instead of saying that atheism inspires science, it would be more, but not entirely correct to say that religious fundamentalism does not
Vera Rubiin - Sun, 01 Feb 2015 13:02:41 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54978 Reply
You haven't answered my question. Why would someone who believes in a designed universe care about the apparent fine tuning? Fine tuning for a cosmologist is evidence of higher physics, fine tuning for someone who believes the universe was designed (not all theists) is evidence of intelligence, it doesn't have to mean there is deeper physics.

Your issue is you confuse theism with people who say "god did it" which is the point I was referring to, which is completely different. "god did it" is lazy and unscientific.
Otto Struve - Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:04:08 EST 6BB3s9Mz No.54982 Reply
because someone might be interested in the inner workings of this design, your question has been answered at least three times now. its not like fine tuning is something forbidden from being investigated in any religious text.

your argument goes like this:
"some religious people are not of a scientific mindset, therefore religion and science are less compatible than atheism and science."
I hope you can see how thats wrong
John Riccioli - Mon, 02 Feb 2015 18:42:42 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54985 Reply
>might be interested in the inner workings of this design

Again this doesn't answer my question, you haven't answered it once. Why would they believe there is anything more going on? There is no evidence of any inner working beyond the appearance of fine tuning which isn't a problem for someone who believed it was tuned. So the motivation is gone. The fact you imply i suggested it was forbidden in scripture tells me you haven't grasped the question at all.

I have never said anything about atheism being more suited, you have constructed a strawman. My point is anyone who ever say's "god did it" in a scientific setting is not a scientist.
Walter Baade - Tue, 03 Feb 2015 06:07:52 EST 6BB3s9Mz No.54986 Reply
a curious and logical person will investigate the phenomena in the universe in the same logical fashion no matter if it corroborates or falsifies his beliefs. period.
William Lassell - Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:32:49 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54988 Reply
Yes, you claimed that last time. If only you would test that belief by answering the question. But no, which nicely desmonstrates my claim. You're dodging the question, either you haven't thought about it because it violates your beliefs or you see the point I'm making and won't admit it, your beliefs are influencing you away from the logical route of just answering the question.

The fact that there is always controversy at the edge of any field of science proves that people don't always agree given the same data. People do not investigate phenomena in the same way as you claim. Belief is a strong part of that although not usually about religion. It's good however for the field in moderation, if you know what a Monty Carlo is you will see why.
Carl Seyfert - Thu, 05 Feb 2015 01:06:13 EST 7UdqYDqD No.54991 Reply

Dude, refer yourself to
then to the rest of the thread, he has answered your "going nowhere fast" question. Theres a lot of implications going on here, just because somebody is religious doesn't mean they aren't interested in figuring out how all this came to be, sure they believe "God did it", but its not against anything they believe in to find out how.

Perhaps the views you have of religious people are backed by strong emotions that blind you from seeing that truth...three times.
Or perhaps not and you don't understand because the person you're speaking with isn't explaining himself clearly enough, either way this little quibble is uninteresting.

I will say this though, that I believe most religions will crumble very soon, the information and societal viewpoints we have today that go against what religions stand for is growing insurmountable.
Paleontology, genetics, geology, physics, psychology, humanity - everyone of these fields could fight for something that would go against major beliefs held within the bible, and would gain majority support. Religion, just like physics is a way to help understand our world better, sure it was "helpful" 2000 years ago when we didn't understand much about our world or ourselves, but now that we're gaining more knowledge we're starting to understand what religion actually was, an establishment to help facilitate life for people who didn't really know what was going on. So sure, it would seem obvious to people who don't believe in religion that anybody who does believe would not want to be scientific, because eventually it is that very science that will debunk religion. But whose to say? I'm not religious, albeit I do believe in a creator and with that comes my own beliefs and values that I have not stated so assume nothing; so certain religious people could be inclined to want to know more about their God.

What this thread is about is significance. Which is something we all have and are. So believe that yo
Viktor Ambartsumian - Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:21:27 EST ZM0jvM6N No.54993 Reply
That post doesn't anything as I replied. I tried to motivate further discussion I got the same thing restated.

>just because somebody is religious doesn't mean they aren't interested in figuring out how all this came to be

Where did I say that? Nowhere. You too haven't actually read what I wrote. My claim is that it does affect someone's reasoning. He hasn't answered my question once and neither have you. I asked a specific question and all I got was a general handwave. It's not an answer it's a regurgitation. It's not a "going nowhere question", I would get to the point if someone would just answer to the question or even discuss it, it requires some actual thought on your part. Apparently that's asking too much.
John Riccioli - Thu, 05 Feb 2015 16:31:35 EST JmerEvmR No.54994 Reply
You might be too intelligent for us, bro. Try nasa forums or something
Galileo Galilei - Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:18:02 EST DgOfYnAl No.54997 Reply
This thread is not /sagan/ and it never was. Mods, please lock this and send these whinging pseudo-intellectuals back to /pss/
James Elliott - Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:15:33 EST 6nQZulbH No.54998 Reply
Stfu, Galilei, youre whining
[℅]youre significant tho
Galileo Galilei - Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:35:05 EST DgOfYnAl No.54999 Reply
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Nothing about this involves space or astronomy, it's a discussion of spirituality and does not belong here. It doesn't help that the two people arguing are just talking past each other, but it's moot because this isn't the place for this discussion.
James Elliott - Fri, 06 Feb 2015 17:00:37 EST 6nQZulbH No.55000 Reply
You are significant even if no one cares about your opinion
Nicolaus Copernicus - Fri, 06 Feb 2015 18:54:29 EST ksAXy5yQ No.55001 Reply
Causality is a property of physics, and we could all agree that applied physics and the nature of causality has a lot to do with modern astronomy.

In all reality, even the smallest actions have an effect on causality. If you're the person who makes somebody's life better by being a good person, who then in turn ends up raising their child into the man who invents warp travel, then you have changed the entire universe (or at least our galaxy) in a profound manner through nothing but a small gesture.

Even the debate of the significance of our individual actions has it's roots firmly planted in science.

I tried to make this argument earlier in this thread but everybody else was like "whoa man based galaxy so big dude whoa" and didn't even consider it. So yeah, please lock this thread and burn it down. As if the mods actually care about this snail-board.
Jacob Kapteyn - Fri, 06 Feb 2015 21:07:14 EST qk67H25/ No.55002 Reply
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when people mention the story of how the universe is big and how "insignificant" it makes them feel, its only because they don't know how equal in the grand scheme of things they are in relation to everything. The answer is equal, because reality for the next person is only about the same, and if its not then they are achieving something else that you might not necessarily need to or want.
Karl Jansky - Sun, 08 Feb 2015 23:44:51 EST qk67H25/ No.55011 Reply
>>55003 then everyone would be taking note of it from a group's perspective.
George Gamow - Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:26:57 EST h4btzkj5 No.55016 Reply

We are insignificant not only because of our size compared to the universe, but also in our time here. All of life will eventually and inevitably cease to exist as the universe reaches maximum entropy. Life as a whole only has a small roll in the time scale of the universe and you are only a part of a tiny fraction of that.

The universe if it doesn't have a big crunch, will decay, no stars, no black holes (Hawking radiation) and if you believe in proton decay, there will be no planets either. Nothing exists eventually, so does it matter if we exist now?
Vera Rubiin - Mon, 09 Feb 2015 20:22:51 EST RwDntOyj No.55017 Reply

Your consciousness may be transient, but your body exists forever. The energy that your matter is comprised of has existed since the beginning of the universe, and will continue to do so until the end of time. There are far too many unanswered questions about reality for any one to come to a rational conclusion about the purpose or significance of existence, but for now, I could almost call myself content with the seemingly paradoxical nature of the universe.
Tadashi Nakajima - Mon, 09 Feb 2015 22:54:40 EST 7UdqYDqD No.55018 Reply

I believe the whole point of this is about the journey not the destination. I also believe you cannot have nothing, because you need something to experience nothing to know nothing is (or isn't) there. All there is is consciousness, and when we die from these lives of our consciousness will continue for eternity. This universe may also one day go cold but still consciousness will always be.
Tadashi Nakajima - Mon, 09 Feb 2015 23:00:48 EST 7UdqYDqD No.55019 Reply

What you say also defies the first law of thermodynamics. Which is a weak argument because that "law" is just some physics rule we humans made up to help us understand something we didn't know anything about not too long ago - our universe. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. Perhaps if the universe does go cold and all the matter decays into its original form, consciousness, that's when the whole process of the big bang starts over again. When there are no more potential situations to happen because there are no more bits of matter, a state of pure consciousness. The creator, God, whatever you wanna call it.

But ya, we're significant because we're those bits of matter being experienced by God through our eyes, defining itself to itself
Gerard Kuiper - Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:00:43 EST KSSVR3HT No.55021 Reply
We can compare for significance if we want. Compared to a rock im significant, I think. But we dont know what is actually significant, because we dont know what the fuck is going on.
I certainly dont see any reason to believe that all of this is good or bad, significant or not, either way.
Terror Incognito - Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:22:25 EST 7DU4fAaH No.55056 Reply
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The fact that we're alive right now, able to experience and observe all that is in the universe makes us the most significant part of it, regardless of how small we appear to be on a specific scale of perception.

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