what it’s about

what it's about

hdthefog; dark energy matters references dark matter and dark energy in the universe.  Neither of these “dark” elements were have known to exist a hundred years ago and are not visible.  As it pertains to the question of whether there is a God or Supreme Being, dark energy matters.

Because the image is hard to read, this is what it says:

Dark Matter is matter that emits or reflects minimal to no light, but does have a gravitational influence, Evidence for dark matter appears to be present in

  • the motions of stars in galaxies
  • the orbits of galaxies in galaxy clusters
  • the temperature of intracluster gas in galaxy clusters
  • the gravitational lensing of distant galaxies

Some possible types of dark matter include:

  • Massive compact halo objects (MACHOS): these are large objects like brown dwarfs and jupiter-sized planets that exist in the halos of galaxies.
  • Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS): these are subatomic particles that have extremely small masses, but exist in great quantities. Neutrinos are an example of such a particle.

DARK ENERGY is the term used for a possible unseen influence that may be causing the universal expansion to accelerate. Recent observations of supernovae have produced a value for an acceleration that implies a universe that is about 70% dark energy.

We are in a new age of exploration.  The discovery of dark matter and dark energy is relevant to understanding what propels the universe; what inherent forces influence the activity that creates planets, stars and ultimately resulted in the formation of what we call “life”.  We don’t think about the unseen forces that propel life and how interdependent these forces may be.  For instance, we do not think about the role that either gravity or electricity play in blood circulation throughout the body.  There are atoms that combine to make molecules, e.g. O2 and H2O, these molecules are essential to life.  Organisms are composed of cells and if a cell is deformed or malfunctioning, the development of the organism will be compromised e.g. an extra chromosome during fetal development = Down Syndrome.  There are contingencies and natural algorithms that conduct the world that we observe around us and these phenomena occur throughout the universe.  As more information is gathered, continually unraveling the mysteries of the universe, we are finding answers to questions that many never previously thought to ask. Whether one chooses to believe that it all started with “a big bang”, it’s quite apparent that the milky way and the numerous other galaxies are not the work of a anthropomorphized floating entity that concerns itself with the daily goings-on of the 7 billion people on Earth now and the billions of people that have lived in the past.

the chicken and egg

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

My take:

The chicken came first.  The tree makes a sound.  These are not mysterious to me, although philosophically stimulating to many.  I say the chicken came first because something had to incubate the egg.  Adaptation and evolution would explain the disparity concerning origin, because as each generation of species adjusts or adapts to their environment, the offspring evolve.  Thus, the offspring possess traits that the predecessor does not.  This is to say that the chick that we know today is not the same as the original offspring.  Therefore, over the scope of time, whatever would have been born of the organisms that originated in the oceans, including chickens, would have to be the product or offspring of something else.  The fact is that all organisms have to go through an infancy and then a reproductive phase as a fact of life.  In order for an egg to exist, it would have to come from something that reproduced (re i.e. again and produce i.e. create) a virtual copy of itself.

As for the tree in the forest: I get it. If no one is there to receive the vibrations, is there a sound?  Similar to Schroedinger’s theory of the cat being both dead and alive, as it is neither until it is observed and declared to meet the criteria of one or the other.  The thing is, the definition of sound is independent of human observance.  I realize that even time is a human-conceived concept, but it is based on observable scientific law.  I would liken this  question to be equivalent to asking whether time passes if you aren’t looking at the clock.   There are pre-existing criteria that define both “time” and “sound” that are met whether there is a human to observe and acknowledge them.

How do the bugs get into the ceiling light?  I never looked it up, but I would imagine that since bugs are attracted to light, and heat is used to incubate eggs, and light produces heat, that insects are laying eggs in or near the lights that eventually hatch.  I could look this question up to find someone else’s answer, but that one satisfies my common sense.

My point is that it can be that simple to come to a reasonable explanation without listening to and spreading the dogma of whichever doctrine to which one subscribes as opposed to simply being true to oneself and recognizing that many of us take for granted that what we learned growing up is the truth–simply because it’s what we were taught.  We take for granted that, no matter what extent, a good amount of what we believe is what was recited to us and committed to our memory over time.  Unless you stop, question, identify and test what you have come to believe, you will continue to believe what is most familiar or comfortable but not necessarily what makes sense.

someone thought of all this

I had a conversation in which the other person, in an effort to offer assurance, told me to remember that I was put here for a purpose.  Told me to remember that I am special.  Told me to consider all the plants and animals and how much thought went into creating this.  Soon after that, I had to interject and reveal that I am not a believer.  There was a pause.

Humans consider themselves an intelligent life form.  What makes us intelligent has everything to do with our brains.  Neurology is the study of the brain and it is a rapidly developing field of study, as we still do not completely understand how it works.  The fact is, however, that it can be studied because there is a science to how it works–concrete concepts, processes, chemical activity that can be seen and measured.  We understand that every thought, movement and vital function is initiated by our brains.  A fetus develops a brain within the first 3 weeks of gestation.  The brain develops from cells- the smallest life form, and atoms- the smallest particle of matter,  which have electrical charges.  So, God thought of atoms, assigned electrical charges and then initiated the elaborate process of combining atoms to make molecules, then various molecules to make cells, then various cells to make tissues and then tissues to make the brain organ.  So if God created our brains, which we rely on to formulate thought, how did he choose the material?  If God created our brains, what is his brain made of?  How does his brain work? If God thought of and then created the universe and everything in it, then his brain precedes the universe.   If he created atoms and cells, etc. the question remains, who created him ( I say him because it’s not relevant whether God has a gender; that again, is a point of disconcertion since gender is a function of reproduction)?  That the concept is so complex and continues to elude our understanding, is more reason not to believe that it’s a simple as: God.  This is to say that it took thousands of years for Man to learn that we exist on a planet that revolves around a star that is part of a galaxy that is part of one of many universes.  Surely, it can’t be so simple as: God.  From the study of science we learned the laws of the universe: gravity, energy, inertia, centrifugal force, et al; science explains cause and effect.  In our lives we constantly witness causal relationships and patterns. Understanding the laws of the universe brings order to chaos and clarity to confusion.

To credit God is to deny the laws of nature.  It is to say that a woman really CAN become pregnant from immaculate conception.  If God is in control, what’s the deal with in vitro fertilization?  Are we creating people that God doesn’t want to exist or does he not mind, since he gave us the brains to discover the procedure?  And when the procedure doesn’t take, is it because he thinks that reproductive clinics could use more money and that people desperate for a child can afford to pay? Is this to suggest that cells become people because God initiates fertilization and cell division?  When people are born with deficits, deformities and congenital disorders, does that mean God was having a bad day?

I was put here [on Earth] because my parents had sex and my mother became pregnant and decided not to abort.  There was no immaculate conception  or stork.  There was, however, an exchange of bodily fluids contained in the reproductive organs, secreted for the purpose of reproduction.  I am born no more special than any of the other 7 billion people that roam the Earth; special is highly subjective.  And in what regard am I special?  Do I have a talent that no one on Earth possesses?  Is special no longer a superlative?   If everyone is special, who is not special–what is the point of reference? Are we all winners?  If everyone is a winner, then there was no competition, because to compete is to compare and rank.   There is, of course, functionality in believing that oneself is special or telling yourself that you are a winner, no matter what.  Stephen Hawking is special.  Martin Luther King was special. Mother Theresa was special.  Gandhi was special. Even Hitler was special. Everyone can’t be special.  To be special you have to do special things.

If God wanted me to fulfill a purpose, why didn’t I get a heads up?  Why keep me guessing, risking me dying before the purpose is met?    If I purchase or create something for a purpose, then I will use it for that purpose– otherwise it is a waste of time or money.  If I build a house, it is either to live in or to profit from.  If I buy a car, it is to drive.  I can think of some people that wasted their lives being non productive and making poor decisions or that were simply horrible human beings; was that their purpose?  That would mean that omniscient God created all the injustices in the history of humanity; but of course, we conveniently draw the line.  God wanted Beyoncé  (she’s one of those that always thanks God for her success) to be a major celebrity but did not want the tsunami of 2004–but then again, natural disasters are a “sign of the times(end of days)”.  God wanted the United States to be a WASP nation (In God We Trust) but he did not want slavery or the massacre of the natives.

Someone did think of all this.  A lot of people thought of all this.  A lot of people have thought about all the wonder in the universe from atoms to black holes to amoebas.  People continue to think of all this.  People think.  Dark matter and dark energy do not think.  Atoms and elements do not think.  They exist, they interact and they conduct themselves according to the laws of the universe.

the truth about altruism

I’m a fan of President Clinton.  While speaking with Stephen Colbert on one March 2013 episode of the Colbert Report, promoting the Clinton Foundation, he explained his motives as being selfish.  He said that if you understand the way the world works, selfless is selfish.  I get it and I agree.  If you understand the way the world works…

You need not be particularly compassionate to understand the importance of giving of yourself.  In the grand scheme, helping others, wanting to make the world a better place is more about your own fulfillment.  It may seem too far-fetched and indirect to make the correlation, but the notion is rudimentary.  We tend to act out of selfishness in more ways than we imagine.  I am speaking of selfishness by definition of the word, as opposed to the exclusively negative connotation that may be throwing you off.  To the extent of risking your life for your offspring, you are acting selfishly.  You instinctively, not consciously, know that your offspring is the continuation of your bloodline, thus, self-preservation manifests by way of saving your offspring.  Of course, we understand that our emotional and intimate attachment plays a role but, again, I’m speaking of basic instincts- the physiological reaction that takes place.  Therefore, back to what President Clinton was explaining: ultimately, it is in your own best interest to make the world around you a better place.

In a more peaceful, progressive, self-sustaining society, there is more potential for leading a successful, productive, fulfilling life.  What we give of ourselves in order to help others is our investment.  The problem seems that no one has patience and that we invest in the intangible world of the stock market rather than, say, the education in failing school districts throughout the country.  We do this because we are thinking of ourselves.  Therein lies the traditional use of the term ‘selfishness’.   Still, it is in our own best interest to make sure that everyone’s needs are met.  For one thing, it would reduce the crime rate.  It is in our best interest to make sure that everyone has access to medical care and is educated about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.

Hearing politicians complain about the number of people receiving government assistance but then oppose universal health care or cut school budgets, is an example of how disconnected people allow themselves to be.  It’s like how one neighbor’s house can affect the property value of the neighborhood.  Also similar to how one bad apple ruins the bunch, or how a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.  Although his efforts seem idealistic, they are with the understanding that a whole is made from various components and if the whole is to be healthy, so must be the components. To deny masses access to good education and healthcare puts your own safety at risk.  Uneducated and impoverished people are more likely to engage in crime.  Too many unhealthy people drains resources of the able-bodied.  This results in more people in prison, more people dying of preventable illness and more of the nation’s money spent, ultimately, widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. At this point, matters of universal healthcare and better education should not be up for debate.  It is a matter of fact that not having these systems in place is more costly.

Apparently, too many people are too short-sighted, power-hungry and dense to know what’s for their own good.  Man has always been his own worst enemy.  Arms races go on today and, in proposing the greatest threats to the survival of Mankind, scientist do consider Man as one such.  In keeping with the theme of President Clinton, it so happens that it behooves us to be altruistic, even if we have to do so out of selfish reasons.

in memory of Pluto

Remember Pluto?

Quite often, science will give us incomplete or inaccurate information and hastily we accept it only to have to retract e.g. prescription drugs, child safety equipment, the planet Pluto…but that doesn’t mean that we should simply discredit the field of study or not give it its propers.  The beauty of science is that we are offered theories, laws and theorems to explain how they derive said theories and laws.  This way, we can actually follow the train of thought.  Because science has theories and theorems there is room for alternate hypotheses to be tested and then replace prior theories.  Science is alive, like spoken language, it is open to interpretation within reason.  Science allows room for improvement.  This is how Pluto gets dropped as a planet.  Science offers a definition of what it means to be a planet and for a substantial period of time, Pluto seemed to have met the criteria.

Science, like Math, is not something we invented; they are comprised of the laws of nature and the universe- that which precedes our existence.  When it comes to faith, no such logic applies.  The faithful have ongoing debates about how to interpret a book that does not have life.  There are people fighting and losing lives over words scribed thousands of years ago.  It’s almost comical because, no one can ever possibly have the exact interpretation because these holy works are compilations of subjective anecdotes.  People do not realize why there are specific rules and restrictions.  Example: the ten commandments.  the history channel did a 10 part documentary on the commandments.  They served a practical purpose.  Don’t have sex out of wedlock (primarily females) because there were no condoms or paternity tests at a time when lineage determined your socioeconomic status and women were considered property.   This was also a time when females started having babies as early as age 14.  Life expectancy was short and the roles of men and women were black and white.

There is more solidarity in investing in the sciences and I’m not referring  exclusively to technology.  The search for God is one that invokes the use of math and science.  So many people can recite Bible verses but can’t read a book.

Interestingly enough, after I typed this, prior to publishing it, I saw an episode of Bill Maher (Friday, April 5, 2013) relevant to this post.  Ironically, the issue of science not always being right was laid on the table as evidence that we should not invest so much stock in science.  The discussion included intelligent design (creationism) vs. evolution.  To begin, it’s funny that instead of calling it what it is they spin  it much like a garbage man is a sanitary engineer.  A more important point was wherein lies the debate.  I was happy to hear the example I’ve used, that while at one point Man thought the Earth was flat, it was science that disproved that belief.

“Have the humility to believe people who know things you don’t!” – Bill Maher 2:30     episode 277

I love this episode because it speaks to exactly the issue that I am addressing: arguing with science and not knowing when to accept truth.