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The Back Story

Given the formidable topics presented thus far, one would think it was time for a rest. But like it or not, although we have just begun we will just give hints of the rest. This is partly because much of it I believe is unknown and unknowable unless you can answer "do you believe in...." Well I cannot because the question implies faith, or, in other words, do I choose to believe because I want to believe in the absence of proof.

Faith has enormous advanges. It can put one at ease. It can help to form bonds with others. On the other hand it sets up a way of thinking that permits different interpretations of sacred text. It leaves me to pick and choose that I believe. It makes it possible for me to build a way a thinking or even a new denomination on a small part of text. It can even lead one to believe something for which there is no text, but psychology drives us to enjoy it, including killing.

This is when civilitation begins to fall apart. In western civilization in 2019 groups of neo-natzis, nationalist, populists, white supremists are killing scores of people and encouranging others.

My perspective is that this is immoral, that it is a choice made that taps into a false rightiousness and happens because dismal education does not teach the better parts of life. So what are these better parts.

Imagine if you were the only person in the universe and somehow had learned sciencce, art, philosophy and so forth and you could travel at will among the stars, constellations, galaxies, solar system, planets and planets with life. But you could not visit. I would want to call to the person closest to me: "Susan, look what I've found, and we believed there would be no such things." And we were able to drop in on a superlative performance of a Chopin Nocturne, or a Schubert string quartet. If our minds had been extended to the limits that creation gave us we would experience extacy and would want to speak to the musicians and learn about their instrumentss and the composers.

Actually, what would have happened is that we would have touched another part of the universe, possible a planet like the earth where artists spent their lives learning to play instruments that instrument makes had spent their lives learning how to make, and playing music that composers had spent their lives learning how to composes. Then we would know that life is learning about the universe and sharing, not just with Susan be with all the people involved in creating the performance. And we would begin to understand why the earth should be saved.

But this would be just the beginning. We would take a walk by a pond or stream and if we were lucky we would catch it when the light was right as I did here.

GOD

I been active in a number of religions. My grandparent emmigrated from Poland and looking back, I feel I grew up in a little corner of Poland in a small multi-ethnic town in Rhode Island. Everhthing was Polish so, although I spoke Polish and did recitations in Polish I only understood what I call "kitchen Polish. The other important religiouws wass evangelism at the reknownede and very conservative Park Street Church in Boston."

With that background, while doing some of the first parts of this site, what seems like an completely simple idea.

Despite three diplomas in electical engineering from MIT, EE is primarily physics. Additionally I read books on astromy and cosmology.

When a cause is presented in science, two fundamental criteria are that it implies or predicts its own cause and that this relationship can be characterized mathametically. When something is characterized as being the will of god, neither is true. Believeing that one's god is the cause it simply to give a name to a cause: "the will of god." And it must stop there because god does not have a cause. By one estimate there are 4,200 religion in the world so for our purposes we can say that the will of god does not help. It does not answer the quetion why we exist.

SCIENCE

Why we exit at all is a mystery. How we came to be, scientists know a fair deal about, but the great majority of humanity does not and does not seem to be curious, which I find difficult to understand.

Some think that it is God's creation so what science finds is not true and cannot be the word of God. But if there is a god, he or she created the entire universe as well as the minds of scientists who have learned about these wonders.

For most of my life I have been curious about the larger how and why but this stayed in the back of my mind until recently. I spent my life taking joy from relationships, the arts, science and engineering and the compassion and understanding of people near to me and from others geographically far away. I have mourned the unspeakable tragedies of genocide, racism, and monstrous dictators such as Hitler and Stalin.

However, never in my darkest moments have I everr expected I would come to the place I am now.

Humanity as a whole has failed by its view of who and what it is and of the character of its natural environment. Although many thinkers and scientists asked questions, raised issues and forecast serious trouble, human beings for the most part focused on the present and the nearby. Most did it honestly and even generously but a portion limited their endeavors to acquisition far beyond their needs.

To understand the magnitude of what is happening we need the larger picture of creation. Never (with a single exception whicn I will discuss later) had I drempt that we would be facing the peril that we are facing today, and that peril would be the direct outcome of the nature of human beings of a kind of person I had hoped was an insignificant minority. It isn't and we are likely to pay the ultimate price. Why should we care how the universe began? Because it is, in our way of thinking, impossible. And when something that affects us all is impossible, it seems to me we should think a bit about it. I believe it is bound to change us.

So what happened that is so remarkable?

The laws of physics limit how small something can be and the length limit is 10-44 centimeters (that's shorthand for a decimal point followed by 44 zeros; if we wanted a big number we would ditch the minus sign). The time limit is 10-34 seconds. The catch is that this "singularity" contains infinite energy and it eventually gave us a universe that weighs about 1044 kilograms and is made up 1011 galaxies each containing 1011 stars of various kinds, plus black holes and other stellar objects.

Many of the stars have planets orbiting them. Cosmologists estimate that there could be billions of habitable planets.

However, we have been blessed with a stunningly beautiful earth and virtiually no instinct to care for it. In fact, some of the most vial acts are deliberate promotion of the use of fossil fuels by oil tycoons that know and have known for a long time the harm they are doing. This is part of the central problem, to understand this behavoir, and I cannot except to brand it greed that is walled off from the reality of the harm they are causing. It is a key part of the climate change problem.

Following is a quick dash through the history of the universe.

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This beginningwe call the "big bang". The Earth and all the stars and planets were created from the energy of the big bang, the earth specifically about 5 billion years ago.

For many of us it will seem absolutely impossible to believe and it would be far easier to ascribe it all to acts of god. But if I think carefully, saying it was an act of god is just to give a name to a cause. For a scientist, specifying a cause carries us to deeper understanding and almost invariably raises more questions than it answers, which is part of why it is so exciting. If you do choose to believe in god, you will find in science far more than is in any scripture.

If science catches you, and you follow what is happing in those areas that interest you, there can hardly be anything more exciting. The latest discovery, gravity waves, is truly earth shaking. If you know science it is nearly beyond belief the discoveriers that have been made.

Westerlund 2 — Hubble’s 25th anniversary image

The Orian Nebula, home to millions of stars.

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An edge on view of a galaxy similar to ours, the Milky Way.

A monster in the Milky Way

A magnified view of a small section of sky showing billions of stars.

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