A Response to Christopher Hitchens and His Book “God Is Not Great”

Posted By on February 11, 2012

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Recently, I became aware of the book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, written by Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), which was published in 2007 by Twelve Books. “Hitch”, as he is called, was a renowned atheist, and his book was an attempt to convert people to atheism.

I first came across the book as I was researching the subject of atheism. I became intrigued when I read a summary of the book and found I agreed with just about everything said in the summary. What intrigued me the most was how these points, which caused Hitch to turn to atheism, were the very same points that caused me to formulate a new paradigm for God.

The Fatal Mistake

I did not get very far into reading the book before I got my answer. The book is a rant against all the religions of the world. However, the book argues very little against the existence of God. The few points Hitch makes on the subject, which I will itemize later, are broad generalizations poorly supported by any valid argument.

One point Hitch makes, which I believe is fatal to his entire argument for atheism, is that “religion is man-made”. I whole heartedly agree with Hitch on the point that religions are man-made. They are mankind’s early attempts to understand the nature of God. I also agree with Hitch that, while each religion claims it is the “truth”, the fact remains that none of them hold up well to modern scientific scrutiny. However, in claiming religions are man-made, Hitch dooms his book to be merely a tirade about the bad things people do to each other in the name of their man-made religions. The book, in general, does little to argue against the existence of God, which is what atheism is all about.

I am surprised a man of Hitch’s caliber would think that, by merely pointing out the inconsistencies and man-made horrors of each religion, he can prove that God does not exist. His argument is like burning all the books and claiming intellectual thought no longer exists. Hitch talks of how important it is to use our rational faculties, but yet he bases all of his arguments for atheism on things man-made rather than rationally attacking the concept of God directly.

The counter argument to his whole book is merely recognizing the fact that mankind does not yet have a good concept of God. What the world religions preach may have made sense to people thousands of years ago, but today we need a new paradigm for God – one that stands up to scientific scrutiny and rational thought. Despite what Hitch says, science and God are compatible with each other.

Where We Agree

I have already stated I agree with much of what Hitch says in his book. In the last section, I agreed with his basic point that religion is man-made. Here is a list of other points Hitch makes in his book with which I agree. Some of the comments on each point are from the book and some are from me alone.

  • Religion kills – there have been too many wars fought in the name of religion;
  • In certain parts of the world, it is dangerous to encounter people of a different faith who have just come out of a prayer meeting (e.g. Beirut, Belfast, Bombay, and Baghdad);
  • Religion tries to control sex – masturbation does not cause you to go blind, and contraceptives can help to control the spread of the AIDS virus;
  • Religion tries to control what we eat – pork is good for you as the other white meat;
  • Religion tries to control marriage and divorce – a woman should not be condemned to stay in an abusive relationship;
  • Circumcision of women is wrong and religions tend to portray women as second class citizens – women cannot become priests;
  • Religion tries to regulate medical discoveries – religions should not interfere with attempts to eradicate diseases, such as polio;
  • Intelligent Design is bad science – organs, like the eye, did evolve over time rather than having irreducible complexity;
  • The Old Testament is neither historical fact, nor the word of God – the Old Testament are stories passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation, and the stories changed based on the bias of each new storyteller;
  • The New Testament is inconsistent – Jesus preached to his apostles so they would carry his message to other parts of the world, but then Saint Paul took over;
  • Mary did not have a virgin birth – the concept is medically impossible and came about due to a translation issue of the word “ulmah” (a young woman) in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament to the word “parthenos” (virgin) in the Greek Septuagint version;
  • Religions come and go – there are ancient (and some not so ancient) religions that no longer exist;
  • Preachers of eastern religious philosophy can be just as corrupt as preachers of western religions – too many preachers, and gurus alike, are in it for the money they can get people to contribute;
  • There are no miracles where the fundamental laws of science are violated, or suspended – the Sun did not physically dance at Fatima;
  • There is no place on earth that has special holiness – Mecca;
  • Some religions are founded by immoral people – Joseph Smith’s writing of the Book of Morman is highly questionable for the secretive way it was written;
  • One does not have to be religious to live a moral and upright life – Christopher Hitchens is an example;
  • Humans developed through a random process on Earth, and may not be the only intelligent form of life in the universe – the evolution of the brain could have progressed differently on other worlds;
  • There is no Satan, and Hell does not exist as a place where we are sent for eternity – too many religions use this as the place to send the “unbelievers”.

I especially agree with one of Hitch’s conclusions. Both he and I agree it is time for science and rational thought to take a more major role in the lives of individuals. However, I disagree we should base our lives solely on science.

The Theory of Evolution Leaves Unanswered Questions

My first disagreement with Hitch is his belief that science can and will explain everything. No mention is made in the book about how the long standing belief in the deterministic nature of our physical universe is being shaken by the indeterministic, but probabilistic, nature of the subatomic world. Also not mentioned, and I did not expect it to be mentioned in a book advocating atheism, is the reality of the human mind, and how it is something very different from the reality of the physical universe and the reality of the subatomic world.

Hitch spends a great deal of time in his book supporting the Theory of Evolution. I completely support the Theory of Evolution as explaining how life developed on the Earth. However, I have a problem with one aspect of the theory. Why does the female of the species choose the male with the better genes? In our own human population, I see a lot of unwed teenage mothers who chose to mate with someone who does not have the decency to be responsible for his actions. Is this picking someone with the best genes? Science does not try to explain why the female makes her choice. We are just supposed to blindly accept they do, just as religions expect us to blindly accept some of their dogmas.

Not Everything Is Deterministic

One of the few arguments Hitch directly makes against God is based on the assumption that everything is deterministic. Hitch claims the following question is unanswerable. If God created the universe, then who created the creator? According to Hitch, since everything is deterministic, then everything that happens is caused by something that happened before it. Hence, if God caused our physical universe to come into existence, then something else must have caused God to occur.

Now, Hitch cannot argue against the belief among scientists that the world did come into existence approximately 14 billion years ago, because the scientifically derived Big Bang Theory says it did. The flaw in Hitch’s argument is he assumes that determinism extended to the period prior to the Big Bang. The Standard Model of particle physics, upon which much of our theory of the opening moments of our universe is based, clearly shows that the first things to appear were the sub-atomic particles. These particles, according to particle physicists, follow a law that is indeterminate, yet probabilistic. Hence, even in the early moments of the Big Bang, determinism did not exist according to scientific theory.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence for the existence of determinism prior to the Big Bang. Even from a logic point of view, determinism could not have existed. A tautology occurs if everything is deterministic. If there cannot be a first cause, which determinism does not allow, there has to be an infinite sequence of events that happened in the past with each event caused by another event before it. If the past is an infinite sequence of events, how did we ever get to the present? I find it interesting how Hitch conveniently leaves this issue out of his discussion.

To avoid this tautology, logic dictates there must be a first cause somewhere that began the sequence of events which eventually became our present universe. This opens the possibility for the existence of a God in some form. I agree this line of reasoning is not a definitive argument for the existence of God, but it certainly shows one cannot use this line of reasoning to prove God does not exist.

In other parts of the book, Hitch even seems to contradict himself on the issue of everything being deterministic. While he avoids discussing the subject of free will, he does recognize that people can make choices. He discusses how, if a “miracle” is observed, the observer makes a choice as to whether he believes an actual miracle did occur, or whether the miracle is only a perception and the laws of science were not temporarily suspended. Saying we have the ability to make a choice implies the human mind is not deterministic.

Science and God Can Be Compatible

Another assertion Hitch makes in his book is that science and God are not compatible. While not stating it directly, Hitch’s line of reasoning is, if science and God are not compatible and we know our science to be true, then God cannot be true. While the logic is good, a logical argument depends solely upon people accepting the premises on which the argument is built. The premise in this case is his belief that science and God are not compatible.

To support his premise, Hitch points out the inconsistencies of the dogmas of various religions. I agree the dogmas of the various religions are indeed incompatible with what we know to be true in modern science. I would even support a premise stating that science and present religious dogma are not compatible. I recognize this leads to the conclusion that the dogmas of present religions are not true, and I believe this is a major reason why people are turning away from religion.

However, Hitch tries to generalize his premise by substituting “God” for “the dogmas of various religions”. He provides no evidence for this generalization. We have already agreed religions are man-made. It logically follows that the dogmas of these religions are also man-made. It does not logically follow that man-made dogmas can somehow be generalized to God. Without any additional evidence directly relating to God to support this generalization, the premise that science and God are incompatible is not a valid premise. Hence, Hitch cannot use this argument to logically argue that God cannot be true.

To be fair, I have provided no evidence yet on how science and God can be compatible. My own personal belief in God is based on a three reality model consisting of 1) the deterministic reality of the physical universe, 2) the indeterministic, but probability-based, reality of the sub-atomic particles, and 3) the indeterministic, and not probability-based, reality of the human mind. The existence of the first two realities is based on scientific fact. The existence of the third reality is known to us through our own conscious minds in our ability to learn, to create works of art, and to make free decisions from the alternative solutions our mind presents to us.

In my new paradigm of God, our minds are part of a greater mind that is God. We know we have experiential memories, but science (i.e. neuroscience) cannot explain where these experiential memories are stored in our physical brain. Some scientists are even exploring the sub-atomic world for an answer to this issue. Lacking any scientific evidence, I believe as a matter of faith that these experiential memories are stored as part of the mind of God.

Our minds have the ability to be a first cause of things within the deterministic physical universe. None of the cities, highways, or other infrastructures built by mankind would exist if not for the ability of the human mind to be the first cause of these structures. God, who exists outside of time and space, has this same ability to create things. God was the first cause of the universe by using vacuum energy to create the first particles at the time of the Big Bang.

In my beliefs, life occurs when a connection is made between God and a cell, or collection of cells. This connection allows God to influence the evolution of life by presenting alternatives to the mind of the life form (as small or as fuzzy as that mind may be). It is this connection with God that influences a female to choose an appropriate mate to advance the species according to the Theory of Evolution.

The God of my new paradigm is not an all-everything God, but has certain limitations. God cannot suspend the physical laws of the universe to cause a “miracle”. God cannot predict the future given that our human minds can make free decisions between the alternatives our mind presents to us. God created the universe and lets it run its course. As a result, perfection is not something God controls. We have to accept the bad things that happen as well as the good.

And lastly, I do not claim to know the truth about God. Hence, my paradigm of God does not try to establish any unchangeable dogmas. My paradigm is allowed to change as we discover more and more about the universe in which we live. As a result, my paradigm of God remains compatible with science. So, it is possible for science and God to be compatible. As a result, Hitch’s premise is not true, and his argument does nothing to disprove the trueness of God.

Hitler and Stalin Did Not Act Like Gods

The majority of what Hitch writes in the book is about the bad things mankind does to itself. He also ties these bad things to the fact that the perpetrators are acting in the name of religion. Then, he talks about the atheists he knows and how they are good and upright people. He even dares to claim that the percentage of “religious people” doing bad things is far greater than the percentage of atheists doing bad things.

As I mentioned earlier, I do believe atheists can lead good and productive lives. However, I also know many people of faith who are good and upright people. Hitch’s book says nothing about the millions of believers who try to do the right things with their lives.

But let us look at few facts on the subject. Mankind had a violent path as it evolved into what it is today. Just as lower life forms will defend their territory, man has a natural tendency to defend his territory and to protect his extended families (i.e. his tribes). Hitch blames the atrocities that happened in the former Yugoslavia and in Uganda on religion. While it is true the warring factions were of different religions, they were also people from different tribes or ethnic backgrounds. The genocide that occurred in these countries would have happened anyway even if there were no religion in the world.

Whether Hitch likes it or not, most of the people in the world, including those in power, profess to some belief in a God. So, when an atrocity occurs in our world, there is a high probability it will be performed by someone who professes to a religion. This, unfortunately, gives the perception that a high percentage of “religious people” are doing bad things. However, just because a “religious person” commits an atrocity, it does not mean the atrocity is condoned by God. Also, just because the elders of a religion do not speak out against the atrocity, it still does not mean the atrocity is condoned by God.

Finally, there are many bad people who use God and religion to justify their actions. If you were a person with hatred toward a neighboring tribe, which of the two following statements would motivate the other members of your tribe to join you in a massacre:

  • I hate the other tribe, so join me in killing them.
  • God has ordained that we are his people, and that we must kill the unbelievers.

Just because you use religion to further your cause does not mean God, or even the religion, is the cause of the atrocity.

Now many people argue Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are examples where atrocities have been committed for non-religious reasons. Toward the end of the book, Hitch tries to address these arguments. While Hitler was a Catholic (a marginal one at best), his “final solution” against the Jews was based on ethnic cleansing rather than religious differences. Stalin was an atheist who tried hard to stamp out religion in his native Russia. Hitch argues the atrocities performed by these totalitarian governments were caused by the fact these leaders acted like Gods. My response to this accusation can be summed up in the simple observation that all people who perform atrocities against their fellow men, whether they proclaim a religious affiliation or not, are acting like there is no God (i.e. atheists, by definition).

Now, I apologize to all the good atheists who objected to the previous statement. Atheists, like people of faith, do not generally perform atrocities against their fellow men. However, in my view of God, and that of many other people of faith, God does not condone atrocities either. So, where is Hitch’s apology for comparing people like Hitler and Stalin to God?

What Hitch appears to have meant by his statement is that the governments of Hitler and Stalin were set up similar to some theocracies. In a theocracy, the government tries to control all aspects of the people’s lives, and there is one (or maybe a few) religious elders at the top who lay down all the rules and who do not have to answer to anyone – similar to the government of Iran today. But here, again, theocracies, like religion, are man-made. And once again, Hitch is trying to take something that is man-made and generalize it to the level of God without trying to justify it with one shred of evidence.

Is Science Just a Religion for Atheists

Before ending this response to Hitch’s book, I have to state a concern I have for Hitch’s New Enlightenment where we should base our lives on rational thought and what science tells us. Does this not amount to the establishment of another religion of sorts – a religion of science? Do not the scientific laws of the physical universe become a new set of dogmas? Do not colleges and universities become the new churches? Do not people who have been indoctrinated into the science by obtaining higher level degrees become our priests? Do not learned societies dictate what we should or should not believe about our physical world (e.g. whether Pluto is a planet), and also have the power to declare that someone’s theory is the scientific equivalent of a heresy?

Is it not science that created the thermonuclear bomb and other weapons of mass destruction? So science kills just like religion kills. You may argue that science does not use the weapons. But, were not the first atomic bombs developed by scientists designed specifically to be used on Japan at the end of World War II? I noticed this mass killing of people by science was given no mention in Hitch’s book.

Is it not science that dictates when human life begins? Is it not science that has developed means to abort a fetus, and is it not science that allows abortions to occur? Is it not science that has developed tests to determine the viability of an unborn infant, and is it not science that has developed genetic testing to determine whether couples should even have children? It sounds like science is trying to control how we reproduce. Similarly, science is also developing rules about when we should die (e.g. when life support equipment should be turned off). Again, no mention of this is made in Hitch’s book.

Is it not science that created the pesticides to increase the yields of our crops – the very same pesticides that have now infiltrated our water systems? Is it not science that is creating foods that are bio-engineered? It sounds like science is trying to control what we eat. Does any of this sound an awful lot like what Hitch argues against – only replacing the word “religion” with the word “science”?

Is it not the indoctrinated scientists that argue there is no God? Is science trying to suppress our belief in a God? Do people of science feel like they know the truth of the universe and that people of faith are the unbelievers? So, is the rhetoric Hitch uses in his book about the New Enlightenment nothing more than an attempt to get people to abandon their faith in God and come to the light of the truth of science? Is Hitch just a missionary for this new religion of science? For someone who supposedly hates religion, he sure seems to be arguing for one.

I am not trying to argue that science is in any way bad, nor am I arguing there is anything bad about scientific theory. However, I am concerned about what mankind does with their science. As I have pointed out, Hitch’s arguments are not directly against God. They are arguments against what mankind has done in the name of God. All the bad things people have done in the name of religion are man-made. What is going to keep people from doing bad things in the name of science? Just because the religion changes does not mean the violent tendencies of mankind are going to change.

Some Final Thoughts

I openly admit that I am dualist in the mind-body philosophy of René Descartes (1596-1650). It bothers me that science does not yet recognize the reality of the human mind. It further bothers me that universities require Master’s and Doctoral students to only take courses in their specific field of study. This intense indoctrination into the established science causes these students not to be able to see the forest from the trees. There is a need for people to take a step backward and look at the bigger picture.

Our universe, as we know it, is the complex interplay of at least three very different realities – our deterministic physical universe, the probability-based indeterministic world of the subatomic particle, and the indeterministic, and not probability-based, world of the human mind. It is the reality of the human mind that opens up the real possibility of a God. Faith and science should not be in opposition to each other. Rather, they should operate hand-in-hand where science is what we know, and faith is what we believe to be true, but have not yet discovered.

I can see where Christopher Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything will cause some people to re-evaluate their religion and the dogmas of those religions. This, I believe, is a good thing as our faith should be our own and not just what we are told to believe by others. The book will also cause some people to stop practicing their faith. I believe this to be questionable since religious congregations, at least at the local level, can be a powerful force for good in a community where people help each other regardless of their personal beliefs.

There will also be those caught up in the rhetoric of the book and abandon all belief in God and join the ranks of the atheists. These people, I believe, have been misled. Hitch’s arguments for atheism may sound good on the surface, but any logical and rational person should realize all Hitch talks about in the book are the bad things that humans do in the name of their man-made religions. Hitch does little to argue directly against the existence of God. The arguments he does make on the subject are nothing more than gross generalizations which are unsupported by credible facts or logical argumentation. For the misled, I suggest they re-examine their own human minds and develop a set of beliefs that make sense to them. They may still settle on atheism, but at least they are now operating on their own beliefs rather than just giving in to the rhetoric of the book.

A New Paradigm for God

Posted By on November 27, 2011

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In this article, I will present a new paradigm for God.  This paradigm is the result of many years of meditation. I will not offer any proof of God’s existence at this time as I plan to do that in a future article. In this article, I will limit my discussion to what God is in terms of attributes and limitations.

Before starting, let us review what has been the traditional paradigm of God. The major religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism present a monotheistic God that is locked in a cosmic struggle with Satan for the souls of mankind. Those people who follow God will be rewarded with eternal life in Heaven. Those people who follow Satan will be condemned to the eternal fires of Hell. Christianity takes this paradigm one step further by having God’s Son become mortal and dying on a cross to defeat Satan and save mankind.

This traditional paradigm of God has served mankind well for over two thousand years. Unfortunately, our modern scientific age questions the validity of God, Satan, Heaven, and Hell. The story of creation in Genesis has been replaced by the Big Bang Theory of modern science. The concept of a separate creation of mankind has been replaced with the Theory of Evolution.  Modern educated people are turning to atheism and agnosticism because they can no longer accept both what theologians say they must accept on faith and what science has discovered thorough observation and rational thought over the last few centuries.

Any new paradigm of God must be based more on knowledge and less on belief. God must be consistent with what science has discovered. This is accomplished by looking at what can be observed, but which science cannot explain. Whereas the traditional paradigm of God is taught as absolute truth, any new paradigm must be presented more as a theory. Just as a theory changes as more scientific discoveries are made, our paradigm of God must be allowed to change as we learn more about God and our universe.

The Mental World

In a previous article, titled The Three Realities, I presented three “realities” that have been observed to exist. By definition, a reality must be observable and have completely different attributes and follow different laws. The reality of the physical universe is observable all around us. The physical universe is very deterministic and follows the laws of chemistry and physics. The reality of the subatomic world is something that has only been observed by particle physicists, but we accept its existence because it has been verified in a multitude of scientific experiments. The subatomic world follows laws that are probabilistic in nature.

The third reality is observed as human consciousness. Science cannot explain consciousness, but we all know that it exists. Philosophers are split into the physicalists and dualist camps. Physicalists argue that consciousness will one day be explained by our physics. Dualists argue that consciousness has to be a separate reality because its properties and laws are not compatible with those of physics. For example, our consciousness is capable of creating things (e.g. a symphony) and follows the principle of free will. Both of these attribute run counter to the deterministic nature of our physical universe and the probabilistic nature of the subatomic world.

My new paradigm of God expands on the reality of human consciousness. It postulates that, rather than billions of separate human minds, there is a Mental World of which our minds are all a part. The human brain functions as an interface device between our human body, which exists in the reality of the physical universe, and our mind which exists in the reality of the Mental World. Human consciousness is the boundary between the physical world and the Mental World. We only think we have individual human minds because our brains developed from the physical universe and have not evolved enough to directly experience the universality of the Mental World.

God exists as this Mental World. As humans, our minds exist in this divine world of God. If we open our minds enough through meditation, we can actually receive thoughts from the greater Mental World of God. If we work at it, we can even develop our own personal relationship with God.

When we die, it is only our physical body that dies. Our human minds continue to exist in the Mental World. There is no separate heaven and hell. There is only eternal existence in the Mental World. One does not have to be Catholic, or Jewish, or Muslim to have this eternal existence. Everyone, including Hindus, Buddhists, and even atheists will have this eternal existence.

Consciousness, however, becomes silent upon the death of the physical body because it is only the passageway between our physical existence and our divine existence. This has ramifications when it comes to the concept of “self”. Also, there is the issue of what our eternal existence will be like and whether how we live our lives will affect that existence. These topics will be deferred to a future article.

The Attributes of God

As mentioned earlier, dualists argue that the properties exhibited by human consciousness are not compatible with the properties of the physical universe. So what are the properties of God? We can develop a partial list by observing the properties of the human mind. However, a comprehensive list is currently beyond observational capabilities. As the human brain continues to evolve, we may someday come to realize additional attributes of God.

The human mind can store and recall memories and experiences. I believe these memories and experiences are stored in a repository within the Mental World. While science tells us the human brain has structures capable of storing memories for a short term, science is at a loss for explaining how long-term memories are stored. Observations of stroke victims show that long-term memories persist no matter what part of the brain becomes damaged due to strokes. In Alzheimer patients, long-term memory is one of the last things to disappear. I would argue that this is due to the entire brain’s interfacing capability becoming severely compromised through the death of neuron cells.

The human mind has knowledge. Knowledge, then, is another attribute of God. I believe that all knowledge comes from God. Writers of the Bible and Quran claim that the knowledge contained within those books are the word of God. As a result, we treat them as sacred text. I believe that all knowledge comes from God. God revealed the principles of geometry to the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid. God revealed the laws of classical physics and the calculus to Isaac Newton. When humans began seeking a refinement of classical physics, God revealed additional properties of physics to Albert Einstein. In my opinion, all books of knowledge should be treated as sacred texts from God.

One item of knowledge that appears to only exist in our minds is the concept of infinity. We cannot experience infinity because nothing in our physical universe is infinite. For example, we cannot write out the value of π because it is an infinite sequence of digits. We can only use approximations of π when we try to use it in a calculation using physical world devices. However, in our minds, we can conceptualize the value of π as the ratio of the perimeter of a semicircle to its radius. Mentally, we recognize that we can cancel out π if it appears in both the numerator and denominator of an expression. This understanding of the infinite nature of π is something we share in common with God.

Philosophers argue whether we have free will or whether we are deterministic. The deterministic arguments come from the fact that our physical universe is highly deterministic. Since we are born into a deterministic world, it is only natural to think that our brain and mind must operate on this same deterministic principle. However, our observations of human behavior suggest that the human mind does have the attribute of free will. Because of this free will, we are capable of deciding to do something despite any anything in the physical world trying to cause us to do something else. For example, the decision to take a family vacation to a certain destination may be based on a simple desire to go there rather than something in the physical world causing us to go to that destination. Since free will is an attribute of the human mind, it is also an attribute of God.

The ability to create things from nothing is also an observed attribute of the human mind. Hence, it is an attribute of God. When Beethoven created his Ninth Symphony, it started out as an idea in his head. At that point in his lifetime, Beethoven was deaf and could not physically hear the music as he composed it. But yet, he brought this symphony into the physical world by writing it on paper and giving it to musicians who then played the music. Because of creativity, human consciousness can be the uncaused cause of things to happen in the physical world. The act of creating Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was an uncaused act. However, that uncaused act, cause the symphony to become a part of our physical world.

Humans have the capability to communicate thoughts from one human mind to another. However, humans cannot communicate thoughts directly from one person to another. They must first convert the thought into some language, pass the encoded thought to another person that understands the language, and then the message receiver must reconvert the words of the language back into a thought. Unfortunately, these conversions can cause something to be lost in the translation. God, however, can communicate directly in thoughts without any conversions. I experience this in my meditations. I do not hear words in my meditations. What I observe in my meditations are thoughts popping into my head.

The last attribute of God that I will present in this article is somewhat more difficult for the novice to comprehend. I believe that God, and our human minds, exist outside of time and space. The concept of being outside of time and space is not totally foreign to some scientists. Cosmologists feel that time and space only exists within the confines of our physical universe and that our universe has an edge. Beyond the edge of the universe, cosmologists feel that time and space do not exist.

If something exists in space, you should be able to point at it. Can you point at your mind? You can point at your brain because it does exist in space. However, neurologists cannot point at anything in your brain that is your mind. Can you point at a long-term memory? Neurologists can point at synapses in your brain that help you perform a task (e.g. playing the piano). However, neurologists cannot identify a place in your brain where a long term memory is stored. I believe we cannot point at our mind or long-term memories because they exist outside of our concept of space.

In a similar manner, I believe God and our minds exist outside of time. When something exists in time, it follows a very methodical passage of time – never speeding up, never slowing down, and never going backwards. I have personally experienced something to which many athletes can relate. When I am really focused on making a play in a physical competition, time seems to go into slow motion allowing me to do what is needed to make the play.  Also, psychiatrists’ offices are filled with people who are living in the past. They constantly replay past events over and over again in their minds. This ability of the mind to change the perceived passage of time and to relive events in the past runs counter to the fact that time only runs methodically forward.

Limitations of God

In the traditional paradigm, God is almighty, all powerful, omnipotent, and all-anything else you can imagine. In this new paradigm, God has certain limitations. These limitations eliminate some of the paradoxes that come up when talking about God. One example is that God knows what we are going to do even though we have free will. One of my favorite paradoxes is “can God create a rock that even God cannot lift”. In this section, we will explore some of the limitations of God.

The first limitation is that God does not know the future when free will is involved. When it comes to things like earthquakes and asteroids slamming into planets, God can do the calculations to know when such events will occur in the future. But when it come to individuals exercising their free will, God does not know what will happen until it happens. Existence outside of time does not mean that you know everything that will happen in the future. It merely means that you can manipulate the methodical passage of time for things happening in the present or that happened in the past.

A second limitation of God is that God cannot violate the laws of the other realities. On October 13, 1917, tens of thousands of people experienced what has come to be known as the “Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima in Portugal. Reporters were on hand to report the miracle where the Sun was perceived to be moving abnormally in the sky. Even though thousands of people witnessed the miracle, astronomers of the day noted no abnormal movement of the Sun. It was all a perception in the minds of the people at Fatima. The fact is, we would have no science at all if God could manipulate the laws of physics on a whim. Our knowledge of physics and chemistry depends on the absolute predictability of the laws.

It should be noted that miraculous cures, which are observed in our world, do not violate this limitation. The human body has abilities that science has not yet discovered, including how to cure itself. We may not know how to trigger a cure response in our own bodies, but I believe God can help us trigger that response without our knowledge.

A third limitation of God is that God has neither the eyes to see, the ears to hear, nor any other sense to directly experience our world. My personal definition of “life” is that life occurs when God makes a connection to something in the physical universe and can influence that something. That connection is two-way. The sensory receptors of living things can pass whatever they experience back to the Mental World. As a result, God is experiencing the physical world through us.

The last limitation (although it is not really a limitation) is that God is not human. First, God is neither male nor female. Our sex is strictly something that exists in this physical universe. Second, God is not emotional. An emotional response is a physiological response of the human body based on hormones that are introduced to our system under certain conditions. God does not have hormones. Finally, we are not created in the image and likeness of God. Only our mind is like God. Too often, people tend to view God as being in the image and likeness of mankind.

Conclusion

To summarize this new paradigm of God, God exists as a reality separate from our physical universe that I am calling the Mental World. Mankind exists in both the physical world through our bodies and the Mental World through our minds. Our brains function as an interface device between the two realities. God has specific attributes that we are able to ascertain by observing the attributes of the human mind. Among these attributes are knowledge, free will, creativity, the ability to store memories and experiences, and the ability to communicate through thoughts. We can communicate with God through meditation and even establish a person relationship with God. God exists outside of time and space, but God cannot predict the future where free will is involved. God cannot violate the laws of the other two realities, but God can influence what happens in the physical world because life, by definition, is a connection between the mental and physical worlds. When life ends in the physical world, that connection is broken. However, the mental component of that connection will exist eternally.

The Beginning of Space and Time

Posted By on October 26, 2011

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For thousands of years, the creation story in the Book of Genesis was the best explanation for how our universe came into being. The story explained how God created the universe in six “days” through a set of distinct creation events culminating in the creation of mankind on the sixth day.

It was only in the last one hundred years that a scientific story of creation has evolved. Based on Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity and equations formulated by Alexander Friedmann, Georges Lemaître hypothesized in 1927 that the universe originated from a single point. In 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble provided observational evidence that all galaxies indeed were moving away from each other. This theory has come to be known as the Big Bang Theory. Today, scientific calculations suggest that the universe was created around 13.75 billion years ago.

In the years since the formulation of the Big Bang hypothesis, scientists have built increasingly larger particle accelerators to study particle physics at ever increasing energy levels to understand what the first moments of creation were like. The largest of these particle accelerators, the Large Hadron Collider (LHD) on the border between France and Switzerland, has now come on line to give scientists the clearest experimental evidence yet on the creation of our universe.

Meanwhile, another group of physicists are laying out mathematically a Theory of Everything (TOE) based on String Theory. In this TOE, these theoretical physicists are trying to develop a model whereby our entire universe came from a single elementary particle. To date, this TOE is only theoretical with no experimental evidence to support it.

In this article, I will discuss the events that may have occurred at the earliest moments of creation. In particular, I will concentrate on the beginnings of space and time. Some of this will be based on scientific evidence from experiments in the large particle accelerators. Some of this will be based on the TOE model. Some will be based on scientific conjecture. And, finally, some will be based on faith, as faith is really just an extension of our science into that which has not yet been discovered.

Before the Beginning

It is hard to contemplate what the conditions were like just prior to the Big Bang. Scientists conjecture that space and time did not exist. They argue that, even today, space and time still do not exist beyond the edges of our expanding universe.

We first need to come up with a working definition of space and time. Space is a measurement of distance in three dimensions – the usual length, width, and height. Space requires something to measure (i.e. matter). Just prior to the Big Bang, there was no matter. Hence, there was no space. Time is a measurement of how matter changes. Again, since there was no matter that could change prior to the Big Bang, there was no time.

Of course, one could argue that my use of the words “prior to the Big Bang” implies some concept of time. Unfortunately, our language does not provide a good word to describe conditions prior to the Big Bang. The best way I can describe it is that conditions prior to the Big bang were “outside” of space and time.

The Moment of Creation

Neither the scientific evidence, nor scientific theory, identifies what caused our universe to begin. Some scientists conjecture that it can just happen spontaneously in the presence of gravity. Other scientists conjecture that the universe is some type of yo-yo that continuously explodes out and then collapses back onto itself in a repeating cycle.

Personally, I believe that there is a reality of intelligence that exists outside of space and time. This intelligence (or God, as some people call it) caused the creation of the universe. This is analogous to the reality of the human mind that can create things (e.g. symphonies) and be the cause of things (e.g. buildings) to occur in our physical world.

Whatever was the cause of creation, string theory holds that it happened in a manner strangely similar to the first act of creation in the Book of Genesis where it is stated:

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

At the moment of creation, there appeared a multitude of highly ordered and highly energized boson particles, which I will call the “primordial bosons”. An example of a boson is the photon, which is a particle of light. Contained within these primordial bosons were all the properties that define our universe. This is analogous to the human egg and sperm cells holding all the genetic coding needed for a human life to develop.

These primordial bosons had no mass. They existed as a point with no spatial dimensions. Bosons in general have the property that they can exist simultaneously at the same point. Today, we see this in the fact that two light beams can pass through each other without interference. When we stand outside at night pointing at the sky, there are millions of photons that exist simultaneously at the same point on our fingertip coming from the millions of different stars in the sky.

According to the TOE model, the primordial bosons were a unification of the four great forces of our universe – gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. At this moment of creation, there was still no space. However, the moment does mark the beginning of a form of pseudo-time, denoted by T0, because these primordial bosons were about to start changing.

The Specialization of the Four Great Forces

According to the TOE model, the first force to separate from the primordial bosons was gravity. Some of the primordial bosons separated out to form gravitons which are bosons that carry the force of gravity. This specialization of the graviton is purely theoretical as it has not yet been observed in any high energy physics experiments. According to the theory, this specialization occurred almost immediately (i.e. <10-36 pseudo-time seconds) after the creation of the primordial bosons.

The second specialization of the primordial bosons occurred around 10-36 pseudo-time seconds after creation when gluons separated (or became specialized) from the remaining primordial bosons. The gluons are the carrier of the strong nuclear force. Not only did the gluons separate from the primordial bosons, but they specialized into eight unique flavors on gluons.

The last separation of the primordial bosons occurred around 10-12 pseudo-time seconds after creation when the remaining primordial bosons specialized into the weak nuclear force and the electromagnetic force.  Three different types of bosons carry the weak nuclear force. These weak force carrying particles are the W+, W-, and Z0 bosons. The electromagnetic force is carried by the photon, which we know as light particles. The separation of the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force has been observed in high energy physics experiments.

The Beginning of Time

The specialization of the four great forces of our universe occurred in what I called pseudo-time because things are happening at the sub-atomic level in the reality of particle physics. Particle physics has laws very different than the reality of our physical universe. Space and time, however, are concepts that exist within the reality of our physical universe.

Before we can have space and time, we need some form of matter (i.e. atoms, protons, and neutrons). So far, we only have bosons that have become specialized into the four great forces. To understand the origins of matter, we need to look at two groups of bosons – the gluons and the photons.  The gluons and photons are in a class of bosons called gauge bosons which means they conserve the symmetries of our universe. These symmetries include charge (C), parity (P), time (T), as well as many others properties.

It has been shown in particle accelerators that gauge bosons at sufficient energy levels will change into a pair of particles, called fermions.  In order for the pair of fermions to preserve symmetries, one fermion has to be the anti-particle of the other. If one fermion has a positive charge (C+), then the other fermion has a negative charge (C-). If one fermion has right parity (P+), then the other fermion has left parity (P-). Similarly, if one fermion goes in one direction of time (T+), then the other fermion goes in the opposite direction of time (T-).

Another property of fermions is that they follow what is called the Pauli Exclusion Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli who developed the concept.  The Pauli Exclusion Principle states that identical fermions cannot exist in the same quantum state at the same point in time. To laymen, this means that two fermions cannot occupy the same space at the same time. This is quite different from bosons where millions of them can exist at the same point on our fingertip. If a fermion and its anti-particle ever try to occupy the same space at the same time, they annihilate each other and convert back into a gauge boson. The Pauli Exclusion Principle is the main separator of our universe into matter and energy. All matter in our universe is made up of fermions. All energy in our universe is contained within the bosons and the four great forces.

In my opinion, the creation of the fermion pairs from the gauge bosons was the beginning of time. To prevent themselves from instantly annihilating each other, the fermion pairs travel in opposite directions of time so they are not affected by the Pauli Exclusion Principle. As a result, half of our physical universe travelled forward (T+) in time, while the other half travelled backwards (T-) in time. Of course, the terms “forward” and “backward” are only relative. For all we know, the universe that we see around us may be the one traveling in T-.

The Beginning of Space

A very rapid expansion of our universe began when the multitude of gauge bosons started creating a multitude of fermion pairs. Consider the case of popcorn in a popper. As each kernel pops, it shoves the other kernels out of the way in an explosive fashion. Now imagine that these kernels occupy the exact same space as all the other kernels. This is like our primordial bosons which do not follow the Pauli Exclusion Principle. When these boson popcorn kernels pop, they change into fermions which must follow the Pauli Exclusion Principle. As a result, they shove all the other fermions out of the way in a very explosive fashion, just like the popping corn in our popper.

This rapid expansion of the universe, however, has not yet created our concept of space. While fermions cannot occupy the same point in space, they are still spatially non-dimensional particles. Like bosons, fermions only exist as a point. So, like pseudo-time, we now have a sort of pseudo-space.

To understand what happens next, we need to look at the separate fermions created by the gluons and the photons. When gluons “pop”, they create a quark and antiquark pair. Experiments with particle accelerators have identified six different quarks (and their antiquark counterparts) that can be formed. However, only two of them (the up-quark and the down-quark) are of interest to us because they are the only ones stable over time. The other four are unstable and decay rapidly into either the up-quark or the down-quark.

If you recall, the gluon is the carrier of the strong nuclear force. Gluons hold quarks, in groups of three, in close proximity to each other.  Two up-quarks and a down-quark form a proton. One up-quark and two down-quarks form a neutron. Protons and neutrons, which are the building blocks for the nucleus of atoms, do have spatial dimensions. In my opinion, the beginning of space occurs when the first protons and neutrons form. Scientists theorize that these protons and neutrons began to form in less than one second after the Big Bang.

The Rest Is History

We have not yet talked about the fermions created from the photons. When a photon “pops”, it creates a lepton pair. The stable leptons are the electron (with a negative charge) and the positron (an antiparticle with a positive charge). Like the quarks, these electrons and positrons are spatially non-dimensional. Experiments with particle accelerators have identified heavier leptons also being formed by photons at different energy levels. But, like the heavier quarks, these heavier leptons rapidly decay into electrons and positrons.

As mentioned earlier, the photon is the carrier of the electromagnetic force. It is this force that causes the negatively charged electron to orbit around an atomic nuclei consisting of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. In the direction of time opposite to us, the same thing happens. But, it is positively charged positrons that go into orbit around atomic nuclei consisting of negatively charged anti-protons and neutrally charged anti-neutrons.  When electrons (or positrons) go into orbits around atomic nuclei (or anti-nuclei), atoms are formed. According to scientists, the first atoms did not appear until about 377,000 years after the Big Bang.

The combinations of different numbers of protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei became our Periodic Table of Elements. The number of electrons orbiting around the nuclei gives us our properties of chemistry. Over time, these atoms formed compounds. Some of these compounds were organic that caused the formation of life. The rest is history – not a bad story for something that started out as a creation of primordial bosons (i.e. light).

The Three Realities

Posted By on August 1, 2011

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In this first article, I am going to present an overview of the three realities known to mankind and show that knowledge of science does not force us into either atheism or agnosticism.

What Is a “Reality”

Before we can discuss the three realities, we need to define just what I mean by a “reality”. A reality has two key principles. First, we must somehow know that it exists. Second, a reality must have properties and follow laws that make it unique from other realities.

How do we know that something exists? One way we know that something exists is by directly experiencing it through our senses (i.e. we can see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it). A second way we know that something exists is through experimentation. We first define a theory which predicts specific outcomes from experimentation. If we perform the experiments and get the expected outcomes, then we are justified in stating that a reality exists. The theory may not explain everything about the reality, but it does help us to understand the basic properties of the reality.

Now, the fact that we can experience two different things does not make them separate realities. For example, we experience light and warmth. These are not two different realities, but rather are different aspects of the same reality. The Sun brings the light of day, and it brings us the warmth of spring and summer. In order for something to be a different reality, it must follow a set of laws or properties that are significantly different.

The Reality of the Physical Universe

Our best example of a reality is our physical universe. For many people, the physical universe is thought to be the only reality. We know of the reality of our physical world because we are bombarded with it through our senses. We see the trees, the Sun, and the stars. We hear the sounds of waves against the shore. We feel the gentle breeze and the hardness of the ground beneath our feet. We taste the bitterness of citrus fruits and the sweetness of honey. We can smell the scents of fresh flowers. Everything coming in through our senses tells us that the physical universe is real.

The Properties of the Physical Universe

Since the dawn of mankind, we have studied our physical universe to understand its properties. We know that the universe exists in the three dimensions of length, width, and depth. The universe also follows the one-way arrow of time.

Our physical universe is a highly deterministic reality following a strict law of cause and effect. Everything that happens in the physical universe is caused to happen by some force. For example, we know that when we mix gasoline with air in an automobile engine, we get water vapor, carbon monoxide, and power that makes the car move to take us where we want to go. If the world was not highly deterministic, then could not count on the gasoline and the air giving our cars power day after day.

We have defined basic laws which state how everything happens in our universe. These laws are stated within our theories of Classical Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. In Classical Physics, we developed laws for such things as of gravitation, motion, and electromagnetism. In Chemistry, we defined the Periodic Table of fundamental elements, and then we defined how individual atoms come together to form molecules with different properties. In Biology, we defined how molecules and energy come together to form life on our planet. We pass our knowledge of the physical universe from one generation to the next through our sciences.

The Reality of the Quantum World

Throughout most of mankind’s history, it was believed by many that the physical universe was the only reality. However, beginning in the late 19th century, scientists began to theorize the existence of a second reality. It is the reality of the subatomic world. Scientists discovered that atoms are made up of electrons orbiting around a nucleus of protons and neutrons. They also theorized how protons and neutron are composed of even smaller fundamental particles, called “up quarks” and “down quarks”. Experiments using particle accelerators and super-colliders have confirmed the existence of this microscopic reality.

The Properties of the Quantum World

In order for this microscopic world to be a separate reality, it must possess properties and laws that are very different from that of the physical universe.

The fundamental particles of Quantum Physics (i.e. electrons, up quarks, and down quarks) do not exist in space. Rather, they exist as a single point without any length, width, or height. It is only when these particles come together to form nuclei and atoms that the fabric of our three-dimensional space is formed.

Quantum particles do seem to exist in time. Some particles, such as muons and charm quarks are highly unstable and decay over time. Also, based on Einstein’s famous E=mc2 law, quantum particles can come into existence and then annihilate themselves as time passes.

The quantum world is not deterministic in the same sense as our physical world. In the physical world, when we combine two chemicals in a beaker, we know with certainty what the result will be. There are no deterministic certainties in the quantum world. Rather, there exists only probabilistic determinism. For example, in experiments involving photons (i.e. particles of light), we cannot calculate exactly where a photon will be detected. We can only say things like “50% of the time it will be detected here, and 50% of the time it will be detected someplace else”.

Other properties of fundamental particles, such as entanglement and the Einstein’s special theory of relativity, produce results that seem “weird” when compared to classical physics. Yet, these properties have proven to be true through experimentation.

Our theories of the quantum world are contained in scientific fields that go by such names as Particle Physics, Quantum Physics, and Quantum Mechanics. The current theory of the fundamental particles is called the “standard model”. However, the study of fundamental particles is an active field of research. Some theoretical particle physicists are studying the concept of string theory in hopes of creating a better model of fundamental particles, called the “theory of everything”.

The Reality of the Mental World

Our third reality is the reality of the mental world. It is the reality in which the human mind exists. The existence of this world is known to us by our consciousness. Rene Descartes, who is known as the Father of Modern Philosophy, gave the best argument for the existence of the mental world in 1637 with his famous statement “I think, therefore I am”. Not only do we recognize our own consciousness, but we recognize the existence of consciousness in others through our ability to communicate our ideas and thoughts with others.

Not all people accept that the mental world is a separate reality. In Philosophy, those that do not accept the mental world as a separate reality are called physicalists, whereas those that do accept this idea are called dualists.

Physicalists argue that our science is just incomplete. We have not yet progressed far enough in our science to understand how our consciousness follows the laws of the physical world. Dualists, however, argue that the “explanatory gap” between the laws of physics and our consciousness are far too great to justify that our consciousness only follows the laws of the physical universe.

What about the Brain?

At this point, some of you may be asking “what about the brain”. Isn’t the brain our consciousness? Is not neurology a branch of Biology dedicated to the study of the central nervous system including the brain? Neurologists do study the chemical and electrical properties of the human brain. They can identify which areas of the brain control different aspects of our body and senses. However, neurologists have never been able to explain consciousness.

Neurologists think that any animal with a telencephalon (i.e. the outermost portion of the brain) does experience some level of consciousness. Hence, our pet dogs and cats experience consciousness, but it is at a less profound state than that experienced by humans.

Neurologists also cannot explain our long-term memories. Different parts of the human brain can be badly damaged, yet long long-term memories persist. Even in Alzheimer patients, long term memory is one of the last things that disappear even through the brain as a whole is severely compromised.

Since neurologists cannot explain consciousness and long-term memories in the human mind, I have come to the realization that the brain is an organism that only interfaces with a mental world that is my mind. The mental world of my mind is a separate reality. This mental world uses the brain to interact with the physical universe.

The Properties of the Mental World

My main argument for the mental world being a separate reality comes from the properties exhibited by our consciousness. First, our consciousness exhibits free will. Now, a lot of what we do seems to follow a cause and effect pattern similar to the physical universe. However, when pressed, human consciousness does have free will. This is exhibited over and over again by people who follow their beliefs, and are willing to suffer the consequences of their beliefs.

The human mind is capable of creation. Beethoven’s Nine Symphony is something that Ludwig van Beethoven created in his own mind and then brought it into the physical world by putting his creation on paper and having musicians perform it. We create things on almost a daily basis. Artists create works of art. Architects create unique designs for buildings. Even students writing school essays are performing acts of creation, albeit directed ones. Creation, however, does not exist in the physical world. The strict conservation laws of the physical universe forbid the total amount of matter and energy in the universe to change. In other words, energy cannot be created or destroyed – it only changes form. Hence, creation is not a property or law of the physical universe.

The human mind is capable of learning and understanding things. The laws of the physical universe do not have provisions for learning and understanding. The human mind understands the concept of infinity even through nothing in the physical universe is infinite.

The human mind experiences emotional and rational thought. There is nothing non-living in our universe that is capable of these types of thought.

I would even argue that the human mind exists outside of both space and time. Our mind does not seem to be bound by physical space. We seem to have a limitless amount of storage for our experiences and our memories. In our mental world, we can go back and relive our memories and experiences from our past. We are even capable of causing our perception of time to speed up or slow down depending on what we are doing.

The bottom line is that our consciousness has properties that are totally different from both the physical universe and the quantum world. When we couple this with the fact that we know that our consciousness exists, we are forced to conclude that consciousness is a separate reality.

God Is the Universal Mind

Once I realized that the human mind is a separate reality, it followed naturally that God could be a universal mind. When one looks at the properties we attribute to God (e.g. emotions, free-will, acts of creation, existence outside of time and space), these properties match up very well with the mental world. Based on this evidence, I reached the conclusion that it is the human mind that is created in the image and likeness of God.

In my personal Existential God, God is the mental world. God exists as the universal mind, a reality separate from our physical universe. As a result, God is no longer something I believe just because someone told me that God exists. Rather, God is something very real to me. When I do my meditative walks, it is the universal mind of God that places thoughts in my own mind. My mind is a part of God. It shares a oneness with God. Rather than driving me to atheism, my knowledge of science and my experiences has caused me to conclude that God exists as this third reality.

Science has also not driven me to agnosticism. An agnostic holds that God is unknowable. However, I know my own mind. If my mind is part of the universal mind of God, then I also know God. Not only do I know God, I am able to develop a very personal relationship with God. I can communicate with God by opening my mind during meditative walks. God communicates with me by placing thoughts into my mind during these walks.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, educated people of the world are aware of three distinct realities. We are all aware of the reality of our physical universe. In only the last 150 years, physicists have learned about the reality of the quantum world. However, for several hundred years, philosophers have argued that the human mind is also a separate reality, and modern scientists of the human brain have not been able to disprove this concept.

In my personal Existential God, I postulate that God is this third reality. God is the mental world. Our human brain is only an interface device into this mental world. If we open up our minds though meditation, we are able to communicate with God allowing us to have a personal relationship with God.

The result of all this is that modern science does not force us into atheism and agnosticism. Rather, my personal Existential God causes me to conclude that God is very real and very knowable. God is no longer just a belief. Rather, my scientific mind has concluded that God is real and readily communicates with me.

In later articles, I will explore how this concept of God leads me to a different paradigm of God then that espoused by traditional Christianity. This is a paradigm, however, that I believe modern Christians are trending toward.

Two Universe Model of the Big Bang

Posted By on July 30, 2011

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Physicists are now convinced that our universe began around 13.7 billion years ago. The Standard Model (SM) of Quantum Mechanics explains the origins of our universe back to 10-35 of a second after what scientists commonly call the Big Bang. To explain the universe before that point, theoretical physicists are studying Superstring Theory to develop a Theory of Everything (TOE). While Superstring Theory only exists as a mathematical model, SM is one of the most scientifically tested models. The volumes of data from the multitude of scientific experiments attest to the validity of SM.

One of the major puzzles of Quantum Mechanics deals with the absence of observable antimatter in our universe.  According to SM, whenever matter is created, it is created as a pair of fundamental particles – one particle is matter and the other is antimatter.  So, for example, when scientists create an electron in a particle accelerator experiment, they also create a positron, which is the antimatter partner of the electron.

According to SM, when our universe was created in the Big Bang, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were generated. Yet scientists have not been able to detect large quantities of antimatter anywhere in our known universe. Physicists theorize that matter and antimatter must have segregated into different parts of our universe within moments after the Big Bang.

To search for antimatter, scientists look for areas of the universe that produce high concentrations of gamma rays. One property of matter and antimatter is that they annihilate each other upon contact producing gamma rays. If any large collection of antimatter exists in our universe, then the boundary between that concentration of antimatter and concentrations of matter will generate detectable levels of gamma rays due to particle-antiparticle annihilation. To date, insufficient levels of gamma rays have been detected to support SM’s prediction of equal proportions of matter and antimatter in our universe.

So, where is all the antimatter? One answer may lie in the many conservation laws of physics. Let us start by examining the CP-symmetry of SM.  CP-symmetry deals with the conservation of two different attributes of the fundamental particles of Quantum Theory. The charge (denoted by C) attribute deals with the charge of fundamental particles. A particle has either a positive charge (denoted by C+1), a negative charge (denoted by C-1), or a neutral charge (denoted by C0). The parity (denoted by P) attribute deals with the spin of fundamental particles. A particle has either clockwise spin (denoted by P+1) or counterclockwise spin (denoted by P-1). The term “parity” is used for spin because, if you observe a P+1 particle in a mirror, it appears to be a P-1 particle.

When an electron-positron pair is generated in a particle accelerator experiment, it can be produced from a gamma ray with charge 0 and spin 1. Both of these attributes must be conserved in the electron-positron pair. The electron that gets generated has a +1 charge and a ½ spin. The positron has a -1 charge and a ½ spin. Thus the sum of the two particles has a 0 charge and a 1 spin, just like the original gamma ray.

To understand what happened at the time of the Big Bang, one must examine the conditions that existed at that instant. Electron-positron pairs were generated from a completely neutral (C0, P0) state (i.e. charge 0 and spin 0). The following two possible electron-positron pairs can be generated from this neutral state:

Case 1:  An electron with charge -1 and spin +½, and a positron with charge +1 and spin -½, or

Case 2:  An electron with charge -1 and spin -½, and a positron with charge +1 and spin +½.

For both of these pairing, when the two particles are added together, they yield a summed charge of 0 and a summed spin of 0 to conserve the neutral (C0, P0) state of the Big Bang.

CP-symmetry by itself does not explain the missing antimatter. To explain antimatter, we need to expand CP-symmetry to CPT-symmetry.  C and P still represent charge and parity as in CP-symmetry. The additional T attribute of fundamental particles is time. Just like charge and parity, a particle can go forward in time (denoted by T+1) or backward in time (denoted by T-1). As with charge and parity, the value of the time attribute must be conserved.

We traditionally think of our universe as going forward in time (i.e. T+1). The use of the words “forward” and “backward” are misnomers when talking about time. In our macroscopic world, going backwards in time brings up images of people aging backwards and time travel where we go to a period in the past and relive that period of time. Neither of these scenarios is theoretically possible.

At the level of fundamental particles, SM does not favor T+1 over T-1. T+1 and T-1 just represent two different arrows of time. If fact, CPT-symmetry requires that particles in (C-1, P-1, T-1) follow laws identical to particles in (C+1, P+1, T+1). A person living in a T+1 universe experiences nothing different than a person living in a T-1 universe. For all practical purposes, our own arrow of time could be T-1.

When electron-positron pairs are generated from gamma rays in the laboratory, the gamma rays exist in our T+1 universe. As a result, both the electron and the positron must also exist in T+1 to conserve the T attribute. But, the Big Bang created both space and time. At the moment of the Big Bang, only a neutral (C0, P0, T0) state existed. When electron-positron pairs were generated from the time neutral (i.e. T0) conditions of the Big Bang, one of the following situations must occur:

Case 1:  The electron is T+1 and the positron is T-1, or

Case 2:  The electron is T-1 and the positron is T+1.

SM does not require that Case 1 and Case 2 happen in equal proportions. Hence, we will assume that Case 1 occurs more frequently than Case 2. Immediately following the Big Bang, our T+1 universe became filled with more T+1 electrons (from Case 1) than T+1 positrons (from Case 2). These T+1 positrons were quickly annihilated by some of the surplus T+1 electrons, leaving our universe populated almost exclusively with T+1 electrons. Similarly, the T-1 universe became populated almost exclusively with T‑1 positrons. Note, also, that T+1 electrons and T-1 positrons can never annihilate each other because they exist in their respective arrows of time keeping them forever from coming into contact with each other.

So far, we have talked only about electron-positron pairs. However, the same argument holds for quarks and antiquarks. Up quarks and down quarks are the fundamental particles for building protons and neutrons. Similarly, anti-up quarks and anti-down quarks are the particles for building antiprotons and antineutrons. Electrons, protons and neutrons come together to form the atoms of matter in our T+1 universe. In a similar fashion, atoms of antimatter in the T-1 universe are formed from positrons, antiprotons, and antineutrons. As a result, both the T+1 and T-1 universes have all the fundamental particles necessary to develop more complex structures.

In the opening moments after the Big Bang, two separate universes began to form. The T+1 universe (i.e. our universe) was filled with matter following our arrow of time. The T-1 universe was filled with antimatter following the opposite arrow of time. SM dictates that particles of antimatter in T-1 will behave just like particles of matter in T+1. As a result, both universes developed similarly using the same laws of physics. As each universe cooled, the collection of elementary particles formed simple atoms. Gravity caused the simple atoms to form into stars and galaxies. The stars manufactured more complex atoms. Planets formed, and the complex atoms combined to form molecules. Eventually, both universes created molecules complex enough to form life.

Is it possible to detect the presence of this antimatter universe? We will not find it by looking for concentrations of gamma rays, because there are no spatial boundaries between the two universes. Our best chance for detecting the antimatter universe may come by building ever more powerful telescopes. Telescopes help us peer backwards in time because they allow us to see objects billions of light years away. The light from these objects has been travelling for billions of years. When we view this light in a telescope, we see how the objects appeared those billions of years ago. Currently, the Hubble telescope holds the record by viewing objects that are 12.5 billion light years away. With the Big Bang occurring around 13.7 billion years ago, we are still at least a billion light years short of viewing the antimatter universe.

What might we see if we build a telescope that can see objects farther than 13.7 billion light years away? At first, we might begin to see the light of the early simple galaxies of the antimatter universe. As telescopes become even more powerful, we may begin to see more advanced spiral galaxies similar to our own Milky Way galaxy. If our telescope technology develops to the point where we can view objects 27.4 billion (i.e. 2 x 13.7 billion) light years away, we may see an antimatter world very similar to our own.

So where is all the antimatter that was created during the Big Bang? It may exist in the galaxies of another universe, far away in a time prior to the Big Bang.