Peer Pressure in the Wrong Direction

Our friends don’t always give us good advice and many times push us in the wrong direction.  We may receive better advice from our parents, but may not realize it until we are parents ourselves.  The problem with friends is that they are primarily motivated to make their lives better than your life.  If you do well, they may be a bit jealous, so don’t count on too much support.  In fact, you may find that you have been sabotaged by friends who couldn’t stand your success.

Yet, peers are very important to us as we reach the adolescent stage.  We want to be members of a gang or clique.  We want to be accepted in a group, but at what cost?  We may have to give up our independent identity and conform to the group norm.  And that applies to most any association, whether church group or criminal gang.

And once you pass the test to be admitted to that gang, your life will belong to that group.  You will be owned by that association.  Your thoughts and actions will be controlled by the pack.  There have been many examples over the years where individuals could not believe what they did in out-of-control mobs.  The Germans did not understand why they supported Hitler.  Peer pressure exerts tremendous mind control over individuals.

So how do we interact with others without succumbing to peer pressure?  Perhaps the best way is to always think independently of others.  I remember in law school, we set up study groups to prepare for exams.  The study groups got out of control when they started cutting cases out of the library law books so that other students would not have those cases to study.  Always keep your moral compass handy when you are around these groups.  It will point you in the right direction when they are attempting to lead you down the wrong path.

Why is peer pressure so important to you?  Just remember that you will have a better life without following the group.  Groups head in the wrong direction about 90% of the time.  That’s because their decisions are rarely based on study and thought.  Typically, emotions and intuition lead the pack.  Always keep your head when others are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

And always ask why before doing anything.  If the justification for the action is “just because we can” or “why not?” then you better rethink the action.  I remember when I was in a fraternity, the active members asked me to join them in an act which would physically harm the pledges.  I asked them “why?” and they told me because we had always done it.  I told them “no” and was almost blackballed out of the fraternity.  But it taught me a lesson about people.  Many times you will have to go against the grain in order to do the right thing.  But it is always worth it.

Was I Predestined to Write This Article on Predestination?

When I positioned the seat of my pants against the seat of a chair and started typing, was this predestined to happen?  If I had writer’s block or simply decided that I wanted to work outside, would that have changed this moment in time?  Or was my writing already cast in stone and I had no option other than to sit down and wrestle with this article?

Predestination is a thread that runs through theology, philosophy, and science.  Religions have struggled with the question of whether everything has already been predetermined by God.  Some religions answer that God knows everything that will happen in our lives, but God permits us to make our mistakes.  Some say that believers and sinners are all predestined for those roles, while others say that only believers are predestined, leaving the others to choose during their lives.

Some pre-Kantian philosophers saw the past, present, and future as being rolled up into one huge eternal “present” from God’s perspective.  If God is orchestrating life from moment to moment, then everything is predestined to happen just as ordered by God.  Many of the pre-Kantian philosophers were more like scientists who examined predestination based on their experiences and what they understood a posteriori.  Kant’s theory was based on the innate, a priori, knowledge.  In effect, our behavior has a predisposition, but is not predestined.  We have a propensity to do the right thing, but we still have the freedom to make decisions.  God has given us both a conscience and the freedom to choose our paths in life.

Scientists have examined the control within our universe, which arguably is a form of predestination, but again I refer to it a predisposition.  For example, gravity and orbits may cause planets to circle our sun, but there are many variables that come into play as to how the solar system is positioned today.  And millions of years from now, it will look different.  The propensity for planets to orbit the sun does not preordain their future positions in the solar system.  The delicate balance of order and chaos within our universe can be upset to create an entirely different future.  Scientists can guess what the future might be, but they can never be assured that they are correct because the future is not predestined.  Quantum mechanics, by itself, assures us that there are many possibilities of what the future will hold for us.

Science helps us understand one aspect of predestination within our universe.  The theory of conservation of mass and energy which states that the sum total of mass and energy within our universe will always be the same is another way of saying that our universe is predestined to having a finite amount of mass and energy.  And it might even be argued that our universe is predestined to respond infinitely, perhaps alternating between the Big Bang and the Big Crunch forever.  Even though mass and energy may transform back and forth, the total will always remain the same.

This might be interpreted to mean that our universe has an edge that retains all the mass and energy within it.  In other words, we live in a closed universe.  If this were true, then the creator would have had to create outside that boundary.  The creation would have inserted mass and energy inside that closed system, so that it would only have had a predisposition and not a predestined universe.  The proclivity to do certain things in our universe does not eliminate chance, choices, and selection.

So, when I asked if I was predestined to write this article, the answer is a resounding “no.”  I may have had an inclination and a propensity to write it, but I made a decision to do so and took the action, independently of any outside forces.


Do We Know God Instinctively?

Do we know about God through our instincts or do we know God through our experiences?  In short, would we know God without others writing and talking about Him?

We certainly have no physical evidence of God, so we might argue that the proof is circumstantial.  In other words, we know there is a God since we know we exist, thus we infer that there was a creator of our existence.  We, in effect, know there is a God, a priori or through deduction.

It is important to find God through your own instincts because relying on what others say or do could be problematic.  Just because millions of people believe something has absolutely no value in the afterlife when it will be you thinking and interfacing with God one-on-one.

Only your thoughts matter from the point of death into the dark universe.  Only your beliefs will be important as you pass the event horizon into the new world.  What others thought about your life and your actions may not carry any weight in God’s realm.  They will not be pleading your case.  Assuming that you are still thinking at death, your sentence will be between you and the judge, your creator.

Are we motivated to believe in God as a way to better accept our mortality?  Are we motivated to believe in God by a religious instinct?  Are we motivated to believe in God because of a need to deal with our ultimate demise?  Did we create God to fulfill not only our basic needs, but also esteem and self-actualization needs as described by Maslow?  Are we conditioned by religious and political leaders to believe in God to help control our behaviors?  Are we hard-wired to believe in God based on our genes and other biological bases?

We may never know the answer for sure until we reach the point of death.  At that moment when we are brain dead, if we are still thinking, then we will know that our brain will decompose while our thoughts will continue on into a new arena.

You will have a great deal of control initially since the thoughts will belong to you; however, unfortunately, that control will dissipate very quickly as chaos will consume you.  We all feel that we can control most events, but the afterlife will not be one of those events.  Only God can be your guide through the afterlife.  It will be a completely foreign universe to us, so we will require a guide in order to survive the journey.

We need to leave our experiences behind when we enter the kingdom of the dead.  We must not think about the bad things that we did during life.  Christianity tells us that all our sins are forgiven.  That’s the same thing.  Don’t bring any of that baggage with you on the trip.  You have to let it go completely.

So God must be based on our intuition at the point of death.  We will feel his presence and he will be inside our thoughts so that we will unify as one.  When we die, we should turn our thoughts over to God.  That will not be easy, but it must be done.

Instinct vs. Choices

Homo sapiens have been provided some instincts such as self preservation and species preservation, but we seem to be different than all the other animals on this planet in that we also make choices, unrelated to obtaining food, shelter, or sex.  As an example, we may make decisions based on whether we consider the act as being right or wrong.  This seems to separate us from the others in our animal kingdom.

This gift of a decision-making process does not come without consequences, though.  Even if you do not believe in consequences in an afterlife, there are consequences within our lives.  If you choose the door with the tiger behind it, you will, more than likely, be eaten.

Biological psychologists wrestle with some very difficult questions.  (1) Can our minds work independently of our brains?  (2) Why do humans have an ethical basis for their decisions?  (3) How does heredity influence behavior?  We will discuss these questions later to see how they impact our choices.

But let’s start with instinct.  Instinct is a label for a category of behaviors that are found in different species.  When we say that female elephants take care of their babies based on a maternal instinct, this is only a label that does not explain how the behavior developed in elephants.  But these labels are important and seem fairly consistent throughout the animal kingdom.  Many species have a maternal instinct, which helps preserve the species.  Some biological psychologists avoid the term instinct as being offensive to their studies, but it is very beneficial when talking in general terms.

There is a strong maternal instinct in our species.  Our brains are hard-wired to protect our young since this allowed humans to survive predators in the wild.  Many mammals have young that are not strong enough to run away from a hungry predator, so an instinct to preserve our species is deep within us.  Humans don’t wonder whether there will be consequences to us.  We react instinctively when we protect our young.

Now, let’s examine choices.  When our species makes a decision, is it because biological factors forced a behavior or did they enable the behavior to occur?  For example, there are areas of your brain that increase the likelihood of you being pushed into aggressive behavior.  But you will make choices on your response to that force.  Your past experiences, the current social setting, the legal consequences, and current motivations will all come into play when you make a decision.  When murderers were asked if they chose to commit the murders, they answered in the affirmative.  You make choices every day and there are always consequences, which temper your decisions.

So, let’s examine the first question above:  can our minds work independently of our brains?  There are two theories:  (1) the dualists believe that our brains interact with our minds, while (2) the monists believe that the brain is a machine and consciousness is irrelevant to its functioning.  Most religions follow dualism since when our brains die, we arguably continue thinking with our minds.  And our ethical and moral values play a significant role in making choices.  Descartes, a French philosopher, was a dualist who believed that there was something other than the brain that recognized that “I think, therefore I am.”

If you believe that we respond like machines, then we really don’t have any choices.  We are predestined to do everything that we do.  We would be hard wired to make decisions.  If this were true, wouldn’t we all be making the same basic decisions?  For example if we found a lost wallet with $100,000 inside it, would everybody make the same decision on what to do with the money?  You would have some people who would return the wallet and money and others who would return only the wallet and pretend that they found it without the cash inside.  The final choice will be based on many complex factors and should not be a typical mechanical decision.

This is a transition to the second question: why do humans have an ethical basis for their decisions?  Is there a part of our brain that has a conscience?  There may be parts of the brain that may be stimulated to provide relief from pain or depression.  But it is not known if the brain can be manipulated to provide a conscious in the decision-making process.  In other words, can a portion of the brain be stimulated to make a person make better choices based on something other than personal gains?

The answer why our species seems to be unique when it struggles with ethical decisions is based on many factors.  Certainly, how we are perceived by others, our religious beliefs, and how penal systems will respond to our actions may forge a conscious.  Man struggles mightily with ethics, so there must be some reason that is lodged somewhere in our thoughts, different than in our brains.

Then the final question is: how does heredity influence behavior?  An ontogenetic explanation of our behavior starts with our genes and traces how the genes combine with the influence of the environment and our experiences to produce the final outcome.  The genes that were more successful were passed on to future generations as the genetic makeup that had weaknesses were phased out over the years.  For example Homo sapiens probably had a conservative gene that made our species more cautious and patient in our responses.  Those of our early species who were too impatient were eaten by predators, so natural selection preserved those genetic propensities to take our time and think things through before jumping into harm’s way.

As we discussed, birds do not need to be taught how to build nests since that behavior is largely instinctual.  However, humans need to be taught nearly everything we do.  We have a survival instinct for ourselves and our species, but we make most of our decisions with our minds in gear, not our brains.  We make many conscious choices every day based on our individual moral fiber.  So it may come as a shock to many people that genetic differences are also an important determinant of variation in a wide range of human behaviors.  A growing list of behaviors— including major measurable aspects of personality, political conservatism, religiosity, occupational attitudes, social attitudes, marital status, and even television watching—have all been shown to be inherited traits.

In conclusion, our decisions frame who we are and who we want to be during our lives.  But our decisions also play a significant role in the afterlife.  In other words if you are still thinking when you die, then your brain will decompose leaving your mind to continue into the afterlife.  The choices that you made during your lifetime will follow your thoughts after death.

Politicians Are More Dangerous than Terrorists

It is a very sad comment that today’s politicians are more dangerous than terrorists.  Politicians are much more likely to destroy the American system and our way of life than any terrorist organization.

One of my favorite jokes around springtime tells the rest of the story.  Towards the end of March, I would state that it was time to clean out the house… but don’t forget to also clean out the Senate.

So both Democrats and Republicans are guilty.  They may have good intentions early in their careers, but they get sucked into the corrupt system within a few months of arrival in Washington.  When I worked at the Pentagon and the Navy Yard as a fraud attorney, I had occasion to work with NCIS, the Department of Justice, and the FBI.

I was constantly bringing up good fraud cases against Senior Executive Service civilians and high ranking officers of the military, but these cases never went anywhere.  Why?  Because the culture in Washington was corrupt from middle management up to the top.  Everybody wanted to look the other way when federal managers did something unethical.  The only cases I successfully prosecuted were against lower managers and regular employees.  There is a double standard in Washington.

And this is even worse with politicians.  I asked an FBI agent why we never prosecuted Congressmen who were taking bribes every day.  He told me that it was difficult proving that the amounts given were not campaign contributions.  He also told me that there was a wicked culture in DC that was entrenched.  Anybody attempting to change that would lose their jobs or disappear.

It was difficult for me to watch all the politicians… and let me repeat… ALL the politicians accept compensation from special interest groups.  The real compensation for politicians is not their salaries, but it is the tremendous amount of money they receive from organizations who bribe them to do their bidding.

Several decades ago, Congressmen were only dangerous to our country because they did not represent Americans, but only their self interests.  However, today there is a new breed of politician who is even more dangerous.  These new politicians are interested in creating a world order that will be totalitarian in nature.  But don’t think for a second that it will be beneficial to you.  It will benefit these new leaders because they will rule the world.  They can then take anything they want and leave the rest of us in the cold or dead, which is very typical of all totalitarian leaders throughout history.

You can see the political posturing in the news, but please try to think what a politician’s real motivation is.  For example, when President Obama promised executive action that would give nearly five million illegal immigrants temporary work permits and amnesty, this really is designed to add more voters for a Democratic president who will continue pushing for a new world order.  The White House was spinning that Obama’s unilateral action was not “amnesty” and that it would “ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.”

Republicans are pushing for comprehensive amnesty legislation in order to avoid losing the next presidential election because of these potential voters.  Some of these five million immigrants may find ways to vote at the polls, but the real increase in voters who will support the Democrats are the families and friends of these immigrants.  Also, new Democratic supporters may rise exponentially in the next two years as Americans may become frustrated by the “gridlock” that could be caused by the actions of both parties.  The Republicans will take the greatest part of the blame.

Executive Agreements and Executive Orders have been used for decades and the Supreme Court has never ruled any of them unconstitutional.  The best option for Congress is to exercise its control of the power of the purse.  However, we have never had the executive branch so intent on using its agreements and orders for political purposes to create a new world order or worldwide totalitarian regime much like in Huxley’s and Orwell’s books.

Because of the nature of the political beast that exists in DC, it is not likely that America will avoid being drawn into the giant totalitarian whirlpool that awaits it.  I predict that millions of people will be sent to concentration camps and murdered until only weak-minded citizens remain behind to be enslaved by the new world order.

It is interesting to note that history has not been kind to the original leaders like Lenin, who might have had a genuine interest in helping the people.  The only survivors will be those who are completely evil and those who are completely dominated and offer no resistance.  Where will you fit in this new scheme of things?



Has Man Been Around for Millions of Years?

How long has man been around on our planet?  Well, it depends on your definition of man.  If by   man, you mean Homo sapiens, then the answer is no.  We have only been on earth for about 200,000 years.  But if you mean man to include our ancestor, Homo erectus, the answer is yes.  We have been around about two million years.

The ultimate common ancestor of all modern people was an early Homo erectus in Africa who lived at least 1.8 million years ago.   Early African Homo erectus fossils, dating back to about 1.8 million years ago, are the oldest known early humans to have possessed modern human-like body proportions.  These features are considered adaptations to the loss of earlier tree-climbing adaptations, including the ability to walk and possibly run long distances.

The most complete fossil individual of this species is known as the ‘Turkana Boy’ – a well-preserved skeleton, dating around 1.6 million years old.  Microscopic study of the teeth indicates that he grew up at a growth rate similar to that of a great ape.  The Turkana Boy does not look much like modern man.  Actually, he looks more apelike.  But there is fossil evidence that this species cared for old and weak individuals.  The appearance of Homo erectus in the fossil record is also often associated with the earliest axes, the first major innovation in stone tool technology.

The earliest skeletal evidence of modern man, Homo sapiens, also came from Africa.  These finds were about 200,000 years old.  They then appear in Southwest Asia around 100,000 years ago and elsewhere in the Old World by 60,000-40,000 years ago.  This evidence seems to support the argument that Homo sapiens came out of Africa, sometimes referred to as the “replacement model.”

The alternative model was called “regional continuity,” which theorized that Homo sapiens originated regionally rather than out of Africa.  The DNA data seems to support the regional theory.

Geneticists at Oxford University found that the human betaglobin gene is widely distributed in Asia but not in Africa.  Since this gene is thought to have originated more than 200,000 years ago, it undercuts the claim that an African population of modern Homo sapiens replaced East Asian archaic humans less than 60,000 years ago.

It is apparent that both the complete replacement and the regional continuity models have difficulty accounting for all of the fossil and genetic data, so it might be best to take a middle position, the assimilation theory.  It takes a middle ground and incorporates both of the models.

Gunter Brauer, of the University of Hamburg in Germany, proposed that the first modern humans did, in fact, evolve in Africa, but when they migrated into other regions they did not simply replace existing human populations.  Rather instead, they interbred to a limited degree with late archaic humans resulting in hybrid populations.  In Europe, for instance, the first modern humans appear in the archaeological record rather suddenly around 45,000 years ago.  The abruptness of the appearance of these Cro-Magnon people could be explained by their migrating into the region from Africa via an eastern Mediterranean coastal route.

They apparently shared Europe with Neanderthals for another 12,000 years or more.  During this long time period, it is argued that interbreeding occurred and that the partially hybridized predominantly Cro-Magnon population ultimately became modern Europeans.  In 2003, a discovery was made in a Romanian cave named Peştera cu Oase that supports this hypothesis.  It was a partial skeleton of a 15-16 year old male Homo sapiens who lived about 30,000 years ago or a bit earlier.  He had a mix of old and new anatomical features.  The skull had characteristics of both modern and archaic humans.  This could be explained as the result of interbreeding with Neanderthals according to Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis. 

Alan Templeton, also of Washington University, reported that a computer-based analysis of 10 different human DNA sequences indicated that there has been interbreeding between people living in Asia, Europe, and Africa for at least 600,000 years.  This is consistent with the hypothesis that humans expanded again and again out of Africa and that these emigrants interbred with existing populations in Asia and Europe.  It is also possible that migrations were not only in one direction–people could have migrated into Africa as well.  If interbreeding occurred, it may have been a rare event.  This is supported by the fact that most skeletons of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon people do not show hybrid characteristics.

Will We Have Another Big Bang?

Scientist are comfortable that there was a Big Bang, but will there be more?  Is it possible that a Big Bang will occur again when triggered by an event similar to what causes a supernova?

If stars are at least 25 times bigger than our sun, they will undergo a violent end to their lives, terminating in what scientists call a supernova.  These larger stars burn their hydrogen and fuse hydrogen into helium.  Then helium is fused into beryllium and then into carbon.  These jumbo stars burn carbon for about 600 years, and then they burn neon for about one year.  Oxygen burning occurs for about six months.  The core will reach temperatures of about three billion degrees, fusing silicon into iron in about one day.  As the core shrinks, it increases in density.  Electrons are forced to combine with protons to make neutrons and more neutrinos, called neutronization.  The core cools and becomes an extremely rigid form of matter.  This entire process only takes a fraction of a second.

The core will be about the size of our planet at this point, compressed to near the breaking point.  Since iron is not a fuel, the burning stops.  The sudden halt of energy generation causes the core to collapse even more. The material surrounding the iron core collapses so fast that it smashes into the core and then rebounds in an explosion called a supernova.  The energy released during this explosion is so immense that the star will out shine an entire galaxy for a few days. Supernova can be seen in nearby galaxies, about one every 100 years.

Scientists can sometimes make comparisons and draw analogies to other events throughout the universe.  Is the supernova event similar to a Big Bang?  It certainly sounds a lot like it.  So what are the similarities?  Well, we know that the Big Bang sounds a lot like what happens to the material in a supernova.  Would the Big Bang have a triggering event like iron that would create it again?  It might.  The death of a star as mass is converted to energy sounds similar to the death of our universe as its mass is converted to dark energy.  The matter in our universe, if it is being compressed like the star’s core, may explode in a Big Bang event, similar to a supernova, but on a much larger scale.

Another Big Bang might occur if the dark energy were causing the matter in our universe to compress.  If we are in a shrinking universe and dark energy is causing this collapse of matter, then there will be a time when the matter in the universe would be collapsed to such a small point when it would explode again as another Big Bang.  Then we will have an infinite process of going from a Big Bang to a Big Crunch and back again.

Conservation of Ratio of Mass to Energy

Scientists are very familiar with the law of Conservation of Mass and Energy, which in a nutshell means that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe will always remain the same.  But mass can convert to energy and energy can transform back to mass.  However, does the ratio of mass to energy, which is about 73% to 27%, remain the same?

Scientists believe that the ratio of hydrogen to the remaining matter, which is about 75%, has been that percentage since the Big Bang.  In other words, there is a conservation of the amount of hydrogen in the universe.  Even though many stars are burning their hydrogen supply, there is a counterweight force as stars being born create more hydrogen to replace that amount which is converted to helium.  Some scientists believe that dark matter, including the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, is the regulating force that creates new hydrogen to keep the universe in balance.  So, is there a similar conservation of the ratio of mass to energy?

Dark energy is a recent concept developed to explain the missing amount inferred through mathematics to explain why the universe does not stop expanding and then reverse direction and collapse on itself under the weight of its own gravity.  This may be Einstein’s “cosmological constant” describing the intrinsic expansive energy associated with a vacuum.  The amount of dark energy would be directly dependent upon the volume taken up by vacuum in the universe. This would mean that as the universe expanded, dark energy would become more abundant. If dark energy were a repulsive force, an increase in would lead to an acceleration in the universe’s expansion, which seems to be supported by the “red shift” first detected by Hubbell.

However, scientists are reluctant to entertain ideas that are outside the standard box.  Well, let’s examine a new perspective.  There is evidence to clearly support the original expansion caused by the Big Bang, but the law of entropy shows that the expansion should have eventually slowed down.  The red shift showing acceleration could also be explained by a shrinking universe.  If the galaxies remained proportional to each other with the same degree of contraction, they would pull away from each other, thus causing a red shift.

Most cosmologists believe that our universe is expanding at increasing speeds headed into a dark corner of the universe with no other galaxies in sight.  But this infinite universe does not comport with the theory of a closed universe.  Since the total amount of mass and energy in our universe remains constant, this seems more likely to be the case in a closed universe.  Also, the big picture of our universe appears to be large filaments of mass held together by dark energy.  In other words, our universe appears to have edges that form a container for the total mass and energy.  Further, there is a consistency within our universe that seems to be housed by boundaries.

So, does the ratio between mass and energy remain the same?   The answer may be no.  If dark energy were the primary force in either expansion or contraction of the mass, it would have to grow in strength in order to account for the acceleration of either repelling or compressing the mass.  If dark energy accelerated its pushing of the mass, the energy would have to expand in order to fill the vacuum left by the missing matter.   On the other hand, if dark energy caused the mass to shrink, it would have to increase its percentage of the remaining universe.

Scientists using data collected by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope have found that quasars are grouped together in large filaments throughout the universe as if they were linked.  Many of the quasars’ rotation axes were aligned with each other, despite the fact that these quasars are separated by billions of light-years.   The rotation of these filaments seems to be universal as if they were all connected.

If dark matter and visible matter were connected, then they could be part of a unified structure of mass within our universe that will be just like interconnected cells in our bodies.  Cells will die, but then they are replaced.  These webs of galaxy clusters look like nerves in muscle tissue.  The dark energy, representing the muscle tissue, could surround and support the mass.

The dark energy could be growing as it feeds on the mass within our universe which is either expanding or contracting.  If our universe is closed, it makes more sense that the universe is shrinking, probably headed back to the original Big Bang.  We might call it the Big Crunch.  And this might form a perpetual time machine that alternates from the expansion of the Big Bang to the contraction of the Big Crunch and then back to the expansion again.

The Missing 96%

Scientists indicate that only 4% of the mass and energy in the universe is visible.  They infer the other 96% based on gravitational influence on the visible universe.  In other words, they calculate its existence using math to fill in the gaps.

What is this missing 96%?  Well, typically about 73% of the missing universe is called dark energy and about 23% of the universe is called dark matter.

Richard Panek’s new book, “The 4 Percent Universe,” explains how dark matter and dark energy were discovered.  Logically, the outermost stars of a galaxy would orbit more slowly than those stars closer to the center.  However, all the stars in a galaxy, no matter where they were located, circled the super massive black hole in the center of the galaxy at roughly the same speed.  If there were no dark matter and dark energy, the galaxies would be breaking apart.

Using models, scientists proved that a galaxy including only the visible portion (stars, planets, comets, asteroids, gas clouds, etc.) would disintegrate very quickly.  It takes a mass and energy force of about six times that of the visible portion to keep it intact.  That would match the approximate 23% deemed to be dark matter.

But what is dark matter?  A popular theory is that dark matter consists of exotic particles that don’t interact with regular matter, or even light, and so are invisible.  Yet their mass exerts a gravitational pull, just like normal matter, which is why they affect the velocities of stars and other phenomena in the universe.  However, try as hard as they might, scientists have yet to detect any of these particles, even with tests designed specifically to target their predicted properties.  Still, some scientists hope that experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Geneva may solve the riddle.

But what is dark energy?  Dark energy appears to be even more elusive than dark matter.  It was discovered about 20 years ago when two teams of researchers were trying to figure out if the universe would keep spreading out forever or if it would eventually turn on itself in a “Big Crunch.”  Scientists measured the velocities of supernovas to determine how fast they were moving away from us.  They found out that the universe was accelerating its expansion.  This didn’t make sense since the gravity of the visible mass should have been slowing down the expansion.  There was a powerful force at work that was counteracting the force of gravity and was causing the visible universe to accelerate.  They called this force dark energy.

You might imagine that galaxies, galaxy clusters, and dust clouds look like filaments strung together like nerves inside the muscle mass of our bodies.  The 3% visible universe added to the 23%, consisting of black holes and a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy might form the structure of those filaments, while the muscle mass could be equated to the dark energy that holds the nerves in place.  In other words, dark energy could be all around us and perhaps inside us, holding everything that we know together like universal glue.  It may be similar to Einstein’s space-time fabric, except it might be considered to be the dark-light fabric, including dark energy, dark matter, and our visible universe all locked together in one universal fabric.

If most galaxies are rapidly moving away from each other, then are they expanding or contracting?  This is a fair question because either expansion or shrinking would cause the galaxies to appear to be moving away from each other.  If the galaxies were uniformly impacted by a dark energy that caused them to decrease in size, they would appear to be distancing themselves from each other just the same as if they were moving away from each other.

So, which is more likely?  If expansion were going on, it would be similar to inflating a balloon and watching the galaxies move away from each other.  But an increasing rate of expansion would be likely only if the majority of the dark energy were in the space uninhabited by our visible universe, drawing it toward it as it got closer to a huge reservoir of that dark energy.  Of course, dark energy also could be repelling the visible universe.  But whether it is pushing or pulling, it is only movement causing a repositioning of the same 4% of the visible universe.

However, the universe appears to be very consistent.  In other words, a rapid acceleration caused either by the push or pull of dark energy would have disrupted the homogeneous universe, stretching everything apart.  As the galaxies distanced themselves from each other, the dark energy might fill in the empty space, but this probably would dilute the effect on the expanding galaxies.  In effect, if the dark energy were also stretched to fill in the void, there would be less of it to push or pull the visible universe.  Our visible universe should be decelerating in speed.

But a contraction of our visible universe would simply make the same consistent universe smaller.  In other words, the matrix of the visible universe would remain uniform.  As between two galaxies, they would appear to be moving away from each other, but rather instead, they would be decreasing in size.

The law of conservation of mass and energy states that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe must remain constant.  So if the visible universe were shrinking, dark energy should be increasing.  The reduction in size of galaxies would cause a transformation to increase the percentage of dark energy.  In effect, over millions of years, the 4% of our visible universe should be 3% with either dark matter or dark energy gobbling up that 1%.  But this does not seem to be the case.  The ratio may have been the same since the Big Bang and is not changing.

This is analogous to the ratio of hydrogen, about 75%, to helium, about 23%, and the rest of the elements, about 2%.  It may not be a coincidence that it is about the same ratio as dark energy to dark matter to the visible universe.  As hydrogen burns, it is fused into helium, and subsequently into other elements.  However, many scientists believe that this ratio has remained constant since the Big Bang.

So what is going on that these ratios do not change?  That is a question for another article.  But there may be localized transformations of mass to energy, so that our sun is definitely losing its supply of hydrogen, turning it into helium, energy, and other elements.  And local galaxies may well be losing their mass, turning it into dark matter or dark energy.

As the dark matter and dark energy increased proportionately to these galaxies, this would have a more powerful impact.  In effect, there should be an acceleration of the shrinking of local galaxies, which is exactly what we see in the red shift among galaxies.

Was Our Universe Created?

All the questions about our universe and our lives in this universe can be boiled down to: was our universe created? If it were created, then there are many things beyond our universe that we can only imagine, but one of which was the mystery of our creation outside our universe. The Big Bang would only be the manifestation of what happened as the created matter and energy entered our universe. But the creation, itself, would have been outside our universe.

If you believe that there never was a creation, then there can never be a termination either. In effect, our universe would be infinitely churning matter and energy through a recycling process. All matter and energy within our universe could be transformed from matter to energy and vice versa, but never could be destroyed. This is the law of conservation of matter and energy, which means that the total amount of mass and energy in our universe will always be the same.

Creation, if it happened, could have only occurred outside our universe. In order for there to be a creation, our universe must have a boundary, so that the creation can develop outside our universe. We might be saying that if there is no creation, then there is no limit to our universe. For example inflation of the universe could continue until all the galaxies and eventually stars were isolated by themselves enveloped in darkness as the distance between stars increased over time. I don’t know how non-creationists could believe in the Big Bang though. The only idea that might work would be an alternating process between a Big Bang and a Big Crunch, which would have no beginning or ending.

It is rather depressing to think that there was no creation. That means that we are stuck in an eternal universe without any hope of creation or destruction. That sounds rather boring and like a prison sentence. And could matter and energy pop up out of nowhere… a form of spontaneous generation? Well, it is possible, but not probable.

Most everything we see in our universe is moving in an orbit.  And even things that we cannot see like electrons are moving in an orbit.  In other words, most of both our macroworld and microworld have orbits with boundaries.  And if our universe is an eternal recycling or perpetual motion machine, it too will have a boundary as it cycles back and forth.

But even if you only believe that our universe is in motion, you must ask what started that motion?  And the natural law of entropy indicates that the motion will eventually stop.  What keeps it going?  Even if we argue that dark matter and dark energy are fully employed within our universe to keep the motion going, we cannot avoid the earlier question:  what started the motion?

It only seems logical that creation must be interjected into the picture in order for us to have an original motion, whether it be the Big Bang or some other act of creation. Interestingly enough, most scientists believe in the Big Bang and an unlimited universe that will expand forever. These are inconsistent theories. The Big Bang is a theory explaining how our universe was created, while infinite expansion is a theory of a universe which has no boundary. Creation occurred on the other side of the Big Bang, which is the best evidence of a fence around our universe.

Whether there are multi-universes which have been created is not ripe for discussion. We don’t have enough information. We live in a universe where maybe less than one percent is visible. Perhaps not all the universe is observable, much like when we look toward the horizon on earth, we cannot see the skyscrapers in the next town. And we certainly cannot see dark matter and dark energy, which is about 96% of the known universe.

But we do know that we are aware of our existence of earth. This consciousness is probably something that was created. Logically, there must have been a creation or everything would be motionless and dead.