Men Like Gods

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No. 104: Mar-Apr 1996

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Men Like Gods

With the theft of the title from one of H.G. Wells' novels, we attend to an article that appeared in the London Times last summer. The article was based upon a paper written for the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society by Prof. E. Harrison. If, said Harrison, some properties of the universe had been just a tad different, our universe would be barren of stars, light, and of course life itself. He mentions such properties as the strength of gravity, the charge on the electron, and the speed of light. Why, he and many others have mused, are these critical properties so precisely adjusted so as to permit the existence of life -- and us? Harrison lists three answers:

oThis is the way God wanted it to be. Further inquiry is unnecessary.

oIf the universe were constructed any other way, we wouldn't be here to ask such silly, anthropomorphic questions! Some find this "anthropic principle" to be no answer at all.

oOur universe was actually created and its properties fine-tuned by nonsupernatural entities of superior intelligence living in another universe. [These beings apparently get a kick out of manufacturing other universes, or perhaps it's a religious imperative for them!]

Before you crumple up this issue of SF and hurl it at very high energy into a wastebasket, consider these two paragraphs from the Times article.

"'We are beginning to see how universes can be created,' Professor Harrison says. 'A small amount of matter -- roughly 10 kg -- at very high energy is forged into a black hole. Under the correct conditions, the interior of the black hole inflates into a new universe that endures for billions of years and contains billions of galaxies.'

"At most, he argues, human intelligence is only one million years old. 'If we can already see how in principle universes can be created, then surely our descendants in the far future will have the knowledge and technology to design and create them.'"

(Hawkes, Nigel; "Aliens May Have Created Universe, Says US Scientist," London Times, August 21, 1995. Cr. B. Greenwood via L. Farish, UFO Newsclipping Service, #2 Caney Valley Drive, Plumerville, AR 72127-8725)

Comment. So, if we evolve further, as we must be doing, we can create new universes ourselves and truly be like gods! And we look down on the alchemists of yore.

From Science Frontiers #104, MAR-APR 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss