A Rational Cosmology

Chapter II:

The Universe

G. Stolyarov II

A Journal for Western Man-- Issue XLI-- September 16, 2005

Note: This essay is the second chapter of Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive filosofical treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, which can be ordered in electronic format for only $2.50 at http://www.lulu.com/content/140855. Free previews, descriptions, and information on A Rational Cosmology can be found at http://rationalargumentator.com/rc.html.

From its ancient Greek roots, the word “cosmology” means, “study of the universe.” This is an extremely broad and fundamental designation, as cosmology is, indeed, extremely broad and fundamental -- too broad and fundamental, for that matter, to be categorized as a mere branch of fysics. Yet what is meant by this term, “cosmos,” or “universe”? What is it exactly that cosmology studies?

“Universe” means “everything that exists.”

The word “universe” derives from the Latin universum, meaning “the whole world,” that is, “everything.” The term “universe” does not denote an entity, however.  It is the sum of all entities that exist. It is not a “whole” in the sense that a planet, a star, or even a galaxy is a “whole.” As a matter of fact, it would be absurd to state that Chicago, Quasimodo, a telescope, and a hippopotamus compose some inextricably whole entity. It follows that it would be even more absurd to state that Chicago, Quasimodo, a telescope, a hippopotamus, and everything else compose some inextricably whole entity. Nevertheless, it seems that, the more absurd a notion is, the greater credibility it has in the eyes of modern empiricist-positivist cosmologists, who constantly refer to the universe as if it were some totality acting in unison.

Nor is the universe a quality. I cannot have “universe” in the same manner as I have color, or shape, or mass. Nevertheless, the term “universe” pertains to me as it pertains to everything else that exists. It encompasses me and everything else that exists.

Nor is the universe a relationship. A relationship is an interaction between or among several entities that affects, in some manner, the qualities of these entities. Yet the term “universe” implies no actions by any entity. It merely denotes the totality of all the entities that exist, whatever their specific natures. These specific natures could necessitate that given entities act and relate in a certain way, but the universe is not in itself an action or relation. It is just a reference to the entirety of those entities which act and relate in some way.

What, then, is the purpose of the term “universe”? If it denotes neither entity, nor quality, nor relationship, why does the term even exist? “Universe” is a collective designation, and is used for one purpose and one purpose only: word economy. The word “universe” is interchangeable with “existence” or “everything that exists.” When one wishes to refer to axioms, principles, and postulates that pertain to everything that exists, it would be terribly inconvenient to start listing each entity that can possibly exist. “Chicago, Quasimodo, a telescope, a hippopotamus, etc… all confirm the axiom of identity.” Thus, the term “universe” is just convenient shorthand for a comprehensive list of all these entities. Given that there are colossally vast quantities of such entities, no man could even begin to create a comprehensive compendium of them within his whole lifetime. Thus, the convenient shorthand of the term “universe” is necessary in order for a man to even begin to convey what precisely he is talking about. Moreover, the term offers added conveniences, such as being transformable into an adjective, “universal,” which means “pertaining to everything that exists.” (As in “universal laws,” for example.)

Several immense implications can be drawn from this analysis.

The universe cannot be created.

If the universe is “everything that exists,” and it could be created, then, whatever entity could create the universe, would be outside that universe. It follows, then, that such an entity would be outside “everything that exists.” An entity “outside” existence does not exist! A non-existent entity cannot do anything. Creation is an action that an entity must perform; it cannot be performed if the entity that would perform it does not exist!

 It is instructive to note that this principle automatically refutes both the theory that “God created the universe” and that “the Big Bang created the universe.” Even if it were possible that all currently known entities were intelligently designed, they could not have been designed by a being that is somehow “beyond existence.” Rather, this being would need to be a delimited entity in its own right, with its own peculiar attributes (qualities) and capacities for action (relationships with other entities). Let the reader recall that everything which is or happens must in some manner involve some entity or entities. There are no such things as “pure” qualities, “pure” relationships, or “pure” creation, apart from the entities that exhibit, relate, and create.

Any Creator of other entities would thus need to exist and be a part of the universe (and it would need to relate to other entities in some manner, as a human creator relates to the entity, “brick,” when he constructs the new entity, “building”). The Creator would not be able to create the universe, the latter being a contradiction in terms. But God is not defined as an entity. As a matter of fact, God is defined precisely as a non-entity, something which does not only lack any set qualities, but which cannot possibly be understood or perceived by anyone anywhere in the universe. God clearly fails the third corollary of identity, which states that any entity must have some relationship to everything else that exists. (God also fails the first and second tests, as it is not defined what qualities God has; if God created the universe, He cannot have any qualities whatsoever, because the universe encompasses every entity that exists and thus every entity that can have qualities.)

There exist numerous other arguments to refute the existence of God and the contention that “God created the universe,” and it is not the purpose of this treatise to delve into them here. Suffice it to say that there has been presented one of many logical refutations to theistic cosmology.

A modern version of the “universe creation” fallacy is the Big Bang theory, largely inspired by the work of empiricist-positivist cosmologist Stephen Hawking. The Big Bang theory proposes that, some 15 billion years ago, the universe was created by the burst of a ”singularity,” this burst subsequently giving rise to the entirety of existent matter. There are logical errors in the very notion of a “singularity,” (as we shall later explore, these errors involve a confusion between the Euclidean mathematical model of a point and the fact that no such points exist in reality, as well as series of common misuses of the term “infinity”) but the Big Bang theory’s flaws extend beyond this. The following questions suffice to disprove its most fundamental contentions: 

* If existence itself was created by the burst of this singularity, then, did or did not the singularity itself, whatever it was, exist, too? If we answer that it did exist, it could not have created the universe, or all of existence. If we answer that it did not exist, then it also could not have created anything, because to create, it is necessary to first have that which creates, i.e., some entity that exists.

 * Assuming that a singularity was a single entity, which exploded to result in the Big Bang, what caused the explosion? Explosion, like generic creation, is an action, and an action is a relationship of multiple entities that results in the alteration of said entities’ qualities. (If only a single entity acts, this is so because this entity is composed of other, smaller, entities that relate amongst each other. If I had a tank of oxygen attached, I could conceivably breathe and move about in a full vacuum, but the only way this could take place is through interaction among the entities composing me: my arms, lungs, nerve tissues, brain, and their multiple levels of sub-components, among many others. My isolated actions are thus still relationships between multiple entities.)   If the singularity were the only entity that existed, and had no component parts that could interact amongst each other, it could not have exploded, nor could it act in any way whatsoever!

Here we find it proper to briefly explicate the derivation of the above conclusion from the identity axiom and its corollaries. An entity is what it is. It is the sum of its qualities. These qualities cannot change without some entity that performs the act of changing them. But if the entity is some single, monolithic, component-less, indivisible thing, such as the Big Bang theory’s definition of a singularity, and it happens to have certain qualities at a given time (such as non-explosivity, for example), and no other entity exists to change these qualities, there is no way that these qualities can be changed! A thing is what it is, and cannot, especially if it lacks volition, spontaneously decide to become something else and assume a different totality of qualities. If such a component-less entity as a singularity were left entirely unto itself, nothing could have influenced a change in its quality of non-explosivity, and it could not have exploded. Without any mechanism to induce an alteration in its qualities, it would have remained just what it was, a singularity. Given the fact that, today, we do not have a mere singularity as the totality of what exists, this scenario evidently did not take place. There was no such singularity, nor did it explode to create everything else! The Big Bang theory is flawed at its core, as is any theory that attempts to describe the “creation of the universe,” a contradiction in terms. There are further grievous errors in Big Bang cosmology, as well as many of the modern empiricist-positivist “science” surrounding it, which we shall explore in greater depth in later sections of this work.

The universe cannot be destroyed.

The universe is existence.  If the universe could be destroyed, then, someday, it would be possible for existence not to exist! Such an assertion stands in clear opposition to the irrefutable axiom of existence. Let the reader recall that the statement “Existence does not exist” is tantamount to saying, ““That which has the essential property of existing does not have the essential property of existing,” or claiming that A does not equal A. (Note that the word “that” in the above frase is not used to denote any single entity, but rather every entity that has the property of existing.)

It is conceivable, that, following the passage of a large amount of time, no entity that currently exists will remain in existence (these entities will be transformed into some other entities). An entity, unlike the universe, must have a beginning and can have an end. But the new entities that come about, whatever they are, will exist, and will comprise the universe. To say that the universe can end at time X is to say that all the entities that exist at time X will simultaneously not exist at time X, which is a blatant contradiction in terms.  

The fact that the universe cannot be destroyed can be used to refute, once again, a whole host of theistic and empiricist-positivist theories, but the most prominent of these is the Big Crunch theory, a companion to the Big Bang theory, which proposes that, someday, the universe should shrink back to form the singularity that gave it rise.

Along with the self-evident contradiction involved in claiming that the universe can ever end, the Big Crunch theory errs in treating the universe as an entity, and, moreover, as a single entity in perpetuity. At the formation of separate entities from a singularity (itself impossible, as we have seen), these entities continue to behave in some coordinated fashion, as if they comprised one entity with a central means of controlling and directing its actions. But, as already stated, the universe is not an entity; it is only the totality of all the distinct entities that exist. That which is not an entity cannot act in any way, for only entities can act. Expansion and contraction are actions inseparable from the entities performing them. Thus, not being an entity, the universe cannot expand or contract

We cannot speak of the universe as doing or having anything qua universe. Even so-called universal attributes, such existence and identity, can be validly termed “universal” because they individually pertain to every entity. Existence is a quality that individual entities have; it is not the quality of some all-encompassing super-thing.

The Big Crunch theory, in its portrayal of the universe’s collapse, may, in its milder incarnations, suggest that multiple entities (that comprise the present universe) will someday become a single homogeneous entity, a singularity, which will consequently comprise the entire universe. However, a homogeneous entity is one that does not have parts that can function as entities themselves. Man, on the other hand, is a heterogeneous entity, as is even an atom composed of distinct protons, neutrons, and electrons. It is possible to aggregate multiple entities into one heterogeneous entity, but not into a homogeneous entity, such as a singularity.

The logic behind the impossibility of creating a homogeneous entity from multiple entities follows thus:

* It is self-evident that the universe consists of many different entities with fundamentally different natures and qualities.

* That which has been made as a combination of different entities must retain in itself some of the qualities and components contributed by the constituent entities in the making of the combined entity. (These qualities could be mass or volume, for example, or they can be even more indicative of the original constituent entities, such as texture, or shape, or length. The components could be atoms, or protons, or large molecules, or even whole macroscopic stretches of an entity made from a given element, for example.)

* Different entities have different qualities and different components, and will contribute different qualities and different components to the making of the aggregate entity.

* Having different qualities and different components within an entity automatically prevents that entity from being homogeneous (i.e. being made of no distinct, separable components).

It is logically impossible for multiple entities that currently exist or could potentially exist to combine into a homogeneous “singularity.” It has already been demonstrated that a singularity could not have been the beginning of the universe, nor can it be the universe’s end. Moreover, it will be shown in further discussions that singularities cannot exist altogether.

Homogeneous Entities: The Qualifications:

Mention must be made of the fact that man does not yet know of any homogeneous entity that really exists! Even the smallest subatomic particle currently perceptible is thought to possess distinct components that can be studied as entities in themselves. The qualifications for being a homogeneous entity are the following.

1) Uniform distribution of every quality possessed. For example, the density of a homogeneous entity must be uniform throughout.

2) Impossibility of complete spatial separation. A heterogeneous entity, such as an atom, could (though does not necessarily need to) have its components separated by relatively vast distances over which parts of the heterogeneous entity are not encountered. (This is what is referred to as the “empty space” between an atom’s electrons and its nucleus.) However, were a homogeneous entity thus separable, this would imply that the measurements of its qualities would necessarily not be uniform throughout. Thus, every component of a homogeneous entity must be spatially connected to every other component by stretches of distance that encompass the same homogeneous entity. (A more comprehensive discussion of space and distance will follow in further chapters.) 

3) Inability to act to alter itself. A thing that is something cannot spontaneously become something else without undergoing definite fysical transformations. These fysical transformations entail nothing more than an alteration in a given entity’s qualities. (These qualities could change in their measurements or in the very fact of their applicability to the entity.) But the only way an existing set of qualities can be affected is by some entity that has a somewhat different set of qualities from the original. An entity that affects its own qualities on the basis of those same qualities would be doing nothing; the qualities could only affect themselves by remaining precisely what they were originally. Thus, to be altered, a homogeneous entity would need some outside entity to interact with it.

It becomes clear from these qualifications that only Democritus’s “atomos” entities, the postulated basic “building blocks” that comprise all more complex entities, could conceivably be homogeneous entities. It is the task of fysics and the specific-observational sciences to verify whether or not such indivisible basic building blocks exist, and what their specific set of qualities is. In the present, the existence of homogeneous entities is a mere hypothesis; cosmology cannot tell us that such entities do indeed exist, but it can inform us what qualifications must be met by an entity that could be termed homogeneous.  

The universe does not have a “shape,” a “boundary,” or an “edge.”

Recent empiricist-positivist speculations have entered the realm of whether or not the universe has a particular geometric shape, whether it is curved, or donut-shaped, or sferical, how far the “edge of the universe” lies, and what is “beyond” that “edge.” God, “parallel universes,” and the possibility of “round-the-universe trips” have been invoked in empiricist-positivist theories attempting to explain these “riddles.” However, there is nothing mysterious about questions such as “What shape is the universe?” or “What is beyond its edge?”  These questions are simply erroneous.

“Shape” is a quality pertaining to an entity (it is a quality derived from a given entity’s measurements in three spatial dimensions, such measurements being a topic for later discussion). “Boundary” is another quality derived from the quantitative extent of a given entity’s measurements in three spatial dimensions. Wherever these measurements end is the entity’s boundary. These are qualities pertaining to entities, but the universe is not an entity. Thus, the universe cannot be cubic, rhombic, octahedral, cylindrical, sferical, or of any other shape. The universe is not a particular entity, and does not have any measurements pertaining to it qua universe. Lacking such measurements, it also lacks any “boundary” at which said measurements would terminate.

Let us also note that this does not imply that the universe is “infinite,” either, i.e., that it has spatial measurements of infinite magnitude; it does not have any measurements whatsoever. Measurements pertain only to entities, and the universe is not an entity. The terms “finite” and “infinite” are of no relevance to the universe, as shall be further shown in “Mistakes Concerning Infinity.”

Moreover, there is nothing beyond the universe. The universe is defined as everything that exists. There cannot be anything more! If we granted that there was something outside the universe, this entity, outside of what exists, would not exist, thus still affirming the fact that there is nothing beyond the universe.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent filosofical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician and composer, contributor to organizations such as Le Quebecois Libre, Enter Stage Right, the Autonomist, and The Liberal Institute. Mr. Stolyarov is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator. He can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

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