Construction Plan of a Universe Gifted to Evolve – Transdisciplinary Analyses of Dynamical Creation Models
Why one should NOT deal with such a construction plan of the universe
Whoever wants to understand the function of something that exists would like to emulate it for a practical validation test, for one’s own use or for further development. Such motivations seem completely utopian for a reproduction of the universe. Nevertheless, people thought about the possibility of playing creator already in the classic philosophy or even in the Bible. As an example, one can take the second story of the genesis, in which we find the snake’s temptation: “To understand and to be like God, the creator of all things” made use of this basic evil in human efforts. Or the story of the tower of Babel, which was built up into heavenly spheres primarily intended to challenge the creator. Also the reproach of Job to God to have made a bad creation or at least “to have it not under control,” was seen by God as an act of arrogance, because Job could not know “the requirements needed to create all the beauties of the world”.
The classic reproach to raise oneself even a little bit to the position of the creator is always looked at as usurpation maybe as the basic sin of the human being. That becomes exemplary at the beginning of the modern time in the figure of Dr. Frankenstein. With the attempt to create a human by himself, he awakes a monster to life and becomes guilty of this creature and all his victims. Even the evolution as a theory of the creation, that believes to have understood, how all life originated, is rejected as usurpation against the creator. Also here we find as a consequence of this process of realization the temptation to lend oneself a hand to the creation for example with the help of the methods of the modern gene technology. Therefore arguments of religious people against this technology contain many aspects of the classic reproach of usurpation against man, trying to raise oneself in the position of the creator.
However, where does this usurpation begin today? If one would like to improve imperfections of the body by seeking the help of a beauty surgeon or by raising anachronistic breeds of dogs, whose look and behavior can only be explained by human craziness? Or with the megalomania of dictators, who create their empire completely based on laws of their own beauty-ideals or maybe first with the cosmic designer? Finally, we still must accept the natural laws. Designing a cosmos with its own laws would be certainly the completion of any megalomania.
A completely different reason not to deal with such a construction plan is the exact contrary assumption, namely, that neither a creator nor such a construction plan has ever existed and that every speculation in this direction leads astray or into disorientation. The philosophy, on which the refusal of such a construction plan is based, is that of coincidence and necessity of all supposedly created.
Such a philosophy does not dispute the existence of sense and plan, but claims that they are always of human origin. The human branch of the evolution found, as an important quality of the survival, the ability to give sense and plan to all things and to themselves. The fact alone, that in the comparison to the methods based until then on accidental changes and selection, this ability has higher effectiveness in the fight of survival, gave rise to something such as the consciousness for sense and plan. These human abilities were not used according to this philosophy of a world conception, when the cosmos was formed and developed, and thus naturally there was no human-conceived tool such as a construction plan either. Plans are human projections for which not the slightest scientific proofs in nature can be found. The nature has not only worked for long periods without us and without our help or intervention, but, above all, also without any of our construction plans.
In summary one can say that the theme of this essay touches a taboo of two extremely controversial but popular ideologies. For the creationists the creation of our universe is a secret directly generated by God and needs no construction plan. For the atheists, creation is only an anthropogenically interpreted illusion, and neither a creator nor any plan of our universe exists. Both ideologies doubt very similarly uniting models like “creation by evolution”. Pioneering transdisciplinary work on such models, such as the books of Teilhard de Chardin, were seen as “heretic” from both sides, showing low acceptance and trust in any kind of transdisciplinarity. In spite of high popularity transdisciplinary works have almost no impact on single scientific disciplines, with problems already in finding a mutually understandable language.
What could nevertheless tempt us to think about such a construction plan?
At first, one could look for examples, where and how far there have already been attempts until now, to work scientifically at least on some aspects of a possible construction plan for the cosmos or just to think about it for various reasons. For this latter case, first of all science fictions come to our mind, such as the “Stars diaries” of Stanislaw Lem or the cinema-success “The Matrix.” Such attempts have in common to come up with entertaining or surprising explanations for some aspects of our reality. The authors usually undertake only very restricted efforts when telling surprising details of the cosmos, to also provide credible reasoning or background. Science fictions want to entertain rather than convince. Therefore, SF-books or films often try to demonstrate a new or somehow a particular cosmos, but rarely give a detailed explanation for it.
The opposite is the case, for books on astrophysics or biology. They explain certain parts of our world how they are built and why they are working. But, usually they are not very entertaining, and interdisciplinary explanations about the question, why the cosmos, the earth or the life come into being, are missing. In this respect, it would need more interdisciplinary and philosophical approaches to many phenomena, what seems often suspicious to the scientists of the individual disciplines and less serious than the separate or individual work in their special discipline. The ever-increasing complexities often demand the complete attention of the scientist to describe the setup of the cosmos in the narrow area of their specialized field. However, a look beyond the borders of one’s own speciality is often necessary to explain the development of this special setup, above all, whenever information and methods from other specialized fields become necessary. In these fields of transition new disciplines have often been developed like the cosmoschemistry for the development of geosciences the biochemistry/pre-biology for the development of life sciences or the paleoanthropology for the development of human sciences.
As an additional important motivation in many areas, the knowledge about the construction of the world can be used for own arrangements e.g. in the framework of human technology. Well known is the example of the bionics, in which man takes over techniques found in the nature or he develops new useful technologies, such as the Global-Positioning system (GPS) on the basis of particular realizations, such as the relativity-theory.
More entertaining and for technical developments more interesting appear experimental-physics or other experimental sciences, that analyze and want to understand a small aspect of the nature by simulation. Many simulated experiments with surprising results can be used extremely entertainingly in shows or one can get the idea in an entertainment park or at a fair to be part of a big experiment oneself.
Experience gained in the development of new games
Quite a different approach is used by experiments, in which man himself sets up the laws and initial conditions. Since we cannot alter the natural laws, one must search or even arrange an independent stage for it. At first this stage can be quite simple, as a parlor game, in which the rules have been fixed per playing instructions. This is quasi the construction manual for an independent small cosmos, in which on the basis of the rules, certain situations of playing can arise without external interference. How far these correspond to the original aspirations of the game designer can in most cases only be found by trying them out, especially if he has integrated in the game random elements such as throwing dice.
When establishing the rules it is not only important that the playing is just and transparent or that it comes to an end. It is the special achievement of the game designer to select the rules so that the game becomes interesting and exciting altogether. For this, on the one hand, it should not be too easily calculable; on the other hand it should support creativity and strategic thinking that need beside logical argumentation a feeling for the further development of the game. The essential difference to detail-experiments is at a game-experiment, that they are not firmly established or foreseeable in detail, but nevertheless offer possibilities to control the overall course with particular capabilities in dependence from the rules.
If therefore the construction manual of the cosmos would rather be something similar to a game instruction book, a completely new set of questions would emerge. With such a construction manual it would not be possible, on the one hand, to look into a set of playing cards of a possible builder, because the cards would be mixed or shuffled again and again. On the other hand, however, we might ask, whether the builder is still in control of the universe, if he can still assume responsibility for his work and for which results. It would be quite annoying that the attention of a game designer sees mainly the overall process, but creatures with individual fate and consciousness seems to be only figures in his game.
In this view of the Creator exactly that would be dropped, which is essential in the concept of a belief in God. When, e.g. Max in the German opera Freischuetz sings: “Does the fate reign blindly? Is no God alive?”, then this shows exactly, which function was intended to be given to God in this philosophy. Would a God in the role of a game designer still be of any interest? Even worse, would such a view of God not be an insult of his name? Hardly any better than the Roman emperors, who have thrown the Christians to the lions as food just as an entertaining game for their people.
Or is this judgment too harsh? At least we have the capability to make our own fate conscious to us ourselves and to fight against being moved around like figures in a game. Is that not already the first step on the road to a recovery? Or is this conscious personal experience of own helplessness not the worst act a God can do to his creatures?
From a scientific view, the possibility to describe the construction of the universe also as a type of playing instructions offers new perspectives and uses some basis realizations, which physics, chemistry and biology found out about the cosmos. However, the great leap to the total universe development capabilities still seems too big for the present state of science – especially, to give a safe assessment, whether the natural laws known to us up to now and currently assumed starting conditions could have lead to the cosmos, as we know and observe it today. Less demanding questions, such as the clarification of single steps of the evolution or their principal feasibility in the framework of such a theory are already difficult enough, and are known objects of the current research.
The suspicion that the position of the Creator as the designer of playing rules is taken even further back, to make him even less tangible for natural sciences and with that to keep his existence open, seems to be obvious in the light of the history. At least that religion criticizers would be right, who say, that a God in the role of a game designer has nothing to do with the original concept of God and his religious functions, which they have refused to accept.
Another criticism to consider would be that this view of the universe is not far-reaching enough. Possibly, our games are only much too trivial, in order to compare them with the possibilities of a game designer of cosmic dimension and complexity. The appealing matter of a possible construction manual for the universe, would be the following: Does the game of the universe, as far we could have realized it, contain hints on the phenomenon and inter-relationships in the steps of evolution, that are compatible with a concept of God, that holds at least some aspects of the image of an almighty, omniscient God with boundless loving kindness. The fact that an image of God cannot fulfill all these qualities simultaneously or it becomes unreasonable, the philosophy of the former centuries already taught us. However, which image is the most credible, can be clarified only by a look at our present scientific knowledge about this subject, what we call creation, and in doing so, we should not hold back our own role or part in it.
What could be the purpose and content of a cosmic construction plan (manual)?
At first, one could think that such a construction manual could be suitable only for exceptionally qualified master builders, who have unlimited resources at their disposal. Since human beings lack such means, we need not deal with, how to handle such huge amounts of energy and matter to be used as building material.
If, as indicated, the manual rather serves as an instruction how to design a functioning game, the master builder should at least have the ability, to select and to fix the relevant details of the rules, under which the cosmic matter is working. Terrestrial physicists, cosmologists and cosmochemists are fortunately not in the position to do so until now and speculate at best in first approaches, how variations of the universal laws could have arisen. Therefore, a construction manual could not have the purpose to fix the rules and starting conditions of a new universe by oneself or to tell, how this might be possible.
A man-made construction manual can only concentrate on the question, how the laws and starting conditions have to be established, so that a universe gets the capability to develop, as well as results arise, similar to the present appearance of our cosmos. Basis for such considerations should be the assumption that the construction must stick to certain laws of logic and causality. Exceptions to it, subsequent readjustments of the cosmos initiated by the creator e.g. in violation of these laws, is at best an ultimate choice, that means, it should be only come under consideration, if all other possibilities can be excluded.
Finally, the purpose of thinking about a hypothetical construction manual of a universe is only to make us fully aware of the connections between the initial conditions and laws of the cosmos with the present appearance of the universe including the earth and the life. Nevertheless also this goal may have an effect on the belief in Creation, which cannot exclude the question, why our universe is capable of evolution, whether this capability is due to a coincidence, a selection-process or the will of a very prospective creator with great foresight and forethought after all. Besides, there are certainly further chances for realizations in such a hypothetical construction manual, specifically, if it is able to give reasonable explanations for the chosen laws, constants and initial conditions. For example it could give us a first approximate idea about:
- ..what is established by the laws of the evolution and what remains completely open;
- ..which important ques ions are still to be solved in relation to the ability of the cosmic evolution;
- ..which motives and goals may be behind the construction of such a cosmos;
- ..whether and how far such a construction could be realized without a master builder;
- ..what is the probability for other places with forms of intelligent life in the cosmos;
- ..how significant is the role of randomness and the feasibility of “evil”;
- ..how strongly the different steps of evolution must be adjusted to each other;
- ..which methods in the previous steps of evolution could have lead to new steps.
The construction manual in the form of a playing instruction should explain comprehensively, why the present construction of our cosmos could have resulted. In an analogy, e.g. to the game of chess, it should give us information such as, which movements and hit-possibilities the individual game-figures should possess, as well as their number and initial positions. In the case of our cosmos this is the strength and interactions of the different elementary particles and their initial conditions (number, relative distances and movements).
Why the game of the evolution leads at least locally to more complex results, as a game like chess, is not only due to their more complicated set of working rules and the much larger number of close, but different positions. It seemed to be of significant importance, that evolution has the capability to initiate higher steps of development, in which a new, more complex form of evolution takes place, mainly because of new rules, which get relevant.
Therefore, the construction manual of our cosmos can be divided into development stages. Every stage has the capability to reach a further development stage. Otherwise the evolution would just break off at this point and any further subsequent objectives can thus not be reached. Since the new evolution stages only occur in a very small part of the preceding stage, there will be sufficient test results to evaluate how a cosmos would look like whose further evolution capability would end at this point. It is therefore the purpose of the construction manual to pinpoint which conditions and rules of processing must be met that the evolution capability will continue on further stages (compare Tab. 1).
Tasks of a transdisciplinary research
In a new transdisciplinary approach to connect creational and evolutionary view we proposed a collaboration of astrophysics, game theoretical modeling and fundamental theology. Main aim is to prove, to what extent a developing universe like ours could be the result of any plan and therefore, how a hypothetical construction manual of such an evolution would then look like. Can it be reconstructed from the presently developed universe? Can it have any significance for renewing creational thinking?
A possible construction manual of our cosmos might give the requirements, on which the individual stages of the evolution could have been arranged on each other. Crucial to that would not be an unavoidability of the graduation in the classical deterministic sense, but only the ability to reach the next stage with sufficient probability. That means the development of the next stage takes place in all cases with only a small part of the matter from the predecessor stage, whereby this part results only during the random processing of the stage. Only the fact that a certain step of development takes place could be planned from such a construction manual, but neither the place, nor the time, nor the participants of the development steps are fixed. Perhaps even the development steps themselves might be open, if a planned goal of the development would be attainable via different steps of development. In this case only the goal alone would be seen as the sense and purpose of the plan.
The fact that such a development is possible seems to be confirmed at least by the evolution. But it is completely controversial, whether such a development can be released purposefully, or whether in it fundamental obstacles or logical contradictions exist, which neither can be eliminated by a great intelligence nor by a powerful capability to act. Therefore, on the one hand it would be to examine, which kind of objectives in this way are conceivable at all. On the other hand it would have to be studied to what extent such objectives remain behind past expectations of the theology, or whether they even help, to treat specific problems discussed increasingly in modern times within the concepts of liberty, freedom, miracles or suffering more reliably and consistently in terms of faith.
At first, it would be the task of the natural sciences to determine as precisely as possible those characteristics that are relevant to all stages of the evolution. A first compilation of some vital figures and characteristics in the comparison of the evolution stages and its transitions can be found in the appendix.
An approach of research based on these data would be to examine conceivable connections of these stages with the cosmic initial parameters and laws of nature. Would it be possible at all to reach higher evolution stages with laws and conditions different from that of our cosmos? The so-called anthropic principle could serve as a first helpful step. With this help during the last decades, the fine-tuning of our universe in regard to the development of intelligent observers was recognized. This fine-tuning of natural laws and cosmic initial conditions can be seen as the last optimizing step of a creational plan. Therefore, the anthropic principle (at least the strong version) was strongly rejected by natural scientists, fearing to disregard the atheistic method of natural sciences. On the other side, many world theories show, that a fine-tuning does not explain, how it was achieved and whether it is aiming at anything.
An extensive analysis of the fine-tuning in the laws of nature and cosmic conditions has yielded a list of up to almost 100 indispensable global and local conditions, to reach the evolution stage of a long time development of organic life. A few of them are so restrictive, that tiny differences far less a percent would prevent the reaching of the early evolution stages.
For example the amount of matter in our universe, which is transferred in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium would be a factor of around 1 million lower if the ratio of nuclear and electromagnetic power would be already less than a percent different. In that case the energy of the triple-alpha-reaction in red stars would miss the energy level of carbon-12 that increases the cross-section of this reaction by the factor of 1 million. The matter available for planetary development around long-living stars would be decreased by a similar factor. In our case this would be in total less than the mass of our moon, which would be definitely insufficient. The existence of a planet on which the development of organic life is possible in the whole universe would be significantly reduced, may be even to zero. Clearly the isotope carbon-12 has more than one energy level, so that other ratios of nuclear and electromagnetic power would be also fitting to have a resonance cross section. But, at least 10 other characteristics important for life would be also changed and may prevent its development.
This example shows our recent state of knowledge on that topic. We can say that small changes of the constants in the known laws of nature would prevent evolution, even to reach the second or the third stage of development. But, we cannot prophecy whether a complete other set of constants will open another way of evolution, with a completely different kind of matter and life. A calculation of suitable sets of constants for alternative construction of evolution stages is far beyond our scientific capabilities at least in the near future.
But may be we can get an idea of more general questions, which are connected with a possibly construction of the known cosmic evolution, resulting a kind of life based on the special capabilities of carbon. For example we can ask, to what extent we can deduce the necessary natural laws from the known results of the cosmic evolution and if phenomena such as long-life stars, earth-similar planets and living organisms could have been made or achieved perhaps even by a simpler set of natural laws or with a smaller universe.
Therefore, a main task of an astrophysical cooperation would be the question, how far the natural laws can be reconstructed from the products of the cosmic evolution, quasi the previous steps of the fine-tuning, found for the natural constants. Clearly such a reconstruction needs some limitation of the possibly rules and starting conditions of the universe. A separation of the first stage, the so-called big bang, would simplify it. Then the main part of the reconstruction can work with the assumption of extensively unchanged physical laws and cosmic material. It can be thought of and recalculated separately, how these laws and particles could have been generated during the big bang. Independent from the discussed initializing models (e.g. String theory) it can be seen as a method of getting suitable starting conditions.
Such examinations would be largely limited to the first evolution stages. The advanced question, whether a construction of numerous evolution stages, set up on each other is really possible, could be approached in the context of a game-theoretical analogy. Perhaps one could design even a game that simulates evolution stages by finding and enabling new rules in a similar way, as we know it from our cosmos. Already the construction of two or three stages statistically arranged on each other would be a first success.
This may be based on simulations like John Conway’s “Game of Life” developed in 1970 and with its subsequently extended models. A few examples which are really looking alive are available online e.g.: http://www.collidoscope.com/cgolve/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway’s_Game_of_Life
On my knowledge there are no examples so far, with a general approved capability of development, may be due to a missing general definition of development, evolution stages and generally accepted characteristics of life simulation. Therefore, a scientific search or research of possibly simulations needs at least specific definitions of these concepts. Perhaps the results can give more evidence to an increasing, self-organizing complexity of evolutionary systems, which creationistic authors have been doubt so far to be a principal potential, without external support. Since a small area of the game theory has already been dealing with evolutionary structures, cooperation with interested and experienced scientists from the area of applied mathematics or biomathematics seems to be useful. It is not asked to simulate only a certain procedure of nature, but to define a phenomenology arising several times on different evolution stages. So it is needed to rely also on philosophical experiences.
In particular, this applies to the transfer of possible findings and solutions from the natural sciences to the so-called creation theology and the consequences with the evolutive approach stated in detail for related questions of theology. Here one can build up on interdisciplinary works, which try to interconnect evolution and creation. However, in many of these theological works until today the required precision in the evaluation of natural scientific results is missing. Beside an increasing amount of information, which is difficult to overview, often the interest and acceptance of the results of natural science is missing. Since these results can tell important news from the creation, this kind of divine revelation should belong to the requirements of a scientific and reliable working in the related fields of theology.
In cooperation with fundamental theology it has to be analyzed, whether a cosmic design with evolutionary potentials can be interpreted as a plan of a creator. Can it be sufficient that the fulfilling of aims mostly have only high probabilities? What kind of aims can be only fulfilled by such a random processing and what kind of consequences have to be accepted, therefore? How far theological questions such as theodicy and salvation could find new explanations? To what extent the earlier teaching of religion has to be changed especially the belief in a creation, which is much less determinate?
Outreach of a transdisciplinary cooperation
For many of the mentioned questions suitable answers have already been found, but have not been accepted so far. Therefore, the main question would be how we can accept a world-view that sees the universe as an evolution game and a creator that is playing dice with our fate. Important for that is to realize that evolution is not ready and cannot be understood, without the crucial dimension of spirit. But this dimension has not been proved to work against matter and natural laws, but is included within.
“The spirit that enables us to design our life and its surroundings is the same spirit that has designed the cosmos and its evolution”. To think and discuss such an idea needs not only a transdisciplinary overview, it needs the capability to analyze the world in its totality. But this understanding is not free from the risk of losing scientific controls, such as the esoteric excesses in the New Age Movement during the last decades of the 20th century have shown.
Transdisciplinary analyses of creation models are one of the most suitable fields to train a scientific cooperation. It may show the advantages finding specific answers in limited disciplines with its specific methods, but also the errors, which can happen by generalizing these answers on a higher level beyond the disciplinary borders. To what extent disciplines such as astrophysics, applied mathematics and theology can cooperate depends on disciplinary overlaps, which need to be carefully analyzed, partly even by finding common languages. It is often necessary to find out, whether two disciplines speak about the same phenomena or the same dimension of truth.
Maybe the idea of a hypothetical construction manual of the cosmos can take an exception to think about the credibility of transdisciplinary world-views such as creation models with a designed evolution. Since it opens the possibility of making an approach from different disciplines, it may help to overcome blockades of transdisciplinary thinking.
Appendix: Relevant data of the significant stages of evolution
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