Is it flat?


#1

The thread *Creation or Evolution *has gone to over 500 posts. Along the way many different topics were raised. At this stage I think no progress is being made as contributors seem to have fixed ideas.

To some it seems belief in creation, the flat earth and the moon being made of green cheese seem to go along together.

However I believe the universe is flat.

Do you?

I wonder will this topic cause as much debate as creation vs evolution did?


#2

I’ve always thought of it as more of a torus… a giant cosmic doughnut, if you will. Brian Greene, a physicist, has a really intriguing series on this called “The Elegant Universe”; if you’re at all interested in physics, I highly recommend it.


#3

hehe…let’s bump this with a technicality. “Flat” indicates having only 2 dimensions, length and width. We live in a 3-D world, so the universe is at least several light-years long, wide, and tall.
That being said, my totally uneducated thought is it’s relatively spherical.


#4

I thought of it being flat but saddle-shaped.


#5

I remember trying to read Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. It made my head spin. :hypno:

IIRC, Hawking posited that the universe was spherical, either convexly or concavely so. If the one (I can’t remember which), time travel would be theoretically impossible, but the future was wide open (anything could happen). If the other, time travel might be possible, but then by definition free will was impossible (from an atheistic standpoint) – i.e. the future would be fixed and immutable since the Big Bang, and it would seem that we had free will only because we could not predict the future.

Me – I think it’s turtles all the way down. :whacky:


#6

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
Cosmology: The Study of the Universe
From Page. 17: **NASA **Official: Dr. Gary F. Hinshaw
Page Updated: Thursday, 04-17-2008:

WMAP AND DARK MATTER / DARK ENERGY
By making accurate measurements of the cosmic microwave background fluctuations, WMAP is able to measure the basic parameters of the Big Bang model including the density and composition of the universe. WMAP measures the relative density of baryonic and non-baryonic matter to an accuracy of better than a few percent of the overall density. It is also able to determine some of the properties of the non-baryonic matter: the interactions of the non-baryonic matter with itself, its mass and its interactions with ordinary matter all affect the details of the cosmic microwave background fluctuation spectrum.

WMAP determined that the universe is flat, from which it follows that the mean energy density in the universe is equal to the critical density (within a 1% margin of error).

wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/./universe/WMAP_Universe.pdf
http://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/./universe/WMAP_Universe.pdf


#7

Wildleafblower,

You quote that

WMAP determined that the universe is flat

I based by original opinion on this.

All the replies I have received are calm and considered.

How is it Creation or Evolution causes great controversy, yet the shape of the universe does not seem to excite as much passion?


#8

Excellent question Noel.:slight_smile: Perhaps some scientists have failed to inspire their audience? As a poet the universe becomes a dancing panorama of inspiration which fills me with boundless energy. Wondering why the moon clings to midnight as I’m held captive in thought by spaceships and planets outside a star’s reach of my hand. Daydreaming about the here and thereafter in the remote eternal sphere where x+z=the Y’s of it all when suddenly a new sea of vision and desire filled with the crackling of butterfish kisses sweeps ever so lightly over me in the morning of early hours. Ahhhh, it’s poetic reverie for me! :smiley:

I personally don’t think there need be controversy. Evolution is discussed within the NASA document Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Cosmology: The Study of the Universe. It’s extremely important that updated information be made available to the public. By the way, NASA has a wonderful program for students.(1) Many of the children that I know enjoy learning about the universe.

Thanks Noel.

  1. nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html
    http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html

#9

Wildleafblower

Thank you for your kind words.

Perhaps there is a clash between scientists and those educated in the humanities.

The scientist may have the greater appreciation of the greatness of God, who created the universe 13.7 billion years ago, who cares for the universe and governs it with laws (PV = nRT, etc.).

The poet cannot appreciate the wonders of nature as the scientist can, perhaps.

Yours are the heavens, yours the earth;
you founded the world and everything in it.
Zaphon and Amanus you created;
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.
Mighty your arm, strong your hand,
your right hand is ever exalted.
The New American Bible : Ps 89:12-14 (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1996, c1986).


#10

Noel, poetry is one of the many hobbies that I have.:slight_smile: I’ve been employed by scientists for many, many years. And, my father was an electrical engineer then later in life when he was ill with cancer became a physicist so my older brother tells me. He studied from the house while taking care of me since my mother had to work. I learned at an early age about science from him during our day and night walks along the beach.

Noel, you seem to be presenting a “watchmaker God” which I don’t accept. I do fully agree with George Coyne who recently retired but was for many years on the Vatican:Holy See’s Scientific Advisory Committee. I fully support his views which basically were that of my Roman Catholic dad:

**AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion **
(DoSER) Public Lecture March 27, 2006
The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace
George V. Coyne, S.J. Director, The Vatican Observatory

SUMMARY
When talking about evolution in a very broad sense there is a classical debate about chance and necessity. “According to Modern Science,” declared George V. Coyne, Jesuit and director of the Vatican Observatory, “the debate is mistaken.” What is missing in the debate, he argued in his lecture on March 27, 2006 presented in the series sponsored by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, is “the fertility of the universe.” The evolution of the universe is propelled by fertility as well as chance and necessity, he proposed.

If the universe evolved only by chance, then there would be no place for a God of purpose. If the universe evolved only by necessity, this might tend to lead to an affirmation of God.But if it evolves due to both, then, he said, “we are caught in between.” Coyne used this point to emphasize that in the debate between materialism and non-materialism or atheism and theism, "science is completely neutral.” This neutrality is a consequence of both the inherent limitations of the scientific method and the profound depth of human ignorance about the universe, even in the face of all the knowledge that has been gained.

To begin defining what he meant by “the fertility of the universe” Coyne offered the following numerical illustrations:

• There are about 30,000 human genes, but only about 2010 vary among human beings.
• Thus the genetic variance between human beings is 22010 or 10605 .
• Each individual human can produce 10605 different eggs or sperm.
• In the visible universe there are 1076 atoms. What sense does it make to compare 10605 and 1076 ?

It is not clear, but it is a marvel, he suggested, that a universe with this number of atoms has produced such a degree of human fertility. Of course, one of the difficulties with trying to come to terms with large numbers e.g., 10605, a 1with six hundred and five 0s following it, is that they are so far from ordinary human experience. It is helpful to use a metaphor from a more common experience of time to relate astronomical time. So, for example, if the whole 13.7 billion year history of the universe were stretched over only one Earth year, significant events in evolution would be dated as follows:

Date Event
January 1 - -Big Bang
February 7 - -Birth of the Milky Way
August 14 - -Birth of the Earth
September 4 - -First appearance of life on Earth
December 15 - -The “Cambrian explosion”
December 25 - -Dinosaurs appear
December 30 - -Dinosaurs become extinct

The last day of the year is a very rich one.

December 31 Event
7:00:00 pm - - First hominids
11:58:00 pm - - First humans
11:59:30 pm - - Age of Agriculture
11:59:47 pm - - Building of the Pyramids
11:59:58 pm - - Jesus is born
11:59:59 pm - - Galileo is born
12:00:00 Midnight Today

If you look at cosmic history this way, all of modern science happened “in the last second.” Coyne concluded, “So, if there are a few gaps in our knowledge [of how the universe works] – if there is some ignorance – give us more time; we’ve only had one second.” [please read and view the graphics presented in his lecture.] For him religious faith “is a free gratuitous gift and it is a personal relationship not just a rational relationship. “God,” he declared, “is not a God of explanation but a God of love.” It is only after the “moment of personal relationship” that the question of the meaning of “God” arises, and how our understanding of the universe bears on this question. . . .Coyne closed his talk by turning to the question: “If I believe in God, what does this sort of fertile universe say about God?” First, he stated, it does not prove that God exists. This, in his view, is the false premise that underlies the intelligent design movement (ID). The universe seems to exhibit an intrinsic destiny in the process of volutionary complexification through natural processes. But recognizing this does not require that a person believe in God nor does it lead to belief in God. . . .
aaas.org/spp/dser/02_Even…_2006_0327.pdf
http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/02_Events/Lectures/2006/02_Lecture_2006_0327.pdf

and

The Pope’s Astrophysicist
Wired Magazine
By Margaret Wertheim

Coyne rejects much of the current discussion about science and religion. Echoing Immanuel Kant, he insists that belief in God is independent of anything scientists discover. More than two centuries ago, Kant argued that science could never disprove the existence of God. But neither, he said, could it prove Him. That hasn’t stopped many people from trying, and today there is a new fashion for the so-called anthropic principle.

Anthropic arguments are based on the notion that the universe has been specially tailored for the emergence of life. On both the cosmological and subatomic scales, from the force of gravity to electromagnetic bonds, the universe is shaped by powers that seem finely tuned for life to evolve. Evidence of an intelligent consciousness that built the very laws of nature?

Coyne dismisses this idea as well. “To imagine a Creator twiddling with the constants of nature is a bit like thinking of God as making a big pot of soup,” he declares with a rare flash of sarcasm. A bit more onion, a bit less salt, and presto, the perfect gazpacho. “It’s a return to the old vision of a watchmaker God, only it’s even more fundamentalist. Because what happens if it turns out there is a perfectly logical explanation for these values of the gravitational constant and so on? Then there’d be even less room for God.” In other words, if God is grounded in data, then He is immediately subject to revision every time we get new data — and data tends to improve over time. Coyne sums up his objection to this God of the gaps with an elegant economy: “God is not information,” he says. "God is love."
wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/pope_astro.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set=
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/pope_astro.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set=

This is my last message on this topic. And my final answer to your original question and answer.


#11

I am sorry to hear this, as I found your contributions very inspiring and uplifting. I enjoy your thoughtful contributions and welcomed discussions with you.

You wrote:

Noel, you seem to be presenting a “watchmaker God”

I did not think I did.

To me this Watchmaker God is the God of the enlightenment (deists), who started the universe and then retrired.

I believe in providence and in the care and love of God for each one of us.


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.