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Discussion 1 to Ask the Patriarch 202
The big bang was a huge supernatural event

by: Clay Chesney

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I just found your site and really like your irreverent and witty commentary.   Most discussions on religious themes are such a morass of bad thinking/self delusion/pomposity and preachiness that it just makes the head spin, so let me add some more of the same.  

One reader asked the Patriarch (#202) about belief in ghosts, aliens, etc. and was treated with a well-deserved recommendation to watch the video for dummies on logical thinking.  I couldn’t agree more; people seem to crave superstition, which I used to think was harmless entertainment but more recently see how it is warping politics and national priorities.

On the supernatural, however, there is an important point that needs to be included in our thinking.   The big bang that created the universe about 14 billion years ago was a huge supernatural event.  The existence of the big bang is pretty well accepted across the scientific community and has a general acceptance among most of the public but is entirely at odds with logic.  The universe poured out from a single, dimensionless point to create all the stars and space that we know as material existence.   Not only does it defy rational explanation, it is in direct contradiction to the laws of physics concerning matter and energy, which can neither be created nor destroyed, according to modern science.   To call something a law in science is pretty strong language, and has high credentials for use in discrediting any claim as supernatural.    The evidence that it happened is very strong, so science is left with a basic conflict on the meaning of natural.    The energy that came from that point came from somewhere other than what we call the universe, and might represent a reality that is totally different from ours.  If and when this puzzle is solved our understanding of nature might be quite different and might be wider than the physical universe and its natural laws.   Which is quite an exciting prospect.  

Beyond the ghosts and werewolves there are enough suggestive events to keep me hoping there is actually more than the laws of normal physics operating around us.  I once shared a dream with my wife (anecdotal experience to you, but not to me) suggesting telepathy,  Carl Jung believed in various paranormal things (appeal to authority),  I’ve known reputable people who claim to have dreamed events before they happened (more anecdotes), etc.   I hope precognition is possible, and wish I could make it a habit because I would love to win the Amazing Randi’s offer of $1,000,000 for the first person to prove ESP, not to mention the lottery.  I would also like to believe in something beyond nature, something that gives meaning to existence and doesn’t come from a book written thousands of years ago, but my rational mind has never let me.   Caught between desire and reality there is never a conclusion, unlike the apathetic agnostic.

Clay