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Size matters, but only if you can prove it

By Yak ~

If I were a Christian I’d be afraid. Very afraid. Mainly because of their extraordinary claims about the Universe, and more importantly, their view of how it will end. Keep in mind that only a few of their beliefs about "the end" actually come from their book, the bible. The rest of the dramatics and theatrics, and especially their fear-mongering comes from people throughout time who have added their own imaginative twists to the florid prose they use to frighten people with.

An example. They believe that this rather wide, old, busy and populated universe will come to a rather theatrical and catastrophic end. Their Jesus will show up completely pissed-off at everything and everyone, just like his genocidal father (Remember the maniac git with the kill-everything-that-lives-whether-they-deserve-it-or-not flood? Yup. That’s his pop. My friends say that apples certainly don’t fall far from the tree in that family…) –and he causes mayhem: thunderous trumpets to blow, shaking the roots of planet, the moon turns to blood and some totty with a Miss End-of-the-World-tiara shows up with a monster that's almost a worthy mate to a certain Japanese stop-motion television beast of the 1960’s. Angels pouring bowls of odd into the atmosphere, people long dead coming up out of graves (aside from the fact that their flesh and bones have since decayed back into constituent elements) and all the stars all get snuffed out(!), then everything comes to a grinding halt while his gray-haired Gandalf-in-the-sky-with-an-attitude pop reads a book and divides those people he wants to chant one song to him for ever and ever from those he wants to take pleasure in torturing for ever and ever. In modern parlance, shit be goin down. It’s extraordinary!

Have I missed anything? Probably just more theatrics and set dressing, but I think I’ve summarized their story sufficiently. What’s worse, they and their friends of the other two Abrahamic religions – those who have the same books, god, and rudimentary beliefs—hold the belief that the *reason* for this catastrophic end to the entire universe is a) because of the behaviors of people who live on our little planet –earth, and for the purpose of b) judging said people who have lived on our little planet over the last 2000 years. Extraordinary!

Important to their story is that whether or not they make it through their universal catastrophe happily or in suffering depends upon whether they live down to certain rules made up a couple of thousand years ago by a few heat-baked minds wandering around in the near-east deserts who cooked up the entire story. In short, those Christians and their religious cousins have invented a frightening fate, worthy of a B-movie awaiting them as a part of their extraordinary claims for the future for the universe.

However, the fact is the universe has several possible fates, and *none of them* approaches the histrionic Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in their absurd story.

Of course not. What’s not extraordinary is that (read: the good money is on) it is likely a heat-death of the universe will eventually occur (meaning the universe continues to expand, separating all matter and everything slowly and ultimately reduces to near absolute-zero temperature; it simply reduces to a dark, cold nothingness). Other possibilities include a “Big Rip” where all matter slowly and eventually disintegrates, a “Big Crunch” where the gravitation supplied by matter in the universe
eventually slows then reverses the expansion of the universe so that all matter eventually re-compresses together in a hot, dense mass (like the conditions at the Big Bang) or, a “Big Bounce” where the last possibility occurs, but an elementary force causes the hot, dense mass to expand outward again). It could even be cyclic: bang-crunch-bang… Unlike the christian claims, these are not extraordinary, baseless claims. They’re based on measurement, observation, research and modelling – AKA evidence.

The time-frame for the actual events of the ending of our universe is at shortest, trillions of years –or even longer timescale. Remember that their Jesus made an extraordinary claim, saying that the end of the universe would happen in his lifetime, about 2000 years ago... but then again, many similarly troubled blokes said it would happen in their lifetimes but, like Jesus, they seem to have all died along the way and, not surprisingly, the universe continues to trundle forward completely unperturbed and definitely not noticing extraordinary human claims, no matter who cooked them up.

Sorry, there will be no trumpets, no turning moon to blood, no big totties with tiaras, no Godzillas in the sky with a pissed-off Jesus playing a demented demolition man.Sorry, there will be no trumpets, no turning moon to blood, no big totties with tiaras, no Godzillas in the sky with a pissed-off Jesus playing a demented demolition man. No, things will be far more mundane and will occur a very long time from now. And they will happen as the universe continues to unfold itself as it always has. All who may have been frightened before can certainly breathe a sigh of relief.

So, let’s put a few things into perspective: Here’s what we know.

1) We’re little, it’s big. Our home, Earth, is a small and unremarkable planet circling an unremarkable star, in an unremarkable solar system, in an unremarkable corner of an unremarkable galaxy in an unremarkable local group of galaxies in a universe whose observable size is 90-billion light-years in diameter, containing six sextillion stars (that’s 6 followed by 21 zeros if you’re in the US and 36 zeros if you are part of the British Commonwealth) –yes, those of us from the Commonwealth have been trying to convince others that things are bigger than they are for a long time… but I digress.

2) It’s old. The universe itself has been making progress for at least 18 billion years (at least the observable part), so it’s been here a while. A very long while. And it continues to be about its business of destroying stars, creating elements, forming new stars, forming new planets, expanding, doing frankly astounding things with gravitation, singularities (black holes), not paying any attention to the very unimportant, little us. It has always completely ignored all of our extraordinary
pronouncements of what we think it should do. The claims of universe size, age and activity are indeed extraordinary claims. But, unlike our religious friends, these claims do have extraordinary evidence to back them. We found this evidence through ongoing observation, measurement, modeling and research. And, unlike the religious, we keep observing, measuring, modeling and researching.

To sum up... there are some six sextillion stars in the observable universe that is 90 billion light-years wide, and it’s been around for 18 billion years and yet the folks in the Abrahamic religions say that this whole, rather unimaginably large, old and admittedly fascinating universe is coming to a theatrical end because one little dead guy on an unremarkable planet said something that he was wrong about even in his own lifetime (he said the end was going to happen while he was alive, but he is dead). Extraordinary!

Um…I know that we who come from the Commonwealth tend to exaggerate a bit, but really? Their exaggeration of the importance of this guy and their book positively dwarfs our exaggerations of penis size, the taste of vegemite and size of our foggy little island off the coast of France, by countless orders of magnitude.

A court of law would likely find the Christians and their cousins guilty of felony preposterousness.

Let’s face it, size matters. So does getting a handle on the scope of the matters you are talking about. So does obtaining evidence of your claims. Extraordinary claims in fact do require extraordinary evidence and sorry, none of the Christians or their religious cousins have shown up with any evidence to back their extraordinary, and admittedly theatrical claims.

In closing, I find that choosing to use the mind that I’ve have been given to explore this fascinating universe is far more rewarding than accepting someone’s attempt at damning of it to a horrific end that was cooked up in the over-heated and possibly dehydrated brains of deeply troubled minds of the wild desert to frighten people. Those little folks on this minuscule and demonstrably out-of-the-way planet act as if their ideas and words are bigger and more important than the universe itself.

Now that’s just arrogant.


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