Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

Recently, the Templeton Foundation asked Neil deGrasse Tyson, “Does the universe have a purpose?”  Here is his answer, as illustrated by Minute Physics.

For those of you who don’t feel like watching the video, his answer is basically, “Probably not.”

Now I could engage in some character assassination here.  For example, when Dr. Tyson made a guest appearance on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me! he got all his questions wrong, so how smart can he really be?  Also, this is the [expletive deleted] who decided Pluto’s not a planet.  But I won’t go there.  In fact, I have a lot of admiration and respect for Dr. Tyson; I just disagree with him about this one issue.  And also Pluto.

I happen to be a religious man.  I go to church (almost) every Sunday.  My prayers and meditation have brought me a greater sense of peace in my life, but I can’t say they’ve enlightened me as to the purpose of the universe.  And yet whenever I stand outside gazing up at the stars, I know the universe is big and complicated and beautiful beyond words, and I feel it deep in my thumping heart, in the strength of my bones, in the very chemistry of my body that there is a purpose.  That all this couldn’t be for nothing.

The real question to me is not, “Does the universe have a purpose?” but, “What is that purpose?”  That I do not know.  Science can’t give me that answer, and I’m not sure religion can either.  I expect I’ll live my entire life never finding the answer, yet I remain convinced the answer does exist.

How about you?  Do you think the universe has a purpose?  What do you think it might be?

Gravity Weapons

Laser guns are fine, but I like to invent new futuristic weapons from time to time.  So in the most recent edition of Tomorrow News Network, the bad guys (a race of microscopic robots known as the Swarm) use their own gravity as a weapon.  Specifically gravitational waves.  The attack is so strange and surprising that Earth’s mighty Space Force doesn’t even know what’s happening at first.

1.10 The Wrong Future

The Swarm descends on Earth.

Gravitational waves are real things predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Massive objects like planets and stars bend the space around them.  We call this gravity.  If two massive objects (a pair of black holes, for example) orbit each other rapidly enough, Einstein predicted they’d create waves of gravity, their total gravitational force sometimes doubling and sometimes canceling out.  It would be like two fat guys frolicking in a swimming pool: together, they’d make huge waves unlike anything you’d seen in a swimming pool before.

According to the MIT Technology Review, scientists are racing to find evidence of gravitational waves.  New research suggests these waves may be stronger than previously thought, meaning current technology may be enough to detect them.

Of course, naturally occurring gravitational waves are nowhere near strong enough to be used as weapons, but I’ve taken some creative license.  It’s not hard to imagine that, with the right technology, someone could make artificial gravitational waves.  Those waves could do a lot of damage to enemy fleets or planets.