“The Universe Should Not Actually Exist”

contingency

According to contemporary physics, at the “Big Bang” at which the universe came into existence, there would have been an equal amount of matter and anti-matter.  But if that were so, the matter and anti-matter would annihilate each other.  Theorists have assumed that there must be some kind of asymmetry between matter and anti-matter, since, obviously, matter exists.  But a new experiment has found that the symmetry of matter and anti-matter is complete.  So, in the words of one of the researchers, “the universe should not actually exist.”

From CERN Research Finds “The Universe Should Not Actually Exist” in Futurism:

With exactly equal amounts of matter and antimatter, our universe is perfectly symmetrical. While that sounds beautiful, it creates a huge problem with existential consequences. Because it possesses this fundamental symmetry, our universe shouldn’t exist at all.

According to the standard model of physics, the universe had equal amounts of antimatter and matter when it was created. The problem with that is the fact that each antimatter particle should have canceled out its corresponding matter particle, leaving nothing behind. Except they didn’t, and here we are left wondering why.

This problem has been noted before, and now, a study published in Nature confirms that, indeed, our universe should never have come into existence.

The researchers employed new methods of measuring the magnetism of anti-matter, doing so with unprecedented precision.  But there was no difference between the magnetism and anti-matter and matter.  “All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter,” said researcher christian Smorra, “which is why the universe should not actually exist.”

Smorra went on to say,  “An asymmetry must exist here somewhere, but we simply do not understand where the difference is.”  Since the universe does, in fact, exist, there must be some asymmetry that simply has not been detected yet.  So let’s assume that it will someday be discovered.  Or perhaps that the standard model of physics will be modified accordingly.

But the problem is an example of the philosophical concept of “contingency.”  Something is “contingent” if it might not have existed.  You and I are contingent.  Our parents might not have met, so we might not have come into existence.  Our country, our technology, the particular life that we have right now, all could have been very different.

Philosophers have argued–and physicists seem to bear this out–that the universe itself is contingent.  It could have been otherwise.  And it might not have existed at all.  According to the matter/anti-matter research, it shouldn’t have existed!

Here is where it gets interesting:  Contingent existence implies the reality of some necessary existence.  This brings us to the classic proof of God’s existence known as the Argument from Contingency.

I’ll let this philosophy of religion site explain it:

It is because it is thought that the universe exists contingently that its existence is thought to require explanation. If the universe might not have existed, then why does it exist? Proponents of the cosmological argument suggest that questions like this always have answers. The existence of things that are necessary does not require explanation; their non-existence is impossible. The existence of anything contingent, however, does require explanation. They might not have existed, and so there must be some reason that they do so. . . .

The only adequate explanation of the existence of the contingent universe, the argument from contingency suggests, is that there exists a necessary being on which its existence it rests. For the existence of the contingent universe must rest on something, and if it rested on some contingent being then that contingent being too would require some explanation of its existence. The ultimate explanation of the existence of all things, therefore, must be the existence of some necessary being. This necessary being is readily identified by proponents of the cosmological argument as God.

By the way, this is why the rejoinder, “Well, who created God?” is philosophically naive.  God is a necessary being.  That is, He has to exist.  Only contingent beings are created.  And whatever or whoever created them has to exist necessarily.

 

Illustration by Nick Youngson, from Picserver, Creative Commons 3 – CC BY-SA 3.0

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