The Trouble with the Beginning

This is the nineteenth in the series The Case Against Physicalism. In this post we consider the fact that the universe began. There are few discoveries that have caused more consternation among dedicated physicalists than this simple but profound realization. Why does this still rile many and how do scientists propose to escape the obvious metaphysical implications of this discovery?

Image: Wikimedia Commons. Albert Einstein with Georges Lemaitre and Robert Millikan at California Institute of Technology in January 1933. Lemaitre, a priest and physicist, is called the “father of the big bang” as he was the first to suggest that the universe began with a “primeval atom.” Einstein was adamant that there was no “creation even” and that the universe was static, despite his own General Relativity theory contradicting that idea. He accused Lemaitre of allowing his Christian dogma to get in the way of science and told him his physical insight was “abominable.” Perhaps he apologized and admitted that it was his own dogma that was getting in the way of science.

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Is consciousness produced by the physical material of the brain or is it “something more?” The issue is a major dividing line between physicalists and anti-physicalists with big implications for our culture and values.

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Gerald R. Baron

Gerald R. Baron

Husband, father, grandfather, semi-retired, farm advocate, author, communicator. Deeply curious about science, nature, spirit and history.

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