Simplicity and Why the Universe Exists

Philosophy 72 (279):125 - 132 (1997)
If big bang cosmology is true, then the universe began to exist about 15 billion years ago with a 'big bang', an explosion of matter, energy and space from a singular point. This singularity is spatially and temporally pointlike; that is, it has zero spatial dimensions and exists for an instant (at t=0) before exploding with a 'big bang'. The big bang singularity is also lawless; Stephen Hawking writes: A singularity is a place where the classical concepts of space and time break down as do all the known laws of physics because they are all formulated on a classical space time background. ... [T]his breakdown is not merely a result of our ignorance of the correct theory but represents a fundamental limitation to our ability to predict the future [of the singularity], a limitation that is analogous but additional to the limitation imposed by the normal quantum mechanical uncertainty principle. [1] The lawlessness of the singularity entails that it 'would thus emit all [possible] configurations of particles with equal probability' [2]. Paul Davies describes this vividly: 'Anything can come out of a naked singularity -in the case of the big bang the universe came out.' [3].
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