The Purpose of the Universe

Let’s get one thing straight right now: The purpose of the universe cannot be to supply a place for human beings.

If your church wants to claim that there are intelligent, civilized, religious (and ensouled!) space aliens out there every 8-10 planets or so, the purpose of the universe being to house ensouled religious beings is still pretty stupid. Remember that the background energy of each unit of space is non-zero. The universe is positively awash in energy.

We might consider an intergalactic cubic meter to contain a small amount of energy compared to our energy-dense planets and sun, but the sheer number of cubic meters of intergalactic space is impossible for a human to truly comprehend. We can look at a large number written in exponential notation and declare it larger or smaller than some other large number. We can plug the number into this calculation or that, but there’s no way for a human being to comprehend the number itself.

There is no everyday experience we have of counting things that high or even looking at that many things: our eyes include a finite number of retinal cells, only a subset of them sense light, and thus even if all of them were activated at once, and each and every one perceived a different specific object, and the brain successfully processed and “understood” each cell’s signal as a discrete object, we’d still be dealing with a finite set of perceived objects that is so dramatically less than the number of cubic meters of interstellar space that even the quotient of cubic-meters-over-seen-objects would be a number too vast for human comprehension.

To say that the expenditure of energy used to create this intergalactic space would be wasteful in a universe created for the purpose of housing religious, ensouled beings is an understatement that literally defies description.

But take it that one step further: imagine that the doofuses who say that the universe was created just for humans are correct. Now, not only all that intergalactic energy is wasted, but so is all the energy contained within every galaxy other than the Milky Way. Though it’s a trivial addition to the total, unless you believe that stellar nucleosynthesis was necessary to create the elements – presumably because a god who can create universes can’t actually create atoms for some reason – then all the energy used to create the Milky Way other than that used to create the solar system was also wasted. That’s the vast, vast, vast majority of that energy, by the way. Our solar system contains less than 1 part in 100 billion of all the Milky Way’s energy. Put it another way, you could save 99% of the energy used to create the Milky Way and you still would have spent too much by a factor larger than one billion.

To spend all that energy on the creation of a home for a single species whose important bits (the souls of its individual members) take up no time or space at all is so stupid that any god who came up with the idea for this universe as a home to ensouled humans would have to be so daft as to render us daft to even consider that such a being might be worthy of worship.

Sure, theology being what it is people can dream up other reasons why a god might create this universe. But that misses the point: the point is that even if this universe was created by a god, human beings can’t be the purpose of that creation or even a priority within that creation. We can’t even be a priority within the Milky Way, given the amount of energy spent on our habitat vs the total amount of energy contained in this galaxy.

If there is a god that purposefully created this universe, that purpose wasn’t humans.


  1. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin says this particular Universe was originally switched on as a prototype for a later model which would contain / entrap all the peas, thus making other, much more pleasant, Universes significantly safer. However, it’s never worked quite right; e.g., horses and other undesirable phenomena. And let’s not mention the mix-up which forced the quickly-done bodge “fix” of Dark Matter… the amount of Duck Tape used just for that one is astronomical.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    By a strange coincidence, that generated avatar for blf is almost exactly how I have always pictured them.

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    It’s hard to believe that someone as boring as I am can have commenters as fun as the two of you, but I’m grateful nonetheless.

  4. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Howard Bamber:

    That does nothing to address what the purpose of the universe might be, much less my specific position that the assertions of religious people that the universe was created for humans are bad, untrue assertions.

    Do you know how to read for content? Do you realize I nowhere addressed the idea that the universe is conscious? Do you realize that energy would be wasted creating an universe to house humans on this one rock no matter who created it? (and that’s assuming it was “created”)

    Do try and keep up.

  5. says

    The Creator is indeed simple. A bumbling dimwit, for sure, whose thoughts travel at the speed of light through an universe billions of light years across. “Hey God!” shouts a human. “Whaaaaaaaaat?” says God a million years later.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    If I were a believer, I wouldn’t find your argument at all convincing. Surely “waste” is a value judgment.

  7. ssimulation_persona55321_v_8.76849025347.1264.876450978 says

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster wanted fisget spinners GODDAMNIT!!!
    Only explanation that makes sense.

  8. springa73 says

    Perhaps God just has a very extravagant idea of how big a stage humans should have.

    More seriously, I agree with Rob Grigjanis that your argument is based on a very subjective value judgement of how big the universe “should” be if it is centered on people.

    That doesn’t mean that the arguments in favor of humans, or life in general, being the purpose of the universe are very convincing, either.

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