Well, the earth existed before we came along and although it is not a perfect sphere it is pretty damn close. You think the logic of mathematics is entirely a human invention? So when the ancient Greeks looked at a circle and realised there was a relationship between the circumference and the radius (pi) were they inventing or discovering, do you think? Wasn't that relationship there before? If an alien had come along and looked at Earth, do you not think the Alien would have discovered Pi ? It bears some thinking about... :-)Actually maths was a creation to keep track of things. Our early ancestors probably didn't need to count beyond 1,2,many because they had no particular need to. Then once people began to congregate together (probably around the time agriculture was discovered) then suddenly you needed to be able to count. The history of numbers is a fascinating subject but it would take pages to even make a proper start on it....
Who says there is a reason? Who says we had to be anywhere before and anywhere after? I suppose the simple answer is that before you were born you existed as a set of cells in your parents. Before that a set of cells in their parents.....and so on back.....Ultimately we are all the stuff of stars - which is nice, I think. The early universe only had hydrogen and helium so it wasn't until the first stars got going that the heavier stuff (that makes us) was made in the solar furnaces. In fact some of the elements that make us are only formed when stars die (supernovas) so there had to be several generations of stars to make us...I like that thought....
Where do we go after we die? Same thing...ultimately back to the stars :-) That's not too scarey a prospect for me, though some don't like the thought. The way I think about it is that the universe got on quite well for 13.7 billion years without me, and I didn't know anything about it. Once I'm gone it will continue to go along without me, and I won't know anything about it - just as I didn't for the last many billion years....not so scary really...
Fine by me
We certainly evolved from a common ape ancestor - there is no doubt about that (not a monkey - that is a different part of the family tree :-)
This is commonly called the question of 'first cause' or to give it the posh latin name 'Primum movens'. If everything is caused, then there must be a first causer which is itself not caused. That is the argument in a nutshell. As you correctly summise God does not actually answer that apparent problem (we are just supposed to accept that God didn't need a causer, which is a bit of a cop out I think :-) ).
There are some possible answers but they are a bit mind boggling. The main problem is that when we ask questions like this, we expect to get answers that we can understand. We think that if the answer is not 'common sense' then it must be wrong. That is a very peculiar attitude when you think about it. Our common sense is based on an ape brain evolved to yell at other apes about food and enemies. Why do we expect that same brain to be able to understand questions which we have no experience of?
Still, since you asked the question I will try to give at least a possible answer (well actually 2).
1st answer: The Big Bang is where our universe starts. Now, of course, you will ask what came before, but in this answer that is not a valid question. Space and time are linked together into what Einstein called 'spacetime'. They were both created at the instant of the Big Bang. Now if there was no time before the Big Bang then the question 'what came before' doesn't make any sense because there was no before...
Most people don't like that answer because it feels like a cop out - but it really isn't....Still, that is only one possible answer.Modern physicists have a few other possibilities (though it is important to realise that this first answer is still the one with the most evidence to support it).
Another reason people do not like this answer is because it apparently means you have to create something from nothing - which any scientist will tell you is a big no-no.
Imagine....there is nothing - no space, no time.
Then suddenly a tiny piece of something starts to expand rapidly, like a huge balloon being blown up by a team of champion balloon blowers - doubling in size, doubling again, and again, and again....and so on. So where did the first bit of the balloon come from? - that is the question.
Literally nowhere is one possible answer. When you look into space you imagine there is nothing there - no air, no matter of any sort. It turns out that this is wrong - very wrong. The most empty space imaginable is full of particles popping in and out of existence in pairs of opposites (we call them particle-antiparticle pairs). This is the famous anti-matter from Star-Trek, and it is quite real. The thing that makes anti-matter so valuable is that when it comes into contact with matter it completely annihilates itself and the matter to give just pure energy (photons). It is the best source of energy possible in our universe....
One way to think of it is the simple sum:- 1-1=0. If you rewrite that, you get 0 = -1 +1 Now the +1 is matter and the -1 is anti-matter. Put them together and they vanish. So it follows that we can start with nothing and split it into a plus 1 and a minus 1 (a particle and an antiparticle). All we need is some energy (the same energy that is given off when they annihilate each other).
But wait, you say. You still need energy, so it still isn't something from nothing. Well, here is where common sense has to go for a walk. It turns out that if you make the particles and annihilate them really really quickly, then you can 'borrow' the energy and nature doesn't notice, as long as it is paid back quickly enough. So in 'empty' space we have gazillions of particle pairs winking into existence for a teeny fraction of a second.
This happens because of something called Heinsenberg's Uncertainty Principle (HUP). Basically the HUP says that you can know one thing, but the better you know that one thing, the worse you know another. So you can know pretty accurately where a particle is, but the more accurately you know where it is, the less accurately you know how fast it is going (well, actually the momentum, but let's keep it simple). It doesn't matter whether you get the best equipment imaginable - there will always be a fuzzy area between the two things. This fuzzy area allows enough time for nothing to become something and then nothing again - and it is going on all around you all the time.
I probably haven't explained that very well, but it is pretty tricky without using maths, so it is about as good as I can do. The important thing to realise is that this is not just a guess - it is quite real. So that is answer number 1 - there was nothing, no time, no space. Then that very nothingness split into two opposite quantities (the plus and minus 1).
So the only question left is - if we (mass and energy) are the plus 1, then where is the minus 1? One answer to that is that gravity is the minus 1, and that all the matter in the universe (and energy - they are different ways of looking at the same thing - e=mc^2) is exactly balanced by the gravity it creates. it would take another few pages to explain that, so you'll have to take my word for it :-)
And very quickly - a 2nd answer
It could be that our universe is part of a greater whole - call it the 'multiverse'. There are many (possibly an infinite number) of other universes, but we can never see or visit them because we are trapped in our own spacetime within this universe. When our universe came into existence it just 'shoved the others out of the way'. We can never see or visit these other universes because they either are so far distant that even light (the fastest thing possible) could not get from us to them, or them to us. Our universe is expanding too fast, so light will never be able to pass between them. Or possibly they exist in other dimensions. We are used to 4 dimensions - length breadth width and time. To specify where something can be found in our universe you give 3 numbers for it's location in space and one number for its location in time - we call that a spacetime coordinate. There are some good reasons to think that there may actually be more dimensions than just those 4 - there could be 10 space dimensions and 1 time dimension, with 6 of the extra dimensions curled-up at the tiniest scale imaginable (gazillions of times smaller than atoms)so all around us are another 6 dimensions but we cannot see, feel or interact with them because they exist at such a small scale that even our atoms are too big to notice.
This is what physicists call superstring theory and that is definitely where I must leave it.
Hope I haven't confused you even more :-)
In what sense do you think man is not natural? If man creates something then why is that not natural? We create all sorts of things - including things which CAN be seen as physical objects.The real question is whether maths encompases truths about the universe - and it appears to do just that. Yes, it is a human creation, but that creation seems to have correspondence with reality and it is therefore reasonable to suppose that there is something universal about maths as regards any intelligent beings.
If math was a creation to keep track of things, it was a creation of men. Therefore, math in a natural sense does not exist. It would be irrelevant if men did exist, because why would there be a need to keep track of anything? Why would there be a need to know the radius of a circle? Math is very interesting, but it is in fact a creation. At one point it didn't exist. Math was not discovered, but created. A human didn't wake up one day and say...I discovered math. Numbers were created to keep track of one thing, and it was discovered that counting and numbers could be used to keep track of different things such as architecture and physical science. Math does not exist in the sense that an atom exist. It can not be seen as a physical object, it is simply an instrument of thought. Math could in fact be replaced with another form of keeping track of things, we have simply yet to create a better way. As for aliens, they are biological beings also, and therefore it is the same as the creation of math by humans. It would be like arguing what race of humans created math, it is irrelevant outside of a social context. Aliens are nothing more than another biological form, or another race of beings in a sense. If a monkey created math, it would still be a creation of a biological being. If a dog created it, the same applies.
No this is wrong. Order emerges quite naturally with no 'reason'. Look at a snowflake. Evolution is a cracking example of emergent order with no purposse but it is not the only one.
If there is no reason, then there is no order. There is only a random cycle of chaos that is being contained by mankind. How can there be order with no purpose, and no logical reasoning behind the existence of man or the universe. In fact, that may be why religion exist. Men lived in chaos and disorder, and therefore created a reason for their existence. The man looked to the stars and asked himself where the hell was he, and in fact, what was he. We still don't know where we are or what we are, and our only form of order is the illusion that society creates. Our only order is false purpose created by our societies. We strive to survive, when we know that survival isn't possible. Then when we ask ourselves what was our purpose for living to die, we conclude that it is for the good for humanity. Therefore, our existence is to perpetuate the limited existence of others, and a pointless life and death cycle.
Our physical bodies go back to the stars. They decompose into the chemicals they are made up from and eventually those chemicals, along with the rest of earth, will be converted into gas and rubble which will then form the basis for another star in the distant future.
As for going back to the stars, what exactly goes back to the stars? Our physical body or our soul? Or...do we in fact have a soul? If an individuals thought is maintained by their brain, once the brain has physically deteriorated, do we exist as ourselves any longer? Is what we consider our soul, really nothing more than our brain. Is our brain the primary source of consciousness? So what exactly goes to the stars? The body that we bury under the ground, the soul, or the brain? Or, do we in fact not go anywhere at all except for back into the Earth after a existence that can not be understood? Then again I guess life and death is after all beyond our understanding at the moment. Maybe the current discussion is pointless and meaningless. Maybe it is nothing more then humans rambling about what we don't know, attempting to display the a kind of intellectuality that we truly lack.