Why is "God" commonly treated as such an absolute concept?

Most discussions I've ever heard about "God" assume that he/she is the ultimate, the uncaused causer, the creator of everything in the universe, omnipotent and omniscient etc. Now maybe there is such an entity, or maybe there isn't, but it seems a tad provincial to assume the hierarchy is simply animals-man-God. Surely that leaves a huge gap that could be filled by god-knows how many layers of god-like entities (that may or may not each have direct knowledge of the layer "above" them).


Seriously, it's a big and old universe in which we've been around for a comparative eye-blink of time yet we are already on the edge of god-like powers to create artificial life and artificial intelligence. If we manage to survive another thousand or so years we'll probably meet the practical criteria for God-ness as judged from our current perspective (i.e. ability to terraform planets, create life from scratch, vastly extended lifespan, localised omnipresence and omniscience etc. using technologies that are "indistinguishable from magic" as Arthur C. Clarke would say).

Statistically it's arguably likely that our local slice of space-time is already under the immediate influence of an entities or entities that are are functionally and practically God from our perspective but which aren't God in the absolute and ultimate sense. The cool thing about such a local god is that we'll probably get direct evidence of their existence eventually, whereas the "ultimate" God doesn't appear to have any practical utility whatsoever.

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
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We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

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New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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