New – 21 April 2004
With the advent of the Hubble Telescope and its ability to see deep into the universe, the human species has been treated to sights and images which go back in time some 15 or so billion years. That is to say, some of the most distant points of light are so far away that it has taken the light some 15 billion years to transit the intervening space.
Meanwhile, in one small, incredibly narrow region of the universe –from our limited perspective -- there are a thousand galaxies in a single field of view. If one assumes that the number of galaxies, on average, is consistent in all other directions of our celestial sphere, then one can make the simply mathematical extrapolation and arrive at the conclusion that there are a hundred billion galaxies within the range of our telescopes. 
It is, of course, not possible to view all of these hundred billion galaxies – if only for a lack of time to aim the telescopes. There is the additional constraint imposed by the fact that most of the sky is filled – again from the perspective of Earth – with intervening stars such that we can't see the dimmer lights for all of the comparatively brighter lights.
When one talks of galaxies, one might also note that on average a single galaxy likely contains roughly one billion suns.  Furthermore, in the only case in which we have detailed data, one star might easily have nine to ten planets. Accordingly we can note that the Sun and Earth are just one sun and one planet among:
100,000,000,000,000,000,000 other suns (stars), and
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 other planets.
With the mathematical nomenclature of powers of ten, this translates into 1020 other suns (stars) and 1021 other planets (in the latter case, a 1 followed by 21 zeroes).
Consider now the fact that there are some 6 billion humans living on the Earth. If we also note that many stars are in a state where sentient life is currently limited in the sun's environs – i.e. sentient life may well have evolved over millions of years prior to their sun going nova – then we might estimate the average number of sentient beings on an average star system at one billion. Such an estimate includes the fact that in some solar systems, there may be more than one planet with sentient beings in residence, and that other species on the same planet (e.g. dolphins, whales, et al) may be sentient in their own manner. This suggests that there are very roughly:
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 sentient beings in the universe, or
roughly 1029 conscious beings trying to figure out what it's all about. This is probably plus or minus 106, putting the population range in the vicinity of 1023 to 1034.
An alternative view is to consider the fractional version, or that a human being is
of the total number of sentient beings, currently or previously, looking up into a sky. This latter number translates, via the powers of ten, to 10-29 (i.e. a 1 preceded by a decimal point and then twenty-nine (29) zeroes between the decimal point and the 1). The aforementioned range is now 10-23 to 10-34 .
One way of looking at this is that any creator of the universe would be obliged to deal with roughly 1029 beings (are you beginning to see why we are using the powers of ten instead of writing out each number?) In this case, each being receives approximately a 1029th portion of the deity's time. This does not exactly endear itself to a lot of quality time between a creator and a single individual of the deity's many, many offspring.
It gets worse. The above numbers assume the known universe, and do not consider the unknown portions – those items too far away to have been observed yet. They also do not consider multiple universes , which is almost certainly the case. In the traditions of the Jewish Kaballah , for example, there is the equivalent of at least four other higher level universes. In Superstring theory, there are 6 additional dimensions, and probably in the greater scheme of things a much larger number of multiple realities. Thus the population figures have not yet begun to bloom. (For example, a single dual universe of the same form as ours would double the number of beings.)
When the Bible was written, interpreted ad nauseam, and promulgated as literal truth down through the ages, the perspective of those writing, interpreting and promulgating the scriptures was that the Earth was just about all there was. The lights in the sky were not thought of as distant suns, but more on the order of Christmas Trees lights placed there to brighten up an otherwise dismal holiday season. These early ancestors were, in short, dealing from a very limited perspective.
Accordingly, there was a tendency – even a mandate – to think of the local populace – which consisted of far less than a billion souls -- as the end all for a very personal god; one who took a special interest in much of the goings-on. In earlier times, we're talking about 107 or so beings with which an Earth-intensive deity might have to concern himself – or herself. And inasmuch as the vast majority were not inclined to pay attention to a monotheistic god – when there was such a marvelous diversity of other gods and goddesses tolerant of their fellow gods and goddesses – the population of the One God Followers might have been more likely in the region of 105 (about 100,000 people).
The implication is that the Creator of the Universe – the one described in the first 25 verses of the Book of Genesis – is the one dealing with the 1029 souls. The “Lord God” – the one who arrives in Genesis 2:4 (King James Version) – is apparently the one dealing with the 105 souls – or even a mere 104 souls around the B.C.E. time period, especially just prior to 600 B.C.E when the Book of Genesis and others was written. This number is a manageable contingent – particularly when one has a deity approved kingship with which to manage/lead the less evolved souls. The hierarchal or representative form of management was obviously the best route – the one approved by all the pre-historical management consultants. Even Jim Carrey as God Almighty might have been capable of keeping up with e-mails under these circumstances.
It is plausible that with beings numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands, a “Lord of the Command” or “Lord of Earth” – aka Enlil and Enki – a “hands-on” management style might be quite functional. In fact, considering the lack of omniscience and/or other omni-whatever of these extraterrestrials, it's clear that the need or demand for worship might be an additional, effective management tool – not to mention a device meant to stroke the egos of mortal entities (albeit perhaps very long lived beings such as the Anunnaki, i.e. “those who from heaven to earth came”) …who needed such ego strokes in order to lord it over the humans. Such dysfunctional beings might well be into sacrifice, atonement, work ethics, and reading The National Inquirer.
A universal Creator, however, in the process of dealing with 1029 beings is not likely to require the slightest hint of worship, sacrifice or atonement. Pleas from or actions by someone in the category of a 1029th being are very likely to miss out on the big picture with which a Creator of universe(s) would be dealing. On the other hand, the fact that mortal pseudo-deities – the likes of the so-called mythological gods and goddesses – may have taken credit for the creation, destruction, and/or other cosmological events does not make it true. (It's also unlikely that the Creator of the universe could care less about who's taking credit for what! Even if the Creator regularly checks out Halexandria.org for the latest insites!)
An additional consideration is to compare the fractional number of one individual as 10-29th of all the beings in the universe with other numbers of near-equal magnitude. For example, if our measuring criteria is one Kilogram (=2.205 pounds) then the mass of the electron is just under 10-30 Kilograms.
In terms of orders of magnitude, Planck's Constant (divided by 2p) is roughly 10-34. The latter number is interesting in that in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle it is possible within the constraints of a time interval of 10-34 seconds for electrons and other particles to blink in and out of existence in what is known as Quantum Fluctuations. These fluctuations are in apparent ignorance of the utterly human concept of the Law of the Conservation of Energy. (They, like their Creator, probably don't care either.)
The question that arises is the degree to which human consciousness can connect to other portions of the universe in similar time frames or in one-on-one telepathic connections. Okay, it's a bit of a stretch, but similarity in orders of magnitude – while not proving anything – are often a clue as to the possible connections which actually exist in reality -- or in one of the realities to which we have access. Multiple realities being what they are, we may have access to a very large number of them, and some of which might be verrrrrry interesting.
In the final analysis, it's all a matter of perspective.
 Alex Filippenko, Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy , DVD, The Teaching Company, Chantilly , VA 2003.
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