Giancarlo Cavalleri, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
THE COMMON SENSE, FOUNDATION OF EVERY SCIENCE, AND THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE

Starting from perceptions and ascertainments, common sense formulates existential, attributive, and universal judgements that are the basis of science. An extension of common sense is the following: an isolated system is either steady-state or, if it changes in time, evolves towards more probable states. This statement is the second principle of thermodynamics, which we may call the second principle of physics". It surpasses all  other physical laws as far as validity. Applied to the universe, it
leads to a limited past age of  physical things. Indeed, if the universe had always existed in the past it would now have a uniform
temperature, contrary to the evidence of very hot stars,  very cold (2.73 K) intergalactic space and  lukewarm planets. The origin of the universe receives therefore a clear-cut answer as far as time is concerned.

Now, physical things exist, hence something must always have been existing. However, what has always existed must have a nature which is completely different from the physical one,  not to be subjected to the second principle of physics. It must also be an intelligent being,  since a thing cannot give what it does not possess and human persons are intelligent. Moreover, we discover an intelligent plan in the creation of the universe since the fundamental constants are so finely tuned  that a small variation of one of them would lead either to a catastrophic world (stars that explode as soon as formed) or to the impossibility to  ignite thermonuclear reactions in  stars. In any case life, hence Man, would never have been possible (anthropic principle). We have thus confirmation of the dogmatic statement of the first Vatican Council:"Man can  know God's existence with certainty by the  means of the human reason". We can also go beyond the results of the Aristotelean-Thomistic  metaphysics since a finite past age of the universe confirms another dogmatic sentence (fourth Lateran Concil):"God, although with an eternal decree, created  the world in time", i.e., not "ab aeterno".

The qualitative conclusion derived from common sense can be confirmed in a quantitative way by means of modern astrophysics. The concept of time is re-examined and a new approach to gravitation starting from a flat space-time allows one to accept a {\it linear} time, in agreement with common sense and Newton's conception. Then the big-bang theory leads to 14 billions years as the most probable age of the universe.

Past sttempts  to propose a universe infinite in time have been disproved by observations   and/or by showing that they contain theoretical flaws. The two main attempt have been the pulsating universe  and the steady-state theory. The one surviving attempt is the inflationary theory, criticized here from both a theoretical and observational point of view. A new cosmological theory is presented in which the quantum vacuum is shown to be the consequence of the electromagnetic field radiated by all  particles of the universe. The properties of the quantum vacuum arose therefore after the creation of the particles, depriving the inflationary theory of its theoretical basis. The past life of the universe is therefore finite, implying  its creation by something transcending the universe.