Sunday, August 12, 2012

Big Bang Is No Answer


Big Bang is presented as a theory about the origin of the universe, but it has no answer to that question. It may explain the emergence of the world, but not from where it came and what was before it. So, we still have no clue.

The scientists try to escape the question by claiming that there was no time before Big Bang, wherefore there's no point in asking what was before it. That's actually the same excuse Augustine had already in the 4th century about a divine creation: God created time when He created the world, so there was no before.

But the old Greeks were aware that something cannot come out of nothing. The Big Bang must have come out of something, which initiated it. We may be stuck in this universe, in the middle of that cosmic explosion, but none of it could happen without something preceding it. In all eternity, some Greeks claimed.

A divine creation has the same problem: If God created the universe, what created Him? If He has existed forever, we still have no clue as to what He is and why He is.

Fundamentally, the question about a world origin, which has been asked in most cultures and eras of the world, is a paradox. It's like when kids ask why, why, why – at some point, there's no answer.

If existence is bound by the fundamental laws of cause and effect, as Aristotle claimed, we are as far from understanding the first cause as he was. Everything that exists must have a cause for its existence, so there's just no beginning.

I think we get stuck in this paradox because we believe in the concept of time, as sort of an entity of its own, a force ticking on from the past to the future. But time is really just a convention we have agreed on. A way of measuring change: Before it was like that, now it's like this. Without change there would be no time. Actually, without change there would be nothing at all.

So, the basic principle of the universe is change. Things move from here to there, things expand and contract, things get hot and then cold, things grow and decay. What happens is the change. The natural laws we have come up with so far are mere measurements of change. We should try to find the law of change.

16 comments:

  1. Actually, the question of what became before the big bang has probably been answered. You are misinformed. There are a lot of theories and one of them will probably emerge as the consensus, just like the theory of the big bang has, by collecting evidence. You are building an "argument of the gaps". Just because we are not sure of the answer right now, doesn't mean we wont be, and that it will not have a clear meaning when we understand it.

    One theory is the one about an inflationary universe, read about it for example here:
    http://www.superstringtheory.com/cosmo/cosmo41.html

    Also, I don't think you understand how physicists talk about time. It's not only that there was no physical time before the big bang, but time itself as a concept is useless as a concept when talking about the universe. Physicists and astronomers never talk about time like that when speaking about "time" in the universe. You also have to add in concepts about quantum states, space time, expanding space time, and so on. If you don't, the discussion is meaningless and void.

    Scientists have never believed that something came out of nothing. You clearly lack understanding about quantum states. It's just that no physical matter existed, but matter can be made out of other things that doesn't require matter or time to come into existence. The Higgs bozon is an example, it gives things mass. Before that, they are unbound by space and time and could easily have existed before any "time" in the sense we know it existed. That doesn't mean it came to be out of "nothing".

    Another theory, by prof. Penrose:

    http://io9.com/5694701/does-cosmic-background-radiation-reveal-the-universe-before-the-big-bang

    If you ask any theroetical physicist about how "something can arise from nothing", they will tell you how that is an absurd question and give multiple reasons why. It is simply a matter of understanding the complexity of the universe.

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    1. Interesting word, 'probably': "what became before the big bang has probably been answered."

      "Just because we are not sure of the answer right now, doesn't mean we wont be, and that it will not have a clear meaning when we understand it." Well, I never said that we won't, but you thereby state that we haven't yet. And of course something has a clear meaning once we understand it. That's tautological.

      About physicists and time, they still seem to agree with Augustine.

      As for something out of nothing: the question is what we regard as the universe, in the meaning all there is and ever was. Big Bang took place in something or it didn't take place at all. So, a universe excluding that something is not complete.

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  2. Stephen Hawkin has written alot about these issues in his books. Read them if you haven't.

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    1. I've read Hawking and some other books. So what?

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  3. You've totally missed the point in this blog post Gandhiji87.....

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  4. Something out of nothing is just absurd.

    The question is whether our universe popped directly out of The Nothing, or whether it was spawned by another universe which had previously popped out of The Nothing, In absurdum...

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    1. Kind of my take on it. On the other hand, so much about the universe seems absurd ;)

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    2. Maybe, just maybe the universe does not exist at all, but that seems even more absurd or...doesn't it? ;)

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    3. The problem with the universe is that it causes similar insoluble paradoxes whether it exists or not. Something is wrong with our question.

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    4. Yes, you're dead on.

      "An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions."

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  5. The problem with divine creation is it is totally untestable. See science is all about being able to hypothesize then test to see if the hypothesis is true. God is untestable because there is no way to test physically for it. The Big Bang has been tested. Cosmic background radiation proves it. The expansion of the Universe proves it. That is what science does best. Theology and religion does what it does best when one talks God. Scientists aren't trying to find God. They are trying to understand the clues to unravel a universe of wonder. Unfortunately God in the present day only shuts things down. God takes the wonder out of it all and the grandeur because it all comes down to God. He made it so there it is. Nothing wonderful about that. But it makes people sleep better at night and that is all it should serve. To guide people's moral fiber. Unless one is prepared to accept the Big Bang as God's work and the scientist's discoveries as opening our eyes up to the mechanisms of God's creation, then really God isn't the answer. Then God just stands in the way.

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    1. Something being untestable (by presently existing methods) doesn't mean it can't be true. Our science gets nowhere if we think that anything not yet proven can't be true. Not that I think a creator god explains any more, but it is yet to be scientifically excluded. If no one cares to do that - fine. But as long as it's not done it's just not done.

      As for cosmic background radiation and redshift, they don't prove our model of the Big Bang. They agree with it, which is not the same thing. Another explanation might come along.

      I don't think a simple divine explanation makes people sleep well at night. It didn't suffice for the past 2,500 years or so. Not much luck on it doing so now.

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  6. The other thing about science is and this is important: Science isn't disputing God. Science doesn't even care about God. Science doesn't concern itself with god or what came before. To find out what the earliest possible moment of the universe was like one would have to build an accelerator a few million light years apart. Impossible. The Big Bang doesn't try the answer the God question. It just explains the physics and chemistry behind creation. It is still the job of philosophers and theologians because in their realm the question of God has been answered

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    1. True, scientists don't bother to put god in the equation. But they do try to untangle the very first moment of the Big Bang, although presently being stuck in the chaos of it.

      I don't think we should decide that the idea of a conscious creative force (a "god") is untouchable by science. Maybe it can be proven or disproven. Let's keep that open. Suddenly, someone might want to take a crack at it - and why not?

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  7. the really interesting thing about the whole Big Bang theory is that it was originally put forward in 1927 by a Belgian priest Georges Lemaitre. During his lifetime his idea suffered ridicule. Albert Einstein who believed in a steady state universe where there was no beginning or ending disputed the idea. Probably the reason was that many scientists pooh-poohed it in the 1930s and 1940s was that the idea of a beginning and ending made things messy. Then you begin bringing messy things like how did it start et al to the discussion. If everything was always there and always would be there isnt a lot of mess. It's as neat as fudge

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    1. Well, Lemaitre was not just a priest, but an astronomer and professor of physics. And he wasn't the first to present the idea of a Big Bang.

      Another interesting fact is that Fred Hoyle coined the expression "Big Bang" and did so to ridicule it, since he believed in an eternal universe. Unwillingly, he thereby helped the theory to receive attention and success.

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