The Big Bang and faith...

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The Big Bang and faith...

"It takes more faith to suggest the universe comes from nothing, that nothing created the energy in the universe. What started the big bang?"

 

Let me start out by making my purpose clear: this is not a forum post to encourage people to believe in the Big Bang and presenting the evidence for that. Other people have done that countless times, and if need be I'll make another post about that, suffice it to say if you do not accept the expansion of a multibillion year old universe, you are free to join the ranks of the less than half a percent of cosmologists that agree with your pseudoscience. (EDITSmiling I would also like to make clear that this is not an argument for why god does not exist, as I do not feel such thing can be argued scientifically. I simply wish to make the point that the universe does not necessitate any supernatural entity, and that claiming any such entity exists is necessarily a fancy way of invoking the the god of the gaps.

What this post is for, then, is to address some questions that arise when people start talking about the Big Bang. I find that almost inevitably, we fall into the trap of trying to use intuition and "common sense" to answer questions of theoretical physics. The last time we tried to use intuition to argue matters of physics we came to the conclusions that more massive objects fall faster and that the sun and all other planets revolve around the earth. Clearly, intuition won't be very helpful here.

"What came before the Big Bang?" Many of you already know this, but to tell the truth, it's a meaningless question. We, as humans, are victim to the condition that if we can ask a question, we feel it must have some sort of answer. I posit these equally meaningful questions: "What tastes better than blue?" "What's colder than absolute zero?" "What's darker than true black?" The Big Bang was the expansion of spacetime. Not just space, but *spacetime*. This intricate weaving of our four overt dimensions unraveled following the events of the Big Bang. Time and space are defining qualities of our universe, and so long as the universe has existed, time, too, has existed.

Asking "what came before the big bang?" is akin to asking "what came before time?" It's important to realize that "before" refers to a point necessarily in time, specifically, when we say "X happened before Y," we mean "event Y occurred at a point T in time and event X occurred at point in time prior to T." To ask "What came before the big bang" is akin to asking "What event occurred in the point in time prior to time?" You are asking for a point in time yet conceptualizing a state where time does not exist. It's a meaningless question.

What are the other ramifications of this? Well, oddly enough, it means the universe has always existed.

Let's break down the semantics: "always" is a word referring to "at all points in time" or "for all time." As we established earlier, so long as the universe has existed, time has existed. Meaning, at all points in time, the universe has necessarily existed (time being a requisite constituent of our particular universe). The universe has always existed. Baffling, huh? Our human language is so inadequate for talking about the universe, where so many things fly in the face of the every-day experience our common sense evolved around.

So inevitably, the question of causality arises. Cause and effect is perhaps the thing we, as macroscopic beings, take for granted the most. If I leave my keys on my desk, I can be fairly sure that when I come back two hours later, they will still be on my desk. But this is hardly always the case, or even necessarily the case. If I were a tiny-man in a tiny-room and left an electron on my tiny-desk, I could go and come back, and, for no reason, the electron could be under the desk, in the next room, upside down, etc. The smaller our length-scale becomes, the more prominent these effects-- quantum effects-- become.

Here again we are fundamentally crippled by our feebly evolved brains. We crank things back until we get to a point where we are left to conclude that there was no space and no time, subsequently no free energy, and then it just burst into creation! For many people, this implies god. There is no law of "cause and effect" in science. The most fundamental principle of all physics is the law of conservation of energy. But how do we explain this apparent contradiction? Spacetime and free energy coming into existence seems to violate this grossly? Even then, *how* did they come into existence? Wasn't there a requisite *cause*?

We are forced to evaluate a situation wherein there is no space and no time. The mistake many people make is equating this to "nothing." Simply because our beloved four dimensions didn't exist doesn't mean there was "nothing" at all, anywhere. In fact, "nothing" is such a perverted and heuristic concept that it should be wholly abandoned when speaking of physics. "Nothing" is a term that means different things to different people, but it never truly means nothing. For cosmologists like Stephen Hawking, "nothing" simply means no spacetime geometry. For particle physicists, "nothing" can mean a vacuum, an area of space devoid of matter. In the latter case, we know that there can still exist much in a vacuum: electromagnetic and gravitational waves, dark matter, dark energy. Similarly, in the former case, lack of spacetime geometry does not mean absolutely nothing exists. It's here that we fall back on the most fundamental principles governing our universe: quantum physics.

The quantum fluctuations we (being creatures locked into spacetime) can measure directly are those that are a function of space and a function of time. It's difficult for us to imagine that any such fluctuation could occur without space and without time, yet dimensionality is but a simple property of our observable universe. There is no law that dictates that quantum fluctuations require space and time, and in fact, the manner in which quantum fluctuations evade our concepts of space and time seem to indicate that they are fundamentally divorced somehow. Indeed, this is the greatest problem in modern physics: grand unification, attempting to reconcile quantum physics with relativity. Can it be done? Possibly, but one thing is clear: relativity, our concepts of space and time, do not function on the scales that quantum physics does.

This fluctuation that is neither a function of space nor a function of time with a given energy potential is a plausible means of, for lack of a better word, "triggering" the big bang. What about the conservation of energy then? We have free energy and we have spacetime, how is energy conserved? Simply put, our observations to date seem to indicate the warping of spacetime (gravity) as described by general relativity has a negative energy which precisely cancels out the existent matter and energy in the universe. If such is the case (which I believe is the currently accepted hypothesis), then the quantum act at the beginning of the universe merely converted energy into different forms, that is, the net energy of the universe is still zero, and the law of conservation of energy is upheld.

Is this necessarily the case? No. As with all matters of current physics, things are still undergoing experimentation (please see the research of Vilenkin, Linde, Guth). Many physicists have a flurry of ideas as to what could constitute the "beginning" of the universe, but all of them far from involve the invoking of any sort of omnipotent being. The point I simply wish to make is this: we know of several ways the universe could have come about naturally that are wholly in accordance with the laws of physics. There are natural alternatives to this act of "Genesis" of the universe.

And when there are natural, plausible, alternatives, that are currently being tested in laboratories and continue to develop, they are always more reasonable than explanations invoking the supernatural. If I lose my wallet, it could definitely be true (and I'd have no way of disproving it) that elves jumped into my pocket and stole it, but the more reasonable answer is indeed the natural one, that I simply misplaced it, or even that quantum tunneling occurred and it's in the next room over. To believe the universe came to it's current state by the act of a supernatural force is an intellectual copout and the equivalent of believing elves took my wallet. Never has a supernatural effect been observed in any sort of scientific lab setting, and it definitely does not require "faith" to believe that something does NOT violate all the existent laws of the universe.

 

Allow me to close with a quote Professor Alan Guth:

"It's not a coincidence that the Bible starts with Genesis. Most people really want to know where we came from and where everything around us came from. I like to strongly push the scientific answer. We have evidence. We no longer have to rely on stories we were told when we were young."

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


Cpt_pineapple
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How much training do you

How much training do you have in physics? Degrees? Close to one?


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I am working on my degree,

I am working on my degree, and currently working on in the field of cosmology, specifically where it intersects with particle physics. 

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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Great article Inri. Cheers

Great article Inri. Cheers mate.


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It's my understanding that

It's my understanding that string theory (I think specifically M-theory) is working on what was before the Big Bang. That there are several different universes (from Einstien equations) and physists are currently scrambling for experiments to either confirm or deny their existance.


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Gnophilist wrote: "It

Gnophilist wrote:

"It takes more faith to suggest the universe comes from nothing, that nothing created the energy in the universe. What started the big bang."

"What" is the word used in this statement. I'd agree that we don't know "What" caused the Big Bang, but anthropromorphizing it to the point of acting as if a "who" did it is not only presumptious, but infinantly unlikely and absurd.

Is your claim that a "who" did it? If that is the case show me where in the universe this disimbodied brain is.

If you want to claim a "what" caused it, that is a no duh. 

 

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 Our current physics can

 Our current physics can only accurately describe the universe up to 10^-44 seconds after the "creation" event, and string theory (as well as all these other theorists) are trying to figure out what happened in that 10^-44 seconds before the universe started expanding.

I spent the entire last academic term grading papers for a professor of string theory, and I still can't say I buy into it. It's definitely compelling, and I'll write another post about string theory if there's a demand. What I would like to point out though is that string theory is an alternative natural explanation for the structure of the universe(s), of which this quantum creation event would be a result. 

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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What a GREAT post!!!

What a GREAT post!!!


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I 2nd that BGH. :)

I 2nd that BGH. Smiling


Cpt_pineapple
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Gnophilist wrote: Our

Gnophilist wrote:

Our current physics can only accurately describe the universe up to 10^-44 seconds after the "creation" event, and string theory (as well as all these other theorists) are trying to figure out what happened in that 10^-44 seconds before the universe started expanding.

I spent the entire last academic term grading papers for a professor of string theory, and I still can't say I buy into it. It's definitely compelling, and I'll write another post about string theory if there's a demand. What I would like to point out though is that string theory is an alternative natural explanation for the structure of the universe(s), of which this quantum creation event would be a result.

 

The planck second. Come one, aren't you a little curious about what happened before? Before the approx 13.5 billion years?

 

As for string theory, yes I would love to see a post about it. 


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Oh, I'm definitely curious!

Oh, I'm definitely curious! That's the work I was talking about with Professor Linde and Vilenkin, trying to figure out what happened before that 10^-44 seconds (the Planck time). However, it does not go "before" that. There may be extradimensionality and compactification of space (the implications of which are themselves astounding), but "before" is not the proper word (or even concept) to use.

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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Gnophilist wrote: Oh, I'm

Gnophilist wrote:

Oh, I'm definitely curious! That's the work I was talking about with Professor Linde and Vilenkin, trying to figure out what happened before that 10^-44 seconds (the Planck time). However, it does not go "before" that. There may be extradimensionality and compactification of space (the implications of which are themselves astounding), but "before" is not the proper word (or even concept) to use.

 

I'm curious, why aren't you "buying" string theory. Too expensive? (j/k) 


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@MJHavok, BGH, and Martha:

@MJHavok, BGH, and Martha: Thanks!! Smiling

@Capt: LOL! I'll address that in a coming thread.


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Brian37 wrote: Gnophilist

Brian37 wrote:
Gnophilist wrote:

"It takes more faith to suggest the universe comes from nothing, that nothing created the energy in the universe. What started the big bang."

"What" is the word used in this statement. I'd agree that we don't know "What" caused the Big Bang, but anthropromorphizing it to the point of acting as if a "who" did it is not only presumptious, but infinantly unlikely and absurd.

Is your claim that a "who" did it? If that is the case show me where in the universe this disimbodied brain is.

If you want to claim a "what" caused it, that is a no duh.

 

 

I think you need to read the article dude. He is an atheist. Did you read the full article? 

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. "
- Carl Sagan

"Tantum eruditi sunt liberi"

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Cpt_pineapple
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I must say, your post was

I must say, your post was awesome. To be honest, it made me think about my belief in God.

You mention quantum events. You say they are perfectly within physics. My question is why? You are defining physics as something that happens so if events happen of course they are within physics! Something that defies physics can't happen right, so everything that happens is within physics.  

For example, the Everett interputation of Schodigner's cat thought experiment. How exactly does one single cat replicate the  entire universe?  Don't you ever wonder that? You just shrug it off as 'within physics'.

You may say "That's like asking what tastes better than blue"

 I disagree. It helps us see the big picture.

 

You may call me a 'whack-job' for believing that God exists, but I feel the atheists are simply missing the big picture. Nothing more. Atheists can be very smart (such as yourself), but missing the purpose.

 

 I'm not here to convert people, I'm here to help them understand my position.

 

I don't think even BGH can de-cipher this post. Hope that pineapple to english dictionary is up and running.

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I must

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I must say, your post was awesome. To be honest, it made me think about my belief in God.

Thank you!

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
You mention quantum events. You say they are perfectly within physics. My question is why? You are defining physics as something that happens so if events happen of course they are within physics! Something that defies physics can't happen right, so everything that happens is within physics.

For example, the Everett interputation of Schodigner's cat thought experiment. How exactly does one single cat replicate the entire universe? Don't you ever wonder that? You just shrug it off as 'within physics'.

You may say "That's like asking what tastes better than blue"

I disagree. It helps us see the big picture.

You may call me a 'whack-job' for believing that God exists, but I feel the atheists are simply missing the big picture. Nothing more. Atheists can be very smart (such as yourself), but missing the purpose.

You are indeed correct in that everything that everything that happens is obviously within physics. We know these quantum fluctuations happen, and the logical extrapolation of quantum phenomena leads us to our current predictions and hypotheses, which are being subjected to experimentation. Personally, I share Guth's opinions that there are no "properties of matter" simply, for lack of a better term "rules of engagement" regarding the universe. This clears up the problem that a single particle can have all the information required to reproduce a universe (which, while possible, seems unlikely).

The problem inherent to trying to see the bigger picture is that it assumes a bigger picture exists, which is not necessarily true. If this is the case, it becomes a problem of us attempting to read meaning into a work where no inherent meaning exists. A Virgin Mary burnt onto a burrito, the word "Allah" written in Arabic in the clouds, Elvis appearing in the sweat stain of a man's shirt... all of these things, if you approach them from the point of view of trying to "see the bigger picture" will give erroneous results. We have to deal with the possibility (and indeed, start with the possibility) that no bigger picture, no greater meaning, exists, rather than looking for one from the get-go.

I would also like to clarify that I hold the opinion that most theists are rational, kind, human beings, and not "crazy" for being theists. It's just a matter of the information presented. I was a Muslim for more than 4/5 of my life, and my belief was founded in the facts I had gathered up to that point. Color me naive, but I have this deep desperate hope that if you present someone your logical argument they'll consider it. Sadly, it's not always the case.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I'm not here to convert people, I'm here to help them understand my position.

 

I don't think even BGH can de-cipher this post. Hope that pineapple to english dictionary is up and running.

I, too, am not here to convert people. I just hate that I repeatedly get accused of requiring "as much faith as theism does" for simply believing in science, and I wanted to address that in a public forum. Smiling

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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I prefer to be agnostic

I prefer to be agnostic about the question of what happened before the start of the Big Bang -- and about whether that question has any real meaning. If the start of the Big Bang was the first time in this Universe, then "before the Big Bang" has as much meaning as "north of the North Pole".
The reason that I think that is that when one goes back far enough, one runs into strong quantum-gravitational effects, and quantum gravity is simply NOT well understood.
String theory is an interesting possibility, and while it can handle quantum gravity self-consistently, getting the rest of the Universe's physics is a real challenge. It's possible to get much of the Standard Model out of it, but that depends on the topology of the background space-time, which is far from specified ambiguously.
This would seem to support the "quantum foam" hypothesis, in which our Universe is one of many bubbles in a quantum-gravitational foam state.
A multiverse hypothesis would also explain why the Universe is able to allow us to come into existence; it has some features convenient for that like four large space-time dimensions. It would be a case of natural selection  of Universe bubbles.
But our Universe nevertheless has a LOT of features that suggest that it was not designed for the benefit of humanity, like nearly all of it being inhospitable. This would  be consistent with the multiverse hypothesis, since all the Universe has to do is allow us to come into existence, without it having to be perfect for us.


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This is quite amusing

This is quite amusing Gnoph. A condition called synaesthesia is when someone has a sort of blending of the senses. A rare form of this is when someone actually tastes words. They hear or think or read them and then get a taste sensation. One of these people might  tell you what tastes better than blue. At least to them.


 

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. "
- Carl Sagan

"Tantum eruditi sunt liberi"

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the


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Indeed, "tastes better than

Indeed, "tastes better than blue" was likely not a good question, primarily because it, unlike the others, was subjective in nature.

Perhaps a better question would have been "what is underneath blue?" or similar disjunction between question and concept.

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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Is your avatar picture an

Is your avatar picture an image from hubble?


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Mjhavok wrote: Is your

Mjhavok wrote:
Is your avatar picture an image from hubble?

Yes. Smiling 


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Such a great post! Thank

Such a great post! Thank you very much for sharing this with us! Smiling

I'd love to hear more from you about string/m-theory (possibly multiverse) and were, in your eyes, its problems lie (I myself, am quite skeptical about it although it is a very intriguing idea).

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. - Immanuel Kant


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Thinking of quantum level

Thinking of quantum level alternatives 'replicating the universe' is definitely misunderstanding what is being imagined there.

Of course it has become almost a platitude that anyone who thinks they understand the quantum regime clearly doesn't.

The true 'big picture' is the insight that quantum phenomena seem to indicate that whatever the sub-strate of reality is, what is the ultimate nature of things, etc, it is in all likelihood nothing remotely resembling the concepts borne in the brain of our ancestors, still massively predisposed to attribute any mystery to some sentient agent.

Considering the picture of the Universe we get from the Old Testament, to suggest that people like gnophilist and the top physicists and cosmologists are missing a 'big picture', when we contemplate the scale of even our current observable universe, is just a bit silly.

The 'true' picture is bound to be something way more subtle and difficult to get our minds around than the most convoluted ideas of the Theologians. But as long as we base our ideas on what can be actually observed and detected and even inferred indirectly by subtle measurements, rather than perpetuate the error of the ancient philosophers that the path to Truth was thru the pure exercise of our mental faculties, we have to be more likely going in the right general direction. To assert otherwise is to display a breathtaking arrogance as to the capability of our all-too-finite and flawed minds to access ultimate and absolute truth.

 Science addresses the limitations of our individual reasoning abilities by providing a framework for many people to contribute and for flawed reasoning to be detected by the requirements of independent replication, peer review, etc.

All that said, I do have a quibble with the idea that the discipline of Physics encompasses 'everything'. This is not an issue with the original post, more with some later comments.

True, it describes the framework and substrate for complex interacting systems of atoms/molecules/living cells/multi-cellular organisms. However, to understand complex systems, concepts are required which involve new ideas about 'emergent' properties of such systems. These ideas are independent of the ultimate nature of the elementary particles they are made up of, just as computer science is not affected by whether the computer uses vacuum tubes or integrated circuits.

My final impression is that gnophilist is very definitely a great addition to our group - that post really nailed so many objections and misunderstandings we hear from both Atheists and Theists to the Big Bang theory.

Most impressed. 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

 

Considering the picture of the Universe we get from the Old Testament, to suggest that people like gnophilist and the top physicists and cosmologists are missing a 'big picture', when we contemplate the scale of even our current observable universe, is just a bit silly.

 

I never said anything about the Old Testament. 


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Sorry, Cpt_pineapple - I

Sorry, Cpt_pineapple - I was just referring to the Old Testament as a classic example of the smallness of the picture we get from religion in comparison to our current understandings of the nature and origins of the Universe gained by serious disciplined inquiry, ie, Science.

So may we assume you are a Deist, perhaps?

My judgement after thinking and reading about these things for a damn long time is that virtually any form of Theism, if it is more personal than the 'God' of Einstein or Spinoza, actually blinds the believer to whatever Big Picture there may be, certainly as I understand it. Instead they 'see' a more comfortable, comprehensible substitute version.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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How was it not mentioned in

How was it not mentioned in a post on faith and the big bang that a catholic priest is credited with the "creation" of the big bang theory?
I guess it has no bearing on the actual theory, or does it?


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Not particularly relevant -

Not particularly relevant - we honor the originators of ideas, but those ideas continue to grow and many people contribute.

The other person who further developed the idea from the early stages was George Gamow, who came from a very different background, Soviet Russia.

Jesuits are defintely an intriguing class of Theists though, I will admit.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Gnophilist, that was a very

Gnophilist, that was a very well explained post. Folks interested in Modern cosmology would do well to read this.

I've never been very good at Physics, (I’m better read on biology and politics), but your post made perfect sense to me, well done!

I guess I must add a caveat, which should be obvious to most.

I do not hold what you have written as a belief, nor do I have faith in the content of your post, but I do consider it to be a reasonable explanation of the observable universe, as understood today. In other words I'm not wedded to your explanation.

I shouldn't need to add that caveat, but with the current fashionable theist projection; insinuating that Atheist's form their beliefs on "faith”, I find myself constantly having to underscore my own remarks!


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Thank you all for the kind

Thank you all for the kind comments!

Klarky wrote:
I do not hold what you have written as a belief, nor do I have faith in the content of your post, but I do consider it to be a reasonable explanation of the observable universe, as understood today. In other words I'm not wedded to your explanation.

Good! The view I have presented is currently the most widely accepted hypothesis, but the jury is still out while we look for more evidence.  Smiling. There are sooo many (natural!) ways the universe could have come about, we're trying to figure out which way it did!

 

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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Thank you very much for that

Thank you very much for that post Gnophilist! I'll cut & paste it for later use, if you don't mind? Did you use any particular sources when writing this, and could you post links to them if they're on the web?

"This is the real world, stupid." - Charlie Brooker

"It is necessary to be bold. Some people can be reasoned into sense, and others must be shocked into it. Say a bold thing that will stagger them, and they will begin to think." - Thomas Paine


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Rave wrote: Thank you very

Rave wrote:
Thank you very much for that post Gnophilist! I'll cut & paste it for later use, if you don't mind? Did you use any particular sources when writing this, and could you post links to them if they're on the web?

It was my pleasure, Rave. Smiling

 

As far as sources go, outside of accumulated knowledge, I did not look at any sources when writing this paper. However, I can direct you to these papers which deal with these ideas. I do not know whether they require subscription to access.


Alexander Vilenkin, "Quantum creation of Universes." http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v30/i2/p509_1

Bousso and Linde, "Quantum creation of a universe with omega not equal to one." http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v58/i8/e083503

Redouane Fakir, "Quantum Creation of Universes with nonminimal coupling" http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v41/i10/p3012_1

Michael McGuigan, "Universe creation from the third-quantized vacuum" http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v39/i8/p2229_1

Craig Hogan, "The Beginning of Time", http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/295/5563/2223.pdf

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


Rave
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Thanks!

Thanks!


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Great post Gnophilist!

Great post Gnophilist!

It's really helpful how you point out that the concept of "before" does not apply to the Big Bang since time was non-existent beforehand. I often find myself in debates with theists who insist that something had to exist outside the Big Bang to cause it. I've found that it helps to point out to them that "outside the universe" is not a term that applies to the Big Bang either. For if there is no universe, how can there be an outside and an inside. A much better term (for both time and space) is to say that something existed independent of the universe that caused the Big Bang. After a little discussion it becomes clear that a fundamental principle of physics that exists independent of the universe is a more reasonable explanation than some all-powerful, loving consciousness that exists independent of the universe. It's just a simple usage of occam's razor.

But great post, and I hopefully we'll see one about string theory from you!

'The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.'
- Richard Dawkins


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Spacetime

Take a look at this website.  I'd sure like to hear what someone has to say about it.

http://pages.sbcglobal.net/louis.savain/Crackpots/notorious.htm

 


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Well i have done some

Well i have done some reading on this. I have a question for you gnoph. In what i read i was told that 98% of the matter in the universe is still not found. And that is called "Dark Matter". Now i understand none of this has been found. It seemed bias what i was reading saying it was just an excuse to keep the big bang theory alive. I may be very wrong, i am not knowledgable in this but what do you make of dark matter or the missing matter in the universe.


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I keep hearing, a lot

I keep hearing, a lot actually, that dark matter was invented to make up for the big bang. This is so patently untrue its ridiculous. The Big Bang didn't even factor into equations when we found evidence of dark matter, and the evidence is astounding. We know dark matter exists because of the rotation of galaxies and galaxy clusters, not because of the big bang. Though I'll say this, after we discovered dark matter we went "where the heck did that come from?", we looked back on the big bang, and realized that the big bang actually accounts for it. Let me say this clearly: The concept of dark matter was not invented to reconcile the big bang in any way, shape, or form.

 

The figure you have is approximately correct. 4% of the the universe is made up of visible light and energy. 26% is made up of dark matter, and 70% of dark energy. The big bang did not factor into the calculating of these figures. Evidence collected is looking great for dark matter, to the point where it's crackpot not to believe it. We know it's there, just like we know gravitational waves are there. They just interact so weakly we have a very hard time detecting them directly, we can still direct them through the others effects they have (energy dissipation, gravitational force, etc.)... 

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


NoGodJon (not verified)
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thanks for clearing that up.

thanks for clearing that up. I also read that dark matter is so hard to detect, that it goes through the earth. And can also go through large amount of lead with it mabye being caught in its mass. Now what i read seemed very biased. Is there any good sources about the big bang i can read? What i was reading made it seemed a skeptic wrote it. i really didn't like it.


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The Big Bang and Faith

You seem to make a huge leap of faith in your argument.  Though it is true the question "What came before the Big Bang?" implies the existence of time, you fall into a deep "black hole" when you also posit that the universe always existed.  This is against the evidence.  Observation and rationality tell us that the universe had a beginning at the point of singularity which allowed time, space, matter and energy to exist.  This point of singularity had a beginning.  It was not always there.  Something eternal, causeless, powerful and personal had to bring this into existence.  This is what theists call GOD.  To believe in the existence of God does not take faith.  It becomes obvious for those who do not close themselves off to the possibility.  It takes lots of faith however to believe in the eternality of a universe that is bound by time.  This is a hopeless contradiction.


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" Something eternal,

jexilem you said above " Something eternal, causeless, powerful and personal had to bring this into existence."

 

This is the most unscientific statment ever. Back this up with evidence please. You are seriously trying to tell us this statement doesn't require faith?

 

 

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. "
- Carl Sagan

"Tantum eruditi sunt liberi"

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the


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jexilem wrote:

jexilem wrote:
You seem to make a huge leap of faith in your argument.

I make no such leap of faith. For your convenience, I have copied again my line of reasoning:

Gnophilist wrote:
Let's break down the semantics: "always" is a word referring to "at all points in time" or "for all time." As we established earlier, so long as the universe has existed, time has existed. Meaning, at all points in time, the universe has necessarily existed (time being a requisite constituent of our particular universe). The universe has always existed. Baffling, huh? Our human language is so inadequate for talking about the universe, where so many things fly in the face of the every-day experience our common sense evolved around.

I suggest you abandon your intuition and instead start actually thinking about the words you use. I also suggest you work on your reading comprehension.

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Explaining the universe by invoking god is like solving an equation by multiplying both sides with infinity. It gives you a trivial solution and wipes away any real information about the original problem.


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That Gnophilist has simply

That Gnophilist has simply restated the orthodox position is my main problem with it.

The kind of pupolarized lingo typically employed at certain junctures I find annoying.

Quote:
Asking "what came before the big bang?" is akin to asking "what came before time?"
Only if it's true that the big bang was in fact the beginning of time, which is not established. So it's not established that this is a meaningless question.

The excuse (I see it as an excuse) that our poor little brains just can't deal with it is a copout that no scientifically minded person should accept. Even when we suspect that there are evolved limitations (for instance in dealing with wave-particle duality) we should rebel with every fiber of being to allow this to be the end of it.

Quote:
So inevitably, the question of causality arises.
Causality assumes time, but time does not necessarily assume causality. The question might be inevtibale as an outcome of daily experience but it's not inherently ineviable. In a different context, we could say with equal force, "So inevitably the question of how fast the sun goes around the earth arises."

He might have mentioned the difference between the philosopher's nothing and the phsyicist's as some others have. This avoids the problem that if time began with the big bang then something must have come from nothing. The reason for the distinction is to point out that there has never been nothing...meaning that there was always been time and space in some form.

My tone could be mistaken as combative, but it's not. "Some call me argumentative, but I beg to differ." In the end I suppose I am reacting to broad simplifications of some unknowns that seek to simply sweep under the rug some of the best questions in the world. 

I most definitely like when he mentions that all of these things are still under study. As long as we don't know everything, I would hope so!

And I obviously agree that the physicalist assumption is absolutely essential if we are even to pretend to claim knowledge. Knowledge does not exist outside of this assumption. 


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Gnophilist wrote: jexilem

Gnophilist wrote:

jexilem wrote:
You seem to make a huge leap of faith in your argument.

I make no such leap of faith. For your convenience, I have copied again my line of reasoning:

Gnophilist wrote:
Let's break down the semantics: "always" is a word referring to "at all points in time" or "for all time." As we established earlier, so long as the universe has existed, time has existed. Meaning, at all points in time, the universe has necessarily existed (time being a requisite constituent of our particular universe). The universe has always existed. Baffling, huh? Our human language is so inadequate for talking about the universe, where so many things fly in the face of the every-day experience our common sense evolved around.

I suggest you abandon your intuition and instead start actually thinking about the words you use. I also suggest you work on your reading comprehension.

You definitely nail jexilem here. Based on the way you have defined time, the universe has always existed.

As I often say to theists who dare to bring semantics to the party: There definitely is a god. I define god as my left nostril, and I definitley have a left nostril (not that you should believe me).