1/05/2010                                                                                       View Comments

God and the Big Bang

by Brian Flatt

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, is an image of a ...Image via Wikipedia

Ok, so pretty much everyone knows that I call myself an Agnostic. Even though I have some major issues with religion in general and Christianity in particular, I have not and still can not call myself an Atheist. A lot of Atheists spend their time destroying religion, and in many cases they have done a pretty good job of it, but they have not been able to destroy God, Nietzsche's assertion that God is dead to the contrary. Even if it was shown that God, Yawhew, Jehovah and Allah do not exist, it still would be a possibility that some sort of God exists.

One of the biggest reasons I come to that keeps me Agnostic is the question of what came before the big bang, or more precisely what caused the big bang. I recently watched a couple of fantastic debates on youtube, the first being between Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative commentator and Christian apologetic, and Daniel Dennett, the noted Atheist philosopher, and the other between Dinesh again and Dan Barker, a former minister turned Atheist. To Dinesh's question of what happened before the big bang, Dan Barker replied that it is a meaningless question for the following reason. Since time and space both came into existence at the Big Bang, time did not exist before that moment and since asking what came before is a temporal question you can't ask it. It would be like asking what is north of the north pole, it's a meaningless question. And this is an excellent point, but.... it's not very satisfying. Our minds just cry out to know what happened before the big bang. it might be meaningless to ask what came BEFORE the big bang but, to my mind, that doesn't answer what CAUSED the big bang. To my mind, cause and effect go all the way back to the big bang, the singularity itself, so the big bang must have a cause. Common sense would dictate it couldn't have just happened, for no apparent reason at all. Maybe a better question is WHY did it happen, to which an Atheist would reply that that is another meaningless question, the universe doesn't have reasons, it just is.

But here's the thing, and the reason why we have to be very careful about the language we use. One guy stood up and asked a question of D'Souza that if you posit a God that created the Big Bang, couldn't you just as easily ask what caused God, who created the creator, and then who created that creator, ad nauseum, into infinity. But... I thought we just agreed that time did not exist before the big bang, therefore before the big bang, actually there is no before the big bang, there is no cause and effect because cause and effect are a temporal construct. Therefore one could still posit that God, who existed OUTSIDE of time, created the Big Bang, at which time, time itself came into existence. There is no problem with saying God has no creator, he has always existed, or since time didn't exist, it is better to say he existed outside of time. I am that I am.

Whew!!!! Got that out. lol

Now...

I'm surprised Dinesh did not think of this answer, he kind of equivocated on the issue and his answer was not satisfactory.

One good answer that he did posit is that the universe encompasses all that is, all of nature. Everything that is considerd nature and natural is contained within the universe, therefore the universe could not have created itself, that would be saying nature created itselt, but nature didn't exist before the big bang. Again, we are using the term 'before' when we know there was no 'before', but according to this logic, which seems sound to me, since the universe can not have a natural cause, it must have a other than natural, or supernatural cause.

Another Atheist objection I've heard over the years is that if we say God created the universe we are stuck with who created God to which the theist replies he has always existed. The Atheist says well why not just say the Universe has always existed and just cut out the middle man. Sounds like a good argument. In other words, why not just call the universe itself God. I used to think this argument was so sound that I used it myself. The problem with it is that we DO know, from science, not religion, that the universe DID in fact have a beginning, at the big bang. We KNOW that the universe is not eternal, it had a finite beginning some billions of years ago, so we CAN'T say that the universe always existed as a way to get around God. The universe had a beginning and I'm still stuck asking why.

Or maybe...time is like in calculus where, when you go backwards in time towards the big bang, you can approach but never actually reach the big bang itself. Scientists say that their science only works back to some infinitesimally small fraction of a second after the big bang, before that the science breaks down. So maybe, if you can approach but never reach the singularity itself, time HAS always existed, therefore space and the universe HAS always existed, which means there WAS no beginning, a beginning being only an illusion. In this case, we COULD call the universe itself God. Well fine, we can do that, and maybe scientists and religious believers are talking about the same thing, but an Atheist would object that that is not what a person normally means when they speak of God. I don't know, I have no answers. I'm agnostic. It seems that logic can be used to argue either case, which brings us to Dinesh's point, that we will NEVER have sufficient information, and YET we still have to choose. We have to choose between belief and unbelief. But do we really? Why? Who says? Why can't I be Agnostic? Isn't agnosticism, in the face of insufficient information, the only logically sound solution? The ability to say, you know what? I just don't have a friggin clue!!! I just don't know. And I think my doubt is perffectly reasonable. But my doubt extends both ways, I doubt God's existence at the same as I doubt his non-existence. What a conundrum huh?



80 comments:

webmdave said...

The theistic god is dead. Even John Shelby Spong has said this and religion should be destroyed esp if it triggers violent reactions in people. Be that as it may D'Souza doesn't impress me. I have not found such debates convincing that there is a god. What I see in such debates is an apologist spewing out junk to keep the believer believing and the atheist or non-theistic debater stating more factual statements. I heard that debate and found Dan Barker more convincing than D'Souza. I do not doubt the non-existence of the theistic god at all. It was a concept created by tribal people, evolving from myths such as Zeus/Hades, Horus, etc and loaded with superstition. There is no way such a deity could exist.

webmdave said...

"Well fine, we can do that, and maybe scientists and religious believers are talking about the same thing"

Scientists and religious believers are definitely not speaking about the same thing. The definition of the Christian God is pretty much the guy who gave the law to Moses, inspired the bible, and was incarnated as Jesus 2000 years ago. Unless we accept that the universe did all these things it is not the God of the bible. The fact that Christians/Muslims/what have you are not all just talking about the same thing, which happens to be the universe is evidenced by the fact, that they all give unique, mutually exclusive descriptions of him.

webmdave said...

Brian, thanks. Interesting post. However, I must raise just one of many problems with this god came first hypothesis; if a god created the universe, then that god must have possessed consciousness because you can’t create without thinking. But, how do you get consciousness without a body, without a brain. Science has never found a mind or a thought without an accompanying and functioning brain…”wetware.” How could an incorporeal (without body) entity possibly be able to think? There are other problems with this hypothesis, but I won’t get into them here. In short, I think the universe, in some form, must have preceded mind and thought.

Actually, I submitted (to this site) my take on the creation problem a few days ago. It may be posted here in a few more days...or not...

webmdave said...

Very interesting issues raised. Good post. A couple of points from a fellow Brian (myself):

I'm sure you've heard this before, but you don't address it, so here goes: atheism/theism deals with one's beliefs, not knowledge. I am technically agnostic (which translates to "without knowledge") because I think we cannot KNOW if there is a creator God of some sort. Yet it is still perfectly logical that I call myself an atheist, because I don't BELIEVE that there is one, based on the preponderance of the evidence. Of course, nobody can ever know with 100% certainty (in this life) if God exists or not, so why bother to call yourself an agnostic? I'm agnostic about bigfoot, but so what? Nobody has absolute proof either that bigfoot exists or that it does not. What matters is if you believe it does. That is what tells others something useful about your personality, am I right?

I think you are using agnostic in the common way to mean "reserving judgment", or "unwilling to decide what to believe", but I don't think that the word technically means that. One can freely admit not knowing, while still determining what one believes is probably true, despite the absence of proof.

I also agree with Mriana that the theistic God of the Bible and of modern evangelical worship is so staggeringly improbable that we can be pretty sure he doesn't exist. An amorphous, deistic, creator god, which is really little more than a thought experiment or a philosophical place-holder, such as the one that may have existed before the big bang and guided the process, is still more likely than the God of the Old Testament.

Finally, ever stop to think why we would even think that God created the big bang, and that he may be connected in some way to the account found in the Bible? It's only because of cultural momentum, isn't it? The more we learn about the universe, the more our idea of God retreats. Now we're wondering if he touched off the big bang and then sat back to watch it all. But if a neutral observer with no knowledge of our cultural religious history were presented with the known facts of astrophysics, would a sentient, all-powerful, and possibly loving being be the first explanation of the unknown that came to mind? Or would that observer recognize that our knowledge is as yet simply incomplete, and that some utterly unforseen explanation would likely emerge at some point in the future? Who foresaw antibiotics before penicillin was discovered, or predicted multi-dimensional string theory before it emerged from the mathematics?

webmdave said...

Hello, Brian,

An interesting post, as WizenedSage has noted.

There are probably an infinite number of things we will never know.

For me, an atheist peppered with agnosticism, the question of whether the universe is infinite is one that has occupied my mind for decades and whenever someone talks about God/god the issue of the universe comes to mind automatically.

I think of the universe as space and everything within it. When you were typing your post, there was space between you and your computer screen. This space IMHO extends infinitely. Can there be an end to space? Not where I am concerned. You can imagine yourself travelling in a spacecraft into the far-out reaches of the universe and then you spot some physical boundary ahead of you. No matter how thick the boundary is, the question can always be asked: What's behind the boundary?

Thus, for me, it is easier to think of the universe as being infinite, shapeless, and immeasurable in every direction.

Next, if the universe/space is infinite, there would be no question of a beginning, hence no question of creation. Can you imagine space being a creation? As humans we can create physical objects, including gases, liquids etc, but there is no way of creating space; space has always existed.

About God. What is God? The insane, spoiltbrat, genocidal egomaniac of the Bible? This god is a being that appears to exist only within biblical pages. Anyone can imagine for all they want - even say that he is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent etc and it's all nothing but pure speculation. No substance, no fact, no evidence, nothing except written text or spoken words. Read the Bible critically and you will be talking about this god in pejorative terms.

It is mind-boggling that people, or some people, prefer to conceive of this god/God-thing than to conceive of the universe as having no beginning.

Big Bang? It could never have produced the universe. The universe produced the Big Bang; the Big Bang occurred somewhere in space.

webmdave said...

The core logical problem here is the assumption that every thing has a CAUSE. The fact is that NOTHINGNESS does not exist. There are always quantum energy fluxuations. Virtual particles can appear out of nothing spontaneously, without cause.

Secondly, INTELLIGENCE is a late comer to the universe. It developed after time and space, so to posit it came before the beginning of the universe, is completely backwards. It is akin to claiming that the a ROBOT existed before the universe. Just plain dumb.

webmdave said...

It's good that you're putting some thought into this subject, Brian, but you need to keep thinking about it. The problem is, the god of the OT, NT and Koran has totally unacceptable moral standards, has no provable attributes and has no tangible influence on the world. But if you reject all these scriptures, on what do you base your concept of this god you still think exists? Is a god that can't be perceived or proved in any way any better than no god at all?

webmdave said...

I don't know, I have no answers. I'm agnostic.

You're definitely not alone, because no human being has (absolute) knowledge as to the origins of the Universe. However, this doesn't (and shouldn't) prevent one from choosing whether or not they believe a supernatural being..aka, "God", created the Universe(or caused the Big Bang). In other words, Atheism/Theism and Agnosticism are not mutually exclusive.

On another note, we know that "causing", "designing", and "contemplating" are temporal acts, and thus, positing that an atemporal, supernatural creator-being(i.e..a being who exists "OUTSIDE of time") did all of these things, is illogical, and thus, it is not reasonable to hold such beliefs. Then again, this is what "faith" is for---it enables people to hold unreasonable beliefs.

webmdave said...

Brian,

Thanks for the post. Those are interesting subjects that many of us have contemplated.

The notion of "time" has always interested me. We humans utilize the earth's rotation upon its own axis and its orbit around the sun as references for "time". Those events are referenced because they are reasonably consistent over a reasonable period. However, that in no way indicates it was planned or designed. Humans developed the concept of "time". There could very well be life in other areas of the universe who have no concept of "time" at all.

Take a look at the Hubble telescope website and look at some of the amazing images. You can find images of entire galaxies slamming into one another. You can see remnants of collapsing stars and exploding celestial bodies. Does this look like a universe that was "planned"? What would be the point of destroying entire solar systems. Do we suppose God wanted to see a smash-up derby on a celestial scale for His cosmic entertainment? Why would an all powerful God feel the need to create anything. Did He get lonely sitting on a throne?

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/

I find it riduculous for Xian apologists to claim the universe is one of order. It certainly is not. It is a violent and chaotic place that is indifferent to life. Have a look around.

The concept of the Hebrew God seems harder and harder to identify with by modern people. That is because modern people didn't conjure Bible God up. Primitive people did. Does it make sense to follow their lead? Those troglodytes were not far removed from living in caves and chucking spears at one another.

webmdave said...

Hi Brian! It's good to see you back.

The scale of the physical universe is fairly tough for the average homo-sapiens to grasp. The average galaxy contains about 100-200 billion stars, with there being around 100 billion galaxies within the known universe. Our spectral class G-3 sun, is a very typical example of an average star. We know these facts from astronomical measurement and study.

We're talking about an incredible amount of matter distributed over the visible universe, which is considered to be spherical with a diameter of 93 billion light years. Again, almost incomprehensible, but not immeasurable. Humankind has come quite far in it's understanding of our universe, especially now that churches can no longer burn or censor astronomers.

To help me understand such large and complex systems as our world, I must keep it simple. The tool of "Occham's Razor" simply states that the simplest solution is generally the most plausible. So, very simply put, I do not believe this old, massive, and immense universe requires a "great cosmic prankster" to create or run it.

Supposition of a god adds too much non-required complexity, or in many cases absurdity. For example, the creator of the 10 to 20 billion billion ordered stars in this universe allows galaxies to collide, but is concerned about our sex lives, wearing mixed-fiber garments or our consumption of pork.

I agree there is much that is not understood about our universe and it's origins and think there may be unananswerable questions. I really like your concept that time in retrograde may be asymptotic. I believe that if we humans continue to seek truth, rather than give up and say "gawdidit".

webmdave said...

Why must the big bang have an 'intelligent' cause? Nature does have spontaneous events - or is there an intelligent cause each time a radioactive atom decays? Could the pre-bang vacuum have simply 'decayed' into existence?

By attributing this to a God - any God - you are attempting to place the subject beyond the scope of science. In essence, "We cannot explain this, therefore God." It is more accurate to say, "We cannot explain this now, but we might in the future." Before nuclear fusion was discovered, people attributed the fact that the sun's continuous light to God. We no longer need a god wedged in the gap of why the sun shines - do you want to risk your god getting squeezed out if or when we find out the source of the big bang?

webmdave said...

My brain hurts.

webmdave said...

Alan Guth's theory of inflation addresses some of this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Guth

webmdave said...

"Take a look at the Hubble telescope website and look at some of the amazing images. You can find images of entire galaxies slamming into one another. You can see remnants of collapsing stars and exploding celestial bodies. Does this look like a universe that was "planned"? What would be the point of destroying entire solar systems. Do we suppose God wanted to see a smash-up derby on a celestial scale for His cosmic entertainment? Why would an all powerful God feel the need to create anything. Did He get lonely sitting on a throne?"

Biblegod is a sadistic S.O.B., so of course he would. Anyone capable of drowning millions creatures including puppies and kittens, and anticipating roasting billions of people forever and ever, then what of smashing up galaxies for his amusement? If there are any humans out there inhabiting planets like ours, then you KNOW he would so he could laugh his arse off. It's so much fun to make things go crash and boom!

None of that makes any sense at all, but if it did, then I would have to say that there is no purpose in it, other than relieving boredom. If Calvinism is to be believed, then we are here at the pleasure of biblegod and he can do with us as he pleases, and we are not to question since we are nothing but scum. We are like the ants in an ant farm waiting for some petulant 3 year old to come stomp on us or drown us in Koolaid.

Nope, I don't buy that, LOL. I am just offering fodder for any lurkers since we seem to be attracting them lately.

webmdave said...

I actually like Professor Krauss' explanation of "A Universe From Nothing" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

webmdave said...

Perhaps when researching The Big Bang you should find out what physicists think instead of philosophers.

webmdave said...

Renee D P,

Thanks for the reply. Your response is what I hoped for. The point of my post was to point out the absurdity of Xian apologists and their inane arguments about the universe and Creationism etc.

Think about how stupid the story of Noah's Ark really is. According to Xian tradition, Adam and Eve fouled the whole earth up. Therefore, God decided to start over with 8 people plus a collection of critters on a big boat. However, those 8 people plus critters populated the earth that was to become quite violent again. What, exactly, did God accomplish besides drowning people and critters. Some Xian kooks also think dinosaurs and Nephilim must have been on the Ark. Amazing. A violent earth filled with wicked people and savage critters before and after the Ark. The very concept of Noah's Ark is too stupid to believe... not to mention the absurdity of it actually being done. There are fools determined to find that Ark this very day. Maybe natural selection will result in their expedition(s) falling into a crevasse along Mount Ararat. If so, they will claim it was the devil.

BTW, I just noticed this site has a reciprocal agreement with Amazon.com. Interesting.

webmdave said...

The big bang did not occur in space. Space was created with the big bang.

webmdave said...

Exactly!

I feel that scientists are getting closer and closer to discovering the origin of the "big bang"(for want of a better term) and how it occurred.

"Nature"(natural entities) doesn't need "intelligence" at all. Everything happens quite instinctively, that's the amazing thing about this planet and that's why gods were invented because simple creatures like early humans, because they did have a semblance of "intelligence", they were able to question, unlike other life forms, and they were unable to come up with answers and reasons. They assumed that invisible beings caused it all to happen. The Hebrews dumped all of their gods and just kept Yahweh. They still weren't very bright. The Hebrews/Jews were just simple nomads. It was the smart, intelligent Romans that realized they were on a good thing with monotheism, it meant control through fear, accumulation of wealth by turning religion/Christianity into a huge commercial enterprise, which it still is today.

Romans didn't dump all of their gods without good reason and that reason was the thirst for power, control and wealth, which they very soon achieved with the invention of the Roman Catholic Church. They wrote the rules very well and with intelligence, sophistication and incredible cunning they put the fear of the Christian god into everyone wherever they went. Simple minds fear hell and long for heaven, the promise of where they would go made conversion a simple choice. Of course, there was also the coercion, under pain of death that made millions choose Christianity!

webmdave said...

Great comments, all. I would like to clarify a few points though. I am NOT arguing for the existence of the OT God or the NT God or the Koranic God, or any God posited by any organized religion. I believe as Thomas Paine said that "..my own mind is my church." I am merely arguing philosophically that there may in fact be some sort of God who caused the Big Bang. Doesn't have to be, I guess. But I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept that it could have just happened. That's just me, though. I'm not saying a God does in fact exist or that he doesn't. It seems to me though that there is a possibility. In fact, I've been having a hard time as of late with the concept of belief itself. Why do we have to believe anything? It seems to me that people get so emotionally wrapped up in their beliefs, when a belief is really nothing more than saying, "I don't really know, but here's what I profess to be true anyway." Don't you see that's why I'm agnostic? There is just too much that we don't know for me to make an informed guess at anything. I'm neither a believer or an unbeliever, not from a philosophical standpoint of stating that we can never know but just from my own personal mind. I personally do not know, therefore I'm agnostic. We are all human and we are all just trying to figure all this stuff out and our place in the world. Beliefs cause more heartache than good. They cause people to fight and kill. I don't believe anything. I want to KNOW. Knowledge instead of belief is my motto. I don't give a rat's ass what a person believes. People believe all sorts of crazy shit. Tell me what you know and what you can prove. People say you have to make a decision but I'm asking why? Who says? Why do I have to profess knowledge for which I do not possess? Why should I state whether I believe in a God or not when I don't know? It's stupid. I don't believe in anything.
As for D'Souza, I never said I liked him personally. He IS mean spirited at times but here's the thing, so are a lot of Atheists. I've met more than a few really mean spirited Atheist assholes. I was talking about his arguments and for the record, I also think that Dan Barker won the debate.
See, I'm just talking out loud here, in everything that I say I'm saying, "maybe it's this, or maybe that." I'm speculating. Someone said that I should research what the scientists say and not the philosophers. The thing is scientists can only go back to a few infitesimally small nano seconds after the big bang. Before that they are only speculating too. Therefore it is perfectly reasonable to ask the philosophers what they think too. We are ALL just speculating, so why can't people just give up their emotionally charged beliefs and let's just talk.

webmdave said...

Brian has made a series of "god of the gaps arguments" based on his lack of understanding of astrophysics. Common sense has nothing to do with it.

If this God exists, outside of time and the universe then he [sic] is irrelevant.

webmdave said...

Nature--implacable, indiffrerent, relentless, eternal.

webmdave said...

First of all, I am not making any arguments whatsoever. I am merely speculating, which is all you're able to do as well, I might add.
Secondly, how many of us ARE astrophysicists or have a firm understanding of it? I have read books on the matter, but I would not claim to be an expert. Very few of us are and I don't think one has to be in order to speculate about questions of ultimate reality, because as I have noted already, once you get to within a few infinetisimally small parts of a second before the big bang and beyond, all scientists can do is speculate too.

webmdave said...

I agree.When I decided to leave christianity last year my first thought was..well what am I if Im not a christian?I knew that I didnt beleive in any of the organized religions out there.I didnt feel like an atheist eather.Some of the atheists I talked to,not all of them of course,seemed to know to much.Some admited they still were not sure. I mean you can tell that organized religion is fake but how can anyone,one small person on this small planet,stand there and say''God doesnt exist and never did.'' If there is God I doubt its the sterio typical man in the sky but I cant say there isnt that ''something.'' I dont know,it just seems like being agnostic is the best position.Mabey not the most comfortable but the most honest.I dont like the fact that I dont know but..I dont so Im not going to lie.

webmdave said...

I think you raised many good points. Nobody really knows what happened so long ago. We can theorize.

The idea that someone will get an eternal reward or punishment based upon what they believe is ridiculous. If there were a God, it would be only fair of God to offer everyone a preponderance of evidence before asking them to believe anything.

We live in a transitional period where modern communication and the availability of information are opening many people's eyes. More and more people are walking away from religion in the US and other countries where Xianity was once prominent. I believe time is working against religion. I believe science will prevail among educated people.

webmdave said...

If you want to make a distinction between argument and speculation then fine, you're speculating, that doesn't change the god of the gaps argument. Squeeze god into Plank time or put him outside time, it's a god of the gap argument.

webmdave said...

Tks for the feedback, Ricky.

My mind, however, cannot conceive of space being a creation. I cannot believe that something called a singularity took place when there was no space.

And I have read that some eminent scientists, no less physicists themselves, do not agree with the Big Bang Theory

webmdave said...

Believe I read that theoretically it is possible to make a universe. Wouldn't it be a hoot to find you have to worship a nerdy little kid from another universe who got a "Build Your Own Universe Science Kit" birthday present.
All hail Tod.

webmdave said...

See Telmi, even scientists disagree and contradict themselves on this subject. When the thought occurs to them, "Well if the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into",they dither. Some will say, well it's expanding into empty space and what we call the universe is just that which contains matter, space itself being infinite. But they also say time and space itself began at the big bang, but.... so many contradictions.

webmdave said...

It doesn't change the god of the gaps argument but I am not the one making it.

webmdave said...

Brian Flatt

From where I'm sitting it doesn't matter if we believe in a god.

Who cares if a god exists.

We, us, you, have established that this supposed being is not what religions say he is.....because there is no objective evidence for their unverified claims.

A deity or some ultimate reality may very well exist but so far there has been no objective evidence that this being has made itself known by actually commingled with his hapless creation.

So what we are left with is speculation -- what in essence is an infinite can of worms that doesn't add up to shit.

Again, why should we care if a god exists?

--S.

webmdave said...

Wasn't it on this site that someone posted a great video about how the universe was formed? I can't find it.

webmdave said...

Watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

webmdave said...

I have said many times that nobody is currently qualified to tell us exactly how the universe started along with many other things about the universe because our knowledge of the universe is so limited.
This however does not stop the religious from trying to explain how some ancient texts are suppose to solve the problem.

webmdave said...

Exactly! Why can't the religious people see they're doing the same thing as the ignorant (ignorant, not stupid) people from the past who claimed that rain was god crying from heaven? Same difference. Goddidit.

BP

webmdave said...

Cosmologists claim that there are two competing models for our universe: 1) the ever expanding universe, in which the universe after the Big Bang has continued to expand and will keep expanding until all matter has completely dissipated;

and 2) the cyclical universre, in which the universe's expansion will eventually slow down, stop, and fall back on itself due to gravity. Eventually, the pull of all that mass will create another Big Bang, beginning an endless cycle of explosions, expansions,and contractions.

Nobody knows.

webmdave said...

If it is cyclical, I hope there won't be more delusional chumps like me in the future who spend 30+ years putting money into the offering plate whilst being called a wretch and a worm... ;->

webmdave said...

The good thing about science is it changes based upon observation and data. Dogma is stuck in the same rut for centuries.

webmdave said...

Join the crowd!

webmdave said...

Well, I am no astrophysicist, nor an expert in theoretical physics. That being said, when I have a question about a computer issue, I ask my techie friends, not my music friends; when I have questions about audio equipment, I ask my music friends, not my techie friends. You don't seek legal advice from your mechanic, nor do you ask your lawyer about your car.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the scientists in this field are the people to ask about the big bang. They may be speculating, but what they speculate they can at least compare against what is already known.

webmdave said...

Hi Renee D P!

When I read the second paragraph above, it made reminded me of frame three of this Matt bors comic:

http://www.mattbors.com/archives/480.html

I hope you like it.

webmdave said...

Hi Brian!

Astronomy is a wonderful science, as is cosmology. I completed all my minor division requirements for a degree in astronomy in the mid 70's, only stopping as the campus I attended offered no other related classes. Much of what was learned remains with me today and enhances my understanding and appreciation of our world.

Our professor authored a paper entitled, "A Cosmological Hypothesis of the Nature of God and the Soul", which he distributed to our class after finals for discussion. (If I can locate a copy of this document, it will be sent to you at your blog.) In his treatment of this topic, the professor was never required to call upon any form of diety to explain his "spiritual" concepts. More than just provide us with his opinion, this document and discussion helped liberate me from dogmatic thinking, even better yet, stimulated independent thought.

Despite the huge advances mankind has made technologically, there are events that will remain a mystery for a long time at best. The natural phenomenom our ancestors explained with dieties are now easily explained by science and applied mathematics. No need for any supernatural forces have been found to be necessary in any area of science.

If we as a species can learn to value knowledge over unfounded belief, this would truly be the best of all worlds.

webmdave said...

Oh good someone posted this already. WATCH THIS.

webmdave said...

And why should we wast our entire life on something that has no objective evidence?

I only wasted half my life....the 2nd half is for ME!

dt

webmdave said...

Scientits who have produced evidence and/or arguments refuting the BBT: Halton Arp, Anthony Peratt, Jayant Narlikar, Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge, Fred Hoyle, Hernan Bondi, Thomas Gold and Eric Lerner. Sir John Maddox. a physicist, wrote a book [can't remember title] commenting, inter alia, his skepticism of the BBT.

The NewScientist [July 2, 2005] published an interesting article captioned “End of the beginning” about the views of some scientists that appear to be a challenge to the BBT.

Notwithstanding the discovery of cosmic radiation, just think: Can anything at all exist or occur in the absence of space? The BBT theortizes about temperatures in the billions or trillions of degrees. Well, someone or some people have thought such temperatures had been attained in the first moments of the Big Bang. To me it is nothing more than an idea.

webmdave said...

"Who cares if a god exists....why should we care if a god exists?"

Exactly. Not only do I need objective evidence of god's existence in order to believe in him, I also need evidence that god cares about us before I'd bother caring about him (i.e. not a religion but a relaaaaytionship).

The way things stand now, it doesn't matter. Not one iota.

-------

Sconnor, it was nice to see a post from you. I hope you're doing well. Best wishes for the new year.

webmdave said...

Yes, here it is (provided by prostock1 above)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

Laurence Krause explains it better than anyone I have ever read or listened to. He is a buddy of Richard Dawkins and a great communicator (as well as being brilliant).

XPD

webmdave said...

I agree with prostock1 and rustywheeler, you should watch this. I can't say I understood it, but I am pretty sure other people do.

webmdave said...

GREAT POINT!

webmdave said...

"Not a religion, but a relaaaaytionship!"

I am dying laughing right now. How many times have I have heard that Christian Catchphrase?

Really what is the difference; oh wait, there is none. It is a religion of imaginary relationship.

webmdave said...

It seems that logic can be used to argue either case, which brings us to Dinesh's point, that we will NEVER have sufficient information, and YET we still have to choose. We have to choose between belief and unbelief.”

There goes another crazy apologist using a href=" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma ">false dilemma attempting to force people to subscribe to a belief in God. The thing is there are almost always more than two choices. There are many ways, ideas, and theories about how it could have happened. Just because we do not know how it happened right now, does not mean we must either believe god did it or not. And just because we do not know how it happened right now, does not mean that we will never be able to discover it. There are many things that we once thought impossible to discover or achieve, which are now notches in the belt of humanity.

webmdave said...

I didn't understand it at first either. But after watching it 4 times, I now "get it". Sometimes it takes watching or reading things multiple times before our brains can comprehend it (at least it's that way with me).

webmdave said...

Agree.

webmdave said...

Speaking of past gods, there is a really informative show that was aired on The Smithsonian Channel called "Lost Gods". You can find it on Smithsonian On Demand channel (if you get cable.) http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/site/smithsonian/show_lostgods.do

"The ancient world was filled with innumerable Gods, but what happened to these forgotten entities- where have the old Gods gone? Take a journey through faith and time in this enlightening series. Explore the rise and fall of the ancient civilizations of the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Celts, the Romans, the Maya and the Inca."

It may be on YouTube.

webmdave said...

And what is an imaginary relationship? A fantasy. lol

BP -- who prefers other types of fantasies to religious ones, thank you very much. ;-)

webmdave said...

I was watching a Youtube video by Thunderf00t yesterday and he was mentioning the fact that the Lord of the Rings would be a much better fantasy to turn into religion, than the Bible. He posited that it was better written and more interesting!

Yes there are better fantasies out there! haha

webmdave said...

Can't see it on YouTube but it IS of google video and I am enjoying it. Thanks.

webmdave said...

Still having trouble distinguishing between your agnosticism and true atheism, Brian. If you believe God is some supernatural being who started up the universe somehow and then just sat back, it begs all kinds of other questions, such as "why?" and "what was this being doing before the universe was created?" If this being is now totally inactive, what is the relevance to you of such a being? Isn't such a belief just empty and, frankly, worthless speculation? Still sounds awfully close to atheism, but maybe such agnosticism is just a bridge between religious belief and the real world.

webmdave said...

I saw a recent program on Discovery Channel re. religious rites practiced separately by Druids, Aztecs, and some specific Indian tribe(s) in the Americas. They all practiced human sacrifice to appease gods. Some of the different methods of sacrifice were beyond barbaric. The Druids burned some victims alive. Some of the rituals were reportedly practiced as recently as a few hundred years ago by certain Indian tribe(s) in the Americas.

The Hebrew God was demanding of blood as well. The Hebrews didn't appear to commonly sacrifice their own, but they apparently killed a lot of others under orders from their men of God. Savage people.

webmdave said...

That was good! Thanks for sharing it.

webmdave said...

Yeah, I'd agree with that.

webmdave said...

I saw that as well! I was flipping channels and started to watch it from when they showed how Aztec high priests would cut out the hearts of people while they were still alive. They were very savage people. And if given the chance today, there are certain "Christians", if given the legal backing and opportunity, would resort back to that barbaric behavior in the form of burning people at the stake or stoning them for perceived sins. This is what scares me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominionism.

webmdave said...

I'm going to tell you the same thing I've been telling agnostics and everyone with philosophical problems with the term atheist. Atheism does NOT mean you believe there are no/can be no gods. Atheism DOES mean that you do not *believe* in any gods, whether or not you hold out the possibility that there may be gods.

So sure, it follows that if you believe there are no gods or that there can be no gods, then you must be an atheist. But that is not a requirement of atheism. Agnosticism and Atheism don't exist on the same spectrum; it's possible to be both at the same time. This is because Atheism pertains to what you *believe*, whereas agnosticism is about what you *know*.

That means that, if you don't believe in any gods, then you're already an atheist, whether you call yourself one or not!

webmdave said...

prostock1,

I was mortified by that program. Those people were hardly removed from pure savages. They apparently killed people with no remorse. Some of the killing methods were beyond belief.

Religious fanaticism is alarming. It is scary that such people could be in positions of authority. In 1981, James Watt, the Secretary of the Interior under President Reagan, reportedly told Congress the Rapture could come at any moment. Therefore, they should manage the environment as needed until then. What a wacko.

A lof of fundys buy into this "Left Behind" material. Imagine one or two of those morons with their hands on "the button" to launch nukes.

This reminds me of a good movie in 1983 called "The Dead Zone" (Stephen King story) about a power-drunk politician who thought it was his destiny to "push the button". I don't remember how religious the character was, but he was a nut. It was a good film.

webmdave said...

It is a complex subject, but it is fascinating.

webmdave said...

Hey Scott, how's the book coming?

XPD

webmdave said...

I'm glad to know you will still be making posts. I always learn a lot from yours

dt

webmdave said...

then what caused the big bang, there had to be something that formed the big bang THEORY if you say there was no before how could "the big bang" be created there has to be something more ,, why is it that scientist can only belive in what they see or hear, so it makes them right scientist dont know everything they just assume, why can't god be real huh? just because scientist have told us otherwise the big bang created us all im sorry but thats rediculous, The Big Bang theory begins with matter already in existence and never explains the initial source or cause of matter. can you explain that ? if your so intelligent tell me why the big bang theory already started off with matter ,soo what is the cause of matter ?

webmdave said...

Chemicals or rather elements. The very basic building blocks of the universe and everything within it. These element clashed together to form a big bang... However, how do you know there was a big bang anyway? Somehow I get the idea that some people think it was an actual BANG! Given that sound does not carry well in space, I would say it wasn't that loud, even though it was very powerful.

Be that as it may, you are not thinking scientifically, Jessica. I suggest studying the subject more deeply before you jump off and say some invisible man caused it all. Or are you Hindu and two gods- Brahma and his wife had sex and that is what created everything in the universe? I rather like the second story better, because it makes more sense, but no, that was not how it worked either.

webmdave said...

Quoting XPDan form above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

Laurence Krause explains it better than anyone I have ever read or listened to. He is a buddy of Richard Dawkins and a great communicator (as well as being brilliant).

XPD

webmdave said...

Wow, thirty years!?! I only spent twenty!

webmdave said...

Not Our Pal: "God is a being."

Prove it, and not with your particular spiritual imaginings.

Come back with a link to a body raw scientific data that we can send out for analysis in an independent laboratory...

...Or don't come back at all. This website is not a place for you to post unsubstantiated mythological ramblings.

webmdave said...

You need to get out of the basement and into the real world. And quit smoking so much weed, okay?

If god is zero then there is no god, duh.

Dictionary definition - Zero the complete absence of quantity: nothing

If god is nothing then you have wasted hours and hours on your theory of why god is something because he is NOTHING!

webmdave said...

Shit!
Wouldn't you know that the guy who figured out what god was, would be stark raving mad, and incapable of writing at least one coherent sentence?
Shit!
Dano

webmdave said...

hey, i resemble that remark.

webmdave said...

dang it, he's a famillier, i never met him before and thought to enguage him.
to me some of where his logic "wants to go" are conciderable, but then i think of his bias to the concept "god"

as i read it i was thinking about the trickery of negation and saw flaws i wanted to pick at.... but if You groan at the site of him then i guess *sigh*.....it is not worth bothering with.
is he also a one hit poster?

pitty.

J

webmdave said...

Your logic, with your insistence of a god, sounds like the following:

Why are fire engines red?
Fire engines have ladders.
Ladders have rungs.
Rungs are one foot apart.
A foot is measured with a ruler.
A ruler is a king or a queen.
Elizabeth II is the Queen of England.
Elizabeth II is also the name of a ship.
Ships float on water.
Fish live in water.
Fish have fins.
Fins are the people of Finland.
The Fins fought the Russians.
The Russian flag is red.
Fire engines are rushing so that is why fire engines are red.

You fantasy based, conspiracy sounding wall of text is nothing more than suppositional science and philosophy and will not win us over. You are making way too many twists and leaps, linking bits and pieces of quantum theory in your apologetic bombastic posting. You had as well be arguing for the existence of Santa or Poseidon.

webmdave said...

"[Stephen Hawking] informs us that there are 10^80 particles in the region of the observable universe. According to quantum theory particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs [...] regarding the origin of that energy [...] total energy of the universe is exactly zero"

This is essentially correct, if the universe is homogeneous and isotropic (at very large scales) and most importantly geometrically 'flat' (zero curvature) then mathematically the total energy of the universe will be very close to zero. It is important to note here that this is the total energy and does not mean that any or all components of the universe have zero net energy.

"It is almost a common saying that God is spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal, and all-pervading. Here we are getting three zeroes; space is zero, time is zero, change is zero."

At best this can only lead to deism. A god with those attributes, particularly the 'changeless' one, is incapable of interaction with our universe.

"From special theory of relativity we come to know that for light both distance and time become unreal [...] even an infinite distance is infinitely contracted to zero [and] at the speed of light time totally stops. So a universe full of light only is a spaceless, timeless universe."

This is also essentially correct. At the speed of light, time dilation and Lorentz contraction make time and distance meaningless.

"Scientists have shown that if there is a God, then that God can only be light, and nothing else, and that therefore He will have all the properties of light."

God has a wavelength? :-/

"Scientists have shown that total energy of the universe is always zero. If total energy is zero, then total mass will also be zero due to energy-mass equivalence."

Aww, and you were doing so well. No, a total energy for the universe of 0 does not mean the total mass of the universe is zero. As Stephen Hawking points out in the very section you first referenced, mass comes from energy, but the separation of mass constitutes a negative energy reserve that (under particular assumptions) should very closely match the positive energy of matter.

The rest of your argument appears to rest on this erroneous supposition of a 'zero-mass' universe and is incorrect.

"Secondly, they do not believe that there is a God."

A great many scientists believe in gods. So this is also incorrect.

"if God is really there, then total mass and total energy of the universe including that God are both zero. Therefore mass and energy of God will also be zero. God is without any mass, without any energy. And Einstein has already shown that anything having zero rest-mass will have the speed of light."

Anything with zero rest mass and non-zero energy will move at the speed of light. No photon has zero energy, as this would correspond to a frequency of 0 and a wavelength of infinity, which might fit with your infinite and unchanging scheme, but excludes it from interaction with this universe, contradicting your 'God-inclusive' postulate.

An interesting attempt, but you need to stop cherry-picking science to support your a priori conclusion and instead properly learn it.

webmdave said...

That is what I would have said, if I had a stronger base in quantum theory. As it is, I know enough to have grasped the holes in the presented "argument" but not enough to counter the argument itself.
Good job!

webmdave said...

Ohhh, that's a great reply, Dis! May I 'borrow' it? Even the most brainwashed, deluded, hard-core buybull-belt fundies should be able to follow your excellent, humorous, yet profound comment!