The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#1

Post by Ivellious » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:08 am

The Big Bang model is a prevailing model of the beginning of our universe and its early stages of rapid expansion from an ultra-dense state. In general terms, it is the only major scientific explanation for what happened during the early universe to make the universe how it is today.

I've noticed both on this site and elsewhere that Christians, both of the young-Earth and old-Earth variety, seem extremely turned off by this model, as if it somehow violates their belief system. For young-Earth Christians, the reasoning is pretty obvious, since the big bang model is a part of aging the universe at 13.7 billion years old. But I'm really confused as to why those Christians who accept an old universe would be so bothered by how cosmologists characterize the big bang.

It seems like many people are bothered by the notion that scientists study the big bang without incorporating God into the formula. But if this is their problem, then they are holding physicists to an unequal standard when compared to other scientists. No scientific studies or hypotheses include God in the formula. Science cannot account for such a thing. Take chemistry, for example. No chemical reaction or interaction is explained scientifically using God as a source. But many religious folk would simply say that God made the rules for chemistry during creation, and I can't necessarily disagree. Just because scientists don't include God in their explanations doesn't make it atheistic, it just means that scientists can only study what they can measure and see.

So to me, it seems odd that Christians couldn't do the same thing with the big bang. Couldn't you just say that what happened during the big bang is simply the act of God forming the universe in its beginning, just like what He did with, you know, all the rest of the scientific models we use? Or am I missing something?

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#2

Post by 1over137 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:28 am

I wanted to google Christians and at the same time physicists and their view. I found this http://www.letu.edu/opencms/export/down ... igBang.pdf

Will read it to the end, start seemed interesting.
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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#3

Post by Ivellious » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:42 am

From your article:
The Big Bang theory does not leave God out of the picture, since it is merely a scientific account of how our universe has dramatically changed since its infancy.
This was more or less the point I tried to make. I'll read the rest later, it seems interesting.

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#4

Post by Mallz » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:54 am

One of the reasons I was drawn towards theism is the Big Bang.
Science measures observations and hypothesizes theories for the point of exploring truth.
I see science as unraveling how God works, and from what I've explored it matches up pretty nicely to his character.
In my opinion, God initiated the big bang to create our universe of time.

Any oppositions I would think are coming from either YEC beliefs (which is debatable), or traditional religious views (un-derived from the bible) which should be corrected as those Christians are following men, not God.

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#5

Post by 1over137 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:35 am

Personally, as a previous theoretical physicist, I am amazed by physical laws, so simple and beautiful, like designed.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#6

Post by Echoside » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:48 am

Ivellious, are you familiar with the cosmological argument? The big bang has been used by apologists for a while now as evidence that the universe has a definite starting point, and the best explanation for that coming into existence is God.

I'm not really sure where you got the idea that most Christians dislike the big bang theory, or at least ones on this board. I haven't seen much rebellion against it :P

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#7

Post by RickD » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:56 am

Ivellious,

I haven't seen any Christians who are OEC, whether Progressive Creationists or Theistic Evolutionists, who have a problem with the Big Bang. The only Christians I've seen with a problem with believing the Big Bang, are YECs.

Do you have a specific instance where you know of an OEC who doesn't believe in the Big Bang, for context?
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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#8

Post by Philip » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:15 pm

Big Band cosmology has a mountain of research evidence to support it. I'm doubtful that the original poster is going to be able to show much evidence of OECs whom are against it.

But what the expansion from the original point of singularity/intensely dense and hot state of the universe suggests is that there was a BEGINNER! If no Beginner, then what produced the immense heat and energy BEFORE the expansion - where did it come from? And let's not forget that the Big Bang event was no RANDOM expansion. Even if one believe that the conditions before the Big Bang event existed independent of a Creator, one must realize that very early in the expansion of the Big Bang's beginning, the physics, chemistries and gravitational laws guiding them were very clearly in play - precisely and comprehensively - so, where did THEY come from? LAWS guiding the universe don't create themselves. There is nothing random that can explain the Big Bang or its beginning! Discovering precisely what occurred has had generations of scientists struggling to explain what is, scientifically/physically/chemically, MASSIVELY complex.

Within 10 to the -37 seconds of the Big Bang's beginning expansion, there was a phase transition that caused cosmic inflation, which means that our universe expanded exponentially. Afterward, simple atomic nuclei formed within 3 minutes of the Big Bang's beginning. All of the necessary primary elements were produced, hydrogen with just the right amounts of helium and lithium, etc. All the critical primary elements came together via the laws of gravity (yet where did THAT come from?). The Big Bang had to have just the right extreme temperatures, just the right size, rate and speed of expansion, just the right rate of cooling. Within 10 to the -6 seconds of the Big Bang beginning, protons and neutrons developed, etc.

Folks, the Big Bang has God's fingerprints all over it. There was no universe and then one suddenly began. And its formation, timing and the laws guiding it were all massively complex. Newtonian or classical physics, and all sciences derived from physics, rest squarely on the principle of locality, the idea that correlated events are related by a chain of causation. And so everything has a cause and no law invented itself. And the laws and the mechanisms of the Big Bang had to work comprehensively and in perfect timing and synchronization, lest we would not have the universe that eventually developed, or subsequently, an earth habitable for life. And so the next time someone wants to argue about unguided, random, non-theistic evolution, just tell them that they have a whole lot more to explain that allowed even that - BILLIONS of years before earth could support life (don't even get me going on how non-life supposedly came together to produce even early, simple-celled organisms).

As for those who want to argue the theoreticals of a multi-verse/chain of universes - first, the theoreticals are not supported by the necessary validating research (they remain merely theoretical and HIGHLY controversial). And, secondly, they've merely kicked the cosmic can down the road - as all chains begin with a beginning link - so there would have to have been a FIRST universe, which means one is back to explaining THAT one as well.

When I think that anyone could truly believe that the universe came into existence BY ITSELF, unguided, or that the massive complexities necessary to produce both the universe, the earth conditions for life, and life itself - ALL through random, unguided processes, laws of physics apparent at the very beginning, etc, that just happened to exist in perfect harmony - despite the immense complexity of each - well, such a person has FAR more faith than I do! Putting the mathematical/exponential probabilities of all these unfathomably, complex and necessary processes and events , ALL coming together in perfect sequences, interactions and processes, ALL BY THEMSELVES - believing such is truly indicative of a blind and infinitely optimistic faith.

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#9

Post by Ivellious » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:58 pm

It is true that many of the times I've seen Christians bash the big bang model, they have been arguing from a young-universe point of view. It seems that most of the examples of old-earth criticisms are more based around the origin of the universe as opposed to the big bang itself, which is more about what happens in the immediate aftermath of the universe's beginning.
And so the next time someone wants to argue about unguided, random, non-theistic evolution, just tell them that they have a whole lot more to explain that allowed even that - BILLIONS of years before earth could support life (don't even get me going on how non-life supposedly came together to produce even early, simple-celled organisms).
This is an absurd criticism of evolution. Evolution does not claim to explain the origin of life OR the origins of the universe. Nor should a non-theistic (see:scientific) view of evolution have to do such a thing. Yes, evolution is a part of the universe's history, and is a sequence of events that followed the formation of the universe, but to explain evolution I don't have to include the origins of the universe to make it sensible. If that were a requirement, then I suppose you would tell me that we don't actually practice any science properly; if we had to explain the origins of the universe to have anything after it make sense, then there would be no such thing as science at all. Given that we don't know how the universe came to be.

Put another way: Say I bake a cake and show the finished product to you, and you ask me how I made it. I tell you the ingredients, and then tell you what had to happen to those ingredients to make a cake. I've given you what we started with and the method/process of taking those ingredients and forming something new. That's chemistry. Now, for my explanation to be scientific, do I also have to explain where I got the ingredients, trace the history of those ingredients back to ancient times, and explain how the atoms in those ingredients were formed at the start of the universe? Of course not, but if you bash non-theistic evolution in the way you do above, you are essentially requiring the same thing.

And, to be fair, it is absolutely true that the origin of the universe and the origin of life on Earth are big mysteries to scientists. Any scientist who claims that these questions have been answered in a scientific fashion is a liar. It would be silly to rule out any possible answers for them, given how little we actually know about them. That said, you cannot convince me that the only possible answer is the biblical one, at least not on a scientific level. It would be a false dichotomy to say that science hasn't found an answer, therefore God had to do it.
When I think that anyone could truly believe that the universe came into existence BY ITSELF, unguided, or that the massive complexities necessary to produce both the universe, the earth conditions for life, and life itself - ALL through random, unguided processes, laws of physics apparent at the very beginning, etc, that just happened to exist in perfect harmony - despite the immense complexity of each - well, such a person has FAR more faith than I do! Putting the mathematical/exponential probabilities of all these unfathomably, complex and necessary processes and events , ALL coming together in perfect sequences, interactions and processes, ALL BY THEMSELVES - believing such is truly indicative of a blind and infinitely optimistic faith.
That word, perfect...that's where I start to disagree with your view of the universe, and why it must be designed. See, I don't see the universe as perfect, not at all. Yes, on our one beautiful planet, the environment is great most of the place for our one type of life to exist. You could say that the conditions on Earth are perfect for us, though I would disagree. Earth could easily be more "perfect" for us. It's great, sure, I don't deny that. But perfect? Hardly.

And, of course, had the Earth had slightly different conditions, or even drastically different conditions, life could still have thrived. Maybe not our type of life, or the organisms that live among us today, but given the incredibly exotic array of life that has found a way to live in environments that we would consider "less than perfect", it would be incorrect to say that Earth had to be exactly as it is today for life to persist on it at all.

And then there's the rest of the universe. There are more planets and rocky objects in the universe than you could count in your lifetime, but as of yet, not a single one could ever sustain our life. Sure, the odds of Earth being so nice for what lives here are long, but with 13.7 billion years and a nearly endless supply of planets out there, both presently and in the past, it's not mathematically impossible to find one Earth-like body out there. Unlikely, perhaps, but calling something unlikely is a far cry from impossible.

And that perfect universe in perfect harmony? Again, that's hardly what I would call a universe that routinely involves the catastrophic annihilation of worlds and galaxies. That's my opinion, of course, considering that "perfect" is not really an objective term. But the way you worded that is rather different than what I see.

And as far as the finely-tuned fundamental forces that hold our universe together (and rip it to shreds in certain places, by the way), it is once again true that, at this moment, for humans in particular, the forces seem great for us. But what if the universe had come into being with differently tuned forces? You would be correct to say that life and existence as we know it would not exist. Such a universe would likely be unrecognizable to us, but it would be wrong to assume that a universe cannot function any differently than ours does. Again, chemistry and physics would be different, perhaps in an incomprehensible way, but that doesn't mean no universe, just a different one.

And I don't mean to sound like I have all the answers. I don't, especially about origin of the universe and cosmology talk. But I really think it is egotistical to assume that, given how things work in the universe now, that this is the only universe that could possibly exist. And, in a way, I get where that ego comes from Christians, because you believe that the universe essentially exists for the purpose of humans and humans only. When I suggest that a universe with different fundamental forces could exist, albeit without our life being here, that conflicts with your worldview. I get that and respect that, believe me. Right now I have a conflicting worldview in that sense, as do many, many others. Truthfully, it currently lacks some of the absolute answers that you feel you have, and that's ok by me.

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#10

Post by Philip » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:47 pm

This is an absurd criticism of evolution. Evolution does not claim to explain the origin of life OR the origins of the universe. Nor should a non-theistic (see:scientific) view of evolution have to do such a thing. Yes, evolution is a part of the universe's history, and is a sequence of events that followed the formation of the universe, but to explain evolution I don't have to include the origins of the universe to make it sensible.
Ivellious, my words were not meant as a criticism of evolution - as that's a different matter that should be way down on the discussion list. My point is that arguing about evolution should come WAY down the list on issues to argue over (concerning whether the universe came in to being by itself/through random processes or via a Creator). There is a huge amount of processes and mechanisms that must be credibly explained - things which happened billions of years before any evolutionary scenarios would have come into play. And tremendous periods of time (billions of years) are not sufficient to explain things, as there was massive complexity in what happened during the Big Bang - and VERY KEY, that happened even within minutes of that event beginning. And when I speak of things being "perfect" within the creation, I am referring to the precision necessary amongst necessary interactive mechanisms, processes, physics, chemistry, laws of motion, energy, etc. Each process and mechanism were not only incredibly complex within themselves, but they also had to have tremendous precision in how they interacted and comprehensively functioned as a whole.

Please explain how the many scientific laws that precisely guided/framed/controlled the many staggeringly complex processes, were already there at the very beginning! NO amount of time subsequent to the beginning can explain how and why these laws were ALREADY in place at the very beginning. As if they were not, so many immensely complex, unguided components would have only produced random and conflicting or irrelevant, mostly opposing elements and processes. If key components had occurred differently (IMMEDIATELY/even within minutes upon the expansion away from Singularity), then the universe that resulted would have been impossible. You see, when it comes to the Big Bang, time is not on the side of those who think it was a random, initially un-caused event, because of the tremendous precision necessary and as the scientific governing laws still observable today functioned in the very same ways as from the very beginning. As if they did not, we could not understand any of how the Big Bang worked, nor develop models and research techniques to assess or confirm it.

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#11

Post by neo-x » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:24 pm

I do not necessarily criticize the BB but to me it seems that it could very well be that the universe has no original singular big bang, it's entirely plausible.

http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/02/0506 ... iverse.htm

Either way I am not a fan of cosmology argument neither do I base any apologetics on that, we know so little about our universe, not to mention its origins. For me its quite absurd that a Christian would try to prove God by an physics model argument, which may turn out to be wrong or be viewed differently with more research.
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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#12

Post by hughfarey » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:00 am

I think the 'perfection' of the Universe is not so much a description of the arrangement of its galaxies or how many might support life as the fact that all the physical laws which govern it cohere to the nth degree without contradiction. Of course, the Grand Unified Theory has not yet been achieved, so in a sense is as much an article of faith among scientists as the omnipresence of God is among theologians.

I have been reading Laurence Krauss recently, and his ideas about "something from nothing." Although his definition of 'nothing' leaves quite a lot to be desired, there is a philosophical point to be raised which also links scientists and theologians, which is that science is essentially a descriptive, rather than a proscriptive, account of the universe. It may well be that the nature of a quantum vacuum is such that it can generate sufficient virtual energy to create a universe (it may also be that the universe is cyclical), but a description of what happens is not the cause of it. The law of gravity, to name one of the more fundamental aspects of the universe, doesn't make apples fall from trees, it merely describes what happens. I would be interested in neo-x's comments on this: he is correct in saying that physics will not 'prove' the existence of God, but this is not because of the 'imperfection' of physics; it is because it is simply not the tool for the job.

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#13

Post by Philip » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:21 am

Hugh said: "but a description of what happens is not the cause of it. The law of gravity, to name one of the more fundamental aspects of the universe, doesn't make apples fall from trees, it merely describes what happens."
Exactly!

No, using cosmology arguments cannot PROVE God, but they are an extraordinarily powerful evidence for Him. Bottom line is that a universe came into being, where before it did not exist. Was it part of a chain? Then how did the beginning of such a chain happen? That's an equally complex scenario/same problems. Whether or not science has the DETAILS correct or not, we know that: 1) great complexity had to come into play at the very beginning; 2) That science has postulated that all known things have a beginning and a cause; 3) The immense complexity and laws guiding the universe's very beginnings were already in place at the start; 4) That all explanations using random/unguided processes ignore or gloss over #2, and that there is no alternative scientific explanations that can account for the laws in place that guided or the immense initial energy at the start.

Those that believe a universe came into being by random, unguided chance have enormous FAITH! They can't even come close to explaining it, much less have any scientific proof as to how this could happen - only unproven theories and conjecture - and so they must accept this upon faith - faith that nothingness can produce a universe, and eventually, an earth teaming with life where there was none. That's powerful, yet misplaced, faith!

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#14

Post by neo-x » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:37 am

hughfarey wrote:I have been reading Laurence Krauss recently, and his ideas about "something from nothing." Although his definition of 'nothing' leaves quite a lot to be desired, there is a philosophical point to be raised which also links scientists and theologians, which is that science is essentially a descriptive, rather than a proscriptive, account of the universe. It may well be that the nature of a quantum vacuum is such that it can generate sufficient virtual energy to create a universe (it may also be that the universe is cyclical), but a description of what happens is not the cause of it. The law of gravity, to name one of the more fundamental aspects of the universe, doesn't make apples fall from trees, it merely describes what happens. I would be interested in neo-x's comments on this: he is correct in saying that physics will not 'prove' the existence of God, but this is not because of the 'imperfection' of physics; it is because it is simply not the tool for the job.
Indeed, its a subtle technicality and I would not necessarily disagree.

The main problem is to take a science model and use it to prove God, circumstantial at best. You can't. One can at best prove that there is something missing in the rationale, but beyond that its just a God of the Gaps.

For instance, and I view things in pretty much the same way, the laws if they are consistent, must be following some parameters which are fixed. That can be a justification for belief in God, but that does not prove God. There is a difference.

God may have caused the big bang, but in fairness, the big bang does not prove God or first cause it only proves that something caused it, and that may have been another cyclic residue of a preceding BB. And Ironically, if the the big bang does proves God, it does not make you anything else than a deist at best.

Science is empirical in nature, God is not. And we have no empirical direct evidence of God. The evidence can be logical, can be rational but it can not be empirical science. As Hugh said, physics is not the right tool if you are looking for God, any more than ethics is the right tool when proving the earth revolves around the sun.

Faith should not be put on the cosmological argument, it should be on your relationship with God.

To me it sounds very "restricted" that we assume only that the big bang is an isolated event. At quantum levels, potentially, that assumption is quite inaccurate, and is quite deduced from observation of particles in quantum state.

Philip
Please explain how the many scientific laws that precisely guided/framed/controlled the many staggeringly complex processes, were already there at the very beginning! NO amount of time subsequent to the beginning can explain how and why these laws were ALREADY in place at the very beginning. As if they were not, so many immensely complex, unguided components would have only produced random and conflicting or irrelevant, mostly opposing elements and processes. If key components had occurred differently (IMMEDIATELY/even within minutes upon the expansion away from Singularity), then the universe that resulted would have been impossible.
If you could, please explain how did God made these laws (the process I mean)? but since you can not by any means, and you are quite blank on the topic as anyone would be, we can safely deduce that no one has a leg to stand on what happened before Placke time. Nor you or the scientists, its assumptions at best, anyone's guess at worst. You have an important question but you are using it in a way which is not of merit. You are correct to ASSUME that God made it, you can not however say that another possible scenario is not possible, when it is. You are taking the same benefit of the doubt a scientist is taking. To mask it in certainly with a faulty GOG is not a good thing to do.

For instance you can argue that God made these laws. I would to. But you can not argue that since we can not go far back in time, then the laws in place (at quantum level) did not birth preceding the BB because of a random quantum fluctuation. Thats only a technicality. Because God, if he made those laws, is not proven by the laws themselves or their place or timing.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: The Big Bang - Why Is It Controversial?

#15

Post by Philip » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:00 am

Again, I'm not saying the Big Bang PROVES that God exists - as NOTHING can do that - and yet God has given us powerful evidences that point in His direction, but not proof. But we do believe things based upon probabilities, and the probabilities of the universe being uncaused and unguided are zilch! And one must admit that WHATEVER existed before the Big Bang had to come from somewhere, especially the incredible amount of energy. Even if one argues for the long-discounted static universe model, it doesn't explain the source of the enormous power and energy that was released.

Correct, belief that God began and sustains the universe can only lead to Deism, at least for many. But does a God who creates a universe in such an incredible magnitude and mind-boggling detail not care to communicate with us? Has He? What are the evidences for this? Any of them credible? You see, belief that God utilized the Big Bang - or HOWEVER He may have created the universe - simply leads an intelligent person (one truly desiring the answers to such questions) to more questions and more investigation. Anyone stopping at Deism without further and sincere investigation shows me that they only want to know what they want to know, having conveniently edited what they don't want to consider. The universe and its origins are but one yet powerful evidences for belief in God. And let's not forget what the Apostle Paul said, that God is as close as our own breath. We can also experimentally reach out to Him: "Show me Yourself!" But one must sincerely be seeking the truth of the matter or they'll likely only get the preconceived answer they may already desire.

I was talking to an expert speaker in Virginia, at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate, last week. She was explaining Jefferson's Deism. I remarked that it was interesting that Jefferson believed a Creator built and guided our incredible and massively complex and ordered universe, but yet he also had disbelief that any of the miracles recorded in Scripture could actually be true. He believed extraordinary macro miracles involving the existence of the universe were true, and yet he had problems with Jesus turning a little water into wine. Brilliantly inconsistent and illogical! I believe it was because He didn't want to submit Himself to the Builder of the universe. Of course, narcissism allowed Jefferson to build Monticello on the backs of free labor from his 150 slaves, living like a king, eating the finest of French cooking and wines. Apparently seeing no inconsistency in owning slaves who worked his vast estate with unpaid sweat and toil, while also writing, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ... blah, blah, blah." That's how pointless and immoral deism can be.

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