Archives for posts with tag: Big Bang

Homo had become sapiens when he had started to learn.
To actively discover information and to discuss the findings with their peers.

This was how our ancestors had developed both consciousness and language.

The next stage was reached when people were no longer satisfied with mere survival. And attempted to glimpse into the future.

” “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind. ” (Job 12:7-10)

Until that moment, the deal was simple.
People followed the rules – which had already been set in ‘stone’ and passed over from ‘the beginning of time’, and things continued unabated. Hence no need for further inquiry.

From that moment on, everything had changed.
People still had a set of rules to guide them. But they had also been endowed with ‘free will’:
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians, 5:13) and
“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John, 7:17)

So, there were rules, there was freedom and there was the Will of God – which had to be determined if it was to be followed.
How to determine it? Nothing simpler. ‘Ask the animals and they will teach you.’.
Meaning that the answer of any question our ancestors might have had about the Will of God was accessible to them. And that they had the liberty – the obligation even, to look for that answer. By studying the nature.
Because understanding the nature – which was the incarnation of God’s Will, was considered by our grandfathers to be the key to understanding the Will of God. And, implicitly, a keyhole through which they could glimpse into the future. Their future, of course.

It was a very recent development that more and more people had become convinced that science had killed God. By producing ‘scientific evidence’ for more and more things which used to be considered ‘acts of God’.
Franklin’s lightning rod and Georges Lemaitre’s Big Bang are but two small examples.
Benjamin Franklin was convinced that ‘God governs by his Providence and that the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children‘ while Lemaitre was an ordained Catholic priest. Yet many of our contemporaries construe their endeavors as scientific proofs that there is no such thing as a Creator God.

And what about ‘science’?
What is it, after all?
An attempt to understand God’s Will or a method to prove that God does not exist?

How about science as an attitude?
Which maintains Man can, and should, learn about things. Regardless of the name each of us chooses to call them: ‘Nature’ or ‘the Will of God’.
Which also maintains that Man, in their quest for knowledge, must preserve its modesty. Nature and/or the Will of God might be ‘accessible’ but it would be actually presumptuous, for each and for all of us, to consider that we’ll ever be able to know/explore every nook and cranny of the World.
To learn, and express, all the Truth there is.

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From an atheist, that is.

Let me clear something, from the beginning.
I’m perfectly happy with the current scientific explanation of how we arrived here. OK, there still are a few gaps that need to be bridged but, on the whole, the story  seems pretty straightforward.

But, on the other hand, me – and a huge number of other, scientifically minded, people – having no need for God as an explanation doesn’t preclude God from existing nor from having caused the ‘Big Bang’ and/or intervening since. In various manners still unknown to us.

And something else.
The God we ‘know’ is a god of our own making.
All sacred texts that guide our religious life have been written by humans, all sermons are officiated by us and, also, all religiously motivated crimes, and religiously fueled heroic acts, have been ‘committed’ by some of us.
My point being that the ‘image’ that we have crafted about what some of us consider to be ‘the ultimate cause’ for everything might be far away from the one “It” has about Itself… if it exists at all, of course.

What Dawkins has to do with any of this?
Well, some 10 or so years ago he came to Bucharest and tried to convince a few of us – about 100 students and some 20 ‘academics’ in two separate conferences, I attended both, that his work is proof enough that God cannot even exist. Period.
Really?
Then what’s the difference between Dawkins and the guys who had set Giordano Bruno on fire? OK, OK, different manners of expression but the very same level of intransigence…

Anyway, I feel a lot better now that I’ve finally figured out the difference between ‘there is no need for a particular something’ and ‘that particular something cannot even exist’.

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As a child I was introduced to the chicken and egg paradox by my grandmother – a very wise woman, despite (because?!?) the fact that she had very little formal education.

As I grew up I found out that even the adults are passionate about it. Just Google it if you don’t believe me. Last time I checked the search engine had come up with 26 million (26 000 000 000) entries….

Then I was introduced to a slightly more interesting version of it.
Who is responsible for what is going on around us.
“Who created the World”, that is.

Apparently we have three three camps.

The theists, of various denominations – some of whom would cut each-other’s throats attempting to convince the ‘others’ that their God is the true one, believe that an outside agent is wholly responsible for the ‘Big-Bang’ and all its consequences. Or, at least, for ‘jump-starting’ the process.
The atheists, some of whom are ‘rabid’ enough to be as obnoxious as some of the theists, who blame it all on Lady Luck.
And the agnostics, like myself, who cannot make their minds one way or another.

Now, and I hope you won’t mind, I’m going to enumerate some facts.

  • We, the humans, are the ones who came up with the Big-Bang theory.
    Which is nice. It offers a generous canvas on which we might eventually thread a lot of ‘science’, but doesn’t, in any way, shape or form, offer even the slightest opportunity for the most imaginative amongst us to propose the flimsiest hypothesis about what started the whole process.
    Hence those of us who follow a far longer tradition feel free to consider that a Divine interference is the sole rational explanation. For everything that hasn’t yet a ‘scientifically proven’  one. As if science ever offered us a definitive answer to anything…
  • The Big Bang Theory was initially devised by a Catholic priest, Georges Lemaitre, as yet another attempt to understand God’s ways.
  • No matter what the various prophets and religious teachers have told us, all books – including the ‘holy’ ones – have been written by people. They might have been inspired by (a ?!?) God, there is no way of telling what happened in the minds of the writers, but all those books have been written by human hands.
  • We, the humans, are the ones who consider this problem to be a very important one.

So important, in fact, that even a newspaper otherwise busy with economic and political issues occasionally looks (up ?!?) at it.

In its Christmas Day edition the Wall Street Journal published “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God” by Eric Metaxas.
Basically he author tells us the story of how Sagan started the hunt for ‘Extraterrestrial Intelligence’ and how the seemingly simple task ended up in a cul-de-sac.
While Good Old Carl thought “that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star” in time “our knowledge of the universe increased” and “it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed”.
So many in fact that some of us, Eric Metaxas included, now believe that “Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here”.

In this context I’d like to bring to your attention the words uttered by Lord Kelvin in 1895 – by that time already elected president of the Royal Society: “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”

“Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about us existing here.”

Do you see the pattern?

The usual claptrap, because something can’t be explained, it must be God.” (Mark Baxter’s comment on my FB wall) Or outright impossible, I might add, following Lord Kelvin’s example.

In other words ‘if WE cannot figure it out then it either doesn’t exist or has been made by God’.

But who made ‘God’ in the first place? And why?

Are we even aware that what we call ‘God’ is nothing but an image?
I’m not going to delve far into such intricacies like reminding you that no Orthodox Jew would ever pronounce the ‘true’ name of God but this is a powerful indication that our Elders were aware of the difference between reality and our ability to figure it out.

So why do we keep making this mistake? Why do we still try to ‘invent’ an ‘outside agent’ whenever we don’t have enough information about how something came to be?

That outside agent might very well exist, of course. Someplace, ‘out there’…. Or not. For all we know some things might happen just by pure chance. However improbable that might seem. To us!

We cannot determine, as of now at least, either way.

Then why insist? Any way?

Some of you will tell me, quite appropriately,  that ‘believing’ has brought us where we are now.
That ‘faith’ has guided us through the dark nights when we would have otherwise lost our hope. That following the ‘ten commandments’ has kept us from killing each-other much more ‘passionately’  than we’ve done it.

But now that we’ve understood what religion has done good for us, what’s keeping us from behaving ‘as if’?
Without ‘God’, or whatever name you want to use for the reality that harbors us at its bosom, having to ‘strike’ us down from time to time?

 

 

Bashing ‘religion’ has become a pastime…

But did you know that it was a catholic priest that came up with the Big Bang Theory

and that Darwin was at least as interested in religion as he was in the theory of evolution? OK, in time he had become agnostic, like I am, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t religious.

A real scientist knows that knowledge is infinite and that he has no chance of mastering it all.
A truly religious person believes that there is something ‘above’ him and that his partaking in that something produces a strong bond between those who share that belief.
The person who barely reads one book, or more, and thinks that he knows it all is a fundamentalist, not at all a religious person.
A scientist can be a religious person and a religious person can be a scientist but neither a scientist nor a truly religious person can ever become a fundamentalist.
Religion is, above all, about respecting the others. So much so as to be able to cooperate with them.
Being convinced that you are in possession of the whole truth and that (most of) the rest of the world is wrong is the dead opposite of being religious.

“Although the Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity, some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity.”

Ever since Man became aware of the world around him he tried to find explanations for each and every individual occurrence that  grabbed his attention.
Eventually he became aware of the various links that exist between ‘things’ so he started to look for a ‘theory of everything’.
Right now Man seems stuck in the middle of the road.
I’ll assume the presumptuousness of my proposal but what about getting out of this sink hole by giving up mathematics as the main tool of investigation into the matter?
After all mathematics is nothing but just another language. A special kind of language, OK – a lot more precise than all the others, but still a language – nothing but another medium for rational thinking. And just as it happens in any medium/language, nothing can be expressed in that medium before it has been ‘grappled’ with the mind.
Of course that I don’t propose to give up mathematics altogether, that would be both ludicrous and absolutely inefficient.
The problem with our over-dependency on mathematics is that we no longer think first in words/concepts and then translate those into mathematical equations for verification but proceed the other-way around. We first ‘do our math’ and only then try to describe with words whatever imaginary place we have arrived at by using calculus. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Specially if one looks at it from this angle…
So what do we know about this so called Big Bang?
– Planck says that things cannot be divided further than 1 quantum.
– Heisenberg says that we cannot calculate anything with absolute precision.
– Einstein says that everything is tied together – ‘relative’ to each other.
– Stephen Hawking demonstrated – using calculus, of course – practically the same thing as Einstein when he convinced us that black holes are not exactly one way highways to nowhere. The implication of what Hawking says being that the ‘known’ Universe is somehow encapsulated towards the rear and has only one ‘open side’, the one that faces towards the ‘future’ – whatever that means.
And we still look desperately for a precise description of what happened during and even before the ground/moment 0… Really?!?
How about adopting a more practical attitude and accepting that each level of organization implies a certain amount of “in-determination”, the equivalent of those demonstrated by Heisenberg for the sub-atomic ‘world’ and by Schrodinger for ‘cats’ in general?
Maybe this way it would be easier for us to accept not only that we’ll never be able to find out what existed before the ‘Big Bang’ (if anything even imaginable in our terms) but also that it would be absolutely useless – my hunch being that we cannot ‘go back’ completely through a ‘layer’ of in-determination. A plastic analogy would be that we can see through a soap bubble but we cannot actually cross it and a more scientific one that Hawking taught us how to calculate what happens inside a black hole but never advised us to go there and check for ourselves…

And now, that we have reached this point, here is my scenario for what happened during … call it what you like.

At first there was nothing. No space, no time, no matter/energy of any kind.
‘Nothing’ in the sense that everything that existed – and that still exists – was so ‘indiscriminate’ as to be completely uniform. The pure bred scientists would use ‘congruous to itself’ to describe this state. Amorphous would be a very weak term for what I have in mind.
White light is a very pointy thing while pitch black is a lot more than its opposite. Light creates shadows, black creates opportunities. There can be ‘nothing’ between a light source and the observer while absolutely everything can hide in the dark.
That was that existed ‘before’. An immense ‘black nothing’.
Everything started/changed when the first ‘symmetry’ crashed in shatters – and who really cares about the ‘why’ of the matter since there was, by definition, no possible cause for anything, for nothing existed yet? I don’t know which symmetry and, again, I don’t really care. For me it is enough that from then on the continuous nothing became divided into ‘quanta’ that started to simultaneously aggregate furiously among themselves and disperse wildly.
The aggregation process gave birth to what we now call ‘things’ (mater, energy) while the ‘dispersion’ gave birth to both space and time.

Coming back to where we started from – ‘math can explain only what happened…’ – I must remind you that math cannot explain anything. Only people can do that, including through the use of ‘math’.
http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html#jCp
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