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Misconceptions about the Big Bang

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Lucretius, May 28, 2006.

  1. Lucretius

    Lucretius Senior Veteran

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    Misconceptions about the Big Bang

    A common Creationist misconception about the Big Bang Theory is that it involved an explosion in pre-existing space. This leads to a strawman of what the theory actually entails; that is, the expansion (not explosion) of space itself. It is my hope that this article will help those confused Creationists who make this error.

    The universe, right now, is expanding. This was the first evidence for the Big Bang, initially discovered in 1929 by Edwin Hubble when he was studying galaxies. He found that galaxies were all moving away from us. (In 1998, using standard candles, scientists also discovered that the expansion was accelerating, most likely fueled by the postulated Dark Energy that is said to dominate the universe, providing a repulsive force.) Scientists logically concluded that if space was growing in volume as time went forward, if we went backwards in time, we would see a steady shrinking of space, until it reached a singularity, a point of infinite volume and mass. With the advent of quantum mechanics and its application to cosmology, the singularity is no longer appropriate, as spacetime acts in a very bizarre manner 10^-43 seconds before we can reach the singularity. Since we do not know exactly how spacetime behaves this far back, at this minute scale (10^-33m is about the size of the universe at this time), we cannot posit a singularity. We will have to wait and see if hypotheses like String Theory, or Loop Quantum Gravity, can unite Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity to postulate into this mysterious region.

    This right away demonstrates that the Creationist view of an explosion in pre-existing space is wrong, because space itself was what expanded.

    Creationists on the board have done other disservices to physicists by stating that they are actually opposed to the Big Bang when in fact they have done great works in verifying it’s reality. Recently, for instance, Fezzilla quoted two prominent scientists; Michio Kaku and Alan Guth. He quotes Kaku saying, in Parallel Worlds, "The fundamental problem of cosmology is that the laws of physics as we know them break down at the instant of the big-bang. Well, some people say, ‘Whats wrong with that? Whats wrong with having the laws of physics collapse?’ Well, for a physicist, this is a disaster! All our lives we’ve dedicated to the proposition that the universe obeys knowable laws, laws that can be written down in the language of mathematics. And here we have the centerpiece of the universe itself, a missing piece beyond physical law." If the Creationist mentioned had done his homework, they would have realized that Kaku is a theoretical physicist interested in uniting Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity, he is co-creator of String Theory! This is what Kaku is talking about when he was quoted as saying “[the] problem of cosmology is that the laws of physics as we know them break down at the instant of the big-bang.” We cannot yet unite QM and GR, and so the laws break down! There is nothing about the quote that even hints at the notion that the Big Bang is wrong. Our current theory can’t go all the way back yet. But it can probe back a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a billionth of a second back. Fezzilla’s quoting of Kaku is a misquotation.

    The same for Alan Guth. Fezzilla writes, "In spite of the fact that we call it "the Big Bang theory," it really says nothing about the big-bang. It doesn’t tell us what banged, why it banged, what caused it to bang? It doesn’t really allow us to predict what conditions are immediately after this bang." Again, a little research would show that Guth is being misquoted. Guth was actually the independent co-discoverer of Inflation Theory, the very idea that gave the ‘bang’ to the Big Bang!

    The other scientists don’t even mention anything about the Big Bang being a, as Fezzilla puts it, “thermodynamic dead end.” It’s simple misquotation. While we are on the subject of thermodynamics though, we need to ask, how do thermodynamics apply to the early universe? Beginning with the first law, involving the Conservation of Energy, it simply states that energy is conserved in a closed system. If I ran in an isolated system, my kinetic energy would slowly decrease, and I would in turn release thermal energy (heat). Eventually my amount of usable energy runs down and I can no longer move. Yet, overall, the different forms of energy still add up to the same amount as existed before, even though they have changed forms. Applying this to the initial moment of the Big Bang really doesn’t do anything. Energy has always been here, it’s assumed with the Big Bang (along with space and time as well!) The 2nd Law, a favorite of Creationists, basically states that the amount of usable energy in a closed system will always decrease, and therefore that entropy will always increase. Entropy is, simply put, a measure of the amount of unusable energy. Because entropy has always been increasing, if we look back in time, entropy must have been practically zero. The early universe was really ordered. The further back in time we go the more ordered the universe is. Asking where all this order came from is like asking Stephen Hawkings’ favorite question, “What is north of the north pole?” It’s nonsensical to apply laws that govern the universe, to the origin of the universe itself. Whatever birthed the universe, if anything had to, did not necessarily have to go by the same rules that ours does.

    Lastly, Creationists (namely Kent Hovind) believe that the universe was spinning and so every object in the universe should be spinning the same way. My question to Kent Hovind is, what would the entire universe be spinning in relation to? Spin is a relative motion. When I spin, it’s in relation to my room. The Earth spins in relation to the sun, the sun to the galaxy, and the galaxy to other galaxies. Yet the universe has nothing outside of which to spin in relation to. The idea then, of a spinning universe is rather moot.

    This was rather hastily composed, and so if you find any errors let me know. I simply wanted to clear up some common ‘problems’ with the Big Bang that aren’t actually problems, simply misunderstandings.
     
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  2. shinbits

    shinbits Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for this post, it was very informative.

    what is "dark energy" btw?
     
  3. Dannager

    Dannager Back in Town

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    An elegant solution to a number of current questions.

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

    So far it seems to have the most weight of competing theories in the scientific community.
     
  4. Lucretius

    Lucretius Senior Veteran

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    Well, besides that link which you can check out Dark Energy is basically the means to answer the question of why the expansion of the universe is occuring at an accelerating rate.

    The answer in terms of Dark Energy is essentially this: Dark Energy provides a repulsive force on spacetime. Now, objects made of Dark Matter and, well, plain old matter, exert a gravitational, attractive force, Yet, while the Dark Energy force stays constant because it's evenly distributed throughout space, the gravitational attraction gets weaker with distance (f=Gm1m2/r^2) The further out we go, the weaker the gravitational attraction, yet the Dark Energy repulsiveness is steady. So, we see an increased outwards acceleration.
     
  5. michabo

    michabo reason, evidence

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    Or at least the "big"...

    In return, one might also ask why bicycle wheels don't all spin in the same direction.
     
  6. dad

    dad Undefeated! Supporter

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    That is not logical unless we omit the actual time it was created, or assume no creation as the bible says. Sailing back in the imagination beyond creation ends in madness. -Just as we see in that they have the whole universe in a speck. Ridiculous in the extreme.



    You can never reach it, it never existed, save in your mind. Bizarre, however I will grant you.

    Glad to hear that.



    You sound as if there is a creationist position it was an explosion? I would think this is a popular misconception. Not a position.


    It never will. The creationist is in order to cackle at the kaka of Kaku, I would say. Funny how they like to go beyond the laws of physics for their physical only universe when it suits them.


    Polaris?

    This is correct! Absolutely, someone buy this guy a drink.

    Amen, and Halelujah. Take notes people, this is good stuff.
     
  7. shinbits

    shinbits Well-Known Member

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    If we could somehow build an indestructible craft that could zip to the "egde" of the universe, in an instant, do scientists believe we'd be able to "touch" that edge somehow?

    And do scientists believe that this "edge" is impenetrable, and that if we tried to break this edge somehow, that we just couldn't go any further because nothing exists outside this universe?
     
  8. michabo

    michabo reason, evidence

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    There's an edge to the universe, like there's an edge to the surface of the Earth.
     
  9. shinbits

    shinbits Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense. But the earth is not there is space outside of the earth. If we reached the edge of the universe, would we hit some sort of impenetrable dead end?
     
  10. Abongil

    Abongil Veteran

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    No, the curvature of the universe is much like the curvature of a perfect sphere, you can travel along its surface for eternity and never find a solid edge to crash into.
     
  11. michabo

    michabo reason, evidence

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    As there is no edge to the earth, there is no edge to the universe.

    That is what Lucretius is trying to say when he says that there is no explosion radiating out from a central point into space. If that were so, then there would be a shockwave radiating out from a central point, and we could conceive of crossing up to the shockwave and looking beyond. I think that's what you're asking. But that isn't a valid analogy for reasons explained in the OP.

    So, as the 2-dimensional surface of the earth does not have an edge, neither does our 3-dimensional universe, though it is harder to envision.
     
  12. dad

    dad Undefeated! Supporter

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    I would think the answer to this is pure theory, since we never seen any such thing.
    There was a question as to whether the universe was infinite, or not, if it was, where would we see an edge? That sounds somewhat like the flat earthers to me, and what they used to supposedly say of the earth, we might fall off it we got to the edge!
     
  13. Lord_Marx

    Lord_Marx Well-Known Member

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    Is it space itself that is expanding or just that matter in space? If it is just the matter that is expanding, wouldn't the "edge" just be empty space that matter had not yet reached?
     
  14. Lucretius

    Lucretius Senior Veteran

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    Space itself expands; matter is carried along for the ride. If there were an edge to space, how would we delineate it? That would assume something outside of space, so that a line could be demarcated between space and the outside. Yet, the universe is all there is; there is no outside. Thus, the edge idea doesn't even make sense.
     
  15. Micaiah

    Micaiah Well-Known Member

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    Was there a large release of energy associated with the supposed big bang and what was the rate of expansion of space at the supposed start of the universe and soon after?
     
  16. dad

    dad Undefeated! Supporter

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    Fishbowl thinking, if ever there was such a thing!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Abongil

    Abongil Veteran

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    Imagine the universe is a balloon, we are trapped in the balloon.
     
  18. Dragar

    Dragar Like the root of -1

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    The big bang was not a singular event. It is a process of expansion of the universe that continues to this day. At no point in Big Bang theory is energy conservation violated; at multiple points in Big Bang theory energy changes take place (e.g. kinetic to electromagnetic radiation, etc.).


    The equations don't work for t = 0, so we don't know. We need a theory of quantum gravity.

    There are also multiple models for the very early universe (inflation, etc.) but a very rough estimate for the Hubble constant (which is a measure of the expansion rate for a certain distance) would be the inverse of the age of the universe.

    I think.

    But bear in mind that won't work at all well for early times.
     
  19. dad

    dad Undefeated! Supporter

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    No. Thanks. Ridiculous.
     
  20. dad

    dad Undefeated! Supporter

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    Assuming we wish to assign expansion we have to some dream speck that never was. No.


    A theory that fits the things we know about, yes. Too bad you have none, some of us do.

    Assuming no creation, just because. Nor real reason, just go ahead and sail past the creation to some dream creator singularity. No.

    Thank you, it it never far from my mind old age dreamers know not at all wherof they speak.
     
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