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Alternatives to the Big Bang

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Johnny Neuron
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Alternatives to the Big Bang

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In all my studies of science I readily admit that the field I know the least about is physics. That being said, I would like to ask a question for all of you who, doubtless, know more than me about this subject. I'm curious about the Big Bang. I know that there is evidence for this theory (expansion of the universe, red shift, etc.) but I have heard a couple members of this forum state that they do not feel comfortable in accepting it. To be completely honest (forgive me!) I have to wonder if it could not be a non-theistic bias for disbelieving the theory. Certainly, the Big Bang is superficially "evidence" for a beginning to the universe. This demolishes the "steady-state" theory. It also leads to the next obvious question: what started the Big Bang? Was it ex-nihilo? My first inquiry is this: can someone explain to me, as if I were a ten year old, how the Big Bang could have happened without the assistence of an external deity? Could this "singularity" have been eternal before it's expansion? As David Hume pointed out somewhere, how do we know that our universe was not originated by a "divine seed" as opposed to a "divine being?" (Okay, this last question need not be answered.)Second inquiry: how strong is the Big Bang theory? Is it as robust and forceful a theory as evolution? I've heard of people speak of alternatives -- like what? How could you account for the expansion of the universe without the Big Bang? Deep, time-consuming questions yes. Again, this is my weakest area in science so go easy in your answers! Thanks,Bradley
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Alternatives to the Big Bang

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BradleyI just don't see how the universe could have existed for all of eternity in a singularity...and then "explode." Something is going on here that we have yet to even consider. This should be an interesting thread if we can get enough participation.Some have said that the Big Bang could be just one expansion in an eternal series of expansions/bangs and contractions/crunches. This too doesn't answer anything. There had to have been a point when it all started, right?With all of the reading I've done on the origins of the various world religions I don't see even a shread of evidence that any of them provide the real answers to the origins of the universe. They all are attempts by early humans to answer the unknown. They don't answer any questions that common sense or common knowledge can't answer. So I discard them all as garbage.Anyway...something is going on much deeper than what we experience I imagine. An ant has a limited perspective. Its worldview will extend maybe 25 feet or less from where it was born. Humans are attempting to extend our radius of inquiry over 15 billion light years. No wonder we are scratching our heads and unable to really nail down definitive answers.But I refuse to take a myth created by another human being 2000+ years ago and adhere to it as actual "knowledge." What a cop out. Perhaps we will never have the answers to the big questions, but I can live with this eternal ignorance. Intellectual honesty is more important to me than manually turning off my thinker. Did I just say "thinker?" Chris Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 12/29/02 3:47:27 pm
Johnny Neuron
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Chris...

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Chris,I agree that no religious text can explain the universe's origin in any way. One thing you said that peaked my interest, though: Some have said that the Big Bang could be just one expansion in an eternal series of expansions/bangs and contractions/crunches. This too doesn't answer anything. There had to have been a point when it all started, right?Although it doesn't "sound right" and isn't aesthetically pleasing there really is nothing illogical about an infinite regress. Bradley
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Chris...

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BradleyI find anything "infinite" to be illogical, but then again...I'm a mere mortal.How can something be infinite? Doesn't there have to be a beginning?But how can everything have a beginning? Doesn't there have to be a first cause?Chris
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Infinite Regress

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What is the smallest number? What is the largest number? Of course, there is none. We can speak of infinity and understand the concept conceptually, but not actually. Personally, I have no problem with the mystery of infinity (I mean, I just have told myself I will never understand). I actually find the theory of an oscillating universe to be my preference; it just seems right for some reason. Unfortunately, all the data seems to support the notion that the universe will expand forever. Bradley
stevepainter

Re: Infinite Regress

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At the risk of 'piling on' Chris:Quote:There had to have been a point when it all started, right?My answer is a question: Why?Why does there HAVE to be a start? If there HAS to be a starting point, doesn't that also imply that there HAS to be an ending point?Back to the original question about the Big Bang in general. I do have some concerns about the notion of the expansion of space-time itself. This has always seemd to be a fudged explanation to me. Hubble claimed that the redshift he observed could not be due to an acceleration if his redshift to distance formula proved to be correct. His formula has proven correct and is used by astronomers - instead, the definition of acceleration has been changed by attributing it to an expansion of the "fabric" of space-time.Eric Lehrner's book The Big Bang Never Happened makes some interesting points regarding the expansion and the resemblance of the the cosmic background radiation to what would be expected if the entire sky was filled end to end with stars, most at near-infinite distance. If you're interested in reading, keep in mind that Lehrner's "Plasma Universe" model has been discredited, and is almost certainly wrong. However, I have not seen many of his criticisms of Big Bang theory addressed.
auswiq

Re: Alternatives to the Big Bang

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This whole paradox remains so as long as we limit our conception of the origin to causative principles that are part and parcel of the everyday realm of nature. My suggestion (admittedly, a conjecture) would be to consider a higherdimension behind that which we physically inhabit, as an alternative approach to this conundrum. As amore visio-spatial type of thinker, I dont find it too difficult toenvision shrinking a 'sphere' (positive space) down to a point(zero dim. sphere) then beyond, into a negatively expanding hyperspace; the 'surface'(hyperplane) ever folding out and back on itself in an inherently syntactical higher dimensional format that in some way, originates and contains our universe.. just a thought experiment...and no - I am not on drugs and never have been and no, Ihave not eaten funny mushrooms by mistake.John
Johnny Neuron
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Creation Ex Nihilo

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I'm not changing the direction of this thread too much in the following:Am I correct in saying that the Big Bang is not creation ex nihilo ("out of nothing")? Wouldn't the starting point be considered "something?" On the other hand...In quantum mechanics (oh am I speaking out of my domain now!) isn't there proof that some particles literally "pop" into existence out of nothing? **Twilite Zone theme song begins** How does this relate to the Big Bang's "beginnings" (if it does at all)? Okay, okay; I'll sign up for a physics course.Bradley
stevepainter

Re: Creation Ex Nihilo

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I'll hijack this further - tell me, exactly what is a "dimension"?
Johnny Neuron
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Re: Dimension

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Steve,I believe that it is theorized that there are about ten dimensions. If I am not mistaken, we humans recognize four: the three dimensions of space (think length, width, height) and time. What the others are is beyond me. BradleyOh, I've heard the fifth dimension has something to do with "The Age of Aquarius" but I can't say for sure.
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