Big Bang redone?

What could this mean? Maybe God is in the mirror?

Hi, Angela. The article doesn’t mention God or any religious speculation as far as I could see. Perhaps you could explain more what religious implications you think might be present in various cosmological conjectures?

[I think the whole thing about the “Big bounce” (or cyclical rebounding conjecture) is pretty fascinating. That would mean the ‘big bang’ would have been the beginning of a chapter rather than the beginning of the book - but still a beginning, nonetheless. On how this may relate to ‘beginnings’ in a religious sense, it should be of historical interest that the original progenitor of the big bang theory (Catholic Father LeMaitre) was repulsed by the idea that his cosmological theory should be used in any religiously apologetic sense. For him, it was religiously neither here nor there that the material universe be in a steady state (the prevailing opinion of the time) vs. have an apparent beginning. ]

I so agree with him. I should think the beginning which is of most interest to ourselves and to religion is our own: where did we -the ones capable of asking- come from and what is our place in it all? Science will probably have the most to say about our proximal origins but religion and other approaches will factor more heavily regarding our rightful place in it all.

I mean how do we look to this in a religious view. Why would God allow a restart so to say

An important thing to notice is the “what if” and the “perhaps” that this begins with. Any attempt to talk about what went before the big bang and that includes all bounce and cycle ideas is all pure speculation with no physical evidence to support it. As such it is absolutely no different than the belief in God creating the universe. Yeah the evidence that the universe has a beginning sticks in the craw of many people and they would really very much prefer an alternative to this – but their inventions to provide such alternatives is theology not science.

However the shortcomings of inflation and the ideas of a mirror universe and right-handed neutrinos is another matter. But of course this has absolutely nothing to do with God whatsoever.

But I still think that the proposition that the universe we see is the one and only one ever is every bit as speculative as the others. The only thing certain is that the best evidence gives reason to think everything we can detect is part of something that had a beginning and looks headed to some sort of heat death at some point. The only neutral position is that there is at least this one universe. Beyond that is hypothetical in every direction.

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One can always think about other universes and even write stories about them and stories taking place in them. But if these are things which we will never see or experience for ourselves in any way then how is there any difference between such things existing and not existing. This is basically a Carl Sagan invisible dragon in the garage type argument and I think it works better for these other universe because at least in the case of the God believed in by Christians, that is an invisible dragon which can bite.

But how is what we can see of the one universe available to us any indication that it is unique? Aren’t you assuming absence of evidence is evidence of absence?

Now you are sounding like a typical theists arguing against an atheist – or did you mean that as a parody of theists when you said it? Where did I did I say anything whatsoever about such universes not existing? Like Carl Sagan’s argument, the point is that is that their existence makes no difference one way or another. We can think about them regardless of whether they exist or not, and that is all that we will ever be able to do, right?

Or… should we expect this as a new religion like phenomenon – people claiming to have visited or come from other universes? That way they can claim their invisible dragon can bite too.

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I noticed that too but I really think it applies here if you’re seriously arguing for a unitary universe rather an accept straight up agnosticism on the question. The one we see is evidence for at least one but does nothing to make the case for only one.

It is the same kind of agnosticism equivalent to a pragmatic atheism that my father had regarding God. If it makes no difference either way then the question is irrelevant. But in the case of my father this is only because the Deist God was the only one he thought worth considering. It seems to me that these other universes are like the Deist God, where Carl Sagan’s argument applies best, and thus pretty much a waste of thought… unless one is writing fiction.

But you do understand that I’m not arguing in favor of a multiverse, right? At this time at least I don’t believe there is any way to know. All I’m saying is that pointing to the one we see doesn’t doesn’t count one bit more toward a unique universe than it does to a multiple universes. The existence of the one we know is compatible with either theory.

Admittedly my hunch is in favor of a multiverse, but it makes no difference to me should I be mistaken on this.

Other universes were not in any of the three science fiction novels I wrote. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy novels about such things… Let’s see which I can remember or find on my shelf… (not counting those with only one other universe… most SF&F books are much like reading about another universe).
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis.
The Amber series by Roger Zelazny.
Mirror of Her Dreams & Man Rides Through by Stephen Donaldson.
House Between the Worlds by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Parallelities by Alan Dean Foster
Spaceling by Doris Piserchia

The One (with Jet Li)

Perhaps you can counter with novels that have God or gods in them…LOL

As usual, I seem to march to my own drum. I think Angela is onto something here. This as well as other Big bounce cosmologies seem fit better with pantheistic and atheistic views, as well as the views of gloomy philosophers, like Camus and Nietzsche, than it does with the theism of Christianity. From Wiki:

The philosopher and writer Albert Camus explores the notion of “eternal return” in his essay on “The Myth of Sisyphus”, in which the repetitive nature of existence comes to represent life’s absurdity, something the hero seeks to withstand through manifesting what Paul Tillich called “The Courage to Be”. Though the task of rolling the stone repeatedly up the hill without end is inherently meaningless, the challenge faced by Sisyphus is to refrain from despair. Hence Camus famously concludes that, “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Of course, philosophy is not evidence, but then neither is a speculative model about events we can never observe. Predictions in science about what happens in the far future (a big bounce or a big split) are inherently untestable even though they are founded upon mathematical equations. There are loads of mathematical equations in physics journals that applies to nothing real. Just because someone can write an equation showing a bounce, doesn’t mean that that actually happened, and here is the nub of the problem. Physics in cases like this has left observational science and gone into philosophical speculation. I love this quote on this topic:

'The idea of an oscillating universe, in which the Big Bang resulted from the recollapse of a previous phase of the universe, gained currency merely because it avoided the issue of creation—not because there was the slightest evidence in favor of it." A. MacRobert, Sky and Telescope, March 1983, p. 213 cited by George Gale, “Cosmological Fecundity: Theories of Multiple Universes,” 1989, in John Leslie, ed., Modern Cosmology & Philosophy, (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1998), p. 205

So, yeah, Angela, there are religious implications. Don’t believe the denials to the contrary.

Steinhardt says it well in rejecting inflation (from the article)
Steinhardt, who was one of the original architects of inflationary theory, ultimately got fed up with the lack of predictiveness and untestability.

Do we really need to imagine that there exist an infinite number of messy universes that we have never seen and never will see in order to explain the one simple and remarkably smooth Universe we actually observe?” he asks. “I say no. We have to look for a better idea.”

It seems to me that jumping to another theory that is untestable is equally problematical.

  1. We can never observe anything on the other side of the Big Bang (we can’t see before 300Kyr)

  2. Thus can’t know that matter turns into antimatter and time runs backward? What would a universe where time runs backward be like anyway? Broken eggs recombine? As near as I can tell the idea that time would run backward comes from the idea that an antiparticle can be viewed as a normal particle traveling backwards in time.

“For example, the electron could emit a photon before absorbing one (b). Even more strange is the possibility © that the electron emits a photon, then travels backwards in time to absorb a photon, and then proceeds forwards in time again. The path of such a “backwards-moving” electron can be so long as to appear real in an actual physical experiment in the laboratory. Its behavior is included in these diagrams and the equation for E(A to B).”
"The backwards-moving electron when viewed with time moving forwards appears the same as an ordinary electron, except it’s attracted to normal electrons-we say it has a “positive charge.” (Had I included the effects of polarization, it would be apparent why the sign of j for the backwards-moving electron appears reversed, making the charge appear positive.) For this reason it’s called a “positron.” The positron is a sister particle to the electron, and is an example of an “anti-particle.”
*"This phenomenon is general. Every particle in Nature has an amplitude to move backwards in time, and therefore has an anti-particle. When a particle and its anti-particle collide, they annihilate each other and form other particles. (For positrons and electrons annihilating, it is usually a photon or two.) And what about photons? Photons look exactly the same in all respects when they travel backwards in time-as we saw earlier-so they are their own anti-partcles. * " Richard Feynman, QED, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), p. 97-98

Should someone wonder how I have all these quotations, for my entire life I have collected passages from books and journals which I found interesting. Everything I have ever read has something in my database of science factoids.

  1. We can’t see anything in the future to see if a big crunch will happen.

If advanced waves exist (go look it up) we don’t know how to detect them.

  1. Observational evidence right now (unless it just changed) is that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. This would preclude a future collapse to a bounce like condition.

  2. Tolman calculated the entropy for an eternally bouncing universe. What happens with entropy is quite important. Peebles said:

“If S {entropy-grm} is conserved in the bounce, we see that each cycle is cooler and lasts longer (Tolman 1934).” P. J. E. Peebles, Principles of Physical Cosmology, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 367

Tolman showed that this would limit the number of bounces possible, eventually one would have no more bounces.

But we can’t KNOW what happens to entropy in a bounce, so we can’t know what happens after the bounce.

Finally, when Steinhardt said: Do we really need to imagine that there exist an infinite number of messy universes that we have never seen and never will see in order to explain the one simple and remarkably smooth Universe we actually observe?”

One must ask are we merely trading an infinite number of universes we can’t see in space for an infinite number of universes we can’t see in time? There is one brutal fact about nature, and that is for any given number of protons, there is only a certain number of ways of packing those into a given volume. Eventually the arrangements of matter begins to repeat. Tegmark explains in an article which starts out asking about how many you’s there are out there in this spatial universe. It turns out if the universe is big enough, there are other you’s reading this post:

Is there a copy of you reading this article? A person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets? The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. But perhaps he or she now decides to put down this article without finishing it, while you read on.
"The idea of such an alter ego seems strange and implausible, but it looks as if we will just have to live with it, because it is supported by astronomical observations. The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 10^28 meters from here. This distance is so large that it is beyond astronomical, but that does not make your doppelganger any less real.” Max Tegmark, “Parallel Universes” Scientific American May 2003, p. 41

These are extremely conservative estimates, derived simply by counting all possible quantum states that a Hubble volume can have it it is no hotter than 10^8 kelvins. One way to do the calculation is to ask how many protons could be packed into a Hubble volume at that temperature. The answer is 10^118 protons. Each of those particles may or may not, in fact, be present, which makes for 2 to the 10^118 possible arrangements of protons. A box containing that many Hubble volumes exhausts all the possibilities. If you round off the numbers, such a box is about 10 to the 10^118 meters across. Beyond that box, universes—including ours—must repeat. Roughly the same number could be derived by using thermodynamic or quantum-gravitational estimates of the total information content of the universe.
"Your nearest doppelganger is most likely to be much closer than these numbers suggest, given the processes of planet formation and biological evolution that tip the odds in your favor.” Max Tegmark, “Parallel Universes,” Scientific American, May, 2003, p. 42

Turning to an eternally recycling universe will mean we have already lived an infinite number of times in the past and will be re-appearing in the future in the universe again after 2 to the power of 10^118 cycles. And we will live again in an identical universe an infinite number of times in the future. In such situations as the Multiverse, either spatial, quantum mechanical, or temporal, where we constantly recur, are we really special to God?

If anyone thinks this doesn’t have theological connotations, think again. We are Sisyphus and our lives are meaningless

I would be careful putting that out there without qualification. You may have meant the implicit qualification that that is what the unbeliever should conclude. We are (Christians believe and some know) in a Father-child relationship with God. Little children don’t think their lives are meaningless – that is something they are taught by a godless world and maybe by nasty parents (who are part of a godless world).
(Yesterday morning’s reading):

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So just like George Lemaitre cautioned The Pope about using the Big Bang as a proclamation of evidence of the Christian worldview or the Bible… I have to do the same with any scientific theory or hypothesis.

I don’t frankly care about anyone’s justification for accepting or rejecting scientific theories for philosophical or theological reasons. there were Christians who argued for and against spontaneous generation for theological reasons. There were Christians who argued for and against the Big Bang theory for theological reasons. the steady-state theory had some aspects that Christians found to agree with Christianity or at least their understanding of the scriptures better than the Big Bang theory. Unfortunately there are people like Fred Hoyle, who infamously described the debate between steady-state theory and the Big Bang theory as a battle between atheism and Christianity. It’s nonsense to put any scientific idea against God or the Bible. Even things from evolutionary psychology that can explain some of the origins of morality or prosocial behavior can’t actually conflict with Christianity. Really the only thing that can is the non-scientific positions of scientism or materialism or philosophical naturalism.

as for bouncing cosmology, I again don’t really care what anyone’s motivation was for working on them. Quotes about any of their motivations are basically akin to the genetic fallacy. I care what the evidence is. And why can’t the Bible just simply be describing the creation of one iteration of the universe, and God could have all kinds of different interactions with other universes that he made similar to the multiverse idea. Or bouncing cosmologies can be similar to the idea that there could be life on other planets that God sovereign can interact with them however he pleases and that can only serve to glorify him more.

What concerns me here is how the argument that you just made is basically the same argument that young Earth creationist or other anti-evolution creationists make against scientific ideas. They basically reject them based off of quotes or motivations of select scientists working on the relevant topic and then provide biblical or philosophical reason against scientific theories- essentially conflating scientific theories with atheism or some anti-Christian worldview.


Not sure if you were just being facetious but I don’t see how what you’ve written here even addresses what I wrote in the preceding post. I think we are talking past each other. Regardless, I am not arguing for a multiverse. I’m merely observing that pointing to the only universe we can see lends no more credence to a unique universe than it does to a multiverse so far as I can tell.

The point is that I am essentially an indifferent agnostic atheist as far as other universes are concerned. But like you, just because I don’t believe in such a thing doesn’t mean the idea doesn’t interest me. Its just that I don’t see what it can possibly have to do with the living of our lives and so fiction is the only direction I can see such a discussion going in. It is not a matter of being facetious so much as I just don’t see why these explorations of the topic in science fiction novels and films isn’t relevant. They suggest different ways in which these other universes are related.

Magicians Nephew - more created worlds or universes
Amber series - more of a continuous spectrums of universe which are like a ripple of reflections from an original universe.
Parallelities - more like many worlds from Everett’s interpretation of quantum physics.
The One - where we all have duplicates in these other universes that share energy between them.

That makes more sense, thanks. I agree that it makes zero difference in our lives. But like the supernatural, which for any serious purposes I assume to be a null set, I can enjoy a farcical movie/book like the Exorcist or Anne Rice’s Memnoch The Devil. It only requires a suspension of deciding what is or isn’t realistic and one can have a perfectly good time.

One way or another creation, stuff, has no end and is its own explanation by default.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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