The Big Bang Idea

Always read the final paragraph first,

The main point of the doctrine of Creation, I think, is that God is real, and that everything else is derived from his power and will. We know this doctrine is true because we know God. Not because of the Big Bang, as natural as it is to connect the two ideas.

Not bad. (5.5:1.5)/9 = 61% for 17% against 22% dunno. The predicate is the second of the three sentences. A fine posit. Excluded middles notwithstanding: How we get there is another thing entirely. The xkcd is near perfect. In my boundless expertise here at the base camp of Mt. Dunning, I observe that the accelerating expansion of spacetime is correlated with the accelerating increase, i.e. decay, in wavelength, decrease in frequency; conservation is preserved.

Hi bluebird1, I’ve been studying this area for years and have a post-graduate degree in it. Consequently, I have many sources. So, could you be a bit more specific? What particular point or points do you want sources for?

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Well, where to start…How about with the paragraph that begins "Very early on, in the history

of the Christian church,",:
"Not debating you but wanted your source for the remark about these early theologians and also source for the assertion about Fr George Lemaitre? BTW…excuse my typing

I tend to agree.

It is generally accepted that Lemaitre was the father of the Big Bang theory, even if he built on earlier work. Some scientists at the time didnt like it because of its possible religious implications, ie that it supported a definite beginning to the universe as per Genesis. And the fact it came from a Catholic priest didnt help!

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@bluebird1 (and everyone else)

There’s a BioLogos article on George Lemaitre, if you are interested:

Learned something new:

“In 1948, it was proposed that a weak signal should be detected as the echo of the Big Bang. The cosmic microwave background radiation was actually found in 1965. Lemaître was told of the discovery by his assistant Odon Godart when he was in a hospital a little before his death in 1966.”

That’s pretty cool. I’m glad he lived long enough to learn of the evidence that really solidified his theory.

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OK. The reference is to the theology of God’s two books and the way in which Nature becomes a means of speaking to us from and of God. The foundations of this were already being laid within the scriptures of Judaism. For example, the heavens are telling of the glory of God (Psalm 19:1; see also Psalms 8:3, 36:5, 50:6, 89:11, etc) Then along came Paul in Romans, saying: “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.: (Romans 1:20 NRS).

The incarnation of Christ gave further impetus to this understanding. The signs of the dawning of the kingdom of God were revealed by the actions of Jesus in the material world. When John the Baptist in prison sent a message to Jesus asking if he was the Messiah, Jesus pointed to the powerful actions he performed which caused changes in the material world.

As the early Church rolled into the second century, it was confronted by the heresy of various forms of Gnosticism. Gnosticism portrayed the material world as the creation of an evil demigod. Salvation for the Gnostics consisted of knowing that one could receive salvation from this evil material world. Christian orthodoxy countered that God had created the material world and it was good. Further, that the same God who created the material world was the one who saved us through Christ. Indeed, as Paul makes clear, salvation through Christ involves the Creator God creating each one of us again.

The theology of God’s two books developed over centuries. For sources of information about it I suggest the following:

Peter Harrison. The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.1998.

Kenneth J. Howell. God’s Two Books. Copernican Cosmology and Biblical Interpretation in Early Modern Science. University of Notre Dame. 2002.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating insights into the theology of the two books can be found in Galileo’s writings, specifically, his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina . Despite the use of the term “Letter”, this is a book. Embracing the standard orthodoxy of his time, Galileo writes: “For the Holy Scripture and nature derive equally from the Godhead, the former as the dictation of the Holy Spirit and the latter as the most obedient executrix of God’s orders”. The fascinating thing about this is not only Galileo’s embracing of the theology of the two books, but his tracing of the correct balance between them back to Tertullian (155-220 A.D.) and Augustine (354-430 A.D.). As a source for these writings translated into English, see Maurice A. Finocchiaro. The Galileo Affair. A Documentary History. University of California Press. 1989.

The reading of God’s book of Nature is generally known as “Natural Theology”. For this see Alister E. McGrath. The Open Secret. A new vision for Natural Theology. Blackwell Publishing. 2008.

As for recognition of Fr George Lemaitre as the originator of the Big Bang Theory, see Wikipedia:

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Thanks for your reply. Even in your balloon analogy, the center would be the point (singularity) from which everything ballooned out, IMO. If the universe collapsed back in on itself (Big Crunch), wouldn’t the final resting point be the same singularity from which it all ballooned out?

On the surface of a balloon there is no center of expansion. The same concept would apply to the 3D expanding universe. These concepts are tough to conceptualize in 3D, so 2D analogies are often used so our brains can grock it.

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That only even partially works if one says that each spacetime point in the radially expanding 3D universe is also a centre of radial expansion in the inflationary epoch. Nothing about a merely radially expanding 3D universe obviates the centre of expansion.

Popper said that a theory in science must be testable, and for any test to be valid, it must be capable of falsifying the theory if it is not correct. Therefore, a true scientific theory must be about a process that can be repeated and observed - otherwise you could not falsify it via repeated testing.

From Wiki:

Colin Patterson FRS (1933–1998), was a British palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London from 1962 to his official retirement in 1993…

Patterson was a senior paleontologist, the editor of a prestigious journal, and the author of many books on evolution… including one entitled “Evolution”. In that book, he wrote…

“If we accept Popper’s distinction between science and non-science, we must ask first whether the theory of evolution by natural selection is scientific or pseudoscientific (metaphysical)… Taking the first part of the theory, that evolution has occurred, it says that the history of life is a single process of species-splitting and progression. This process must be unique and unrepeatable, like the history of England. This part of the theory is therefore a historical theory about unique events, and unique events are, by definition, not part of science, for they are unrepeatable and so not subject to test.”

Did you read that not a part of science” part? Same goes for Big Bang.

I used to hear static when my TV station went off the air. We can all hear it still today when trying to tune in some radio stations while traveling. Is Big Bang the only possible explanation for being able to hear static background noises coming from the sky? And if we’ve all heard this static for years, how can it be a BB prediction that we’ll hear static if we point receivers up at the sky?

I like how you mention that not hearing this static would be a serious challenge to Big Bang… considering that there have been, and still are, MANY other serious challenges to it. What do you think of a “cosmological constant” that is tuned to 1 X 10^120? Or the invention (and almost uniform immediate and eager acceptance) of hypothetical rescue devices like dark matter and dark energy?

Is movement away from the observer the only cause of redshift? What do you know about Halton Arp - and his unceremonious expulsion from the cool kids’ club when he started seeing (and talking about) redshift readings that didn’t fit the acceptable paradigm? Did his findings falsify BB as you suggest something like that would do?

Wait… why do you mention just the surface of the sphere? Are you saying that our universe is only the shell of the balloon? Is there no part of the universe that is inside the balloon? I don’t get it. Please elaborate.

Popper never said that processes have to be repeatable in order to form theories around them. Popper said theories have to be falsifiable. Period. You can form a theory of what happened in the past, and use observations to test that theory.

And Patterson is wrong.

There is no other explanation for the whole set of observations which includes the ratio of redshift to galactic distances, the temperature and power spectrum of the CMB, and the ratios of isotopes of hydrogen, helium, and lithium. No other explanation covers all three. Also, the CMB wasn’t discovered until 1964, well after it was predicted.

Halton Arp mistook quasars far in the background as being next to galaxies that were much closer in the foreground. It’s the same effect as here:

There is no other explanation for the wavelength independent redshift that is seen in the data, nor is there any explanation of why galactic distance correlates with redshift. This is exactly what we should see if the BB theory is true.

The surface of the sphere is an analogy for the 3D universe. When space itself is expanding there is no center of expansion since everywhere is expanding.

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Although this thread is about the BB, Popper’s own words on the theories surrounding the history of evolution are worth knowing:

“The Mendelian underpinning of modern Darwinism has been well tested and so has the theory of evolution which says that all terrestrial life has evolved from a few primitive unicellular organisms, possibly even from one single organism.” [Popper, 1978, p. 344; emphasis added]

“It does appear that some people think that I denied scientific character to the historical sciences, such as palaeontology, or the history of the evolution of life on Earth. This is a mistake, and I here wish to affirm that these and other historical sciences have in my opinion scientific character; their hypotheses can in many cases be tested.” [Popper, 1981, p. 611]

"The fact that the theory of natural selection is difficult to test has led some people, anti-Darwinists and even some great Darwinists, to claim that it is a tautology. . . . I mention this problem because I too belong among the culprits. Influenced by what these authorities say, I have in the past described the theory as “almost tautological,” and I have tried to explain how the theory of natural selection could be untestable (as is a tautology) and yet of great scientific interest. My solution was that the doctrine of natural selection is a most successful metaphysical research programme. . . . [Popper, 1978, p. 344]

I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation. . . . [p. 345]

The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true. There seem to be exceptions, as with so many biological theories; and considering the random character of the variations on which natural selection operates, the occurrence of exceptions is not surprising." [p. 346]

References here:

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The cosmic microwave background is not just “static.” It has specific measurable characteristics and properties. It is these measurements, the precise numerical aspects, and the cross-correlations between them, that make these predictions so successful and so powerful at distinguishing between explanations that are possible, and explanations that are not.

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oh gosh…you really need to take notice of the scientific observations of rock from mount st hellens…the results were off by a huge margin. You cannot deny this is a massive problem for radiometric dating make the claim of millions of years. The factor of error only has to be very small and we have the difference between an earth that is thousands of years old and millions.

The problem here…if scientists state there must be no God in our calculations, then they have a problem…the cannot explain the process of origins to where we are today without instead throwing in a mathematical solution…IT MUST TAKE MILLIONS OF YEARS.

Therefore, given that it must take millions of years (because no being/God can create in an instant), all scientific results are only valid when they support the hypothesis (there is no creator God).

So, hypothesis…there is no God

Hypothesis…mathematically things must evolve over a massive time period (because we are unable to visually observe significant change in our written history)

Hypothesis - Earth = 4.54 billion years old

Any attempt at going outside of the above parameters is immediately discounted as wrong…and its wrong because it cannot be accepted that there is a Creator God.

As soon as one demands that the only explanation of our origin is the scientific one, then we are forced into a theological nightmare. How can one possibly reconcile very self evident biblical statements, from numerous writers over about 4,000 years of bible writings, with a scientific view that first demands, there is no God?

It is completely irrelevant to me that the bible and secular science don’t agree. The reason why secular scientists (whom TEism aligns itself) is simple…there is no God according to that interpretation.

I have said this before and say it again…

I put Bible theology first and Science interpration second.

If it turns out I am wrong will I lose my salvation because my science interpretation is wrong? The answer is very obviously no.

On the other hand, if one puts science interpretation first and Bible second, if that person is wrong will they lose their salvation. The answer is a very definite yes!

So the safer place to be is absolutely the Bible first camp. The bible has this illustration which is applicable here…the wise man built his house apon the rock…the foolish man built his house upon the sand…that illustration is talking about the importance of our religious beliefs. Our grounding in the bible and our relationship with our creator must come first above all else. We cannot understand our creator by simply looking at rocks…if that were the case there would be no bible as a tool for guidance and understanding.The irony of this argument is that I have found generally most TEists have a very poor understanding of Bible theology. They have a very narrow range of supporting biblical references, and the ones they do use most often do not actually support the position/s they take from said texts. The manage to get around any problems by completely ignoring other passages the contradict their position (of which there are usually many) It is only through a means of lousy bible theology can people support the marriage of secular scientific interpretation and the Bible. Point and example is the claim that entire books of the bible that are very clearly to be read quite literally, are called and allegory (even though modern literary experts almost universally debunct the allegory claims)

Again that’s not exactly true of the universe is it. The radial expansion of the universe is independent of the isotropic expansion of spacetime from every point along its every infinite geodesic, correlated with the decay of light frequency.

Yes, the results from testing rocks of known age expose radiometric dating methods as faulty and unreliable.

Do you have the same concern over limitations and improper testing methods for all radiometric results? Or just the ones where the results are known to be way off from the actual age of the samples?

I’m pretty sure that you opining that a creator isn’t necessary doesn’t make it so.

Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose. - Richard Dawkins

We all see something very simple like Stonehenge and know that it was intelligently designed. Yet some people like Dawkins see the clear appearance of design in our precisely tuned world and the extremely complicated living things that live in it, yet conclude that it was the result of random accidents. I pity those people.

Do you think it is a strength to allow only natural explanations? Or a weakness?

By the way, Scientism has plenty of deities to explain the things that empiricism cannot. Those gods have names like Dark Matter, Dark Energy, random chance, etc.