After all the blather about Big Bang, Big Bang, a burning question still consumes me: can it really have happened that way? Did the entire vast universe of pulsars and quasars, of neutron stars and supernova, of galaxies, billions and billions of galaxies each with billions and billions of stars, did all this originate from a single explosion the size of a pinpoint? No, not even a pinpoint! Not a point or a thing at all but, they say, a tiny bubble of spacetime a billion-trillion-trillionth of a centimeter across.
And this infinitesimal bubble popped spontaneously into existence out of a pure vacuum as the result of a random quantum fluctuation. That is to say our vast and immeasurable universe came from NOTHING!
Well, I myself am nothing – nothing that is, in the way of a physicist, astronomer or cosmologist. But I am intensely interested in this question as a lover of truth, as a philosopher. For that is what the word philosophy means: love of wisdom.
And as such I echo Sir Arthur Eddington who said that philosophically the notion of a beginning of the present order is repugnant to him. He simply does not believe the present order of things started off with a bang. The expanding Universe is preposterous.
Let us make no mistake about what the big bangers are saying. Astrophysicists Fang Li Zhi and Li Shu Xian, in an article entitled Creation of the Universe (World Scientific, 1989) certainly make it absolutely clear: The evolution of the universe from nothing, they say, is described by the big bang theory.
Time and space, they tell us, did not exist before the big bang. The universe emerged out of a singularity they say, a situation in which the laws of physics as we know them do not apply. None of the laws of science pertain. No, not the most fundamental law of science, the conservation of matter, the law which states that matter cannot be created nor destroyed but simply changes form incessantly. No, not even relativity is relevant, and it is relativity theory after all that big bangers employ for their mystifying hypothesis.
What can this mean? The laws of science fail at the big bang and it is not possible to know what happened, or if anything at all happened before it. Think of it: We must accept an absolute limit on our knowledge, on our understanding of how the world works. We must not question: time began with the big bang and all questions about time before the big bang, before there was time, are pointless. We may not speak of a cause of the Big Bang, it is impossible, impermissible.
Where have we heard this before? Have not we heard theologians claim that God created the universe, and when we ask them who created God, they arrogantly answer that such questions are beyond mortal minds?
In 1981 at a cosmology conference organized in the Vatican scientists were told that it was permissible to scrutinize the progression of the universe after the big bang, but they should not look into the big bang itself because that was the instant of Creation and hence the act of God.
Yes, the Catholic Church gets a big kick out of the big bang. As far back as 1951 Pope Pius XII declared that the Big Bang confirms the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, the dogma that the universe was created out of nothing.
We rightly deplore attempts of religionists to warp the great channel of evolution into the dead end of intelligent design. And yet the big bang is just such a perverting project.
The big bang is the big daddy of intelligent design: it is creationism pure and simple. A universe created in an instant is the work of a creator. The big bang is just old religious creationism all dressed up in sophisticated scientific gear.
What is the ultimate solution to the origin of the Universe? The answers provided by the astronomers are disconcerting and remarkable. Most remarkable of all is the fact that in science, as in the Bible, the world begins with an act of creation: this from astronomer Robert Jastrow in Until the Sun Dies, 1977.
Cosmology today is all enmeshed with religion. Theologians, physicists, novelists, all tell us that big bang theory bears witness to a Christian creator. In the New York Times Book Review (February 1989), we are informed in a front-page article that because of the big bang scientists and novelists are reverting to God.
Does big bang creation differ from biblical creation? No, only in the number of years! The Bible claims that creation took place about 6,000 years ago, and the big bang asserts that creation occurred about 15 billion years ago.
The whole thing reeks of religion! They say the big bang left a background radiation. I say their Big Bang left a Big Stink: God FARTED and that was the Big Bang.
And so philosophically the big bang is not acceptable. But it is also unacceptable scientifically. It actually spells the death of science. Science is nothing unless it discovers the causes of empirical events. To nothing less than the ultimate repudiation of causality is where the big bang takes us.
The big bang is not a theory for atheists but for theists. A knowledgeable atheist is a scientific materialist: matter and energy exist forever and ever with no beginning and no end, constantly changing, moving, evolving… Why cannot the material universe exist from all eternity? Why not indeed! Because it is heresy to believe so, Augustine warned us two thousand ago. Infinity, he argued, belongs only to the deity; it is forbidden to the material universe. To say that the material universe is unlimited is to mistake the essential distinction between nature and God. It eliminates the need for God. Yes, Augustine sure knew whereof he spoke!
It would be amusing were it not so tragic that so many people have a problem with an infinite material universe but have no difficulty at all in accepting a god existing in eternity. Isnt the one as easy to imagine as the other? No, in fact the material universe is far easier to come to terms with than futile attempts to grasp a ghost.
The philosophical objections to the big bang are colossal, but let us turn to strictly scientific objections. The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed, inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. So states an Open Letter to the Scientific Community (signed by over 300 scientists and others) and published in New Scientist, May 22, 2004.
The successes claimed by the theory supporters, it continues, consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles.
In cosmology today doubt and dissent are not tolerated, and young scientists learn to remain silent if they have something negative to say about the standard big bang model. Those who doubt the big bang fear that saying so will cost them their funding. The entire statement can be read at cosmologystatement.org
So vehement is opposition to anyone who criticizes the big bang that a reviewer (a madman?) said of the Eric Lerner book, The Big Bang Never Happened: a Startling Refutation of the Dominant Theory of the Origin of the Universe, that his work deserves to be burned!
For my part I will burn at the stake like Bruno but I will uphold as he did the concept of an infinite material universe. I will reverse the Wager of Pascal: I will bet my life on materialism. I will shout with Shakespeare in the thunderous tones of King Lear, NOTHING WILL COME OF NOTHING!
Something always comes from something. Where did the superclusters of galaxies come from? The moon orbits the earth, the earth orbits the sun, the sun travels around the Milky Way galaxy. Our galaxy circles around in a neighborhood of galaxies called a cluster, and a bunch of clusters rotate as a unit in a supercluster. A number of superclusters form a unit which in turn moves around its hub and this apparently goes on forever. In any case, supercluster complexes have been observed – huge sheets of galaxies called great walls stretching over a billion light-years of space. They take hundreds of billions of years to form. But the pathetic big bang is only 15 billion years old. There is more in heaven and earth, dear big banger, than is dreamt of in your philosophy!
Yes, new objects are discovered constantly, larger and larger and further away, with absolutely no end in sight. Yet man, unable (or unwilling!) to comprehend a never-ending material universe will not take infinite for an answer but must impose his final limit on everything.
It is utter gibberish to chatter about the creation of matter, twaddle to talk about the beginning of time. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed and it exists through and only through time, space, and motion. The universe exists through all eternity, forever changing, moving, evolving… Matter and energy, energy and matter forever! A beginning or an end to the material universe? Every effort to find one will foolishly fail. And the big bang theory will fall before our earth makes ten more trips around the sun.