Can we definitively know the global structure of spacetime? This is a good question. It is one that is actively discussed in the area of the philosophy of modern physics.1,2
However it is a question that highlights the fundamental weakness of cosmology and hence of cosmogony. (Cosmology is the study of the structure of the cosmos whereas cosmogony is the study of the origin of the universe.) That weakness is the inherent inability to accurately construct any global cosmological model, i.e. a model that accurately represents the structure of the universe at all times and locations. The reason for this is underdetermination.3
“There seems to be a robust sense in which the global structure of every cosmological model is underdetermined.”1
In the philosophy of science, underdetermination means that the available evidence is insufficient to be able to determine which belief one should hold about that evidence. That means that no matter what cosmological model one might conceive of, in an attempt to describe the structure of the universe, every model will be underdetermined. Or said another way, no matter what amount of observational data one might ever (even in principle) gather, the cosmological evidence does not force one particular model upon us. And this underdetermination has been rigorously proven.1 Continue reading
Cosmology, or really cosmogony, tries to answer one of the most fundamental questions of all: Where did the Universe come from? Cosmologists have no idea about the contents of this vast Universe. They speak of many unknowns—dark entities—used to make the standard ΛCDM (Lambda cold dark matter) big bang model fit the observational data. Dark energy and dark matter, which together allegedly make up 95% of the mass/energy content of the Universe, are total unknowns to experimental physics.
But these entities seem more like fudge factors to me than real science. Well, there is good reason for that feeling. They are fudge factors and now it seems like I am not the only one saying it.
In the following I excerpt (indented blue text) from an article titled “Cosmology is in crisis – but not for the reason you may think.” (link for full text) My emphases are in bold text.
Nothing wrong with naming a nebula after what it looks like though, in this case a horse head. Credit: NASA
We still have no idea what the vast majority of the universe is made of. We struggle to understand how the Big Bang could suddenly arise from nothing or where the energy for “inflation”, a very short period of rapid growth in the early universe, came from. But despite these gaps in knowledge, it is actually human nature – our tendency to interpret data to fit our beliefs – that is the biggest threat to modern cosmology. Continue reading
Is the big bang evolution story of the Universe really science? And is the big bang a valid starting point to argue that science supports the biblical narrative history from the Genesis account and elsewhere? Can we consider a big bang creation in our apologetics?
Foundations for our apologetics
In apologetics1 we are engaged in a spiritual war, which we fight on a daily basis. We win some battles, we lose some, but we know that the war will eventually be won by God. He has told us that fact. Often however our comrades in arms, i.e. other Christians, may themselves not clearly see the enemy’s tactics. That does not mean they cannot see the enemy but may be they are too close in battle to see the whole war.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)
Sometimes we must criticise what our friends have said in an effort to prevent the enemy from developing a breach in the wall of truth and eventually destroying the foundations. In this case our friends are our fellow Christians who have gotten off the track by absorbing too much of the pagan culture in which they live. Continue reading
The claim has been made over and over again that biblical creationists are not real scientists. This has been particularly applied to the natural or physical sciences as compared to the social sciences. Some claim that creationists can’t think properly because of their “distorted” worldview. Thus they can’t do real science. Of course this is all nonsense. Belief in a Creator God does not impede one progress in scientific research but there are many examples where evolutionary beliefs have done so. One example that springs to mind is that of junk DNA, which survived as a scientific concept, at least, partly due to tacit evolutionary assumptions, and as a result very much delayed our understanding of the genome.1
I recently watched a short YouTube film called the “The Truth About PhD Creationists,”2 which argues along the lines of my opening statement. The author contrasted one measurable metric that might be used to gauge the quality and success of a scientist’s career — his/her publications and their citations — between those of one of the most well-known “big guns” of creation science, Dr D. Russell Humphreys, and that of one of the most well-known atheist personalities Dr Lawrence Krauss. Both have PhD’s in physics. See the table below reproduced from the YouTube film, with one additional line of data. The table is quite self-explanatory.
The obvious point made is that Humphreys, a biblical creationist, has not published anything like Krauss, a secular atheist. Continue reading
As a high school student, at a time when I was an atheist, I co-authored a book reviewing the various cosmological models that were discussed in the scientific literature in 1968. That was three years after the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, and the Big Bang Theory had just made a big leap forward in front of its competitor at the time, the Steady State Theory.
In our book—which by the way won us second prize in a Western Australian state-wide science competition—we outlined the two competing models. The Big Bang Theory at that time had three distinct forms:
- the cycloidal model, which would collapse back into a big crunch (and bounce out of the singularity cyclically) because the matter density of the universe was too great to resist the inevitable re-collapse (a finite closed universe);
- the coasting model, which had just the right amount of matter for an infinite universe that is neither accelerating nor decelerating in its expansion, continually expanding but never collapsing (an open infinite universe); and
- the hyperbolic model, an accelerating expanding universe, low matter density but also driven apart by a cosmological constant term (an open and infinite universe).
The most favoured of the three was the closed cycloidal model with a matter density greater than critical so it had to collapse back in a big crunch. Nowadays it is the accelerating infinite (open) universe, which is spatially flat due to dark matter and dark energy content.
On reviewing these models, and even knowing that the CMB discovery favoured these as a prediction of the big bang theorists, particularly George Gamow, I personally favoured the Steady State Theory. The Steady State Theory really had only one model, which was an infinite universe that was eternal both into the past and into the future. It had no beginning and no ending. Continue reading
Abstract: I speculate on a new cosmological redshift mechanism due to ‘tired light’ in a created static-yet-unstable 6000-year-old finite-size universe. This utilises Lisle’s ASC model, but I show a one-to-one correspondence with the Hartnett-Carmeli model that was so successful when tested against type Ia supernova measurements. This gives a theoretical underpinning to the ASC model with a Hubble law redshift-distance dependence, but not from expansion, yet where, today, we see all sources in the universe only 6000 years after they were created. Article first published by Answers Research Journal 8 (2015):77–83. PDF available here.
In standard cosmology it is normal practice to assume no Creator and that the material world is all that there is. Therefore it follows that only the laws of physics, time and chance are to be considered when formulating a description of the creation and history of the universe we see. This means that within the visible horizon there has been sufficient time for the gravitational and electromagnetic influences2 of the matter elsewhere to be felt locally. Assuming an expanding universe, the only limitation comes from the notion that the universe has expanded faster than the speed of light (c)3 and therefore this has introduced to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation what is known as the horizon problem.4 Continue reading
How did the universe begin, and how and when was everything in it created and formed? That is probably the most fundamental question of all. Here I compare two cosmogonies (the study of the origin of the universe).
A worldview is what we hold to be true, essentially, without proof. The big bang/evolution worldview and timeline is compared to the Genesis creation worldview and timeline. The problem of initial assumptions is highlighted.