Stephen Hawking and imaginary time

The imaginary time axis is drawn orthogonal to the real time axis. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Update 14/03/2018 Professor Stephen Hawking died today. See his obituary here. From all I have read he remained an ardent atheist his whole life. And he never really understood the worldview issue in cosmology and the origin of the universe. This proves that even very smart people can get it wrong. Nevertheless he gave us much to ponder, debate and learn. 


What is imaginary time? I don’t mean the time you spend day-dreaming but the concept in physics, promoted by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It is used in some quantum mechanics and special relativity theory. Imaginary time is where the usual time dimension undergoes a Wick rotation (a phase rotation)1 so that its coordinates are multiplied by the imaginary number the square root of -1, represented by the symbol i. In such a situation time theoretically behaves like a spatial dimension.

Stephen Hawking Credit: Wikipedia

Hawking wrote:2

“One might think this means that imaginary numbers are just a mathematical game having nothing to do with the real world. From the viewpoint of positivist philosophy, however, one cannot determine what is real. All one can do is find which mathematical models describe the universe we live in. It turns out that a mathematical model involving imaginary time predicts not only effects we have already observed but also effects we have not been able to measure yet nevertheless believe in for other reasons. So what is real and what is imaginary? Is the distinction just in our minds?” (emphasis added)

Positivism is the philosophy that we cannot determine what is real, but we can only propose hypotheses and test those against what we observe. Hawking is an atheist—an anti-theist—and has spent some time attempting to show that the Creator is unneeded in the universe.

Hawking claims that imaginary time is as real as real time, only that it is travelling in a different direction.3 He claims that ‘before’ the big bang time was imaginary and thus there was no time. Imaginary time may have “always existed” he said, but because we have no idea of what the laws of physics were ‘before’ the big bang, and there is no way to measure what happened ‘before’ the big bang, hence there is no point including time back then in a discussion of our universe. Continue reading

Did aliens hack the Voyager 2 space probe in 2010?

I don’t know how I missed this news item back from 2010! Then NASA reported a single bit-flip error occurred in Voyager 2’s software code used to communicate with Earth. That sounds pretty mundane in today’s IT savvy world where we are all used to software errors and corrupt code.

Artist's concept of Voyager in flight.

Artist’s concept of Voyager 2 in flight.

But sometime the corruption of code is due to deliberate interference. Hackers hack into computers everyday for fun or more nefarious reasons. In this instance several scientists suggested that the on-board computer was hacked by an alien race (from another star system) who were trying to communicate with us.

But note the Voyager 2 space craft at that time was nearly about to cross over into what we would call interstellar space. It was about to leave the solar system in 2010 at a distance of 90 times the distance between the sun and the earth. That is about 8.6 billion miles or about 14 billion kms. That means it takes a light signal nearly 13 hours, travelling at nearly 300,000 km/s, to travel from the space probe to Earth. For NASA to send and receive a signal that would take twice that time, nearly 26 hours. It is certainly at a distance where one can easily discount any Earth based hacker.

The following is excerpted an online news item from 6 years ago and is typical of the several available.1

NASA space probe Voyager 2, which left earth 33 years ago, may have been hijacked by aliens who are now trying to make contact with earth according to a German academic.

The craft, which is 8.6 billion miles from earth on the very edge of the solar system, has been sending back data ever since it was launched – until last month when it briefly stopped transmitting before starting to send strange messages that scientists cannot decipher.

German academic Hartwig Hausdorf believes the change could be down to extraterrestrials. He says that because the rest of the spacecraft is still working normally there may be more to the cryptic messages than meets the eye.

“It seems almost as if someone has reprogrammed or hijacked the probe,” he told German newspaper Bild. “Thus perhaps we do not yet know the whole truth.”

NASA was much more circumspect stating that they believe it was due to this one corrupt bit of code. That may have occurred due to radiation in space or impact by a highly energetic particle which flipped the bit. Continue reading

An eternal quantum potential or an eternal Creator God

JGH1As a teenager I co-authored a book comparing the competing cosmologies in 1968. They were the Big Bang Theory (BBT) and the Steady State Theory (SST). Even though the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation provided a big boost to big bang theories at that time, I preferred the SST because it had no origin in time. You see, I was an atheist then and I reasoned that if the Universe had no beginning then it didn’t need a Creator and thus I had no God that I needed to obey.

The fact that the BBT has an origin in time—a unique past boundary—has been particularly vexing for the atheist believers in that cosmogony. Using various approaches the BB theorists have been trying to eliminate the beginning, by replacing the Creator with an eternal quantum potential, which existed for eternity past, and then 13.8 billion years ago exploded into the big bang universe, … or, so they say. For now though, they are stuck with the universal origin in a singularity, which in itself has led them to worshipping the Universe itself.

The explanation given in the Bible I now find so much more satisfying. Any cosmogony, which attempts to correctly describe real history, must be consistent with and follow not only the biblical time scale but also follow the sequence of events in the Genesis account. I present a very brief summary of a few biblical creationist models. These models acknowledge the eternal Creator God as the source of everything in the Universe.

An illustrated talk presented at the Creation Ministries International 2016 Creation SuperCamp at The Tops Conference Centre, NSW, 9:45 pm Wednesday January 6, 2016.

Video of Powerpoint presentation

Continue reading

Piercing the ‘Darkness’

—The bankruptcy of big-bang thinking and its ‘dark’ fudge factors

JGH1Six important questions are asked in regards to the alleged big bang origin of the Universe? These questions highlight the bankruptcy of big bang thinking, about the origin of the universe that needs numerous fudge factors.

Embracing the ‘darkness’ has led man to develop unprovable fudge factors to plug the holes in his failed theory. I deal with each of these:

  1. Where did the Universe come from?
  2. How did nothing explode?
  3. How did stars and galaxies form?
  4. Why does CMB ‘light’ cast no shadows?
  5. Why the ‘Axis of Evil’?
  6. What about expansion of space?

…. 14 more problems are listed but not discussed in any detail.

Six major fudge factors are highlighted as a result but there are many more. The big bang needs these unverifiable fudge factors; so why hasn’t it been discarded? The answer is simple. The alternative, for the atheist–a Creator God–is unbearable, and for the compromised theist or deist, who accepts a big bang origin for the universe, the Creator as described by a straightforward reading of the Bible, is unbearable.

An illustrated talk presented at the Creation Ministries International 2016 Creation SuperCamp at The Tops Conference Centre, NSW, 7:30 pm Monday January 4, 2016.

Video of powerpoint presentation

Continue reading

The big bang is pagan philosophy

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?

BB evolution

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

Life in the Universe is the ultimate miracle

Life in the universe is rare, so rare in fact, I would wager that sentient life is only found on planet Earth. For nearly 50 years the collection of telescopes and scientists under the umbrella name of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have searched among the wavelengths of a myriad stars in search of a radio signal, any signal, from intelligent life. But have they detected any? Apart from detecting the odd microwave oven in their own establishment,1 no is the answer.

This artist’s concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun. Picture: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle Source: Supplied

Earth 2.0: An artist’s conception depicting of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun. Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

In 2013 Space.com headlines with “Alien Life May Be Rare Across the Universe2 but on July 23, 2015 NASA announced the discovery of Earth 2.0 with a headline on Space.com of “NASA Finds Closest Earth Twin Yet in Haul of 500 Alien Planets.”3

It is all over the news with a host of pictures of Earth 2.0. But wait, they are only artists’ conceptions.” One such drawing is reproduced here.

The report is that NASA found a near twin to Earth named Kepler-452b. It orbits its sun every 385 days, is 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth, has a mass probably 5 times that of Earth and is located about 1,400 light years away. It’s a big deal! But why? Continue reading

An eternal big bang universe

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:

  1. 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);
  2. 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
  3. 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