The Big Bang: Something From Something

I find that this snippet from the debate between atheist Christopher Hitchens and grouchy Christian, Frank Turek gets me all riled up. (The entire debate can be seen here.) The reason is that author Frank Turek falsely characterizes the Big Bang as “something out of nothing” and as a “state of existence from a state of non-existence”, and Hitchens doesn’t exactly correct him on his bad science. Here in the video we have what Turek says scientists say, and over there somewhere in reality, where creationists don’t want us to look, we have what scientists actually say.

I don’t know about you, but what I’ve heard cosmologists say is that the Big Bang was the expansion of a spacetime singularity –a state of infinite density. A singularity is not nothing; it is very much something. I guess you could say it’s everything.

But Turek slyly conflates the terms creation and design, and jumps between them like a drunken ballet-dancer. But I think they are distinct. Creation can indeed be defined as something from nothing. But design is the planning of something from something else. For example, a ceramic smoking monkey can be designed, but it cannot be constructed, or created, from nothing. A ceramic smoking monkey must be transformed from a raw material which already exists –clay. I can name plenty of designed things, but I cannot think of a single material object that has been created from nothing. All the events in universe are examples of transformation, not creation.

So, the argument of “something out of nothing” is irrelevant to the discussion since no examples can actually be found in nature. The only one Turek could possible point to is the one he’s attempting to prove.

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38 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Science

38 responses to “The Big Bang: Something From Something

  1. This is classic, great post. I love it when evolutionist realize they can not overcome an objection to their belief so they twist the words so they can be used to prove their point.

    The big bang is the theory that everything came from nothing.

    Creationism, as defined by a Christian, is that the one and only infinite God created everything.

    Good try on hijacking this line of thought but unsuccessful.

  2. thedarwinreport

    The big bang is the theory that everything came from nothing.

    Can you point to any cosmologists who actually make this claim, of something from nothing, as it relates to the Big Bang? A singularity is not nothing. You and Turek are making up your own science, otherwise –which is a favorite creationist pastime. Try debating the real science, and not your caricature of it.

  3. Where did your singularity come from?

  4. thedarwinreport

    Where did your singularity come from?

    The circular nature of your question makes it hard to take you seriously. Did you even read my post? I said, “So, the argument of “something out of nothing” is irrelevant to the discussion since no examples can actually be found in nature. The only one Turek could possible point to is the one he’s attempting to prove.”

    If I ask where god came from, you’ll, no doubt, reply that he wasn’t created; he’s always existed.

  5. That’s what infinite means. God was, is and will always be. He is outside of time just as a painter is outside his painting.

    The reason there is no example in nature of something coming form nothing is because it is not natural. That is why there has to be a supernatural beginning, everything we know started with God.

  6. thedarwinreport

    That’s what infinite means. God was, is and will always be. He is outside of time just as a painter is outside his painting.

    The word infinite as used by scientists means something beyond our ability to measure. And if something infinitely complex as god can have always existed –as you argue– then it’s not unreasonable for me argue that the universe, which is simpler than the creator, didn’t itself need creating. Or are you so blind that you can’t see the special pleading in your argument?

  7. samiam60

    Darwin guy, Our finite minds cannot conprehend the infinite. It cannot be more simple than that.
    Where did the stuff come from that went BANG?

    The most ignorant of men has to acknowledge intellegent design just by looking around.
    Darwin himself 150 years ago admitted to flaws in his theory.
    God on the other hand has captured the imagination of mankind from his earliest writings.

    In other words,, even the most primitive of the human species has enough sense to know there is a Creator.

  8. thedarwinreport

    Spew all the feel-good post-modernistic rubbish you want. You can’t make a logical argument in favor a god. Well, you can’t.

  9. thedarwinreport

    Spew all the feel-good post-modernistic rubbish you want. You can’t make a logical argument in favor a god. Well, you can’t.

  10. I am not trying to argue my side at all in my posts, you keep trying to avoid defending your side by switching to offense. You know you can not rationally defend everything coming from nothing. You say the big bang came form a singularity, where did the singularity come from?

  11. Actually there are newer researchers looking into where the singularity came from and/or what might be wrong with the Big Bang Theory.

    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/books-coming-soon-the-next-big-bang/?searchterm=big%20bang

    http://discovermagazine.com/2008/apr/25-3-theories-that-might-blow-up-the-big-bang/?searchterm=big%20bang

    These are both good articles on a current segment of “fringe” astrophysicists looking into alternative explanations for the Big Bang observations. I only say fringe because their ideas are as of yet not as accepted as the current model of the Big Bang.

  12. thedarwinreport

    mcoville,

    You say the big bang came form a singularity, where did the singularity come from?

    Listen carefully. The need for a creator exists only in your mind. Your argument fails because you readily accept that god has always existed without himself being created. Contradiction!

  13. and you keep tap dancing around. If you know better than me, teach me the truth.

    You stated ” the Big Bang was the expansion of a spacetime singularity”, where did the singularity come from?

  14. thedarwinreport

    mcoville,

    You’re assuming, without evidence, that a creator is required. You cannot give me a single example of anything material that’s been created. In my post, I said matter and energy are simply transformed from one state to another; they’re conserved. I’m saying creation is an illusion.

    Who created the creator? If you say no one, then you must agree that a creator is unnecessary. You can’t have it both ways.

  15. mcoville – Please read the second article I posted above. It posits three separate ideas on how the Universe “began.”

    1. The energy inherent in the multiverse is converted into matter upon collision of individual branes that exist outside of our current dimensional framework. The resulting collision is a Big Bang and the process is cyclical and eternal in both directions time-wise.

    2. Differient universes travel in opposite time arrows. Thus one universe’s Big Bang is another’s End and vice versa.

    3. Time is an illusion created by Man because of a limited perception. (Think Dr. Manhattan from the Watchman novels)

    There. You now have three differient answers. We have no idea which one if any are correct and yet astrophysicists will continue to search for answers rather than just give up and say “Oh well God must have done it.”

    Now would you kindly stop your soft shoe performance and answer the question put to you by Darwin? If you are so hung up on what created matter/energy what created God?

  16. thedarwinreport

    mcoville,

    It’s apparent you don’t understand the basic argument. I say the universe wasn’t created. You say god wasn’t created. It’s the same fucking thing. I can’t put it any simpler than that.

  17. Sheldon

    Interesting exchange here. I only have one thing to add.

    God of the gaps.

    Science does not have the final complete answer to the most difficult questions.

    Religionist on the other hand stand ready to offer a simple answer to these most difficult questions. God of the gaps. Which raises even more difficult questions which they can only answer with circular dogma.

  18. I’m disappointed with Hitchens for not immediately jumping on this glaring misunderstanding of cosmological physics.

    Frankly no one knows where singularity came from. All we have are unfalsifiable conjectures.

    The Theist explanation for singularity only replaces the question with the tautologically equivalent: “where did God come from?”

    Actually, my mistake. It’s not equivalent. It’s actually a hell of lot more useless considering that God, with his accompanying Theistic attributes, is a tad bit more complex than a homogeneous singularity, hence a tad bit more impossible to come about.

  19. “Can you point to any cosmologists who actually make this claim, of something from nothing, as it relates to the Big Bang?”
    Glad to oblige Darwinreport
    “At this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.”
    John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p. 442.
    “An initial cosmological singularity . . . forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. . . . On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself.”
    P. C. W. Davies, “Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology,” in The Study of Time III, ed. J. T. Fraser (Berlin: Springer Verlag ).
    “would quite literally be created out of nothing: not just out of the vacuum, but out of absolutely nothing at all, because there is nothing outside the universe.”(Hawking describing the Hartle-Hawking model)
    Hartle and Hawking, “Wave Function of the Universe,” p. 2961; Hawking and Penrose, Nature of Space and Time, p. 85.

  20. thedarwinreport

    Facilis,

    You’re such an ass, cutting snippets –partial quotes of things you clearly don’t understand. Read them carefully and you’ll see they aren’t making the scientific argument of something from nothing. Or don’t you understand the different between hypothesizing and presenting a full fledged theory? Merely mentioning an idea doesn’t mean they support it. Read those passages again and perhaps you’ll notice the words “if” and “would” and “cannot”. Only a newbie who hasn’t read much science would state otherwise.

    But if you can mathematically demonstrate how 0=1, then you’re a better scientist than Stephen Hawking.

  21. “You’re such an ass, cutting snippets –partial quotes of things you clearly don’t understand.”
    And you have such a great grasp of astrophysics eh?
    “you’ll see they aren’t making the scientific argument of something from nothing”
    It seems pretty clear to me they are saying that if the standard model of the Big Bang is true (with singularities and all) we would have everything come from nothing.

  22. thedarwinreport

    It would seem clear to you since it’s apparent you haven’t actually read any of those books. Creationists love to cut and paste without putting in a lick of intellectual effort.

    But do tell how this creation from nothing came about. I so love a good magic show.

  23. This video shows scientists teaching that the universe came from nothing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFpUSdkEr7A

  24. thedarwinreport

    “The big bang is the theory that everything came from nothing.”

    Not according to astro-physicists, who only claim that it to be the expansion of a singularity.

    “Creationism, as defined by a Christian, is that the one and only infinite God created everything.”

    Where’s your logic? Hoiw can a God be infinite if the universe is his creation –separate from him? Once he created it, he stopped being infinite.

  25. It doesn’t matter how many times you say that thedarwinreport, it does not make it true. There are scientists out there saying that the ‘Big Bang Theory’ says that everything came from nothing.

    If you go to http://www.big-bang-theory.com/ you will see this quote about halfway down the page:

    “Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy – nothing.”

    Astro-physicists are claiming this! Not all of them, but enough to make it matter.

  26. thedarwinreport

    “Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy – nothing.”

    Read the quote carefully, and think about what you’re reading. Space, time, matter, and energy, were a result of the singularity expanding. The singularity obviously had to exist for those things to come of it. And for the millionth time, if you can claim god -who’s must be more complex than his creations- wasn’t himself created, then it’s not unreasonable for me to claim that the universe, which is less complex than god, wasn’t created either. You’re logic is so bad it’s laughable. You’re basically making the same argument as me but about a more complex object –god.

  27. Trying to insult an opposing view does not lead to victory in a debate, unless your in grade school.

    If you read the quote real carefully you will notice the word “Prior”, that word translates into “Before”. So BEFORE the singularity there was NOTHING. This is a quote from an Asto-physicists web site. I am not saying he is right all I am proven is that astro-physicists do claim that nothing created everything. Not all, but some do.

    This debunks your claim that “Not according to astro-physicists, who only claim that it to be the expansion of a singularity.” So if you continue to claim that scientists do not claim that nothing created everything you are lying. Up till now I will say you where just ignorant of the facts and not trying to deceive anyone, but your get out of jail free card has been used up.

  28. thedarwinreport

    Trying to insult an opposing view does not lead to victory in a debate, unless your in grade school.

    Creationist are the greatest liar of them all, and naturally one gets frustrated at the mis-characterizations of the opposition. Some astro-physicists may claim monkeys fly out of people’s butts. So what? The consensus of the science is what matters. And it makes no sense for you to say there was “nothing”. A singularity is not nothing. And no physicist has published a mathematical equation representing something from nothing. The notion is ridiculous.

    And you avoided answering my argument about who created god. Typical. So, for the millionth and first time, if you can claim god -who’s must be more complex than his creations- wasn’t himself created, then it’s not unreasonable for me to claim that the universe, which is less complex than god, wasn’t created either.

  29. “The consensus of the science is what matters.” This is the narrow minded opinion that kept scientists believing in a flat earth or that the sun revolved around the earth. Please enter the world of the 20th century science. What matters is the truth.

    And I am not avoiding your argument about who created God, you original post is about denying that scientists teach that nothing created everything and you have been proven wrong. Just because you refuse to listen to logical and reasonable evidence does not help your case.

    And making strawman arguments like “Creationist are the greatest liar of them all,” only shows your lake of real facts to back any of your original statements. When you make an absolute statement it easily refuted by even one peace of evidence, and I have supplied you with plenty. So just admit your where wrong and then we can move on to what ever other topic you wish to discuss.

  30. thedarwinreport

    that kept scientists believing in a flat earth or that the sun revolved around the earth.

    No, the church, which has always been a drag on progress, kept people believing those things. And fringe ideas only matter if there’s evidence to back them up. Charles Darwin was on the fringe, until he stepped up with evidence, and a good set of theories (explanations). Unless a physicist can explain how 0=1, then he or she is going to be laugh at.

    And I didn’t expect an answer to my “who created god” question. There isn’t one.

  31. But you would keep “fringe” ideas out of science because, as you said before, “The consensus of the science is what matters.”

    Your dancing around the truth that your original post was incorrect and in face of clear evidence you refuse to admit your wrong. End of discussion.

    PS: you write a post about who created God and I will comment on it, until then I do not chase rabbit trails.

  32. thedarwinreport

    We keep fringe idea that have no evidence out of science. I think I made that pretty clear the first time. Darwin provided evidence for natural selection, and his evidence spawned further research and corroboration –and thus his fringe idea became the consensus. If he had had none, he would have been discounted. And I already accepted that some physicists might have used the something-from-nothing argument. And I said, “so what”. It’s simply speculation on their part, and not mainstream science.

    And I don’t expect an answer to my god argument –there is no logical response. One can’t simultaneously argue that an ultra-complex god didn’t need creating, while a less complex universe did. It’s self-contradictory.

  33. thedarwinreport,
    First, I have to say: After writing this I realize how tough it is to get thoughts accross using words. I know we currently have no other way of doing it, but it not very accurate.
    Regarding your quote:
    “One can’t simultaneously argue that an ultra-complex god didn’t need creating, while a less complex universe did. It’s self-contradictory.”

    The most complex thing we know of is the Universe itself. Because it contains all the other complex things. This is “set theory”.
    So, how exactly is the arquement above self-contradictory? For example, I create a painting. And even though I don’t create the paint, I’m made out of the same stuff as the paint, so they cancel each other out. The fact is, that specific painting cannot be created without me. Since the painting came from my thoughts, it would be logical to assume that if anything can be created at all it would be the less complex thing than the more complex thing that had created it. It certainly would never be the other way around. See, people that believe in God believe that both God and the Universe exist, but people that don’t believe in god believe only the Universe exists.
    By the way, I am not in favor of creationist nor am I in favor of the “Big Bang”. The biggest problem with the big bang is that: No matter how small or big something is, we still always have the same fundamental problem of “Where did it come from?”. I am brave enough to say I just don’t know, but I want to find out bad! Logic is telling me that no one knows, but it is so important to keep trying because it is everything. So, I leave you with a question: Where does energy (matter) come from? (and please don’t say the “Big Bang”). Because with all mankinds intelligents we are still a bunch of monkeys trapped on a spinning rock.

  34. thedarwinreport

    The question “where did it come from?” is only a problem if you’re a creationist. The Big Bang only explains the expansion of the universe –time and space. Asking where energy and matter came from is irrelevant because we don’t know that they needed to be creted in the first place.

    And you clearly missed the point of my previous comment. A god, by your own definition, would have to be more complex than the universe it’s meant to explain. And thus if everything must be created, you’re left with having to explain the origin of god. Einstein.

  35. Sylvain

    Well, I can only applaud theDarwinreport for his valiant efforts, but I’m afraid his opponents will forever remain blinded by their personal and irrational beliefs.

    It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that if one claims that anything that is “complex” (whatever that means) such as the Universe, can only be the result of some intentional design, then the creationist’s God, which is immensely complex itself by definition, must also have been designed by some meta-god(s), which by their arguments had to be designed themselves by some other meta-meta-god(s)…etc add infinitum. Otherwise, the very logic of their argument is dropped after one step only, which is intellectually dishonest.

    Now, believers won’t buy that, and keep repeating that “God stands outside of space and time”, thus alleviating in their mind the need for God to have been designed. Personally however, I don’t see how standing “outside” space and time allows anything complex NOT to have the need of been designed IF one buys the complex-things-are-always-designed argument of course.

    But anyway, I wanted to say something about how “something can come from nothing”:

    I agree that even if the whole Universe started as a vacuum fluctuation in “nothing”, which seems very reasonable to me, this only beggets the following question: Why is it that the Laws of Quantum Mechanics were there to start with, and not some other set of Laws? Where did the Laws of Nature come from?

    Thinking about plausible answers to this, one may find some other set of meta-laws that predated the currents ones, but this also yields some form of infinite regress (what made those meta-laws be there in the first place..etc..)

    Albeit a personal opinion, I would tend to believe that in fact, a “true” nothing (e.g with not even any Laws at work AT ALL – no Quantum fluctuations) will NECESSARILY give rise to “something”.

    I say this because such a “true” nothing is, after reflection, far from what most people envision it to be, which is unchanging and forever void of events. In fact, in a “true” nothing, by definition there can be no physical Laws at play, or even their concept – but by definition their CAN’T also be any ABSENCE of these same Laws (subtle point for creationist): if a “true” nothing was always “nothing” and forever unchanging, then there would be a principle of “never-changing” at work in this “true” nothing, which is a contradiction since this “nothing” contains nothing – not even a principle!

    So one quickly sees that because a “true nothing” contains nothing, it cannot contain a Law that prevents it from, say, turning into “something”!

    In other words, there can be no concept of stability in such a “true nothing”, thus it will by definition change its nothingness randomly and become something, in our case empty space endowed with Quantum fluctuation. (Note: empty space is another entity than what I call a “true nothing”).

  36. “The Big Bang: Something From Something | The Darwin Report”
    was in fact a incredibly excellent article, . Keep publishing and I’ll continue browsing! Regards -Rafael

  37. Mr Who

    Do the so-called Christians believe there God created Himself or never was created since has always existed ? Now talk about something from nothing ?

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