Nobel prizes for Big Bang scientists!

By Phil Plait | October 3, 2006 11:46 am

I am chuffed to say that John Mather has won a Nobel Prize!

John was the Principal Investigator (i.e. the Big Cheese) for COBE, the COsmic Background Explorer, a mission that launched in 1989. Equipped with three detectors sensitive to far-infrared, microwaves, and radio waves, COBE was designed to look for the emission "left over" from the Big Bang. Initially the Universe was incredibly hot, but as it expanded it cooled. As a gas cools (and the Universe in those times behaved very much like a gas) it emits radiation at lower and lower wavelengths — at first the light filling the Universe was super-high-energy gamma rays, but then it cooled down through X-rays, UV, visible light, then infrared. Nowadays the original fireball glows feebly in microwaves. This glow is called the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB.

It was predicted to exist decades ago, but the technology wasn’t good enough to see it in detail until the 1970s and 80s. People had tried to see it, but it was a very difficult observation to do from the ground. COBE was launched into space where the Earth doesn’t interfere nearly as much.

The first results from COBE were announced at the 1990 American Astronomical Society meeting. When a plot showing the CMB radiation was displayed, it got a standing ovation. This was solid evidence supporting the Big Bang model, and so it was huge news. I was at that meeting (it was my first one, actually) and I kick myself to this day that I missed that session. It was a piece of history!

COBE kept plugging away, eventually putting together about 4 years worth of data. By that time I had gotten my PhD, and been hired by a contractor to work on some COBE data. That’s a long and somewhat boring story, but even though my contribution to the COBE project was really very minimal, it gives me (totally unearned) pride to know that the Big Boss, John Mather (along with his co-investigator George Smoot) has been recognized for his vision on that project. He now works on the James Webb Space Telescope, a 6-meter infrared telescope due for launch in the next few years.

I don’t know John very well, but I do know he is a nice guy, soft-spoken, who wants to more or less avoid the limelight and just figure out what makes the Universe tick. It’s scientists like him who push forward our knowledge of Nature. Congratulations, John and George!

And because I simply cannot resist– take that, creationists! The Universe is so older than 6000 years.

Image courtesy of JWST/NASA

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments (56)

Links to this Post

  1. KU Students for Science » Nobel Prizes awarded | October 4, 2006
  1. This news made me smile, but it was the last line of your post which made me truly laugh out loud. (-:

  2. So… Was the expansion of the universe faster than the speed of light at some point in the distant past? Otherwise, how would it be possible for the background radiation from 12bn years ago still be arriving now?

  3. BMurray

    So… Was the expansion of the universe faster than the speed of light at some point in the distant past? Otherwise, how would it be possible for the background radiation from 12bn years ago still be arriving now?

    Because the Universe itself is expanding, so the radiation hasn’t really gone anywhere.

  4. Rose,
    Yeah, that hurts my head as well, but actually has a reasonable explanation. The part that truly hurts (my head) is that we are standing on the location of the big bang. Since the expansion apparantly happened in all directions from a (roughly) infintessimal source. Elements of the explosion are visible in expanded (wavelength increasing) form at all times.
    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/cosmology/cbr.html

    Actually, some theories had some of the early expansion occuring at faster than the speed of light. I think those theories may be dead, but I would have to ask a theoretical astronomer who keeps up with real theoretical work. (Phil? Do you know expansion theory?)

  5. BMurray

    A metaphor that may or may not muddle the waters: notice that when you inflate a baloon, the colour of the balloon pales? A red balloon uninflated becomes pink as it expands? That attentuation of colour doesn’t propogate from one point on the balloon to another and in the same fashion as a point on the balloon, we here see immediate shift in the “colour” of the Big Bang radiation. The radiation no more travels to us than the colour of the balloon travels to some point on the balloon.

  6. It was predicted to exist decades ago, but the technology wasn’t good enough to see it until the 1970s and 80s. People had tried to see it, but it was a very difficult observation to do from the ground. COBE was launched into space where the Earth doesn’t interfere nearly as much.

    My understanding is that the CBR had be detected decades before, and COBE’s job was to map it, i.e., measure it very precisely in different directions.

  7. “And because I simply cannot resist– take that, creationists! The Universe is so older than 6000 years.”

    Question for you… Can you or any “scientist” on the face of this Earth (however honoured) tell me what the weather will be like on November 5th this year, in Cheshire England?
    Answer… No you can’t and neither can they. You can guess!
    You can’t know and neither could you say I was a fool to say it will rain, when a meteorologist says it will be dry.

    Neither can anyone be “scientifically” correct about the past.
    You just don’t get it. Science can only operate in the present; any extrapolations forwards or backwards can only be guesses. You might as well have some doctor of physics tell you the Universe was made of ice cream 20 billion years ago… he doesn’t know what happened before about 5,000 years ago and neither does anyone else who tries to project assumptions backwards!

    Foolish, foolish, foolish to call this intelligent argument, let alone “science”.

    How about answering these questions…
    Why does death exist?
    What will happen to you when you die?
    Why can’t you shut up your conscience?
    Why does suffering in the world bother people?

  8. BMurray

    Or, better, why does a good, just, and omnipotent god allow evil to exist?

  9. Dave Kary

    Rather than indulging in an arguement with the token creationist (like asking why they picked 5000 years ago as the time before which we can’t know anything, besides having a religious preference for that timescale), I would like to pass on my favourite COBE story, also dating from the 1990 AAS meeting.

    This was the beginning of a rebirth in space astronomy and planetary exploration. The 80’s had been lean years with lots of budget cuts and cancelled missions at NASA. The launch of COBE, along with HST, Magellen, and few other missions right around then marked the restart of serious space-based astronomy.

    Yet through those lean years, a few old missions kept bringing back great data even though they had been launched many years earlier. The Voyagers were still doing amazing things in the outer solar system, and good old IUE (International Ultraviolet Explorer) kept sending back data year after year, the “little satellite that could”.

    So while I was walking back after dinner with a couple of the folks from the COBE mission, the topic of office space came up. One of the COBE people said “Don’t start talking about offices. We’re still stuck in trailers at Goddard because we were supposed to get IUE’s offices when their mission failed. The folks with IUE are still laughing about that one. Whenever they really want to bug us they tell us they’re working on ways of operating their spacecraft on only one gyro! I keep asking if maybe they would start doing Star Wars testing on their satellite.”

    COBE may have been getting the headlines at that time, but IUE still had the offices.

  10. Carey

    Science makes predictions, Stansfield. The predictions are made using theories. A good theory is one that a) explains observations and data; and b) makes good predictions. No one says the universe was made of ice cream because there’s no evidence to support it and no good theories that would make that prediction. There’s loads of evidence to support the universe being a lot older than 5000 years. In fact, multiple theories using multiple sources of data agree on a range of 10 to 15 billion years (some even have it drilled down to a figure of 13.7 billion years). Science doesn’t propose to answer the questions you ask. Maybe someday it will, but asking it to is about as incongruous as asking a musician to do your taxes.

  11. Joshua

    Rock on! Definitely deserving of the Nobel, I’d say. Not to mention it makes for an awesome comic/t-shirt.

  12. Bart

    – Why does death exist?

    Death is the natural state of affairs. Life is what is worth wondering about.

    – What will happen to you when you die?

    I’ll try to answer that if provided with an accurate definition of the term “you.”

    – Why can’t you shut up your conscience?

    My conscience is doing just fine. What have you done that’s bothering you?

    Really, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of people who have no problem shutting up their conscience. Never mind things like genocide in Darfur; just start with drug dealers, and work your way up past Jack Abramoff.

    – Why does suffering in the world bother people?

    There was an evolutionary advantage in developing cooperative communities rather than every pre-human fending only for itself. Why doesn’t suffering in the world bother more of the people more of the time?

  13. Grand Lunar

    There’s always someone to ruin our fun.

    To bad you missed that session, Phil. Kind of like missing a session that announced the true nature of atoms, or that fusion powers the sun, or the solution to the neutrino problem.

    Also good to read stories like this. The political ones are so depresssing.

  14. Grand Lunar

    “Death is the natural state of affairs. Life is what is worth wondering about.”

    Very true.

    Even stars die.

  15. FF5

    How about answering these questions…

    Fine. I’ll bite. I’ll even fill in Stansfield’s hopelessly predictable and vacuous responses.

    Why does death exist?

    Genetic markers called telomeres, which are present in virtually all multicellular prokaryotes, limit the amount of times in which a cell can divide and reproduce.

    Your response: Because Earth nothing more than a weigh station between birth and a magical happy land with harps and halos in which our purpose here amounts to nothing more than divine redundancy.

    What will happen to you when you die?

    I’ll be buried, cremated, tossed in a ditch, weighted down with concrete blocks, or loaded onto a raft while my friends shoot flaming arrows at my tinder-laden corpse.

    You don’t remember what it was like before you were born because you didn’t exist. The same goes for death. Get used to it.

    If you didn’t subscribe to such a tragically pessimistic and irrational worldview, maybe you could learn to appreciate the life you have.

    Your response: I’ll be wisked away to the aforementioned magical happy land.

    Why can’t you shut up your conscience?

    Why can’t you stop your endocrine system? Your question makes about as much sense.

    Your response: Jesus sends me telepathic messages.

    Why does suffering in the world bother people?

    If you really need to appeal to supernatural entities to explain this to yourself, you truly are a sad and morally bankrupt human being.

    Your response: Yahweh makes us feel guilty.

  16. Daran you are right. I was talking about the blackbody radiation curve, but didn’t make myself clear. I added the words “in detail” there to make it a little clearer without changing the meaning. Thanks!

  17. Dan Gerhards

    Faster than light expansion

    There are a couple questions on this which don’t seem to be answered: Actually, the universe can and does (or at least did) expand faster than light speed. It’s not a dead theory at all. Nothing in relativity forbids it because expansion is not the same as motion. The two things look a little different too, so we can tell which is which. Many people are surprised at this, but it’s true! (If you want to be more surprised, look up big bang inflation.)

  18. JD

    Today at the library(in the only section that matters of course – science), I was skimming astronomy books when I came across the name Smoot. “Hey! This guy just won a nobel! Effin A!”

    However, for this week at least, I passed it up for a more interesting title. It’s called “Bad Astronomy”, maybe you’ve heard of it. I was quite excited to spot that, and immediately checked out.

    And now in your honor, I’m gonna smash this silly goose Mr. Stansfield.

    “Question for you… Can you or any “scientist”[QUOTES! Haw, that’s cute] on the face of this Earth (however honoured) tell me what the weather will be like on November 5th this year, in Cheshire England?
    Answer… No you can’t and neither can they. You can guess!
    You can’t know and neither could you say I was a fool to say it will rain, when a meteorologist says it will be dry.”

    Actually, I bet if you were to take the weather for the last 100 November 5ths in Cheshire, you could extrapolate a pretty good prediction. Hey, if you were trying to predict how to navigate a satellite out of the solar system, using the gravity of various planets to hasten the charge, do you rely on astronomers and physicists, or your trusty bible? When treating cancer, do you put your life in the hands of oncologists, or thrust up your hands in prayer? Did Jesus make it possible for you, me, and Mr. Plait to communicate on different pieces of glowing glass across the big, ROUND Earth? While Moses was on the mount, did he explain how to make sunscreen lotion for when we’re out and about? Who makes more accurate predictions: scientists or prophets? No contest. Think about that the next time you get online, fly, eat something out of your fridge, or take your medicine.

    “Neither can anyone be “scientifically” correct about the past.”

    Quotes again! Weirdo. Would you argue that there’s no way to tell how old a crater on the moon is? That we couldn’t look at the size, the deterioration on the edges and in the middle, and come up with an accurate age?

    “You just don’t get it. Science can only operate in the present; any extrapolations forwards or backwards can only be guesses.”

    Guesses based on evidence and knowledge. Which I’d have to say is better than just a guess.

    “You might as well have some doctor of physics tell you the Universe was made of ice cream 20 billion years ago…”

    I don’t think he’d have the evidence to back up that claim. Ice cream – that human creation? The Big Bang makes predictions about the CMB, and about the amounts of elements in the universe – both of which it predicted correctly. Was that just a lucky guess?

    And furthermore, ANY astronomical observation TAKES PLACE IN THE PAST! Light tends to not, yanno, travel instantaneously.

    “he doesn’t know what happened before about 5,000 years ago and neither does anyone else who tries to project assumptions backwards!”

    5,000? Don’t we have cave art and artifacts from before then?

    Hey, wait…the bible wasn’t written 5,000 years ago. How did THEY know what happened? Huh? Eh? Huh?

    “Foolish, foolish, foolish to call this intelligent argument, let alone “science”.”

    What’s up with the quotes? Do you just not believe science exists? All that medication, technology, planes, food…geez, man.

    “How about answering these questions…
    Why does death exist?”

    Deterioration. I think that’d be a much better question to ask if a benevolent god existed. Dude’s a prick, apparently.

    “What will happen to you when you die?”

    Cremation, probably.

    “Why can’t you shut up your conscience?”

    Why…is that even a question?

    “Why does suffering in the world bother people?”

    Because our evolution developed empathy. Are you saying if you didn’t believe in a god, you wouldn’t care about anyone else? I guess the prickitude rubbed off.

  19. BMurray

    Of course the radiation travels. It’s radiation. Photons, traveling at the speed of light. The question was not about why the background microwave radiation is in the microwave, but how it could be possible that we would still be able to receive it 12bn years later, if it hadn’t originated 12bn light years away.

    Stay with me.

    Any radiation which would have originated in our area of space time at the time of the big bang (or 10-32s into it) would be long gone from our area 12bn years later. By definition, the microwave background radiation that we see has to originate at the big bang, which was approximately 12bn years ago, so it would have had to travel 12bn years for us to see (hear?) it. Thus, if we were in a non-expanding universe, it would have started traveling from 12bn light years away, 12bn years ago. But, since our universe DOES expand, and everything was really really close together 12bn years ago, then the fabric of space time would have had to expand out from under the traveling background radiation from its origin. It would have had to expand faster than the radiation was traveling. Therefore, the expansion had to (at least at some point) have been faster than the speed of light. Way, way faster.

    This does make sense in the context of inflation theory. There is no reason the universe couldn’t expand faster than the speed of light.

    (I did some reading after posting the question, which I probably should have done in the first place.)

  20. I call myself a creationist, but by no means do I think the Universe is 6000 years old or any younger. That was just one speculative measure, there is no indication that it is a mainstream view. I’m afraid of people muddling the line between “creationist” and “narrow-minded”.

  21. Barlennan

    I suspect that the “Science can only operate in the present” statement refers to the idea that the Earth and Universe were created with history built in. Depending on the speaker’s belief system, God created 13-billion-year-old background radiation and 600-million-year-old Precambrian fossils as a test, or Satan put them there to confuse us.

    The trouble is, there’s nothing special about 6,000 years. You might as well argue that the entire Universe was created one second ago – that the light that appears to be from distant stars was actually created one light-second away from your eyes, that you were created with memories of a childhood that didn’t happen, and that this blog comment was manufactured just like the cosmic background radiation and the fossils.

    To me, these arguments are still a waste of time. You can’t prove or disprove this form of creation – scientific experiments, religious books and philosophical debate are equally useless. The fact remains that, if I go through life assuming that the Universe is 13 billion years old and that certain physical processes (thermodynamics, conservation of momentum, gravity) have applied since then, and plan for the future on the assumption that those processes will continue to apply, I’m unlikely to be disappointed.

  22. PaleoProf

    >Science can only operate in the present; any extrapolations forwards or >backwards can only be guesses.

    I’m not even going to go into the real issues here (others have done an excellent job). I’m just going to point out that by your standards you have no idea what happened to you last week or what’s going to happen to you tomorrow. So I’m curious, do you just lay in bed all day paralyzed with fear because you don’t know what’s happened yesterday and have NO IDEA what’s about to happen?

    You live in a strange universe my friend.

  23. NHR

    The Bad Astronomer wrote in the original blog entry:

    “Initially the Universe was incredibly hot, but as it expanded it cooled. As a gas cools (and the Universe in those times behaved very much like a gas) it emits radiation at lower and lower wavelengths — at first the light filling the Universe was super-high-energy gamma rays, but then it cooled down through X-rays, UV, visible light, then infrared. Nowadays the original fireball glows feebly in microwaves. This glow is called the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB.”

    I think the quote above is at least a bit vague. My understanding from what I’ve read before about the CMB is that the photons there are REDSHIFTED to the microwave region of the spectrum due to the expanding of the universe. You might call that “cooling”, but it could be easily misunderstood, as if the cooling matter everywhere in the universe was emitting lower and lower energy photons all the time, which is NOT what the CMB-radiation is supposed to be. Instead, it was ALL emitted EVERYWHERE in the early universe at roughly the same time (of decoupling of matter and radiation), so the CMB-photons that we see now are all coming from the same distance around us, often called “the surface of last scattering”. That’s just about as far as we can “see” in the universe, because before the decoupling it was all opaque. In the distant future, of course, that surface will be even farther away, and the background radiation even more redshifted towards the radio frequencies.

    Or maybe it’s ME, who has (once again) misunderstood the whole thing, in which case I’d sure like to be corrected… 😉

    Oh, and congratulations to Mather & Smoot anyways!

  24. Shawn S.

    Narrow-minded is denying any fact that casts doubt on your religious beliefs. Faith over reason is narrow-minded. Creationists and other people with a religious dogma to uphold will cherry pick their data. Dismiss any data that contradicts your beliefs and loudly cheer when science is ‘on your side’. That’s also narrow-minded.

    It’s one thing to say “God did it and how he did it is what science is finding out every day” and quite another to say that “The Bible shows literally how it was done and science is wrong and conspiring on a grand scale to contradict the Bible.”

    Both of these approaches are found in the religious. The latter is narrow-minded, the first is just unnecessary.

    A 1993 Gallup poll shows that 47% of US Americans believe in a young earth. It isn’t a majority, but it isn’t a minority either.

  25. Neither can anyone be “scientifically” correct about the past.
    You just don’t get it. Science can only operate in the present; any extrapolations forwards or backwards can only be guesses. You might as well have some doctor of physics tell you the Universe was made of ice cream 20 billion years ago… he doesn’t know what happened before about 5,000 years ago and neither does anyone else who tries to project assumptions backwards!

    Well, let’s just release all the criminals. We can’t make determinations about the past, so it was impossible to make their convictions.

    Meanwhile, I won’t bother flipping my lightswitch. Apparently I was just lucky getting my light to come on/turn off more than 50% of the time. After all, according to our Cretinist, we can’t make predictions, since it’s all just chance, with no hard and fast rules whatsoever.

  26. Barlennan wrote as follows:

    The trouble is, there’s nothing special about 6,000 years. You might as well argue that the entire Universe was created one second ago – that the light that appears to be from distant stars was actually created one light-second away from your eyes, that you were created with memories of a childhood that didn’t happen, and that this blog comment was manufactured just like the cosmic background radiation and the fossils.

    Or, as I like to think about it, one might as well argue that the Universe hasn’t been created yet, and all your thoughts, memories and Bible verses are merely God’s advance planning for the Cosmos which will really come into being next Tuesday.

  27. Will. M.

    I’m REALLY glad I happened on to this site. I learn about astronomy (at least as much as I can comprehend), some physics (even less); but most of all I learn about stuff I’d always wondered about: how to refute what seemed to me to be absolute NONSENSE regarding trying to equate science and the metaphysical. Thank You one and all…

  28. 6000 years, indeed. What an incredible honor for a modest individual. As a true lay person in science, these achievements astound me. I’m looking forward to the James Webb Space Telescope.

  29. KingNor

    yeah.. the univers is like 60 thousands years old! thats alot of thousands!

  30. Troy

    Since time is relative does it make sense to assign any age to the universe? From the earth (or preearth the milky way) perspective the age is around 14 billion or so but I’m just thinking maybe it doesn’t make sense to say the universe itself has an age. I sometimes wonder if maybe Dr. Seuss got it right and our universe is just a dust speck on an elephant’s nose.

  31. astropixie

    i got goosebumps reading this post!

    i remember the moment at UT-austin when we were all sitting together to see the first WMAP results. we all stood up and cheered and laughed and then sat in awe. a moment i will never forget!

  32. Here is the creationist take on the Cobe data
    Link

  33. Just Al

    Boy, I just love the B Stansfields of the world! Okey doke, let’s have some fun!

    B Stansfield says, “Question for you… Can you or any “scientist” on the face of this Earth (however honoured) tell me what the weather will be like on November 5th this year, in Cheshire England?
    Answer… No you can’t and neither can they. You can guess!
    You can’t know and neither could you say I was a fool to say it will rain, when a meteorologist says it will be dry.”

    My answer is, it will be cold and damp, with 0% chance of volcanoes. So, if I’m right, this proves… what, to you or anyone?

    You have forwarded the frequent yet pointless argument that science does not have answers for everything, therefore science does not exist. Logic is not your strong point. No one in the scientific community has ever made any claim whatsoever that science has all the answers – indeed, if they did, they’d be out of their jobs. Science is the process of finding answers and discovering how things work – observation and extrapolation, that’s all. But it works amazingly well. Meteorology is inexact, and partially because we do not have the ability to observe and measure all factors that affect it. That would take an awful lot of instrumentation, like anemometers every ten meters or so. So you claim that inability to obtain adequate amounts of data proves science is a flop?

    B Stansfield goes on:
    “Neither can anyone be “scientifically” correct about the past.
    You just don’t get it. Science can only operate in the present; any extrapolations forwards or backwards can only be guesses. You might as well have some doctor of physics tell you the Universe was made of ice cream 20 billion years ago… he doesn’t know what happened before about 5,000 years ago and neither does anyone else who tries to project assumptions backwards!”

    True, and very existentialist. But what we get from doing scientific observation is the ability to do some pretty accurate predictions, and not just about weather.

    By your argument, if you placed a 9mm pistol against your head and pulled the trigger, you couldn’t possibly “know” that it would blow your “brains” out. After all, it’s just a device that’s been built by observing how things work, and we can’t know about the past, nor the future. There’s no book of scripture, no word of some supreme beings’, that tells us about pistols, to my knowledge. Therefore they must be only guesses.

    But MY guess is, you’re not confident enough in your own arguments to show us how well this theory tests out. MY guess is, you’re going to concede, for your own sake and certainly not in a public forum, that a whole lot of things, including metal and gunpowder, behave in a predictable enough manner that you use them without thinking. You put a highly flammable substance in a metal construct and count on the fact that not only will it not set you on fire, but it will behave perfectly predictably and transport you to work, church, the store, and so on. And complain about the costs like everyone else.

    Scientific predictions are merely observations of repeated physical properties, and we use them constantly. You can see ash and know, confidently, that there was a fire that created it – you may even determine that it was a cigarette. You may maintain that we don’t “know” this, but expanding on that argument, we don’t “know” anything at all. But playing the odds is something we do everyday, and usually to our benefit. We get out of the way of falling or thrown objects because we bet very heavily (hah! I kill me!) that gravity works. This is knowledge, something that we obtain automatically. Science is merely the structured method of seeking it.

    B Stansfield says, “Foolish, foolish, foolish to call this intelligent argument, let alone “science”.”

    Bang on the money there, B! Or weren’t you not referring to your own clumsy statements?

    B Stansfield goes on:
    “How about answering these questions…
    Why does death exist?
    What will happen to you when you die?
    Why can’t you shut up your conscience?
    Why does suffering in the world bother people?”

    I’ll bite, on the agreement that you respond in kind, since you maintain that science does not have the answers, presumably you know what does. Let’s see who stands up to the test, shall we?

    Death: By all accounts, it’s the failure to maintain reproductive and sustaining processes that we call “life.” It occurs through numerous mechanisms, from 9mm bullets disrupting the delicate balance of interaction within a living system, through failure to obtain supporting proteins. Without it, we would be in a system that would have to infinitely expand to support the demands for more food, more space, and so on – obviously we are not. Death is, therefore, a vital function within a closed system and supports sustainability. And one great argument against creationism.

    What happens when I die? Bacteria goes hog wild with the great reduction in counteracting agents, my body breaks down and releases nutrients into the system, some undeserving schmoe gets all my stuff unless I see it coming far enough in advance. Does that cover it, or were you looking for something you didn’t specify in your question?

    Why can’t I shut off my conscience? As opposed to any other thought processes, like skepticism of unexplainable claims, contempt of ignorance, or satisfaction in educating others? Because as a species, we developed with a brain that remains at a highly active state, allowing for abstract thought and the ability to foresee hazards before they actually occur, permitting us to develop to our current level. Or were you asking why we even have conscience in the first place, which is because again, as a species, we require far more protein and carbohydrates than can be obtained by foraging or preying on the average fare available, especially during reproduction and infancy, and so require a cooperative tribal society to thrive. The conscience is an ingrained survival trait that encourages cooperation.

    Which answers the question about suffering too. And world suffering is, by the way, one of the many reasons I don’t believe in any supreme being, especially a beneficial one.

    Hope this helps 😉

  34. It’s funny how you react when anyone hints at a creator… It’s like lighting the blue touch paper!
    I mentioned 5,000 yrs because we haven’t really got any RECORDS before then, therefore you can’t make scientific judgements without basing them on ASSUMPTIONS.
    You ASSUME that you are looking into the past however many billion years, because you ASSUME that everything you’re using to make your calculations has always remained constant.
    Take the constant away and you are somewhat goosed!
    You must distinguish between good science that operates in the present and BAD science that tries to operate in the past or future.
    Medical science is good, because it operates on evidence it has gleaned and observed through medical history; the same is true for “rocket science” it is based on evidence gained in experiments that were measured/observed at the time.

    You can make a weather prediction based on the last 100 yrs, YES, well done, that’s because you’ve got records for those last 100 yrs and you can ASSUME that the weather will be similar, but you cannot KNOW; that is why weather predictions, which only extrapolate forward by a few days, are so often WRONG. With your theories, you are not extrapolating back a few days, but billions of years… come on, how can you hope to be even remotely accurate!?!?!
    What you’re talking about does not and never has operated in the present and is therefore only guesswork.
    Besides any of this, the only reason you think in terms of millions and billions of years is to try and allow for the nonsense THEORY of evolution.

    Man cannot create life, how can he possibly have the arrogance to say that he KNOWS how it came to be? Utter nonsense!!!
    The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God’.

  35. Can anyone tell me what the speed of light was 12bn years ago?

  36. PaleoProf

    Ok now we’re getting into my field
    I do have a record I have a rock record going back way farther than 5,000 years. And yes dating the rock record is based on what you call “assumptions” But what you fail to understand is that you make the same assumptions. You got up this morning flipped on a light drove a car and didn’t even worry one bit about the electricity behaving in a predictable manner, your internal combustion engine behaving the way you wanted it to or for that matter about floating off the earth because you “assume” gravity will continue to work. All of those actions required “assumptions” on your part about the fundamental nature of the universe.
    So why is it that you can use these “assumptions” to live your life but we can’t use the same “assumptions” to do science?

  37. DrFlimmer

    First of all: I was very happy to hear to what the Nobel Prize has gone to! Big Bang Theory! That´s great – let´s go on, work further!

    Second: It´s somehow funny that there seems to be no choice: Believe in science or in god – but why not in both?
    F.e. I believe that there IS a god, let´s call it a guiding and protecting hand over a human´s life, but I also believe that the universe is older than 6000yrs and the predictions of science which CANNOT and will never rule out a god!
    So: Where´s the problem?
    Okay, without this “conflict” this blog would be less funny! 😉

  38. jackd

    Is it feeding the troll if you offer a substantive and non-argumentative response? Hmm.

    This thread’s troll asked about the speed of light 12GY ago. We can’t measure that directly but we have some fascinating evidence that indicates the fine structure constant aka “alpha”, may have changed over that time. Alpha is a dimensionless ratio built from several constants, including the speed of light.

    From this Scientific American article, we know that alpha hasn’t changed more than one part in 10^8 over the last two billion years. That’s 0.000001%, if I’m counting my zeroes correctly. But some astronomical observations of quasars have implied an increase in alpha (which could imply, but does not require, a decrease in the speed of light) “of close to six parts in a million over the past six billion to 12 billion years”.

    So the best answer I know of for the question would be, “Probably no more than 0.0006% less than it is now.”

  39. jackd

    Damn I would have sworn I closed that italic.

  40. Just Al

    Oh my, look! Evolution’s just a THEORY! Well, crud – a few million items of supporting data and experiments all trashed by associating with a word too many people don’t know the meaning of. Poo.

    I am also disturbed to know that I cannot now “know” anything. Biblically or otherwise, I guess. But wait! If I know I can’t know, isn’t that self-exclusive?

    But hey, we’ve gained a bit today! We’ve discovered “good science”, apparently in the time since B Stansfield’s first post, since he did not seem to know of it at that time. Way to stay on top of the research B!

    Not much chance your computer is gonna fall into the new “bad science” category, is there?

    Yeah, I knew it 😉

  41. Darth Robo

    B Stansfield sed:

    “Can anyone tell me what the speed of light was 12bn years ago?”

    He also sed:

    “You ASSUME that you are looking into the past however many billion years, because you ASSUME that everything you’re using to make your calculations has always remained constant.”

    Dude, we have a pretty good idea of the speed of light NOW. If you think the universe is a few thousand years old (despite any evidence to the contrary) then you have to ASSUME that by some unknown previously unobserved process that the constant of the speed of light has changed. You get me? Your arguments are using circular logic. :-/

    “Man cannot create life, how can he possibly have the arrogance to say that he KNOWS how it came to be? Utter nonsense!!!
    The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God’.”

    I’m not an atheist. I agree with evolution. By your standards, that is impossible. Man cannot create stars, but we know how they come to be. We’ve seen them being born. You obviously have no knowledge of evolution, so how can you possibly have the arrogance to say “I know it’s all rubbish!” ?

    The only ‘utter nonsense’ is being uttered by you, I’m afraid.

  42. KingNor

    I’ve found the writings of man (ie: these 5000 years of “records”) to be far less consistent with reality than a simple walk in the woods.

    People are frail minded and full of issues, what ever they are, and have a tendancy to cling to ideas they like in the face of overwhelming edvidence they are wrong. Science is a process for us to beat our frailtys and LEARN rhat than just hope and beleive.

    Saying we can only KNOW what happend up to about 5000 years ago assumes that people are completely infalable, and that current generations can’t learn anything new. I’m seeing alot of religion in this argument :-)

    In a way you’re discrediting your own creationist view. How do we know god made anything? some shmos in murky history of man wrote some internally contradicting book saying a “all seeing all present, somehow infalably ‘right'” super being willed all of existence into being “perfectly.”

    There is no edvidence put forward to prove this instead we’re given a few thousand years of morraly corrupt clergy that simply kill you (after torture) if you disagree and often times ban you from heaven (how a human can do this is beyond me).

    God did it. that is the edvidence, that is the closing statement.

    if science can’t be right, even through observation and reconstruction of events recorded by man AND nature, then answer this:

    how can religion be right, simply on faith, no observation and beleif of events recorded by man and man alone?

    You’d have to put the same faith in humans that you put in god. a very bad idea. Science is fundamentally based on not trusting the assertions of man.

  43. Irishman

    FF5, there’s no need to caricature B Stansfield. He caricatures himself.

    Merovingian said:
    >I call myself a creationist, but by no means do I think the Universe is 6000 years old or any younger. That was just one speculative measure, there is no indication that it is a mainstream view. I’m afraid of people muddling the line between “creationist” and “narrow-minded”.

    I think there’s need to be careful with terminology. If I understand you correctly, you equate “Creationist” with “theist”. Most people reserve “Creationist” to apply to those who refute Evolution as a viable explanation. I think there is a strong need to separate the issues of belief in God from explanations of how life began and diversified. Evolution is a scientific explanation of the latter. It is mute on the subject of the former. Creationism is an argument about the latter based upon a judgement about the former. The conflict in the science debate is the how. The argument over whether God exists and was involved is not really part of the scientific debate over Evolution. There are folks taking a metaphysical position based upon a conclusion drawn from Evolution, i.e. that knowing the mechanism suggests that God isn’t required. That conclusion can be argued without invalidating the scientific basis for that conclusion – Evolution. Belief in God is not in direct conflict with belief in Evolution – the conflict is over the metaphysical interpretations.

    KingNor said:
    >yeah.. the univers is like 60 thousands years old! thats alot of thousands!

    I can’t tell if you’re being facetious or just mistaken. Try 13 million thousands. (~13,000,000,000 = 13 Billion years)

    B Stansfield said:
    >It’s funny how you react when anyone hints at a creator…

    There are a few people overreacting to the mention of God. Most people, though, aren’t objecting to that, they’re objecting to the particular assertions you are making with respect to that belief in God in regard to science.

  44. Weh hey, they bite again!
    I would not have a problem with your “science” (I’ll use quotes again!), if it were consistent with observable facts… it isn’t.

    Evolution… where’s the evidence? Does a genetic mutation result in a loss of information or a gain?
    Can you give me an example of a beneficial genetic mutation (observed not presumed)?
    Natural selection DOES FIT with the evidence that the world presents us, evolution DOES NOT.

  45. You all seem to think that I’ve got a problem with science, I don’t. Of course science and God go together without compromising either one. If you start with the observable evidence in front of atheist and theist alike ie. the universe we live in today (the past is not observable).
    Stay with me!
    We see a universe which constantly moves towards disorder, not order.
    It moves from the highly organised to the disorganised… correct?
    If this is true, then we must construct our theories based on that, not based on some notion that we have not observed.
    We should not be biased by popular belief, by what we’ve been taught at school or uni or by our upbringing. We should look at the evidence around us and let it speak.
    The evidence around us does not support evolutionary theory. If you think it does, give me an example of actual evidence that supports it (not an artist’s impression or someone’s speculation).

    I’m quite happy to discuss this by email if anybody wants… I also don’t mind the public forum of this Blog (although it’s harder to deal with all the comments without boring everybody else!). Email bjorn.s@btinternet.com

    I’ll just add this: I was a devout atheist for 25 years. I’d never had any contact (without argueing with or running away from) any religious people. My family are all atheist. I was quite happy. I had money, sports cars and the most attractive girls in school/college… I didn’t need “religion”!
    I met a girl who was a “Christian” (whatever that meant) and because of her, I set out to disprove the existence of God, so that she would shut up.
    I studied astro-physics (probably not the extent of some of you guys), biology and any other science which I thought did away with that old fashioned idea of a creator.
    Although it was the last place I wanted to end up… I had to conclude that the evidence for life originating from non-life did not stack up. I didn’t find a single piece of evidence that I could “go to court with”. I became more and more convinced that there was/is a Creator.
    I’ll quote Einstein “Anybody seriously interested in the pursuit of science, becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one vastly superior to man and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble”.
    I’m not a dummy (honest). I have my own business, I build race cars, I run/look after top end Ferraris, Lambos, Astons… I must have a logical mind!

  46. KingNor,

    I do agree with you on some of what you’ve said, I just need to make what I’m saying a bit clearer.

    I’l get back to you (it’s 1:30am, I’m going to bed).

    Regards,

    “Narrow-minded, fundamentalist, creationist, Bible-bashing fanatic”

  47. Pentcho Valev

    THE NOBEL PRIZE AND GENERAL RELATIVITY

    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=1516
    Professor Stephen Hawking FRS – Big Bang and Infinity
    “This discovery was part of Stephen’s collaboration with Roger Penrose through which they used General Relativity to show that space and real time began with a Big Bang, and how they would end in black holes.”

    It seems a contribution to the big bang theory is at the same time a contribution to general relativity as well. Then why is this latter contribution not mentioned by the Nobel committee? Could this have something to do with the following confessions of Einstein’s:

    Einstein: “If the speed of light is the least bit affected by the speed of the light source, then my whole theory of relativity and theory of gravity is false.”

    Einstein again: “I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept,i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics.”

    Pentcho Valev
    pvalev@yahoo.com

  48. Darth Robo

    B Stansfield said:

    “You all seem to think that I’ve got a problem with science, I don’t.”

    Funny, because most of your statements indicate otherwise.

    “Stay with me!”

    I’ll try.

    “the past is not observable”

    Then everything we know about history is wrong, then? If we dig up a dinosaur fossil, is it or is it not evidence from the past? The light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to get here. We see the sun from 8 minutes ago. Imagine what else we see when we look at things in the night sky which are MUCH further away.

    “It moves from the highly organised to the disorganised… correct?”

    Um, if that’s the case, how do snowflakes form? Stars? Why does the human foetus develop? (And from a theistic point of view, why would God create a universe that moves toward disorder?) Don’t bother trying to state the second law of thermodynamics or entropy, they are not a problem for evolution.

    “We should look at the evidence around us and let it speak.”

    That’s what science does. But obviously YOU’RE more qualified.

    “The evidence around us does not support evolutionary theory.”

    http://www.talkorigins.org

    I still think it’s a bit strange you having a go at evolution on an astronomy website. Even if it was wrong (it ain’t), Phil’s original post didn’t even mention it.

    “I studied astro-physics (probably not the extent of some of you guys), biology and any other science which I thought did away with that old fashioned idea of a creator.”

    So far, you’re not convincing many people. Science doesn’t prove or disprove any ideas of a creator. You can still believe in God AND evolution (if you wanted to).

    “I had to conclude that the evidence for life originating from non-life did not stack up.”

    Well, whether God was involved or evolution was involved, life still came from non-life. Anyway, science is perfectly happy to say that we don’t know how life first came about (yet). We might not ever find that out. Evolution does not deal with how it first came about, but how life evolved after it did. People who argue that evolution deals with abiogenesis are mistaken.

    “I didn’t find a single piece of evidence that I could “go to court with”.”

    Thankfully, some educated people found some evidence and DID go to court with it, in a place called Dover. The side with the evidence won.

    “Does a genetic mutation result in a loss of information or a gain?”

    How are you defining information? It sounds like the ideas you have about information have come from creationists who, to put it bluntly, don’t know the meaning of the word. Information (I’m putting this simply) is what human beings write down about what we observe. Sure, you can have lots of information about DNA. But you can also get lots of information about a plain old rock. But in the end DNA is just a molecule, doing what it does. A rock is a rock, doing what rocks do.

    “I have my own business, I build race cars, I run/look after top end Ferraris, Lambos, Astons… I must have a logical mind!”

    I appreciate you may be good at what you do. But that doesn’t make you a good scientist. Even creationists can have a PhD. But they’re still wrong when they argue against the majority consensus of science. Surely scientists are the most qualified in the area of science. I wouldn’t send my broken car to my doctor for a checkup.

    Seriously, if you are interested in learning then have a look at the talk origins link I provided and it addresses (in detail) lots of creationist arguments regarding evolution and astrophysics and geology and stuff.

    Remember that none of this disproves any kind of God. It is still possible to be religious AND be a scientist.

  49. Thanks for your comments Darth Robo,

    Yeh, sorry to all concerned that I swung around to evolution, thought I was a bit close to the astronomy edge, but it’s all connected isn’t it.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………..
    I would point out that a majority doesn’t make something true or correct… did you ever do that thing in school where someone goes out of the class and while they’re out the rest of the class come up with an experiment to show how peer pressure works? eg. 3 pieces of string, “which one is longer?” and the whole class contradicts the pupil who went out, until the pupil questions their own judgement for fear of ridicule.

    I’m afraid these jokes about origins have braiwashed our society so much that few people dare to question the obvious flaws.

    So how did life come from non-life?

    So when did anyone last dig up a dinosaur fossil with a date on it?

    Why is entropy not a problem to evolution?
    Are we just going to say “it doesn’t apply to evolution… because it can’t, because if it did, our THEORY would be nonsense”. If it is not a problem, please give me evidence, NOT theoretical evidence.

    The fossil record does more harm than good to this falacy of evolution.

    Thanks for the link, I did check it out, I’ve been there before.
    Can I recommend “Evolution or Creation” at http://www.wildersmith.org/library.htm
    If you’ve not heard him before, I admit the professor is a bit eccentric and stereo-typically British, but let him get into his arguments before you press the little red X in your media-player!

    “I appreciate you may be good at what you do.” Thanks :-)
    I am not a scientist by trade, but I do recognise “good” science… you may scoff, but lets be consistent here, and honest!
    Good science looks at the evidence and examines it in the light of what we KNOW, not what we ASSUME. We can only know what we have observed, everything else is assumed and believed in faith, religious or scientific. You must recognise this.

    We do not KNOW that the speed of light has always been the same, we may assume it.
    We do not KNOW the half-life of a carbon atom, we may asume it.
    Etc etc etc
    I work in a realm which deals in repeatable experiments, that is how scientific progress is made, that is how I can build a better engine next time around. I experiment, I observe, I record, I repeat.
    “Bad” science tries to operate in the past, making observations AFTER the events without being there at the time and declaring that “we know…”.

    It’s like coming home to a half filled bath, measuring the temperature and stating that you know how long it’s been stood.
    You can’t know whether it was hotter to begin with or colder, whether it was half-full and some leaked out or if some evaporated, or if a kid came in and let some out or put some in.
    You CANNOT know these initial conditions, therefore your theories are not to be trusted.
    If YOU are a good scientist you will acknowledge this.

    ARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!
    I hate trying to discuss an idea by typing. I’d much rather discuss it over a cool beer! There’s lots of stuff that I could agree with you on, in the nature of science and lots of assumptions I would like to dispell about where I’m coming from, but I recognise that this is not the forum for it, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Kind regards B

  50. Darth Robo

    B Stansfield said:

    “I would point out that a majority doesn’t make something true or correct…”

    Maybe, but when speaking strictly of the scientific community, it is the consensus that rules I’m afraid. Sure, there have been people who pushed the boundaries like Galileo, Newton and Einstein etc. but there has yet to be a creation scientist that gets into that league. When pushing new ideas in science, it is not enough to just suffer critiques from your peers, you must also show that you are right.

    “did you ever do that thing in school where someone goes out of the class… ”

    No.

    “I’m afraid these jokes about origins have braiwashed our society so much that few people dare to question the obvious flaws.”

    Funny, there seems to be plenty of them. They’ve even gone to court with their objections numerous times. They lost every one.

    “So how did life come from non-life?”

    As I already said above, science does not know for sure yet. Evolution doesn’t deal with the initial forming of life from non-life. It deals with how life developed after it did.

    “So when did anyone last dig up a dinosaur fossil with a date on it?”

    You think that’s how they come up with these dates???

    “Why is entropy not a problem to evolution?”

    Is entropy a problem for evolution? If you think so, then why?

    “Are we just going to say “it doesn’t apply to evolution… because it can’t, because if it did, our THEORY would be nonsense”. If it is not a problem, please give me evidence, NOT theoretical evidence.”

    Well due to the nature of science, ALL science is theoretical. A theory is an explanation which fits the known observations of the time. If we observe something new which affects a particular theory, we adjust the theory to fit the observations. Few people today would have a problem with the theory of gravity but it’s always possible that we might discover something new that would mandate a change to the theory.

    “The fossil record does more harm than good to this falacy of evolution.”

    How?

    “Thanks for the link, I did check it out, I’ve been there before.”

    I’m not convinced. Look up ‘on the fossils’ here:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-mustread.html

    “Can I recommend “Evolution or Creation” at ‘Wilder-Smith’ ”

    Nice. His PhD was in chemistry, not biology. He also lost a debate against biologists John Maynard Smith and Dawkins. Still, I will check out what he’s got to say at some point. But I would appreciate some peer reviewed evidence.

    “I am not a scientist by trade, but I do recognise “good” science… ”

    But you just linked to a creationist…

    “Good science looks at the evidence and examines it in the light of what we KNOW, not what we ASSUME. We can only know what we have observed,”

    True…

    ” everything else is assumed and believed in faith, religious or scientific. You must recognise this.”

    I recognise that religion deals with faith. Science doesn’t deal with faith. At all. Not one bit. I know that’s difficult for you to get your head around since it did come up with evolution, a theory which you happen not to like. Evolution in itself does not disprove God. Granted, it does disagree with the idea that humanity was created out of a pile of dirt and a spare rib. Science also says that people cannot come back from the dead, walk on water, turn water into wine (without fermentation), fly (unaided), conceive if they’re a virgin, fit two of EVERY ANIMAL ON EARTH onto ANY boat, kill a fig tree with just words…

    “We do not KNOW that the speed of light has always been the same, we may assume it.”

    yet before, you said:

    “Good science looks at the evidence and examines it in the light of what we KNOW, not what we ASSUME. We can only know what we have observed,”

    Sooooo… we know what the speed of light is NOW, to consider that it was different at any other time would be an ASSUMPTION! Right? And anyone who makes an assumption is just making an ass out of themselves and “umption”. Right?

    “We do not KNOW the half-life of a carbon atom, we may asume it.”

    Again, see the Talk Origins link above and look up ‘On the Age of the Earth’.

    “I work in a realm which deals in repeatable experiments, that is how scientific progress is made, that is how I can build a better engine next time around. I experiment, I observe, I record, I repeat.”

    In that order? Here are the five steps of science:

    1 Observe

    2 Form a hypothesis which may explain your observation

    3 Make testable predictions from that hypothesis

    4 Perform an experiment which tests those predictions

    5 Modify your hypothesis to sync up with all observations and predictions

    If you’re not doing that, then you’re not doing science.

    ” “Bad” science tries to operate in the past, making observations AFTER the events without being there at the time and declaring that “we know…”. ”

    No, science operates in the present (as it always does) then from the data it gathers it EXTRAPOLATES what happened in the past. If you see a footprint, that is evidence that something was there in the past. But according to you, you would say: ‘Well how do you KNOW something was there if you weren’t there to see it made?’

    Hey, if I go to Mt Everest today, how do I know it was there yesterday?

    “It’s like coming home to a half filled bath, measuring the temperature and stating that you know how long it’s been stood.
    You can’t know whether it was hotter to begin with or colder, whether it was half-full and some leaked out or if some evaporated, or if a kid came in and let some out or put some in.
    You CANNOT know these initial conditions, therefore your theories are not to be trusted.”

    And science would entertain and test all the possiblities you described and maybe more. It would NOT entertain the idea of any supernatural intervention, by God or any other undetectable means.

    “If YOU are a good scientist you will acknowledge this.”

    Just so you know, I’m not a scientist (just in case you thought I was). Though some of the posters here are (if there is anyone left out there watching this thread). :)

    So I personally might get some stuff wrong, but of course, that wouldn’t invalidate the theory of evolution. You’d have to convince the scientists, not just the general public. Good luck with that.

  51. Irishman

    B Stansfield Said:
    >Why is entropy not a problem to evolution?
    Are we just going to say “it doesn’t apply to evolution… because it can’t, because if it did, our THEORY would be nonsense”. If it is not a problem, please give me evidence, NOT theoretical evidence.

    What does that mean, “give me evidence, NOT theoretical evidence”? What constitutes evidence to you?

    How about the existence of snowflakes? Snowflakes are complex structures forming from the arrangements of loosely associated molecules – “order” from “chaos”. Yet that is not considered a violation of entropy. How is that different from other forms of chemistry?

    >I work in a realm which deals in repeatable experiments, that is how scientific progress is made, that is how I can build a better engine next time around. I experiment, I observe, I record, I repeat.
    “Bad” science tries to operate in the past, making observations AFTER the events without being there at the time and declaring that “we know…”.

    That is a common misunderstanding, an unfair limiting of the means for scientific study. What you are dealing with is more conventional hard science such as chemistry and physics. That type of science lends itself well to running that test to witness the event occurring and the results. Science would be very limited if that were all that it could do. That eliminates many realms of science – for example, geology. You can crack open a rock and study it under a microscope, but it is very difficult to witness the formation of a rock. Either submerge yourself in magma for a while, then watch it flow, cool, and harden. Or watch pressure and time transform the rock from igneous to some other form (metamorphic). Or watch the rock get erroded, flow in water down and out into the gulf, and settle into the silt that fills the ocean floor and hardens over centuries. Yeah, witness that. Or take astronomy – try witnessing real time the birth, life, and death of a star – the whole complete cycle. Try devising an experiment to create a star.

    There are science processes that deal more with historical events and piecing together how they happened. There are still hypotheses, development of ways to test the ideas and falsify them, and collection of data to use as the ultimate referral points. The best science finds ways to tie into other fields of study, other branches of science, and leads to a coherent whole. Evolution does that. Creationism does not. ID does not.

    Darth Robo said:
    >…would be an ASSUMPTION! Right? And anyone who makes an assumption is just making an ass out of themselves and “umption”. Right?

    Congratulations for Dilbertizing yourself! You’ve officially paraphrased that remark in such a way to remove all sense from it. 😉

    >In that order? Here are the five steps of science:
    1 Observe
    2 Form a hypothesis which may explain your observation
    3 Make testable predictions from that hypothesis
    4 Perform an experiment which tests those predictions
    5 Modify your hypothesis to sync up with all observations and predictions
    If you’re not doing that, then you’re not doing science.

    That is the ideal process that in reality is not quite so smooth and orderly.

  52. Darth Robo

    And I just got Dilbert Future ready to read on my desk.

    “That is the ideal process that in reality is not quite so smooth and orderly.”

    ESPECIALLY for creationists! 😀

  53. Coenie

    I have almost exclusively here in South Africa at least, heard the news about the BB going bang, portrait as conclusive proof for God.

    My time for research is very limited and I am not scientifically qualified which makes my answering session a long one.

    Can someone try and post a reply as to, in short, what the impact of the Nobel price adored, old theory, has done to the claims that God created the universe.

    I would hate to be shocked now to discover that this gives more proof to the Creator God.

  54. Irishman

    Hard to comment on specifics when specifics aren’t provided.

    In general, the argument goes thusly: The Bible states that the Universe began from nothing, was created by God from nothing. The Big Bang proposes a rapid expansion of space and time (i.e. the universe) out of nothing (non-matter/energy). Ergo, the Big Bang confirms the Biblical account in Genesis, and thus is proof of God.

    There are a number of assumptions in that argument.
    1. Genesis 1 provides an accurate description of the creation of the universe in a scientific sense, and is not a story created by primitive people to explain their own existence and significance.

    2. The particular wording of Genesis as currently phrased in English forms is an accurate representation of the actual wording as employed by the ancient Hebrews, especially in the oral tradition that predated the written record. The particular interpretations of the vague words chosen by the arguers is the correct one, and not some other at least as (if not more so) justified interpretation of the words.

    3. The definition of “God” is diverse. Are they talking about the personified, anthropomorphic God described in Genesis? What about the Deistic God who sets things in motion and then sits back and watches? Or the Pantheistic “God is the universe”?

    There are probably more. The reality is that the Big Bang is not proof of God, because the claim of God can be supported by either proposition (BB true or BB false). The alternate description of the universe (which was held prior to the proposition of the BB) was the Steady State model of the universe – the universe is constant and non-changing. The argument regarding God with respect to Steady State is that the SS only describes the current conditions, how things are progressing, it cannot conclusively rule out an initial beginning that brought things into existence in their present state. Ergo, SS cannot disprove Genesis. Therefore, BB cannot prove Genesis.

    The best that can be said is that the BB is consistent with the notion of creation of the universe from nothing as an interpretation of Genesis.

  55. Andrew

    Actually, when one of the two men (Smather or Moot, don’t really remember which one) was interviewed on Swedish Television, the reporter asked a VERY perceptive question: “Do you believe in God?” He answered the reporter’s question with a question: “can you explain to me what power exists that could move all of the matter in the universe 14 BILLION light years wide in less than one-trillionth of a second?” And, he was smiling when he gave his “answer.” I personally saw the interview, live.

    I am AMAZED that people have totally missed this point on BOTH sides of the argument. Expansion theory DESTROYS evolutionary theory for one simple reason: TIME. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. Here’s why:

    If the expansion was only 90%, then the actual “age” of the universe is only 1.4 Billion years old. Guess what? Right there, that means that the universe is already too young for “evolution” to have enough time to be true (let alone mathematically possible).

    If the expansion was 99%, then the universes is only 140 million years old.
    If the expansion was 99.9%, then the universes is only 14 million years old.
    At an expansion of 99.99995% the universe would be only 7,000 years old. Hmm, this will cause a problem because suddenly the Biblical account becomes scientifically plausible.

    Expansion theory also destroys Einstein’s theory that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. Something (or, more likely someone) moved ALL of the matter in the universe 14 Billion light years wide in less than one-trillionth of a second.

    To believe that everything was created out of nothing is just scientifically impossible. Just like every house has a builder, the same holds true for the universe … and God is it’s Builder. How much bigger of a BANG do you want? God spoke everything into existence.

    Smather and Moot is just one nail in Darwin’s theory. There are other nails in the areas of biology, etc. But, most important to evolution theory is the concept of billions upon billions of years that would be necessary for “evolution” to be true.

    Expansion theory destroys the time line. Using “light-years” as an absolute method for measuring the “age” of the universe is wrong, based upon the evidence provided by expansion theory. Under expansion theory, “light-years” are only a referential form of measurement since no one knows, anymore, just how old the universe really is (except, of course, God Almighty).

    To assume that the “Power” that moved ALL of the matter in the universe 14 Billion light years wide would not have the ability to create everything in 7 days is VERY unwise (OK, just plain stupid)! It’s nice that science is finally catching up with the Bible…

    😀

    PS In his book “A Brief History of Time,” Stephen W. Hawking more or less gave the mathematical “proof” of the existence of God. However, due to his being “politically correct” to a fault, Hawking was not willing to make the final conclusion, but left that up to the reader. Someday every person will stand before God, the Creator of the Universe, and give a “management” report about their life. Those that had chosen to believe in evolution will be in deep sh–! Wouldn’t want to be in their shoes on judgment day. :-)

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+