What Happened Before The Big Bang?

“The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.” -Bertolt Brecht

One of the most frequent questions I get about the Universe — as a cosmologist — isn’t quite about the Big Bang in and of itself.

The expansion of the Universe in reverse; image source unknown.

The Big Bang is a remarkable idea, of course, that says that, based on the observations that the Universe is expanding and cooling today, it was hotter, denser, and physically smaller in the past. This gets particularly exciting when we extrapolate very far back in the history of the Universe.

Image credit: Addison Wesley.

At some point in the past, it was so hot that individual atoms would have been blasted apart by the radiation in the Universe. This means that — as we come forward in time past that point — there was a point when all the nuclei and electrons in the Universe became stable, neutral atoms for the first time.

Image credit: Pearson / Addison Wesley, retrieved from Jill Bechtold.

And before that, it was so hot that individual nuclei would have been blasted apart. But you might think that this means we can go back to arbitrarily high temperatures, densities, and arbitrarily small sizes. You might be tempted to go all the way to a point in time where spacetime collapses into a singularity, and where all the matter and energy in the Universe were present at a single point, of infinite temperature and infinite density.

Image retrieved from University of Arizona. And yes, longtime readers, this is wrong.

Indeed, this is one of the most tempting things to try.

But physically, it’s also wrong. (Lots of good scientists and science institutions goof this, too. See here, for example.) You see, we know that this isn’t what happened in the Universe’s past, because of what we observe when we look — in detail — at a snapshot of the Universe’s early history, from back when those neutral atoms formed for the first time.

Image credit: © 2005 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Physics Division.

What we learn is that there’s an upper limit to how hot the Universe ever was in its early history. And although it may have been very hot — up to energies between 10^16 and 10^17 GeV, or about 10 trillion times hotter than the Large Hadron Collider can create — that’s actually quite small compared to the scale where we’d need to talk about singularities (which is another factor of ~1000 hotter), or where quantum gravity/string theory effects would become important.

We learn this from looking at the magnitude and distribution of the temperature fluctuations in the Universe imprinted in the snapshot alluded to earlier: in the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team; in a projection the way you'd see a globe.

(If you prefer a Mercator projection — the way you typically see a map of Earth — click here.)

What these fluctuations tell us is that, at some point in the very early history of the Universe — where we can be accurately described by this hot, dense, radiation-filled, Big Bang-esque model — the Universe was filled with small-magnitude temperature fluctuations (of a few parts in 100,000) on all measurable scales, where each scale is observed to have the same-magnitude pattern of fluctuations.

Image credit: Chiang Lung-Yih, doing a spherical harmonic decomposition of the CMB data.

As the Universe expands and cools, gravity works to pull the matter and energy in on itself, making overdensities bigger and underdensities smaller, while radiation pressure works to wash those fluctuations out. Normal matter (protons, neutrons, and electrons) interacts with photons and itself, creating “bouncy” features in this pattern of fluctuations, while dark matter can feel the radiation pressure and the gravitational tugs, but has no cross-section with either normal matter, photons or itself.

As a result, we learn what the different components of the Universe are.

Image credit: WMAP / NASA; Ned Wright of http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/CMB-DT.html.

Two important observations that come out of this are that, as far as curvature goes, the Universe is spatially flat, rather than curved positively (like a sphere) or negatively (like the seat of a saddle), and that it has the same temperature properties in all directions, even in regions that have never had an opportunity to exchange information (or transmit photons) between one another.

Images credit: horizon problem (top) via astronomynotes.com; flatness problem (bottom) by Ned Wright's cosmology tutorial.

These two things could be remarkable, finely-tuned coincidences (or, you know, just how things happen to be, for no reason), but they could also be indicative of something preceding the Big Bang. In particular, a phase of exponential expansion of the Universe — known as cosmological inflation — would compel these two things to be true. But cosmic inflation also carries a number of predictions with it: that there would be no magnetic monopoles or other leftover relics from grand unified theories, that there would be no topological defects (e.g., cosmic strings, domain walls) in the large scale structure of the Universe, and that the temperature fluctuations found in the Cosmic Microwave Background would follow a special type of distribution.

Image credit: Takeo Moroi & Tomo Takahashi, from http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0110096.

Not only do we find strong evidence against leftover relics and topological defects, but we measured this Harrison-Zel’dovich spectrum very accurately back in the 1990s, which was predicted by inflation more than a decade before it was observed! In other words, the spectrum of fluctuations is precisely consistent with what the theory of cosmological inflation predicted!

What inflation — our best scientific theory as to what preceded the Big Bang — tells us about “what came before the Big Bang” is, perhaps, very surprising.

Image generated by me, of the scale of the Universe (y-axis) vs. time (arbitrary units).

If the Universe was filled with matter (orange) or radiation (blue), as shown above, there must be a point at which these infinite temperatures and densities are reached, and thus, a singularity. But in the case of inflation (yellow), everything changes. First off, we don’t necessarily have a singularity, and we definitely don’t have one at what we traditionally think of as “the moment of the Big Bang.” Instead, we have what’s known as a past-timelike-incomplete spacetime.

Image generated by me, of the scale of the Universe (y-axis) vs. time (arbitrary units).

In other words, we not only don’t know whether there was a singularity at some point in the very distant, pre-inflation past, or whether inflation was truly eternal, we don’t even know whether inflation occurred for less than a yoctosecond or more than the present age of the (post-Big Bang) Universe!

Our prospects for finding out, furthermore, are quite dim, as — by its very nature — practically every model of cosmic inflation wipes out any information about the Universe that existed prior to the last billionth-of-a-yoctosecond before inflation ended, and our Universe began.

Image credit: Cosmic Inflation by Don Dixon.

So, before the Universe was hot, dense, expanding, cooling, and filled with matter and antimatter? There was inflation, the phase of exponential expansion that stretched the Universe flat, made it the same average temperature in all directions, wiped out any ultra-massive relic particles and topological defects, created the temperature fluctuations that led to the large-scale structure of today’s Universe, and ended 13.7 billion years ago, setting up the Big Bang that gave rise to the observable Universe we know and love. If inflation lasted any longer than that last billionth-of-a-yoctosecond that affects our observable Universe and the laws of physics we know still hold, then we almost certainly live in a multiverse as well, where our observable Universe is just one Universe out of many.

Image credit: Me, illustrating how an inflating region of spacetime's exponential properties will create new spacetime more quickly than the dynamics that end inflation can create Big Bangs and matter/radiation-filled regions of our Universe!

But what came before that? We only have theoretical possibilities, with likely no data or information from that time contained within our observable Universe to guide us. We’ll keep searching for clues, but for right now, don’t believe the hype (and I’m looking at you, Steinhardt, Turok, and Greene, among others); keep them as possibilities if you fancy them, but that speculation is no replacement for the best that science has to offer right now!

Comments

  1. #1 OKThen
    Before the big bang
    October 15, 2012

    Very interesting.
    But sorry I can only quick read now.
    I will reread carefully and the links to understand before I comment.
    But my first reaction very nice explanation. Yes we must think physically upon this.

  2. #2 lando
    United States
    October 15, 2012

    Ethan,

    You should write a post on how the hell you are so productive. Physics professor, editing Trap!t, posting a great blog almost daily, doing this write-a-novel-in-October thing, etc., etc. I LITERALLY have no idea how you do it (Chris Traeger voice).

    Perhaps you already, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read all your posts and can’t recall.

  3. #3 Only a BS but still curious
    Bay Area Calif
    October 15, 2012

    Hey, here’s a question:

    It looks like inflation causes the speed of light to change over time. (Is this true?)

    IF this is true, could “changing speed of light” be used to assuage the anti-scientist fears of creationists who cringe at the mention of numbers above a few thousand?

  4. #4 Ken Durden
    October 15, 2012

    Bravo, Ethan.

    This is now my favorite post of yours — I appreciate you doing the extra work of specifying the precise limits of our knowledge, and what options are favored beyond that (like the multiverse) but not yet supported by evidence.

    So — once upon a time, I was mildly mocked for asking what came before the big bang, since it was the birth of time? (“What’s north of the North Pole”, etc, etc). So, “when” does the birth of time occur? At the end of inflation, or at the earlier moment (at least a yoctasecond? How in the world is that precise number calculated?) when inflation began?

    Feel free to discuss Hawkin’s concepts of imaginary time if they’re relevant?

    Will you do a future posts on what types of evidence are being sought and what their relative likelihood may be? I’m especially interested as well in evidence/theories which would support the idea of variability of physical “constants” throughout the universe, and on what scales of distance that variation might be measurable?

  5. #5 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    “You should write a post on how the hell you are so productive.”

    Enjoys it all, I suspect.

    Think of how hard you work on your favourite hobby.

  6. #6 crd2
    Setats Detinu
    October 16, 2012

    What Wow meant to say was: “Think of how hard you work on your favorite hobby. Then go out and get 7 more hobbies and make them all your favorite.”

  7. #7 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    Physics professor – Science.

    editing Trap!t – Science.

    posting a great blog almost daily – Science

    doing this write-a-novel-in-October thing – Science (probably, though not necessarily so)

    One hobby. One passion. Several outlets.

  8. #8 Randy Owens
    October 16, 2012

    “And although it may have been very hot — up to energies between 10^16 and 10^17 GeV, or about 10 trillion times hotter than the Large Hadron Collider can create — that’s actually quite small compared to the scale where we’d need to talk about singularities (which is another factor of ~1000 hotter), or where quantum gravity/string theory effects would become important.”

    Do either of these temperatures relate to the Planck temperature, about 1.4×10^32 K? It always struck me as a bit intuitively odd (which is to say, not necessarily actually odd at all) that the Planck length, mass, and time are all rather small, but the temperature is absolutely huge, so that came to mind.

  9. #9 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    Remember that a higher energy particle has a shorter wavelength. Therefore a wavelength at the Planck scale is a high energy particle. And, since energy average for a thermalised particle is 3/2 kT, that energy can be given as a temperature too.

    Hot hot hot.

  10. #10 eric
    October 16, 2012

    It looks like inflation causes the speed of light to change over time. (Is this true?)

    Nope, not true. Not to rehash the whole ‘expansion is not a speed’ concept that has been discussed on earlier threads, but one of the nice things about inflation is that it explains how parts of the universe very far apart look basically the same without any need for FTL-moving photons or particles.

  11. #11 eric
    October 16, 2012

    ack, that first line was meant to be a quote from ‘Only a BS but still curious.’ Html fail, my apologies.

    Incidentally, Wow, Ethan’s hobbies also include weightlifting and, I believe, competitive beard growing – so no, not just different facets of science. Unless you consider serious beard growing a science. :)

  12. #12 solarspace
    October 16, 2012

    i read that stephen hawking says the big bang happened because of “quantum fluctuations” in it’s pre-bang state. but how is that possible if, like you explain here, the universe was never even close to being so small as that? so small that quantum mechanical and string theory effects become significant? is that a contradiction or am i really missing the point?

  13. #13 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    “competitive beard growing”

    I suspect him of cheating there, though. I believe he’s training his hair on the head to grow down rather than deal with what nature gave him for chinwhiskers.

    (my comment was counter to cd2’s comment, so your inclusion of other hobbies merely say that there are other things he does but this still doesn’t make the listed things non science. It definitely doesn’t make any of them beard growing!!!)

  14. #14 Harry
    October 16, 2012

    I have always wondered whether there can be any question about what happened before the big bang. The thinking is that if space-time were created in the big bang, then time itself is created in the big bang, and there is no “before” the big bang.

    Everything happens after the creation of time, nothing before it.

    Am I all cockeyed here?

  15. #15 OKThen
    pdf to Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete
    October 16, 2012

    Here is the full pdf of the paper referenced in Ethan’s link “past-timelike-incomplete spacetime”

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete by Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0110012.pdf
    Looks readable.

    I’m still reading and digesting.
    No comment, questions yet

  16. #16 Patrick M. Dennis
    October 16, 2012

    It seems that cosmologists are alternately fascinated by how smooth the universe is and by how lumpy it is.

  17. #17 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    “Am I all cockeyed here?”

    No, you’re pretty right.

    Although this thread is pretty much about how time before what we would call the singularity may have existed, no information is possible to have about it, so there’s no point in talking about it. Nothing that we can observe in this universe existed before the creation of it. Including the passage of time in this universe.

    Sort of imagine like this.

    The universe is much much much much much bigger than what we can see. Oodleplexes bigger.

    But as it evolced, areas within that area expanded by inflation and all information about the rest of that containing universe was lost by that expansion.

    And we are sitting in one of them.

    Any other area that found itself inflating would be another “universe” and that makes us one of a multiverse of universes, each distinct.

    And, since the laws emerged (it is supposed) from the impetus that started inflation *in that location*, no such expansion has to create a universe with the same laws.

    What I find interesting is the idea that if we find some connection to a “Theory of Everything” we may really only have found out the laws by which that greater mass works. The laws that form from there are the happenstance solution that this specific universe unfolded in.

    If this ToE is found, we may be able to test this theory to see if we can evolve a universe of our type from it without breaking any other laws.

    A deist may concoct this universe-budding volume as being their definition of God, but it is pretty much a case of Potatoe/Potatoh.

    Such a construct would not and could not impinge on the budded universe (absent collision between two budded universes)

  18. #18 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    Patrick, if the universe were not lumpy AT ALL (OK, that’s impossible, only one state would be that out of all the possible locations of all particles), then there would be no universe to observe. No collapse into stars.

    If it were not as lumpy, then the universe would have taken longer to form clumps the size of galaxies and therefore would “have” to be older than BB cosmology could entertain.

    If it were more lumpy, it would have fewer population II stars and fewer small galaxies and more black holes because the pace of creation of stars would have accelerated.

    Consilience of evidence is a heavy proof.

  19. #19 OKThen
    0.7 units on an arbitrary time scale
    October 16, 2012

    ” inflation, the phase of exponential expansion that stretched the Universe flat… ended 13.7 billion years ago, setting up the Big Bang that gave rise to the observable Universe… If inflation lasted any longer than that last billionth-of-a-yoctosecond that affects our observable Universe and the laws of physics we know still hold, then we almost certainly live in a multiverse..” Ethan above.
    Yes, makes sense. But as you posted, “we think there’s a multiverse” So..

    “What can lie beyond this boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event. The boundary is then a closed spacelike hypersurface which can be determined from the appropriate instanton. Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary. This is the chief result of our paper.” Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete by Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, 2003
    Yes, yes very nice. “new physics is necessary”

    And
    “Evidence for cosmic inflation in the early history of our universe is mounting. In addition to the original motivation of explaining flatness and homogeneity of the observable universe, we now have precision data from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) that is in beautiful agreement with the predictions of the simplest inflationary models .. In the next decade or two, we expect to have new data from measurements of the CMB, baryonic acoustic oscillations, 21 cm absorption, and so on, which will allow us to probe the curvature of the universe down to the level of Ωk ∼ 10^-4. If nonzero Ωk is found in these measurements, it would reveal another coincidence in our universe: slow-roll inflation in our past did not last much
    longer than needed to cross the anthropic threshold. This would provide further evidence for the framework of the multiverse. Moreover, it would give us important information about the probability measure, the cosmic history just before the observable inflation, and the correlations in the inflaton
    potential function. In particular, it would strongly suggest that the probability measure does not reward volume increase, and that we are living in a bubble universe formed in an eternally inflating
    spacetime.” What can the observation of nonzero curvature tell us? by Alan H. Guth and Yasunori Nomura, 2012 http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.6876v2.pdf
    OK, yes, yes, this is really nice that observations in the next decade wll be important.

    Now let me ask a few questions.

    On Ethan;s two charts, How the Universe Grows. I assume that the time line numbers are in Billions of years. (whoops I see that it is in arbitrary units). Hmm what does this mean?

    I assume it means that we have no idea where our observable universe is NOW or where our observable universe was 13.7 Billion years ago on the first How the Universe Grows graph (matter, radiation and inflation graph). OK.

    So just as an possible example, that means13.7 Billion years ago could be 0.3 and NOW could be 0.7. But we really don’t know. Am I interpreting this correctly??

    Baryogenesis is commonly put after inflation.
    Do you put baryogenesis (the creation of equal amounts of baryons and antibaryons) before or after inflation? Is this resolved or a point of discussion still?

    OK, that’s my questions for now.
    As always, I am not trying to argue with Ethan or Alan Guth. Rather I am trying to understand and (to paraphrase Brecht) I am trying to set a limit to my misunderstanding.

    Thanks for any insight.

  20. #20 OKThen
    First rate theoretical physics is amazing
    October 16, 2012

    Since, we’re talkiing about time. What Happened Before The Big Bang? It might seem that we are pretty clear about What’s going to happen over the next 5 Billion years.

    But it seems that if we accept eternal inflation then one prediction is that
    “According to the most successful measure proposals, our galaxy is likely to encounter the cutoff within the next 5 billion years.” (I think this means the end of time from our point of view)
    Eternal inflation predicts that time will end by Raphael Bousso, Ben Freivogel, Stefan Leichenauer, and Vladimir Rosenhaus 2010 http://arxiv.org/pdf/1009.4698v1.pdf

    Alan Guth responds to the above excellent paper (referred to below as BFLR paper) with an alternative possible interpretation.
    “almost all inflationary models seem to lead to eternal inflation. It is possible to design models of inflation that are not eternal, but at least to many of us, such models look contrived. While the word “generic” is not really well-defined in this context, it nonetheless seems that inflation generically becomes eternal… BFLR concluded their paper by stating that the deduction that time can end can be avoided only by rejecting at least one of three propositions: (1) Probabilities in a finite universe are given by relative frequencies of events or histories. (2) Probabilities in an infinite universe are defined by a geometric cutoff. (3) The Universe is eternally inflating. We believe that there is a fourth possibility, which these authors have passed over: there is a mathematically well-defined way of defining probabilities without imposing an end of time, which can be adopted without rejecting any of the three statements above… As far as we can tell, this system is rigorously mathematically consistent.
    However, we do have to admit that it has counter-intuitive properties. In particular, this system predicts that if the outcome of some experiment is reported with a time delay, where
    the length of the delay depends on the result, then the observation of the reports will be biased. The probability of observing the report with the shortest time delay will be higher
    than the probability that this result occurred… Counter-intuitiveness is a subjective judgment. We, however, feel that the transition from conventional probability to probabilities in the multiverse is a sufficiently large step that we should not expect all of our conventional intuition to carry over… we are
    describing a way to define probabilities, but we do not know of any physical mechanism that might cause it to be the correct definition to use for making predictions. On this issue, the
    end-of-time approach has a possible advantage. If time really does end, then the spacetime becomes finite, and probabilities can be unambiguously defined by counting. Thus, if one
    wants to not merely have a prescription for defining probabilities, but to also understand what makes it the right prescription, then the end-of-time hypothesis is one way to achieve this goal.” Eternal Inflation, Global Time Cutoff Measures, and a Probability Paradox by Alan H. Guth, 2011 http://arxiv.org/pdf/1108.0665v1.pdf

    I give these quotes because they interest me. I read the papers as best I can; I don’t pretend to understand them. But I do believe they are excellent and profound science. They show just how high the standard is for really first rate physics theorizing. I am amazed.

    Obviously others are amazed by Guth’s work; he recently one of nine theoretical physicists to recieve $3,000,000 each as the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize, established by Yuri Milner. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/science/9-scientists-win-yuri-milners-fundamental-physics-prize.html?_r=0

    I have my personal physics speculations. They are important to me; because they are my learning speculations. And maybe one day, one of them will sufficiently well developed to try to publish in aiXrv. Maybe not.
    Either way, I owe it to myself as a student of physics to learn not only the best current accepted scientific theories; but currect best scientific theorizing.
    Without understanding the best thinking and counter-thinking upon a topic; I can’t even ask an important question and consider possible answers.

    I guess my real point.
    Ethan
    Thanks for assuming that we can understand (at least partially). Please keep assuming be can get it (some of it) and that no topic is too difficult to explain simply. Thanks for bringing a difficult important current scientific discussion to us.

    No more questions. Any clarifying is always welcome.

  21. #21 birdfish
    October 16, 2012

    NO THERE IS NOT ANY INFLATIONS OR YOCTOSECONDS OR ANY OF THAT DEVILSPEAK STRAIGHT FROM THE MOUTH OF SATAN ALL YOU SO CALLED SCEINTISTS NEED TO KNOW THAT THE UNIVERSE WAS CREATED ABOUT SIX THOUSANDS YEARS AGO BUY OUR LORD AND CREATOR JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD GOD AND SAVIOR AND THAT ALL THIS MUMBOJUMOBS ABOUT INFLATIONS AND SPACETIME IS ALL FROM THE DEVIL AND IS TRUELY WICKED AND EVIL AND YOU ALL MUST GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND REPENT TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOR WHO CREATED THE STARS AND THE SKY AND THE EARTH IN SIX DAYS AND THEN CREATED ADAM AND EVE OUT OF THE SOIL OF THE VERY EARTH REPENT NOW ALL YOU SO CALLED MEN OF SCIENCE BECAUSE YOU WILL BE CAST INTO THE FIREY PIT OF HELL TO BE TORMENTED BY DEMONS FOR ALL ETERNITY IF YOU DO NOT TURN AWAY FROM THIS SATANIC SO CALLED SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. #22 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    Satan already has this one. He’s speaking in tongues.

  23. #23 eric
    October 16, 2012

    Solar space:

    i read that stephen hawking says the big bang happened because of “quantum fluctuations” in it’s pre-bang state. but how is that possible if, like you explain here, the universe was never even close to being so small as that?

    Quantum fluctuations don’t need high temperature or pressure to occur. In fact they pretty much occur everywhere, all the time.

    When Ethan talks about QMical and string theory effects becoming significant, he means that in the early part of the universe those things had much more of an impact on the state and properties of the universe than the four forces we recognize as dominating the universe today (gravity etc…).

  24. #24 Adeptus
    NC
    October 16, 2012

    Hello, All. Newby here.

    So, I’m a physician & not a physicist — my domain of scientific expertise is other than cosmology, and I wish to ask for help understanding part of this.

    The graphic, “How the Universe Grows” and the text right around there is the part I am having trouble understanding. If it remains the case that matter and energy originate at t=0, what is it that is expanding during t<0? Is this merely a mathematical function?

    Or, if I am grossly misreading this, and the yellow line indicates the curve for the Whole Thing (spacetime, matter/energy) under different assumptions, then under those assumptions, what is the significance of the event at t=0? Under such assumptions, *was* there even an event at t=0?

    Many thanks to any who offer their help.

  25. #25 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 16, 2012

    @ solarspace

    there are many theories how Universe started, one of them is that it was caused by “some” quantum fluctuation, but that is still OK as far as inflation and BB goes. Being very small (quantum levels, string levels 10^-10 – 10^-35) is still extremely large when comparing with singularity :)

    —–

    on a different topic… check out the numbers for density on spatial flatness or curvature… WOW! 0.2 grams on gazillions of tons makes a difference between 3 scenarios. That’s just incredible! :D

  26. #26 Only a BS but still curious
    Bay Area Calif
    October 16, 2012

    OK Eric,

    C is always the same. But, have things that are distant now been closer at some point in the past, and in a way that does not follow from s = v dt ?

  27. #27 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 16, 2012

    @ Only a BS…

    “But, have things that are distant now been closer at some point in the past”

    yes they were, but i.e. a galaxy that is now 700 million light years from us has never been 2 million light years from us.

    Think of it like this… all that is now our Observable universe has been filled with energy and matter in a more or less uniform way after primordial inflation. And then things started to cool down and gravity started working. So it’s not like galaxies are blasted forth from some central point. All that we consider a Universe was same everywhere.. like a thick mist. And then “shapes” started to coalesce due to gravity. Yes, it all moves now and has been moving for a long time, but that is something different and much much much slower than what inflation did.

  28. #28 Wow
    October 16, 2012

    “what is it that is expanding during t<0? "

    Something without matter and energy obviously!

    Have a look at the pictures Ethan puts up there.

    That triangle-filled circle that grows out under inflation is the "laws of nature" that matter and spacetime concocted when it inflated.

    The other shapes are different "laws of nature" concocted when those places inflated.

    The point of it is pretty much like there is something expanding already, but until there's at least some matter and energy, there's nothing to imprint laws upon, therefore no universe or knowledge.

    It's a bit like the early thoughts of a cyclic universe where the expansion that comes as the big bang after the big crunch is the bit that scrambles the universe into a new configuration, losing ALL information from that previous existence.

    E.g. when you make a car engine out of aluminium made from cans, there's NO WAY to tell what was in the can that is now remade as a car engine.

  29. #29 Only a BS but still curious
    Bay Area Calif
    October 16, 2012

    OK Sinisa,

    So if I have to explain this to my kid, what’s the easiest thing to explain which changes during expansion?

  30. #30 Only a BS but still curious
    Typoland
    October 16, 2012

    …I mean inflation?

  31. #31 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 16, 2012

    @ BS

    “what’s the easiest thing to explain which changes during expansion” (inflation)

    Size. But if you then go back to your first question and say “well, if the size increased that means that things are further apart then they were.” But remember, that Universe which inflated has nothing in it resemblance with matter dominated Universe which we see now. That primordial universe is pure energy in a way. Only when inflation ended did the different forces separate and symmetries were broken. And things began to get made (nuclei, atoms etc..)

  32. #32 Only a BS but still curious
    Bay Area Calif
    October 16, 2012

    What do you mean, “inflation ended”? Is this exactly what we currently think, or does that overlook or minimize something?

  33. #33 Adeptus
    October 16, 2012

    Thanks, Wow.

    That helps me get closer. So, not quite laws of physics, which require matter/energy, but perhaps more akin to a mathematical function that is precursor to those laws?

    Tracing the slope of that line further anterior to t=0, does it ever intersect the X Axis, or rather approach it asymptotically?

    Ethan’s analysis notwithstanding, am I correct in saying his point is in no way resonant with the model that preceded the Big Bang, i.e., Eternal Steady State?

  34. #34 Jeffrey Softley
    United States
    October 16, 2012

    What is important with regard to the Big Bang (if there was a Big Bang) is that all time and space were in the same place – all objects and forces were frozen in some other state … when this Big Bang happened, what changed? Motion. Thus motion is the fundamental quanta that gives rise to all objects and forces and it is not an attendant property of same but the stuff from which they are made according to my Time-Zero Model in my work The Fundamental Quanta (c 1987). Reddit has linked your post from a year-or-so-ago on the Multiverse and in a multiple-universe scenario universes could be winking in and out of existence all the time within with the overall probability sphere … and again the multiverse itself is propelled forward by motion – no motion, no existence. This image from your multiverse post looks remarkably like the small scale quarks of a proton – scale up and scale down essentially you get the same thing
    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/files/2011/10/I02-21-multiverse4.jpeg

  35. #35 Doug Little
    October 16, 2012

    birdfish is the worst Poe I have seen in a while. Nice try but no cigar.

  36. #36 Lou Jones
    October 16, 2012

    On the Other Side of the Big Bang

    Who are we how did we get here

    and why?

    Do you reality buffs ever wonder why scientists
    tinker exclusively on the here-and-now side
    of The Big Bang—grapple with gravity and dark
    energy, black holes, entropy, waves and particles,
    quarks, gluons, strings—all those products
    of cosmic ultra-science, genius-constructs
    relegated to a series of mind-bending equations?

    Isn’t anyone interested in traveling to the other side,
    see what the designers might have had in mind, ask
    some questions?

    I would love to see the original blueprint, the macro-plan—
    vision and mission, objectives, goals, critical success
    factors. Study the alternative scenarios, the a priori what
    ifs, read the post-blast critique.

    Oh to punch through the void to the flip side of space-time—
    interview the planners, architects, engineers and physicists—
    talk to the biologists, mathematicians, final assemblers,
    the otherworldly brilliance that packaged a universe
    in a subatomic speck.

    An important question would be how man fits into
    the picture. Were we included in the original layout,
    did the visionaries have us in mind from the start?
    Or,
    might we have been a last minute addition, a cosmic
    afterthought, a hastily constructed biology module
    crammed into a mini-bay of The Big Bang singularity,
    laded in with little supervision, maybe even bypassing
    Final Inspection?

    Considering man’s proclivities and performance,
    I wonder if that may have been the case…

    it would explain a lot!

  37. #37 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 17, 2012

    @ BS
    “What do you mean, “inflation ended”? Is this exactly what we currently think, or does that overlook or minimize something?”

    What do you mean what do I mean it ended? :D lol.. well of course it ended, as far as our observable universe is concerned. At least that primordial, exponential, inflation that Ethan is talking about in this post. Look at the image where you have the timeline of the universe. Look at the time where inflation ends and quark-gluon era beings. On that chart it’s 10^-34 s. We can debate exactly how long inflation lasted, but as far as we can deduce, it ended some 13.7 billion years ago

  38. #38 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 17, 2012

    p.s. sorry… 10^-32 s

  39. #39 Wow
    October 17, 2012

    “perhaps more akin to a mathematical function that is precursor to those laws?”

    Well, the best way we’d have to state that precursor would be maths, but I don’t think it does its sums..!

    “Tracing the slope of that line further anterior to t=0, does it ever intersect the X Axis, or rather approach it asymptotically?”

    It will never be known. Some theories of that “everything” may have it approach 0 at some non infinite time, others never approach it. It may even be possible to have it rebounding like the oscillating universe without the problem of entropy entering in.

    Personally, I’d put this theory somewhere around the level of the Brane theory of how universes get made. It may do away with the multidimensional nature of the brane theory but apart from that seems to come to a system that isn’t really all that different as far as phenomena rather than mechanism is concerned.

  40. #40 Wow
    October 17, 2012

    “Considering man’s proclivities and performance,
    I wonder if that may have been the case…

    it would explain a lot!”

    It would beg a lot more questions and not really answer any other than “why are we here” gets shoved to a different layer.

  41. #41 Brandon
    Indianapolis, IN
    October 17, 2012

    For “once” a scientific piece with a tinge of humility. “These two things could be remarkable, finely-tuned coincidences (or, you know, just how things happen to be, for no reason), but they could also be indicative of something preceding the Big Bang.” The scientific community would do itself and, in turn, the public a great service by simply being more forthcoming about what we do NOT know, and encouraging boundless curiosity rather than precluding any sort of inclusion of notions about a “directed process.” Ex nihilio nihil fit. Ultimately, our theories are based on such vast extrapolations it’s folly when some (many?) scientists speak so decisively about the universe’s origins.

  42. #42 eric
    October 17, 2012

    Amusing side note about inflationary epochs: because particles can’t exchange energy or otherwise interact when the expansion between them is faster than c, and inflationary expansion approaches this rate even for small distances, the change in entropy of an inflating univese gets close to zero. If the expansion rate between any two particles in a region is faster than c, then energy cannot be transferred in that region and delta Sfor that region IS zero. Take that, 2LOT! :)
    Of course, that’s a bit of a trick and not really a violation. In such a circumstance, you could just as easily describe each individual particle as its own closed system. But its amusing to think about (if you’re a geek).

  43. #43 Adeptus
    October 17, 2012

    Thanks again, Wow.

  44. #44 Olof
    October 18, 2012

    To be honest, I think this might be a bit misleading. Geodesic incompleteness is what defines a singularity, and the theorem by Borde, Guth and Vilenkin is a theorem that shows that Universes with an averaged positive Hubble parameter, like the inflationary Universe (which the theorem was mainly addressing), are geodesically incomplete, and thus have an initial singularity in the finite past.

    Vilenkin and his graduate student Mithani even wrote a recent paper called ‘Did the universe have a beginning?’ to which they give the answer ‘probably yes’ (p. 5) partially as a result of Vilenkin’s co-authored singularity theorem.

    The theorem is consistent with quantum cosmology as it does not make the assumption that Einstein’s equations are fully correct, as Hawking and Penrose did in their theorems.

  45. #45 Olof
    October 18, 2012

    Vilenkin’s and Mithani’s paper can be read here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.4658

  46. #46 Golfzoo
    October 18, 2012

    Great article! as always, you have done a great job in explaining almost all the facts an ordinary individual like me would want to know about big bang and deep space facts. Keep it up

  47. #47 life5678
    October 19, 2012

    If all planets, suns, or any matter did not exist, so there is nothing but emptyness, would it still be called the ‘Universe”? If so, would you still say there is a ‘Size’ to it? Or an ‘age’ to it? Are there walls? If not would this empty ‘Universe’ look the same many light years away, say a trillion to the trillionth power? How about one with matter? Is it possible that another big bang exisits there? Perhaps a contracting one? Is it possible that there are an endless number of big bangs in various states of expanding and contracting? Just wondering……

  48. #48 MRBill
    SA
    October 19, 2012

    Ok, singularity, whatever you start with – where did THAT come from !?

  49. #49 Wow
    October 19, 2012

    Why does that make a difference, Bill? It still doesn’t give you “Goddidit”.

  50. #50 Wow
    October 19, 2012

    “so there is nothing but emptyness, would it still be called the ‘Universe”?”

    What “It” are you talking about?

    The “it” which is the earth? Doesn’t exist. The “it” in which the earth would or could be? In that case, yes it does exist and you would call it the universe.

    If you swapped out your name for “earth”, the universe still existed even when you weren’t in it.

    With no points of reference, space could stillexist, but there’d be nothing to measure its size. Rather like asking “If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it fall, does it make a noise?”.

    Not really a question, since the answer requires a definition of noise.

    “Are there walls?”

    Since walls would be made of matter and you have stipulated there is none, no is the answer.

    “If not would this empty ‘Universe’ look the same many light years away”

    OK, nonsense question gets nonsense answer: Ready-brek.

    “Just wondering…”

    Put more thinking into it. Wonderment may result from that thinking.

  51. #51 Chuck Donaldson
    Irvine, California
    October 19, 2012

    Did you ever take a philosophy class? They defined things with some clarity. Existence exists ( a tautology I know) existence exists with known quantities. It can change form but can’t go in or out of existence. Something exists or it doesn’t. Something can not come from nothing. Nothing is Nothing, not anything, non existence, is the absence of anything. Thus, existence has always existed, in various forms, always been and did not come from nothinig. Thus, the universe has always existed, in various forms, but did not come from nothing into a singularity that then expanded. Expanded into what? Singularity did not sit or get created into a “space” bucket. Some say the singularity also created “space’ and “space expaned” with the “big bang.” So what is this “space” that is flying just around existence and expanding with it? The Higgs boson field? The Ether? Einstein’s “space/tme” continuum?

  52. #52 CB
    October 19, 2012

    @ Chuck “Expanded into what? Singularity did not sit or get created into a “space” bucket. Some say the singularity also created “space’ and “space expaned” with the “big bang.” So what is this “space” that is flying just around existence and expanding with it?”

    This is a problem of Geometry, not Philosophy (excepting that the former is technically a subset of the latter). You’re picturing that the “universe” must be embedded in some larger, Euclidean structure if it is to “expand”.

    The simplest way to put it is that the universe is not Euclidean, and that the Gaussian metric changes over space and time, such that space can expand (the distance between two points become greater) without needing anything to expand “into”.

    As far as the statement that the universe has “always” existed, how does philosophy deal with the inherent time-dependent notion of “always” when time may only be a feature of our universe, making “what came before the universe” nonsensical, unfit even for using to prove the universe must have “always” existed? Does philosophy address the possibility that our time-dependent notion of causality is wrong? I find it very hard to think about such a thing, myself. I would think philosophy would be the place where such an assumption was first questioned and mental tools to deal with it developed.

    Of course nobody is really saying the universe came from “nothing into a singularity”. The truth is we *don’t know* what came before the Big Bang, and it may in fact be impossible to know, and philosophical arguments may be as far as we ever get. Does that make you feel better?

  53. #53 Michael Berger
    San Diego, CA
    October 19, 2012

    Hey Birdfish, try reading the whole bible and not getting hung up on page 1. Not that I care, but there is nothing about cosmology that contradicts Genesis. God created the Universe in 6 days but how were those days measured when there was no sun or earth to create these puney “man days”. Don’t you think that “God days” would be more appropriate? The bible says that “10,000 years is but a moment in the eyes of God”. If you allow me to define a moment as 1/15 th of a second then what do you know 6 God days becomes, well what do you know, 13.7 billion years. Besides your proclained lord and master always spoke in parables as does most of the bible. Are you so single minded and singel paged that you can’t allow page 1 to be parable also? If you can’t open your mind to science at least open the whole bible.

  54. #54 Michael Berger
    San Diego, CA
    October 19, 2012

    By-the-way BirdFish, the same goes for evolution. Now tell me which is the wiser God, the one who has to create each life form individualy or the one who builds into creation a mechanism of constant improvement of life? I go with # 2 and the mechanism is called evolution.

  55. #55 Wow
    October 20, 2012

    Michael, thought your aim is good, the bible is still very very wrong.

    Two ways things were brought into existence? Can’t be the Word of God then.

    Bats are birds? Can’t be the Word of God then.

    If there is a god, he isn’t described faithfully enough in the christian bibe for that to be a guide to finding him.

  56. #56 Wow
    October 20, 2012

    ” Something can not come from nothing.”

    How do you know? You haven’t had any nothing to see whether anything can come from it.

    It may be that an absolute nothing HAS to cause something.

    We’ve never had any to find out.

  57. #57 CB
    October 20, 2012

    But… But… Philosophy class said so!

  58. #58 Michael Berger
    San Diego, CA
    October 20, 2012

    Hey WOW. My aim was not to defend the bible as a 3,000 year old thesis on Cosmology which it was never meant to be. It’s a 3,000 year old thesis on people living together with a little magic thrown in to insure compliance. I can just see Moses on Mount Sinai asking God, “How did you create the Universe?” “Well” said God, “I caused a quantum fluctuation…” “A what?” interrupts Moses? “Never mind, I forgot, Nathan Siegel doesn’t come along for another 3,000 years.”Let’s gust leave it at I said ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.”

    My purpose was just to open BirdFish’s mind a little, if not about Cosmology, at lest maybe a little about the Bible (as if that’s even possible). As a philosophy major before med school, I regard it my sworn duty to attempt to rescue us all from burning in Hell as BF commands. My second goal was to provide a little biblical rejoinder for scientists to use to silence fundamentalists at cocktail parties (as if that’s possible either). Personally, I love to argue with them from Bible sources with although I’m not a believer, I always know better than them.

    By the way BF, who gets into heaven, the scientist who in spite of believing in cosmology and evolution finds a cure for a disease afflicting millions or the fundamentalist afflicting the scientist?

  59. #59 Wow
    October 20, 2012

    And it wasn’t my intention to dismiss faith.

    Just dismiss the faith that the bible is something accurate or reliable. At best you should read it as a set of ideas of what to consider.

  60. #60 Sinisa Lazarek
    October 20, 2012

    a little off topic… and Ethan wrote nothing on it.

    Tonight is Orionid meteor shower and also today is Astronomy Day :)

  61. #61 Tom Sarbeck
    October 21, 2012

    1. Dictionaries, whether they tell how people have used words or tell how people shall use words, differ. One dictionary describes cosmology as a blend of metaphysics and physics.
    2. The mathematics we use is but an approximation to what we can see and measure.
    Add 1 and 2 and get uncertainty. Enjoy.

  62. #62 Nate
    Planet earth
    November 9, 2012

    Lol at you all. Oh how limited is the human mind! How finite is our understanding! My fellow nerdians, there is indeed such a thing as intelligent design! And an Intelligent Designer!!..aka God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth! And in his holy bible which you so obviously disbelieve, there are many passages which warn of men who trust to their own fallible understanding! Can any of you guys tell me what’s at the bottom of our own very Pacific Ocean? Yet you can somehow decipher the very beginnings of the universe??!!! Ha!! Don’t make me laugh! Here’s something for you brainiacs to chew on….we all know oxygen and gravity exist right??? Are you sure?? Ya me too… Ok then!! Since we know they do, yet we can’t see them, how come you feel you can ignore the existence of an Intelligent Creator, just because you can’t see it?? Thank you, and goodnight!!!!!! :D

  63. #63 Nate
    November 9, 2012

    The Holy bible was written, not to make us astronomers, but to make us saints.
    Matthew Henry

  64. #64 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    It had the opposite effect, Nate.

    Look at WBC.

  65. #65 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    Hmm. You claim the mind is so limited (maybe yours is), but you still maintain you know which god is real and what he wants.

    Since this is supposed to be a transendental being, that would require a mind capable of grasping such a concept.

    Hardly limited.

  66. #66 Nate
    November 10, 2012

    To my friend that claims my mind is perhaps ‘limited’ i say, that even Socrates said ‘the wisest man is the man who knows that he knows nothing’…
    And the other fellow who can only ‘suppose’ that God is transcendental; that’s all we can do, is ‘suppose’. However, if there were, in fact, an Ultimate Being who not only created the universe, but the very laws that govern nature itself, it’s quite presumptuous to think that mere creatures of nature as ourselves, who can’t even discover the depths of our own world, could figure out the origins of ALL the worlds!*******Puhleeease! My friends, let us give our heads a shake. Lets use our God given intelligence to solve something useful like the worlds hunger issues, or to help those out in the cold without even warmth to comfort them, and leave the origins of the universe in our Creators very capable hands. :)

  67. #67 Nate
    November 10, 2012

    Um, we dont even know why cats purr, if its either a muscular twitch or a conscious vocalisation on the cats part when its happy, ..yet somehow we can calculate the very details of the universes existence at the outset? Forgive my disbelief..

    On a side note, however, I do love my cats and I know they love me too. This I can definitely understand :)

  68. #68 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    Cat’s don’t purr because God. So what. exactly does that little point prove?

    That you think that because cats purr, the universe is unknowable?

  69. #69 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    No, the dumb man knows nothing.

    That would be you, Nate.

    Or do you know that you don’t know there’s a god?

  70. #70 Nate
    November 10, 2012

    My point is, with all our scientific knowledge, we can’t even figure out our little animals living on earth with us, but somehow we know the fabric of the universe? It’s foolishness my friend..
    Ya I guess I’m dumb, but compared to the Creator of the universe, we all are! it’s just that I’m smart enough to realize it…

  71. #71 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    We can figure out how cats work. We can explain why they exist.

    We can do the same for the inanimate and therefore easier to explain universe.

    Just because you haven’t a clue about things doesn’t mean nobody else knows.

  72. #72 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    PS you’re too dumb to realise that you’re talking about a nonexistent thing, right?

    No such thing as god.

  73. #73 Nate
    November 11, 2012

    All truth belongs to God. With the uncovering of science, we uncover more of God, because it is His creation. – Saint Augustine.

  74. #74 Nate
    November 11, 2012

    No you can’t figure the cats purr out, besides they are merely an example..another example would be our weather on earth.. We definitely do NOT understand it.. because if we truly understood hurricanes or tornadoes, for instance, then we would not only be able to predict them, but we would be able to control them. And thats a fact. And science does the same thing with God. Science likes to put God in a box, and contain Him in something they can ‘understand’ eg.like a particle or an atom….why?? because if scientists feel that they can understand God, then it gives them the ability to control Him! and thats what science has been striving to do from its very outset..to no avail, I will add.

    On a side note, being ‘dumb’, as you keep calling me, is having the inability to speak. If you like, you can call me an idiot, but don’t throw insults at those who don’t have the privilege of speech as we do. Thank you!

  75. #75 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    But you’re asking WHY cats purr, not HOW cats purr.

    How is a lot easier than why.

    So why does that make “You don’t know why cats purr” any proof of “You don’t know how the universe works”?

    Or is it that there’s no reason why you think the way you do, but HOW you come to think that way is brainwashing as a child.

  76. #76 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    PS there’s nothing wrong with being dumb, because someone wise can realise that AND WORK TO BE NOT SO DUMB.

    But the idiot will parade around proud in their ignorance whilst misquoting some dead guy as if that absolves him of any need to educate himself.

  77. #77 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    “All truth belongs to God.”

    Well, he’s managed to be 100% wrong on everything he’s said so far.

    That is if you believe that what is written in the book attributed to him are written by him.

    Then again, if they aren’t, then you have nothing to base your assertion on.

  78. #78 Nate
    November 11, 2012

    Oh my, well it seems you are the one who is quite proud of what knowledge you have, and very ignorant of anyone opposing your theories of the universe.
    It is however, a fact that any part of creation that we DO understand, we immediately take control of as we please, from the laws of flight and motorized travel, all the way down to planting a flower. These things we understand, and therefore put to our own practical uses!! Agreed? Good.
    Yet since neither you nor any group of people can truly understand the ‘whys’ or ‘hows’ to common aspects of our own world, such as weather patterns all the way down to simple brain patterns of small animals, I can surely conclude that there is NO WAY WHATSOEVER that you could even grasp the slightest notion that brought the whole universe into existence! ***dont make me laugh again.. Just accept that we will never know the answers until we meet our Maker. All you have is vain guesses. Don’t waste your time. :)

  79. #79 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    Nate, telling you you’re ignorant is not being ignorant.

    Otherwise you’d be ignorant too (having just done that: “and very ignorant of anyone opposing your theories of the universe”

    (note too that this is incorrect: I know you exist. That means I am cognizant of your existence. Not ignorant. You may want to get a dictionary)

    I understand why you are ignorant: fear and loathing.

    Afraid that the world is bigger than you and loathe to face reality.

  80. #80 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    PS until you meet him, how do you know he exists?

    After all, until you meet Gandalf…

  81. #81 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    PPS rather odd that you proclaim:

    “there is NO WAY WHATSOEVER that you could even grasp the slightest notion that brought the whole universe into existence!”

    Yet believe you can grasp the slightest notion of a being so complex as can create the whole universe.

    Surely that requires even more knowledge, to know the being that did that, right? Surely the understanding of such a being would be even less likely than the less-complex thing created? Yet you preen yourself as having understood such a thing.

    Hubris, a major sin.

    Don’t worry, I’ll pray for you.

  82. #82 Nate
    November 11, 2012

    You say God is wrong all the time? Well if he had anything to do with the Big Bang or creation..then I’d say hes been pretty right about everything. Don’t kid yourself. God is good and he made a beautiful earth for us. And his holy bible is the oldest writings in existence. If it were a fraud, it would have been discovered by now. For ‘truth is the daughter of time’ which means that a lie will certainly be divulged with much investigation over extensive periods. Yet the more time passes the more we see of the bibles plain truths.. Witness the book of Isaiah 40:22 which speaks of ‘God sitting above the circle of the earth’? This is just one of the many prophecies of the bible that has fully come true, long before it was actually discovered that the earth was indeed round, not flat. There are more, and God will reveal in the end that His word was truth, but I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Better late than never hey? ;)

  83. #83 Nate
    November 11, 2012

    And no, you can’t grasp the slightest notion of a being who created the universe. He is probably even outside the limits of time itself! Bet ya didnt know that eh? Even if u did, the fact that any being that complex would not create mankind to be able to control him..as you try to do.
    Stop thinking above what is written. In the beginning was all created. It didnt say how. But it does say to care for others in need. It doesn’t say to guess how old the universe is.

    Anyhow you haven’t given your theories any new ground, you’ve only vainly attempted to tear down what I’ve established: that ‘we are only human, and God is God.’

    And make no mistake! “if we were truly able to understand the depths of our universe, we would waste no time in creating a new universe of our own!!”

    Also thank you for your prayers! It just shows me that you in fact DO believe in a God that cares enough to listen! :)

  84. #84 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    But you can?

    And you think *I* am arrogant in my assertion of knowledge!!!

    He doesn’t exist. There is no need for him to exist. there is no evidence whatsoever he exists.

    Therefore he doesn’t exist.

    “In the beginning was all created. It didnt say how.”

    Big Bang. Could have just started because there was nothing there and the natural state of nothing is creation. We don’t have any absolute nothing to see what its nature is.

    But you seem to think that, despite all your protestations to the contrary, that you KNOW it is your god wot done it.

    ” tear down what I’ve established: that ‘we are only human, and God is God.’”

    You haven’t established either. There is proof that we are only human, but there is nothing about god anywhere that shows it is god.

    Just asserting it doesn’t make it established. Except to the extent it is established that you said it.

    “And make no mistake! “if we were truly able to understand the depths of our universe, we would waste no time in creating a new universe of our own!!””

    Wrong!

    You may need absolute nothing to do this. Since we have none and no way of making it, we won’t.

    This, yet again, is another assertion made that has nothing other than your word against it.

    And no, I don’t believe in God, but I will still pray for you.

    Unlike godbotherers, I won’t expect it to be of any benefit to you, but I will be able to feel superior to you by doing so.

    You know, the same reason why godbotherers say it.

  85. #85 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    “You say God is wrong all the time?”

    So you can’t read, huh?

    Well, he’s managed to be 100% wrong on everything he’s said so far.

    This is provable (again under the assumption that what he’s asserted in the book he’s supposed to have written is actually what he’s written).

    “Well if he had anything to do with the Big Bang or creation..then I’d say hes been pretty right about everything.”

    Not in the book.

    What IS in the book is bats are birds. Plants before sunlight. And so on and so forth.

    If he did the big bang, he kept quiet about it. Where does he say that he did it via the big bang?

    ” And his holy bible is the oldest writings in existence”

    WRONG!

    The Epic og Gilgamesh is far older, but that isn’t the oldest writing yet (not the versions we have anyway).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_writing

    “‘God sitting above the circle of the earth’? This is just one of the many prophecies of the bible that has fully come true”

    The earth isn’t circular.

    It’s an oblate spheroid, but spherical will do. Four corners too. In a circle!

    And it is pretty easy, especially for a seafaring race, to see the earth is both spherical and, from any point on it, equidistant to each horizon.

    It is hardly a revelation.

  86. #86 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    This has derailed this thread long enough. If you want to continue, it will be done here, as per the request of the blog owner:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    Unless of course, you ignore the rights of the property owner when you’re invited to attend.

  87. #87 Nate
    November 12, 2012

    in the end you will have nothing..’absolute nothing’, as you put it,for its what you search for…

  88. #88 Nate
    November 12, 2012

    Also..don’t trust Wikipedia …epic of Gilgamesh? Lol

  89. #89 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    In the end, we all have nothing.

    Therefore we should live our lives for ourselves and leave a world for others that can make us proud of having helped make it.

    Rather than pretend this is all a dress rehearsal and that it doesn’t matter if we screw things up because all we have to do is be really sorry we screwed it up.

    PS I guess you prefer conservapedia, right?

  90. #90 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    PS what can you have in a life that as far as you are concerned can only have meaning pining for something that is so abhorrent as to create a worm that eats the eyes of children and turns them blind?

    What if you’re wrong and one of the other twenty thousand gods is the right one?

    Boy are you going to be silly, stuck in hell for believing in the wrong one. Meanwhile atheists are living the life of Riley because they weren’t worshipping the wrong one.

  91. #91 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    Lastly, I guess you hate personal property.

    You seem to want to have the right to intrude and insist on ignoring the wishes of the blog owner.

    The USA’s founding fathers didn’t like having people forcing themselves into their private homes. I guess you’re like the redcoats, aren’t you.

    Barging in and demanding to be treated as guests by the hosts, even as you abuse the hospitality.

    Soviet communists also ignored private property if it were in the name of a higher power.

    The only difference between the KGB and you is that the KGB had proof Stalin existed…

  92. #92 Nate
    November 12, 2012

    I’m sorry for the imposition.. I have faith in God and love to help people that are in distress. That’s how He commands us to live. You have faith in ‘absolute nothing. In the end, if there is no god, we will both have nothing. But if God DOES exist, in the end I will be in heaven with Him, and you will STILL HAVE NOTHING. Atheists are dangerous gamblers in this respect, so are scientists who disbelieve in God. Think about it…
    I didnt want to end this debate, you did. I think it’s the most important debate of all. For your soul is just as important to God as mine is…and I’d never stop trying to convince you that God is real. And he’s good. But in the end it’s your call…
    Don’t gamble with eternity my friend. Ttyl

  93. #93 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    Nate, if you’re just here to piss on the bed, metaphorically speaking, then you demonstrate that you are communist: that all property is theft.

  94. #94 MBC
    USA
    December 6, 2012

    Nate, why are you even commenting in this thread? If you are so sure that god is our creator and the creator of everything, why are you reading this article in the first place? Did you come here just to argue? If so, that is not constructive or in any way relative to the article. Now I would just like to say that we as a species don’t know as fact what created our universe. We never said we did. It is all purely speculation, which is what science is. I think the ultimate goal is to advance our civilization. To understand is the pursuit of science, and the more we understand, the more we advance. The more we advance, the easier it will be to deal with real world problems like hunger, poverty, and preventing or controlling weather phenomena. To believe that god is responsible for everything that happens in the universe defeats the purpose of science, which will hold us back from advancing as a civilization. That gets us nowhere! If we understood everything about the universe, how exactly would we go about creating a new one? Create a universe within our universe? Don’t think so, but nice try. If you believe that the bible is the word of god and not that of men trying to create order in society, then you must believe that the universe is only 6,000 years old. So wrong.

  95. #95 MBC
    USA
    December 6, 2012

    I don’t mean to fire up this debate any more than it already has, so I will just say this. Some people require religion to feel comfortable and secure in this world while others do not. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but please do not dismiss the facts. That is plain ignorant. There is no point in trying to convince a non-believer that god exists, or a believer that god does not. Neither is going to change their mind because of someone else’s views, and if they do then They do not belong in either category because they can’t make up their own mind.

  96. #96 Wow
    December 7, 2012

    MBC, the facts are, though, that for any defined version of God in a christian sect, that one provably DOES NOT exist.

    Where these “popular” religions get it wrong is conflating the religion with the god. I.e. their insistence that what is in the bible is absolutely true “because it is the word of god”.

    And a reason not to allow them their opinion is because they do not want to let it stay with them. See the demands for “teaching the controversy” in school or forbidding gay marriage, or even their insistence that they don’t pay tax. That money has to be made up by US paying for the shortfall.

    The fact is that they don’t keep it to themselves.

  97. #97 Doctor How
    London
    December 13, 2012

    A new guy!

    A pity that Ethan’s brilliant, insightful, and frankly humble article degenerated into a burning hellfire rant. There are so many questing, clever people in this thread.
    In principle, there is no reason why there isn’t a maker of universes, or a species of them…but it’s only one option.
    I don’t have the scientific credentials of some people here, but have a simple theory to offer. I’ll keep extra dimensions out of it in this metaphor. What if the end of one universe was the energy to create the next…endlessly. If this was in a particular shape or chain it would be finite and eternal (I know that last bit could be deemed tautological, but bear with me) in the same way that you could travel round and around our world forever.
    Also, have any of you checked out John Gribbins’ book, In Search of the Multiiverse? Brilliant.
    It would be great to hear people’s thoughts on my little theory. I’m writing a paper and would love both agreement and positive criticism to any/all of the above.

  98. #98 Wow
    December 13, 2012

    “In principle, there is no reason why there isn’t a maker of universes, or a species of them”

    No, you’re incorrect.

    Such a maker of universes (or species thereof) require their own universe which either had their own set of creators (“turtles all the way down”) or that universe didn’t need them, so adding creators to this one is just a waste of time.

    “What if the end of one universe was the energy to create the next…endlessly.”

    Entropy.

    It killed the rebound theory of collapse-bang-expand-collapse-repeat.

    It’s much simpler to consider each universe an expanding set of rings from a raindrop falling on a perfectly calm sea.

  99. #99 Doctor How
    London
    December 13, 2012

    Wow, yes, you’re right on both counts. Cue the sound of another theory being paper shredded in my office!
    Turtles all the way down and entropy.OK…
    But a raindrop falling on a perfectly calm sea? A beautiful, poetic image but what does it mean in scientific terms?
    Before serious scientists howl in horror at the word I’m about to use, the singularity at the point of the Big Bang has always felt “instinctively” wrong to me.
    So, if we assume it’s incorrect (and that’s enough to annoy plenty of people) what do we have in its place? A vaccum of multidimensional size – certainly more than anything capable of being sustained in the multiverse (and that vacuum would have to be negatively charged, wouldn’t it?) spitting out universes to become those ‘raindrops’ when the vacuum reached a certain temperature?
    Ethan said it well when he wrote that we’d probably never know – as far as evidence goes it’s like the fingerprints on a lump of ice disappearing when heat is applied, if you like – but having got rid of everything in my first note, what, possibly, could have started all of it?

  100. #100 eric
    December 13, 2012

    the singularity at the point of the Big Bang has always felt “instinctively” wrong to me.

    The idea of a single particle going through two parallel slits on a screen feels instinctively wrong to me. But hey, if that’s what the data tells us it does, then I will take reality over my gut feeling any day.

  101. #101 Wow
    December 13, 2012

    Hell, the earth as a big ball always felt “instinctively wrong” to people. “Why doesn’t the water just fall off the edge?”.

  102. #102 Wow
    December 13, 2012

    “But a raindrop falling on a perfectly calm sea? A beautiful, poetic image but what does it mean in scientific terms?”

    Nothing. It’s an allegorical picture.

  103. #103 Doctor How
    December 13, 2012

    Hmm…a few hundred years back data and reality told humankind the world was flat.
    For now, sticking with my gut feeling…
    Eric, having just checked some ‘facts’, Vilenkin seeks to avoid the singulairty too, doesn’t he, in his latest inflation theory, unless I’m very much mistaken?

  104. #104 Wow
    December 13, 2012

    “Hmm…a few hundred years back data and reality told humankind the world was flat.”

    Not really.

    Any seafaring nation KNEW that the earth was round.

    1) Ships disappear from the hulls up when going away, appear from the mast down when coming back.

    2) Cliffs and islands appear from the top down and disappear from the bottom up.

    3) the open ocean is equidistant from you everywhere you sail out of sight of land.

    It still isn’t very “intuitive” that the earth is a big ball.

    But the evidence has been available for well over 2000 years to anyone who is brave enough to go out of sight of land.

  105. #105 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 14, 2012

    @ Doctor How

    your idea about the energy of one universe ending being the starting point of a next one is not that new. That model is called “cyclic Universe” and has been proposed by Roger Penrose. You can find his lectures about it on youtube.

  106. #106 Doctor How
    December 14, 2012

    Wow initiailly rattled me me with his/her response to my first note. I went away, Sinisa, and checked up on quite a few proposed facts, including, yes, Penrose and quickly realised that entropy wouldn’t apply in a system of infinite extent so I retract my retraction!!
    Also, Wow is a breaker of theories, albeit knowlegable and interesting, but offers nothing new. Allegorical pictures may be one thing, but instead of sending torpedoes to other people’s theories, why doesn’t Wow send something better back.
    I have a tiny addition to Penrose’s model to make it more elegaic, if anyone’s interested…

  107. #107 Wow
    December 14, 2012

    Uh, since when did “new” become “right”?

    A “new” theory of rape was promulgated in the USA. This, however, was not gratefully recieved. You may have heard of the idea that one idiot brought up: “legitimate rape”, right?

    This blog isn’t the place to put new ideas except in the most inadequate way. The medium really really REALLY isn’t able to manage it. Above the line, there are *some* ways around it, but the below the line comment doesn’t allow anywhere near the level of complexity needed to delineate a usefully new idea.

    The “something better back” is the torpedo.

    Which would you rather do: work on something new or persue the wrong thing that has been tried many times before?

    Indeed your idea wasn’t new either. So could you not decide to try to send something better off to begin with?

  108. #108 Doctor How
    December 14, 2012

    Wow, for the first comment, I thought you were really interesting, if ultimately wrong. Now I find you to be merely argumentative…
    No comment on the negatively charged vacuum.
    No comment on entropy not breaking down in an infinite system.
    And etc…many more if you read through my thread.
    Lazy analogies about rape and raindrops upon the sea…without backing it up…a real shame, briefly, it was enlightening to talk, but now it’s become one of those classic, internet, competitive rants, like two rams on a mountainside…I’ll return when I’ve something new…
    Pity you didn’t ask me about the Penrose model, by the way…hey ho!

  109. #109 Wow
    December 15, 2012

    Doctor, from the first quesiton, I knew you weren’t writing any paper.

    Except maybe one for your school.

    I don’t really care if you find me interesting or not.

    No comment on wibblespeak?

    Thing is you then just whine about “Oh, how about something ‘interesting?”.

    Negatively charged vacuum? IT’S A VACUUM. Infinite universes take infinitely long to get that big, etc.

    Your thread?

    Sorry, kid, I have no interest in looking through a thread of someone who hasn’t a clue.

  110. #110 Doctor How
    December 16, 2012

    Wow,
    “inflation, a theory that Vilenkin helped to create, starts with a vacuum in an unusually high energy state and with a negative pressure…” This today, pointed out to me by a friend who showed me an article in the latest edition of New Scientist magazine…and no, that friend wasn’t one of my kindergarten colleagues!
    I have an enormous curiosity for the great mysteries of the universe and beyond, and it has been my total privelege to have met, or listened to the lectures of some of the finest scientists on the subject of our age. I’ve found them to be charming, knowledgeable and open to interesting debate.
    I had hoped to find/speak to some of the fascinating people that have made comments on the above.
    The fact is, I got you.
    You have none of the above qualities. You seem to me to merely want to mock people, who, in your eyes, have less knowledge than you.
    Sadly, for me at least, I’ll go elsewhere and find like-minded people who want to talk/debate these interesting matters, rather than waste my time arguing…
    And I wonder about any “papers” of yours. In my opinion it’s you changing the towels in the bathroom at your local burger joint.
    You come across as embittered. Don’t bother replying. By the time your burger shift is over, I’ll have gone elsewhere to talk to the enlightened…
    Adios amigo.
    PS. Once again, thanks to Ethan, and to all the interesting comments here.

  111. #111 Wow
    December 16, 2012

    You may have great curiosity, but you’re definitely lacking the sine qua non of being a scientist: SKEPTICISM.

    Not the faux skeptic of the denialist, but skeptical of your own thoughts. You seem to prefer someone else do the heavy lifting.

    Rather arrogant of you.

  112. #112 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 16, 2012

    @ Doctor How

    as for debate with people looking to expand knowledge. You are in the right place, but as with any group of people, you can’t like them all. There are dozens of ppl here that post in comments. Some are nice and polite, some have a different approach. It’s up to you to connect with the crowd. Wow is not the only one here, nor is he correct all the time. But yes, his people skills have irritated all of us one time or another ;) But on the flip side, if you know how to take it, his comments can be very valuable.

  113. #113 Doctor How
    December 17, 2012

    Hey, to backtrack to my initial remarks, they were because I WAS the new guy (and er, not a student!)
    “In principle, there is no reason why there isn’t a maker of universes, or a species of them…but it’s only one option.”

    Humankind created Dolly the Sheep within less than a million years of evolving on our insignicant planet, so why couldn’t an infinitely more ancient species create a universe or three…not the BEGINNING of all. Given the Creation/Evolution rant that had preceeded my joining this site, it was a tiny olive branch to all.
    Secondly, I made a great mistake in attempting to add humour to this thread (at that point I didn’t realise how humourless Wow was going to be) and I made some remark about shredding my theories.
    I’m stating the above because of the sage words of Sinisa, and would like to share my thoughts with you all.
    Even if it’s scientifcallly the most correct, new model, the singularity that created the BB is, in my opinion, a nonsense…a mathematical construct to hide ignorance…
    Try pulling a Caspian tiger out of your Christmas cracker on Xmas day…that’s how ludicrous it is…and I watched how vehemently Wow fought the creationists, but you’re asking those same creationists to make a similiar leap of faith to believe you guys with the singulairty creating BB.
    I think I’ve the beginnings of the first clue…hope to work on it with some like-minded, brilliant and successful people, and would love to talk about all this.
    It has to do with almost infinite contraction but not infinite…

  114. #114 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 17, 2012

    @ Doctor How

    actually the “singularity” thing is rather outdated. Yes, it’s still in many books and even on Wiki, but most of the physics community these days doesn’t really subscribe to it. Singularity not only in BB but as well as Black Holes shows that GR is not complete. And because we can’t talk physics in singularity, the actual origin is not part of physics. That’s why physics and cosmology start with inflation then re-heating and then all of the “rest” of BB…. nucleosynthesis etc etc… How that “primordial” region that underwent inflation came to be is beyond physics at this time.

  115. #115 Wow
    December 17, 2012

    “Humankind created Dolly the Sheep within less than a million years of evolving on our insignicant planet, so why couldn’t an infinitely more ancient species create a universe or three”

    Why would we want to put them there?

    All it means is that some universe wasn’t made by someone, so universes can create themselves.

    All you’re doing is adding another thing that has no point whatsoever.

    Why?

  116. #116 Wow
    December 17, 2012

    “Even if it’s scientifcallly the most correct, new model, the singularity that created the BB is, in my opinion, a nonsense…a mathematical construct to hide ignorance…”

    Sorry, your ignorance detector seems to be pointing the wrong way.

  117. #117 Wow
    December 17, 2012

    I wonder if Doctor Huh? here is going to start talking about whilrpool universe and how everything is spinning, spinning, spinning!

  118. #118 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Many thanks, Sinisa. As always, succinct, patient and expertly summed up.
    How that “primordial” region that underwent inflation came to be is beyond physics at this time.
    Who knows, maybe one day, by asking questions and discussing these matters with like-minded people, if I’m lucky, I’ll add the merest crumb to the body of human knowledge about the above sentence.
    Einstein’s famous quote applies to us all: “Imagination is more important than knowledge…”
    Wow, my Dolly analogy was sound. Sheep seemed to be doing perfectly well making new sheep when we came along and made one…I’m not for a moment saying more advanced species have made universes, just that, possibly they could.
    Absolutely, the ignorance detector points all ways, including at myself, which is why I’m here discussing these things, and learning, too…
    Although I’m heartened to see you’ve offered your “spinning, spinning, spinning” theory of the universe. I like it! And GR in this model would mean Ground Rotating, right?

  119. #119 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Ethan states that as far as curvature goes, the universe is spatially flat. Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs? Or is this not right? If it does suggest that, don’t we get back to my earlier comment about a chain of multidimensional “cyclical” universes, notwithstanding the potential entropy problem?

  120. #120 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Who knows, maybe one day, by asking questions and discussing these matters with like-minded people”

    No, that’s religion (or cult).

    You don’t go to “like minded people” because that merely reinforces your bias and removes any feeling for the need of SKEPTICISM.

    “Einstein’s famous quote applies to us all: “Imagination is more important than knowledge…””

    And here he was talking about things like “Gedanken Experiment”. One of which led to E=mc2.

    He wasn’t talking about making any old shit up.

    “Absolutely, the ignorance detector points all ways,including at myself”

    You never seem to bother when it points to you, though, do you. It’s someone else’s fault, then, isn’t it.

    “which is why I’m here discussing these things, and learning, too…”

    Well try listening. When your mouth is open, your ears are closed.

    “Although I’m heartened to see you’ve offered your “spinning, spinning, spinning” theory of the universe. I like it!”

    Yeah, I thought you might be Chelle. That isn’t my idea, it’s the baseless demands of woomancers similar to yourself whining on about how THEY MUST be smart because they make things up that nobody else agrees is real.

  121. #121 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs”

    No, because space isn’t a material.

    Yet more raping of analogies, just like Chelle.

  122. #122 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Wow,like-minded people means those who have a passionate interest in Ethan’s work and the subject in general, as opposed to shopping or football or something. Not people who agree with me…hell, I’m seeking answers myself.
    I based my last question firmly on Ethan’s piece, above…and hoped that someone would care to discuss it sensibly. I get this rant back from you. You’re coming across as a troll.
    Why don’t you moderate your remarks, or interesting sites like these will get closed down when the owner gets fed up.
    I’ll wait for someone sensible to respond – if they want to – but, meantime, I won’t be responding further to you…
    To show my ignorance again, who or what is Chelle? Another of your victims, I don’t doubt…

  123. #123 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Wow,like-minded people means those who have a passionate interest in Ethan’s work”

    That has no bearing on your work, though. No bearing on whether you have anything to say.

    That is only about whether there’s a passionate interest in Ethan’s work.

    You are not Ethan.

    Understood?

    “I based my last question firmly on Ethan’s piece, above”

    Where does Ethan say that space is actually made of a substance that has an elastic limit?

    Go on, show me.

    “I’ll wait for someone sensible to respond”

    No, by that you mean “sensible” == “agrees with me” or “likes my nutcase ideas”.

    Indeed that seems to be the de facto definition you’re using for “like-minded” too. I.e. they think like you.

  124. #124 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    My question remains, and I sought to find it – in vain – in Ethan’s brilliant piece, that as far as curvature goes, the universe is spatially flat. Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs?
    Spacetime could, potentially be made of “tear-able” material, capable of triggering further BBs, couldn’t it? If this is wrong, why? If this is right, I go back to my original question: does this mean a chain of multidimensional “cyclical” universes, notwithstanding the potential entropy problem?
    I’m not saying I’m right, by any means, just curious about better answers, or even better questions, than mine.

  125. #125 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    You are not Ethan.
    Understood?
    What are you talking about, for heaven’s sake?
    You are a true embarassment to sites like this, and free speech in general. Go off and haunt someone else, maybe a reality television siite. I’ve noticed the proper people (who disagree and point me in the new directions, by the way), drying up by the day. They don’t want to hear your troll-rants, life’s too short…
    This is unseemly. Please go away. I hope Ethan bans you one day.
    Maybe you and Chelle – I’ve now found out about her – could have a rant in the burger joint where you work every night, and gradually, slowly, the rest of these brilliant people may return…to discuss science without all the name-calling and nonsense.
    Sinisa said give you the benefit of the doubt, I did because I thought her thread brilliant, but clearly her patience is longer than mine…

  126. #126 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “My question remains, and I sought to find it – in vain…

    Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs?”

    In vain?

    Obviously reading isn’t your strong point.

    Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs”

    No, because space isn’t a material.

    ===

    In vain, your question was answered, but you weren’t listening.

    Just like Chelle.

  127. #127 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “You are a true embarassment to sites like this, and free speech in general.”

    Followed by: “Please go away. I hope Ethan bans you one day.”

    I take it irony to you is something made from Fe, right?

  128. #128 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “What are you talking about, for heaven’s sake?”

    A question you’ve been asked but decided petulance was an answer instead of merely a response.

    You claim that “like minded” meant “those who have a passionate interest in Ethan’s work”. Since you are not Ethan, your work doesn’t have to be passionately of interest.

    But being unable to follow a logical chain of cause and effect you were unable to manage to make the connection.

    You’re an embarrassment to the educational system of whichever country you grew up in (unless you were homeschooled).

  129. #129 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    I came here wanting to discuss the secrets of the universe. I didn’t care how wrong I was, I was just curious.
    In the end, I end up agreeing with only one thing of Chelle’s (and she’s completely entitled to her views, systems, beliefs). Here, instead of friends/adversaries debating the great universal truths, I find Wow, a great troll that I didn’t think existed outside of Hollywood movies, to paraphrase her words. Agreed.
    I suggest for you, Wow, a mirror, and deep introspection…the other silent majority here think you’re ridiculous.

  130. #130 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “I came here wanting to discuss the secrets of the universe.”

    Seems more like you came here to ask silly questions and take offence when your wibblings are not treated with the amazement you seem to think they deserve.

    What is your area of study? I want to make a fairly clear example of what pissing about you’re doing here.

  131. #131 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “In the end, I end up agreeing with only one thing of Chelle’s (and she’s completely entitled to her views, systems, beliefs).”

    So when you said: “To show my ignorance again, who or what is Chelle?” you were not being completely honest, shall we say..?

    She (you) are entitled to your beliefs, views et al.

    However, nobody is entitled to have their beliefs, views, et al treated with unearned respect.

    You are free to talk complete bollocks.

    I am free to call you out on the complete bollocks.

    That is what free speech means.

    Indeed, if you’re NOT allowed to speak out against bollocks, the FreeSpeecherites who bang on about how “the only response to bad speech is more speech” are incorrect: you DON’T WANT “more speech”, you want adulation or time wasted on working out what the hell is going on in that brain.

  132. #132 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    So now you’re saying I’m Chelle?!?!?!
    Mate, go and take some pills and book yourself into a safe, secure unit with lovely padded walls and rubber sheets.
    You’re a total nutcase, mate.
    Honestly, when I see all the interesting people earlier in this thread, I’m totally gutted that my first experience in this sort of forum has been with a TROLL.
    You’re no sort of scientist…no one with any credence behaves the way you do in a forum like this…mind those fingers now, on that deep fat fryer…
    The worst mistake you make is that in this world of nom-de-plumes, you insult he who you don’t know…
    Enough of this…I hope others pipe up and kick you out of here…run along johnny, back under your bridge, troll…

  133. #133 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Gutted about one thing only: Sinisa Lazarek was genuinely interesting and informed. After this pathetic exchange I’ve been reduced to your level, Wow, and she won’t want to speak again. Shame – for me, anyway. Do everyone a favour, Wow, get some therapy.

  134. #134 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    If I were claiming you are Chelle, so what?

    What is absolutely known is that you were less than honest earlier.

    “You’re no sort of scientist”

    How do you know?

    “Sinisa Lazarek was genuinely interesting and informed”

    By which you mean “didn’t point out I was talking complete shite”, right?

    I note that you haven’t explained what your specific knowledge lies in. And your assertion when starting about “Writing a paper on it” was complete hogwash.

    Chelle kept banging on about how she was writing a paper and we’d all be amazed at the “new direction” displayed within.

    It never happened.

    OK, you’re twelve, I get it now. Sorry to confuse you for an adult.

  135. #135 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    As to your assinine claim of my lacking being informative, apparently you didn’t know about the evidence for a spherical earth. See earlier post:

    “Hmm…a few hundred years back data and reality told humankind the world was flat.”

    Not really.

    Any seafaring nation KNEW that the earth was round.

    1) Ships disappear from the hulls up when going away, appear from the mast down when coming back.

    2) Cliffs and islands appear from the top down and disappear from the bottom up.

    3) the open ocean is equidistant from you everywhere you sail out of sight of land.

    ===

    Seems you only want goodfact, rather than truefact. Infospeak rather than information. But more than information you want confirmation of your own pre-eminence.

    You have to earn that, kid. You’ll find out when you leave school and start work.

  136. #136 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Silence, troll, and beneath your bridge you go, the three billy goats will be here soon!

  137. #137 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    I note you still loath free speech unless it’s what you like “Doc”.

  138. #138 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    Hell, in the christmas spirit, “Doc”, I’ll help you out.

    If you want to talk off topic bollocks you can do so on this thread here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    You should also read the ATL comments.

  139. #139 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Ethan states that as far as curvature goes, the universe is spatially flat. Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs? Or is this not right? If it does suggest that, don’t we get back to my earlier comment about a chain of multidimensional “cyclical” universes, notwithstanding the potential entropy problem?
    Sorry to resubmit this. As you can see from the above, I’d rather talk about it with more rational people. Apologies again…space isn’t a material…hmm…don’t mind if I’m wrong but this comment feels, just…wrong…

  140. #140 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Does this suggest that in the distant future, it could reach its “elastic” limit and tear, triggering further BBs”

    No. The universe doesn’t consist of a material.

    And this is OFF TOPIC. Pop along to the troll thread, asshat:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

  141. #141 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    Ever thought, “Doc” (12 years old, already a Doctor, your mum must be so very proud!) that the reason why nobody else is answering your question is because IT IS FUCKING STUPID????

  142. #142 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    They’re waiting for the big bad troll to go away, that’s all…

  143. #143 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    If you want to get an answer, try on the appropriate “I have no idea” thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

  144. #144 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    PS bad call there. You’re asserting that everyone else is scared.

    PPS Since you post like Chelle, since you argue like Chelle, since you already lied when you claimed not to know who or what Chelle was, and Chelle has been banned from posting under her name, AND that she’s done a pseudonym and fake email address at least once, does that mean you’re Chelle posting as yet another sockpuppet?

  145. #145 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Wow, I have nothing further to say to you…I came here because What Happened Before The Big Bang is of interest to me…not some rant…please don’t respond and I won’t either…your paranoia about Chelle is ridiculous, is she from London? How would I even know her, until you mentioned her? You may spend your life in a small room, ranting at others, but some of us have a life. Please leave me be to ask my questions…

  146. #146 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 18, 2012

    @ Doctor How

    First of all, am not a she. But not biggy, you’re not the first to think my name a female one. But actually, in my country it’s purely a male name :D But anyways…

    As for your question about spatial flatness… this has nothing to do with elasticity. It doesn’t mean a Universe is a pancake. Spatially flat universe means that we can use Euclidean geometry. It means that the sum of angles in a triangle will be 180 degrees, not more not less. That’s all.

    As for tearing the spacetime… who knows, but it has nothing to do with what spatial flatness is about.

  147. #147 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Wow, I have nothing further to say to you…”

    Except that.

    Really.

    And I guess since you haven’t said no, you’re admitting you’re chelle, right?

  148. #148 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    “Please leave me be to ask my questions…”

    I have, you idiot.

    What do you think your last few posts have been????

    Truly your intellect knows no start.

    However, you can ask them ON THIS SITE at the location FOR THOSE QUESTIONS.

    Go on. Look. Click on the link:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    Go on. Click.

    It’s Ethan’s Blog!

    However, he asks that you post there if you’re putting half-assed ideas with no science behind them on that thread so that threads that have something pertinent to say on a subject to not get swamped by blithering idiots like you.

    Chelle didn’t like being asked to post there.

    Neither do you.

    Chelle also insisted that it was paranoia to speculate about her mendacity.

    Just as you do.

    Walking, quacking and swimming like a duck, and meanwhile the duck goes “You can’t call me a duck!”.

  149. #149 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    I’ll break down the UR for you:

    scienceblogs.com

    That is the same hosting site as this thread.

    startswithabang

    That’s Ethan’s blog.

    “/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/”

    Ethan here says:

    “Because from here on out, you are no longer free to promote your own, personal, anti-scientific screed here. Not on this blog, not on any old posts, not on any new posts. It’s wrong, it’s distracting, it’s deleterious to the community and it’s damaging to the good people who come here for the same purposes I do: to share the story of what we know about the Universe and how we know it with one another.”

    If you want to ask silly questions, that is where you ask them.

  150. #150 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Many thanks, Sinisa, and apologies for the mix-up. What country are you from?
    So the shape has nothing to do with its durability? Analogies can only apply with concepts such as these, however feeble, so forgive mine, but if the universe were saddle-shaped, or spherical, you could imagine it being more durable. A flat universe, which it is according to Ethan, suggests it being more fragile – eventually, after billions of years of stretching…or am I just not getting it when people tell me spacetime isn’t material that can be stretched/torn?

  151. #151 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    See what happens SL when you egg these blowhards on?

    “Will space time rip?”
    “No”
    “What is it made of then if it won’t rip?”

    Sheesh.

    “or am I just not getting it when people tell me spacetime isn’t material that can be stretched/torn?”

    Yes. Like I said earlier:

    No. Space isn’t a material.

  152. #152 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Please pipe down, Wow, please! Were you in the factory when spacetime was being made?!?! Please…there are other opinions, apart from your own. Why don’t you let this debate unfold with some other people, rather than getting your fog-horn in at all intervals.

  153. #153 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    Please let me post.

    Oh, do you mean only YOU are allowed to troll this thread?

    Please, stop talking bollocks.

  154. #154 Doctor How
    December 18, 2012

    Why don’t we try and start this again then, Wow? Hey, we could even be argumentative beer buddies one day!
    I just want to talk about What Happened Before The Big Bang and all related things…

  155. #155 Wow
    December 18, 2012

    OK, so do so.

  156. #156 Doctor How
    December 19, 2012

    In other words, we not only don’t know whether there was a singularity at some point in the very distant, pre-inflation past, or whether inflation was truly eternal, we don’t even know whether inflation occurred for less than a yoctosecond or more than the present age of the (post-Big Bang) Universe!
    Reading the above and studying its accompanying graph, If inflation is STILL occurring, that would make the theories of multiverses inevitable – is that right?

  157. #157 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 19, 2012

    @ Doctor How

    “So the shape has nothing to do with its durability?”
    -no it doesn’t. Why would it?? Durability of what?? We are not talking about plastic bottles, we are talking about the whole observable Universe. What durability are you implying?? Your particular choice of words doesn’t really make sense to me. Shape of Universe has to do with geometry and nothing else. You are talking about some materials. Am not sure you understand the subject you want to debate.

    ” but if the universe were saddle-shaped, or spherical, you could imagine it being more durable”
    – no, I couldn’t. Because “durability” and “universe” don’t belong in the same sentence.. not by a long shot.

    ” A flat universe, which it is according to Ethan, suggests it being more fragile – eventually, after billions of years of stretching”
    – number one.. it’s not according to Ethan. This isn’t point of view matter. It’s the result of our measurements and it’s the view of whole physics community.
    But again you put in words like stretching and fragile and so on… What in the world are you talking about??? What’s your agenda? Unlike Wow, I’m giving a benefit of doubt, but you really need to phrase yourself correctly. You said that you were here to learn. Then do that. Open up wikipedia and start reading about the Universe. Because what you are asking just makes no sense in any physics terminology.

    ” If inflation is STILL occurring, that would make the theories of multiverses inevitable – is that right?”
    -yes, if inflation is still happening outside of our “bubble universe”

  158. #158 Wow
    December 19, 2012

    SL.

    Remember.

    Chelle.

  159. #159 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 20, 2012

    Yeah I do. Hope it’s not that all over again.

  160. #160 Wow
    December 20, 2012

    It’s a common M.O.

  161. #161 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 20, 2012

    there was never a before. everything has always been. infinity is a wonderful thing. no matter how big or small something is, it is always the same compared to infinity. so an infinitely small singularity is no smaller than the universe of today. it only is tiny compared to our relative perspective. small or large has no meaning when there are no reference points. as you say, movement promotes change, but then infinitely slow and infinitely fast are both the same when compared to the infinite. so, maybe we can speak of change. that in itself is an illusion if you have infinity as your guide. unless there is some driving force besides infinity, physics is a dead point. yes play with your equations and as someone has said mind bending solutions. play your games and explain your finite world. infinity will show you that no matter what you find, you are where you began. we are still in the singularity.

  162. #162 Wow
    December 21, 2012

    Well, if we’re going with blank statement:

    You’re dead wrong.

  163. #163 Doctor How
    December 21, 2012

    Welcome, welcome, welcome,liloldman!!!
    Fascinating…and right, surely.
    My initial remark:
    “What if the end of one universe was the energy to create the next…endlessly. If this was in a particular shape or chain it would be finite and eternal “. I only used the finite and eternal phrase to apply to our current cycle of time/universes, to paraphrase Sir Roger Penrose. But all of it? Infinite, absolutely…
    Apply your logic and the “turtles all the way down” and entropy arguments are rendered meaningless.
    But the human brain isn’t wired to accept infinity so we try and find ways to make it fit a shape. As I have with the above.
    Scientists with their equations…
    Wow obsessing about Chelle…
    These are all finite things.
    Thank you lilodman, this is WISE…

  164. #164 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    infinity is a concept that can be explored and understood. at one time we didn’t walk upright or communicate as we do now. look at us today! Einstein and others found the door to this concept, but it will take us many finite steps it seems to grasp and become infinite minded. after all, it’s through finite senses, (hear, smell, taste, feel, see, thought) which allow us to grasp it. we can understand the concept of infinity, like we learned to walk and communicate, but it may take awhile. being dead wrong can lead to a better understanding. your right can be my left. which way do you want to look?

  165. #165 Wow
    December 21, 2012

    “Fascinating…and right, surely.”

    Why “surely”?

    Why “surely there cannot have been a before”?

    Why “surely we are still in the singularity.”?

    Indeed, what does any of that mean?

    But you’re not here (and neither is the latest in a long and tiring line of idiot woomancers) to do science.

    You’re here to be a cunt.

  166. #166 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    before and after can be, as a perception. thanks to Einstein and others, the way has been opened to these concepts. we are all born to a finite existence. we learned to walk upright and we now have a more intricate way of communicating. we will learn to better understand infinity. our six senses, ( to touch, smell, see, hear, taste and think) allow us to experience it. before and after are finite principles within infinity, but you can’t measure them, where they are, what role or model that relates them to anything. infinity is a much simpler model which gives us a boundless place to explore. infinity is consistent. right or left, up, down, far and near, before and after, all finite principles, which will explain whatever reference point you wish to imagine. pulled out of the the great void to make us all feel secure and comfortable, but keeping us bound and ignorant. infinity sets us free. keep holding to your before and after and that’s what you will get. let it go and the infinite will open to you and you will indeed be free.

  167. #167 Wow
    December 21, 2012

    Are you channelling “The Sphinx” from Mystery Men?

    Please stop posting nonsense. If you feel you “have to”, there’s a thread for that.

  168. #168 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    why does there have to be a before?

  169. #169 Wow
    December 21, 2012

    Why does that mean infinity?

    IF the past is infinitely old, we would never have got here: it would have taken infinite time to get to this point.

  170. #170 Doctor How
    December 21, 2012

    Open your mind, Wow…infinitely old and infinitely young is the same thing. Infinite!
    You’re using FINITE constructs to describe the infinite…

  171. #171 Wow
    December 21, 2012

    You’ve let your brain fall out, Dr Huh.

    It doesn’t even make any sense and you know it: else you’d have been able to explain the error in my reasoning.

  172. #172 Doctor How
    December 21, 2012

    Of course I spotted it…it hasn’t occurred to you yet, has it?
    The greats wonders of the universe/multiverse and whatever possibly unknowable mysteries, and you resort to name-calling. Dr Huh? And according to your rants, Cow, I was the 12-year-old. You shame yourself with such nonsense…again, were you in the Infinity Factory when it was handed out? Was your idea of debating a subject at school to blow up the place if someone on the other team made a better point?!?!
    You do a good job in dismantling other people’s theories, without actually offering a REASON why they’re wrong.
    liloldman’s point about the nature of before remains unanswered, despite your swearing, name calling, mockery and unpleasantness.
    Is it going to occur to you at some point that all interested parties will be gone from here soon, driven off by your rudeness, and you’ll be left fighting with yourself?! In all likelihood, with your own alter-ego (Chelle, anyone??)
    I hope liloldman sticks around for another day or so…I think I could put up with about that just to hear if he has anything more to say…right or wrong, at least he’s offering a viewpoint, as opposed to a bucket of vitriol.

  173. #173 Doctor How
    December 21, 2012

    Sorry about the Cow/Wow typographical error…thanks for your udderstanding…

  174. #174 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    it has taken an infinitely long time to get here.

  175. #175 Doctor How
    December 21, 2012

    “…infinity is a wonderful thing. no matter how big or small something is, it is always the same compared to infinity…”
    Eternity and no time at all.
    iloldman’s point is brilliant, but humankind is too arrogant to want this to be the answer.
    “Ask the snail beneath the stone, are there any stars at all.”
    Many thanks.

  176. #176 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    Dr. How, your point is much appreciated.

  177. #177 Doctor How
    December 21, 2012

    Absolutely my pleasure, liloldman. I don’t mind if I’m wrong. I only want to discuss these things. You’re exactly the sort of person I hoped to meet when I first came here.

  178. #178 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    all in fun.

  179. #179 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 21, 2012

    I’m not here to prove anything, wrong or right, because in my opinion, both are the same. i believe the consequences from our thoughts and actions are what determines our well being. in the process of deciding what leads to the results of these consequences are determined by our actions within the environment and our environment’s actions on us. we have to take into consideration all the knowledge and interchangeable values like A + B=C, where C – B=A as a very basic example to come to a conclusion that reinforces those assumptions. This can take a very long time. possibly more than a lifetime. rights and wrongs will come and go. if you really look at it, i mean, in depth, you might see, many times, you can’t have one without the other. I think it is good to look at the paradoxes. I don’t believe anything is impossible. there are so many places you can go from our discussion. we all have the ability to redirect our energy in thought and actions to seek out the truth in every tale and use it to transform the environment both in and around us. i do believe infinity is seamless, but i also believe, at this point i don’t know everything I’m talking about. This is why i seek to lay out my thoughts to a collective sea of like minded others that will help me expand my knowledge and understanding of this place we live. all in fun. thank you.

  180. #180 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 22, 2012

    @ liloldman

    As per request to abide by certain posting rules from Ethan, I’m kindly requesting that you continue this debate at this thread:
    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/23/weekend-diversion-you-are-responsible-for-what-you-say/

    couple of your last posts on this topic don’t have anything to do with physics nor do they address the subject of the post. So please don’t hijack this thread and instead continue under the thread that has been created for such purposes. Thank you.

  181. #181 liloldman
    kentucky
    December 22, 2012

    i thought the original question here is, “what happened BEFORE the big bang”. it seems we should at least begin with original ideas. physics is not all numbers. However we can start again numerically. ……….-9,-8,-7,-6,-5,-4,-3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3,+4,+5,+6,+7,+8,+9…….and maybe stick to the point. I will not be back unless I’m invited.

  182. #182 Doctor How
    December 23, 2012

    –Spam comment deleted–

    Ethan’s note: be careful, Doctor How, this comment originated from your IP address. Someone may be piggy-backing on your connection.

  183. #183 Doctor How
    December 23, 2012

    Np idea how the above post applied to my name…bizarre!
    OK, What happened before the big bang is a question BEYOND physics. I found liloldman interesting because of this…philosophical points come into play Surely the brilliant Ethan realises that, eventually, at singulairty, or at cosmic inflation, or whatever, current physics breaks down and becomes “magic” – pardon the phrase. Then it is the job of thinkers to inspire the next generation of physcists.
    Instead, Wow drives off all those with less physics knowledge than him, not for a moment thinking that we bring something different. In the end, I was even a little disappointed to read Sinisa berate me about not understanding the nature of spacetime…my knowledge about things he knows little about is comparable, as I suspect, is liloldman’s. But Wow in particular, like a fat toad on a lily pad, makes this a diffcult place to come to, and like liloldman, won’t come back unless invited. It’s less a meeting of minds and more a bull-pit for physicsts puffing their chests out and work out who has more CURRENT knowledge.
    liloldman was a brief highlight. Happy Christmas to all.

  184. #184 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 24, 2012

    @ Doctor How

    There are couple of things that you need to be aware of concerning this blog. It is first and foremost a physics blog. It’s not psychics blog or new age blog. But even when dealing with pure physics, comments section is not a place for people to advertise their theories. That’s what “you are responsible for what you say” thread is for. That is why I pointed liloldman to post there. Those are the rules all of us here agreed with Ethan to respect.

    Now, I don’t know why you feel you were berated. I told you plain and simple that your questions, in a way you asked them, make no sense. Any physicist would tell you the same. You may not like that. But that’s how it is. And I also told you that if you want to have a quality discussion, you need to know the subject you are discussing. I even pointed out where you get more information. Am really sorry that you find this not to your liking.

    You didn’t ask questions about physics and spacetime. You instead started with your view (which is horribly wrong) about some fragility of space due to geometry. Maybe you don’t even realize how silly the above sounds. It would be something like me asking an auto engineer if he could imagine that if car tires were triangular instead of circular, that that would make cars fly. And then saying that I’m disapointed that he said that I should really learn what cars are before asking such silly questions. Do you see now? Do you think that all of us here woke up one day with the knowledge about cosmology? No, we all read and read and read and study. Some as a professional calling, some as a hobby or as people who want to know more. But we all read and study in our time. If you want to talk about cosmology, you need to learn it first. At least to some extent. I didn’t call you stupid, I didn’t insult you in any way. I just said that your question are not correctly formed and even tried to show you why. What more can you ask for? You might not like the answer, but that is not my fault.

    As for liloldman. Again, his comments about infinity bring nothing to the table. He didn’t talk physics, since he knows little about it. All he did was basically rant about how all of our limited minds are not capable of decerning the higher truths of universe.. bla bla bla.. This isn’t a meditation blog. There are plenty of blogs and sites out there about how to reach enlightment. This isn’t one of them.

    So to summ it up. There are certain rules about posting. The comment needs to be in line with the subject of Ethan’s post. It needs to be rooted in real accepted science. No pseudo-science is allowed. And the comment isn’t suppose to advertise and promote someones personal pet theory or worse, a non-scientific views. All those things can be posted, but under the thread that I linked above.

    If the rest of us can abide by those rules, than so can lilodman and rest of new-age group.

  185. #185 Sean T
    December 24, 2012

    Well put Sinisa. I would also suggest that liloldman and posters such as he/she, might well know very little about the topic of infinity as well. He/she seems to not realize that comparison of the cardinality of infinite entities does in fact make sense; not all infinities are the same size.

    Prove me wrong, liloldman. Which is larger the set of integers or the set of rational numbers? Which is larger the set of real numbers or the set of rational numbers? Which is larger, the set of all points on a two dimensional plane or the set of real numbers. If you want to discuss “infinity” these are pretty basic questions the answers to which should be very simple for anyone knowledgeable on the topic.

  186. #186 Sinisa Lazarek
    December 24, 2012

    We just need to be careful not to go mad like Boltzman, Godel and others did :)

  187. #187 liloldman
    December 24, 2012

    according to my concept, neither can be larger or smaller. i’m invited, ok, just this one time.

  188. #188 liloldman
    December 24, 2012

    the real numbers.

  189. #189 liloldman
    December 24, 2012

    the last thing. since all points are assigned a number, then unless the points stretch forever, i would say the real. however if you wish to limit both, they could be the same.

  190. #190 Wow
    December 27, 2012

    “The greats wonders of the universe/multiverse and whatever possibly unknowable mysteries”

    Well apart from the typo, any unknowable mysteries will remain unknown and putting “possible” makes the statement even less meaningful.

    Sorry, if you’re going to waste everyone’s time, then expect a bollocking you idiot.

    “and you resort to name-calling. Dr Huh?”

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

    ― Thomas Jefferson

    “And according to your rants, Cow, I was the 12-year-old.”

    Yup. Because you have the reasoning skill and experience that one would expect from someone so young.

    If you’re a lot older than that then this is not going to make you look *good* is it.

    “You do a good job in dismantling other people’s theories, without actually offering a REASON why they’re wrong.”

    No, I gave a reason. Indeed SL gave the exact same reason.

    But you don’t like it.

    Tough shit, kid.

    “Is it going to occur to you at some point that all interested parties will be gone from here soon, driven off by your rudeness”

    Google “tone trolling” dickhead.

  191. #191 briam359
    uk
    January 2, 2013

    Parhaps i’m naive. But may the most obvious answer be the correct one. Judging mankind and the planets size relative to the universe and the items there in, maybe our big bang was just a small incident in a much larger system. This systems magnetude being beyond our current capacity. This a perfectly valid assumption ( and obvious when mankinds belief that it can justify anything is ignored).
    This large system may not need the complex theories that we develop to explain our existance in our universe.
    Sometimes we need to see the bigger picture and not make poor decisions on incomplete data.

  192. #192 D.Smeets
    Netherlands
    January 4, 2013

    Incomplete data is what we have. And keep having. From all the proof of science we have in the world, we still cannot wrap our heads around the whole universe. We use numbers for everything and still we know only a fracture of what is, what was, and what will come.
    Time, space, gravity, black holes..etc. Before the big bang.
    To me the big bang is like a bible the scienetist hold on to , just to have something to hold on as a beginning of something.
    We as a people are so so far away from where we came from that our searches will only lead to more questions if we donot just live and let live.
    look at this spec , our mother earth. it’s dying and that is because of us.
    Everybody has hast to a destination called dead. Too much science leads to madsness. Just look at the world around us.

  193. #193 Wow
    January 4, 2013

    “Incomplete data is what we have. And keep having.”

    Not much more enlightening than saying “we weren’t there”.

  194. #194 Doctor How
    January 5, 2013

    “…eventually, at singulairty, or at cosmic inflation, or whatever, current physics breaks down and becomes “magic” – pardon the phrase. Then it is the job of thinkers to inspire the next generation of physcists.”

    Maybe the Big Bang, as in preceeding posts, is a cyclical (non-entropy) event, and is commonplace beyond current physics, and being more multi-dimensionsial than time, avoids that pitfall too.

  195. #195 Doctor How
    January 5, 2013

    PS. Wow. We should have a beer soon. You’re going to be the best, argumentative, and interesting beer-buddy I’m ever likely to have!!!

  196. #196 David Marsden
    New Zealand
    January 5, 2013

    The question still remains the same, what was before the ‘big bang’?

  197. #197 Wow
    January 5, 2013

    “Maybe the Big Bang, as in preceeding posts, is a cyclical (non-entropy) event”

    And as in preceeding posts, you were told quite explicitly and in detail how that was wrong.

    You HAD at the time pretended to accept that.

    Seems you weren’t being entirely honest.

  198. #198 Wow
    January 5, 2013

    And it still remains as silly as “What is the difference between a duck’s legs”.

    At least nobody expects that one to be answered.

  199. #199 Doctor How
    January 7, 2013

    This remains a frustrating, yet very interesting eperience, coming here. People who offer new perspectives are gently guided elsewhere, and anyone asking specific questions are either ridiculed, or worse, ignored. Is it a physics site only for CURRENT understanding? If so, that’s very limiting, ultimately.

    David Marsden of New Zealand’s question is simple and wise:

    “The question still remains the same, what was before the ‘big bang’?”

    It’s the reason I came here in the first place. Clearly, Wow was there, taking photographs and notes before the big bang, as his/her words, below, about my post illustrate.

    “told quite explicitly” and “wrong”.

    I look forward to something substantive from Wow soon.

    It’s why people check out this site, to ask questions and find answers in response to the original, fascinating Ethan piece.

  200. #200 Doctor How
    January 7, 2013

    PS…Could I suggest a tangy orange sauce for your duck’s legs? Meanwhile, it’d be interesting to hear from someone else about the topic of this post: What happened before the big bang?

  201. #201 Wow
    January 7, 2013

    “and anyone asking specific questions are either ridiculed”

    The questions you were asking and the way you asked them is called “JAQing off”.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/JAQing_off

    And it’s considered correct to insult and ridicule those barnpots who insist on doing so.

  202. #202 Doctor How
    January 7, 2013

    Wow, I’m seeking to get a glimpse into what happened before the big bang, and am seeking answers using Socrates’ principles…now, run along and don’t burn your duck, or the skin comes out all slimy…
    Meanwhile, the question still remains the same, what was before the ‘big bang’?”

  203. #203 Wow
    January 7, 2013

    No, if you were trying to do that, when you had been told how and why your question was inapplicable, you would have stopped.

    What you did was continue bitching on about it, then tone trolling.

    All part of the JAQing off trolling M.O.

    The answer to the question, AS ALWAYS remains the same.

    Define before.

  204. #204 Wow
    January 7, 2013

    If you think that the question merits answering, why can’t you answer the query about the difference between a ducks legs?

    Or if you don’t care about living things, what’s North of the North Pole?

    It is a similarly stupid question.

    But if you think yours is even a question, try answering the North Pole or Duck one.

  205. #205 Doctor How
    January 7, 2013

    North Pole question: not a 3D dimension but, instead, ana or kata dimension above the North Pole, read Rudy Rucker.

  206. #206 Doctor How
    January 7, 2013

    Forgive the phrase ‘above’, it was sloppy, and an instant response.

  207. #207 Wow
    January 7, 2013

    Nope, that is still UP or DOWN from the North Pole. It isn’t going NORTH from it.

    Try again.

  208. #208 OKThen
    Socrates method is not an experimental method
    January 7, 2013

    Doctor How
    I haven’t followed the whole discussion .
    And I must add that Wow usually has a very good bullshit detector.

    But having said that I will answer what happened before the big bang?

    1) we don’t even know what the big bang was
    2) despite that a good working cosmology must agree with a train load of observations.
    3) the cosmologies that agree with that train load of observations are usually called the Standard Model Cosmologies which is long hand for they are some version of the big bang model. (Yes even granted that we are not exactly sure what the big bang model is)
    4) You see when a theory gains overwhelming confirmation with all kinds of data it becomes an accepted theory.
    5) an accepted theory isn’t perfect but it is unlikely to be overturned. It is more likely to be absorbed in some more precies theory. i.e. Newtonian mechanics has never been overturned; but it is in a sense absorbed by special relativity. Not that Newtonian mechanics is wrong; it is just limited to a domain of relavance (namely velocities <<< than c speed of light)
    6) so what happened before the big bang? Is in my mind a question of what theory is big enough, bold enough, insightful enough to absorb and go beyond our current standard model (i.e. big bang theory)?

    7) perhaps it will involve quantum gravity, string theory, a better understanding of time, extradimensions, multi-universes, particles beyond the standard model of elementary particle physics, eternal inflation, etc. etc. etc.

    Now this link http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0408111v1.pdf titled:
    Time before Time (Classifications of universes in contemporary cosmology, and how to avoid the antinomy of the beginning and eternity of the world) by Rüdiger Vaas, 2004
    gives a good summary of possible universes that seem to meet the abundance of evidence supportting the Standard Cosmology Model.

    It's a nice summary. But in my mind, it doesn't answer your question (no one can answer your question yet) because a more correct theory that supplants the big bang theory hasn't been developed yet. there are lots of candidate theories. but none that provides the ahha that quantum mechanics, and general relativity provided.

    So a lot of excellent scientists are looking for that eureka new theory that answers some simple and yet so complex questions.

    Applying the Socratic method is of no help except to expose logical holes and fallacies in a current theory. But the holes are pretty well known.

    But knowing that general relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang theory have problems (i.e. are not perfect) is very very different than knowing that such and such a new theory is a Eureka theory (in the down and dirty detail) that will explain and clarify whatever it is that so many brilliant scientists are trying to understand.

    As Wow pointed out, "what happened before the big bang?" may be the wrong question to ask. Science progresses often not by finding the right answer but by asking the right question.

    e.g. Einstein insight that when falling off a chair; I'm in an inertial frame of reference and don't feel gravity gravity. In fact we have no sense of gravity. aha.

    Not to belittle Socrates; but Socratic thinking is very different than Einstein or Schrodinger or Bohr or Guth thinking. Socrates had no idea about experiment; and using the results of experiment to focus and clarify theoretical thinking.

    So what happened before the big bang?
    In my opinion, science is still working out the meaning and details of what happened after the big bang.

    And in working out that detail; some understanding is flowing like water downhill and raising specific questions about before the big and in the future future future. but none of those questions and understandings are science (in my mind) until they explain something in the observable here and now.

    But warning:
    If you really want to know what to believe; you are looking for a religious answer. On the other hand if you are content to know what we don't understand; and are prepared to wait (to not understand, not know) until experiment, observation and theory provide insight; then you have a scientific approach.

  209. #209 Doctor How
    January 8, 2013

    Thank you OKThen, this is precisely the reason I came here: your post is insightful, informed and knowledgeable…

    Your last paragraph, though, is the nub of it.

    Earlier I said, “Surely the brilliant Ethan realises that, eventually, at singulairty, or at cosmic inflation, or whatever, current physics breaks down and becomes “magic” – pardon the phrase. Then it is the job of thinkers to inspire the next generation of physcists.”

    Whether I’m right or wrong on this point, it was a privilege to read your post. Many, many thanks.

  210. #210 Wow
    January 8, 2013

    Yup, there’s another deja vu moment.

    Tell me, are you on continuous loop?

  211. #211 Doctor How
    January 8, 2013

    Wow, in answer to your question, again I suggest you read the brilliant Rudy Rucker:

    Your question: “What’s North of the North Pole?”

    My Rucker response is above, to which you replied:

    “Nope, that is still UP or DOWN from the North Pole. It isn’t going NORTH from it. Try again.”

    Sorry, kid, back to class for you. The ana and kata dimensions don’t work like that.

    What’s your answer, by the way? Read this entire thread and you blast people for their own theories but offer little yourself.

  212. #212 Doctor How
    January 8, 2013

    Wow, your silence on ana and kata is enlightening…and “enlivening”…bring on more people who want to discuss the topic of this post, rather than duck’s legs and north of the North Pole, where Wow gets outflanked, anyway. I’m saying nothing more, unless more interesting theories/people come here, but it’s been brilliant…thanks, most of you…’til next time…

  213. #213 Wow
    January 8, 2013

    What silence?

    Unless you’re talking about “when you type on the internet, nobody can hear you sigh”, I’ve already answered that.

    Ana and kata are “up” and “down”.

    Didn’t you know what the link you gave said?

    And “Up” from the north pole is UP, not NORTH.

    Neither is “Down” North.

    So no, try again.

    What’s North of the North Pole?

  214. #214 Wow
    January 8, 2013

    If I wanted to ask what’s above the North Pole, or what’s below the North Pole (though that one I’d like to see you answer: whichever way you answer I can ABSOLUTEY GUARANTEE I’ll be able to show you wrong. Merely because you’d have to assume what I mean by “below the North Pole” and I can just change what I want it to mean after the fact.

    Seriously, you’re totally out of your depth here.

    Try thinking for a bit instead of thinking you’re a genius. That didn’t go well for Wiley Coyote either.

  215. #215 Doctor How
    January 8, 2013

    OKThen

    “…usually (Wow) has a very good bullshit detector…”

    Perhaps because he’s/she’s been using it on himsself/herself for so many years…usually Wow’s response is instant, and vitriolic…is he/she looking up ana and kata before responding? I smell bullshit…

    I want to discuss the topic of the post, not have to deal with people posturing, if that’s possible…

  216. #216 Doctor How
    January 8, 2013

    That would be Wile E. Coyote, genius…ha ha…out of my depth…?? for finding out what happened before the big bang?

    And how do you know I’m not a genius?? Or a drone wanting to know?

    Clearly, Wow, you’ve still not understood Rudy Rucker; your above post is seriously wrong.

  217. #217 Wow
    January 8, 2013

    “out of my depth…?? for finding out what happened before the big bang?”

    Yup, so out of your depth it is mindboggling.

    It would be more impressive if “your depth” weren’t piddling-pool level, but hey ho.

    I’ve understood ana and kata far better.

    I never asked what’s UP from the North Pole.

    I’ve asked NORTH of the North Pole.

    But you’re not able to answer that, so you’d prefer to pretend you have.

    I guess that life is just better when you pretend all the inconvenient reality away, is it?

    But I’m not unwilling to hear a factual basis of error of mine, so go ahead what is seriously wrong about my post above?

    Since it is so seriously wrong, this should be a simple task, able to be completed by a simpleton like yourself.

    I await to be amazed and chagrined.

  218. #218 Doctor How
    January 8, 2013

    Question for you, Wow. What’s your understanding of compactifcation?

  219. #219 Wow
    January 8, 2013

    Question for you: Is the reason why you can’t answer my question (which is ahead of yours in the queue) because you “know” I’m clearly wrong, but don’t know why?

  220. #220 OKThen
    Raise the level of your mind at play
    January 8, 2013

    Doctor How

    Praising what I write is fine; but make no mistake I hold Wow in high regard.
    Wow understands physics and astronomy very well.
    So I learn a lot from Wow.

    As well, when Wow thinks that someone is talking nonsense or psuedoscience, he is usually right or at least his opinion is worth considering (even when he attacks me or disagrees with me, I value his opinion).

    When I disagree with Wow, it is seldom about the data/scientific evidence; and more often it is about how to interpret data in a scientific philosophic way and usually in an area that could be considered philosophically (or maybe scientifically)contentious.

    Not only I, but most people out here respect Wow’s knowledge of science; and respect his attacks on nonsense and psuedoscience. Even when he is too blunt or attacks (me- ouch).

    But Wow is not too interested in speculation beyond known science. Because (I think) it too easily drifts into nonsense and psuedoscience.

    Though on occasion when I have asked for Wow’s specific opinion or help in putting an idea in context; he has been very helpful. You see as an amateur, it is easy for me to put some seemingly important idea in a totally wrong context. And if I ask Wow; and if he knows; he will explain how to better position an idea and think about. And I really appreciate that; because I don’t want to go down the path of nonsense and psuedoscience.

    All that being said, I hold to my own opinions on certain topics because I will not accept any authority be Einstein, Wow or Ethan. But I do value and learn from Wow even when I disagree.

    So my advise is learn. On this blog learn the standard physics and astronomy first. Then go deeper a little bit at a time. And if no one answers your question; don’t assume that they don’t know or they are ignorant or defewnsive or….

    Rather assume that your question is not well asked; or maybe you appear provocative; or you sound a bit of a crackpot; or that your question is just out of the blue with no apparent connection to the topic of discussion; or that your question has no depth beyond a few googled cliches.

    Ethan has provided a learning place here.
    If you want to learn; then listen up. And study, yes study before jumping into the ultimate questions of the universe.
    Wouldn’t we all like to know those ultimate answers? No, not really. I’m content to learn a little bit more about; well an awful lot of things.

    Just a personal example. I have probably done a dozen physics google searches today and I have probably scanned a dozen arXiv.org physics papers today (specific searches also) on a topic of my interest. My curiousity about (such and such) drives my personal learning and research.

    So why do I come to Ethan’s excellent blog Start’s With a Bang? Because Ethan’s posts touch upon topics and ideas that I might not have thought about. And a little idea here connects to a little idea there in my head and voila a new “learning hypothesis” to check out, test, evaluate.

    Maybe my personal research is just that of an old student trying to learn and understand. And that is enough if that is all it ever is. And maybe I might clarify an idea enough (to my own professional satisfaction) to try to publish it on arXiv.org. and that would be nice.

    But what I won’t do is become the crackp[ot who follows his broken idea and clings to his broken idea no matter how many times someone knowledgable tells me what is wrong with my idea. No. If I still like my broken idea; then I must admit that my thinking and reasoning in supporting my broken idea is flawed.

    And the only way to keep my broken idea is to raise it to a higher level, a more insightful level at which someone who acts as editor of submissions for arXiv.org says, “maybe this idea now has enough merit to publish.” Not enough merit to be correct; just enough merit to be published so it can be discussed and considered.

    So Doctor How in my opinion; your standard of learning is too low. Listen more; read more; argue less; think and imagine more; and hope that your best ideas are broken.

    What your best ideas broken? Yes, when my best idea is broken I say yes the universe just does not work this way. I have just learned something big; that the universe does not or can not work in such and such a way. Aha, Eureka, thank you very much for showing me how to break my best idea; for knocking some science sense into me. But I need to continually raise the level of my mind at play (at understanding, at learning).

  221. #221 Wow
    January 8, 2013

    Thanks. OKThen.

    Part of the “no shrift for pseudoscience” is the same thing that makes me disagree with people who are people who I will listen carefully or learn from (some ways of putting it you’ve made me thing “that works better!”).

    You have to state what you mean pretty carefully.

    Often a disagreement will be because one person sees the word and thinks it means one thing (and be right) and the other person sees it as something else (and therefore know it is wrong).

    Many arguments boil down to misinterpreting the words and then, rather like a bad sitcom farce, nobody actually going “this is what I mean precisely” which would then clear up a HELL of a lot more arguments (especially on t’internet).

    Pseudoscience uses an abuse of the english language DELIBERATELY.

    At least with genuine converse there’s at least the INTENT of passing on precisely what is meant, but that is inimical to the pseudoscience mechanism. Use words badly, don’t define them, use them incorrectly but “mean” something “profound” by their incorrect use (“You’d understand the phrase if you were as smart as me” sort of thing).

    Below the line comments are already limited by what you can fit in and limited to text alone.

    Communication is hard enough as it is without people deliberately making it worse so as to appear “profound”.

    Ever seen “Mystery Men”?

    Mr Furious gets bloody furious with everything The Sphinx says because it’s obvious BS worded so as to pretend profundity.

    And that cod-wisdom of the “JAQer” and pseudoscientist kills the ability to learn something.

    Because the cod-wisdom to someone who didn’t do much science sounds just as valid as real science.

    The fake science is the teaching equivalent of the Gish Gallop:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

    And harms the utility of the work people like Ethan do by sending people who don’t know any better (because they haven’t been taught, not because they’re dumb) on wild goose chases.

  222. #222 OKThen
    Well said
    January 8, 2013

    Wow

    Yes yes. I agree.

    Well said.

  223. #223 Doctor How
    February 5, 2013

    Not one comment in a month..Wow and his cohorts must be rubbing their hands together at killing debate stone dead, as clearly they know absolutely everything about what happened before the BB and everyone is inferior with knowledge ;less than them. Now they’ve replaced this place with a pre-BB void, and are maybe even celebrating, hey we drove another wave of people off, who, might, conceivably, by accident or design, come up with something that may have been insightful, and knocked us off our perch.
    Enjoy your tower of ivory…

  224. #224 Wow
    February 5, 2013

    “Wow and his cohorts must be rubbing their hands together at killing debate stone dead,”

    a) No
    b) Why do you imagine that?

    There’s nothing to answer. Hence no answers.

  225. #225 Wow
    February 5, 2013

    Oh, and

    c) everyone is waiting for you to answer the questions to you. I guess you’re too busy imagining we don’t know answers to actually bother with answering any of the questions that are ahead of yours in the queue, are you.

  226. #226 Shaks
    Pune
    February 5, 2013

    If long ago (Prior to Big Bang) the universe was like a small ball, then what was in the surrounding of that ball… was it vaccume… if so, then what was there outside that vaccume…

    Regards

  227. #227 Shaks
    Pune
    February 5, 2013

    Believe or not… there are still many questions. And their answers are beyond the limits of modern science. Possibly we may reach nearer to the answers but will never be able to get the “Absolute answers”, because to know the “Ultimate Truth”, human will have to reach beyond that “Physical Limit” but he will never have that much potential to reach there.

    The only way to understand these secrets is to approach “Adhyatm and Gita”

    Regards

  228. #228 Wow
    February 6, 2013

    Your conclusion has no supporting data and is entirely supposition, shaks.

  229. #229 Wow
    February 6, 2013

    ” if so, then what was there outside that vaccume… ”

    Since space is only defined within that sphere, there is no “there” outside that sphere.

  230. #230 yasharth
    allahabad,india
    February 8, 2013

    fantastic,very nice but its hard to believe that there was nothing before big bang and from where that subatomic particle came

  231. #231 Wow
    February 9, 2013

    that’s because “before” time began is nonsensical.

    Of course a question based on that is going to seem silly.

  232. #232 Samantha
    February 11, 2013

    Example:
    If you make a cake and say that the ingredients didn’t exist before the cake was made, then how did the cake get made?

    What was needed for the big bang to happen (the ingredients you might say) had to have existed first in order for it to work.

    So things like heat, molecules, elements, forces, space, time, and even the simple things (rocks/matter) all needed to exist before hand. All it takes is a little logic to think things through.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion though. I choose to think that there are things that precede the big bang. The big bang was not the start of all things in my book, that is for sure. It just wouldn’t be logical to think that all of this came from nothing and for no reason whatsoever.

  233. #233 Sinisa Lazarek
    February 12, 2013

    @ Samantha

    “If you make a cake and say that the ingredients didn’t exist before the cake was made, then how did the cake get made?”

    While analogies are certainly useful, one should be careful with them. i.e. let’s say that you need flour as one of the ingredients to bake a cake. Did that flour exist 3 years ago? No, it didn’t. Even the plant from which you got the grain, didn’t exist 3 years ago. So how did you make a cake? Or how did that flour come to “exist”?
    Or another example along the same lines. Did you exist 100 years ago? Of course not. But by your logical reasoning, you have had to exist indefinately in order for you to exist now. But of course, when we talk about the flour or people you understand and know the process’ that led to certain outcomes. For big bang, we still don’t know all of it. But that alone is not a reason to twist logic into erroneous views.

    “What was needed for the big bang to happen (the ingredients you might say) had to have existed first in order for it to work. ”
    As I’ve shown you above, you need to be precise in defining what you mean by “ingredients”. Yes.. you can’t get something out of nothing. I will agree with you that “something” triggered the big bang, and we don’t know what or how. But that doesn’t mean anything you see around you now existed before big bang.

    “So things like heat, molecules, elements, forces, space, time, and even the simple things (rocks/matter) all needed to exist before hand.”
    No they didn’t HAVE TO exist before hand. In fact most of what you listed we KNOW how they came to exist. It’s not fiction or guess. And we don’t need them to exist in order to have BB. The ONLY thing we really NEED, as far as physics goes, is some kind of energy. That’s all. We don’t need rocks, or molecules, or heat or space or time. We just need energy.

    “All it takes is a little logic to think things through. ”
    That’s true, but logic without knowledge is empty. And you need to know how to apply logic.

  234. #234 Sinisa Lazarek
    February 12, 2013

    p.s.
    something else came to mind.

    ““So things like heat, molecules, elements, forces, space, time, and even the simple things (rocks/matter)…”

    things listed here should be sorted in terms of complexity. Maybe you find rocks simple, they certainly are when compared to your TV i.e. But rocks are incredibly, unbelievably complex when compared to i.e. atoms.

    Just for show…
    – you could.. and in fact people do create rocks in laboratory out of (for all purposes here) thin air. Just need a lot of certain molecules and couple of other things like heat, pressure etc..
    – you could.. and we do.. create molecules out of thin air… just need atoms and knowledge of chemistry.
    – you could create atoms out of thin air.. you need elementary particles (which are starting to blur the boundary between matter and energy) and energy

    so what do we have left from your list? Heat is just more “bumping” of particles… so it’s not needed beforehand.

    So we are left with forces and space-time. And indeed this is where we reach the limits of our current knowledge. We don’t know how space-time came to be, and we don’t know how the unified field (from which the forces branched) came to be. We probably will know in the future.

    But this is very different from saying that rocks and molecules needed to have existed before BB.

  235. #235 Wow
    February 12, 2013

    I will agree with you that “something” triggered the big bang,

    Not necessarily.

    Triggering requires time for the event that triggers it to happen.

    Before the Big Bang? No time. So trigger isn’t the right word. The big bang has happened. That’s all our language can give us.

    Again, this is the limitation of language, not the limitation of reality at play here.

  236. #236 Wow
    February 12, 2013

    If you make a cake and say that the ingredients didn’t exist before the cake was made, then how did the cake get made?

    The ingredients were made.

    However, when did your mix become cake?

    You see, our language doesn’t deal with reality as it really is, it deals with how we can deal with reality.

  237. #237 Sinisa Lazarek
    February 12, 2013

    @ Wow
    “Not necessarily.”
    Of course.

    As for time. This is where it gets tricky to me. And all that follows now, you can look more like my own questions, then statements.

    What is time? I prefer the definition where time is a measure of change. Or the measure of change in entropy if you will. If nothing changes then no “clock” ticks.
    But could there exist a field?

    Then there are theories of branes and whatnot… where our BB is not t=0.. well, it is for us and our 4D world. But not for higher dimensions etc. But those theories are again turtles all the way down..So it’s pretty much what you chose to go for.

    In all meaning, what was before BB is irrelevant. Just like it’s irrelevant to ask what was I before the sperm and egg cell, that made me, met. I wasn’t.

  238. #238 Wow
    February 12, 2013

    And indeed, when the sperm and egg met, when did it turn into you?

  239. #239 OKThen
    What time is it or what's time.
    February 12, 2013

    Of human necessity, the standard MODEL of cosmology (a.k.a. whatever version you prefer) is constructed of simplified assumptions and limitations; and thus is incomplete IN COMPARISON to the OBSERVED Universe and the presumed UNOBSERVED Universe.

    Furthermore, every CONCEPT and idea (e.g. idea, concept, time, spacetime, uncertainty) in standard MODELS whether classical, quantum, linguistic, mathematical or whatever is also simplified in assumption and human limits of understanding IN COMPARISON to either the OBSERVED particular phenomenon or experience and the presumed UNOBSERVABLE phenomenon that suggests the idea or concept.

    That being said, the value of the standard model (versus for example poetry or politics) is that the standard model is reasoned and tested in the detail against observations of the universe.

    Of course, logic and reason are incomplete, thus any consistent the idea of you being you, or the universe being the universe is at best a convenient fiction.

    But so what; convenient fictions is all we got.

    Well it’s 13.7 billion years, 11 months, 7 days, 2 hours and 4 minutes since the big bang; and I’ve got to go pick up my son from school.

    Yes this is the first time in the entire history of the universe that this historic event will ever happen the way it is going to happen. How likely is that?

  240. #240 OKThen
    the age of the universe is a convenient fiction
    February 12, 2013

    “As for time. This is where it gets tricky to me. ”

    Time everywhere is tricky to me. Consider the age of the universe.

    1) Suppose that twins A and B were born at exactly 13.7 billion years after the big bang and they are immediately fitted with precise atomic clocks.
    2) Then Twin A stays on Earth while Twin B travels the galaxy
    3) After 80 years according to Twin A’s clock, Twin B returns to Earth. But according to Twin B’s clock, Twin B has been traveling the galaxy only 25 years. “Thus one twin is physiologically 25 years old while the other is 80 years old.” i.e. standard twin paradox http://www.pa.msu.edu/~pratts/phy232/lectures/relativity/paradox.html
    4) So what is the current age of the universe at the spacetime point where Twin A meets his returning Twin B. Is the “age of the universe” 13.7 billion years plus 80 years or 13.7 billion years plus 25 years.

    5) My personal speculation is that the age of the universe (from a general and special relativity point of view) can not be determined. And that 13.7 billion years age of the universe is an classical approximation based on Newtonian physics and the Hubble constant.

    6) So until someone can give ta “consistent age of the universe” (regardless of complications from the twin paradox); I view “the current age of the universe” as a convenient fiction. (i.e. extremely useful to astronomy discussion, but of little or no fundamental physical significance).

    6 1/2) Specifically, the universe is can be any age we wish. Just imagine “a clock just outside the event horizon of a black hole” that was formed in the early universe and is now the black hole at the center of the milky way galaxy. And somehow (How likely is this?) the clock has not been swallowed and somehow has been by some Hitchhiker Travelling the Galaxy and he finds that only 100 years have past since .5 billion years. Hey, this is a gedanken.

    7) If any one knows a consistent relativistic explanation of the age of the universe in consideration of the twin paradox; I would like to understand that. Trying to learn, not argue. Any thoughts will be appreciated.

    8) Also I have no idea if and how the uncertainty principle currently fits into the discussion of the “age of the universe” or not. But when we are talking about a big bang type of phenomenon we are clearly in the quantum realm. That being said, I don’t think the quantum, argument makes any difference to my concern explained in 1) to 7).

    Please educate me.
    I do want to say, I did not know; thanks.

  241. #241 Wow
    February 12, 2013

    One accelerated and therefore was not in the same inertial refrerence frame as the other.

    That’s all you need to know to prick the twin paradox.

    One went on a journey to the nearest star which meant they had to accelerate to high speed.

  242. #242 Sinisa Lazarek
    February 12, 2013

    @ OKThen

    this is from a different forum, by one of the posters, but it sums it up nicely:

    “The age of the universe is based on a theoretical clock that has existed since the Big-Bang and has not been influenced by gravity.

    Nobody in the universe can actually measure that figure from their own frame of reference – they can only measure the age in their local frame and then calculate out all the effects of gravity to find the age of the universe, by using a theoretical comoving frame of reference.

    Anything, anywhere in the universe, that might have existed since the Big-Bang and had its own clock, will measure the age differently, as it will have been subject to local gravity.

    Universal history is a concept that nobody can directly measure in reality. In reality, everywhere has a slightly different age to the universe itself, due to gravitational time-dilation. Local history is reality, locally.”

  243. #243 OKThen
    I did not know thanks
    February 13, 2013

    Sinisa
    I’ll except that explanation and try to find more on it.
    Makes sense. I hadn’t heard it before.
    Thanks

  244. #244 liloldman
    February 14, 2013

    excellent sinsa, ok then and wow!!

  245. #245 liloldman
    February 14, 2013

    in an infinite amount of time, an infinite amount of things will happen.

  246. #246 liloldman
    February 15, 2013

    it has recently been discovered that Heisenburg’s theory of uncertainty states that uncertainty works on big things as well as little things. I don’t mean to crow, but #397 from “You are responsible”, i stated this fact. what i’m wondering is, how could i know this? what relevance does it have to the topic of conversation? could it be that everyone might appear a little uncertain about their knowledge of this universe we live in?

  247. #247 liloldman
    February 15, 2013

    toward the end of WWII an atomic bomb was being built. It was necessary to make sure the technology to do it be kept from other countries to insure they would not get this information. the way they did this was to develop a system that would insure those who were involved in making this weapon could not have a complete understanding of it’s development. this system was called compartmentalization. Everyones reality was local. what they understood to be true about what they were doing was only the knowledge of what (they) were doing. everyone knew their work related to something enormous but no one had enough information to connect the dots. this system kept anyone from outside or inside the ability to acquire the information to build it. i’m not saying this is how the universe works, but it seems that way. it seems from our perspective we have the ability to eventually understand the whole picture. i believe we do. however who we are may have to be answered as well. maybe someone or something is working on this aspect of the equation.

  248. #248 Carlene
    Des Moines, IA
    February 20, 2013

    It was very interesting to read most of this thread. I came here looking for answers because I do believe in God. However, I get berated for my belief much like Wow did to the Dr and others. I don’t like the way they treat people but it does make you want to find answers as to why other people believe the way they do. Unfortunately I will just have to accept that they, like me, do not know all the answers and nobody can know for sure how the universe started yet.

    I do have to add, though. I almost left the thread because of how Wow talks to others who do not totally agree with what he/she says. I am glad I didn’t because there were quite a few very interesting posts afterward. People can have intelligent discussions without having to resort to degrading others. Wow, you would convert a lot more people to your ideas if you didn’t call them idiots and try to act superior to others. Although you have many good thoughts, many people will not listen because of your attitude. Maybe work on your people skills?? :)

    Thank you all for enlightening me on how you think it was possible for the universe to have been started without a supreme being. This doesn’t yet take away my belief in God but I can at least understand why people can conclude it was possible without God. Not sure an answer will be found in my lifetime but I am very open to learning as much as possible.

  249. #249 Red
    Red Rock, Nevada
    March 24, 2013

    I remember asking this question way back in 1965 when I first heard the Big Bang theory in school. The teacher looked at me like I didn’t get it.

  250. #250 Wow
    March 24, 2013

    Yes, you didn’t.

    Might as well ask where did you come from before you were born.

    Or where does the light come from before you switch the light on.

  251. #251 Wow
    March 24, 2013

    However, I get berated for my belief

    Well, that’s because you pretended:

    I came here looking for answers because I do believe in God.

    If I’d popped over in the middle of your sermon and started telling people there that their religion was all bullshit and that it was all ancient stories made up to make some blokes in dresses look important and necessary despite them never doing a lick of work, I’d be berated for my belief.

    You go to church to pray to god. You don’t go there to get a pedicure and a timeshare sold to you.

    But you think that you should be allowed to come here to make everyone else listen to YOUR sermon??

    Well, no. You can’t.

    But if you insist and claim “Freedom of Speech!”, then you can’t whine and bitch about people’s freedom of ridiculing. Because that’s speech too.

  252. #252 juan
    March 31, 2013

    so everything never start in equilibrium?

  253. #253 Steved
    April 8, 2013

    One explanation is to believe that “god” is behind it all. Very satisfying to some…not to others.

  254. #254 Wow
    April 9, 2013

    Well, it’s more a non-explanation.

  255. #255 Craig
    Westminster, CA
    April 10, 2013

    To quote Wow:

    One accelerated and therefore was not in the same inertial refrerence frame as the other.

    That’s all you need to know to prick the twin paradox.

    One went on a journey to the nearest star which meant they had to accelerate to high speed.

    Relativistic speeds confuse me. On the macrocosmic scale, isn’t the Universe expanding at c? Isn’t the speed of the rocket, relative to the expansion of the Universe, at best, 0, meaning you could never reach theUniverse’s proverbial edge? Isn’t the planet that twin A on traveling as part of the Universe at near relativistic speeds already?

    It would make more sense to say 80 years have passed for both twins. It’s just that all the chemical and energetic processes slowed down on the rocket. From the Universal time frame, the same time passes no matter how fast or slow you are going.

    What I mean is, the flow of time doesn’t really change when you speed up. Time is just a yardstick we use to measure change. What does change is the chemical, atomic, metabolic, and energetic process. They ‘slow down’ because they reach equilibrium with the zero-point state, and that is due to the unfathomable density of Higgs particles that must occur you pass through space at relativistic speeds. It’s not that you’re attracting Higgs bosons–you’re passing through the Higgs field and pulling them along. The faster you go, the more you pull with you, until there are so many around you that you cannot accelerate further.

  256. #256 Wow
    April 11, 2013

    On the macrocosmic scale, isn’t the Universe expanding at c?

    No.

    Firstly, the two of us are in this universe and are not going to be separating at c. Neither is any member of the local galactic group. Etc.

    Expansion separates at a rate (NOTE: NOT VELOCITY) dependent on the separation of the objects at the time.

    Secondly, they aren’t moving at c. They are being separated. Take a leaf table. You know, the ones that open out and you can put an extra bit in the middle to make a bigger table.

    So close it up to the small size. Put a pepper pot and salt pot on opposite sides of the central gap. Move the two parts of the table top apart.

    The pepper pot and salt pot are moving apart BUT THEY ARE NOT THEMSELVES MOVING.

  257. #257 Wow
    April 11, 2013

    It would make more sense to say 80 years have passed for both twins.

    No it wouldn’t.

    You even say why yourself: the chemical and energetic processes slowed down

    Since time is measured by the passage of events, time is slowed.

    From the Universal time frame

    There is no universal time frame. That would require a universal inertial frame. Which would mean you could tell the absolute speed of all objects and determine which ones were moving faster or slower than you.

  258. #258 Wow
    April 11, 2013

    Note that chemistry is bonding with the photon as the force carrier.

    Since the photon doesn’t interact with the higgs field, the chemical process would NOT be slowed down. Therefore your assertions don’t work.

    An interesting thought, but unworkable once you start looking for the consequences rather than just stopping at the “good” bits that support your idea.

  259. #259 Sean T
    April 11, 2013

    Craig,

    I think you may be showing your misunderstanding of time by saying that time doesn’t slow down, only (to paraphrase) all the chemical and physical processes that are observable. What’s the difference? The rate of change of chemical and physical processes IS time. How else do you measure time, if not by observing chemical and physical processes?

    Consider, how is time measured? By a clock you might answer, and that’s a correct answer. However, how does a clock work. All clocks rely on some physical or chemical process that is periodic in nature. To the degree that the periodicity of the process is invariant, we have an accurate clock. That is, the rotation of the earth is an example of a clock, but not a particularly accurate one, at least relative to other clocks. An atomic clock, which relies on the frequency of light emitted by certain atoms, is a much more accurate clock. However, both clocks, and all others that you can imagine all depend on a periodic physical or chemical process of some kind.

    Now imagine, as you’ve postulated, that for any body in motion all observable chemical and physical processes slow down. Therefore, all those periodic processes that can serve as the basis for the working of a clock also slow down. ANY imaginable clock will run slower according to an observer in a reference frame that is moving relative to the reference frame of the clock. If you can’t get a clock to measure otherwise, then it doesn’t make sense to say that the flow of time “really” doesn’t slow down. The flow of time occurs at the rate that a clock says it does.

  260. #260 Wow
    April 11, 2013

    The canonical proof of time dilation uses a clock that “ticks” every time a light pulse bounces off two perfect mirrors perfectly parallel to each other.

    Yes, it is a thought experiment.

    The reason why light has to be CONSTANT for all observers of an event is described quite nicely in the TV series Cosmos.

  261. […] What happened before the big bang […]

  262. #262 Craig
    Westminster, California
    April 24, 2013

    From what I understand, time is a measurement of change. Like an meter measures distance. It is an abstract concept we use to make sense of the chains of events which occur around us.

    We can travel a meter forward and be at a new location. We can then turn around and go back to the original location by traveling another meter. Time doesn’t work that way. We don’t travel through time as if it were a real thing. There is no going forwards or backwards through it. Things around us go through changes at different rates, affected by things like gravity and mass, or the speed at which it travels, but all those changes are personal and are HARDLY Universal. Traveling through time is a farcical concept, best reserved for Science Fiction.

    As far as the expansion of the Universe is concerned, is all space expanding at a uniform rate? Do we know the answer to this? Or is the space around more massive objects expanding at a lesser or greater rate? Is there a correlation? Also, if the expansion of space is happening everywhere, why AREN’T we separating from each other? Are the planets endlessly tumbling into a gravity well as space continuously pulls the figurative carpet out from under them as space expands? I have had so many questions on the subject, and Professor Hawking’s books as well as my local college courses have shed little light on them.

  263. #263 Wow
    April 24, 2013

    The acceleration in the atoms of our body by their mutual attraction to each other EVEN BY GRAVITY is more than the speed of separation by the expansion of space.

  264. #264 whatdoctor
    Lara, Australia
    May 2, 2013

    If an infinite number of BBs, then there must be new Universes being created all the time. Some of these will overlap – probably wiping one another out.

    If an infinite number of them, then we must all exist in another one as well – reliving the same life over and over – perhaps with small changes here and there. I think I’ve seen the movie!

  265. #265 Wow
    May 3, 2013

    ” then there must be new Universes being created all the time. Some of these will overlap – probably wiping one another out.”

    The assertion “Some of these will overlap” is not supported by any reasonable model.

    “If an infinite number of them, then we must all exist in another one as well”

    And “we must all exist in another one as well” is also not supported by the “if an infinite number of them”. Read up on Hilberts’ Hotel on how mindmeltingly odd infinity can be:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert%27s_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel

  266. #266 Daren
    London UK
    May 9, 2013

    Very interesting opinions, as thats all they are, no body inc me will probably ever know but thankfully there are enough of us (inqusitive) sorts to want to ask, wonder and come to some kind of answer, strangely enough i often wonder if some of the big realisations made by scientists regarding space, time and us have often been talked about and dismissed with laughter during pub drinking sessions or friends just chatting way before the scientists came to those conclusions. As for my ideas and thoughts on the subject, well being a builder i look at things in a practical way so firstly as for the belief of god, surely that means that all thats read in the bible must be true, and that doesnt add up as science has already shown how life began inc the Earth.
    Black holes or worm holes, intresting, if black holes then is there a possibility that eventualy these black holes wandering around space could ‘eventualy’ suck in all planets etc etc and then ‘eventualy’ cosume eachother finaly becoming one nasty mother of a black hole that cant handle the pressure so..Big Bang. everything comes shooting out, the same elements that have come out before from many big bangs but taking different forms, elements and atoms adjioning in a different way, like throwing dice down many times, same dice, different numbers.
    How the heck could there have been nothing, zilch, zero, diddly squat before the big bang, all we see, and cant see cos its too blinkin far away, must have come from somewhere, no matter how squashed and compact it was, it couldnt have come from nothing, its far more logical to have come from something than nothing, and if it did come from something, small and compacted, then that must have been something larger before to have become compacted, my opinion for what its worth is that the big bang has happened forever, there never was a start date/time, there was a big bang, zillions of yrs later collapse or swallowed by black holes, denser and denser then like a pressure cooker, bang, again.

  267. #267 Wow
    May 10, 2013

    ” well being a builder i look at things in a practical way”

    Since your practice involves macro-scale issues, you don’t know the micro scale or the galactic scale.

    Since that comprises 99.999999999% of reality, this will leave your “looking” rather inadequate to the task.

    ” if black holes then is there a possibility that eventualy these black holes wandering around space could ‘eventualy’ suck in all planets ”

    No matter what Star Trek showed, black holes don’t suck things in. The sun replaced with a black hole would change NOTHING (apart from removing all sunlight) to the solar system. It would be LESS dangerous to comets, since they’d have a much smaller target to hit to disappear into the BH, compared to the size of the sun which, if they hit it, absorbs them just as completely.

    As a builder, have you ever come across a black hole?

    No?

    So how “in a practical way” do you know they suck things in?

  268. #268 Wow
    May 10, 2013

    “How the heck could there have been nothing, zilch, zero, diddly squat before the big bang, all we see”

    Have you ever seen a nothing like that?

    No.

    So how “in a practical way” do you know how it would act?

  269. #269 Daren
    london
    May 12, 2013

    I think ‘wow’ has an attitude problem, or perhaps ur decency has been sucked in to a black hole, i think i have seen enough science programmes to have heard that if you could fly a space ship near to a black hole once you have passed the event horizon your knackered, i copied this from a NASA, quote, NASA site…..The external gravitational field of a black hole (at a point quite far away from it) is essentially like that of any massive body, so it is possible for an object to remain in orbit around a black hole, or even to escape from the orbit into space. However, once an object enters a certain zone around the black hole (the boundary of this zone is called the event horizon) there is no way it can escape from the gravitational field, because beyond this event horizon spacetime is so highly curved by the gravitational field that all paths the object can take, point inwards to the center of the black hole (the singularity). Once an object is past the event horizon, it is certainly destroyed by the black hole’s intense gravitation……..so perhaps before you start correcting people you should get your own facts straight, black holes can move around space at astronomical speads, so if they come near to anything the likely hood is if they are passed the event horizon they are done for, and before you say, “NO again they dont move around space”…….As if black holes weren’t already scary enough, it now appears that they can move — and they can move fast. New observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a massive black hole that is careening away from its host galaxy at a speed of several million miles per hour. ….Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  270. #270 Wow
    May 12, 2013

    I think Daren isn’t thinking, but trying “the next best thing”.

  271. #271 Sean T
    May 13, 2013

    Daren,

    The devil is in the details. Of course, if you cross the event horizon of a black hole, you can never escape. That doesn’t make them any more scary or dangerous than any other astronomical objects, however, even if they happen to be moving.

    The detail that you are overlooking is that for a typical black hole, the event horizon is much smaller than an ordinary astronomical object’s radius, and that you would be just as dead if you collided with such an ordinary object. Consider the sun, for instance. The radius of the sun is approximately 696,000 km. A black hole with an equivalent mass has a Scwarzschild radius of approximately 2.95 km. The sun is over 230,000 times larger than a black hole of equivalent mass.

    It’s much more likely that you’d run into an ordinary star than it is that you’d cross the event horizon of a black hole. As far as consequences go, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference which one you’d encounter; you’d pretty much have no chance either way.

  272. #272 Sean T
    May 13, 2013

    Daren,

    The other consideration is “what would happen if the sun suddenly collapsed and became a black hole?” The answer is that it would get pretty cold here on earth because we’d no longer be warmed by solar radiation, but otherwise nothing would happen to the earth. The earth would orbit the new black hole (assuming as I am that it has the same mass as the sun) in the same orbit that it had before the collapse. Black holes do not suck things in. They behave gravitationally the same way as ordinary objects, at least at distances that are much greater than the Schwarzschild radius.

  273. #273 Wow
    May 13, 2013

    And getting to within 3km of the CoM of the Sun is just as devastating to an object as doing so with a solar-mass black hole for anything bigger than a neutrino.

    Black holes suck things in the same way Earth sucks in meteorites or asteroids.

  274. #274 Wow
    May 13, 2013

    ” is essentially like that of any massive body, so it is possible for an object to remain in orbit around a black hole, or even to escape from the orbit into space.”

    Therefore doesn’t suck it in.

    “However, once an object enters a certain zone around the black hole (the boundary of this zone is called the event horizon) there is no way it can escape from the gravitational field”

    And entering the atmosphere of the sun will ensure you won’t come back out again, either. This boundary is called the photosphere.

    “black holes can move around space at astronomical speads”

    So can planets, asteroids and suns.

    “so if they come near to anything the likely hood is if they are passed the event horizon ”

    Which is highly unlikely because the damn thing is so small, its targets are so small and the gaps between them all comparatively astronomically huge.

    A planet cruising through space if it gets near to us will crash into the planet and destroy it. But this still isn’t “sucking things in”.

    It’s “colliding”.

    And that’s what you need to do to make a black hole dangerous, all the crybabies whining about LHC to the contrary.

    “Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a massive black hole that is careening away from its host galaxy at a speed of several million miles per hour.”

    Which isn’t sucking a damn thing off anything, so what was this “pipe smoking” factoid supposed to support? That you read about the Chandra X-Ray Observatory?

    Additionally NONE of this supports the other pile of crud you brought up.

  275. #275 Open Mind
    South Africa
    June 26, 2013

    @birdfish TROLL MUCH?

    I find it very hard to believe that our universe came from nothing, uncaused. It just doesn’t make any sense at all, I mean surely from nothing, nothing comes. Yet, we are here discussing it. Something must have caused the big bang. What is even more frightening is that this occurrence at that point of singularity had all the right ‘components’ or ingredients to one day(s) in time, allow galaxies, solar systems, and ultimately human beings and our self aware-ness and conscious minds to evolve/exist. It is just far too uncanny to believe it was all some cosmological accident.

    I have really tried to look at all of this from a neutral and unbias perspective, but it just seems to me that there is some kind of design or foreknowledge of our universe. There are multiple different constants like gravity, strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and several other ‘phenomenons’ unrelated to each other, yet all exerting their own attributes on each other at the same time, that if any of them were slightly changed, solar systems and planets would not have formed, ultimately we would not be here.

    Also, couple all of that with our precise distance from the moon and sun, the size of the moon, sun and earth, the type of star that the sun is, the thickness of the earths crust, the composition of gases in our atmosphere etc etc. If ANY of these things were changed, humans being would cease to exist.

    I think it is safe to say that there is more going on here than mere blind chance? Seriously, if you are completely honest with yourself, presuppositions excluded, you would agree.

    As for what came before the big bang. Well in light of the above, we must be dealing with a different dimension, or perhaps our universe is a sub dimension of an encompassing dimension. I believe that God, IS this other dimension. He IS the nothing we speak of before the Big Bang. There is just too much evidence to rule out a designer and creator of the universe. The multiverse theory I believe is even more far out and requires a greater leap of faith, because then we have to ask, how or what created the multiverses? The only way that anything can come into existence at all, is if the source is eternal. Otherwise we have to keep asking, what created the creator? What created the thing that created the creator? An infinite regression which comes to no conclusion or answer. The source therefore must be eternal.

  276. #276 CB
    June 26, 2013

    “There are multiple different constants… if any of them were slightly changed, solar systems and planets would not have formed, ultimately we would not be here. ”

    Inflation, quantum fluctuations, suggest that the fluctuation that caused our universe to come into being would happen many times and that these constants would vary. Most would not allow any structure to form. We live in one that does, as we must. Weak anthropic principle.

    “Also, couple all of that with our precise distance from the moon and sun, the size of the moon, sun and earth, the type of star that the sun is, the thickness of the earths crust, the composition of gases in our atmosphere etc etc. If ANY of these things were changed, humans being would cease to exist.”

    It isn’t clear how important any of those things are or if they are important what the range is that allows for life. The one thing we can be fairly sure is needed for biological life is liquid water. We know there must be at least tens of millions of planets in our galaxy alone that are in their star’s “habitable zone” (give or take the planet’s atmosphere). We happen to live on one, as we must. Weak anthropic principle, in this case even weaker than the last one.

    “I believe that God, IS this other dimension. He IS the nothing we speak of before the Big Bang.”

    God is quantum mechanics, and He DOES play dice!

    While it’s a pleasing indulgence to imagine that the universe (or multiverse) is God, one in which I sometimes partake, that’s all it is.

    “The multiverse theory I believe is even more far out and requires a greater leap of faith, because then we have to ask, how or what created the multiverse? The only way that anything can come into existence at all, is if the source is eternal.”

    Taking for granted that this idea of causality applies outside of our universe, the problem is this question “what created…?” still applies to the Creator. To resolve this, you suppose that the Creator is eternal with no beginning. Ignoring that this conflicts with our assumed causality, there’s still the problem: Why is this eternal thing “God” and not just the multiverse itself? If quantum mechanics says that universes such as ours can spring into existence, then why is QM itself not suitable as the eternal, causeless thing? How does dressing up this eternal thing with sentience actually improve things?

    I certainly don’t think it takes LESS faith to assume that the eternal aspect of the universe is also a sentient being of infinite intelligence who deliberately crafted the universe such that it would eventually create us. Not what what we do know from science says the non-sentient laws of physics would inevitably result in what we see.

    You can’t logic or science your way into God. And so what?! If you believe in God anyway, then call that what it is — faith. And be PROUD of it! God wants you to have faith in Him. It boggles and bothers me to no end when religious people act ashamed of faith. When they try to argue that it takes more faith NOT to believe, as if faith is a bad thing and they win by proving they have the LEAST.

  277. #277 Sinisa Lazarek
    June 26, 2013

    @ Open Mind

    I have nothing against your faith. But your logic is very flawed.

    “I find it very hard to believe that our universe came from nothing, uncaused. It just doesn’t make any sense at all, I mean surely from nothing, nothing comes. ”

    Now let’s just switch one word.. universe=god… Thus your own premise…

    I find it very hard to believe that God came from nothing, uncaused. It just doesn’t make any sense at all, I mean surely from nothing, nothing comes. .. and so on and on…

    Either God had mom and dad.. in which case it’s not God anymore. Or God’s existence without “something” making God in the first place is in question just as much as universe not made by God.

    Because the most simple and honest question is who/what made this God character in the first place. It’s cool with me that it creates Universes.. but what created God?

  278. #278 M J Murcott
    UK
    June 26, 2013

    The multiverse theory of space – cycles of the universe – http://youtu.be/t80qywmnADM

  279. #279 maax flux
    LA CA
    July 15, 2013

    I’m completely new about this, and I didn’t read all the posts, but I’m sure this theory has been bandied about. What if the big bang happens every time the universe contracts, and that it is, always has, and always will expand and contract? I have a hard time believing something came from nothing, so my conclusion is that there is an infinite past and and infinite future and the universe expands and contracts on some time table, maybe by trillions of years.

  280. #280 Sinisa Lazarek
    July 16, 2013

    @ 279 maax

    Sir Roger Penrose, cyclic universe model

  281. […] If you want a comprehensive (if somewhat complex) explanation of pre-Big Bang theories, read it here: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/10/15/what-happened-before-the-big-bang/ […]

  282. #282 Mikheili
    September 14, 2013

    What caused the Big Bang? What triggered it? And do we have any idea what was going on prior the Big Bang? Yes, there is a new idea, the answer about what was going on prior to the Big Bang, why the Big Bang happened and what was the reason?

    According to the new hypothesis, the geometric interpretation of the Lorentz’s radical says that the Big Bang happened in an incredible way. If the speed of light in the universe is maximal, a new hypothesis explains that the Big Bang is the cause of the collision of galaxies with the speed of light.

    Many theories suggest that when the intergalactic speed reaches the speed of light, then the universe is maximally expanded. But a new hypothesis about the universe talks back. When we think that the universe is maximally expanded, it is actually maximally compressed, the galaxies are in a singular state and at this moment they collide with the speed of light. The Big Bang is a result of the collision of galaxies with the speed of light.

    This is not mentioned in any theory of the Big Bang yet. This is an extraordinary idea with the proof.

    Ref: google – ” Релятивистская механика пространства времени разума “

  283. #283 Sammy
    September 24, 2013

    Is really good to be a Student I like to read more about it!!!!!

  284. #284 Wow
    September 25, 2013

    “the geometric interpretation of the Lorentz’s radical says that the Big Bang happened in an incredible way. If the speed of light in the universe is maximal”

    Bafflgab hiding a complete lack of thought and rationality.

  285. #285 Ats
    October 6, 2013

    one thing always bothers me.. HOW could the big bang happen inside pure emptiness. i mean, there was absoulutely NOTHING, no living creatures, no plants, no universes, nothing.
    How..?

  286. #286 David
    United States
    December 4, 2013

    Ok guys lets get back to the speed of light. In the future if you were on a ship going the speed of light and no faster…..and you walked from the rear of the ship to the front of the ship, lets face it you were moving faster than the speed of light……and if you ran then….. even faster. same as the train going 60 if you walked forward you would be going faster than 60…..there are no limits to speed, it is just our (tech) of today that has not caught up yet. Face it…..

  287. #287 Thijs
    Netherlands
    December 27, 2013

    I’d like to elaborate on this matter. Check this dense review on this matter for a start:
    https://sites.google.com/site/justafternothing/

  288. #288 soumitra
    ca
    January 31, 2014

    think about this…maybe foolish….but still.
    why do we think there is a beginning. This is a “human thought”. There were no human beings so why is it that we as humans think that the universe “began”. Look at it another way….what if the universe was always there are….. we are trying to grasp it only. We therefore know what is going to happen….yes think about it….it is therefore predetermined…we only have to grasp this thought….maybe it will take a little longer to grasp….but we already have the so called future in our bag…..we are only human in our thinking…a mere small speck….so our thinking of forward and back is only from a human perspective…..

  289. #289 Dino
    Perth
    February 12, 2014

    No one can explain where the particles came from
    In the end it goes to darkness and darkness is something and that is as far out minds can go
    So faith becomes the answer
    It frustrated Einstein as well

  290. #290 Todd M. Titus
    United States
    March 16, 2014

    Please explain to me why “if all matter is attracted to each other” which will eventually bring all the matter in the universe eventually combining back together, then why do we assume that there was only one “Big Bang?”
    I believe that numerous Big Bangs may explain deja vu, premonition, ect. BECAUSE it has all happened before in the exact same way and will do so again.
    Please tell me where I am wrong.

  291. #291 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    March 16, 2014

    @Todd #290: If you want a nice catchphrase for where you’re wrong, you can use “quantum indeterminancy.”

    On a more proper mathematical footing, a better answer is thus: You’re assuming a _cyclic universe_ model, where an initial expansion is slowed by gravity, the Universe contracts to some maximum density state (or a singularity), and that is followed by a subsequent expansion. In that case, all of the quantum mechanical actions (particle pair production, particle decays, scattering, etc.) will necessarily occur differently the second time through. Why? Because QM can only predict the probabilities of the various possible outcomes of an interaction, not which of those probabilities will actually occur.

    Thus, the second expansion will be entirely different in all of its details from the first, and the third different from the second, and so on.

  292. #292 Esayas
    April 18, 2014

    Guys We Have A Very Clear Insight Who and How The Universe was Created by Starbeings. But First You Have to Open Your Mind. Read This: http://esayas.com/post/68105694329
    http://esayas.com/post/82845580307

  293. #293 zankaon
    north america
    May 26, 2014

    see https://sites.google.com/site/zankaon for a cyclical and pre-Big Bang model

  294. #294 Shabir Degarzai Baloch (NOK)
    Pakistan
    May 31, 2014

    Very precious information that how the universe became in being..

  295. #295 piet jan
    the internet
    June 11, 2014

    man get the hell out with satan you can call satan an asteroid crushing into our planet because you stood in the way of our scientists with you’re falls believes

    i hope all the god praying people would come together and see what scientists have done for us and what god have done for us

    haha i challenge you to call one thing god did for us
    and i dont mean creating adam and eve out of the soil because that is the biggest crap i heard like the princess kissing a frog turning it into her lover….
    please dont come with any fairy tale that you cant back up
    bunch of selflying pray to nothing imaginators

    in my opinion being alive is already living in hell from the second you grew in your moms tummy because you will have to die and expierence alot of pain before you get death

    being alive is the biggest misstake in life

    so let our scientists here figure this out with knowledge they have learned for before we all die in a rain of asteroid
    praying for satan to go away

  296. #296 Doubting - Page 7
    August 26, 2014

    […] the big bang. Our best understanding is actually not the popular idea of a singularity, but rather cosmic inflation. This hypothesis made several predictions about what we would and wouldn't find as we continued […]

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