“No Big Bang? Oh, I’m All Over That!”

by Max Andrews

I hopped on Twitter this morning and found a tweet by Answers in Genesis, a well-known young earth creationist think tank, linking an article to problems of the big bang.  I thought it was interesting because the title of AiG’s article was “Is the big bang a scientific ‘fact’ rejected only by young earth creationists?  A new physics paper shows otherwise,” when the original article by PhysOrg was titled, “Model describes universe with no big bang, no beginning, and no end.”

When you read the articles, AiG appears to be grasping for something just to help substantiate their claim.  Of course, there are many scientists who have problems with the big bang model.  That’s all AiG sees though, “Oh, you don’t like the big bang? We’ll cite you!”  The problem with that is AiG only agrees with the initial premise, that is, that there are problems with the big bang model.  Are there problems? There are a few unresolved problems, but big bang’s predictions are well supported and the leaks in the air tight case are mostly with dark energy/matter, which, in my opinion, there is good reason to believe they exist.  The author of the paper cited in PhysOrg, Wun-Yi Shu from Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, makes the following conclusions with his paper:

  1. The speed of light and the gravitational “constant” are not constant, but vary with the evolution of the universe.
  2. Time has no beginning and no end; i.e., there is neither a big bang nor a big crunch singularity.
  3. The spatial section of the universe is a 3-sphere [a higher-dimensional analogue of a sphere], ruling out the possibility of a flat or hyperboloid geometry.
  4. The universe experiences phases of both acceleration and deceleration.

Doh!  This is almost embarrassing… 1) if the speed of light, c, were to change it would be very unlikely that life would exist because it would drastically change the relationship with gravitational and electromagnetic models, which most likely would not permit life.  2) Time having no beginning is incredibly incoherent.  If there were an infinite past why didn’t today arrive yesterday?  It would be impossible to arrive at the present point in time if time were actually infinite.  Take a look at Hilbert’s Hotel, it makes it quite simple to add and subtract from infinity, and still have infinity, which has its obvious problems.  Now, with time having no end, that is certainly possible as long as it is viewed as a potential infinite.  3)  The flatness of the universe is pretty well-established.  Though there are, of course, models that are no flat universe models, but there are incredible problems associated with non-flat universes. (I will simply cite references for further reading).  4)  The universe experiencing acceleration and deceleration is highly problematic.  The speed of light and its relationship to gravity (Oh, hi Einstein’s brain child!), is coupled together in a quite interesting.  Not only is c not an actual constant but the gravitational constant really isn’t constant at all and fluctuates with c.  All fine-tuning goes out the window.  Even Shu’s conclusions for 3 and 4 (which could also imply 1) don’t seem to get around the BVG theorem.  All that is required is for any inflation greater than 1 had an absolute beginning.

My point behind all this is that I think AiG may have cited a source that doesn’t help their case at all.  I doubt that AiG would use any of the evidence and arguments that Shu uses to get to his conclusion, rather he just likes that his conclusion is not-big bang.  Now, of course the metaphysical implications and conclusions based on other scientific conclusions is acceptable, but in order to do that your scientific evidence has to be founded.  You can’t skip all the evidence and arguments and then approve of the conclusion (which, by the way, is no where near a young earth model).  Not only is this an origins problem, but it’s also a fine-tuning problem.

I would be interested to see what would happen if AiG evaluated all the evidence and arguments in Shu’s paper and still come to his conclusions (non-metaphysical conclusions).  I think they might have a problem with, oh, time having no beginning?  After all, I’m pretty sure Genesis 1 says “In the beginning…”

Recommended Reading:

Creation Out of Nothing:  A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration (Copan, Paul; Craig, William Lane)

The Privileged Planet:  How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (Gonzalez, Guillermo; Richards, Jay)

A Briefer History of Time (Hawking, Stephen)

In The Beginning:  And Other Essays On Intelligent Design (Sewell, Granville)

Many Worlds In One (Vilenkin, Alex)

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4 Comments to ““No Big Bang? Oh, I’m All Over That!””

  1. The better question one might have for the AiG guys is: “do you read Shu’s paper and, if so, did you understand it?”

  2. Very interesting and well written. I’ll be sure to visit your blog again, Maxeo.

  3. I’m sure you’re aware of the fact that AiG (Ken Ham) was at LU about 8 years ago and recorded a video series there. Do they not use those videos in any of the classes?

    To go with anything else other than Biblical creation as recorded in Genesis 1 is undermining the authority and reliability of the Scriptures. IF you doubt that account then what about other “problem” passages in the Bible, like the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    Why should we put the opinions and theories of man over what the Bible says? What makes them greater, more knowledgeable than God?

    Not trying to stir up any division in the family (flesh or spiritual), I just think we give too much credence to man.

    • I’ve listened to AiG and got to hear Ham speak here at LU last semester. I can get into a biblical exegesis, but to say that if one interpretation is different from another commonly accepted passage it would be a slippery slope argument to ask, “Why believe the resurrection?” I think that argument just doesn’t work. I also believe that the Bible doesn’t teach when the earth was created, rather it describes how [not exhaustively how] and why it was created. I also believe we need to have a robust theology of natural and a factual natural theology. There are two books of revelation, Scripture and nature. In the words of Aquinas, to get something wrong about nature is to get something wrong about God. I am convinced that our understanding of the book of nature and science and the book of Scripture do not point to AiG’s position. I don’t believe this is exalting man’s faulty interpretation (a challenge the young earth creationist must contend with as well) because it is perfectly aligned with God’s special and natural revelation.

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