Cosmology

Can we peek behind the Big Bang? CERN director: I doubt it.

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Dark matter theorist Rolf-Dieter Heuer, CERN director since 2009, told The European, , that “We Are Crossing the Boundary Between Knowledge and Belief” (17.05.2011), but just what that means is unclear, as is who the “we” are in this case:

The European: Can something as vast and as complex as the universe ever be reduced to the scope of human mental capacities, or are there natural limits to what we can know?Heuer: That is a difficult question. Every time we discover something, we open the door to new knowledge but find new sets of questions that are more complex and dig deeper into the subject. So there is no real limit, the process of discovery never stops. Maybe the time to answer these questions, i.e. to open these new doors, will increase, but eventually we will be able to open them.

[ … ]

The European: Do you think it is conceivable that we will eventually learn something about before the Big Bang?

Heuer: I doubt it.

The European: How do you make sense of that paradox? You want to expand the realm of knowledge but at some point, there is a definite boundary that you cannot cross. Do you simply have to accept the fact that nothing was prior to the Big Bang?

Heuer: I wasn’t saying there was nothing, I am saying that we don’t know anything about what was before – if there was a before. But here we are crossing the boundary between knowledge and belief. I think many famous scientists have struggled with this question and people today also struggle with it.

The interviewer tries frequently to get Heuer to take the bait of talking about science as rational and provable and religion as irrational and unprovable; Heuer is too smart to take the bait, and interviewer Martin Eiermann should probably have found a dumber interview subject.

Curiously, several non-ID and non-theist contributors to The Nature of Nature rtake for granted not only that they can know what lies behind and outside the Big Bang but its general nature and significance. See, for example, Nobelist Steven Weinberg ‘s “Living in the multiverse” and Alan Guth’s “Eternal inflation and its implications”. See also Bruce Gordon’s rebuttal, “Balloons on a string.”

Some wonder what is it about ID and theism that makes people care a lot about evidence.

4 Replies to “Can we peek behind the Big Bang? CERN director: I doubt it.

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Well if you are looking for a cause of the Big Bang which must give rise to matter-energy, time-space, should you not look to a transcendent entity, Which (Who) is not limited by space-time, matter-energy? Should you look to God? But then again I guess I can see why this would give atheistic materialist such ‘chasing tail in circle’ fits, since their entire worldview is based on the materialistic presupposition that the transcendent realm is merely imaginary, or ’emergent’, from the material realm.

  2. 2
    Brent says:

    The European: Do you think it is conceivable that we will eventually learn something about before the Big Bang?

    Heuer: I doubt it.

    I don’t think, considering this answer, it is necessarily a given to think that Heuer is smart at all. If he means that he doubts that something can be learned about prior to the Big Bang by strictly scientific investigation, then his answer is too weak. He should state, flatly, “No”, since there is nothing for science to operate on prior to the Big Bang. If he isn’t restricting his answer to scientific inquiry, then his answer is just wrong in that we can and do know something about prior to the Big Bang. BA77 already mentioned it above.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Prior to the Big Bang there was the Big Fuse Lighting Ceremony.

    After the Big Bang there wasn’t much left of the Big Fuse Lighting Ceremony participants.

    Big oops on that one.

  4. 4
    Charles says:

    Heuer:

    Science is not much talked about in society today. It is largely separated despite the fact that society depends on science and its results and developments. This was very different at the beginning of the 20th century when science was a discussion topic in private households. Maybe the amount of information is becoming so overwhelming that people are submerged.

    What society depends upon is technology, and what society now talks about is “evolution” and “global warming” because they have hijacked science and discredited the discipline.

    It’s not that people are overwhelmed with the information, rather it’s that they are underwhelmed with the “evidence” and dismissive of the gnu high priests.

    If physicists don’t like what Darwinists and Warmists have done to the reputation of science, they might at least recover their intellectual honesty and expose pseudo-science and its shills.

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