Big Bang Intelligent Design

Ethan Siegel makes another paper assault on the Big Bang

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Is the Big Bang the least popular widely accepted science theory? Theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel wishes it out of existence by positing a cosmic inflation that wipes out all possibility of knowledge:

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we can no longer speak with any sort of knowledge or confidence as to how — or even whether — the universe itself began. By the very nature of inflation, it wipes out any information that came before the final few moments: where it ended and gave rise to our hot Big Bang. Inflation could have gone on for an eternity, it could have been preceded by some other nonsingular phase, or it could have been preceded by a phase that did emerge from a singularity. Until the day comes where we discover how to extract more information from the universe than presently seems possible, we have no choice but to face our ignorance. The Big Bang still happened a very long time ago, but it wasn’t the beginning we once supposed it to be.

Ethan Siegel, “Surprise: the Big Bang isn’t the beginning of the universe anymore” at Big Think (October 13, 2021)

Translated from the Popular Science, this seems to mean “Better all information gets wiped out than that the Big Bang be some kind of a beginning.”

Earlier this year, Siegel was wondering why so few challenge the Big Bang.

5 Replies to “Ethan Siegel makes another paper assault on the Big Bang

  1. 1
    Pearlman says:

    a not The Big Bang.
    Yes hyper dense start, yes hyper-cosmic expansion early on.
    thousands not billions of years ago/ reference SPIRAL cosmological redshift hypothesis and model. As an over 150T:1 parsimony advantage over competing SCM-LCDM model.
    In volume two of Pearlman YeC for the alignment of Torah testimony, science and ancient civ.

  2. 2
    Origenes on vacation says:

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we can no longer speak with any sort of knowledge or confidence as to how — or even whether — the universe itself began.

    So, I take it then that we do not have “any sort of knowledge or confidence” that the universe is expanding, which points to a beginning of the universe.

  3. 3
    Truth Will Set You Free says:

    This represents a tiny minority opinion among scientists, especially astrophysicists. The Big Bang hypothesis is supported by a wide variety of empirical evidence, such as, cosmic background radiation, Hubble’s red shift measurements, and Einstein’s theory of general relativity (just to name a few).

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Interestingly, the very first reason that Siegel gives for rejecting a beginning for the universe is because of fine tuning,

    For example, if the universe began from a singularity, then it must have sprung into existence with exactly the right balance of “stuff” in it — matter and energy combined — to precisely balance the expansion rate. If there were just a tiny bit more matter, the initially expanding universe would have already recollapsed by now. And if there were a tiny bit less, things would have expanded so quickly that the universe would be much larger than it is today.
    And yet, instead, what we’re observing is that the universe’s initial expansion rate and the total amount of matter and energy within it balance as perfectly as we can measure.
    If the Big Bang began from a singularity, we have no explanation; we simply have to assert “the universe was born this way,” or, as physicists ignorant of Lady Gaga call it, “initial conditions.”
    Similarly, a universe that reached arbitrarily high temperatures would be expected to possess leftover high-energy relics, like magnetic monopoles, but we don’t observe any. The universe would also be expected to be different temperatures in regions that are causally disconnected from one another — i.e., are in opposite directions in space at our observational limits — and yet the universe is observed to have equal temperatures everywhere to 99.99%+ precision.
    We’re always free to appeal to initial conditions as the explanation for anything, and say, “well, the universe was born this way, and that’s that.” But we’re always far more interested, as scientists, if we can come up with an explanation for the properties we observe.

    Call me unimpressed with Siegel’s rejection of a beginning for the universe because of fine-tuning.

    Instead of the just right balance of matter and energy, I could just as easily call upon the finely tuned 1 in 10^10^123 initial entropy of the universe to send Siegel’s naturalistic worldview into a tailspin, because of the finely-tuned ‘initial conditions’ of the universe that he apparently dislikes so much.

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.

    This argument against the initial entropy of the universe originating purely by chance, (as atheist hold to be true), has been made semi-famous with the “Boltzmann brain argument”

    Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of the Universe? – Dr. Craig (observer selection effect vs. Boltzmann Brains) – video

    The Fine Tuning of the Universe – drcraigvideos – video

    i.e. If the 1 in 10^10^123 initial entropy of the universe really did occur purely by chance, as MatSpirit and other atheists believe that it did, then it would be far more likely that our universe might only consist of a single human brain that pops into existence which has the neurons configured just right to only give the appearance of past memories. It would also be far more likely that we are floating brains in a lab, with some scientist feeding us fake experiences. Those scenarios would be far more likely to happen that the one that we appear to be in now (i.e. living in a universe with a initial state of 1 in 10^10^123 entropy, a 14 billion year history and all of our experiences of the past supposedly being reliable).

    Clearly, believing the initial entropy of the universe originated purely by chance, as atheists believe, is absurd. As Dr. Bruce Gordon commented, this belief “entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.”

    GORDON: Hawking irrational arguments – Washington Times – 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.

    Siegel goes on to champion the supposedly successful predictions of ‘cosmic inflation’ and Siegel also holds that cosmic inflation is also the reason why we can never be certain the universe had a beginning.

    First, call me unimpressed with Siegel being impressed with the supposedly successful predictions of ‘cosmic inflation’.

    Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, states “it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything.”

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Excerpt: (Inflation) theory, the most widely held of cosmological ideas about the growth of our universe after the big bang, explains a number of mysteries, including why the universe is surprisingly flat and so smoothly distributed, or homogeneous,,,
    Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, says this is potentially a blow for the theory, but that it pales in significance with inflation’s other problems.
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    Steinhardt says the point of inflation was to explain a remarkably simple universe. “So the last thing in the world you should be doing is introducing a multiverse of possibilities to explain such a simple thing,” he says. “I think it’s telling us in the clearest possible terms that we should be able to understand this and when we understand it it’s going to come in a model that is extremely simple and compelling. And we thought inflation was it – but it isn’t.”

    Secondly, also call me unimpressed with Siegel’s belief that inflation prevents us from ever knowing that the universe had an absolute beginning.

    In fact, it was precisely the assumption of inflation that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin used to prove their theorem that the universe must have had a beginning.

    The Beginning of the Universe – Alexander Vilenkin – 2015
    Excerpt: Loosely speaking, our theorem states that if the universe is, on average, expanding, then its history cannot be indefinitely continued into the past. More precisely, if the average expansion rate is positive along a given world line, or geodesic, then this geodesic must terminate after a finite amount of time.

    “The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation is impossible without a beginning.”
    – Alexander Vilenkin – from pg. 35 ‘New Proofs for the Existence of God’ by Robert J. Spitzer (of note: An elegant thought experiment of a space traveler traveling to another galaxy, that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, used to illustrate the validity of the proof, is on pg. 35 of the book as well.)

    “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can long longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
    Alexander Vilenkin – Many Worlds In One – Pg. 176

    “There is another development in theoretical physics called the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem. And its not based on General Relativity but its based on Special Relativity. And for that reason it is not effected by postulations about what gravity might or might not have been like in the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe. And it is those speculations that prevented the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, singularity theorem from absolutely proving a beginning point.
    Instead the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin, theorem proves a beginning to the universe on the basis of considerations from special relativity that have nothing to do with whether or not there were quantum fluctuations within the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe, and whether gravity might have worked differently or not. Instead it is independent of all those kind of considerations and caveats that prevent us from saying that the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, results are absolute proofs (for a beginning of the universe). Instead you have a very strong proof of a beginning from theoretical physics that is not dependent on these conditions.”,,,
    – Stephen Meyer Discusses the Big Bang, Einstein, Hawking, and More – video – 36:42 minute mark

    Thus, while Siegel, as a naturalist, may be perplexed time and time again by the fact the universe had an absolute, and finely tuned, beginning, never-the-less, to repeat Vilenkin, “There is no escape, they, (i.e. atheists), have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”


    Genesis 1:1
    n the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

  5. 5
    Querius says:

    Pearlman @1,
    Science is always changing–the science of even 10 or 20 years ago seems strange, almost quaint. As a result, I choose to leave science and Torah, which doesn’t change, separate and without any attempt to harmonize them.

    But I do recognize the compatibility and potential compatibility between science and Torah. For example, many decades ago science ridiculed Torah for asserting that light was created before stars came into existence. Now, science also claims that as well, without apology to their previous mockery of Torah!

    Science is discovered incrementally with many corrections and changes; Torah is revealed without correction. Science has no right to judge or approve/disapprove Torah.


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