Big Bang Intelligent Design

Is Ethan Siegel’s Big Bang and Parallel Universes nonsense a response to Steve Meyer?

Spread the love

Readers may recall Siegel arguing against the Big Bang and for the multiverse/parallel universes in recent days.

At Evolution News and Science Today, Brian Miller suggests he is arguing around Steve Meyer’s new book, The Return of the God Hypothesis without wanting to mention or engage with it:

The website Big Think recently published an article by Ethan Siegel titled “Surprise: the Big Bang isn’t the beginning of the universe anymore.” Siegel is a theoretical astrophysicist and a science writer. He is also an atheist, so he understandably does not like the implications of the universe requiring a beginning. He does not mention Stephen Meyer by name, but he seems to directly engage Meyer’s recent book Return of the God Hypothesis, arguing that modern theories of cosmology suggest the universe did not have a beginning but is eternal.

Brian Miller, “Critics Respond to Stephen Meyer’s New Book (Without Mentioning Him by Name)” at Evolution News and Science Today (October 16, 2021)

And, Miller thinks, Siegel isn’t alone:

Since the book’s release, many stories have appeared in varied publications challenging his claims. The articles often do not mention Meyer by name, but their content suggests that they are attempting to disprove his design thesis. A similar phenomenon occurred after the publication of his previous books, especially Darwin’s Doubt. The critics appear to see Meyer much like Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. He is ever present in their minds, but Meyer is “he who shall not be named.”

Brian Miller, “Critics Respond to Stephen Meyer’s New Book (Without Mentioning Him by Name)” at Evolution News and Science Today (October 16, 2021)

Now that Miller mentions it, several other anti-Big Bang tales have appeared recently. Here’s one, come to think of it: Another shot in the campaign against the Big Bang: Bento’s theory sounds convincing — compared to the Easter Bunny. The question we should be asking is, why is the Big Bang so unpopular with these people?

Perhaps the reason that all these stories seem extra-silly is that the authors are rattled.

You may also wish to read: Ethan Siegel makes another paper assault on the Big Bang. 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.

and

Ethan Siegel: The multiverse (and another you) are “all but inevitable” Granting some things he’d like to believe. Essentially, Siegel, the person who has Big Problems with something as widely accepted as the Big Bang, is quite prepared to accept all this far out stuff. That is where the naturalist project is just now.

34 Replies to “Is Ethan Siegel’s Big Bang and Parallel Universes nonsense a response to Steve Meyer?

  1. 1
    Mark from CO says:

    I’m not a cosmologist, just an average Joe who wonders about things. I’ve wondered for a long time about an “eternal universe.” It seems to me that if the universe was eternal, the universe would never get to the time when I existed. If the universe was eternal, when I look back in time, all I would see is eternity. If I went back 100 years, or even an infinitely higher number of years, the result would be the same – an eternity of time stretching backwards. You go back those 100 years (or an infinitely higher number of years) and the result is the same an eternity of time stretching backwards. In short, if the universe was infinitely old, then any distinct time (T1) in the past would have an infinite amount of previous to it. And if truly an infinite time existed before T1, ‘one’ would have to traverse an infinite amount of time to get to T1. And that is impossible, as ‘one’ cannot successfully transverse an infinite amount of time, as you would always have an infinite amount of time ahead of you. Not sure if this is clear, but it seems a hurdle to those claiming an infinite universe. Can anyone help me understand where my thinking is off?

  2. 2
    ram says:

    Mark from CO: Can anyone help me understand where my thinking is off?

    You’re not off.

    –Ram

  3. 3
    zweston says:

    It all goes back to worldview, not science.

    The walls are caving in on the materialist… quantum physics, beginning of universe… complexity, fine tuning…..

    A lot of this stuff isn’t new (some is) but I think the implications of the findings are just now being synthesized to the public thanks to people like Dr. Meyer.

    Ideas have consequences, and materialism doesn’t like the current leading ones.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    I’m sure Stephen Meyer has Darwinian materialists quaking in their boots.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    Mark From CO/1

    And that is impossible, as ‘one’ cannot successfully transverse an infinite amount of time, as you would always have an infinite amount of time ahead of you. Not sure if this is clear, but it seems a hurdle to those claiming an infinite universe. Can anyone help me understand where my thinking is off?

    If it is impossible to get something from nothing then the fact that there is something means that there must always have been something, in other words an infinity

    Infinity is an unsatisfying concept but the only equally unsatisfactory alternative to an infinite causal regress is to postulate an arbitrary uncaused first cause – which must itself be infinite.

    We can also envisage infinity as being comprised of an infinite number of finite points. We come into existence at one of those points and cease existing as such at a subsequent point We – as a unique arrangement of matter and energy – have a finite existence within an infinity. The matter and energy of which we are composed is eternal but the unique arrangement of it, which is us, is not.

  6. 6
    chuckdarwin says:

    I think the Discovery Institute should change its name to “Divas R Us” ………

  7. 7
    Seekers says:

    ChuckyD,

    Thank you for yet another insightful comment.

    Seversky,

    I take it you believe in the multiverse?

  8. 8
    chuckdarwin says:

    Seeker
    Sometimes the best insight is levity. When you read through the voluminous nonsense that comes out of DI every day, after a while humor is the only antidote. I suppose I could stop reading it, but its like watching a train wreck, you just can’t look away……..

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    Troll warning at 6 and 8.

    Seversky,

    Infinite mass-energy, space-time, and perhaps other stuff existing infinitely still violates the chain of causality.

    Even allowing an infinity in the equation, which is problematic, one still has to deal with the cause of space-time. Remember that probability cannot exist outside of space-time.

    -Q

  10. 10
    Seekers says:

    ChuckyD,

    If DI produce’s what you claim is nonsense then why not engage in a debate about where they have gone wrong or provide evidence or links to the appropriate material detailing where the DI has gone wrong.

  11. 11
    KRock says:

    @Seekers #10

    I’ve always found it fascinating. and a tad-bit bizarre, that people, such as ChuckyD and Seversky, would spend what little time they have in their meaningless existence (assuming they espouse an atheistic worldview?) debating the reality of something (i.e., God) they don’t believe in. It really does fascinate me, so much so, that I’m beginning to wonder if it might be possible to develop this fascination into a research question for my postgrad dissertation.

  12. 12
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @5

    The first cause is no infinity.

    If it is impossible to get something from nothing then the fact that there is something means that there must always have been something, in other words an infinity.

    ‘Infinity’ properly understood is something that is infinite within a context; such as time, or space. Since such a context is assumed, ‘infinity’ (whatever that is infinite within some context) cannot be the fundamental explanation for why there is something –– context, such as time and space, is not nothing.

    Infinity is an unsatisfying concept but the only equally unsatisfactory alternative to an infinite causal regress is to postulate an arbitrary uncaused first cause – which must itself be infinite.

    The first cause cannot be ‘infinite’ (in some context). Since nothing encapsulates the first cause, nothing contextualizes the first cause, nothing is fundamental to the first cause. In the first cause content and context are aspects of one thing; put another way, the first cause is its own context.

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    Origenes@12,

    The first cause cannot be ‘infinite’ (in some context). Since nothing encapsulates the first cause, nothing contextualizes the first cause, nothing is fundamental to the first cause.

    Good point! Many people don’t understand nothing (pun intended). They think it’s empty space-time, but that’s wrong. Nothing is actually non-existence such as the Easter bunny. Thus, the belief that everything came from nothing makes as much sense as claiming it to come from the Easter bunny.

    Infinity when contextualized by nothing then assumes the equivalent of the imaginary little basket that the imaginary Easter bunny might be holding.

    Similarly, the “multiverse” is the name that atheists use instead of God. The multiverse has all the attributes and power of God wrapped in a cloak of probabilities and inaccessibility to science.

    -Q

  14. 14
    Querius says:

    KRock @11,

    I’ve noticed that as well. Even after they’re repeatedly embarrassed and their arguments are refuted, they come back for more. My view of the possible explanations are

    a. They’re on a noble crusade to bring enlightenment to the world in the name of science.

    b. They’re trolls merely wanting to waste people’s time and energy, which is why they keep raising the same, previously refuted arguments in new posts.

    c. They enjoy stirring up controversy online when they’re not yelling “Jesus Saves” at Buddhist conventions or yelling “the South will rise again” at NAACP meetings.

    My bet is on b. How about yours?

    -Q

  15. 15
    vividbleau says:

    Q
    “Thus, the belief that everything came from nothing makes as much sense as claiming it to come from the Easter bunny.”

    It becomes even more absurd when people start to describe what nothing “is” LOL. This is because “nothing” is not conceivable! For one to think of nothing one has to think of something hehe

    Vivid

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    Vividbleu,
    You’re right.

    It reminds me of a riddle that I once shared here. Supposedly, it stumped most university students, but was easily answered by grade-school children:

    What’s greater than God,
    More evil than the devil,
    Rich people lack it,
    Poor people have plenty of it,
    And if you eat it, you will die?

    -Q

  17. 17
    Origenes says:

    Q:

    Many people don’t understand nothing (pun intended). They think it’s empty space-time, but that’s wrong.

    It is as if, for some people, like Seversky, empty space-time is an indispensable context of all things; including the first cause. ‘Indispensible’, because, in their minds, empty space-time is equal to ‘nothing’ and therefor cannot be stripped down any further. And some, like Lawrence Krauss, even assign physical laws to ‘nothing’.

    Nothing properly understood is indeed truly nothing. Nothing is what rocks dream of.

  18. 18
    Querius says:

    Origenes,

    Yeah, exactly. And the next thing for them to do is personify “nothing” in all its inferred power, wisdom, and providence!

    -Q

  19. 19
    BobRyan says:

    The questions are simple enough to boil down. If energy cannot be created or destroyed, an eternal force, where did it come from? If the laws of physics could not have come naturally, how did they originate? If life cannot come from an absence of life, how did life originate?

  20. 20
    Belfast says:

    Seversky and Chuck, giggling away like schoolgirls at their wit. Now listen closely:-
    As mathematician David Hilbert said, “the infinite is nowhere to be found IN REALITY (I.e. in this universe). It neither exists in nature, nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought.”
    Get it?
    Although the concept of infinity has a superbly useful mathematical footing there has yet to be a physical experiment carried out that produced an actual infinite result.
    Get it now?
    Failure to appreciate this leads to attempting to make perpetual motion machines.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, a true nothing is non-being, which has no causal capability for obvious reasons. Were there ever utter non being, that would forever obtain. That a world is entails that something is a necessary, self-exisent and so eternal being, causal root of worlds. An infinite past stepwise succession of years, say, is impossible as an explicit or implicit transfinite traverse like that cannot be completed stepwise. To see why, put the N-mileposted reals in the wider context R* of hyperreals and see why stepwise successions cannot traverse an explicit or implicit transfinite span. KF

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    BR, under present going concern world circumstances. Note entropy and implications for a finite future of highly organised cell based entities, stars and more. KF

  23. 23
    chuckdarwin says:

    #20 Belfast
    FTR, I don’t believe this school girl has ever posted a comment pertaining to discussions of “the infinite.” If I had, it would have been something prosaic like referring to the “infinite” amount of nonsense coming out of the Discovery Institute, knowing full well that my use of the word “infinite” was hyperbole.
    BTW, as I recall, Hilbert was an agnostic….

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, cheap rhetorical stunt duly noted. KF

  25. 25
    Seversky says:

    Seekers/7

    Seversky,

    I take it you believe in the multiverse?

    I think it’s an intriguing speculation but I can’t say I believe in it,

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @24,

    The obvious question then is why someone would resort to a fatuous response to a legitimate and logical observation.

    I would think that it means the person has no reasonable response and simply wants to belittle the point, having no intention to engage in a meaningful discussion.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    -Q

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, sadly, you have a point worth pondering given what rhetoric teaches. KF

  28. 28
    EDTA says:

    Think of Seversky and CD as sparring partners; they’re there to give us practice in articulating what we hold to be true.

  29. 29
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    #28

    Like JVL, they’ve given up all pretense that their participation here has anything whatsoever to do with the science. On one hand we have a village atheist, mumbling something about Star Trek, and on the other hand, we have a biologist who runs from empirical evidence.

    Sev: Once more, in my view, we are able to infer design on two grounds.

    The first …

    Sev: The phenomenon or entity has not been observed to result from natural processes

    Done. No one has observed a natural process that results in encoded memory containing a set of descriptions of the constraints required to decode that memory … (along with a set of descriptions of the physical parts required to cause the memory to be read and the products of it to be produced in order for the system and its constraints to persist over time so that we might discover it). It clearly, unambiguously “has not been observed”. His first criterion is satisfied..

    The second …

    Sev: and (the phenomenon) resembles what human beings design to a degree sufficient to at least raise the possibility of intelligent design.

    Done. The “phenomenon” in question is a completely unique physical system that has been described and identified by physics for the past five decades. It is a self-referent system using rate-independent control of a rate-dependent process, preserving its constraints, just exactly as it was predicted to be. The prediction was confirmed by experimental result. All the necessary parts of the system were found, one by one. All of it abundantly recorded in the literature. Nobel Awards were passed out. And the only other instance where that particular type of system can be found and described (by physics) is in human language and mathematics – two universal correlates of intelligence. It doesn’t merely “raise the possibility” of intelligence; the only other examples are immediate correlates of intelligence.

    So what say you Seversky?

    **crickets**

    Chuck: Like, for example, intelligent design “theory.”

    Speaking of predictions, it was predicted that autonomous self-replication would be code-based, and that encoded descriptions of the constraints (that are required to interpret this code) would be among the descriptions encoded.

    Chuck, is the Genetic Code established by description?

    **crickets**

  30. 30
    Querius says:

    So, I just stumbled across this and was immediately reminded of some long term pathologies that we often notice here. What do you think–does the shoe fit?

    Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww47bR86wSc

    The one thing that really bothered me about the video is that the producers made sure they didn’t mention that all the “innocent shop owners” attacked by the Nazis were actually Jewish. I can’t imagine a legitimate reason for not mentioning German antisemitism in this regard. Can you?

    -Q

  31. 31
    KRock says:

    Querius @14

    Hmm, that’s a good question. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say it’s probably a combination of all three (A, B and C). However, there’s another potential option (we’ll label it option D) as well. For example, it might be possible that they visit sites, such as Uncommon Descent, because they feel threatened by other world-views. Thus, they come here in the hopes of intimidating, even harassing, proponents of ID.

    Interestingly, people with narcissistic tendencies often exhibit increased hostility towards anything they feel threatened by. Given that atheists are known to be narcissistic, we can deduce that this may also be a valid reason for why such individuals waste their precious time arguing about things they don’t believe in.

    Just a guess, though ;-).

  32. 32
    Querius says:

    KRock,

    I’m trying to think what might motivate me to participate in the Darwinism4Ever or EvolutionRules discussion groups (made up names) to ineptly mock Darwinists about their faith, get shot down repeatedly, but always come back to be the first to post on a new subject.

    Or maybe join, pretending to be a 14-year old girl confused about her beliefs.

    I ask myself why would I ever consider wasting my time like this?

    I think this video might have a good possibility of the answer:

    Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww47bR86wSc

    -Q

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, more, a theory of what Proverbs terms folly and marches thereof. Moral failure, in the mass undermining soundness and due sensitivity to the right. KF

  34. 34
    Querius says:

    Yes, folly and wisdom as illustrated in Proverbs.

    Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them. – Proverbs 26:12 (NIV)

    And also in Psalms:

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good. – Psalm 14:1 (ESV)

    And this seems pretty appropriate, too:

    A fool does not delight in understanding,
    But only in revealing his own mind.
    When a wicked man comes, contempt also comes,
    And with dishonor comes scorn. – Proverbs 18:2-3 (NASB 1995)

    Unfortunately, those seem to nail it.

    -Q

Leave a Reply