Stephen Meyer offers some thoughts:
In this extended conversation released as part of the Science Uprising series, best-selling author Stephen Meyer discusses the big bang, whether you can have an expanding universe without a beginning, and the most common ways scientists have tried to avoid a beginning to the universe. Along the way, Meyer addresses the ideas of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Edwin Hubble, Lawrence Krauss, Sean Carroll, and more.
Stephen Meyer is a philosopher of science and author of the book The Return of the God Hypothesis.
29 Replies to “Stephen Meyer: Can you have an expanding universe without a beginning?”
At the 36:42 minute mark of the video, Dr. Meyer states,
Although I was aware of atheists trying to force all types of speculations into the first tiny smidgen of time in order to avoid an absolute beginning to the universe, as is implied by the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, singularity theorem,,,
Although I was aware of atheists trying to force all types of their speculations into the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe in order to avoid an absolute beginning to the universe, as is implied by the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, singularity theorem, I was not aware that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, ingenuously, used special relativity, instead of General Relativity, in order to bypass the speculations that atheists were trying to cram into that first tiny smidgen of time, and so as to provide a more robust proof that the universe had an absolute beginning than was available with the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, singularity theory alone.
As soon as I learned from Dr. Meyer that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin had used Special Relativity instead of General Relativity, to provide a more robust proof for an absolute beginning to the universe it immediately made a lot of sense to me.
The reason that it makes a lot of sense to me that Special Relativity would provide a more robust proof for an absolute beginning for the universe, than General Relativity was capable of doing, is that Special Relativity, via renormalization, and/or ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, has already been ‘unified’ with quantum mechanics, whereas General Relativity, notoriously and infamously, refuses to ‘play nicely’ with the other forces and particles and be ‘unified’ with the other forces and particles in a single mathematical framework.
So that Special Relativity would provide a more robust proof for an absolute beginning of the universe than general relativity capable of doing simply makes a lot of sense to me since special relativity has already been ‘unified’ with the other forces and particles of the universe, and thus it directly follows that Special Relativity can ‘naturally’ offer us a more accurate description of what the other forces and particles are doing at various points in space-time.
It is also interesting to note, prior to Einstein’s elucidation of the 4-D space-time of General Relativity circa 1915, that “In 1908, Hermann Minkowski—once one of the math professors of a young Einstein in Zurich—presented a geometric interpretation of special relativity that fused time and the three spatial dimensions of space into a single four-dimensional continuum now known as Minkowski space.” In fact, in 1916, Einstein fully acknowledged his indebtedness to Minkowski, whose (geometric) interpretation (of special relativity) greatly facilitated the transition to general relativity.
It is also interesting to note that, via special relativity, (prior to Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin’s proof that the space-time of this universe must have had an absolute beginning), we already knew that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light.
So that time and space, as we understand them, would be shown to have an absolute beginning by Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, is not really all that surprising. i.e. We already knew, via thousands of tests on special relativity, that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light.
To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into special relativity.
It is also interesting to note what happens when we turn the hypothetical observer around 180 degrees in Einstein’s thought experiment and, instead of visualizing the clock face as Einstein did in his original thought experiment, we instead visualize what will happen to space-time itself as we approach the speed of light.
At the 3:22 mark of the following video, which is entitled “Optical Effects of Special Relativity”, we find that the 3-Dimensional world, basically, ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape as a ‘hypothetical observer’ approaches the speed of light, (this is also known as the ‘headlight effect’)
Believe it or not, and as counterintuitive as it may seem at first glance, this ‘folding and collapsing’ of the 3-dimensional world into a tunnel shape makes perfect sense.
Namely, since time, as we understand it, does not pass for light, and yet light obviously moves from point A to point B in our universe, and therefore light is obviously not ‘frozen within time’, then it logically follows that light must be of a ‘higher dimension’ of time. If light did not have this ‘higher dimensional’ quality to it, light would simply be ‘frozen within time’ since time, as we understand it, does not pass for it.
Moreover, while it is very difficult to see how the higher dimensional 4-D space-time of special relativity would make any sense whatsoever for the Atheistic Naturalist, on the other hand, for the Christian Theist, it is ‘expected’ that this universe would be described by higher dimensional mathematics.
Namely, Christian Theism ‘predicted’ that this universe was created by God from the ‘highest heavens’ which ‘belong’ to Him.
In short, Christian Theism ‘predicted’ the universe to be created from a ‘higher dimension’ thousands of years before the higher dimensional mathematics that describe our universe were even elucidated.
Moreover, stunning confirmation for special relativity, namely confirmation for the time-dilation and the 4-D space-time curvature of special relativity, comes from a very surprising place.
Namely, Near Death Experiences, of all things, offer stunning confirmation for what special relativity predicts.
In the following video clip, Mickey Robinson gives his Near Death testimony of what it felt like for him to experience a ‘timeless eternity’.
And here are a few more quotes from people who have experienced Near Death, that speak of how their perception of time was radically altered as they were outside of their material body.
As well, Near Death Experiencers also frequently mention going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension:
In the following video, Barbara Springer gives her testimony as to what it felt like for her to go through the tunnel to the ‘higher dimension’ of heaven:
And in the following audio clip, Vicki Noratuk, who has been blind from birth, besides being able to see for the first time during in her life during her Near Death Experience, also gives testimony of going through a tunnel:
And the following people who had a NDE both testify that they firmly believed that they were in a higher dimension that is above this three-dimensional world and that the primary reason that they have a very difficult time explaining what their Near Death Experiences felt like is because we simply don’t currently have the words to properly describe that higher dimension:
That what we now know to be true from special relativity, (namely that it outlines a ‘timeless’, i.e. eternal, dimension that exists in a higher dimension above this temporal dimension), would fit hand and glove with the personal testimonies of people who have had deep heavenly NDEs is, needless to say, (very) powerful evidence that their testimonies are, in fact, true and that they are accurately describing the ‘reality’ of a higher heavenly dimension that exists above this temporal dimension.
I would even go so far as to say that such corroboration from ‘non-physicists’, who, in all likelihood, know nothing about the intricacies of special relativity, is a complete verification of the overall validity of their personal NDE testimonies.
It is simply astonishing that Special Relativity, (one of our best theories in science), and deep Near Death Experience Testimonies, (which are explicitly ‘spiritual’ in their foundational character), would find such harmony with one another in order to validate the reality of a heavenly eternal paradise that exists above this temporal dimension. Again, it is simply astonishing that ‘hard science’ would so beautifully corroborate what is so profoundly spiritual in its foundational character..
You could have a bouncing universe that goes through expansion and contraction cycles.
Maybe that’s God’s equivalent of that scene from The Great Escape where Steve McQueen passes his time in the cooler by repeatedly bouncing a baseball off the floor and wall of his cell.
Something cannot come from nothing, unless you redefine nothing…to something.
Perhaps Seversky should have actually watched the video before commenting on “bouncing universes’?
There are a lot of things I want to watch before Meyer’s video. You might find this instructive.
Whatever Seversky. You made a false claim. That false claim was addressed in the video. Most people would be embarrassed by the fact that they had made a false claim. Apparently making false claims and not being bothered by it is just part of the cost of being an Atheist.
Different day, same modus operandi.
not related, but lots of people like Chris Hitchens… this was a pretty entertaining cut from a debate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwfAQzyqwNI
What particular false claim did you have in mind?
Seversky loves to pick and choose what he responds to. Sev, why don’t you have the slightest commentary on all those evidential examples from people who have had NDEs? What do you make of those? Are they all delusional? No one will ever be able to argue that they didn’t have enough evidence when the curtain falls. BA’s posts are long, but they are a treasure of evidence for his claims.
Be careful with that title!
Mathematically, You CAN Have An Expanding Universe Without A Beginning!
Set R(t) = A/( To-t), where R(t) is the rate of expansion at time t.
A is a constant, and To is some positive, fixed time, say 100 billion years or whatever.
Then t = 0 is “now”, and as t approaches To in the distant future, the expansion will grow without limit.
Going back in time, for t < 0, you can see that the expansion is always positive and remains so, no matter how far back you go. Thus, in principle, there is no beginning, yet the universe has always been expanding.
If you are concerned about integrating the expansion back in time to find an infinite expansion, then how is that any different from the expansion from a singularity at the Big Bang up to today, all in a mere 14 billion years? Of course we could get around that in another way by using the following:
R(t) = B/(To-t)^2 Then the integral back to negative infinity is not infinite.
Of course, I don't actually believe this, but it does show that, in principle, you can have an ever-expanding universe without a beginning.
I’m with Seversky on this one. If you’ve heard one Meyers video/lecture/debate/sermon, you’ve heard them all…….
Seversky asks, “What particular false claim did you have in mind?”
Well although, over the years, you have made a myriad of false claims, the only false claim that you have made in this particular thread, in relation to the video in the OP, has been at post 3 where you claimed that, “You could have a bouncing universe that goes through expansion and contraction cycles.”
Since you are apparently adverse to having your atheistic worldview challenged in any way, shape, or form, and refuse to even watch the video, I will quote the relevant part of the video to you,
Of supplemental note:
True! Fantastic complement!!!
Correct thinking has a way of repeating itself.
Aside: Seversky and ChuckDarwin are two of the best ID supporters here. By making one specious comment after the other, they are providing credence to ID with every comment they make.
You are almost as good of a spin doctor as the folks at the Discovery Institute. Keep working on it… 🙂
I think the people reporting NDEs genuinely experienced what they describe. But there’s no way to verify them. They might simply be something equivalent to a dream or hallucination. They are certainly worth studying but I think people who interpret them as evidence of an afterlife are setting the evidentiary bar way too low.
Did Meyer happen to mention that there are three or four variants of cyclic or oscillating universe models?
Did he point out that the Big Bang theory is no longer held to necessarily point to a primordial singularity?
Did he point out that science makes no claim to definite knowledge of how the Universe started or even if it had a beginning?
Another specious comment.
Supports my assessment.
Sev at 16: I think that would be true if the consistencies for thousands and thousands and thousands weren’t there. But they are. Ignore at your peril. One piece of a much larger pie.
[Given what we think we know about the universe,] can you have an expanding universe without a beginning?
Astrophysics is still in its infancy.
Seversky at 17
Now what do you do?
At 16 Seversky states,
As to his very first sentence, “I think the people reporting NDEs genuinely experienced what they describe.”
Yet, if Seversky’s Darwinian worldview were actually true then there are no people who are having genuine experiences. Under Darwinian premises, People become ‘neuronal illusions’ who are merely having ‘constructed representations’ of reality, and who are not having genuine experiences of reality. In short, in Darwinian evolution were actually true, people become illusions who are merely having illusions of experience.
The primary reason for this catastrophic epistemological failure inherent within Darwinian theory is that ‘Personhood’ itself is an abstract concept of the immaterial mind that can find no grounding within the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution.
i.e. How much does the concept of person weigh? How fast is the concept of person? Is the concept of person positively or negatively charged? etc.. etc..
‘Persons’ simply don’t exist on the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinian evolution since ‘persons’ can’t possibly be reduced to purely materialistic explanations!
This Darwinian claim, (that people do not really exist as real people but that they are merely ‘neuronal illusions’ who are have ‘constructed representations’ of reality), is a very interesting claim for Darwinian atheists to make.
First off, as Rene Descartes himself pointed out, the fact that we really exist as real persons is, by far, the most certain fact that we can possibly know about reality.
In fact, Rene Descartes, via his ‘method of doubt’, found that he could doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place, “As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….”
And as Eugene Wigner pointed out, “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied.”
Yet Darwinian atheists, via their reductive materialistic framework, are, apparently, forced to deny this, by far, most certain fact that we can possibly know about reality and to deny that they really do exist as a real people.
Yet, if this were actually so, and as Ross Douthat bluntly asked Jerry Coyne, “why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit?”
Moreover, far from ‘illusory selves’ having ‘constructed representations’ of reality, i.e. having illusions of reality,
, far from ‘illusory selves’ having ‘constructed representations’ of reality, i.e. having illusions of reality, we now know, via advances in quantum mechanics, that our conscious observations of reality take primacy over the existence of what we consider to be an external material reality.
As the following Wheeler’s Delayed Choice that was done with atoms found, ““It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”
And as the following falsification of ‘realism’ found, “Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.”
Thus, directly contrary to the Darwinian claim that our observations of reality are merely ‘constructed representations’ of reality, and are therefore not to be held as reliable observations of reality, we instead find that our observations of reality precede the very existence of material reality, and therefore, vis that finding, our observations are found to be far more reliable of reliable of reality than what is held to be true under Darwinian presuppositions.
Which is very fortunate for us since reliable observation happens to be a necessary cornerstone of the entire scientific method itself
In short, via the Darwinian claim that we cannot have reliable observations of reality, Darwinian evolution undermines its own claim that it is based upon the scientific method.
Thus, in the very first sentence I highlighted from Seversky from post 16, we find that Seversky has, once again, made a couple of demonstrably false claims.
I will try to address the rest of Seversky’s fallacious comment at 16 later on this morning, but for now I will let it simmer that his very first sentence falsifies his entire Darwinian worldview.
The term “neuronal illusion” makes no sense no matter how you look at it. Isn’t it telling, that in their attempt to deny consciousness they do not seem to be able to come up with a coherent term?
I think the people reporting UCD genuinely think they have experienced what they describe. But there’s no way to verify them. They might simply be something equivalent to a dream or hallucination. They are certainly worth studying but I think people who interpret them as evidence of a science are setting the evidentiary bar way too low.
As should be needless to say, Darwinists, by the very act of claiming they are merely ‘neuronal illusions’ and denying the fact that they really do exist as real persons,,,,
,,, Darwinists, (by the very act of claiming they are merely ‘neuronal illusions’, and denying the fact that they really do exist as real persons), have completely lost any credibility that they might have had as to properly differentiating what is real from what it illusory,,
But anyways, despite the fact that Seversky, (if he really exists as a real person), has completely lost any credibility whatsoever that he might have had as to properly differentiating that which is real from that which is illusory, Seversky still feels like he is perfectly qualified to comment that Near Death Experiences (NDEs) might be “something equivalent to a dream or hallucination”.
Well golly gee whiz Seversky, according to your Darwinian premises, you yourself are “something equivalent to a dream or hallucination”, so please pray tell how you, as “something equivalent to a dream or hallucination”, were able to accurately surmise that somebody else’s experience was “something equivalent to a dream or hallucination”?
Seversky, ‘you’, as a ‘neuronal illusion’, simply have no yardstick to measure your own reality with, much less do you have any way of ascertaining whether what somebody else experiences is real or not.
Moreover, in the following study, materialistic researchers, (who had a inherent atheistic bias against Near Death Experiences being real), set out to prove that NDEs were merely ‘false memories’ by setting up a clever questionnaire that could differentiate which memories a person had were real and which memories a person had were merely imaginary.
Simply put, these materialistic researchers did not expect the results that they got. To quote the headline ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real”
In fact, and in typical Darwinian fashion, the lead researcher in the preceding study did not believe the results of his own questionnaire and still holds NDEs to merely be ‘false memories’.
But regardless of the lead researcher’s inherent atheistic bias, and his refusal to accept the conclusion of his own study, the results of his study remain clear, i.e. ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real’.
Here are a few quotes on the ‘more real than real’ aspect of Near Death Experiences:
My question to atheistic materialists is this. “How is it remotely possible for something to be real for neuronal illusions in the first place?”, much less, “How is it remotely possible for something to become even ‘more real than real’ for ‘neuronal illusions’?
This ‘even more real than real’ aspect of NDEs simply makes no sense whatsoever under materialistic presuppositions.
In forsaking the necessity of their own immaterial mind to be the foundation for any coherent definition of reality that they may put forth, Atheists simply have no coherent basis and/or definition for reality that they can put forth that does not collapse into pure fantasy and imagination.
As I have stated several times elsewhere now,
Whereas under Theistic presuppositions, in which the Mind of God is held to be the source for all reality, this ‘even more real than real’ aspect of NDEs is to be expected in that it pretty much directly follows that things will become even ‘more real than real’ for us the closer we get to God.
What baffles me is that atheists do not seem to understand that , what they call “neuronal illusion”, is at the very foundation of all knowledge. Don’t they realize that it is the half-baken ‘neuronal illusion’ who is doing and understanding science? It is almost as if they believe that they can do science & talk about consciousness from some position independent from consciousness.
OoV, “Don’t they realize that it is the half-baken ‘neuronal illusion’ that is the edifice of science?”
You would think it would be obvious to them.
Apparently they are blind to that fact.
For instance, there is this beauty of a quote from Jerry Coyne,,,
I don’t care who you are, or how smart you think you are, it takes a LOT of gullibility to believe that you are a meat robot instead of a real person, 🙂
Indeed. And apparently atheistic meat robots, despite the fact that– being the robots that they are– they can only blindly follow instructions, believe that they can come to an accurate understanding of reality. Since, in their world view, there can only be blind non-rational forces behind these instructions I see no solid basis for their belief.
Keep on doing what we have been doing. Unless you can think of a better way of getting closer to the truth.