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Physicist: Naturalist atheists have more reason to hate the Big Bang than Young Earth Creationists do

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Rob Sheldon

From Rob Sheldon:

The ideas of the Big Bang theory have been resisted by astronomers and cosmologists for decades if not millennia. Plato was against, Augustine was for a creation event. In modern times, the initial idea was put forward by a Belgian priest, Fr Georges Lemaitre in about 1927. Albert Einstein hated the idea, and preferred to insert an “anti-gravity” term into his famous set of gravitational equations to balance the attraction of gravity, and thereby obtain a steady-state, static, unchanging and eternal universe. It was only after Willem deSitter showed that Einstein’s solution was unstable, and Edwin Hubble showed that all the galaxies were moving away from us at increasingly faster speeds the further away they were, that Einstein finally conceded that the Universe did have a beginning. A very readable book on this topic is “God and the Astronomers” by astronomer Robert Jastrow (1979).

Jastrow ends his story with the most quoted line of his book: “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

This hatred for the discovery of the beginning of the universe has caused cosmologists to add all sorts of “metaphysical poison pills” to their models–things that they think will repel creationists and justify materialists. Philosopher and astronomer Stanley Jaki wrote about this in his companion book to Jastrow, “God and the Cosmologists” (2000).

For reasons that others can perhaps explain to you, young earth creationists have also taken a dislike to Big Bang cosmology, though it is clearly not for the same reason that materialists hate it–since materialists want to say the universe is eternal to do away with the creator entirely. I think YECs object to the idea that the Big Bang supposedly happened 13.7 billion years ago, and claim that it should be closer to 6-10,000 years ago. Since Einstein’s spacetime tangles up space and time, if one argues for the creation of large space and small time, then this asymmetry brings in complications that make the models specific and particular, and frankly, I don’t understand very well. But this debate should not erase the conclusion that both the “standard Big Bang” and the creationist account of a beginning are in very close agreement compared to the alternative theories. Where they differ — as in Jaki’s book about cosmology poison pills, or in YEC theories about time-dependent physical constants — is secondary, metaphysical, and without much experimental basis.

That was News’ impression too. See, for example, Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train Thoughts?

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9 Replies to “Physicist: Naturalist atheists have more reason to hate the Big Bang than Young Earth Creationists do

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Well, yes, except isn’t it more like a boundary rather than a beginning? As I understand it, the theory can take us right up next to the Big Bang but it can’t take across that boundary into the primordial singularity itself. We have no idea what conditions inside were like, or what came before – assuming the inside of a primordial singularity or talking about “before” time itself is thought to have begun actually means anything.

    As for Jastrow’s little epigram, it’s a nice picture but I prefer Haldane:

    I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

  2. 2
    Jim Smith says:

    YECs should love the multiverse theory because it undermines naturalist objections to YEC. With the multiverse theory, small universes are much more probable than large ones and it is therefore more likely that the vast age and size of our universe are an illusion and the universe consists of just our solar system and the earth is 6000 years old. With the multiverse theory chance can explain anything so YECs can say naturalists have no grounds to object to YEC science.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    Both YECs and Big Bangers are crackpots, IMO. Somebody please explain to the physics community and the YECs that time cannot change by definition (i.e., nothing moves in spacetime), that motion is discrete, that space (distance) is an illusion and, as Aristotle claimed, motion is causal. Thank you.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    For reasons that others can perhaps explain to you, young earth creationists have also taken a dislike to Big Bang cosmology, though it is clearly not for the same reason that materialists hate it–since materialists want to say the universe is eternal to do away with the creator entirely. I think YECs object to the idea that the Big Bang supposedly happened 13.7 billion years ago, and claim that it should be closer to 6-10,000 years ago.

    The main reason why YECs reject an ancient age for the universe is because an ancient age for the universe would imply that death preceded the fall on man.
    Dr. Dembski sought a reconciliation to this problem in his book, “The End Of Christianity: Finding A Good God In An Evil World”:

    Old Earth Creationism and the Fall, William Dembski – Christian Research Journal, volume 34, number 4(2011).
    Excerpt: My solution (to Theodicy) in my book “The End of Christianity” is to argue that, just as the effects of salvation at the cross reach both forward in time (saving present day Christians) and backward in time (saving Old Testament saints), so the effects of the fall reach forward in time as well as backward. What makes the argument work is the ability of God to arrange events at one time to anticipate events at a later time.,,,

    William Dembski Interview – Finding A Good God In An Evil World – (2011) video interview

    Finding a Good God in an Evil World – William Dembski – book – excerpted chapters

    And although some may think it is unscientific to believe that the effects of the fall of man can ‘reach backward in time’, the fact of the matter is that advances in quantum mechanics have now shown us precisely that.
    In other words, advances in quantum mechanics have now verified Dr. Dembski’s contention that our present choices can, in fact, ‘reach back in time’.

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.

    “It begins to look as we ourselves, by our last minute decision, have an influence on what a photon will do when it has already accomplished most of its doing… we have to say that we ourselves have an undeniable part in what we have always called the past. The past is not really the past until is has been registered. Or to put it another way, the past has no meaning or existence unless it exists as a record in the present.”
    – John Wheeler – The Ghost In The Atom – Page 66-68

    Genesis, Quantum Physics and Reality
    Excerpt: Simply put, an experiment on Earth can be made in such a way that it determines if one photon comes along either on the right or the left side or if it comes (as a wave) along both sides of the gravitational lens (of the galaxy) at the same time. However, how could the photons have known billions of years ago that someday there would be an earth with inhabitants on it, making just this experiment? ,,, This is big trouble for the multi-universe theory and for the “hidden-variables” approach.

    In the following experiment, which is an extension of Wheeler’s original delayed choice experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is directly falsified by the fact that present conscious choices are, in fact, effecting past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.

    “If we attempt to attribute an objective meaning to the quantum state of a single system, curious paradoxes appear: quantum effects mimic not only instantaneous action-at-a-distance but also, as seen here, influence of future actions on past events, even after these events have been irrevocably recorded.
    Asher Peres, Delayed choice for entanglement swapping. J. Mod. Opt. 47, 139-143 (2000).

    You can see a more complete explanation of the startling results of the preceding experiment at the 9:11 minute mark of the following video

    Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment Explained – 2014 video

    In the following article, Dr. Antoine Suarez points out that free will is ‘axiomatic’ to quantum mechanics:

    What Does Quantum Physics Have to Do with Free Will? – By Antoine Suarez – July 22, 2013
    Excerpt: What is more, recent experiments are bringing to light that the experimenter’s free will and consciousness should be considered axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory. So for instance, in experiments involving “entanglement” (the phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), to conclude that quantum correlations of two particles are nonlocal (i.e. cannot be explained by signals traveling at velocity less than or equal to the speed of light), it is crucial to assume that the experimenter can make free choices, and is not constrained in what orientation he/she sets the measuring devices.
    To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time.,,,

    Thus, as far as the science itself is concerned, Dr. Dembski’s reconciliation of death preceding the fall of man works. In fact, it is ‘surprisingly’ concordant with science.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes as to how Genesis and the Bible itself fairs from a Old Earth perspective:

    ,,, ‘And if you’re curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere; quote taken from the last part of the video

    Dr. Hugh Ross appeared on Fox News with Lauren Green to discuss Science and the Book of Genesis. (Long Days or 24 hour Days?) – video

    Seven Days That Divide The World (John Lennox) – video

    Here are some quotes that are of related interest:

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    Video, Picture, Verses, and Music:

    The Known Universe by AMNH – video – (please note the ‘centrality’ of the Earth in the universe at the 3:36 minute mark in the video)

    Here is a still shot of the image at the 3:36 minute mark of the preceding video

    Picture of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)

    Proverbs 8:26-27
    While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

    Job 26:10
    He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.

    Phillips, Craig & Dean – When The Stars Burn Down – with lyrics

  6. 6
    harry says:


    The main reason why YECs reject an ancient age for the universe is because an ancient age for the universe would imply that death preceded the fall of man.

    A couple of items to keep in mind so that we can see that there really is no dilemma created by death preceding the fall according to human chronology:

    — God continually holds the Universe in existence, being the “Mind” that Max Planck concluded must be the “matrix of all matter.” God’s creation isn’t then something He did but something He is doing.

    — God is outside of time and is omniscient. The past, the present and the future are all equally present to Him. His perfect providence takes past, present and future (including the use or abuse of free will on our part) into consideration. The sin of Adam and Eve was just as clearly there before God at the beginning of time as it was when they sinned and as it will be on the last day. In fact, He knew all about it before time began from all eternity.

    So, with God’s perfect providence acting on a past, present and future that are all equally present to Him, and His creation of past, present and future all being ongoing and simultaneous from His perspective, death can be a direct result of the fall even though it began, from our perspective, before the fall.

    We can get confused if we forget that our perspective is human and God’s is, of course, Divine.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks for bringing that nuance out Harry

  8. 8
    bFast says:

    harry, thanks for the Planck quote. I must explore this guy’s philosophical musings more. I have been playing around with a very similar pattern of thought — that the mind of God is the quanta. If so, it could be envisioned that the entire universe is merely the grand imagining of God’s mind. It is staggering to think that God could partition his mind in such a way as to truly give portions of it, me, free will.

  9. 9
    harry says:

    bFast @8,

    … it could be envisioned that the entire universe is merely the grand imagining of God’s mind.
    — bFast

    … He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being.
    — St. Paul, Acts 17:27-28

    St. Paul seems to be saying something very similar to that.

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