I was wondering about the different theories Atheists have about how our Universe came to be, what happened before the big bang? Or did that even happen? Obviously a theist generally believes God made everything happen, what are your thoughts?

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what happened before the big bang?

Dinner and a movie ;-)
BWahAHaHAhaha! Best Answer Ever.
:-D
A great thought. Thanks.
The question is an interesting one to consider. As has been mentioned, there is sufficient evidence to support the existence of the big bang. The problem comes thinking further back. It is quite possible that our understanding of existence is very limited by the dimensions we can relate to. For example, take two dimensional stick figure drawn on a piece of paper. The stick figures 2D world seems easy to understand. Then hold a lit match under the paper. The 2D stick figure, not able to see 3D, sees a black line appear as he sees the paper burn. The his world disintegrates... he never saw the match coming... may be the big bang was caused by an inter-dimensional match! We would never know.
Interesting point of view, I never thought of it that way.
I believe our universe began with a "big bang," because this theory is the best explanation I have heard so far. I withhold judgement on the cause of the big bang (if the beginning of time can be said to have a cause), because I don't have enough knowledge to formulate an opinion.
Time,cause and event presuppose previous times,causes and events. As Existence is everything, there can be no other entity to produce it or material whence it comes. Leibniz's big blunder is his why is there anything rather than nothing. Nothing has no referent as it makes no sense since the time of the pre-Socratics.
The Bib Bang was a mere re-tranformation of Existence or a part of it as the Metaverse theories note . Anyway, matter-energy stems from the eternal quantum fluctuations . So, as my friend Dawkins would note, listen to the astro-physicists rather than to those silly theologians who just have it must be's, guesses and begged questions for their nescience [= ignorance].
Reason can move mountains of ignorance whilst faith rests on the argument from ignorance. Science has copious evidence that Existence works atelically or teleonomically- no teleological input- no personal, divine input-, which we naturalists make then into the atelic or teleonomic argument that the weight of evidence proclaims no divine input and such input would contradict science rather than be compatible with it. Natural selection, the non-planning, anti-chance agency of Nature has no programmed goals but rather works as a sieve, allowing organisms to adapt or not.
As Amiel Rossow in his essay on Kenneth Miller and Jerry Coyne in 'Seeing and Believing" @Talk Reason, some one in an essay in Skeptic magazine and Greta @ Alternet note, creationistic evolution is mere obfuscation. Had those flowering plants and the cooling-off have not happened, neither we nor any comparable, convergent species would have evolved.
So as this defeats all teleological arguments , which themselves beg the question of divine intent and input, so there is no need to postulate Him, and He would contradict therefore natural causation rather than being the primary cause, He is therefore no cause.
Neither faith, the we just say so of credulity, nor postulation can instantiate Him.
We naturalists therefore can justifiably invoke the presumption of naturalism that natural causes and explanations themselves are the sufficient reason, and therefore not only necessary and efficient but also primary and sufficient.
As the First Cause and the Designer have therefore no referent, then they are meaningless terms that therefore affirm ignosticism -that His attributes are incoherent and contradict each other such that He is meaningless. One fathoms Him as one fathoms Santa or Lord Russells's celestial teapot, as meaningless. One fathoms the unicorn, but no one will ever make it meaningful has it has no referent.
Theology, therefore, is the science of postulating the ineffable with it must be's, guesses and begged questions. Theodicy is the series of cop-outs to exonerate divinity of its nonchalance about the unrequited evils to us animals. Soteriolgy is one of those cop-outs. And Christology is the imputation of magical traits to a mere cult leader!
Therefore, Lacey, your God ,that imaginary friend, can have no hand in what happens in Existence, and therefore you are indeed using that argument from ignorance, which so contradicts as noted, our conservation-background- of knowledge.
Faith doth that to people!
Well said. I couldn't have said it better. As a matter of fact, I couldn't have said it at all. But, what ever you said, I agree.
My simple answer is that I don't know, but it's fun to think about.
I do believe the Big Bang happened because I think the microwave detection experiment by Penzias and Wilson demonstrated it beyond a doubt. The fact that their detector kept picking up the exact same cosmic background noise no matter which direction they pointed it in is incredible. This radiation was the remaining residue from a time when the universe was incredibly hot and dense, expanding outward from (presumably) a single point. I think their findings demonstrate that even if our theory is incomplete, it is definitely on the right track.
I've been learning a little bit about String Theory, and the more I learn the more I'm convinced that we couldn't possibly conceive of what the universe was like before the Big Bang...at least not with our current theories. The main reason I think this is because of the dimension of time; if time itself is a simple by-product--a dimension created as a result of the Big Bang--then there WAS no such thing as "before" the Big Bang. But I can't even wrap my head around the thought of a universe in which the concept of time is nonexistant. Would everything simply happen simultaneously? Would that universe be born and implode in on itself in the same nano-second? If so, how many universes were born and died while we were eating breakfast this morning?
And this is purely a "what if" scenerio but I think it's neat: Stephen Hawking writes in A Briefer History of Time that the ultimate goal of science is to provide a single theory that describes the whole universe. What if humanity existed in a parallel universe (the "before" that existed prior to our universe), actually discovered that theory--and tested it.
Matter and energy keeps on rearranging.
I see that the discussion over the word "believe" has already happened... :) I have a agree with the people who say that belief doesn't come into it if you're talking about the physical world.

As for what happened before the big bang, I can only speculate and try and muddle through the papers of people who are much more qualified than I to talk about it. I've read a number of hypotheses as to what the pre-big bang conditions were like but none that I can paraphrase here properly.

I accept that the big bang took place because I have been given sufficient proof of the matter. I don't know what the conditions preceding it were. With any luck, someone will be able to tell us at some point, with proofs attached.

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