Best forum area to set up discussion on cosmology / size, age, mass and other attributes of universe?

Hi - recently there was a thread on some aspects of this topic, and there was interested discussion by several people but I think it got bogged down, there were accusations of trolling, etc.  I didn't have time to follow the whole thing, and then the thread was terminated.

I'm wondering if we might be able to reframe the question/discussion and continue it in a way that doesn't run into quite so much trouble.  I guess that will be up to us and the moderators, but if I'm proposing to start a thread, is that best placed here in the Water Cooler area?  Or put it in Philosophy?  Or is there an area where broader science questions are usually discussed here on Atheist Nexus?

I do have a couple of views on this topic.  They are not super well-developed, and I don't have an in-depth understanding of any modern science on it, but I think it's a natural topic for some consideration.

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 jlaz, I like your idea of setting up a group on cosmology. I love reading about it, and letting my imagination fly. According to the Google definition:

cos·mol·o·gy, käzˈmäləjē, noun, the science of the origin and development of the universe. Modern astronomy is dominated by the Big Bang theory, which brings together observational astronomy and particle physics.
an account or theory of the origin of the universe.

another definition: 

Cosmology is the branch of astronomy involving the origin and evolution of the universe.

So, my inclination would be to include it in a science string, perhaps astronomy, but designated as Cosmology. 

Wherever you put it I will follow. Great idea. 

One thing we need to do is learn how to disagree, agreeably. 

Jack believe in the Big Bang;

Jill does not believe in the Big Bang;

Remedy: explore, experiment, examine, ask experts, discuss with others. If no agreement can be found, agree to disagree.

No name-calling, no blaming, assusations, put-downs, trivializing, demonizing.

When new information becomes available, we can rethink the issue.  

Thanks, my thought was really just to set it up as a thread somewhere in the "forums".  Separately I do see the "groups' have a science group, so maybe there, but I don't know.  I get confused by the different discussion choices here on this site, (and .... a pet-peeve.... none of them have the option of email based list-serve types, so none of them seem to have the option of readily saving one's work.)

Anyway, I don't have the time to start a group, but am ok to start a thread somewhere, whether in the forums or the atheist science group.

You could also make a group. I wouldn't really be interested in joining any group that promotes pseudoscience, or mystical nonsense ect, I'm also not particularly interested in debating people who act like Ken Ham. However if you wanna talk about science n stuff in an intellectually honest way, I'm down for that.

AS Discussion Group NOT a debate. OK, I'm in! 

If you describe what you want to discuss, then we can set up ground rules so that we are all on the same page. 

I am interested in discussing the Big Bang Theory and also looking at other theories that have been offered. Obviously, we are not astronomers,  physicist, or cosmologists, but I want to know what hard-scientists say about other possibilities. I am not interested in debate, however, I am interested in ideas. We can state, clearly, what we think without accusing, blaming, name-calling, ridiculing, putting down, discounting, trivializing each other. We can agree to disagree. 

What say you?

Theories of the beginning: 

*Modern astronomy is dominated by the Big Bang theory,

If any of astronomers' basic assumptions are wrong, the Big Bang theory would not explain the properties of this universe. Is it possible that a Big Bang never happened?
One alternative theory is the Steady State universe. An early rival to the Big Bang theory, Steady State posits continuous creation of matter throughout the universe to explain its apparent expansion. This type of universe would be infinite, with no beginning or end. However, a mountain of evidence found since the mid-1960s indicates that this theory is not correct.
Another alternative is the Eternal Inflation theory. After the Big Bang, the universe expanded rapidly during a brief period called inflation. The Eternal Inflation theory posits that inflation never stopped, and has been going on for an infinite length of time. Somewhere, even now, new universes are coming into existence in a vast complex called the multiverse. Those many universes could have different physical laws.
The Oscillating model of the universe involved an endless series of Big Bangs, followed by Big Crunches that restarted the cycle, endlessly. The modern cyclic model involves colliding "branes" (a "membrane" within a higher-dimensional volume called the "bulk"). 
Implications found in quantum gravity and string theory tantalizingly suggest a universe that is in reality nothing like how it appears to human observers. It may actually be a flat hologram projected onto the surface of a sphere, for example.
Or it could be a completely digital simulation running in a vast computer.

Alternatives to the Big Bang Theory Explained (Infographic)

Right, talking about various old ideas and hypothesis isn't bad. However as you've pointed out, there's a mountain of evidence that proves them false, along with other ones you didn't mention. Science can't prove "Big Bang" theory true, it can't prove anything true. It can only prove what didn't happen.

The problem is many don't understand why, or by what processes those who study and practice the principle of science have drawn the conclusion that they they simply think its totally ok to "say no" and adopt an unfalsifiable belief in some pseudoscience. I don't care talking about it, I'm not interested in debating it if those promoting it choose to be dishonest. The only thing I care about is, what do you "believe" and why do you believe it. What is your evidence. If you can't give me that, or try to hide it behind demands that I must change my position first and blindly accept that hypothesis to be able to understand it, well then we're going to have a problem.

Just lay your facts out there, let me pick them apart. If they stand up I might change my position. All it takes is evidence.

So I don't think there's a need for a "debate" and I certainly welcome the exchange of thoughts and ideas as long as there's intellectual honesty and integrity and mutually decent behavior. So given a set of ground rules I'm all for it, just like you.

I would advise against the adoption of a false equivalence however, just because we're talking about various ideas does not mean that all ideas are "valid" in the sense that they are based on facts and evidence. I mean I have an idea that the world expands, and eventually collapses back in on itself only to explode and expand again. This idea however has no evidence, in fact there's evidence to show this is not the case. It's simply an idea that I like with no basis in reality. I also like Harry Potter, but can accept its not real, and not factual. So the failed hypothesis' from the past should not be given equal weight to real science, unless they can meet the criteria of being falsifiable, being based on facts and evidence, and have not yet been falsified. The moment the "Big Bang" is falsified all of the scientific community will abandon it. Instantly. That's how science works. And falsifying any scientific theory does not mean that some alternate hypothesis must then be fact. It's up to each hypothesis to stand on its own merit. So there's no reason to attack the "big bang" unless your goal is to falsify it, if your goal is to get people to buy your alternative hypotheses then you need to focus on YOUR hypotheses and ignore the big bang entirely. Prove your right with facts and evidence. That's all I ask, OR admit its just a thought or an idea with no basis in reality. Either one is fine by me.

If we use these concepts and ideas for basing the rules I suspect we'll have a solid foundation.


I agree, BenGee, No False Equivalence! and I agree with the rest of your statement, as well. 

Joan wrote:
"...I am not interested in debate, however, I am interested in ideas. ..."

So, re-reading things now that I have a few minutes, just to note, I suppose in the end I can myself get drawn into defending this or that, but as far as I know, this view put forth by Joan is where I'm coming from.

Recently I came across this link (no idea how old it is, they didn't have the courtesy to put a date on it, but taking a look at some other similar links, I guess maybe 2014)
This is the Most Detailed Map of the Universe to Date
This map of the universe spans more than 500 million light-years and contains more than 100,000 galaxies.

So, this sort of thing I do think is inspiring and interesting to talk about.

I can't speak exactly to the extent of the degree to which some folks here were apparently wounded by what seems like a rather explicit and extraordinary troll, but I guess my inclination is to say that we accept that no interchange of ideas here on this site is going to be perfect, and that as time passes we do what we can to exchange a few ideas, however, fitfully.

One thing I will allow myself to say that I simply do not like about this site and many other web forums: if I am going to make a decent effort to compose and offer ideas, I like to have it be on a hybrid list-serve/web forum, or on a full-blown list-serve.  The reason being that gives me instantly the ability to save (and organize) every single one of my posts and those of others.  Please pardon the pun, but we are light-years away from that on this site.  It is really difficult to orient myself, keep track of and come back to the posts that matter to me, and I think my own posts are losts to me the moment I make them.  I know that pretty much goes for all pure web forums, but I think it bears mentioning once in awhile.

I Just use the copy highlight and function  and then paste things into Word to save them. It's not convenient, but it works ok to save things. 

I need to start writing all my posts in Word, then copying them here. The grammar check tools on this site leave something to be desired.

I would post in the general forum.  There is a category when you do that, for science.  You can select that category.  The problem with using groups is, if the group is not popular and active, it an get buried.  People have to join the groups to posts.  It's good if the group is popular and active, but I usually post things on the forum or as a blog.  But, some people do like groups, so either way is fine.

>.> You've seen how vocal I am about science..... I suspect a group could do well and remain active.

 Daniel W wrote:"...I would post in the general forum.  There is a category when you do that, for science.  You can select that category.  The problem with using groups is, if the group is not popular and active, it an get buried.  People have to join the groups to posts.  It's good if the group is popular and active, but I usually post things on the forum or as a blog.  But, some people do like groups, so either way is fine...."

Thanks I had some brain flatulence and didn't see the science category, but now I see it here, so that does seem like a good idea:

As to a science group that the others were talking about starting, there is already one here with an awful lot of members, so am I missing something?  I did join it but haven't posted anything yet:

Atheists who love Science!

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