As we discussed yesterday, it is understandable why TV Producers look for controversial ideas like Sagan’s flawed “oscillating theory” but why do serious scientists indulge them? Why are so many tenured professors bent on overturning something as obvious as The Big Bang? As Lee Strobel points out in The Case for a Creator, Einstein was irritated by the idea of an expanding universe, Astronomer Athur Eddington called it “repugnant” and Phillip Morrison at MIT admitted he would, “like to reject it.”
Robert Jastrow wrote in his wonderful book God and the Astronomers, “There is a kind of religion in science . . . every effect must have its cause; there is no First Cause. . . . This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized.”
Journalist Jim Holt interviewed a number of the scientists and philosophers seeking to avoid the “trauma” of admitting the universe had a beginning in his best-selling book Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story. One proposal Holt explores is the “multiverse theory,” where our universe is one of many universes birthed by an “inflationary cosmology.”
What this means in non-Geek terms is that “our universe is one of nearly infinite past universes, generated as another “bubble” among untold trillions of other bubble universes.”
In the end, these lines of argument assert that the universe created itself. But does that make sense? There is no evidence that something could come from nothing or that anything that exists that we can observe or test is eternal.
So, what some atheists and skeptics have tried to do is re-define the meaning of nothing. For example, in an episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (doesn’t anything sound smart when spoken by Morgan Freeman!), physicists assert that a vacuum created the universe. But a vacuum is something. It is energy governed by certain physical laws. It can’t just appear out of nothing either.
This is why the overwhelming majority of astronomers, physicists, etc. reluctantly admit that the evidence points to a “big bang.”
What exactly was “the big bang”? According to the Encyclopedia of Science and Religion, “The Big Bang Theory is based on the observation that all the stars and galaxies of the universe are in motion and not stationary. The American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889–1953) discovered in 1929 that the light of all visible stars was redshifted. Hence the movement of the myriad of galaxies is not random but everything is moving further away. If all galaxies are now racing away from one another then at one point all matter must have been clustered together in an infinitely dense space and its present motion might best be explained by an original explosion of matter. Hence the term Big Bang. The 1965 discovery by Arno Penzias (b. 1933) and Robert Wilson (b. 1936) of the background radiation produced by the intense heat of this “explosion” served to further confirm the theory. The Big Bang Theory brought to an end the idea of a static universe and made respectable again discussions of the beginning and possible creation of the universe.”
Yet, many scientists continue to dismiss The Big Bang Theory out of hand and even some Christians are uncomfortable with it.
Why? To that we will turn tomorrow. Until then, grace and peace.