Editors commentary: Source for ‘Big Bangers’

Commentary2014 could turn out to be an historic year in science.

Recently radio astronomers who had been operating at the South Pole announced they have discovered proof of the Big Bang theory of how the universe began, they say 14 billion years ago.

What they actually detected is what we could call ‘skew’ polarised microwaves from space which might indirectly point to the existence of gravitational waves emanating from the period of ‘inflation’ – the rapid expansion, at a speed far greater than the speed of light, of the very early universe. This inflationary moment is said to have lasted from 10-36 to sometime around 10-32 seconds following the Big Bang. Afterwards the universe continued to expand but at a much slower rate. Inflation theory is needed to iron out problems in the ‘standard model’ of the universe – like why the galaxies are evenly distributed throughout space and why the background temperature of the universe is the same throughout when, without inflation, it would not have had time to mix and come to equilibrium.

Secular science wants to see the universe as a closed system, totally explicable in terms of unchanging scientific laws with no need for a deity. This recent discovery is taken by many as grist to that mill.

However, the apostle, Peter, foretells that people will adopt just this uniformitarian outlook in the last days to dismiss the possibility of the Second Coming of Jesus (2 Peter 3.1-7).

If the universe were an exam

The ideas behind the Big Bang are fascinating. But when you look into what cosmologists are proposing, the amount of assumptions and irregularities is astonishing. Let me list a few. First, the standard model relies on the hypothetical existence of dark matter and dark energy, which no one has ever detected. Together these dark entities must account for 95% of the constitution of the universe. In other words if the universe were an exam, so far, mankind’s understanding would score about 5%. Second, though this period of super-rapid inflation may have taken place, no one has any idea about a mechanism for it. It’s just required to make the model work, so it must have happened. Third, the ‘skew’ polarised microwaves are said to indirectly prove the existence of gravity waves. But LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) spent from 2002 to 2010 looking for direct evidence of their existence and got no results. This seems strange. Fourthly, the microwave data is highly dependent on using statistical analysis, itself based on many assumptions, to filter out background ‘noise’.

Taking such things together plus the fact that investigating origins is not an area where you can do a repeatable experiment, one can understand the comment of James Gunn of Princeton: ‘Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t a science’.

Keep the Nobel Prize on hold

One professor, a Christian, explained to EN: ‘My thoughts on the gravity waves issue are that the recent results could be evidence of such waves and provide support for the inflation theory of the very early universe, but the data could have other explanations and the claims need to be treated with more caution than is evident in the popular press. The real issue is (a) the new data do nothing to explain the origin of the universe, and (b) the inflationary model is fantastic (in the basic meaning of that word).’

Meanwhile, open to investigation, planted in the middle of history is the event which belies the closed system view of the universe. It is the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus.

John Benton

This article was first published in the May 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
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