Saturday, April 17, 2010

Does the big bang fit with the Bible?

Possible geometries of the universe
So AiG finally came out with a newsletter I felt like responding to. Personally, I don't care if a scientific theory does or doesn't fit with the Bible because I'm not a Bible-truther. However, some people (or organizations) feel the need to mock modern science without understanding it while claiming that it is wrong and disagrees with their book, and thus we should believe their magical story of creation.

A: The “big bang” is a story about how the universe came into existence. It proposes that billions of years ago the universe began in a tiny, infinitely hot and dense point called a singularity. This singularity supposedly contained not only all the mass and energy that would become everything we see today, but also “space” itself. According to the story, the singularity rapidly expanded, spreading out the energy and space.
Not quite. The Big Bang Theory (BBT) doesn't describe the origin of the universe but rather the development of the universe over time. It also doesn't say that the universe was ever point-like. Other than that, I think you're pretty much correct.
It is supposed that over vast periods of time, the energy from the big bang cooled down as the universe expanded. Some of it turned into matter—hydrogen and helium gas. These gases collapsed to form stars and galaxies of stars. Some of the stars created the heavier elements in their core and then exploded, distributing these elements into space. Some of the heavier elements allegedly began to stick together and formed the earth and other planets.
Ok, sure. I have some reading to do on the Nebular hypothesis, but I don't see anything immediately wrong with that summary.
This story of origins is entirely fiction. But sadly, many people claim to believe the big-bang model. It is particularly distressing that many professing Christians have been taken in by the big bang, perhaps without realizing its atheistic underpinnings. They have chosen to reinterpret the plain teachings of Scripture in an attempt to make it mesh with secular beliefs about origins.
Dang, and I was taken in by its scientific underpinnings. I'm pretty sure there's nothing about BBT that requires an atheistic universe. Many creationist organization that aren't AiG have come to embrace the scientific explanation of BBT for how our universe developed. What exactly in the bible is so "contrary" to the idea that all matter initially expanded outwardly to create the universe we have today? Is that not how Yahweh chose to "speak" it into existence? If not, how do you know this? Do you not accept BBT just because your pastor or Sunday school teacher says so (neither of which are authorities on the subject)? (To clarify, not all creationists are Christians. However, only the ones I know are. If you're Muslim, I'm still talking to you.)

I personally believe that Christians are hesitant to accept this theory because it removes their god as a necessity from a universe that has constantly needed less and less supernatural explanation as our knowledge has grown. Christians probably believe this is the one area of science that needs a god to explain it, otherwise we perhaps could have come from "nothing", but this, like the rest of creationism, is just wishful thinking. I'll admit that BBT is tough to understand because there's just so much that goes into it - from complex physical formulas to jargon to Einsteinian relativity. But that's an even better reason to not go around claiming that a certain scientific theory is incorrect when you yourself don't understand it. Leave science to the scientists.


Mike Anderson said...

I stumbled upon this blog while having a debate with my Christian friend.

Personally as a theoretical physicist and an astronomer, I dismiss the idea of a god. I know a large percentage of scientific organisations do so too.

Your posts show that of a thinking individual and i'm glad to see people following the scientific views of the universe.

I travel a lot and meet many religious people but some of the people you talk about are just disgraces.

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