THE BIG BANG’S METAPHYSICAL BAGGAGE
The Big Bang event is the leading scientific cosmological theory when it comes to explaining the origin and evolution of life, the Universe and simply everything. While the Big Bang event is the leading candidate and the standard model, it’s not the only one. That’s fortunate, because while a fair bit of once theoretical now verified observational evidence supports that standard cosmological model, it also comes as well with a fair bit of metaphysical baggage. It’s mainly that metaphysical baggage that concerns me.
When anyone ponders the origin and evolution of our Universe, the science of cosmology, one is confronted with the Big Bang theory – the Big Bang event. So, what did the Big Bang do, or didn't do; what was it, or wasn't? And, most importantly, should you put any credibility into the Big Bang scenario seeing as how 1) nobody was around to witness the event, and 2) the scenario, as given by the standard model, is grossly in violation of the very laws, principles and relationships of physics that you’d expect cosmologists to support. Are their any solutions that are out-of-the-box that can reconcile the Big Bang event without violating what scientists should hold most dear? I can think of two!
For those of you unacquainted with the Big Bang scenario, in the beginning (13.7 billion years ago) the Big Bang event created our Universe – all of space and time; all of matter and energy; all from a volume less than a standard pinhead! Now for the objections!
THE BIG BANG VIOLATES BASIC PHYSICS
1) Standard Big Bang violation number one - the Big Bang didn't create time:
The concept of time is nothing more than a measurement of rate-of-change. If nothing ever changed, the concept of time would be meaningless. Now change suggests there must be at least two events. Event One happens; Event Two happens. The change is that difference between the state of play identified with Event One and the state of play identified with Event Two. That change equates into a time differential. Event One happens at a time separate and apart from that of Event Two. Event One if it’s the cause of Event Two, must have happened prior to Event Two. Event Two in turn, can act as the cause of Event Three, and so on. Translated, there was no first event; there was no first cause. There was no first event because there had to be a prior cause that caused that event. There was no first cause because there had to have been an earlier event that caused that cause.
Now the Big Bang event was both a cause and an effect. As a cause, the Big Bang caused the subsequent event, the kick-starting of the evolution of our Universe. As an effect, well something prior to the Big Bang must have acted as a cause of the Big Bang effect. Translated, that cause must have been prior in time to the Big Bang; therefore there is such a thing as a before the Big Bang and therefore the Big Bang event could NOT have created time. Taken to its logical conclusion, there could never have been a first cause; there could never be a first effect, therefore time is infinite since the chicken (cause) and egg (effect) paradox is only solvable by postulating infinity.
2) Standard Big Bang violation number two - the Big Bang didn't create space:
This supposition is easily disposed of. Can any handyman reading this think of any possibility of how they could create something, anything, be it building something from scratch, or writing words on paper, or even thinking those words or thinking about building something, without there being pre-existing space, be it space in your garage, space that exists in your exercise book, or the space that exists between your ears that conceives of building X or writing Y? No? Nothing, but nothing, springs into reality, even if only a nebulous mental reality, without there being pre-existing space. The Big Bang is a reality. It had to have been created in a reality. Any reality has a space or volume component. Therefore, the Big Bang (creation of our Universe) event happened in pre-existing space or volume; therefore the Big Bang event did not, could not, have created space. You can not create your own space, the space you yourself exist in. It’s sort of like giving birth to your own self. It’s a paradox.
3) Standard Big Bang violation number three - the Big Bang didn't create matter/energy:
One of the most cherished conservation principles, drummed into every science student, from junior high through university, is that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but only changed in form. Also, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but only changed in form. Post Einstein, the two have been combined, since matter can be turned into energy and vice versa. However, the central bit is creation. Creation from nothing (or destruction into nothing) is not allowed – except for some unfashionable reason at the Big Bang according the standard model of cosmology. Why this should be the sole exception to the rule is quite beyond me.
Now there is such a thing as creation of virtual particles from the vacuum energy (quantum fluctuations). However that’s not a free lunch (something created from nothing). It’s the conversion of energy to mass (as per Einstein’s famous equation) and the virtual particles can annihilate each other and return back into energy. I just thought I’d better mention that in case some bright spark considered that process a mini version of the Big Bang. It’s not as in this case the creation (and annihilation) of virtual particles would be just a very, very tiny bang that violates nothing in terms of the conservation of matter and energy.
4) Standard Big Bang violation number four - the Big Bang wasn’t a pinhead event:
The Big Bang wasn't a quantum event: The Universe is expanding, ever expanding. That’s not in doubt (see below). Standard model cosmologists now play that expanding Universe ‘film’ in reverse. Travel back in time and the Universe is contracting, ever contacting. Alas, where do you stop that contraction? Well the standard model says when the Universe achieves a volume tinier than the tiniest subatomic particle! When (according to some texts) the Universe has achieved infinite density in zero volume – okay, maybe as close to infinite density and as close to zero volume as makes no odds.
Translated, in the beginning the Universe was something within the realm of quantum physics!
Now just because you can run the clock backwards to such extremes, doesn't mean that that reflects reality. How any scientist can say with a straight face that you can cram the entirety of not only the observable Universe, but the entire Universe (which is quite a bit larger yet again) into the volume smaller than the most fundamental of elementary particles is beyond me. Either I'm nuts for not comprehending the bloody obvious, or the standard modellers are collectively out of their stark raving minds. Actually I suspect the latter because they are caught out in a Catch-22. They are between the proverbial rock and hard place.
Now if cosmologists really believe the entire contents of our Universe was crammed into a small space, even one larger than quantum-sized, then of necessity you have our embryo Universe nicely, and tightly, confined within a Black Hole! Nothing can escape from a Black Hole (except Hawking radiation, but that leakage is so slow it’s like having just one drop of water come through your roof over the duration of a category five hurricane). So you can’t have a Big Bang that releases our Universe from its Black Hole prison. So there! The Big Bang had to have been of such a size that a Black Hole was not part of the picture.
CORRECTIONS TO THE BIG BANG STANDARD MODEL
1) Correction number one - the Big Bang was a macro event:
I’m not out of my stark raving mind, so it’s the standard modellers that are totally nuts. Now that’s easy to say, but basic everyday logic backs me up. Let’s start with the notion that it is impossible to achieve infinite density. There is a limit, a finite limit, to how much stuff you can cram into how much space there is available (which is what density is – mass per unit volume). Once that limit is reached, any more stuff added on will not increase the density any further, just increase the volume. Keep on keeping on piling on the stuff and it won’t take very much stuff that’s value added to increase the volume beyond the realm of the quantum. Once beyond that boundary, you’re in the realm of the macro, and macro means sizes above that of a pinhead.
In this case, I suggest the ultimate size was multi-billions of pinheads worth. Regardless, macro rules the Big Bang. In our reverse-the-expanding-universe film, try imaging doing that with an expanding hot air balloon. If you reverse that inflation, do you stop when the balloon is devoid of air (the sensible thing to do), or do you continue the contraction until the balloon is smaller than the full stop at the bottom of this sentence’s question mark? Of course you don’t go beyond the point of common-sense, yet that is what the standard modellers have done. Further, they insist we swallow their lack of common-sense (not of course that that is actually suggested by them), hook, line and cosmological sinker.
2) Correction number two - The Big Bang spewed out matter/energy into existing time and space:
If the Big Bang event was a ‘spew’ event, an event which must have had both pre-existing space and time coordinates (if you spew, you do so at a particular place at a particular time), and if matter/energy can neither be created or destroyed, then of necessity the Big Bang spew (of matter/energy) happened I repeat in already existing space and time. Nothing could be more obvious.
BIG BANG EVIDENCE
If the Big Bang is so apparently wrong on so many fundamental counts, then what’s the positive evidence for it? What prompts cosmologists to advocate the standard model?
1) Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR): If you have a massive hot explosion (like the Big Bang), and all that heat energy expands and expands, then you’d expect the temperature of the area occupied by that energy to drop, the temperature ever decreasing as the volume that finite amount of energy occupies increases. As the energy expands it gets diluted and thus cools, but can never reach an absolute zero temperature. And that’s just what we find on the scale of the Universe. There’s a fine microwave energy “hiss” representing a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero that’s everywhere in the cosmos. That’s the diluted heat energy of the very hot Big Bang – well it has been a long time and is now spread throughout a lot of volume. That microwave “hiss”, called the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), was predicted way before it was discovered, and one bona fide way of confirming evidence for a theory is to make predictions that are born out by experimental observations.
2) Composition of the Universe: At the theoretical but expected temperatures and pressures of the Big Bang, you might expect a certain amount of some interesting nuclear chemistry to take place and generate various substances. Particle physicists used to calculating such things predicted the relative amounts and types of stuff the Big Bang event would generate, and the theory matches observations to a high degree of accuracy – nearly all hydrogen and helium will be created by a ratio of roughly three to one. All the rest of stuff (very, very minor amounts relative to hydrogen and helium) that we know and love (like oxygen and iron and gold, etc.) was synthesised via the conversion of hydrogen and helium to those heavier elements by nuclear fusion processes – cosmic alchemy – in stars and often resultant supernovae, not in the Big Bang.
3) Expansion: If you have a large explosion, a really big bang, a violent vomit event, you’d expect the bits that received the most oomph, the bits with the most energy would be expelled the fastest; other bits with less energy would lose the race (if this were a track meet). And thus the bits of spewed stuff spreads out – fastest in front, like a marathon run. A bacterium on one of these bits would see every other bit moving away from it. Some faster bits are outpacing the bacterium inhabited bit; the bacterium occupied bit is outpacing and leaving behind the slower bits. If the bacterium assumes it is standing still, then both the faster and slower moving bits appear to be receding away from it. The bacterium observes all other bits moving away from it at speeds proportional to their distance from it. The bacterium might assume from all of this that its bit was a special bit – the centre bit – but we can see that’s not so. Any bacterium on any of the bits would conclude the same thing. They too would be wrong. Does that mean there was no centre? Of course there was. Equally incorrect would be the conclusion that there was no centre – there was, the site of the original big spew.
Substitute our local gravitationally bound cluster of galaxies as the bacterium’s bit; all other external galaxies and clusters of galaxies that have no connection to our local galactic group are the other bits, and there’s your analogy. Do we observe these other galactic bits to be moving away from us at velocities proportional to their distance from us? Yes indeed; you bet we do; spot-on!
As an alternative, let’s look at a marathon analogy. We have this long distance marathon that starts off with say 1000 runners at a specific point in time and space. The finishing line is at a 150 mile radius out and the runners can run in any direction they choose. They, for the sake of this analogy, run at 15, 12, 9, 6 or 3 miles per hour. Let’s look at the relativities from the point of view of the middle runner, the one running at 9 miles per hour. After one hour he sees the 15 mph runner six miles ahead running at a relative velocity of 6 mph; the 12 mph runner 3 miles ahead with a relative velocity of 3 mph; the 6 mph runner 3 miles behind also at a relative velocity of 3 mph; and the 3 mph runner 6 miles behind with a velocity relative to our 9 mph runner of 6 mph – that’s assuming all took off and headed in one direction.
But if the 9 mph runner looks at those running in the exact opposite direction, the anti 3 mph runner is 12 miles behind with a relative velocity between them of 12 mph; the anti 6 mph runner is 15 miles away with, you guessed it a relative velocity difference of 15 mph; the anti 9 mph runner is 18 miles distant, relative velocity 18 mph; the anti 12 mph runner is 21 miles away at 21 mph relative velocity; the anti 15 mph runner is 24 miles away and moving away at 24 mph. Translated, there is a direct correlation between how far away the various runners are, and how fast they are running, which you can graph for verification. After two hours the distances between any two runners moving at different velocities will have doubled; after three hours trebled; after four hours quadrupled, and so on, though each runner is maintaining their respective velocities. Again, the relationship holds for each runner; each runner might think themselves in the centre as all other runners appear to be moving away from that runner’s point of view, yet it’s not the case that any runner is the centre – yet there was a centre when the starting gun went off.
Now kindly note that there is nothing in that trilogy of evidence for the Big Bang that requires that event to have: 1) created time; 2) created space; and 3) to have been a quantum-sized happening.
WHERE’S THE RECIPE BOOK?
The ultimate recipe book that would support the Big Bang event’s causality with the creation of time and space; the origin of matter and energy, has yet to be written by those advocating that very point of view.
There’s no recipe to the best of my knowledge for how to cook up a batch of time!
Equally there’s no recipe for how to bake a cake of space!
How do you mix up a quark salad or a neutrino soup when there’s nothing in the pantry to start off with? Can anyone please give me the recipe?
From an equally empty supermarket you apparently can produce a kinetic energy pie. I want to see the recipe for that!
The Universe, it has been said, is the ultimate free lunch. But a lunch still needs a recipe book. When physicists, astrophysicists and cosmologists can actually write and publish such a cookbook, well then its Nobel Prizes all around. Till then, I think they should veer away from statements about the creation of time, space, matter and energy from nothing. Till then, my mantra remains “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.
BEFORE THE BIG BANG
While I’m convinced there was a before the Big Bang, the nature of that ‘before’ is vague at best since the transition between before the Big Bang through the Big Bang to after the Big Bang is unknown (at present anyway), since the relevant equations break down into pure nonsense under those extremes. What’s probably reasonable is to call whatever existed pre Big Bang a ‘universe’, maybe a ‘universe’ within a larger Multiverse. If conservation laws have any meaning, that ‘universe’ (within a Multiverse perhaps) contained the same amount of stuff (matter and energy) as ours does though the mix might have been different. This pre Big Bang ‘universe’ certainly consisted of volume (space) and change (time). What’s less certain is whether that ‘universe’s’ laws, principles and relationships of physics were the same as ours. If not, just about anything goes. It’s probably more reasonable and constructive to assume their physics is our physics. Translated, to answer Einstein’s famous question, God, or Mother Nature, had no choice in the matter about how to construct or arrange a universe.
WHAT CAUSES EXPLOSIONS?
What caused the Big Bang explosion? Okay, we have a pre Big Bang ‘universe’. Something happened there that caused our Big Bang explosion. What causes explosions (ultimately a lot of kinetic energy) and could they be up to the task of causing our Big Bang spew?
Well fine particulate matter like coal dust or equivalents when in the presence of oxygen and ignited can violently explode and expand. Still, that’s hardly a sufficient means to create our Universe. However, that’s a form of chemical energy, and under the right conditions, chemical energy can be released quickly enough that for all practical purposes you have an explosion – think of gunpowder, a firecracker, sticks of dynamite, hand grenades or their mature equivalents, conventional bombs dropped from aircraft, or even the mini controlled explosions that drive your automobile engine and hence your car. You also have other explosive mixtures, like when sodium hits water, and there are lots more to boot, often the staple of high school chemistry classes. However, chemicals are very inefficient in terms of being converted to energy. Hardly any of the matter gets converted to energy. Chemical energy is not the way to proceed to generate a really big, Big Bang.
Then there is nuclear energy. Atomic energy can be controlled, released steady-as-she-goes, as in electricity-generating nuclear power plants or facilities. Or, nuclear energy can be released in real quick-smart fashion, as in uncontrolled reactions that result in ka-booms that produce mushroom clouds as in thermonuclear weapons; the A-bomb, the H-bomb, etc. Energy is released when atomic nuclei are split apart (fission) or rammed together (fusion). It’s the former that produces our electricity; both can power up those mushroom clouds. Its fusion that powers our Sun (and all the other shinning stars), which in simple form is just one gigantic bomb continuously going off. Only the Sun’s immense inward gravity contains the explosion (outward radiative pressure) keeping it confined to the circular disc we observe in the daytime sky. Alas, fuel eventually runs out, in petrol tanks and in stars. In stars, when the fuel is finally consumed, gravity wins. Stars collapse slowly, or if originally massive enough, really suddenly. These massive stars implode; rebound and explode – a supernova is born. But even a supernova pales in comparison to what the Big Bang must have been like, for even supernovae in particular, and nuclear energy in general, while more efficient in converting matter to energy relative to chemical energy, still would fail any efficiency audit.
If you want to pass the matter-to-energy efficiency exam, there’s only one game in town: matter meets antimatter! Matter-antimatter reactions produce the most efficient means known to humans of generating explosive energy – 100% efficiency to be precise. Translated, 100% of the matter (and the antimatter) gets converted to energy. No leftovers. If a little bit of matter can generate a massive amount of energy in ultimately what amounts to a relatively highly inefficient nuclear fusion process, imagine what a massive amount of matter meets antimatter could generate!
One could image a super-lump of matter merging with an ever-so-slightly-less super-lump of antimatter. That would in theory result in a super-ultra violent explosion (the Big Bang) but giving us, our Universe, its matter dominance (over antimatter) that we observe. However, I strongly suspect that such super-sized lumps would have to be so massive that they would turn into Black Holes first, and the merger of two Black Holes, even one each of matter and antimatter, just gives you a larger Black Hole. All annihilation hell might be going on inside, but since the explosion can’t escape the pull of a Black Hole’s gravity, it’s of no consequence.
Still, as the most efficient means of generating explosive kinetic energy, getting the biggest bang for your buck, matter-antimatter annihilation needs some further thought and consideration. Is there a way of generating a Big Bang via the matter-antimatter component of a prior, pre-Big Bang ‘universe’ without the massive lumps?
AN ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL
So what if there is more than one expanding pre-Big Bang ‘universe’, say a pre-Big Bang Multiverse that contains lots of expanding ‘universes’. Some of these ‘universes’ are, like our own Universe, matter dominated. Some however are antimatter rich. Now say one of each start to intersect at their expanding boundaries. There will be very little direct meeting of the two minds since the matter (and antimatter) is spread thinly. It’s like you can have two galaxies collide without there being any actual collisions between the stars contained in each, because the distance between those stars is vast relative to the sizes of the stars. What does rule the roost however is the gravitational force. Slowly, but surely, the intersection starts the slow but sure collapse of all the stuff. Eventually, the bits get close enough where a few matter-antimatter annihilations take place, but that oomph drives more bits into each other’s arms and so you quickly get a chain reaction yet one that transpires in a medium still tenuous enough and a region without sufficient density to form a super-sized lump and a harmless Black Hole. Might that matter-antimatter chain reaction manifest itself as a non-quantum, macro Big Bang - our Big Bang?
Whether this scenario is plausible or even possible I know not, but it has a nice feel to it; it just might be. Even if not, it might suggest a seed for the next generation of cosmologists, or those currently more cosmologically savvy, to pursue.
YET ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE
Lastly, here’s a wicked curve ball. What if the Big Bang is a theoretical impossibility of physics pure and simple, despite the observational evidence? There’s only one way I know of to generate convincing impossibilities – virtual reality; a simulated universe where there need be no connection at all between what you observe and what theoretically caused the various things that you observe. My scenario: the expansion; the CMBR; the ratio of hydrogen to helium, are all simulated.
Our reality, our Universe including the Big Bang (and ultimately you) is nothing but a computer-generated program, software created by some entity, probably extraterrestrial. Having set up the parameters, it’s just a matter of hitting the ‘start program’ key and seeing what happens. We humans have already done this sort of activity so there’s nothing implausible about this possibility.
Now I've often wondered if some great extraterrestrial computer programmer specializing in generating virtual reality worlds and universes would leave enough clues to his (its) ‘subjects’ that they in fact were just software generated virtual beings in a simulated universe. One such type of clue would be no way those virtual creations could reconcile observation with theory, as in the case of the Big Bang.
For another example we have observations of four physical forces yet no theory which unites the three quantum forces (electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force) with the one classical force – gravity. There is no viable theory of quantum gravity despite thousands of physicists searching for one over many generations now. It’s like there are two sets of different software running the Universe.
One of the many Big Bang ‘in the beginning’ predictions of theoretical things is magnetic monopoles – magnets with either a south pole or a north pole, but not both. Alas, we've never ever found and confirmed the reality of even one monopole. So strange is that that a new concept states that the very early Universe underwent an additional oomph of very rapid inflation which so diluted the created monopoles that there are no longer any monopoles in our neck of the woods. That does appear a bit like clutching at straws.
You have a 120 order-of-magnitude (that’s one followed by 120 zeros) discrepancy between the observed vacuum energy and the theoretical value of the vacuum energy.
You have particles that behave both as a wave and as little billiard balls – observed but theoretically impossible in classical physics.
Speaking of particles, there are three fundamental properties of particles (like the electron, neutrinos, the numerous quarks, etc.) and their anti-particles (like the positron). They are charge, spin and mass. Despite the relatively large number of particles (including the equal and opposite anti-particles), there are only a few allowed values for charge and spin, values pretty much confined to the infield. But, for some reason, the mass (usually expressed in equivalent energy units – Einstein’s equation again) of the various particles are not only scattered throughout the ballpark but are all over the map. They take on values (albeit one value per type of particle) over many orders of magnitude without any apparent pattern or regularity or relationship between them – and nobody has the foggiest idea why, not even a validly theoretical idea. Nobody can predict from first principles what the masses should be. It’s like someone just drew a few dozens of numbers out of a hat containing multi hundreds of thousands of values and assigned them to the few dozens of particles willy-nilly. Something is screwy somewhere because something so fundamental shouldn't be so anomalous.
In the real world, the macro world, the classical world, no two things are identical down to the last microscopic detail – you are unique; every bacterium is unique; every house, den, nest, and ant hill is unique; so is every baseball and grain of sand. In the unreal world, the micro world, the quantum world, all fundamental particles of their own kind (i.e. electrons or positrons or up quarks or photons) are identical to the last measurable detail. Why? Who knows! But a possibility from the simulated universe is that there is one software code or sequence of bits and bytes for each type of fundamental particle. So every time that sequence is used, you get that type of entity and only that type.
There are constant reports of physical constants that aren't – constant that is. That’s totally nuts!
Then you have observations of quasars with vastly differing red-shifts (measurements of their recessional velocities) yet quasars which appear to be causality connected.
In physics, time travel to the past is theoretically possible – though damned difficult in practice. However, that means that those time travel paradoxes are possible, even likely. Paradoxes like going back in time, say ten years, and killing yourself (which is a novel way of committing suicide), means you couldn’t have existed to go back in time in the first place in order to kill yourself, which means you’re not dead so you can go back in time and murder yourself, etc. What kind of physics is that? Curiouser and curiouser.
Any and all miracles, Biblical or otherwise, are explainable as easily as saying “run program”.
More down to earth, you have multi-observations of things like the Loch Ness Monster, those highly geometrically complex crop circles, and ghosts, yet there’s no real adequate theory, pro or con, that can account for their observed existence or creation.
All up, perhaps some cosmic computer programmer/software writer whiz with a wicked sense of humour (a trickster ‘god’?) is laughing its tentacles off since we haven’t been able to figure it (our virtual reality) out. Of course maybe the minute we do, the fun’s over and ‘Dr. It’ hits the delete key and that’s the way the Universe ends – not with a Big Crunch, nor with a Heat Death, but with a “are you sure you want to delete this?” message! “Yes”.
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