Question about big bang theory

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Feb 7, 2023
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The problem with the BBT "not explaining the univese before "10^-43 seconds" is that it then needs to explain why the theory doesn't go to times before that.

Yes, doing so would get us into dimensions so tiny that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle tells us we cannot know the full set of parameters for things of such small dimension.

But, considering that the whole BBT is an extrapolation backwards in time from the astronomy observations we make today, that seems more like a cop-out than an actual reason to not have to explain how "something" can possibly come from "nothing". At best, that cop-out leaves room for some sort of pre-existing form of the universe, perhaps the inflection point after a "Big Crunch". But, the same theorists who argue for the BBT argue against the BC. To me, they have no basis for doing that if they can't get the BBT back to a singularity.

But, I have other problems with the BBT, and so do others who point out "tensions" and "paradoxes" like problems with "missing" anti-matter and magnetic monopoles.

My main problem with the BBT is where it needs to transition from things we observe in our macro world to where we can only try to imagine things in the tiny quantum world that the BBT theoretically compresses everything into as it extrapolated backwards in time. The main actor in the BBT at that point is called "inflation", and it seems to just do whatever makes the BBT work, without regard to how that could happen. In particular, trying to get theorists to address what actually happens to something like a photon as it is inflated from the quantum world into a macro world microwave seems to be beyond their capability to conceive adequately, or at least attempt to explain adequately.

And, failing to do that, I have no faith in the various arguments about the total net energy balance of the universe through the "inflation" period.

I think the problem is that quantum theorists are far too comfortable with thinking about things in inconsistent ways, such as particles being waves and vice versa, and fields being independent things that make particles, rather than particles make fields of effects in space. When we try to bring those concepts through "inflation" from quantum level to macro level, the theory does not seem to hold together when I look at the details. Maybe some day, there will be a theory that can unite what we think we understand about gravity and the other forces, and that will make sense of the full effects of "inflation". But, that is not where we are at, today. So, I am not to the poinit of "believing" that the BBT has everything right, at this point in its development.

I get really dubious about the BBT about at the point where the cosmic microwave background radiation is fitted into the theory. I am hoping to see some better analyses of the CMBR and some better observations of the universe between the time of the farthest gallaxies we can see, today, and the hypothesized time of the origin of the CMBR being received now on Earth.
You said it better than I could. These are big problems and I think the biggest problem I have is how it was presented to me in school as undeniable fact. As an adult I can study on my own without having to answer to teachers. Some of the Bang theory holds true to a certain extent but so much only raises more questions. It doesn't help when I can clearly see them futzing with data to wedge clear contradictions into their chosen model. To me that isn't science and it casts scrutiny on the entire theory. I had enough of being lied to by religion and I won't put up with in science just so we have some sort of explanation as to why we are here.

This is going to offend some people but I have to say it: if we took all the money given frivolously to religious organizations and gave it to scientific research, we would probably have an abundance of factual answers. It would also help if scientists did not have to tip toe around religious beliefs.

I have great faith in human ingenuity. I believe we are fully capable of solving these great mysteries. We just need the resources and the freedom to do it. As a sensible Buddhist, who dumps out the superstitious nonsense as Buddha (not a god) taught, I feel we should be placing a heavy emphasis on discovering what really is there and how it all works. The universe is knowable, there is no forbidden knowledge, as thinking beings we are meant to learn it all, it's just a matter of how to go about it. It is so frustrating to be handed unproven conjecture as fact but science is still young and scientists, not being gods, need to be forgiven for their mistakes. Cop outs can not be accepted because what is real can be discovered.


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Aug 22, 2019
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I just wanted to drop in and thank folks for this discussion. It's incredibly satisfying to see people discussing complex questions intelligently and respectfully.

Something that isn't satisfying for everyone, but actually provides me with comfort, is that there are no guarantees we'll ever find answers to explain how what we see around us came to be.

What has always confused me about the various arguments around the BBT is the assumption that before the universe existed, somehow it's rules were still in place. For all we know, in literally every circumstance where there is nothingness, there will form a new universe. It could be that we're one of many universes that just leapfrog off each other and travel in what we see as a straight line from start to finish. It obviously could be something else entirely.

Not knowing an answer is exciting because that means you get to keep exploring the question. It's when people make assumptions that they have definitive answers that conversations crumble.

Anyway, you all are awesome and I appreciate you.
Shaines, I think we all here owe your organization thanks for permitting the types of discussion that we are having here. In too many other forums, questioning or disagreeing with whatever the moderators think about the BBT is not tolerated, and discussion is stifled.

One of the things that bothers me about the education system is that too often it becomes an indoctrination system. The students must at least learn to parrot what the professor wants them to believe, or the students fail to pass the course. And, without a degree in the subject, your questions will then be dismissed by the people who did pass and get their degrees. It takes some time for graduates to start seriously questioning what they were formally taught. But, critical thinking does eventually come to many via experience with the failures of theoretical predictions to be born out by new observations in their personal experiences. I sometimes think it would be interesting if college reunions had sessions where previous students got to ask questions of their past professors, when there would be some better degree of equality in the participation.

And it is apparent that the people posting their own explanations of cosmological principles and phenomena on the Internet are not all on the same page. For instance, I often see explanations of the behavior of light at the event horizons of black holes that use an explanation that space flows into the black hole, while others post that those are just "lies we tell children" who can't understand what the experts supposedly understand, and that space only bends, but cannot flow. But, when confronted with serious questions, even backed with mathematical examinations, the response is too often to somehow just shut down the discussion entirely, rather than entertain the alternative concepts for critical discussion.

So, I for one appreciate what you have provided here - thank you again.