Big Bang Science Raises Questions

As it should. Raising questions is one of the main jobs of science, after all. But some of those questions are addressed straight on, and others are danced around harder than a boom box in either Breakin’ or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

GetReligion highlights some of the latter kind of questions in the coverage of recent Big Bang experiments. First, the report from The Washington Post:

In the beginning, the universe got very big very fast, transforming itself in a fraction of an instant from something almost infinitesimally small to something imponderably vast, a cosmos so huge that no one will ever be able to see it all.

This is the premise of an idea called cosmic inflation — a powerful twist on the big-bang theory — and Monday it received a major boost from an experiment at the South Pole called BICEP2. A team of astronomers led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced that it had detected ripples from gravitational waves created in a violent inflationary event at the dawn of time.

Then GetReligion:

So the universe “got very big very fast, transforming itself” from nothing or next to nothing into something really big? It “transformed itself”?

To it’s credit, the Post team did not settle for one verb in its coverage of this amazing development. That same passage the opens the story also uses, well, the C-word. The gravitational waves were “created” in an event at the “dawn of time.” Yes, the word “created” certainly raises an obvious question or two.

Then The Post:

Cosmology, the study of the universe on the largest scales, has already been roiled by the 1998 discovery that the cosmos is not merely expanding but doing so at an accelerating rate, because of what has been called “dark energy.” Just as that discovery has implications for the ultimate fate of the universe, this new one provides a stunning look back at the moment the universe was born.

Then GetReligion:

And what existed before the universe “was born” and who, or what, gave birth?

Questions, questions, questions. At some point, the professionals behind this story needed to admit that this development raises questions that transcend science.

…How does nothing evolve into something? If there is a tiny pinprick of something, where did that come from? The various schools of evolutionary thought tend to work best when explaining changes in a system — micro or macro — that at least EXISTS.

Just remember for your next religion/science debate: first the universe was nothing, then in an instant it became something really, really big, and this proves that there is no God. Got it? Super. Now let’s move on to global warming.

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