Alex Williams and John Hartnett have written a sparkling book, Dismantling the Big Bang: God’s Universe Rediscovered, Master Books, 2005. In this essay I’ll provide a synopsis of their Appendix C – their own synopsis of the book’s arguments.
I chuckled at a particular point they make, wherein “any theory of cosmology must explain the cosmologist.” An evolutionist may object that “Big Bang Theory” (BBT) does not need to explain the structure of galaxies or the origin of stars or the formation of planets, or even the genesis of life. Such arguments are intellectually dishonest. The whole point of the Big Bang is to explain “where we came from.” The evolutionary worldview claims that “science” is its foundation and pontificates loudly . . . often screechingly . . . that all the fundamental issues of origins are settled scientifically and that current research aims to fill in the merest of details. Baloney and hogwash. The story they lay before the public . . . in their eyes a very stupid public deserving to be duped . . . is refuted by the writings of their own cosmologists, astronomers, geologists, paleontologists, and biologists.
While using the book’s outline in Appendix C, I’ll insert my own dagger-like commentary. (Life is too short to equivocate!) I’m not going to lay out for you much background. I’m writing for the reader who has a lay-level acquaintance with Big Bang (BB) assertions, but I’ll expand a bit where I think necessary.
Let’s get started. In the beginning . . .
. . . there was a singularity. That means EVERYTHING, all the mass that we now see in the universe was squeezed into a mathematical point. What was outside that point? Nothing. All of the universe’s space was “inside” that point, too. What was outside the point? Outside the point didn’t exist. Go ahead. Try to get your head around that. There was no space until the universal point exploded. To reiterate . . . the BB did NOT expand into a pre-existing space. Space itself came out of that point. Note: Any diagram of this that you have seen is a lie. You can’t draw a “point” without a space within which to put that point. So BBT starts with the most outrageous speculation which, frankly, can’t even be imagined!
OK, now that’s the philosophical starting point for the BB. Yes – philosophical – a foundational ASSUMPTION, inferred from the idea of extrapolating the cosmic expansion we see back to some assumed starting condition. There are lots and lots of other possible starting conditions for an expanding universe (like we see today). Why pick the most outrageous one? But that’s OK, every model must have some assumptions. However, it takes a heap of gall to call it scientific fact!
The Biblical model is based primarily on Genesis 1, in which God created a fully functional universe in just six days, including a living / breathing ecosystem on Garden Earth. The present observed expansion of the universe is fully consistent with several Scriptural passages (see Isaiah 40:22, for example), in which God asserts that He has stretched out the heavens. The Bible-believing Christian thus begins with his own assumption, or presupposition, that God’s word is to be trusted. The debate is then framed around which presuppositions are more or less consistent with which scientific observations.
The singularity exploded at just the right rate to carry mass and energy along with the “space.” Why did it explode / expand? You’ve got all this mass in a point. What’s pulling it apart? There are no scientific answers. Don’t get fooled by claims of mathematical models that allegedly “explain” cosmic expansion. A mathematician can always create stories in symbols, just like a romance novelist can create stories in words. Note that equations are, at their essence, incredibly concise sentences describing the relationships among different things. As with English prose, some stories might be true, some might be false, while others may simply be fanciful.
The “explosion” then suddenly accelerated . . . this is called inflation . . . in order to disperse matter / energy in a way consistent with certain characteristics of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR). Without “inflation,” the uniformity of the CMBR would be mysteriously inconsistent with BBT. (See my recent blog on the CMBR.) Why did the expansion speed up? No reason but that it MUST HAVE or BBT can’t possibly work! A short time later, the expansion decelerated. Why? There is no science behind this, either, but it MUST HAVE or BBT doesn’t work again. And now . . . the universe is accelerating again. Why? How? There are no known physical mechanisms, only mysterious terms like “dark energy,” which doesn’t have any sensible meaning whatsoever.
At first, conditions were so hot, that EVERYTHING in the expanding space was energy: radiation – photons. As expansion allowed cooling, quantum pair production converted some energy into matter. Oops. This is contradicted by the lack of antimatter in the universe. Quantum theory necessitates equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Once again, BBT goes against experimental and theoretical science, in this case that of quantum mechanics.
Expansion and cooling proceeded until matter and energy decoupled, leaving behind the CMBR. This is supposedly the greatest achievement of BBT, in that George Gamow predicted a CMBR temperature of 50 K in 1961 (50 K means 50 degrees on the Kelvin scale), while the measured value in 1964 was 2.7 K. (Please notice . . . that really wasn’t very close.) Models were continually refined, with many disparate temperature predictions, until the models eventually converged to what is observed. Scientists have a way of making mathematical models – stories – do that! By the way, Sir Arthur Eddington – in 1926 – predicted a background temperature of space at about 3 K, on non-BB grounds. How come Eddington isn’t the hero of the story?
The BB model is necessarily tied to the cosmological principle, which insists that the universe looks just the same from anywhere within it, and therefore exists on the surface of a 4-dimensional hypersphere. Got that? An analogy easier to visualize would be that of a tiny bug walking around on the surface of a large balloon. No matter where he went, his 2-D space would always look about the same. There is a 3rd dimension, but the bug just can’t see it. In our alleged 4-D universe, in which we can only “see” 3 dimensions, if BBT is true, then there is NO POINT IN SPACE that is “nearer” the center of the universe or its edge, since EVERYTHING came from a single point. In principle, like the bug, if you keep traveling in one direction, you might just wind up where you started . . . even if it took a very long time. That’s VERY hard to visualize, but must be true if BBT is true.
Historically, the cosmological principle is derived from a rabid materialistic commitment: Earth (or it’s galaxy) CANNOT be near the center of the universe. Earth CANNOT be special. WE cannot be special. Humans are NOT made in any god’s image. We’re just cosmic dust, no different from any other dust anywhere. Given this commitment it is not surprising that it will be held despite any evidence that refutes it.
However . . . the cosmological principle is contradicted by the evidence. Indications are that the universe consists of flat Euclidean space. (It doesn’t curve in a 4th dimension.) It does ACTUALLY LOOK like Earth’s galaxy is roughly near the center of a large universe. Consider: In any direction we see both near and distant galaxies. We’re clearly not at the expanding edge! But there are a lot of galaxies far away that look like THEY are on the edge. Also, large scale surveys of galaxies display a rough quantization of red shifts. The implication is that galaxies tend to cluster (very roughly) around specific distances, regardless of direction. Thus it appears that we are near the center of quasi-spherical shells of galaxy clusters. Only near the center of a spherical space could that observation occur. Additionally, variations in the CMBR indicate the presence of celestial north and south poles plus an equator, all of which implies that the Milky Way is near the center. In short, BBT requires the cosmological principle, but observational science works against it. It’s purely a philosophical construct.
What about the formation of galaxies? In BBT there must have been local pockets of the expanding universe of hydrogen / helium / lithium gas clouds that coalesced neatly into galaxies due to “density fluctuations.” Now, use of the term “density fluctuations” is not an explanation, but rather a necessary condition that must be explained. We see literally hundreds of billions of galaxies each with billions of well-defined stars in well-defined orbits. Such precision! Statistically speaking, why not some ridiculously humongous galaxies? Why not a universe filled with black holes instead of some / most / all of the galaxies we see? Why not just a dull-as-dishwater expanding cloud of gas that never coalesces? That would actually be the most probable outcome.
How did the stars get into such precise orbits? Note that to orbit a satellite around the earth you must engineer a system to enable a spacecraft to acquire just the right speed, aim it in just the right direction, and make sure that velocity vector is attached at just the right altitude. Frankly, orbits don’t just happen. Yet hundreds of billions of stars in each of hundreds of billions of galaxies enjoy orbits precise enough to allow the term “galactic structure” to have any meaning at all! What about spiral galaxies? Even if they could have formed naturally by principles of physics that have never been imagined, then within a fraction of their alleged lifetimes, the spiral arms would have “wound up.” Yet these fascinatingly precise structures adorn our sky.
The formation of stars is a mystery in BBT. Within each galaxy there must be just the right star-sized “density fluctuations” to allow hundreds of billions of stars instead of gazillions of black holes or else just a big dull cloud of gas. There simply is no solid theoretical (not to mention observational) foundation for a first generation of stars. The conditions for gas cloud temperature, density, and total mass are simply too stringent to allow for a naturalistic formation of so many stars.
The story then goes like this . . . the original “Population III” stars exploded and produced heavier elements, in debris clouds which then coalesced by the billions into Population II stars. But black holes should have been produced also, in abundance. There is no evidence. Then Pop II stars exploded to produce the rest of the elements of the periodic table, followed by gas cloud collapse, yet again, into Pop I stars, which are the only stars we see in our universe today. Quite a story! The supernova explosions are alleged to be activating mechanisms that produce the density fluctuations for each new generation of star formation. But there is no evidence in supernova studies to support this and, once again, the required conditions are too stringent to explain the immense starry universe.
Furthermore, most stars within galaxies are found in clusters of thousands or hundreds of thousands, which hang together by orbits in delicate gravitational balance. This is not a practical result from the story above.
OK, let’s take stock for a moment. Big Bang Theory “explains everything” about the universe, except how it got started, how it expanded, how galaxies formed, and why stars even exist. Wow, pretty impressive! By the way, I’m not going to take the time / space to review the issues with “dark matter” and “dark energy” in this blog. These are just mysteries upon mysteries, which allegedly encompass 95% of the entire universe. Stars are supposedly just 5%. But BBT can’t even handle the 5%. Yet the BBT high priests thump their pulpits and scream, “Fact! Fact! Fact!”
What about the formation of our solar system? The story is that a cloud of swirling dust and gas had a dense core that formed the sun and the planets clumped together out of the leftovers. There are lots of anti-scientific problems with this story. For example, just like a whirling figure skater speeds up as she brings her arms in, the law of conservation of angular momentum would have deposited most of the spin energy in the sun’s rotation. Yet observationally, 98% of the solar system’s angular momentum is owned by the planets.
More significantly, gas and dust, particularly when swirling in space at high velocities, don’t “stick.” Even if they did stick to form tiny pebbles, those would tend to disintegrate with the next collision . . . they wouldn’t aggregate. This is just basic experimental mechanics. In short, pebbles, rocks, asteroids, and planets don’t aggregate from any experimental mechanical principles known. They disintegrate! The formation of our moon is a particularly deep mystery also, by the way. Scores of “stories” have been offered. None work.
But let’s assume that EVERYTHING in BBT has worked up until about a billion years ago . . . somehow. What then about the formation of life? I have dealt with this issue in other essays on this site and there is an overwhelming scientific literature to demonstrate that THE NANOMACHINES OF LIFE CANNOT ARISE BY NATURAL CHEMICAL PROCESSES. Not a chance.
As astronomer Fred Hoyle put it . . . “At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cube faces at random. Now imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling of just one of the many biopolymers (proteins, etc.) on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.”
A naturalistic origin for the first cell is IMPOSSIBLE, if the word has any meaning at all in any context. From there to invertebrates, vertebrates, and man the story gets only worse. More and more complex, specific, and brilliant information must be programmed to produce the panoply of life. Mutations destroy . . . they don’t create. Natural selection conserves or culls out . . . it doesn’t create, either.
After many years of studying all of these issues, I have noted a hierarchy of impossibilities in the fantasy of evolution. As fantastically impossible – scientifically – as are the stories of an exploding singularity, a go / stop inflationary event, galaxy and star formation, and harmoniously orbiting systems of planets, the impossibilities of life-by-chance and new-phyla-by-chance are awesome / stupendous / brobdingnagian / uncanny . . . words fail me.
In grappling with these issues, the Christian – under his own responsibility to learn and grow to be a useful servant – should continually refresh himself, ready and able to help strengthen another believer or to contend with a skeptic who has been fooled by evolutionary propaganda. With regard to science-based arguments, the focus should be on biology. The biological disciplines associated with origin of life, mutations and natural selection, and paleontology, for example, supply the clearest slam dunk arguments to refute Darwinian story-telling. The “amateur apologist” can make his case in the cosmological or geological areas, of course, but the “impossibilities” there are more nuanced and more difficult to reduce to obvious, common sense illustrations (although I’ve tried somewhat in the discussion above).
In short, pin down the polite, open-minded evolutionist on biological issues. Show him that his faith is blind. In my experience, many will at least realize that they haven’t thought the matter through, and will give you an ear to hear the Gospel . . . which penetrates past the clouded mind to the heart. During the worldview challenging phase . . . which only takes me a couple of minutes (see my essay on “How to witness to an atheist”) . . . the focus should be on biological creation / evolution. If that doesn’t help, moving to geology or astronomy won’t soften him up.
Other issues . . . what about the speed of light problem? Namely, God made stars visible on Day 4, and people have seen them for these last 6,000 years, despite distances that range into the millions and billions of light years. Well, this is a big topic – too much to go into here. If you get into this, you’ll find that there are creationist cosmologies, based on the principles of special and general relativity, that can help to resolve such challenges. It should be noted that BB cosmologists have immense challenges that are similar, notably the “horizon problem,” which has, at its basis, the same difficulty with a finite speed of light.
What about the recent discoveries of many solar systems with one or more planets in our part of the Milky Way? As a creationist I thrill at the apparent diversity of God’s creation. Some of these solar systems exhibit exotic design features; for example, huge “gas giant” planets, some larger than Jupiter, orbiting their stars in very tight orbits. A system “designed” that way is fascinating. But such configurations totally contradict the solar system “stories” promoted by evolutionists. The already wacky idea of a solar system congealing from dust and gas, with dense planets in close (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars), and gas giants in distant orbits (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune), simply doesn’t work with super-Jupiters in close.
Finally, in this all-too-brief survey, there is considerable evidence that the Biblical time scale of a 6,000 year history for Earth is quite realistic. Such data include the rapid decay of Earth’s magnetic field, the presence of Carbon 14 wherever carbonized rock is found in the geological rock layers, the concentration of salt and metals in the ocean, the rate of continental erosional decay, the clear evidence of rapid deposition of the sedimentary strata, the presence of high concentrations of helium inside zircon crystals due to uranium decay, the short lifetimes of comets . . . and many others.
A few nuggets of advice for the serious Christian:
1. Don’t ever get intimidated by the arrogant evolutionist. He’s got a “story,” but there’s NOTHING behind it! Design makes sense and is gloriously declared throughout the creation!
2. Don’t get intimidated by those who insist you trust them because they have a Ph.D. Creationists have Ph.D.s, too. Also, the most important arguments can be reduced to common sense principles. Only a poor scientist . . . only an incompetent or lazy or arrogantly condescending teacher claims that the real issue is too difficult to explain.
3. Keep learning. Translate what you learn into short, common sense arguments. Don’t quit learning. Don’t get lazy. You should be a bit smarter and a bit wiser each year. The Lord expects it! See 2 Peter 1:5-10, for example, and the book of Proverbs.
4. Look for and create opportunities to practice helping people in these areas . . . both Christians and skeptics. Encourage Christians you know to learn a little more. Encourage polite skeptics to dig deeper to find out how they’ve been conned. Give people good tracts, like the ones I’ve designed for college students . . . find them in my “Tracts” essay. You don’t have to explain everything yourself. Use this web site and the more extensive creationist archives on the web, including icr.org, creation.com, and answersingenesis.org.
5. Thank God for His incomprehensible genius in devising a creation that works . . . even after the Fall! Which was our fault. And thank Him for creating such wonders for us to share in the ages to come! Which is His grace.