How does the universe work

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking is a TV mini-series currently being shown in Australia on SBS-TV. In the episode The Story of Everything (Part 1) Prof. Hawking expounds his version of the big bang theory. As this is virtually the same as another program of his titled How the Universe Works, we present our answer to the latter program, which we first aired on 8 June 2011.

Discovery Channel program: How the Universe Works

Seems like ‘science’ but really promoting a worldview

by Russell Grigg

First published: 9 June 2011 (GMT+10)
Re-featured on homepage: 8 December 2012 (GMT+10)

Showing in Australia this year has been the Discovery Channel TV program How the Universe Works. The episode titled Big Bang has commentaries by theoretical physicists Profs Lawrence Krauss and Michio Kaku among others, and spectacular graphic-art simulations of how the universe supposedly originated. However, there are many scientific problems with the big bang, and it is totally contrary to what God has revealed in the Bible about how and when He created the universe.

Creation and evolution—two contradictory worldviews

Genesis is neither myth nor theological poetry, but an account of events that took place in history. It provides the foundation of a complete worldview. The first chapter describes the origin of the universe, the earth, the sun, moon, and stars, plant and animal life, and the origin of human beings. It tells us that God created all these things by His will, through His Word—His power as the Almighty Creator God.1 I.e. God spoke (or willed) the creation to happen and it did.2 And within this worldview is the Fall of man into sin, bringing God’s judgment, as well as God’s provision for man’s salvation (Genesis 3).

For atheists to eliminate God, they must produce an alternative naturalistic explanation for everything which the Bible attributes to the existence, the Word and the power of God. And, of course, an additional incentive is that the God of the Bible imposes restrictions on human behaviour, and forewarns of future Judgment.

Chance is not a force; it cannot violate the laws of physics.

The currently most popular atheistic explanation of the origin of the cosmos is the hot inflationary model of the big bang.3 It too forms the basis for a worldview, a philosophical evolutionary worldview, in which the origin of everything is attributed to chance, energy, and the forces of nature. God (as the Originator not only of scientific law but also of moral law) is deemed not to exist, and so this worldview totally opposes the worldview of the Bible.4

In fact, many scientists oppose the big bang.5,6 Viewers of How the Universe Works, when evaluating the ‘science’ therein, should realize that its purpose is to sell a worldview, and the artists’ conceptions are to entertain—the animations of cruising through space among galaxies have little to do with what astronomers actually see.

The big bang v. science

Nothing becomes something becomes everything

The Discovery Big Bang episode begins by telling us: “Everything in the universe is made from matter created in the first moments of the big bang.” The program then asks: “How did nothing become something?”

Prof. Lawrence Krauss answers: “The laws of physics allow it to happen.” Then: “At the instant of creation all the laws of physics began to take shape.” But how can the laws of physics do this when the laws are still taking shape? Furthermore, one of the most fundamental laws of physics is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

There is only one way of getting something from nothing (ex nihilo), and that is by an act of Creation by a Creator—in fact, by the Almighty Creator God of the Bible. One occasionally hears the comment today that there is such a thing as matter being created out of a quantum fluctuation producing equal amounts of particles and antiparticles, so that ‘zero becomes +1 and –1’. And this is often used to ‘explain’ how the universe popped into existence. But this ‘mechanism’ requires the pre-existence of the laws of quantum physics—hardly ‘nothing’.

Big bang theory requires that originally all matter, energy, space, and time were contained in a single point of infinite density (technically known as a ‘singularity’). In the program, Dr Krauss informs us: “All we know is that from what may have been nothing we go to a state of almost infinite density, and infinite temperature and infinite violence.” That is, all the energy currently represented by the mass of some 200 billion galaxies each containing 100 billion stars, was contained in a single point.7 However, there is nothing in the known world of physics to start the universe expanding from such a singularity. Physical descriptions of the big bang, and the equations derived for the theory, only apply after the unknown event has already happened. Krauss’s fellow atheist Stephen Hawking makes the same blunder in his latest book, as we have documented.

Faster than the speed of light

Then Prof. Michio Kaku tells us that the very early universe expanded faster than the speed of light (c). This is based upon the theory of ‘inflation’, developed to overcome some of the huge problems faced by the big bang. The laws of physics do not permit things to travel faster than c, so this contradiction is explained with what comes across as ‘big-bang-speak’ on the meaning of the word ‘nothing’. Prof. Kaku says: “Nothing can go faster than the speed of light; nothing being empty space.” In short, the idea is that space itself appeared at the moment of the universe’s creation of itself, and it is that space which has to expand faster than c to salvage big-bang thinking. This particular ‘nothing’ was depicted as a ball of energy, represented artistically in the Discovery Channel film by an expanding bluish haze. Yet inflation has always been an ad hoc theory to explain away the big bangers’ own conundrum with light travel time: the horizon problem (see below).

The triumph of matter over anti-matter

The program says that the big bang produced matter and anti-matter. These two substances annihilate each other, so the program states (correctly), “a universe of equal amounts of each would be equivalent to a universe containing no matter at all”. However, according to Prof. Krauss, for every 1 billion particles of anti-matter produced, there also formed 1 billion + 1 particles of matter, and these minority excess matter particles formed “all the stars and planets in the universe, and us”. Prof. Michio Kaku adds: “We are the leftovers from collisions of matter and anti-matter.” Hmmm. So much for being made in the image of God!

Actually, when particles of matter are created from energy in a collider laboratory, they always appear in matter/anti-matter pairs (e.g. an electron and a positron, or a proton and an anti-proton, or a neutrino and an anti-neutrino). And whenever these matter and anti-matter particles meet they annihilate one another and revert to pure energy.8 So why were things different during the big bang? Prof. Krauss provides no experimental evidence in support of the claim of ‘billion +1’ matter-particle asymmetry during the big bang. So that leaves chance. But chance is not a force; it cannot violate the laws of physics.9 To say that there was anything left over after all this big-bang annihilation, let alone enough to form all the matter in the universe, is cheating with chance—assigning a positive probability to something that the laws of physics do not allow.

Cosmic ‘kingdom’ of darkness

Dark matter

According to How the Universe Works, when the expanding energy began to cool, it produced sub-atomic particles, which in due course coalesced into atoms of gas expanding close to the speed of light. So what caused billions of localized regions of this mass of gas to resist the big bang force, reverse their runaway expansion, and start contracting to form stars and galaxies (which the program describes as ‘vast kingdoms of stars’)—without everything disappearing back into the singularity?

Answer given: Gravity allegedly contracted the gas until it formed stars,10 and then collected the stars into galaxies. But gravity is ‘the force of attraction that arises between objects by reason of their masses’, and (the program tell us) there was not enough mass (i.e. gravity) in the expanding gas to hold the stars in individual galaxies together (even with the help of super-massive black holes said to be at the centre of each), nor yet to stop all these galaxies, when formed, from flying apart. Nor is it enough to collapse gas clouds into stars: they are too hot and thin. It’s notable that theories of star formation tend to involve a shock wave from a supernova, but this requires a pre-existing star.11

In the Discovery Channel episode entitled Galaxies, the program tells us: “Dark matter is the glue holding together the whole superstructure of the universe” and “without dark matter the whole structure of the universe would simply fall apart”. So what is this mysterious but apparently ubiquitous material that supplies the additional gravity without which “the universe would not work”? Prof. Michio Kaku describes it: “You can’t push against it. You can’t feel it. Yet it’s probably all around you. It’s a ghost-like material that will pass right through you as if you didn’t exist at all.” Another scientist in the program tells us: “Weight for weight it makes up at least six times as much of the universe as does normal matter—the stuff that we’re all made from.”

But this is not the sort of ‘science’ that most people understand by the meaning of that term, namely that involving repeatable and controlled experiments utilizing examination, measurement, analysis, comparison, and peer review. Not so for hypothetical ‘dark matter’, which no one has ever seen (it does not absorb or emit radiation—hence ‘dark’), let alone sampled, examined, measured, analyzed, and compared; and as to peer review see ref. 6.

Gravitational lensing

There are a number of observations for which dark matter is the solution proffered—for example the motion of the outer parts of galaxies. As evidence for the existence of dark matter, the program offered a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This is where light from a distant object is bent (much like light passing through a lens), from interacting with the forces of gravity along its path. But Physics Professor John Hartnett, in his book Starlight, Time and the New Physics, indicated that a new physics based on the work of Israeli physicist Moshe Carmeli resolves all of the issues without postulating a mysterious new form of matter. He refers to dark matter as analogous to the mysterious dark planet, dubbed ‘Vulcan’, that in the 19th century was hypothesized to exist on the other side of the Sun to Earth and so always conveniently out of sight—i.e. it was ad hoc. This was because the physics of Newton could not explain certain observed motions in the orbit of the planet Mercury.12 But Einstein’s new physics was able to explain the anomaly without any ‘fudge factor’ of a dark planet. Similarly, as Dr Hartnett has shown in papers published in secular astrophysics journals, Carmelian Relativity properly solves the problems that have been explained away by dark matter.

The ‘flatness problem’

To get the stable universe we live in today, and for it to have endured for the alleged 13.7 billion years, the cosmic expansion would have had to be fine-tuned with the counteracting gravity to within one part in ten million, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion of the critical value, according to big-bang proponent Alan Guth, the inventor of the inflation hypothesis.13 This required stability is known as the ‘flatness problem’. It requires a balance of the competing forces to an accuracy of 1 in 1055. Why did the program not tell us how this happened? Actually no big-bang proponent knows!

Some Christians claim it as evidence for God using the big bang to create, but this causes huge problems for Genesis. For example, Genesis has the earth before the sun, whereas the big bang has the sun millions of years before the earth. It is no coincidence that big-bang-Christian scientists uniformly deny creation in six earth-rotation days. The big bang involves the earth cooling down for millions of years, rather than being covered with water at the beginning as Genesis teaches. They also therefore promote millions of years of Earth history, placing death and disease well prior to the Fall of Adam.

Dark energy

‘The accelerating power of the universe is not the result of dark energy, but God’s Almighty power as He gave impetus to the universe.’—John Hartnett

Having conveniently invented dark matter, big-bangers discovered, inconveniently, that they needed yet another heterodox force in opposition to it, namely ‘dark energy’. The Discovery program says:

“Dark energy has the opposite effect of dark matter. Instead of binding galaxies together, it pushes them apart. It is far more mysterious. We don’t have the slightest idea why it’s there; what it’s made from we don’t really know. Dark energy is really weird. Far in the future, dark energy will win the cosmic battle with dark matter … by causing all the galaxies to recede further and further away from us until they’re invisible, until they’re moving away from us faster than the speed of light [sic] … and become lonely outposts in deep space.”

Most of the things stated earlier about dark matter apply to dark energy. The Bible states in numerous places that God has stretched out the heavens.14 Dr Hartnett explains:

“The accelerating power of the universe is God Himself. … It is not the result of dark energy, but God’s Almighty power as He gave impetus to the universe. … The big push was God, but through the agency of the fabric of space itself. He is the unseen force in the universe. God designed the original creation in a state such that it would naturally expand, relaxing the fabric of space itself like an uncoiling spring.”15

“This stretching out resulted in an enormous amount of time dilation; billions of years of physical transformation occurred in the galactic realms while only one ordinary-length day passed on Earth and in the solar system.”16,17

Cosmic Background Radiation (CMBR) and the ‘horizon problem’

The primary evidence presented for the big bang is the uniform cosmic background radiation of 2.726 K (degrees Kelvin, i.e. above absolute zero). Tiny temperature variations have been used to compose a ‘map’ which is claimed to represent the primordial density variations in the big bang fireball from which today’s cosmic structure originated. However, other secular scientists strenuously dispute this conclusion,18,19 Also, using the CMBR as proof for the big bang commits a glaring logical fallacy, called affirming the consequent.20

The Discovery program tells us that space is at least 150 billion light-years across.21 Nevertheless, bits of matter flying in opposite directions all managed to reach the same CMBR temperature. But if the universe really was about 13.7 billion years old, how could the CMBR be uniform if there has not been sufficient time for radiation to travel from one side of the universe to the other, and even out the temperature by transmitting energy from hot regions to cold? This is known as the ‘horizon problem’ and shows that big-bangers have their own light-travel time problem to contend with.22 This is the main reason that the faster-than-light ‘inflation’ idea was proposed in the first place, as noted above.

Summary and Conclusions

The alleged big bang was a one-off event in the past, so it is beyond the reach of experimental verification. Hence speculation is presented wherever evidence is scant. Whenever the hypothesis runs into trouble, its proponents continually ‘move the goal posts’ by introducing hypothetical ad hoc assumptions and fudge factors like inflation, dark matter and dark energy, that have never been observed by modern physics.

Within the cosmological community, dissent is not easily tolerated, and certainly rarely funded. Occasionally, however, a comment is made from within the ranks which the public would do well to take note of, such as this one from Science magazine:

“‘Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t a science,’ says James Gunn of Princeton University, co-founder of the Sloan survey. ‘A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments, and you can’t do that in cosmology.’”23

Creation by God, who is the first cause of all, gives meaning to the universe we live in. Not only does God tell us in the Bible that He did it, but the description of six-day fiat creation in Genesis is much more plausible than the big-bang scenario with, borrowing from Mark Twain, its “wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact”.24

Dr Michio Kaku’s last words in the Discovery Channel Big Bang episode are:

“Personally I believe in continual genesis, that is, a never-ending process whereby universes collide, split apart, give birth to new universes, perhaps with different laws of physics within each universe.”

Now why would an otherwise rational scientist have as his worldview a sort of continuous cosmic ping-pong contest? Perhaps it is because, if our present universe had a beginning, this would imply there was a Beginner. And in such a worldview as his there is no God and no Satan, no Heaven and no Hell, no Creation and (above all!) no Last Judgment.

It does matter what we believe, because these are all integral components of the biblical worldview, and they have crucial consequences for every one of us.

References

  1. As we read through the Bible we learn that ‘the Word’ is one of the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1–3, 14–18), and that it was through Christ that God created all things (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3). See also Grigg, R., Is Jesus Christ the Creator God?Creation 13(3):43–45, June 1991; and Sarfati, J., The Incarnation and Genesis , 23 December 2010. Return to text.
  2. See Grigg, R., Creation: How did God do it?Creation13(2)36–38, Return to text.
  3. There have been several other versions over the last 80 years. See Grigg, R., The mind of God and the big bang , Creation 15(4):38–43. Dissent from the current model by secular scientists is not encouraged by the scientific establishment and is rarely funded. Return to text.
  4. See also Manthei, D., Two worldviews in conflict, Creation 20(4):26–27, Sept. 1998, creation.com/two-worldviews-in-conflict. Return to text.
  5. See Wieland, C., Secular scientists blast the big bang, Creation 27(2):33–35, March 2005, creation.com/secular-scientists-blast-the-big-bang, which comments on ref. 6. Return to text.
  6. An Open Letter to the Scientific Community, cosmologystatement.org, signed originally by 34 named scientists (from 10 countries) who oppose the big bang (including Eric Lerner, author of the book The Big Bang Never Happened, and since then by a further 371 named scientists, engineers and independent researchers, 105 others (as of 24 May 2011). It was also published by Lerner, E, Bucking the big bang, New Scientist, 182(2448):20, 22 May 2004. Return to text.
  7. Compounded by the ratio of 2 billion to 1 in the matter to anti-matter conflict (see later), plus the postulated dark matter and dark energy. Return to text.
  8. Oard, M., Missing antimatter challenges the big bang theory, J. Creation 12(3):256, 1998. Return to text.
  9. Williams, A., and Hartnett, J., Dismantling the Big Bang, pp. 82–86, Master Books, Arizona, 2005. Return to text.
  10. Known as the nebular hypothesis. Refuted by Sarfati, J., Solar system origin: Nebular hypothesis, Creation 32(3):34–35, 2010, and Oard, M., Another puzzle in the evolutionary story for the origin of the solar system, J. Creation 16(3):17–18, 2002. Return to text.
  11. Bernitt, R., Stellar evolution and the problem of the first stars, J. Creation 16(1):12–14, 2002. Return to text.
  12. Hartnett, J., Starlight, Time and the New Physics, Creation Book Publishers, Brisbane, 2007, Chapter. 3, ‘Dark’ matter: today’s ‘fudge factor’. Return to text.
  13. Guth, A., Inflationary Universe: A Possible Solution to the Horizon and Flatness Problems, Physical Review D 23(2):347–356, 1981, quoted in ref. 9, p. 110. Return to text.
  14. Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15; Zechariah 12:1. Return to text.
  15. Hartnett, J., Dark matter and a cosmological constant in a creationist cosmology?J. Creation 19(1):82–87. Return to text.
  16. Ref. 9, p. 255. Return to text.
  17. See also Hartnett, J, A new cosmology: solution to the starlight travel time problem, J. Creation 17(2):98–102, 2003. See also Humphreys, R., New time dilation helps creation chronology, J. Creation 22(3):84–92, 2008.Return to text.
  18. See Hartnett, J., WMAP ‘proof’ of big bang fails normal radiological standards, creation.com/wmap-proof-of-big-bang-fails-normal-radiological-standards. Return to text.
  19. See Hartnett, J., Planck sees the big bang—or not? creation.com/planck-sees-big-bang. Return to text.
  20. Sarfati, J., Nobel Prize for alleged big bang proof, 7–8 October 2006. Return to text.
  21. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year (i.e. 365.25 days) = about 9.46 trillion km or about 6 trillion miles. Return to text.
  22. See Lisle, J., Light-travel time: a problem for the big bang, Creation25 (4):48–49, 2003. Return to text.
  23. Cho, A., A singular conundrum: How odd is our universe? Science 317:1848–1850, 2007. Return to text.
  24. Twain, M. Life on the Mississippi, www.twainquotes.com. He was referring to science in general, due to some ludicrous ‘scientific’ statements made about the Mississippi River. Return to text.
  25. Sarfati, J., ref. 20. See also refs. 18 and 19. Return to text.