Author Topic: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."  (Read 1834 times)

Offline Vetus Ordo

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Slowly but decisively they're getting there:



Vilenkin’s verdict: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning." (Link)

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Did the cosmos have a beginning? The Big Bang theory seems to suggest it did, but in recent decades, cosmologists have concocted elaborate theories – for example, an eternally inflating universe or a cyclic universe – which claim to avoid the need for a beginning of the cosmos. Now it appears that the universe really had a beginning after all, even if it wasn’t necessarily the Big Bang.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 

Offline poche

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 04:07:23 AM »
And God said, "Let there be Light"
 

Offline MilesChristi

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 08:40:33 AM »
There was once a saying that the scientists fight tooth and nail and work to get to the top of the mountain,
only to find the theologian and philosopher already at the top, relaxing.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 

Offline LouisIX

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 06:44:14 PM »
If you see a train of boxcars whizzing by you must conclude that somewhere an engine is moving them.  Claiming the boxcars go on forever does nothing to solve the problem of their motion.
IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 

Offline Bonaventure

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 06:50:16 PM »
Or dominos.
 

Offline LouisIX

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 06:54:42 PM »
Correct, though the dominos example gives us a more deistic Mover than the one which Aquinas proposes in the first way, but both highlight the essential problem with the motion of the universe.


It's worth noting, however, that Thomas' Unmoved Mover argument is not a temporal one.  It does not mean that God pushed off motion at the beginning of time, but that, like the foundational cog on a machine, is constantly necessary for all motion.  In that sense, it applies even to an eternal universe (such as the one that Aristotle proposed).  This makes it useful as an argument even against those physicists and astronomers who believe the universe is indeed eternal (which, if I'm not mistaken, has been quite en vogue recently).
IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 

Offline Bonaventure

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 06:56:32 PM »
Thanks for the clarification on the metaphysics.

The universe isn't eternal though, right?
 

Offline LouisIX

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 07:00:05 PM »
Thanks for the clarification on the metaphysics.

The universe isn't eternal though, right?


No, as only God is eternal, but many would say that coming to those conclusion demands revelation.  Presenting an argument which doesn't rest upon faith is exactly what Thomas is trying to do.
IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 

Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 09:18:36 PM »
With the right approximations and step sizes, all things are eternal or infinite!  :P
Wie dein Sonntag, so dein Sterbetag.

I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side.  ~Treebeard, LOTR

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Offline Quo Vadis

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2013, 07:08:52 PM »
Astrophysicists are relying heavily on mathematical models, these days.  A model can't prove a physical theory, though it can aid in creating a theory.  Mathematical formulae and models only DESCRIBE, and are not laws unto themselves.  So alot of nonsense is coming out - physicists chasing after particles or forms of energy that may not exist, multiverses being proposed and taken seriously, etc... all simply because something like string theory (a mathematical construct created by a mathematician) seems to describe something they haven't heretofore been able to explain.  Be very careful - in the eyes of the media, physicists, like medical doctors, are gods.  And phycisists have learned how to play along, supplying eye-dazzling stuff to the various media, thus increasing their funding.  I saw it firsthand for many years.

On another note, I've created my own thought experiment.  Say you created an environment for some animals, let's just say mice to keep it simple.  Say this environment provides all they need, and you have shielded it in such a way that they cannot detect your existence.  Say that over time and generation, these mice become very smart - smart enough to understand how their environment is constructed.  Even a few of these mice come up with compelling theories about how it must have came about.  In so doing, can they disprove your existence?
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 09:39:43 PM »
From a professor of mine:
All models suck.  Some models can be used, though.
Wie dein Sonntag, so dein Sterbetag.

I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side.  ~Treebeard, LOTR

Jesus son of David, have mercy on me.
 

Offline Quo Vadis

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Re: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 12:02:12 AM »
From a professor of mine:
All models suck.  Some models can be used, though.
That's a good one, Kaesekopf, and sounds about right.  If the modeler knows which way the wind's blowing, he/she can tweak the parameters to get more funding.  I got disillusioned right away in grad school, when we were tasked with trying to duplicate results from the professional literature.
Since Christ Himself has said, "This is My Body" who shall dare to doubt that It is His Body?
-- St Cyril of Jerusalem