“When a 6th grader asks…‘What happened before the Big Bang?’ [and a teacher responds with something like] “…the question has no meaning. It’s like asking what is north of the North Pole.” [And then] “The student sits down, shuts up, and everyone pretends that some actual knowledge has been imparted.”¹
If you seem disturbed, or feel that something important is missing here, then you’d better use the DOOR.
Let me first point out that what follows–in regular type–is quoted from one of my favorite books (listed at Note 1). This will allow me to ignore resorting to “quotes within quotes” in the text. This unusual volume, poorly titled I feel, is a mix of biography, science, and common sense that I feel many of the readers here will enjoy.
Continuing where we left off:
Someone will ask, “What is the expanding universe expanding into?” Again the professor is ready: “You cannot have space without objects defining it, so we must picture the universe bringing its own space with it into an ever-larger size. Also, it is wrong to visualize the universe as if looking at it ‘from the outside’ because nothing exists outside the universe, so the question makes no sense.”
“Well, can you at least say what the Big Bang was? Is there some explanation for it?” For years when my co-author [Bob Berman] was feeling lazy, he would recite the standard reply to his college students as if it were an after-business-hours recording: “We observe particles materializing in empty space and then vanishing; these are quantum fluctuations. Well, given enough time, one would expect such a fluctuation to involve so many particles that an entire universe would appear. If the universe was indeed a quantum fluctuation, it would display just the properties we observe!”
The student takes his chair. So that’s it! The universe is a quantum fluctuation! Clarity at last.
But even the professor, in his quiet moments alone, would wonder at least briefly what things might have been like the Tuesday before the Big Bang. Even if he realizes in his bones that you can never get something from nothing, and that the Big Bang is no explanation at all for the origins of everything but merely, at best, the partial description of a single event in the continuum that is probably timeless. In short, one of the most widely known and popularized “explanations” about the origin and nature of the cosmos abruptly brakes at a blank wall at the very moment when it seems to be arriving at its central point.
During this entire parade, of course, a few people in the crowd will happen to notice that the emperor seems to have skimped in his wardrobe budget………..
More at another time…
¹ Robert Lanza, MD, with Bob Berman, Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe (Benbella Books, Inc., Dallas TX, 2009, Kindle Version). It should be mentioned that this in not a Christian book. Nor is it New Age. But, I feel, it is very friendly to Christian faith that takes science seriously. Lanza was discovered as a teenager in a parking lot at Harvard University when he was seeking information for a cloning experiment with chickens he was conducting in the basement of his home on “the other side of the tracks.” His BA & MD is from Univ. of PA. He was a Fulbright Scholar and part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo, as well as the first to clone an endangered species. Lanza has been featured at one time or another in key journals, magazines, and newspapers. Bob Berman is a widely interviewed and published astronomer.
Stories of Lanza’s impoverished background is interlaced through this fascinating volume. It’s a great Kindle read that can easily be picked up and put down without missing what’s going on.