Since yesterday was Chinese New Year, which is traditionally celebrated with firecrackers (except in Davao City), I thought of talking about the Big Bang Theory and the misconceptions surrounding it.
I got the impression that some people are just so miseducated about it when I got into a couple of arguments with biblical creationists regarding the matter. One person posted a recent science article on Facebook entitled, “Quantum Equation Suggests the Big Bang Never Occurred and the Universe Has No Beginning” and then challenged evolutionists to explain that. I found that so misguided because the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory are two different things. He responded by saying that evolution started with the Big Bang, which while technically true, is still a non-argument. The Big Bang is an explanation of how the universe began while evolution is an explanation of how life forms change over time. So invalidating the Big Bang does not suddenly cancel evolution. I did not even point out then that instead of questioning evolution, he should probably question his own beliefs first. After all, he’s the one with the holy book that starts with the phrase “In the beginning…”
Things got interesting when another creationist called the Big Bang theory an invention of atheist scientists who simply wanted to do away with God. She further claimed that it was an illogical theory because it could not explain how life came from non-life (something it was NOT set out to explain in the first place). What I found hilarious was when she asked if anyone had ever seen life come out of an explosion like that of dynamites or bombs. I found that such an uneducated premise to begin with that I simply told her to learn the science first because she had no idea what she was talking about.
So what is the Big Bang Theory and how did it come about?
Well, first of all, it was not an explosion like that of a firecracker. The expression was coined by British Astronomer Fred Hoyle in a 1950 radio broadcast, “to create a picture in the mind of the listener.” It is more accurate to say that there was a very rapid expansion of the universe at the beginning of time. In other words, it was as if there was nothing in one moment and in the next, the universe was there, and growing at a very fast rate. Although “moment” is probably still an inaccurate term because time and space (as we know it) began with that expansion.
Anyway, the theory had its beginnings in the 1920’s. Edwin Hubble observed that other galaxies were moving away from our own at a very rapid pace. This led to the thinking that at some point in the past, galaxies were much closer to each other and if you went further and further back in time, you could eventually trace everything back to single point called a singularity. It was when that singularity expanded that our universe came into being. That is the Big Bang Theory in a nutshell.
Another observation that backs up the theory is the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation. If the universe was much denser before, then it would certainly be hotter than it is now (since heat would dissipate as galaxies moved further apart). If so, we should be able to find some traces of this heat, and that is exactly what astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered in 1965, which earned them the Nobel Prize.
Now, the Big Bang Theory is certainly not the ONLY model of how the universe began, but it is the most popular as it is considered to best fit the evidence we have SO FAR. It is not simply the product of an atheist scientist’s propaganda against the Bible. To think that way would be to discredit decades of research and study by both theist and atheist scientists alike.
That being said, there ARE valid criticisms and objections to the theory, but one must first learn the science in order to fully understand what these are, and to frame them in the proper context. To do otherwise would be downright silly, irresponsible and childish.
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.