Sunday, June 28, 2009

What happened before the big bang? What is north of the North Pole? The questions are meaningless!

source: highlights comments

At yesterdays Dorset Humanists stand at Winton Carnival I was asked 'What came before the big bang?' God? I said that science did not know what came before the big bang - but science was working on it! If God created the Big Bang, what came before God? Who created God?

What I should have said is that that question 'What came before the big bang?' is probably meaningless. Stephen Welch describes it well in his book 'Stardust Our Cosmic Origins' (Big Bang, chapter 4). Stephen Hawking says that maybe the question of what happened before the big bang is meaningless because there was no 'before'. Maybe 'time' and 'space' were created in the Big Bang, so there could be no 'before' and no 'outside'.

On the Richard & Judy Show in 2005 whilst promoting his book 'A Briefer History of Time', Stephen Hawking gave an analogy of moving on the earth towards the North Pole. As you pass the North Pole you start going south again. So the question 'what is 'north' of the North Pole' is meaningless - it makes no sense. The answer is 'nothing' because you cannot get 'north' of the North Pole.

Now apply this question to the Big Bang? What is before the Big Bang? Answer 'nothing'. Because time itself was created in the Big Bang so the question is meaningless.

Maybe if you head back to the start of the Big Bang and kept going back you would start to go forward in time.

Similarly it makes no sense asking 'what is the universe expanding into' because maybe space itself (our familiar 3 dimensions) was created in the Big Bang.

Note: The North Pole has no boudary and is an anlogy for the Hawking-Hartle no boundary universe theory. In collaboration with Jim Hartle, Hawking developed a modeling which the Universe had no boundary in space-time, replacing the initial singularity of the classical Big Bang models with a region akin to the North pole: one cannot travel North of the North pole, there is no boundary there.

Creative Commons License
This work by crabsallover is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

No comments:

Post a Comment