Tag: Science and Religion

Origin of the Universe – The Scientific Approach

Origin of the Universe – The Scientific Approach

For Scientific Materialists, it is unreasonable to believe that a God or Supernatural being created the Universe. Instead, they deduce through scientific reasoning and the scientific method that the origin of the Universe can be explained solely through science with no religious input.

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One believer of this approach is Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist who is firmly against the idea of God and has published several pieces discrediting religious responses to the origin of the universe. In contrary to this is Edward Osbourne (E. O.) Wilson, a scientist who was brought up as a Christian but became an atheist. He does, however, believe science and religion can work together to provide a better understanding of how the world works.

Stephen Hawking has dedicated his life’s work to the exploration of Black Holes and in turn the Big Bang Theory. He believes that all the evidence that is currently available points to the Big Bang is the beginning of the universe. Until other evidence disproves this theory he believes that this is the only plausible explanation for the origin of the universe. When looking at what is a reasonable

When looking at what is a reasonable explanation, scientists look to theories that can be proven or disproven with the Scientific method. This is why revelation is unacceptable to many as it cannot be tested, verified or falsified.

Scientific theories, regardless of what they are about, are theoretical. This means they are theoretically right until a new piece of evidence can prove or disprove the hypothesis. You can read more about the scientific reasoning behind the Big Bang Theory in a previous post The Big Bang Theory Explained

When discrediting religion, many would use the argument that a book written thousands of years ago cannot have all the answers. If God did create the universe and the Bible is God’s word, why does it not explain more about the origins of the universe?  However, the counter-argument of this is that the Bible should not be taken literally.

When you are asked about whether it is reasonable to believe a God created the universe you have to always remember what is reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to another. It is all down to personal interpretation.

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The Big Bang Theory Explained

The Big Bang Theory is a term for a theory that is centuries old although is on record as being term the ‘Big Bang Theory’ by Fred Hoyle in the 1920s. There are many different parts to the Big Bang Theories and some disagreements within the scientific community as to the cause and effect of the Big Bang but it is widely agreed that:

  1. The Universe had a definite beginning.
  2. The Universe continues to expand and cool down.
  3. The Universe isn’t reliant on something or some being for it’s existence.

There is no universal agreement on what caused the Big Bang to begin or what will happen to the universe eventually.

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Below is a quick guide to the Big Bang (Excuse me if anything is inaccurate, feel free to send any corrections to me!)

Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe

In class, we have watched Stephen Hawking’s Universe in class to help us understand the Theory. From the video we have learned.

We have discovered more about the universe in the last 100 years than in the past 200,000 years. Everything in the Universe has been made by stars.

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The Red Shift

We know that the Big Bang Happened and the Galaxies are moving away from us because of Red Shift. This is when Galaxies appear Red due to the fact that they are moving away from us. This is explained in this BBC Guide. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa/origins/redshiftrev1.shtml

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The Big Bang

The Big Bang started at a single point when the universe burst into existence. Before this it was complete darkness as light did not exist neither did space. When the universe began there was an ultra hot fog of energy.

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Within a trillionth of a second the universe stretched from the size of an atom to and orange and began cooling down. Within 100 seconds the universe was the size of our solar system. As the universe was cooling down, matter and anti matter were created. When matter and anti matter collide they destroy each other. This was happening constantly and only 1 in 1 billion matter particles survived. It is from these particles that everything was formed.

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“We are made of the smoke of the Big Bang”

The radiation from the Big Bang can still be seen and heard on earth. For example in television and radio waves.

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Gravity

Gravity is the cause of everything. The discovery of gravity is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. Gravity is the pulling of everything together. Because some matter was denser and less effective when pulled by gravity it meant that there were imperfections in the universe. These imperfections were what created the universe.

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Hydrogen gas was the first element created. It is extremely powerful and it is what gives stars their power and energy. If hydrogen is compacted down it will heat up and cause nuclear fusion. This process is what caused helium to be created. This process is what took place in order to create more elements. This is a long process.

Black Holes

Gravity can also be dangerous and cause black holes. A black hole is created when a massive star begins to dies and becomes unstable. It shrinks and gets denser and denser until the core starts collapsing in on itself. Black Holes give off radiation and this is what galaxies rotate around.

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How were planets formed?

Our solar system is about 6 billion years old. A Star exploded and we can see evidence of this in the nebula in the solar system. Nebula is a thick fog full of different elements. Gravity pulls these elements together. The pressure of the hydrogen gas led to an explosion and a formation of a new star (our sun). This blast gave off a radioactive dust that pushed any excess dust. From these elements and dust planets began to form.

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Did this all happen by accident?

All questions about the Big Bang ultimately lead to questions on whether this was a ‘perfect accident’. Christian Scientists who believe that the Universe was created by God. They use the examples of

  •  The earth being the exact positions away from the Sun that it is not too hot or too cold.
  • All the elements required for life are present on the earth.
  • The imbalance or imperfection that was required for life to begin was a 1 in a billion chance.

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Stephen Hawking refuted this explaining that for the size of the universe and the 1 in a billion chance it is inevitable that at least of the billions of planets would have life on them.

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/universe/questions_and_ideas/big_bang