Big Bang or no Big Bang, I have always considered it completely illogical for there to have been a “beginning” to the universe.
The universe has always been here (in one form or another). If basic conservation of energy doesn’t tell you that, logic should. But don’t let that keep you up at night because you, on the other hand, won’t be around forever. ;)
My understanding of the BBT was that it wasn’t that the universe had a definite ‘start’, it’s that – prior to the event, our model of understanding fails (in the sense that the math begins to contradict itself). So it wasn’t that we were making a positive claim of ‘a beginning’, but rather, that we had the absence of proof that there was or wasn’t something ‘before’ the big bang. In the same way that – though it may be reasonable to guess that (from my perspective) you existed prior to making this comment, it’s not supported by any evidence I have on hand (assuming my evidence is completely contained in this comment alone).
What I think is interesting about this model is that it not only points toward an idea we’ve had floating around for a while (gravitons), but that it also resolves a bit of a kludge in the form of dark matter and dark energy. These things always seemed a bit odd, and I’ll be interested to see what develops from this new model in terms of experiments. It’s primary claim (based on my educated lay-person’s understanding of the physics (I’m a mathematician with a bachelor’s degree, not a professional physicist)) seems to be the existence of this graviton field, maybe someday we’ll be looking forward to an LHC style project that goes hunting for it, like we did with the Higgs.
Wonderful comment, and I agree with your reasoning. Only thing I would add though is that while you might have a decent conceptualization of how to interpret the Big Bang theory as having “the absence of proof that there was or wasn’t something ‘before’”, that’s not how most of the people (including most teachers/professors I’ve chatted with) view it.
They didn’t treat it as an incomplete theory. Rather, they considered it “fact” that “there was a beginning.” It’s that assertion that I’ve seen repeated so often that I take issue with.
If there was nothing intelligible before some point, then in a sense that is the beginning. Regardless, metaphysical notions of the universe shouldn’t be treated as physics. Saying the universe started at the big bang is a metaphysical notion that explains our perception of the universe. Your idea that the universe has always existed because it’s “logical” is really a metaphysical claim as well. Plato’s theory of forms was logical to him, but that doesn’t make it true.
Of course now that the big bang is potentially irrelevant / wrong, everything seems even more wacked out.
Pulling from facebook, via a post on /r/skeptic, from Lawrence Krauss:
“To all who asked. I have looked at "No Big Bang' article that has been getting attention in various media sites. It doesn’t make sense to me. For example: cosmo constant ‘prediction’ is simply put in by hand.. getting the ‘correct’ answer today by choosing the observed value today as input.. and giving the wrong answer at earlier times. As for BB singularity.. again seems to me that it is a case of knowing what one wants, and inputing it into the model.. certainly can’t address the singularity problem without a full quantum theory.” - Krauss
So it seems this may be just a case of convenient number pluggery.
Well, I don’t know enough to make a judgement either way. So, when all the physicists work out what they actually think, I’ll pay attention I suppose. The idea that there was no big bang intrigues me though, I’m kind of rooting for a new theory just to mix things up. :P
If there was nothing intelligible before some point, then in a sense that is the beginning.
You can say the equations cannot provide anything “intelligible” before that point, but that must be interpreted as:
Remember in this case we’re dealing with a divide-by-zero type situation. Divide-by-zero does not imply there was a “beginning.”