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Something about The Beginning I could never figure out

  1. Oct 12, 2008 #1
    Since the present idea is that the known Universe (include dark matter) was once condensed into a tiny singularity; and since this 'exploded' into what we now see, how can we measure time of events? Or describe how 'large' the Universe was at any point in time?

    In other words, I'll read something that says:
    How can we assess the Univers's length? To what are we measuring it against? Isn't space relative?
    I'll also read:
    Now how can the universe be 500,000 years old? Aren't events occurring at different rates at this earlier time relative to our 13 billion year time-frame? I'd think the condensed nature of the Universe at that time would make a standard of time to judge by a meaningless concept.
    How can we say the Universe was the size of a pin head at 10^15 Plank Time? How big is a pinhead when the Universe itself is the size of a pin head?

    Using these dimensions (space and time; two solar systems and pin heads) seems painfully inadequate, yet I read about them all the time!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2008 #2


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    You appear to quote, but you do not give a link to an online source page that says what you claim.

    Personally i don't know any professional cosmologist who would say what those quotes said, without some important qualifications.

    As you state them, in the alleged quotes, they are not what a scientist would say. It is not too hard to find Religious websites where scientists are portrayed as making unqualified bald statements, but those websites are not honest science sources, IMO what I've seen they're more just propaganda.

    Without qualification, to indicate what finite piece of the universe they are talking about---defining what the chunk is---the statements are dubious or plain wrong. Could be your own words? Or your paraphrase of something you didn't understand?
    Or taken from a religious-motivated website where they misrepresent science? Hard to tell without more info.

    So if you are going to quote, please find articles by the scientist where he or she says exactly whatever it is, and where we can all click on the link and see the context and what is actually being talked about.

    Give me a source like that for what you just claimed and I'll be glad to check it out!

    Also cosmology has changed a lot in the past 5 years so I'd prefer if you can provide some fresh sources, like stuff that appeared since 2002 or 2003. More likely to be representative of what the experts are actually talking about.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  4. Oct 13, 2008 #3
    So what should we do? Scrap cosmology as inadequate and just accept that God did it?
  5. Oct 13, 2008 #4
    We shouldn't illustrate a creation model using concepts like time or space. "At 10^-25 Plank Time, the strong force separated from the electro-weak force..." Or, "100,000 years after the Big Bang, the Universe generated its first galaxies..."
    "10^-25 Plank Time" is absolute in its meaninglessness. So is "100,000 years after the Big Bang".

    Accepting that G-d did it is also a preferred embodiment, but such topics can't be discussed; they are against forum guidelines.
  6. Oct 13, 2008 #5


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    All you give here is a link to a GIF image!
    I need context, actual text by some recognized expert. A picture by itself is meaningless. Too many questions:
    What is the purpose of the image? Is it just meant to give a rough idea of one possible scenario?
    Is anybody actually asserting that it corresponds to known reality? Who? When?

    (My understanding is that nobody claims professionally that some particular inflation scenario occurred. There are a bunch of different scenarios and they are recognized as conjecture. No one of them has been tested or proven.)

    So who is the scientist you are quoting? What did he or she actually say? An unsigned picture taken out of context doesn't mean anything.

    If you want to talk about what members of the scientific community are actually saying then you need something more authored than Wikipedia or Hyper-whatever. Maybe the footnotes at Wikipedia will help you find some actual source material.


    BTW your post #1 is inconsistent with your GIF. The post #1 statements are highly misleading and seem to be your paraphrased impression of what other people assert. They refer to the size of the Universe. There are no generally accepted estimates of the size of the Universe. There are only estimates of the size of the observed chunk of it. Your GIF explicitly says it is about the observed chunk, in contrast to your post #1.
    this is not to say that the GIF is an authoritative source or anything, but at least it makes more sense than your paraphrase.

    What I am asking is that you don't give paraphrases of what you think you understand unnamed members of the community to be saying, but that you give sources showing in context (with their qualifications and reservations) what known people actually said. Then I have something real to check out. If not, I just have to put it down to irresponsible trolling or just random trash-talk. Hope you come up with something.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  7. Oct 13, 2008 #6

    Please note what I highlited in bold, above.
    I have certain difficulties with this quote of yours, which I intend to have rectified soon:

    Please note that I am providing this link as a courtesy, and that I am under no obligation to provide you with any links whatsoever, and that I should only provide links to the general PF community at-large only under the instance when I make a specific assertion that demands to be backed up with the appropriate authority or link.
  8. Oct 13, 2008 #7


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    Thanks for providing a link! Hyperphysics is certainly not a reliable professional-grade source. From what I see it is out of date and misleading, so I would warn people to be skeptical and circumspect about using it (based on this one encounter.)

    In this case, what you linked me to, gave a REFERENCE but it was to
    Smith, New Eyes on the Universe, National Geographic 185, p 2 Jan (1994).

    I would not trust National Geographic to tell me the time of day, much less a site like Hyper that uses National Geographic as a a reference! References should be to scientific papers, peer review, carefully written stuff.

    You have been making insinuations about what the scientific community believes and asserts. So far you have a total straw man. You have a reference that goes back to 1994 National Geographic magazine.

    You are spreading innuendo and making blanket assertions that you apparently cannot back up. And you say you have no moral obligation to provide links to sources. OK, that is your ethics. With me, I told you that if you could cite a professional article by a scientist, give me a legitimate source, I would be glad to check out what you are claiming. But you haven't. So I'm not.

    If you want to access the professional literature about cosmology, it is free and immediately accessible. One avenue is go to the Spires database and do a keyword (for example dk=quantum cosmology) search for recent papers.

    here's the search engine:

    type in something like:
    dk=quantum cosmology and date > 2004

    or you might try the keyword inflationary universe, for example:
    dk=inflationary universe and date > 2005

    that way you might get some halfway respectable sources and some papers making real claims that might be worth talking about.
    there are several other good routes to access current research on this, but I don't want to list them unless it is clear that you are actively engaged in making an honest effort to find out what scientists actually say.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  9. Oct 13, 2008 #8


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    How do you determine whether or not something is silly? Is this one of those "common sense" things? As in: "in all my experiences with creations of universes, I have never seen one that looked like this".
  10. Oct 13, 2008 #9
    As I stated above, we know the size of a pin head, but how can the Universe be the size of a pin head? This is the most confusing ideas one can ever hope to read about with regards to the early Universe!
    Am I confused or is everyone confused?
    By "everyone", I mean the physics community at-large.
  11. Oct 13, 2008 #10
    My main problem that I amply demonstrated with links, etc., was that popular literature tells us the Universe was once the size of a grapefruit. How can the Universe be the size of a grapefruit. (the period rather than the question mark terminating the sentence implies a rhetorical quesion is being asked.)
    My secondary problem was with certain of Moderators accusing me of trolling and trash-talking, and in this instance, this gem:
    Even though there was no innuendo spread, blanket assertions were not made, and links were provided.

    There are two solutions to the problem:
    1. Forum Administrators may ban my user account (the IP ban), preventing any further questions from me, or
    2. You may avoid the temptation of further contributing to this thread.
    I like the second option, since this thread has annoyed you from the very start, and it's the democratic, scientific way. But by tomorrow, the first alternative will likely be the persued course, because of certain inadequacies that make public Moderation and participation incompatible with personality defects.

    (warning: read the next sentences carefully--it's not about ID, it's about how you respond to situations)

    In other words, you may (keyword: may) decry the intelligent design community because they don't present any peer-reviewed research, and accuse them of discounting and ignoring the scientific method, but when the community you run (PF) faces its higher criticism, a certain feeling of inadequacy gets displaced by a sense of the dictatorial, and the spirit of the scientific method goes out the window with the consequent IP ban.
    Will the IP ban warranted? Of course not! The IP ban is just a freudian response to a percieved threat to your ideals and values.
  12. Oct 13, 2008 #11
    I mean no disrespect, but I believe it is you that is confused. You can check out spires as Marcus suggested or you can start http://www.astro.princeton.edu/~aes/AST105/Readings/misconceptionsBigBang.pdf" [Broken]. This is a little easier to read and I think it will clear up some of your misconceptions.

    Please take your time and read it. Come back to the forum with your questions, the people here are willing to help...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  13. Oct 13, 2008 #12
    Your lack of discussion on the pertinent scientific issues and your focus on emotional response and rhetoric, betrays your lack of interest in the potential responses to your original questions. If you have a valid question with the honest intention of attempting to understand possible answers, then by all means ask away.

    It is clear to see by any fair minded individual that Marcus has been rational, helpful, and patient in dealing with your query.

    I suggest you do a little reading and re-formulate your questions. Here are a few reliable introductory guides to the science of cosmology:

    http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmolog.htm" [Broken]

    http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/" [Broken]

    http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/cos_home.html" [Broken]

    I hope that your intentions are to understand, and not to coerce and create conflict and confusion by side stepping science and appealing to ignorance.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  14. Oct 13, 2008 #13


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    http://www.einstein-online.info/en/navMeta/dictionary/c/index.html (See "cosmic time")

    It is interesting that this page says "Big bang ??!?"

    And these pages define two meanings of "big bang":
    http://www.einstein-online.info/en/navMeta/dictionary/b/index.html#big_bang_models [Broken]
    http://www.einstein-online.info/en/spotlights/big_bangs/index.html [Broken]

    And this page presents presumably speculative ideas on "Avoiding the big bang"
    http://www.einstein-online.info/en/spotlights/avoiding_the_big_bang/index.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  15. Oct 14, 2008 #14


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    Ah OK, so it simply isn't part of your personal world view. That's fine. I am fairly certain the universe is not obliged to arrange itself in a way that fits within your day-to-day experiences.
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