Big Bang?

The Q&A programme on the ABC that will air on Monday, 18 February 2013 features (among others) Professor Lawrence Krauss and Dr John Dickson. Krauss is a noted cosmologist and physicist, and Dickson an historian and advocate of Christianity.

Cosmology is a discipline that lies at the intersection of physics, history and theology. So it will be fascinating to watch Krauss' and Dickson's interchange, since their interests and careers span these disciplines, even though their specialties are quite different.

No doubt Krauss will argue that developments in modern physics suggest a creation event is not necessary, and there is no need to invoke a Creator to explain the universe. And no doubt Dickson would disagree.

I hope that the conversation takes a path where both men can contribute meaningfully to the discussion. I see that path might involve an exploration of historical questions.

Cosmology deals with historical questions, as it uses present-day observations of the universe to infer what was it's history in the beginning.

And Christianity is an historical faith, founded on the events surrounding Jesus. Christians understand that these events demonstrate the Creator takes an interest in us. If true, that must shape our lives in the present.

I'm eagerly looking forward to Monday night!

Comments

Thanks Ken. It should be a big bang and I'm looking forward to the show. I also think the question surrounding evidence is an important one. Here is a question I uploaded. Do you think they'll show it?

 

I hope your question get's published, Rob. Did you get a haircut especially for the video? ;-)

Your question resonates with my thought that as the foundation of Christianity is historical, we should assess it on historical terms. My own reading of the gospels as a university student led me to understand they describe real events, and thus have real implications even twenty centuries later.

My webcam has let me down, so I'm unable to submit my own question as a video. I submitted it instead as a text question ...

Professor Krauss, why did you call your recent book "A universe from nothing"? That title could mislead the non-scientific community.
 
Firstly what you call "nothing" is actually "something". Something very much like a quantum vacuum, that scientists can measure and understand.
 
Secondly your claim rests on a non-scientific analogy. You can't access the universe prior to the Big Bang, so you can't measure it. So your argument relies on analogy not evidence, and at that point is not scientific.

I imagine many people will expect that Krauss' credentials imply he is presenting a scientific argument. But all his scientific scaffolding breaks down if the pre-Big Bang universe (if I can call it that) did not behave like a quantum vacuum. Krauss has no evidence at that point and must rely on analogy.

And arguing that the universe behaves in such-and-such a way based on analogy is not only pre-Enlightenment thinking, it's pre-Christian thinking. It was the Biblical doctrine of a universe created from nothing that suggested that the universe is contingent (it doesn't have to be the way it is), and therefore the only way to understand it is to observe it.

I was really happy with how both Krauss and Dickson were able to present their point of view on Monday's show.

My favourite part of the show was when John Dickson said ...

The low point was when Cindy Pan suggested believing in God was like believing in Santa. She ignores the fact that many people become Christians as adults.

And her suggestion that fiction can be inspiring is irrelevant when considering Christianity. Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn't. If it's true, then that's the sort of message that changes the world. As it has. If it's not true, then Christianity offers no hope or inspiration.