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JamesF

Horizon: What Happened Before the Big Bang?

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A repeat, I believe, but tomorrow at 8pm:

"Documentary exploring the idea that the universe may have had a life before the big bang, which has for almost a century been the scientific explanation for its creation some 14 billion years ago. The programme delves into a world of cosmic bounces, rips and multiple universes in a bid to assess new theories."

James

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Thanks James - good evening tomorrow.

That followed by the remote controlled plane crash - just to see what happens............

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Thanks James, missed that first time around, but the Skye box is now set to record!! Thanks again

Edited by sologuitarist61

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And Jim Al-Khalili's two part series " Order and Disorder" starts next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC4 .

Steve.

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Indeed. I like his programmes. He's done some very good science documentaries.

James

Edited by JamesF

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Great, I'll either watch tomorrow or catch it on iPlayer at the weekend :). Thanks for the heads up!

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Stephen Hawking on his Grand Design series believes there is nothing before Big Bang, because time and space hasn't started.

On mobile (excuse the strange predictive words...)

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Stephen Hawking on his Grand Design series believes there is nothing before Big Bang, because time and space hasn't started.

Philosophically speaking, a position such as Hawking's seems the most coherent.

If there were events or entities in existence before the universe began, then we will never know of them because they occurred outside the limits of the universe, outside the limits of time and space. As we cannot define phenomenon outside these limits, to describe such phenomenon is futile. What happened before time and space cannot be put into words. This does not rule out any particular phenomenon that could have started the universe, but it does prevent us from ever knowing what that phenomenon is.

Edited by Qualia
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Philosophically speaking, a position such as Hawking's seems the most coherent.

If there were events or entities in existence before the universe began, then we will never know of them because they occurred outside the limits of the universe, outside the limits of time and space. As we cannot define phenomenon outside these limits, to describe such phenomenon is futile. What happened before time and space cannot be put into words. This does not rule out any particular phenomenon that could have started the universe, but it does prevent us from ever knowing what that phenomenon is.

Rubbish... :grin: The human mind is more powerful than this statement would imply, we can conceive all sorts of exotic theories outside of the traditional boundaries that are self imposed up us! For example; IMAGINARY NUMBERS, they are a foundation stone in quantum theory but do they really exist? If they do, they certainly do not existing in any real spacetime, maybe and idealised spacetime but not ours for sure! IMAGINARY numbers have vex mathematicians for centuries since they can produce a REAL number! I'll not bore people with the maths, just look it up if your interested.

PLATO conceived a purely geometric world of perfect solids in 500BC, this world is theoretical and exists only in the mind...

Other examples currently plaguing cosmology would be DARK ENERGY and DARK MATTER they can exit outside any spacetime / Hamiltonian framework if they actually exist at all.

As you can imagine statements link this really irritate me :smiley: since you may as well just impose GOD and state lets not look any further because there is no point, this is GOD domain... (deliberately par-phasing Hawking's)

My final example; we use a balloon to explain to a child how the universe is expanding and demonstrate how two points move apart on the surface when its inflated! The child will immediately ask what's outside of the balloon? Telling him that there is no point asking since we can never known is not a satisfactory answer for the child or an adult later in life.

For all the gains physics has made it still has to answer some big outstanding basic questions! And that is the interesting part!!! :grin:

Never stop questioning and never accept the standard doctrine, especially if it feels wrong or unsatisfactory??? The human mind is the most powerful instrument that we process and unfortunately Mr Stephan Hawking's best years are well and truly behind him, great mind that he was.

Edited by Darth Takahashi

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I think it's good practice to keep the posts calm and reasoned, Darth. It doesn't do you or this forum justice to 'get off on one' like that.

Avoiding the rhetoric, of course the mind can conceive of 'exoctic theories', and it can do better than that, it can conceive imaginary entities and situations, and as Kant demonstrated, these are conditionally set within time and space, and so, by like reasoning, can be said to exist, but that is hardly the point, right?

Plato's forms were indeed Ideas but to state that Plato figured these existed in the mind only is a non-reading or chronic misreading. Ideas for Plato existed in another realm, the most fundamental reality and one that was unchanging and eternal (guess you'll now appreciate why Nietzsche wrote, "Christianity is Plato for the masses"). Ideas or Forms for Plato were certainly non-physical but certainly not in the mind.

To draw some tenuous analogy between what was written above and some god-domain-theory is just silly, yet is something which doesn't "irriate me :smiley: " . A god by defintion does not transcend time and space and historically speaking, I cannot recall a single god who has transcended time and space. As you'll appreciate, most of the big time, popular gods I'm aware of from around the world, for example, created and lived lives of drama and love and deceit and revenge - just like humans. And this requires time and space, right?

The balloon story appears to be another failure of fully grasping what is being stated above. Unless there is some radical definition that I'm unaware of, that given balloon, or what have you, is not only conceived within time and space but just so happens to be within time and space and in both cases - whether purely a mental actuation or physical event - time and space are necessary for their 'existence' which by definition are the necessary elements of existence.

Darth, if you wish to define existence in terms of something appearing at no time at no place, then you will have to do it in a meaningful manner. But you can't just chalk up confusion with capital letters and shouting. Once you resort to that tactic you're doing propaganda and rhetoric, not philosophy and not science.

Edited by Qualia

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I love it when people argue about rubbish that has no bearing on anything.

Anyway, back to the point - thanks for the heads up.

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I love it when people argue about rubbish that has no bearing on anything.

Anyway, back to the point - thanks for the heads up.

What rubbish would that be?

To be strictly logical, if there was a 'Before' then there wasn't a 'Big Bang' because the BB theory is one which believes time and space began at the bang. This does not preclude there being dimensions (possibly time-like and space-like) which exist 'beyond' the BB universe. But 'before the big bang' has to be an oxymoron, no?

Some people will dismiss this as 'playing with words' or 'semantics' (a word few of its users can define) but my view is that we think in words and must therefore use them carefully. What is crystal clear in both cosmology and quantum theory is that there are things for which we have no words and this explains our confusion. Once we have the language, which may be mathematical, I think we might understand them. So I agree with Darth Takahashi that Hawking is not in a position to say what will or will not be understandable in the future.

This point is relevant because it discusses the theme of the broadcast.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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PLATO conceived a purely geometric world of perfect solids in 500BC, this world is theoretical and exists only in the mind...

This is the only part I understand, it was proven in "The Matrix" :-)

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Stephen Hawking on his Grand Design series believes there is nothing before Big Bang, because time and space hasn't started.

On mobile (excuse the strange predictive words...)

That's not entirely accurate from what I've read, it's not that he believes there was nothing it's just that it is of no observational consequence.

He has of course revised his theory where in 'A Brief History of Time' he did say there was no singularity at the beginning of the universe to the below statement. Which is something I like about Hawking, he readily admits his mistakes and isn't afraid to evolve his theories as quantum physics evolves.

Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. - Stephen Hawking

That was from a lecture on his website and I believe there was a very similar paragraph at the beginning in The Grand Design. So they didn't even consider a time before the BB when formulating their theory because it wasn't entirely necessary plus the singularity is where physics breaks down completely and for now can't be explained. I'm sure if there was a way to comprehend it better then it would of been taken into account or at least still be trying to work it out. He even goes on to say the beginning of 'Real Time' is the singularity so he is not totally dismissing it as non existent.

Hawking gets a lot of quotes attributed that he didn't actually say, it may be only slightly different to what he did actually say but it's fairly important to have clarification sometimes.

So what I take from his words is that before the BB was the singularity, and until something better comes along that is something we cannot explain at the moment.

Edited by Pibbles

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I for one am happy that the big bang may be one in a sequence, where from the outside the universe has a history before and after the big bang but also from an entropy, information and structure point of view, for those inside the universe, nothing may be deduced about the time before the last big bang and the time after the next. Certainly if you accept that the universe can spring from essentially nowhere, then there must be an 'outside' from whch vantage point to observe or there isn't a 'where' to use as reference point..

Of course if you have no view on there being a time before the last or after the next, this reduces to the trivial case of 'I dont care'.

Gotta love cosmology.

Mike

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These discussions do just seem to go round in circles and not achieve very much. For what it's worth I agree with most of Takahashi san's out burst.

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Having re-read this thread, I have to concede that we may know nothing about our 4 dimensions we can directly perceive as constituting this universe through a big bang event, but add that there might be stuff to learn about dimensions or states than can persist between physical universes that we can't currently perceive. Otherwise there is no 'outside' to view the lifecycles of universes from.

Mike

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A heads up is probably not the best place for a scientific discussion. I am really enjoying reading this, but can we please not make these posts personal. Every person has their right to a thought and opinion, so please respect that.

Thanks Keiran

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Thanks for the Heads up. Will try to catch it. and will also try to catch the remote control plane crash :p

Not good viewing for the frequent flyers among us.........

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Before the "Big Bang" which those from Viltvodle VI call the "Great Sneeze", the Great Green Arkleseizure drew a very deep breath. :D

More seriously, what happened before the big bang is totally speculative as we cannot observe anything from that era, if that era exists. It makes more sense to ask what things look like behind the event horizon of a black hole, because in theory you could get there, even if there is no way back. Having said that, speculation is an important part of science. We have learnt a lot from efforts made to prove annoying theories wrong!

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I'm not trying to wind any one up or shout... just EMPHASIS certain words.

One of my central points is that we take to many things for granted or as FACT when they are not facts at all.

Physics is just a model, that's right, a construct or analogy whatever your happy to call it. Its the best model that we have at present and we keep refining it, trying to make it perfect and the answer to everything, which is of course 42!!! Sorry could resist that one!

No one can show me a bucket of TIME? But we take its flow from one second to the next for granted, still time itself is a convenient imaginary concept. What we know for certain is that key events shape our time; rotation of the Earth, its orbital period about the Sun etc etc...

I sometime come back to the Greeks too much and I guess that's because they achieve so much 2000 years ago now; Plato's geometry can be independently rediscovered by any intelligent life in whatever universe they may occupy irrespective of whether or not both time and space exit at all. I'm not in favour of multi-verses per say but to insist that our is the only one and has a monopoly on intelligent life, well, its unbelievable to me at least.

Science and physics can not describe intelligence or even recreate it yet; there are many big questions without answers and still more with rubbish answers!

For a self correcting discipline we still have a long way to go, and the word "HERETIC" is proof of that, borrowed from religion and apply to anyone with a none standard theory whether it is right or wrong!!!

I'll leave it at this for now, since this is a discussion to have over a few pints to lubricate the mind :grin: :grin: :grin:

I enjoy these programs too but do not take everything that they present as TRUE. It just the extent of our knowledge for now... Are well, I'll be flying home tomorrow and collecting a few more cosmic rays for the fun of it!!!

Edited by Darth Takahashi

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That's not entirely accurate from what I've read, it's not that he believes there was nothing it's just that it is of no observational consequence.

He has of course revised his theory where in 'A Brief History of Time' he did say there was no singularity at the beginning of the universe to the below statement. Which is something I like about Hawking, he readily admits his mistakes and isn't afraid to evolve his theories as quantum physics evolves.

Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. - Stephen Hawking

That was from a lecture on his website and I believe there was a very similar paragraph at the beginning in The Grand Design. So they didn't even consider a time before the BB when formulating their theory because it wasn't entirely necessary plus the singularity is where physics breaks down completely and for now can't be explained. I'm sure if there was a way to comprehend it better then it would of been taken into account or at least still be trying to work it out. He even goes on to say the beginning of 'Real Time' is the singularity so he is not totally dismissing it as non existent.

Hawking gets a lot of quotes attributed that he didn't actually say, it may be only slightly different to what he did actually say but it's fairly important to have clarification sometimes.

So what I take from his words is that before the BB was the singularity, and until something better comes along that is something we cannot explain at the moment.

To be clear I was paraphrasing from his TV program on Discovery Channel, not from the book.

It is entirely possible I got it wrong of course, as I don't have the transcript.

Thanks for the clarification.

On mobile (excuse the strange predictive words...)

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