Exposing the Big Magic behind the Big Bang
The Big Bang theory has been the predominant, scientist favored theory for the origin of the universe for a number of decades. But your probably knew that already. You probably also thought that the Big Bang theory was all science, based on well established facts and observations. If so then the Big Bang magicians have you just where they want you: already believing the illusion they're selling is 100% science. Like a person going to see a magic show believes he will see magic; a person hearing a story from a scientist believes he will hear science. Since you already believe what you hear about the big bang is science, pulling off the illusion that it is all science with no magic mixed in is now a piece of cake.
You're already primed and expecting a good show, which in this case is good science. Therefore at the theatre, just as a good audience member of a magic show is unlikely to look behind the curtains to see how the trick was performed, since you already believe you will see science, you are unlikely to look behind the curtain to see if a fast one has been pulled. If, however, you've had questions or suspicions, or this has piqued your curiosity and you want to know how the tricks behind the big bang have been so well hidden, you're in luck. I will reveal shortly a couple of the biggest of the many tricks employed to create the illusion that the Big Bang is all solid science. But first, a brief explanation of how magicians create compelling illusions to better understand how perception is manipulated.
The classic magic trick is well described in the 2006 movie "The Prestige". In it, designer of illusions and the apparatus with which to perform them - Mr. Cutter -played by Michael Caine explains the three parts or acts to the classic illusion:
First Act: The Pledge.
Final Act: The Prestige.
Smoke and Mirrors
Good magicians masterfully use misdirection. They have many ways of doing it, and smoke and mirrors are but one of them. Scientists trying to save pet theories like the big bang have also mastered the use of misdirection. But theirs is a logical misdirection. Some call it bait and switch. The logical term is "equivocation", defined as:
The first trick relies on the premise that you won't catch them changing the meaning of the word "nothing." Preparation for the first illusion begins by tricking you into believing that the scientist who speak of nothing mean the same thing when you speak of nothing. (Which by the way is likely not the "nothing" required of the initial conditions of the big bang where not even space and time exist.) If you listen to them closely, they are not speaking of the same nothing the average person thinks of, nor even the requirements of the big bang initial conditions. They speak of "the vacuum of space" but they really don't mean "nothing". They mean "no matter in it". (And in passing why are they speaking of a "vacuum" in "space" when there is no "space" to have a vacuum before the big bang?) The "vacuum of space" - as they well know - is not nothing. Following is how cosmologist and high wizard Lawrence Krauss who wrote an entire book on how to get a universe from nothing describes nothing:
To understand how the switch was done, you must first recognize that here in the pledge the magician has already slipped two somethings into his so called "nothing".
First of all, he has slipped in the laws of physics. Why should he be granted that the laws of physics exist in his nothing? The laws of physics appear finely tuned (which requires a tuner), so why should we suppose they just exist in his "nothing" unless someone finely tuned them and put them there?
Second he has slipped in space. Plato likely viewed space as an area of empty nothingness, but scientists in the age of Einstein and Relativity do not. Space is not simply emptiness, it has properties. In fact, as Krauss describes it,
Theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind describes the nothingness of space this way:
Vacuum energy points to the third item slipped in: Energy.
Did you watch the shell game closely? In the shell game, magicians show you the pledge then ask you to keep your eye on it. Inside the big bang shell is supposed to be "nothingness". But the big bang magicians have surreptitiously slipped in things they claim don't exist. Here's the problem with each one:
This is a masterful piece of magic. They have tricked you into believing that "something" is "nothing". They then go on to use this something - calling it nothing - to build other things. As magicians are wont to do, this is an intentional piece of misdirection, because as physicists, they are all well acquainted with what has been described as the most famous equation in the world - Einstein's equation that ushered in the nuclear age: e=mc2. That equation shows that matter and energy are different manifestations of the same thing, or as Professor Kaku put it:
Thus to state that the "vacuum" has "energy" or "jitteriness" is to place something (whether energy or matter, it doesn't matter because ultimately it's an aspect of a real object) inside what is supposed to be nothing. So while they claim to be explaining how to get a universe from "precisely nothing"7, they are really explaining how to apply finely tuned laws of physics to an object already existing, to get something else. That is not a creation out of nothing. That is merely a transformation. But the big bang magicians want you to believe it's a creation out of nothing. This equivocation on "nothing" is the key to the first trick. This brings us to the next big bang trick - another transformation.
Big Bang Hocus Pocus
No one is sure where the phrase "Hocus Pocus" came from. Some say an early magician used it to distract people during a magic trick; others that it is a parody on the Latin words used during the Eucharist. However it came about, it has become associated with a magician invoking change, a transformation. And thus it is appropriate here. The big bang magicians claim to explain how everything came about from nothing: the singularity that explodes and becomes everything we see today.
But have they really explained anything, or have they merely managed to surreptitiously change what we think they're doing?
In this last item we have the biggest change the science magicians hope you won't notice. Never mind the concept - spontaneous creation, is the same concept as it's name sake - spontaneous generation - which was decisively disproved by the 1859 experiments of Louis Pasteur. Clearly the idea is without merit, but the trick you need to see is the scientific magic. They didn't use the words "Hocus Pocus", but there was most definitely a change. Namely, the scientists have gone from explaining using science to merely describing what happens. "Spontaneous Creation" is not a scientific explanation of anything. It is a descriptive label used since they have no other choice, having painted themselves into a corner by declaring God didn't do it, and affirming nothing else existed before the beginning, thus they have no candidate in existence that could do it. Just as mockers of God can claim an imaginary Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) as a deity, so scientists can claim an imaginary spontaneous creation. But just as the "religion" of the FSM is not a real religion, neither is spontaneous generation real science. Yet what else can they say, but that it "spontaneously" happened? Once you eliminate God and everything else, there simply is no other option regardless of how unscientific or ridiculous it sounds.
Logically, this is known as a category error or category fallacy. They have presented the singularity and spontaneous creation as a scientific explanation of how the universe was created out of nothing, when in fact all they've presented is a descriptive a story of what they believe happened - there is no science anywhere that starts from absolute nothingness and proceeds to explain how everything came to be while remaining within the bounds of the science they themselves profess to believe and uphold.
So there you have it: An introduction into some of the magic of the big bang. The magicians have other tricks up their sleeves, but those are stories for another time. For now, a word to the wise:
When going to a magic
show, what you see is not the reality you think you see, it is the
illusion the magician wants you to see.
Duane Caldwell | posted 1/5/2016
because the universe is not 14.7 billion years old as claimed, nor even
380,000 years old thus the
time frame of that which is captured in the WMAP data is in dispute.
Image: based on Public Domain NASA/JPL image