Rational Faith
Main article: "Which theory has the fatal flaw? Big Bang or Creation?"


Sidebar: Cosmic Inflation as described by its creator, Alan Guth

Inflation is a well documented theory.  So again, rather than re-invent the wheel and create yet another description, I present instead the description of how inflation works as told by its creator Alan Guth when he presented it on Morgan Freeman's Through the Wormhole, Episode What Happened before the Beginning1. A transcript follows below the video.  Watch for the irony at the end where Guth, in his attempt to show how an undirected, unguided force brings "order to the universe" by showing an intelligent agent directing the process by laying down (in paint) exactly how the expansion should unfold.

Morgan Freeman (Narrator):

Forty years after two radio astronomers first heard a faint whisper from our own cosmic birth, David Spergel now has his baby picture of the universe. Despite the vibrant colors visible in the WMAP image, it only describes a miniscule variation in temperature across the universe."

David Spergel:
"We look at the WMAP map, what we're seeing are tiny variations in the temperature of the universe from place to place. Variations that are one part in 10,000; one part in 100,000. So I think that the universe we look at from the WMAP satellite as not being chaotic, being very ordered, homogeneous and smooth."

"But if time and space started in a cataclysm explosion of energy, wouldn't the universe be uneven and messy in all directions?"

Alan Guth:
"Not exactly. So I can't start this from "not exactly can I?" (laughs)

"For Dr. Alan Guth, what happened during this early moment in time was an intriguing mystery that had to be solved. Figuring this out became his life's work."

"There had been in cosmology a serious problem in understanding the uniformity of the universe. [The Universe] has the same intensity every direction that we go. To 1 part in 100,000. And that means that the big bang was unbelievably uniform. That's hard to understand because conventional explosions just don't behave that way.

"We set up a balloon that's going to be dropped from very high up there on the frame. The balloon is filled with paint, and we'll get to see what kind of a splat a typical explosion makes.

"So this is what a typical explosion might look like. And as you can see it's anything but uniform. Splotch here, splotch there, white spots in between. The early universe was nothing like what's on the canvas here."

"Alan needed something that would immediately smooth out all the hot dense plasma that had just come into existence. "

"I can across this idea of inflation. The idea that gravity under some circumstances acts repulsively and produced a gigantic acceleration in the expansion of the universe. This could have happened in the very early universe.

"The key idea behind inflation is the possibility that at least a small patch of the early universe became a kind of repulsive gravity material. And all you need is a tiny patch of that and the big bang starts with this repulsive gravity effect."

"Cosmic inflation takes place right after a pop from nothing into something. About one trillion trillion trillionth of a second after it, the force field takes all the highly compressed space created in that singular moment, which is still almost infinitely small, and drives it out. A tiny fraction of a second later, the universe has doubled in size 100,000 times.

A different kind of painting illustrates this idea."

"We're going to paint in time lapse photography, a growing sphere. Instead of getting the splotch, we had when we just dropped the balloon, here we should see a very smooth growth of the early universe"

"With this smooth, and orderly expansion, our universe was formed."

"This idea of inflation has now essentially become the standard version of cosmology and makes a number of predictions which have been confirmed. So it agrees very well with what we see." [On screen: time lapse of the painted growing dot that represents an orderly expansion of the universe.]

"With the addition of inflation, the big bang became a cohesive three act play.

Act one - a singularity pops into existence out of nowhere and no-when and containing in one single dot all the energy that will ever be in our universe.

Act two - Inflation suddenly takes hold. An unimaginably rapid expansion of space smoothes the spreading out of that energy bringing order to the universe. It's now a massive soup of evenly expanding plasma.

Act three - the universe cools. Matter begins to clump together under the force of gravity. Eventually forming stars, galaxies and planets.

For most cosmologists, this three act play is the best explanation of what happened at the beginning of the universe. But not for every body."

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1 Through the Wormhole episode What Happened Before the Beginning?  Science Channel / Discovery Documentary, 2010