Examination of Scientific Models Alternative to The Big Bang
EXAMINATION OF SCIENTIFIC MODELS ALTERNATIVE TO THE BIG BANG
The Big Bang theory holds that the universe had a beginning, that in the beginning the primordial universe was extremely dense and the prevailing heat was extremely intense, that the density and the heat gradually fell and have been falling ever since and that in the course of this process, all universal phenomena from sub-atomic particles to galaxies have taken place. There are also cosmological controversies outside the confines of these basic common traits. The questions whether the growth of the universe is occurring at a constant speed or whether it has undergone a sudden inflationary process at a given time, the exact values of the Hubble’s constant corresponding to the speed at which the universe is expanding, the extent to which the string theories are successful in elucidating the gravitational force may all be enumerated among these controversies. I am not going to go into the details of these controversies, as they remain outside the scope of our objective. The fact that the universe is expanding at a constant speed or that it expands inflationary at certain periods, that the Hubble’s sonstant is inferior or superior to what is anticipated are not so important in terms of the results addressed in the present book. In the present chapter I intend to take up, in particular, the models that counter the postulate that the universe had a beginning and that attempted to prove their causes in scientific terms, and examine them on the basis of scientific data. Although the primary and secondary evidences of the Big Bang theory invalidate all these models, it will be advisable to analyze them because of their significance.
1.THE STEADY-STATE MODEL COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE AND MATERIALISM
The studies of William MacMillan in the 1918s and of James Jeans in the 1920s were a source of inspiration for those who postulated the Steady-State model. However, the Steady-State model was formulated in the 1940s by the work of Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold and Fred Hoyle. During the said years no scientist could take a stand against Hubble’s observations of the expansion of the universe. Atheists, who had adopted the view that matter and the universe had an eternal existence and that the universe was static, had difficulty in acknowledging Hubble’s findings. An expanding universe could not help but change. What was changing could not have had eternal existence, and if it did not have an eternal existence it ought to have had a beginning. They did not think it worthwhile to ruminate upon it.
In opposition to the observational and theoretical evidence for the expansion of the universe, the materialists who had posited matter as the only element of the universe were reluctant to acknowledge the transformation that the universe was undergoing. The Steady-State model was the outcome of such a frame of mind and its objective was to prove that there was constancy, despite the expansion.
Fred Hoyle was the most prominent figure among this group. It was he who coined the expression “Big Bang” to poke fun at the theory. Hoyle’s discomfort with the philosophical consequences of the Big Bang theory is no mystery. He contended that the Big Bang necessitated a beginning, and the idea of the beginning of the universe would connote the existence of God, which he found objectionable.
The Steady-State model was thus the outcome of atheistic concerns without any scientific foundation. The fact that it was supported by a prominent physicist proved an exacting test for the Big Bang theory. There were many other scientists who exerted efforts challenging the theory at all costs. But a theory that drew its power from its truth should be able to put on a brave front.
THE IDEA OF PERPETUAL CREATION TO EVADE ACKNOWLEDGING THE BEGINNING
As the Big Bang theory has posited, the density of matter decreases as the universe expands. Had the universe had an eternal existence, no star or satellite would have come about because of the decreasing amount of matter. To solve this problem Hoyle came up with an unexpected assertion. The problem of reduction that resulted as a consequence of expansion could be settled by a perpetual production of matter.
Those who may not be familiar with Hoyle and with what lies behind his ideas may think that he arrived at such an assertion to substantiate God’s process of continuous creation. One of the essential principles of physics is the conservation of matter and energy. The foregoing assertion does not conform to this principle. Yet, there is no other way to acknowledge the constancy of the expanding universe and its perennial existence. Hoyle’s claim of “the ongoing creation from nothing” was certainly asserted most reluctantly, but the dilemma of the expanding universe led him to defend this postulate.
In maintaining his assertion, Hoyle did not have any observational and experimental data at his disposal. As a matter of fact, no-one has put forward any evidence so far. Hoyle tried to clothe his metaphysical assertion with the garb of physics. But he failed to detect the origin of the new matter or the new energy. In calculations made it was stated that every ten billion years, two hydrogen atoms had to be created in every meter square of the universe. The amount is insignificant, but how and where these atoms will originate remains a riddle.
QUANTITY OF CREATED MATTER
The dilemma of the “Steady-State model” is discussed in almost all the articles that aim to invalidate Hoyle’s contention. There is, however, another dilemma to which I would like to draw attention. Had it been the case of the creation of such matter, the question would be the manner in which the required amount would be created. If the quantity of matter created is less compared to the speed of expansion of the universe, the space would be the size of an area in which the distances between atoms would be equal to the distance between galaxies. If the created matter were superior to what was required, every spot of the space would be as dense as a star nucleus. Under the circumstances, the Steady-State model fails to explain how it is that “matter is continuously created out of nothing,” and the maintenance of the constancy of the steady-state is another dilemma. Physical processes deprived of consciousness cannot possibly be expected to bring about a regular and continuous creative process as if they had consciousness in order to preserve the steady-state. The defenders of the Steady-State model are also at a loss to explain this.
According to the celebrated physicists Alpher and Herman, there were two reasons for the interest shown in the Steady-State model in the 1950s and 1960s. The first was the miscalculation of the defenders of the Big Bang theory, as they had computed the age of the universe to be younger than it actually was due to the fact that they had failed to exactly calculate the rate of expansion of the universe and the density of matter in the universe. This had generated a lack of conformity with the calculated age of stars. This problem was solved later thanks to sophisticated telescopes and new advancements in science. The second reason was the fact that the Big Bang theory necessitated a beginning, which entailed unacceptable consequences. This problem could never be solved since it was not a scientific issue but a psychological one. For example, Arthur Eddington said: “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me…I should like to find a genuine loophole.”
MECHANISM OF EXPANSION
The Steady-State model displayed an expanding but unchanging universe. What was the mechanism that expanded the universe? How was it that all the galaxies kept expanding like an inflating balloon as if they had been launched from a single center? Those who postulated the Steady-State model had never been able to explain this. The Big Bang theory gave a perfectly clear account of the working of this mechanism.
Consider an expansion continuing from eternity in the case of the Steady-State model. A universe of this model would be eternal both in terms of time and volume. Thus we will be confronted with a number of paradoxes. Take Olbers’s paradox, for instance, according to which in an infinitely large, unchanging universe uniformly populated with stars and galaxies, the sky would be dazzlingly bright in the night. The absorption of light by the dust clouds in between would not change anything, for, after a while, the dust would eventually heat up and start to glow with the same intensity as the radiation it absorbed. Yet, we observe that the night is dark and our observations belie the universe of the steady-state model full of immensely vast galaxies.
HOYLE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE BIG BANG THEORY
Hoyle and colleagues demonstrated the fact that hydrogen atoms clustering by gravitational force transformed into celestial bodies. In the massive spheres growing like snowballs the inward-oriented pressure of attraction continued increasing. As this pressure built up, the hydrogen atoms interlaced, forming the next heavy atom, helium. The generated energy balanced the power of attraction within the stars and created an explosive pressure. This process contributed to their lives of billions of years. Man eventually realized that the stars did not have an inexhaustible store of fuel, as Aristotle had postulated. The fuel produced by the conversion of hydrogen into helium was capable of lengthening the time life of a star to billions of years.
Hoyle and colleagues demonstrated that elements formed during the process that went on within the stars. Now, the question was the manner of the formation of hydrogen. The formation of hydrogen required a medium-intense heat as the subatomic theory dictated. The Big Bang theory states that the origin of the universe was an extremely dense and hot medium. This medium for which Hoyle had asked the contenders of the theory to find its fossil, which was eventually discovered in 1965, puts the Steady-State partisans in a difficult position.
Much new evidence that invalidated the Steady-State model was introduced in the 1990s. It was demonstrated that the density of matter reduced as the universe cooled off and that a day would come when the stars and the light would fade out. The additional evidence provided about the same time by the COBE satellite related to the cosmic background radiation and undermined the Steady-State model that had already lost much of its former importance. The measurement of the cosmic background radiation of distant bodies, which took place in the 1990s, was another piece of evidence that invalidated the Steady-State model. When we look far into the distances populated by celestial bodies, we observe in fact the past of the universe, for the speed of light, even though it is a very high speed, is, after all, limited. The establishment of the mere fact that the past of the universe was much hotter is adequate in itself to discredit the Steady-State model. Ivan King said: “The Steady-State theory has now been laid to rest, as a result of clear-cut observations of how things have changed with time.”
The Big Bang theory demonstrates that the universe was the outcome of a gradual process of development. The formation of elements within the stars is but a part of this process. The contributions of Hoyle and colleagues on this issue and their objections conducive to the discovery of new evidences are of paramount importance. Therefore Hoyle and colleagues are quoted along with Lemaître, Friedmann, Hubble and Gamow among those who contributed to a detailed exposition of the Big Bang theory.
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE INVALIDATING THE STEADY-STATE MODEL
The Steady-State model was the postulation that withstood longest the Big Bang theory. Therefore, the past of the Big Bang theory also includes the story of the Steady-State model. It is also of interest to note that this model held out against the fact that the universe had an origin and that it underwent changes despite the fact that it had had to acknowledge its expansion. This model, proposed as a defense of the eternal universe of materialism, was advocated by renowned scientists and became the most assertive argument of materialists. We can summarize some of the evidences that invalidate this model:
1-The Steady-State model states that matter is created out of nothing by a continuous physical process, although this is in fact incompatible with observations and laws of physics.
2-If, as suggested by the Steady-State model, matter was created out of nothing continuously, this creation ex nihilo should have realized a given ratio. Such balance, said to come about in conformity with the laws of physics solely, cannot be demonstrated.
3-At every formation of matter from energy an equal amount of antimatter is formed. If matter were created through the perpetual conversion of energy into matter, the amount of anti-matter should have been equal to matter. This is contrary to the actual universe observed. (The heat produced by the Big Bang may account for the greater amount of matter as compared to anti-matter.)
4-The Steady-State model cannot account for a mechanism to throw light on the expansion of the universe (as in the case of the Big Bang).
5-The Steady-State model cannot account for the great rate of entropy in the universe.
6-The cosmic background radiation invalidates the Steady-State model.
7-The data obtained about the farthest stars and the fact that the cosmic background radiation in the past of the universe is calculated to be at a higher temperature than the present cosmic background radiation invalidates the Steady-State model, while demonstrating the correctness of the Big Bang theory.
8-The lack of red shifting after a certain given point in the universe invalidates the infinitely immense universe proposed by the Steady-State model.
9-By the infinite universe image of the Steady-State model, the Steady-State model leads to the formation of the Olbers’s paradox.
10-According to the Steady-State model, spontaneously generated matter must have a given proportion of helium with respect to hydrogen. The formation of this ratio in the actual model is not clear, while the proposition based on the Big Bang is perfect in this respect.
11-The presence of light elements like deuterium and lithium in the universe cannot be accounted for in the Steady-State model. (The Big Bang theory has an admissible clarification on this issue.)
12-We are receiving the light emitted in the past of galaxies and quasars. The variations they display in terms of characteristics and diffusion from regions nearer to our galaxy have rendered the Steady-State model illogical.
13-As Hugh Ross has said, the absence of very old galaxies around our galaxy invalidates the assertion of the Steady-State model about the immeasurably old age of the universe, while the absence of very young galaxies around our galaxies invalidates the continuous creation idea of the Steady-State model.
14-The fact that the gas clouds in the universe will not allow the formation of stars endlessly has discredited the idea of a constant, static model of the universe.
2.THE OSCILLATING UNIVERSE MODEL PHILOSOPHICAL CONCERNS
The Steady-State model was considered to be the most challenging antagonist of the Big Bang theory. However, the findings of observational astronomy discredited the Steady-State model, as the evidence derived from the Big Bang became more and more conclusive. Those discomfited by the idea that the universe had a beginning this time introduced the Oscillating Universe model. However, this new model was not the outcome of scientific findings but a consequence of philosophical concerns. Famous physicist John Gribbin said: “The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe is philosophical -perhaps even theological – what was there before bang? This problem alone was sufficient to give a great initial impetus to the Steady-State theory; but with that theory now sadly in conflict with observation, the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely.”
The proposal of an Oscillating Universe model without any circumstantial evidence or theoretical justification was the fact that Big Bang was conducive to the idea of a Cause and a Power outside the universe. However, this demonstrated the correctitude of the evidence supporting the Big Bang theory, while even those who dodged the corollary of such a proposal tried to avoid the issue that necessitated a beginning by repetition of this model.
THERE IS NO PHYSICAL MECHANISM TO BRING BACK THE UNIVERSE
The science of physics teaches us that the universe, space and time owe their origin to the Big Bang; this expansion is expected to come to a close by the Big Chill or the Big Crunch, the final collapse of the universe. The concept of the Big Crunch or the Big Chill is still a matter of debate. To know which is going to take place we need to exactly calculate the following values:
1-Density of matter in the universe.
2-Age of the universe.
3-Rate of expansion of the universe.
A calculation of the “density of matter” is crucial to establishing what exactly is going to occur. This issue is the most problematical. The reason is the impossibility of making an exact calculation of the black holes (as they emit no light) and the exotic substances, like neutrinos. The amount of matter likely to cause the closing back of the universe is expressed by a critical value called Omega. Calculations made so far have shown that the density of matter in the universe is inferior to the critical value. This may vary though if we discover more exotic matter or black holes (or other matter having gravitational force) than anticipated. If matter has a density lower than the critical value, the universe will, by continuously expanding, experience a “cold death.” This scenario will not allow the universe to oscillate, thus invalidating the Oscillating Universe model.
My personal opinion is that, of the two alternatives above, the Big Crunch better fits the picture. When plants, animals and human beings created from elements whose essence is clay, die, they return to their quiddity. We can observe the same recurrence in stars formed of dust. The Big Crunch better fits the scenario. Throughout this book, we have tried to draw conclusions based on scientific evidence. As regards the present subject, I have tried to determine which of the two possible options looks more likely to be correct, by focusing on the actual picture of the universe. Just to remind you, this is a matter of conjecture only, and not a scientific fact. In reaching this conclusion I have been attracted by the option that appears to be simpler, more appropriate and orderly.The contract of the universe will end in a singularity in the absence of a physical force likely to withstand the gravity to pull the matter outward. In fact, the collapse of the universe will change nothing. The Oscillating Universe model is against all the known principles of physics. There is no physical law that would allow the universe to “bounce back,” as Prof. Tinsley from Yale University has suggested.
SINGULARITY MEANS TIME COMING TO A STANDSTILL
Roger Penrose was the first person who demonstrated that the black hole was a singularity and that at the center of a black hole particles of matter can not pass by each other. Penrose, in the research he conducted in conjunction with Hawking, proved that the universe and time owed their origin to a singularity. Previously, those who had adopted the Oscillating Universe model had contended that the universe during its period of contraction would not be resolved to a singularity and that matter might pass each other by, contributing to a bounce-back of the universe. Penrose and Hawking’s mathematical demonstration has proved the impossibility of this. Their studies have shown that time came to a standstill in this singularity. In brief, the collapsing of the universe and coalescence at a point means the end of the concept of time; however, the intention of the concept of the Oscillating Universe was to show that time continued without interruption, which meant that the universe could not have had a beginning.
Prior to Einstein’s theory of relativity, it was believed that celestial objects were subject to gravity in space depending on time, and that galaxies moved, despite the fact that space and time were not affected thereby. The biggest change in mindset to which the theory of relativity paves the way was to show that space and time do not vary interdependently and that the concept should be styled as “space-time.” In such a case “singularity,” in other words the moment of collapse of the universe, would connote the annihilation of time. There is no longer a force to cause the universe to bounce back, nor is there “time” in which the sequence of phenomenon may be perpetuated.
To the inquiry about the time that preceded the Big Bang, the answer provided is, “There was no space-time prior to the Big Bang;” while to the question as to which portion of space the Big Bang occurred within, the answer is, “It was the Big Bang that made space as there was no space prior to the Big Bang.”
NO ESCAPE FROM ENTROPY
As we have already noted, the second law of thermodynamics states that entropy in the universe is on the increase. According to this, a thermodynamic equilibrium will eventually be established and motion will come to an end. Increase in entropy means a decrease in the energy required to set off mechanical work. The bouncing of a ball will gradually lose its energy until it remains motionless in the end. The Oscillating Universe model tried to substantiate the infinite perpetuity of the universe and time. Such continuity necessitates physical interdependence of every state of the universe. But there is no escape from entropy even though the universe was in a position to oscillate. It will still run short of the mechanical energy it requires. Entropy, which is one of the basic laws of physics, posits that the universe has an end, regardless of all contingencies, and that what has an end must have a beginning.
The data of observational astronomy have also discredited this model. This model cannot explain the homogenous distribution of matter in the universe. In the course of the collapse of the universe many black holes will come about and these black holes will close after having swallowed the matter. This will cause a heterogeneous spread of matter. The closing of the universe involves many more black holes as compared to the exact symmetry of the initial phase of the universe. This, in its turn, will prevent the continuity of the symmetry, homogeneity and oscillation.
Radiation, the remnant of the Big Bang, lingers in the universe, while the light emitted by the stars augments their intensity. According to this, if the universe begins closing, it will begin to do so with a radiation higher than the level of radiation energy immediately after the primal explosion. In other words, the universe will be hotter at every point where the universe will have re-attained its old size; this will occur through the transfer of energy from matter to radiation. This will cause the universe to collapse at a faster rate.
Had it been possible in terms of physics to reverse a cosmic contraction, the expansion would have occurred more rapidly than the universe’s initial expansion. This means an expansion of such speed that it will not allow any contraction. The Russian physicists Igor Novikov and Yakob Zel’dovich demonstrated that the symmetrical cycles of the Oscillating Universe model could not be defended and that such a model does not avoid facing the idea of a beginning.
REGULATOR OF THE CRITICAL SPEED OF THE UNIVERSE
There is one problem of great consequence for those who contend that the oscillating model operates merely physically, without any contribution by a Power outside the universe. Had the Big Bang explosion been more intense, matter would have spread at a greater speed in the universe, rendering the formation of stars and galaxies impossible. Had the explosion been less intense, matter under the influence of gravity would have immediately collapsed, again rendering the formation of celestial bodies impossible. In the Oscillating Universe model the symmetry in expansions was necessary. Otherwise matter would be scattered, never to come together any more. Entropy suggests that this end could not be avoided even if the Oscillating Universe model were the case.
Let us ignore entropy for a while. The Big Bang explosion should have been at an optimum intensity so that no collapse might occur and permission be given for the formation of the celestial bodies out of the matter scattered. The probability, without an intelligent Designer, of the attainment of the optimum intensity would not even have the chance of a pencil standing on its tip when it falls after having been thrown in the air. This probability cannot be the result of a trial and error experiment, for any error would have missed the matter, while in another aspect it would have led to a singularity. Under the circumstances, the partisans of the Oscillating Universe model have no other alternative but to acknowledge the coincidental achievement of this phenomenon, as well as the attainment of the same result at every recurrence.
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE INVALIDATING THE OSCILLATING MODEL
There have been people who used the oscillating model for the scientific expression of the Indian belief in reincarnation. According to this belief, the universe has existed from eternity and the souls experience a cyclic birth and rebirth in the universe. The belief in reincarnation connotes an eternal universe. Yet, not even one single bit of evidence exists to justify the Oscillating Universe model. Moreover, scientific evidences have also invalidated this model. We can summarize some of the scientific data that invalidate it:
1- Reversing a cosmic contraction is against the laws of physics, like gravity.
2- Studies on the formulas of the theory of relativity have demonstrated that the Big Bang marked the origin of space and time.
3- The homogenous structure of matter in the universe is not compatible with the Oscillating Universe model.
4- The second law of thermodynamics (entropy) has invalidated the eternal oscillating model of the universe quite independently from all data.
5- The fact that if the closed universe were capable of reopening, every reopening should be endowed with a speed greater than the previous one. This very fact would mean that all matter would be so scattered that it would never come together again. It follows from all these that if the universe cannot have existed from eternity it must have a beginning.
6- The Oscillating Universe model would necessitate the expansion’s having a “very critical speed.” Unless a Designer is conceived, this critical speed cannot be accounted for.
7- The Oscillating Universe model would also require the continuous conservation of this “very critical speed.” This would mean that the pencil would continue to fall on its tip at every kick.
3. STEPHEN HAWKING AND IMAGINARY TIME: SINGULARITY THEOREMS OF HAWKING AND PENROSE
Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, as a result of their collaboration based on Einstein’s formulas, have demonstrated that both the universe and time owe their origin to a single origin. They advocate that a time concept prior to the Big Bang would be senseless. Hawking suggests that Kant was in error because he had formulated his antinomies based on Newton’s “absolute time.” He praised Augustine for his proposition that time had come into existence simultaneously with the universe, at a period when data about time’s relativity were not available. Hawking never claimed this work with Penrose to be without validity but rather always professed its truth. In his book entitled A Brief History of Time he stated: “Roger Penrose and I showed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implied that the universe must have a beginning and, possibly, an end.”
How is it then that Stephen Hawking also suggested that the universe had no beginning? Can a person who, together with Penrose, states that they had theoretically proved that the universe had a beginning, later recant by saying that it had no beginning? Considering that in all his work, even in the most recent ones, he boldly asserts and confirms all his statements and never refutes them, how can one account for the contradiction?
All that we know about the Big Bang goes as far back as Planck time, which is 10 seconds after the Big Bang. If you take the trouble to write this number, you will have 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds.
Hawking also acknowledges that the limit of our knowledge does not go beyond that, and feels uneasy about it. In such a time bracket the temperature attains 10 Kelvin. Because of this intense heat, gravitational force, nuclear force and electromagnetic force come together and time prior to this happens to be beyond the confines of our present day scientific knowledge, and the laws of physics are in abeyance.
Hawking is uneasy about the inapplicability of the laws of physics in Planck time. He interprets this as a blow to the sovereignty of the laws of physics. In The Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking says that if the laws of science are in abeyance with the beginning of the universe, they can equally be so at other times. Hawking finds this to be incompatible with the positivistic approach, with the fact that the universe and the laws of physics could have been created by a Force exterior to it and that both the universe and the laws of physics depend on Him, trying to demonstrate everything within the absolute framework of the existing laws of physics. Hawking, who acknowledges that if time is “real time” it must have had a beginning, introduces the concept of “imaginary time” to evade the issue.
According to this viewpoint pre-Planck time must be conceived of within the framework of an “imaginary time,” and with respect to the time prior, Einstein’s formulas will be set aside and considering the extremely dwindled size of the universe, recourse will be made to the uncertainty principle of the quantum theory (quantum theory of gravity). However, in this position, according to which the size of the universe contracts, there is neither rhyme nor reason, nor cogent evidence, to assert that quantum state would apply to the case. It is not logical to draw a parallel between the states in which all the density of the universe is squeezed into one single point and the quantum formulas are applicable to the atom.
THE WISH TO REMAIN BOUND BY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS ONLY
By introducing the concept of “imaginary time” in the formulas, Hawking, tries to evade the issue of the origin of time and universe; while he does not forego the data of his work with Penrose as they apply to “real time.” Hawking, in his A Brief History of Time says, “In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space- time and at which the laws of science break down. But in imaginary time, there are no singularities or boundaries.”
We can summarize the subject as follows:
1-Provided that time is taken for “real time,” Hawking acknowledges that time must have a beginning.
2-When time is taken for “imaginary time,” Hawking says that we may not be qualified to claim that the universe had a temporal beginning.
Hawking likens the historical beginning of the universe in imaginary time to the South Pole. According to him, there is no sense in asking what was there prior to the beginning. Such an imaginary time cannot be defined, just like the spots to the south of the South Pole.
Hawking does not deny God, as an atheist would, but he tries to conceive of a universal design that could be explained without having recourse to God’s existence. Without such a reference point, he imagines he can explain everything within the laws of physics.
Hawking stresses: “I would like to emphasize that this idea that time and space should be finite without boundary is just a proposal: it cannot be deduced from some other principle.” He openly announces that his approach that postulates that time is limited like the South Pole but without a beginning is devoid of all scientific observations and data. This proposition of his stems from his reluctance to see the laws of physics interrupted with a beginning.
REALITY OF IMAGINARY TIME
While suggesting the existence of an “imaginary time,” Hawking moves into that of philosophy from his specialization in physics. The fact is that this concept is not a concept based on scientific observation and experiment. Someone like me who contends that there can be no separation in knowledge, considering that all branches of knowledge, whether philosophy or physics, should unite in attaining reality, will not be adverse to seeing a physicist philosophize, just as in the case of a philosopher who dabbles in the solution of problems of physics. The question is not Hawking’s philosophizing, but, rather, the soundness of his philosophy. Here the concept of “imaginary time” becomes a point of controversy in terms of physics and philosophy. In philosophical jargon, “What is the ontological reality of imaginary time?”
Hawking commits the same error as Zeno and Russell when he confuses reality and fiction. Those whose interest is limited to the figures in front of them without considering the counterpart in reality of their imaginary mathematics generate paradoxes and blunders. Those who revert to mathematical formulas to explain the mystery of the universe must take an interest in the correlative in reality of their mathematics. Physics is a science that makes use of mathematics as an instrument. Mathematics on an imaginary plane without any correlative in actuality has no physical validity.
I will try to illustrate the difference between “mathematics of reality” and “imaginary mathematics.” Let us assume that three persons have three separate apple trees. Two of these may, under certain circumstances, without having an exact idea of the number of apples on the latter’s tree, announce that “the total number of apples on all the three apple trees is over 100.” These two may have counted the apples on their respective trees and obtained the results 70 and 80 respectively. A person like Hawking, who conceives mathematics purely on a fictional basis, will state that we can never know for certain whether the total number of apples of the three trees is greater than 100 as we know nothing about the number of apples on the third tree. If we assert and say: “How so? There are already 150 apples on the two apple trees,” he may retort: “What if there are -60 apples on the third one? Then we would have the following equation: 80+70+ (-60) = 90.” So saying, he would have a broad smile on his countenance, as he is sure to have checkmated his opponent!
The example of the apple tree illustrates the difference between us and those, like Hawking, who conceive of mathematics as mere formulas, with no correlation in reality. Hawking frequently states that the correlation in reality of mathematical formulas does not interest him. For instance, in his The Universe in a Nutshell he states: “From the viewpoint of positivist philosophy, however, one cannot determine what is real. All one can do is find which mathematical models describe the universe we live in…So what is real and what is imaginary? Is the distinction just in our minds?”
Let alone the fact that “imaginary time” has no correlative in reality, it is also contrary to reality. The definition that Hawking makes of “imaginary time” in A Brief History of Time” proves this. He says: “If one can go forward in imaginary time, one ought to be able to turn round and go backward. This means that there can be no important difference between the forward and backward directions of imaginary time.” We all know that time proceeds in one direction and it is irreversible. No one may be asked to give an answer other than: “This is against the definition and reality of time” to the question put to someone who killed his grandfather going back with a time machine: “What will happen now?” Hawking, like the person who solved the puzzle by writing down “-60” apples has confused imaginary time in terms of mathematical formulas with time being imaginary in reality.
Confusing universal reality with fictional mathematics is an error committed by many mathematicians whose link with reality has been very weak. This error made by Hawking while tackling the issue of time shows that his philosophical speculations were not as successful as his work in physics. The reason that lies behind this failure is his striving to reflect faithfully the fiction in his imagination for the sake of positivism, instead of trying to conceive of reality.
AN ERROR ACKNOWLEDGED BY HAWKING
Hawking acknowledges to have committed a grave error in his analogy of North and South Poles. In A Brief History of Time he describes his error in the following words: “At first, I believed that disorder would decrease when the universe recollapsed. This was because I thought that the universe had to return to a smooth and ordered state when it became small again. This would mean that the contracting phase would be like the time reverse of the expanding phase. People in the contracting phase would live their lives backward: they would die before they were born and get younger as the universe contracted…I was misled partly by the analogy with the surface of the earth. If one took the beginning of the universe to correspond to the North Pole, then the end of the universe should be similar to the beginning, just as the South Pole is similar to the North. However, the North and the South Poles correspond to the beginning and end of the universe in imaginary time…I realize that I had made a mistake: the new boundary condition implied that disorder would in fact continue to increase during the contraction. The thermodynamic and psychological arrows of time would not reverse when the universe begins to re-contract or inside black holes.”
Time operates one way. The most important concepts of time are “before” and “after.” “After” always succeeds “before.” The causes of “after” are always in “before.” Let us imagine that we are watching a film backward: in this film, there can be no logical reasoning. When we watch the film in reverse we shift the position of cause and effect, yet we cannot shift the chain of succession of “before” and “after.” What we could do was doing away with the logical sequence of “before” and “after;” but we could not do away with the concepts of “before” and “after.” Everybody witnesses the one-way operation of time that is based on the concepts of “before” and “after.”
Although it makes no alteration in our issue, I should like to stress Hawking’s idea, according to which the ‘thermodynamic arrow’ and man’s psychological arrow are equated, which is not true. It is true, on the other hand, that time follows a unidirectional path, as well as the fact that entropy increases as it advances. Total entropy is always on the increase in the universe; you can turn on the air-conditioner in a room, and if you took its machine outside the room, you would lower the entropy in that room. But, no matter what you do, the total entropy will go on increasing. On the other hand, no matter what you do, you cannot change the concept of time in the mind of a man; we cannot play with his psychological arrow; we cannot shift the position of the “before” and the “after” of a man, even for a second, no matter what we do.
Time flows unidirectionally for every man and at every spot in the universe. Advancing time is not unidirectional in terms of “total time,” but the ‘thermodynamic arrow’ advances with “total entropy.” On the other hand, there can be no absolute superposition between man’s perception of time and the law of entropy. Man perceives the universe, unaware of the law of entropy; so long as the entropy decreases in the system there is no reason why man’s perception of time will change. This fact proves that the psychological arrow and the thermodynamic arrow are different, and this is the point where Hawking falls into error. The error is in the identification of the unidirectional flow of entropy with the unidirectional flow of time. In other words, he mistook parallelism for identity.
HAWKING AND SCIENCE FICTION
We can see the errors Hawking committed from his own acknowledgments. One of the reasons for this may have been his interest in science fiction. He intends in his books to create an atmosphere of science fiction to attract his readers. His idea – which he recanted later – about man, who dies to live afterward and eventually to be born, thrilled his mind as well as those of his readers. Among those who took an interest in Hawking’s ideas and who even looked for opinions to realize his projects was the famous science-fiction film director Steven Speilberg, and these two men expressed mutual praise when they met.
The approaches of Hawking regarding time have no place in the real world; in ontological terms, this concept of time is devoid of all consideration. Cavalleri said that a value based on observation must be expressed by a real number, since otherwise it will constitute the subject of imaginary science or science-fiction. Hawking said that theories of physics are but mathematical models; whether they meet with reality or otherwise is of no consequence. This mentality led Hawking to formulate his “imaginary time” concept in which, just like in a science-fiction film, he could move forward or backward. How right was Cavalleri who declared that those who do not use real numbers are dabbling in science fiction!
Another criticism leveled at Hawking is his equating the time concept with spatial dimensions, in passing from real time over to imaginary time as we move backward to the beginning of the universe. The principle is to be in between in spatial dimensions; for instance between straight lines X and Y there may be a point A, but the essential thing for time is “to be before” and “to be after.” For instance: event B is before event C, while event C is before event D. In Hawking, time is considered in the same category with spatial dimensions of space, and its special ontological status is ignored.
One of Hawking’s greatest difficulties lies in relating “imaginary time” to “real time.” In imaginary time, how does one pass from the quantum state to real time? Hawking’s uneasiness as far as imaginary time and real time are concerned may be seen in his book A Brief History of Time: “So it is meaningless to ask: Which is real, ‘real’ or ‘imaginary’ time?” Hawking’s imaginary time concept has no validity in philosophical or physical terms or from the point of view of common sense. He failed to demonstrate how we were supposed to pass from this concept of his invention over to real time.
HAWKING AND POSITIVISM
In the beginning of the universe, that is, in Planck time, all laws of physics are stopped. An undefinedness, an unimaginability reigns. Avicenna says that non-existence is nothing, therefore unimaginable. The initial state of the universe fits Avicenna’s definition of “non-existence” well. The mathematical formulas related to the beginning of the universe point to infinite density. But nothing in the universe can have an infinite density; this supports the postulate that the beginning of the universe was equivalent to nothingness. It is interesting that scientific formulas and mathematical calculations indicate that the laws of physics will not be applicable to the origin of the universe. The fact that in the beginning of the universe there is no earlier space-time point indicates that the beginning is tantamount to nothingness. Definitions of a concrete entity wherein space and time do not exist are not possible.
It appears that Stephen Hawking saw this end; he is reluctant to see the inapplicability of the laws of physics. Hawking worked out his own positivism and imposed it on the universe through his invention of “imaginary time.” Hawking may be considered as a theologue of positivistic religion. He interprets the moment at which the laws of physics fall into abeyance as recantation; not wanting to cease being a positivist, he clings to his concept of “imaginary time.” Yet, as Hawking leaves the physical domain and passes over to philosophical ground, he becomes clumsy. Innumerable readers, who fail to follow his speculations, believe that his scientific approaches are correct and fail to assess the plight of his philosophy. On the other hand, many philosophers, who think it a merit to remain aloof from scientific data, have failed to see Hawking’s blunder about “imaginary time” and the reason behind it. It is evident that this concept is in contradiction with philosophy, physics and common sense. Neither this concept, nor Hawking’s positivism, can be attributed to the universe.
4.OCCAM’S RAZOR: USE OF OCCAM’S RAZOR
William of Occam (1285-1347) was a celebrated philosopher. The aim of Occam’s principle is to avoid useless speculations. Its essence is, “do not multiply entities beyond what is needed,” meaning that a theory should not propose the existence of anything more than that needed for its explanations and that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex. This principle has been widely accepted both by modern science and by philosophers. We should learn how to differentiate between “the entities that exist in our minds and tongues” on the one hand, and “the entities that exist in reality;” this spares us useless and fruitless speculations. The razor in question is used for cutting off what is not necessary.
In theoretical physics there are many speculations deserving of being excised by Occam’s razor:
1-Those assertions that are utterly groundless.
2-The assertions that fail to explain a single phenomenon in the universe and fall short of contributing anything to our knowledge.
3-The assertions that are but stuff for science fiction films and waste our time by stirring up useless controversies.
INFINITE UNIVERSES AND VACUUM
Mathematical models that do not contribute to our understanding of reality in the universe must be excised by Occam’s razor. The mathematical model is of value so long as it contributes to our understanding of the universe. Otherwise, it is bound to remain a fiction. The models of the universe that try to explain it by endless universes would easily fall victim to William of Occam. None of these models are based on any evidence, nor do they contribute in the least to our understanding of any of the universal phenomena. (Universes outside the confines of our own universe may well exist. To make a statement like: “There can be no universe outside our own,” would mean that God could not create a universe outside the present one. Yet, to state that there can be no universe outside our own would be as speculative as to state there are indeed universes outside our own.) Most of the models of infinite universes are but products of efforts that try to explain the universal phenomena by pure coincidence. These models, to which we must turn a deaf ear according to William of Occam, we shall address all the same in the coming chapters and demonstrate that even though these models were to prove realistic, we could not deny the design of the universe in which we live.
According to the Vacuum Fluctuation model, our universe and many other universes were a result of quantum fluctuations. According to this model, the super space that gave birth to all the universes is like an ocean of soap bubbles and every universe is but a bubble of the super space. Our own universe is just one of the endless bubbles. Christopher Isham has pointed out the theoretical weaknesses of this model. If we go backward infinitely, as this model suggests, the said bubble-universes will scatter, and as they will expand, they cannot avoid coming into collision with each other. This is against all observations so far made.
The Chaotic Inflationary model of Andrei Linde contends that inflated universes are divided into tiny universes, which, in turn inflate to be further divided into tiny universes. He contends that this process goes on and on without interruption. In 1994, Arvind Borde and Alexander Vilenkin demonstrated that this model that keeps inflating from eternity onward could not have been perfect geodetically and that it could not escape the initial singularity. This model, like all other “infinite universes” models, is devoid of all justification. Yet, for Occam’s Razor to operate, there is no sense in looking for counter-evidence; the fact that the Vacuum Fluctuation and the Chaotic Inflationary models are devoid of any evidence and that they try to explain the single universe with infinite universes is sufficient reason for their elimination.
THE POWER OF THE BIG BANG
The endless universe models cannot escape the second law of thermodynamics. The conclusion one can draw from this law is the fact that entropy keeps increasing until it brings all the systems into a thermodynamic balance and that on that account there is a beginning of all physical systems. Moreover, given the philosophical evidences we have already examined, the fact that one cannot surpass the infinite invalidates all these models.
None of the models examined so far have had the evidences that the Big Bang has. They do not have even a single piece of evidence. As we went over the primary evidence of the Big Bang, we examined the observational and theoretical evidence that confirm the Big Bang. The study of the stellar exploration, the analyses of radioactive elements, the thermodynamic laws and philosophical reasoning have further corroborated the theory.
Once the expansion of the universe has become clear, no rational explanation for the attribute of eternity can be provided. As we shall be seeing in the next chapter, the materialists who claim that the universe existed from eternity have advocated throughout history the immutable structure of universe, of matter, even of the stars. This materialistic creed prior to the discovery of the Big Bang and the findings of modern physics showed how the expectations should have been, had the universe been eternal.
To try to combine the new findings and the data of the Big Bang with materialistic interpretations is a psychological indication of a wish to evade the conclusions advocated by monotheistic religions. Materialism badly needs this eternal immutability; on the other hand, however, it is also a clear fact that the Big Bang has evidenced the continuous evolution that has been going on since the beginning.