Mathematic Proof That The Universe Had A Beginning

Illustration for article titled Mathematic Proof That The Universe Had A Beginning

There are probably more theories floating around to explain the birth, life and death of the universe than for any other scientific concept. Some scientists champion the idea of the Big Bang that created everything around us, others postulate that that we live in a steady state universe with no beginning or end. Now, math has set one thing straight: our universe definitely had a start.

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Two cosmologists, Audrey Mithani and Alexander Vilenkin both from Tufts University in Massachusetts, have stuck their necks out with a new mathematical paper that considers the mathematics of eternity. In it, they take a close look at the concept of a universe that has no beginning or end.

Currently, there are two main descriptions of the universe's existence that suggest that the universe is eternally old—without a Big Bang. The first is the eternal inflation model, in which different parts of the universe expand and contract at different rates. Then, there's the idea of an emergent universe—one which exists as a kind of seed for eternity and then suddenly expands into life.

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Thing is, it turns out that the idea of an eternal universes can only allow certain types of universe expansion to occur—and then they go on to show that the current inflation models that have been suggested have to have a begining. Needles to say, some of the math in their paper is pretty complex—you can read it here, though, if you'd like—but they manage to sum the whole thing up rather neatly:

"Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past."

They also manage to scupper the idea that an emergent model of the universe can't stretch back eternally—but they choose to do that using quantum mechanics. Agains, neatly summing it up, they say:

"A simple emergent universe model...cannot escape quantum collapse."

Basically, they've taken aim at the two current models of the universe that asume it's eternally old, and conclude that "none of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal." Which means the universe definitely had a beginning. [arXiv via Technology Review]

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DISCUSSION

dallasmay01
Dallas May

One of the thing that bugs me about atheism is their disregard for the fact that the existence of the universe violates the laws of thermodynamics. According to the laws of thermodynamics -particularly the conservation of mass/energy- Stuff shouldn't be here. Particles pop in to existence all of the time -but are immediately annihilated. All of our currently held best theories that have proven incredibly predictable (evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics, etc.) all have their roots in conservation of mass and energy. If the conservation of mass and energy can be violated -science doesn't work. The conservation of mass/energy can't be violated.

Atheists wave their hands over this as if it's nothing and meaningless. They have one of two reactions. Either claim that we just don't know therefor it doesn't matter, often saying things like, "Well, then, who made God?" Besides the fact that God's existence is irrelevant, it doesn't make any sense to assume that super-natural beings are beholden to natural laws, like the conservation of mass and energy. Basically, it's just an excuse for not having an objectively observable and testable answer to the question. The second reaction is to make up something on the spot. Super-Strings is a favorite of mine. Ignoring the fact that string theory is not anymore observable or testable or predictable then belief in God -thus string theory is not science but theology- it still relies on the conservation of mass and energy. So it doesn't even fix the initial problem. It only moves it back a step. In fact any scientifically testable and observable and predictable theory that you (or anyone else) can think of is going to rely on the conservation of mass and energy.

Now, if an atheist is willing to acknowledge that their beliefs about the universe's existence is not based in science but in their own theology, then I have no problem with that person. But then they aren't atheists anymore are they.