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Ben Masada

The Myth of the Big Bang

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THE MYTH OF THE BIG BANG

Before you jump into the conclusion that I am about to bash the believers of this myth, I need to bring to your attention that the title of this thread, I have borrowed it from the great Astrophysicist Carl Sagan in his book "Cosmos," page 258.

After going through some quotations about the myths of creation, Carl Sagan refers to them as tributes to human audacity, being the chief difference between them and "our modern scientific myth of the big bang, that science is self-questioning through the performance of experiments and observations to test our ideas." Never mind how a myth can be tested or experimented upon.

The bottom line is that it was rather magnanimous of Carl Sagan to admit the big bang as no more, no less, a myth, just like any other mythological account of creation, which, nevertheless, is "equally worthy our deep respect." Here, Carl Sagan implies, IMHO, that the concept of probability is as good as gold in both cases: Creation and the big bang.

There are two modalities of beliefs: To believe by faith, when we don't know much about what we believe in, and to believe on the basis of probability, when even imaginable things move from zero to some possibility. To believe by faith, which leads to a claim or denial of anything as a fact, Carl Sagan calls it audacity, while king David calls it foolishness. (Psalm 14:1)

No wonder some theists charge atheists with equal need of faith to believe or to deny as both do each other. So, the only solution to this predicament is to believe on the basis of the concept of probability. Thus, audacity and foolishness are replaced by wisdom.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

THE MYTH OF THE BIG BANG

...

First I would like to note, if you google 'carl sagan myth of big bang' this exact same post pops up in a multitude of forums all posted by someone named 'Ben'. That right there makes me suspicious as to your motives for again posting the same thing. Perhaps tell a lie enough, it becomes true?

That said this is the first time I have heard anything as such attributed to Carl Sagan. So, for possible ignorance on my part, can you or someone please provide some citation, in context, of Carl Sagan saying as much?

EDIT:

He did indeed write such a thing in his book Cosmos (should have remembered reading this quote; read Cosmos a couple of times):

"The chief difference between them and our modern scientific myth of the Big Bang is that science is self questioning, and that we can perform experiments and observation to test our ideas" (link)

But as expected taken out of context and brushed over with a statment of "Never mind how a myth can be tested or experimented upon."

EDIT2: If anyone else wants a little more context here is is a google books link (link)

Edited by RightInTheStatisticals

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So basically, Carl's saying "the Big Bang might be an invention of a creative mind, but at least we can prove or disprove it, unlike the God-centric creation models". Earth shattering stuff there. :innocent:

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So basically, Carl's saying "the Big Bang might be an invention of a creative mind, but at least we can prove or disprove it, unlike the God-centric creation models". Earth shattering stuff there. :innocent:

I don't know, but sounds like the man is getting slightly senile lately... or want some redemption for its sins (which sometimes is the same) :devil:

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I don't know, but sounds like the man is getting slightly senile lately... or want some redemption for its sins (which sometimes is the same) :devil:

Do you mean Sagan? You do know hes dead dont you?

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Posted (edited)

More evidence exists to support the big bang theory than the idea of a god. Just because science can't fully explain something, that doesn't mean that religion can.

Edited by Alienated Being

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More evidence exists to support the big bang theory than the idea of a god. Just because science can't fully explain something, that doesn't mean that religion can.

Actually, it's more a case of "just because science can't explain something, and religion does, doesn't mean religion's explanation in this matter is anything other then a metaphor".

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It is important, imo, when considering Big Bang Theory, to make a distinction between 'the universe', and 'all that is in (or, that we can observe within) the universe'. BBT can be applied to the latter with much more certainty that it can the former. There is also no real evidence for the singularity which many promote BBT as being preceded by.

It could be said, therefore, that those who apply BBT to the universe itself and make a statement of it along the lines of "The universe began with a singularity" are promoting a myth with no more real evidence for it than any religious account of creation.

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It is important, imo, when considering Big Bang Theory, to make a distinction between 'the universe', and 'all that is in (or, that we can observe within) the universe'. BBT can be applied to the latter with much more certainty that it can the former. There is also no real evidence for the singularity which many promote BBT as being preceded by.

It could be said, therefore, that those who apply BBT to the universe itself and make a statement of it along the lines of "The universe began with a singularity" are promoting a myth with no more real evidence for it than any religious account of creation.

Good post Leo. The only thing I disagree with is saying there is no evidence for creation. Or at least intelligent design.

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The Big Bang Theory is what it says: a theory, and it's based on science.

God is the myth here, based on exrapolating an image of a super-daddy into infinity.

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I don't think i like the idea of a god that intelligently designs penis fish or eye worms.

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I have explained a lot about hte big bang to my daughter...She loves to learn about these things.. Big bang is a theory but a darn good one

Myth... sigh...!!

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First I would like to note, if you google 'carl sagan myth of big bang' this exact same post pops up in a multitude of forums all posted by someone named 'Ben'. That right there makes me suspicious as to your motives for again posting the same thing. Perhaps tell a lie enough, it becomes true?

So this guy BEN is spamming the internet to call the big bang a myth? My word talk about obsession lol.. that is just plain sad

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I don't think i like the idea of a god that intelligently designs penis fish or eye worms.

Perhaps an intelligent sadist then.

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Good post Leo. The only thing I disagree with is saying there is no evidence for creation. Or at least intelligent design.

What evidence do you believe there is for intelligent design?

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What evidence do you believe there is for intelligent design?

I was wondering the same thing...

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First I would like to note, if you google 'carl sagan myth of big bang' this exact same post pops up in a multitude of forums all posted by someone named 'Ben'. That right there makes me suspicious as to your motives for again posting the same thing. Perhaps tell a lie enough, it becomes true?

That said this is the first time I have heard anything as such attributed to Carl Sagan. So, for possible ignorance on my part, can you or someone please provide some citation, in context, of Carl Sagan saying as much?

EDIT:

He did indeed write such a thing in his book Cosmos (should have remembered reading this quote; read Cosmos a couple of times):

"The chief difference between them and our modern scientific myth of the Big Bang is that science is self questioning, and that we can perform experiments and observation to test our ideas"

But as expected taken out of context and brushed over with a statment of "Never mind how a myth can be tested or experimented upon."

EDIT2: If anyone else wants a little more context here is is a google books link ([url="http://books.google.com/books?

I googled nothing about Carl Sagan. I read it straight from his book "Cosmos". And what you bring up above that I should read it several times, I did

just that, for I could not believe my eyes, and I saw nothing different from what I had understood in the first reading. The appendage that follows his statement about the big bang as "our modern myth" does not at all diminish from his original statement. Of course that being science-questioning and that scientists perform experiments and observations to test their ideas, says nothing about having the big bang ceased being a "myth."

Please, RTS, make me no wrong. I do not discard the probability for the big bang. I just do not accept by faith that a "myth" is enough for me to discard the probability of a Creator for the universe.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

So basically, Carl's saying "the Big Bang might be an invention of a creative mind, but at least we can prove or disprove it, unlike the God-centric creation models". Earth shattering stuff there. :innocent:

All right WfH, what can you prove or disprove, the big bang or the non-existence of a Divine Creator for the universe? No offense meant, but when the Psalmist said in Psalm 14:1 that fools declare in their hearts that there is no God, he meant not only atheists but also theists that claim for sure that God was indeed the Creator of the universe. What do we know? We are all ignorant about these things. Therefore, the right path to choose is to adopt the concept of probability and never discard anything we cannot prove or disprove.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada

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More evidence exists to support the big bang theory than the idea of a god. Just because science can't fully explain something, that doesn't mean that religion can.

Hey AB, how much has been written about the big bang? The much you can think of, one can read it in a year. How many generations are necessary to read all that has been written about God? My point is not to prove any thing by the number of books written about it, but to bring to your attention that there are copious evidences for both. Therefore, the word is "caution". We all must be cautious about denying or affirming anything we are not sure about it. Why should we run the risk to be looked at as fools?

Ben

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It is important, imo, when considering Big Bang Theory, to make a distinction between 'the universe', and 'all that is in (or, that we can observe within) the universe'. BBT can be applied to the latter with much more certainty that it can the former. There is also no real evidence for the singularity which many promote BBT as being preceded by.

It could be said, therefore, that those who apply BBT to the universe itself and make a statement of it along the lines of "The universe began with a singularity" are promoting a myth with no more real evidence for it than any religious account of creation.

I can't agree with you more. My point is to avoid the emotive eruption to deny or affirm anything we are not sure about it.

Ben

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The Big Bang Theory is what it says: a theory, and it's based on science.

God is the myth here, based on exrapolating an image of a super-daddy into infinity.

Nevertheless, it was a famous astrophysicist who referred to the big bang as "our modern myth." You should have told him before he died that there

is a big difference between theory and myth.

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I don't think i like the idea of a god that intelligently designs penis fish or eye worms.

Maybe because you are among those who prefer that theists keep on believing by faith in the literal interpretation of God in the Bible. Atheists need God to be the way faithful theists see Him, so that atheists can put their hammers to good use.

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I have explained a lot about hte big bang to my daughter...She loves to learn about these things.. Big bang is a theory but a darn good one

Myth... sigh...!!

Why don't you share with me what you teach your daughter about the big bang? I do have also a few questions. And if you sigh about it being a myth,

you must not believe that Carl Sagan was a famous astrophysicist to refer to the big bang as a myth.

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Nevertheless, it was a famous astrophysicist who referred to the big bang as "our modern myth." You should have told him before he died that there is a big difference between theory and myth.

Really? in your OP, Carl Sagan referred to Big Bang theory as

our modern scientific myth of the big bang

See the difference?

The figure of speech Sagan used, "scientific myth," is called an oxymoron, a contradiciton in terms. Grammatically, it is a noun phrase. Any noun phrase's meaning can be different from the meanings of its constituent words. The meaning of an oxymoronic noun phrase must be different, because the words in that combination have no meaning of their own.

So, there you have it, Ben. Sagan didn't say Big Bang theory was a myth, he said it was a "scientific myth." We have to read the rest of his presentation to see what Sagan intended his oxymoronic figureof speech to mean.

Let's do that right now. Here's a longer quote, placing Sagan's remarks in context, with your extract bolded:

If the general picture of an expanding universe and a Big Bang is correct, we must then confront still more difficult questions. What were conditions like at the time of the Big Bang? What happened before that? Was there a tiny universe, devoid of all matter, and then the matter suddenly created from nothing? How does that happen? In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from. And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and decide that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God has always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?

Every culture has a myth of the world before creation, and of the creation of the world, often by the mating of the gods or the hatching of a cosmic egg. Commonly, the universe is naively imagined to follow human or animal precedent. Here, for example, are five small extracts from such myths, at different levels of sophistication, from the Pacific Basin:

(Examples omitted here)

These myths are tributes to human audacity. The chief difference between them and our modern scientific myth of the Big Bang is that science is self-questioning, and that we can perform experiments and observations to test our ideas. But those other creation stories are worthy of our deep respect.

It is perfectly clear that Sagan used the oxymoronic noun phrase sceintific myth to make the Big Bang an instance of a creation story distinct from other instances, which belong to category myth.

Maybe your very own personal Cosmos flies at all those other forums you've posted this thing on. Maybe first selectively quoting, then outrightly misquoting Sagan is acceptable elsewhere. Welcome to UM, Ben.

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Maybe because you are among those who prefer that theists keep on believing by faith in the literal interpretation of God in the Bible. Atheists need God to be the way faithful theists see Him, so that atheists can put their hammers to good use.

Sorry dude, that fails. I am as much an atheist concerning Sihkism, Hinduism, Christianity, and whatever particular faith or permutation of the above you wish to choose. My post was tongue in cheek, but if you argue for a maltheistic interpretation of god at least it'd be different.

If however you want to try to quote a dead man I admire out of context, you can continue on your merry way.

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