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The Big Bang Religion: 

Scientists Speak For Themselves

Compiled by Vincent Sauvé

Every culture has had myths about how the world began. In modern times, we are very technological and we have our scientific version. And it turns out that science's version is more incredible than any myth anyone ever made.

Then, last week, American scientists announced the discovery of radiation patterns in space that may mark the beginning of time itself.  Said astrophysicist George Smoot, leader of the research team: "If you're religious, it's like looking at God.  The order is so beautiful and the symmetry so beautiful that you think there is some design behind it."

Whatever caused the rapid expansion of the universe following the Big Bang--the same forces caused tiny ripples. Because if you try to do something too fast, you shake a little. God might be the designer.

--Maclean's,  May 4, 1992 (the three above quotes are by George Smoot). 

"It is a mystical experience, like a religious experience," Smoot said, reflecting the unscientific thoughts he had allowed himself in recent days, after the rigorous analysis of data was well behind him. "It really is like finding the driving mechanism for the universe, and isn't that what God is?"   

 --(San Jose Mercury News, May 12, 1992. Story by John Noble Wilford of the New York Times.) 

"By studying the way objects attract each other," Lange goes on, "we can come to the conclusion that there must be something [in the universe] that isn't normal matter, something that's some new form of matter. And any particle that exists--that God put in from the beginning--if it's stable, would still be around in great abundance.”  

--Andrew Lange (April 26, 1991 issue of the East Bay Express:  "The Revenge of the WIMPS" an article by Steve Heimoff on current cosmology. This article centers on the U.C. Berkeley Lange Group, "a group of instructors, graduate students, and department assistants, organized under assistant professor of physics Andrew Lange.”)

The evolution of the universe from nothing is described by the big bang theory.

--astrophysicists Fang Li Zhi and Li Shu Xian, (Creation of the Universe, World Scientific, 1989) 

What is the ultimate solution to the origin of the Universe? The answers provided by the astronomers are disconcerting and remarkable. Most remarkable of all is the fact that in science, as in the Bible, the world begins with an act of creation. 

--astronomer Robert Jastrow, (Until the Sun Dies, 1977)

I found this bumper sticker on a car on the street that I used to live on. Oakland California.

Among the many creation epics in human history, the account of sudden creation from nothing, or creatio ex nihilo, and subsequent destruction of the world by flood is unique to Genesis....
      Both the concepts and wording of Section 4(a) convey an inescapable religiosity.    Section 4(a)(l) describes  "sudden creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing."  Every theologian who testified, including defense witnesses, expressed the opinion that the statement referred to a supernatural creation which was performed by God. [...]
      The argument that creation from nothing in 4(a)(l) does not involve a supernatural deity has no evidentiary or rational support.  To the contrary, "creation out of nothing" is a concept unique to Western religions.  In traditional Western religious thought, the conception of a creator of the world is a conception of God.  Indeed, creation of the world "out of nothing" is the ultimate religious statement because God is the only actor.... 

--Rev. Bill McLean, et al., Plaintiffs, v. The Arkansas Board of Education, et al., Defendants. No. LR C 81 322., United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, W.D., January 5, 1982.

Concepts concerning...a supreme being of some sort are manifestly religious....These concepts do not shed that religiosity merely because they are presented as philosophy or as a science...   Malnak v. Yogi, 440 F.Supp. 1284, 1322 (D.N.J. 1977); aff’d per curiam, 592 F.2d 197 (3d Cir. 1979). 

Mr. Wouk also raises an interesting issue regarding creationism. My complaint that fundamentalist creationism is inspired by big bang creationism (Physics Today, April 1983) was echoed recently by John Maddox, who writes in his August 10, 1989, Nature editorial, "Creationists and those of similar persuasions seeking support for their opinions have ample justification in the doctrine of the Big Bang”.   

--Anthony Peratt (The Sciences, July/August 1990)

The Astronomy Book Club interviews the author of The Mind of God, the book by Professor Paul Davies:

Q: At one point in THE MIND OF GOD you ask, "If we can never get a handle on the laws [of nature] except through their manifestation in physical phenomena, what right have we got to attribute to them an independent [transcendent] existence?" What's the answer?

A: It's clear that at a certain point one has to take a metaphysical position. We're never going to tell from our investigations of the world whether these laws have an independent existence or not.  But if the laws don't have an independent existence, then we can never appeal to them to explain how the Universe came into existence, because it's only if there are transcendent, independent laws capable of bringing the Universe into being and sustaining its existence through time that we can even conceive of an explanation for the origin of the Universe.

It is pretty transparent that Davies’ "transcendent, independent laws" are his words for God.

Yes, it is true that not all Big Bang supporters like, or accept, the idea put forward by some that our universe was created from nothing. But, what does seem to be the popular belief, by a majority of cosmologists who make their ideas known to the public, are the notions that our universe is finite and is of a finite age. That such scientists should find arguments--most of which are quite incredible--that purportedly demonstrates the validity of the Big Bang creation story is not at all surprising when one considers the religious cultural background. If these scientists were raised in, and supported by, a culture that preferred a universe infinite in time and space, they would surely be spending less time creating speculative theories and entities that are designed to save the Big Bang/expanding universe concept, and more time looking for alternative explanations for cosmological redshifts as a small minority of scientists are presently doing.  

--Vincent Sauve (From the essay: “Is Big Bang cosmology good science, or ‘creation science’?”) 

Why did [Einstein] feel that the universe should go on from everlasting to everlasting, when to all brought up in the Judeo-Christian tradition an original creation is the natural concept?...  

--John Archibald Wheeler, The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics, ed. by Timothy Ferris, p. 572

The whole business of Big Bang Creationism is very shaky and based upon dubious assumptions.  The underlying questions have become lost in the sands of time and are no longer taught, even in astronomy schools.  Lately, Big Bang Creationists have far overplayed their hand, making themselves look like fools.  However, because the old-line scientific trade journals are also dominated by reactionary fuddy-duddies, there is not much opportunity for readers to examine the underlying issues....  

--Grote Reber, ("The Big Bang is Bunk," 21st Century Science & Technology, March-April 1989, pp. 43-49.)

The Big Bang is a creationist theory and differs only from another creationist model (for example, the one that claims that creation took place about 4000 years BC) by the number of years since creation. From the Big Bang model, creation happened about 15 billion years ago.   

--Paul Marmet, ("The Deceptive Illusion of The Big Bang Cosmology," Physics in Canada, September 1990, pp. 97-109.)

Although Christians and members of other major religions once reacted angrily to scientific theories of creation, last week's announcement of data that could bolster the Big Bang theory of the universe's origin caused scarcely a ripple in religious circles. Scientists in Washington announced that satellite data appeared to represent radiation patterns from a period just after the cosmic blast, known as the Big Bang, that brought the universe into being. Spokesman for various religions in Canada said that the theory does not contradict the biblical Book of Genesis, which contains a description of how God created the world in six days. Said Brian Stiller, executive director of the Unionville, Ont.-based Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: "At the Heart of the idea of the Big Bang is the notion that creation came at some point in our history--and that is very consistent with the biblical view of creation."  

--Mary Nemeth, (Maclean's, May 4, 1992, page 40.)

William Provine has some challenging words for those in the science community who have been arguing that "no conflict exist between science and 'reasonable' religion (of course excluding fundamentalism, whether Islamic or Christian).   "Scientists, Face It! Science And Religion Are Incompatible," The Scientist, September 5, 1988:

Why do scientists publicly deny the implications of modern science, and promulgate the compatibility of religion and science? Wishful thinking, religious training, and intellectual dishonesty are all important factors. Perhaps the most important motivation in the United States, however, is fear about federal funding for science.  Almost all members of Congress profess to being very religious. Will Congress continue to fund science if science is inconsistent with religion? Scientists are trading intellectual honesty for political considerations. This is sad, because intellectual honesty and critical thinking are the ideals of modern science, and are in short supply. The gullibility of the U.S. public is legendary around the world. Among the Japanese, 6% are creationists; 44% of Americans are.  Sixty-nine percent of people in the U.S. say that God has led or guided them in making decisions, and an even greater percentage believe in ghosts and astrology. One of our greatest national problems is lack of critical thinking.  How can we hope to promote critical thinking when scientists will not even face the implications of their work?

But it's pure assumption that there was a beginning to the universe at all. We are sort of biased by our historical traditions and we are very comfortable with the idea that the universe appears out of nothing for religious reasons. But there is no reason at all why we just have to focus on cosmological theories where the universe has a beginning. It may not have a beginning in time. It's not demanded. It's a possibility in theories, but it isn't demanded.

--John Barrow, on a panel discussion with George Ellis, Paul Davies and Frank Wilczek for the World Science Festival: NOTHING: The Science of Emptiness, published September 17, 2014. Remark at 53:04 minutes in on YouTube.

I grew up in the sputnik generation of the fifties, maybe the first generation raised with a creation myth that was supposedly scientifically certifiable.  [...]

They [the cosmologists] are the priests and the mythmakers of our technological age.
      What could be closer to the flavor of myth than the notion that the universe did in fact appear, perhaps out of nothing;.... [...] It is probably part of the human condition that cosmologists (or the shamans of any age) always think they are knocking on eternity's door, that the final secret of the universe is in reach.  It may also be part of the human condition that they are always wrong. 

--Dennis Overbye (Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest For the Secret of the Universe, HarperCollins, 1991)

Beyond the conscious faking of data lies the probably vast underworld of self-deception.  As is discussed further in Chapter 6 [Self-Deception and Gullibility], the human tendency for an observer to see what he wants to see is far from rare in science. More pernicious even than observer effects is unintentional bias in interpreting data, particularly when the scientist has some personal preference as to the outcome.  "Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth," writes paleontologist Stephen Gould.   

 --William Broad and Nicholas Wade (Betrayers of the Truth, "Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science, " (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982), page 85)


Spectrum of American-style Creationism:

Spectrum of American-style Creationism

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