How Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) – a Catholic Priest – Progressed Secular Science

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‘A Day Without Yesterday’: Georges Lemaitre & the Big Bang

Albert Einstein (right) and the great mathematician Georges Lemaître (left). Until Lemaitre presented Einstein with his paper detailing how the universe had a definite beginning (subsequently termed by Hoyle as the ‘Big Bang’), and that space was expanding, Einstein use to think that the universe was eternal. In the history of science, for instance, a great injustice is perpetuated against Lemaitre because of his faith. His mathematical breakthrough (although confirmed by Einstein as ‘correct’) is ignored, and the concept that the universe has a definite beginning is instead erroneously ascribed to Edwin Hubble. Einstein stated that Lemaitre’s mathematics was perfect – but that he did not care much for his physics. This was because Lemaitre talked of a ‘cosmic egg’ to describe the  beginning of the universe, for which no evidence exists. My view is that a person’s personal beliefs should not exclude that person from official recognition if their scientific thinking is correct. Of course, I do not support politicised religion, and fully acknowledge that Lemaitre was probably motivated by proving the creationism of theology correct – and in the process – science wrong. As matters transpired, Lemaitre achieved neither of these objectives, but he did advance secular scientific understanding, and for that he should be properly remembered.

How the Big Bang Continues to Defines Human Existence

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The Universe Just 370,000 Years Old

The universe began from an event which human understanding knows to have happened, but which is difficult to define. Space and time suddenly emerged for reasons unknown, within a infinitesimally small area, and suddenly expanded, releasing immense light energy and heat (i.e. ‘inflation’). This process was not an explosion in the conventional sense, as an ordinary explosion requires a change of pressure. The above photograph shows the process of the ‘big bang’ from year 0 – 370,000 years (around 18.7 billion years ago). This is a hot ball of plasma, within which areas are beginning to cool and condense into solid matter. This process produces matter as light energy slows down. This matter has been thrust outward at tremendous speed, and over-time, has created the physical universe (the earth was formed around 4.9 billion years ago). When matter is formed, gravitational force is generated (as a side-effect) which pulls all galactic objects into a rounded shape (due to gravity operating in all directions). Gravitational pull generated by a sun, for instance, also sets the orbits for all the planets (and other objects) to circumnivigate through, in any given solar system. The entire universe appears to rotate around a theoretical centre-point at the heart of existence. As matters stand, human science does not know what caused the big bang, or what exists beyond the light horizon. As there is no data to analyse, or experiments that can be carried-out, everything beyond this point of understanding is purely speculative (with one theory being as valid as anyother). The big bang was probably not a ‘big bang’ – as nothing seemed to exist before this event – or exist in a manner that humanity can currently perceive and understand. Why and for what reasons the physical universe emerged are unknown, but one-day this will be known. There probably is something beyond the light horizon, and there was probably some kind of existence prior to the emergence of the physical universe. Or, it might be that concepts such as ‘existence’ and ‘non-existence’ have no ultimate meaning, and that humanity is looking at existence from an incorrect interpretive position, or utlilising a flawed logic. What is known, is that space at this current time is beginning to speed-up in its expansion rate, and that this expansion of space will continue forever, or what humanity perceives to be ‘forever’. If multiple universes exist, it could be that the universe that humanity inhabits is just one amongst many, with each having its origin through a ‘big bang’ event. As human science is premised upon immutable laws, its understanding is limited to the observation of light. If material (of whatever kind), exists beyond what humanity can see through the observation of ‘light’ (i.e. the ‘light cone’), then as long as human science remains focused upon the observation of light, any reality beyond the light horizon will remain beyond what can be observed and measured. The human universe can probably be defined as having a boundary – the true extent of which cannot be observed through the measuring of light – but it might also be true that the pattern of material universal existence could be repeated infinitely throughout reality, so that there could be many such universes. This feeds into the multi-verse theory and the idea of parallel universes. The point is that anything and everything could have happened before the big bang, but it has been the big bang that has served as the basis of the material reality within which humanity exists and has evolved.

The Limitations of Matter (Quantum Field Theory)

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The human senses developed over very long periods of time, and were designed to ‘detect’ the physical environment. This was the unfolding of the evolutionary process through natural selection. Human-beings can only ‘sense’ that about the physical environment, which is required for the species to survive. In other words, the evolutionary process does not grant or furnish any extra or superfluous sensing abilities outside of the minimum data-reception required, for the species to successfully procreate and survive (from one generation to the next). As a consequence, as diverse as the human senses seem to be, in reality the data they receive represents only a very narrow scale of what is actually ‘out there’ in the universe. Human logic has historically developed to perceive reality in two broad categories – namely the ‘materialist’ and the ‘idealist’. The materialist method of gathering knowledge (about the human condition), pays attention to the observation of the external world (which can include the human body, when it is ‘objectified’ as is the case of modern medicine), and has developed many theoretical assumptions premised upon these observations. The materialist model assumes that the external world is ‘real’ and that its study serves as the doorway to true knowledge. The idealist method, on the other hand, states that the inner world of thought is far more important than the external world, and that consciousness, in one way or another, is responsible for the generation of the external world of matter. Idealism is closely associated with theistic religion, and maybe perceived as a ‘modern’ and ‘secular’ manifestation of religious thinking, often presented in scientific garb (as is seen in the various theories of psychology). It has historically transpired that humanity has scientifically progressed through the observation and measurement of material objects and material processes. As religious theology has lost ground in the secular West, material science has come to dominate (with the caveat that ‘psychology’ in its non material mode, might well represent a ‘new’ type of religious thinking). Through the development of technology, humanity has been able to ‘see more’ above and beyond the scope of its limited evolutionary senses. This has meant that the world of matter has been examined over greater distances, and to a greater depth, to the extent that beginning of the universe can now be seen, as can the constituent particles and sub-atomic particles of atoms. Through this process, it has become clear that ‘matter’ is not a solid wall of impenetrable ‘stuff’ that stands silent and still in front of the human senses. It has been discovered that atoms are not the ‘tiniest’ things that exist, and that quarks (which exist within the nucleus of an atom), probably possess constituent elements. In short, modern material science has revealed that the world of matter is not ‘solid’ and ‘opaque’, but is rather ‘translucent’ in nature, whilst existing in a state of constant ‘flux’. This suggests that light, ordinary (byronic) matter, dark matter and dark energy all emerge from at least 12 different quantum fields (and probably more). Understanding this reveals that matter is not what humanity’s limited evolutionary senses first thought it to be, but equally important, this reasoning has been discovered through the empirical study of what was once thought to be ‘solid’ matter. Although idealism has attacked materialism as being a theory premised upon an illusion, idealism (and religion) has not been able to develop a science to demonstrate and ‘prove’ this assertion to be correct. In a very real sense, materially based science has seen beyond its own limited methodology, and proven its original models of the physical universe to be redundant. Simply put, (and a point of argument correctly made by the idealists and religionists), matter is not what humanity thinks it is. However, where the idealists have ‘rejected’ matter out of hand, the materialists have embraced the physical stuff of the universe, and made its study the basis of modern science. It is now known that the idea of ‘matter’ being a solid and impenetrable wall, is a flawed concept, but that the idea that matter must be studied to progress human understanding, has turned-out to have been correct. As matters stand, the basis of existence consists of highly fluid quantum fields. As the universe pre-exists and post-exists each individual existence, a direct connection between human awareness and the external universe has yet to be proven, even though certain academics are engaged in this study. This does not mean that the human mind has no place in science, after-all, it has only been through logical thinking that material science has been developed and progressed. The following lecture from Professor David Tong (at the Royal Institute) places all this information into its correct scientific narrative.

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