BIG BANG THEORY
The Big Bang Theory is the current, widely-accepted model of the birth of our universe. It was formulated in the early 20th century and refined to the present by progressive theory and experiment. The Big Bang is based on observations of redshifts in distant stars (meaning the stars are getting further from us), background radiation, and other conditions observed in our universe, and the scientific majority agrees that the universe is expanding from its origin as a singularity. The model explains many questions about why our universe is the way it is. Ongoing reiteration and support from the scientific community has made worldwide scientific hegemony of the matter despite that common sense tells us it’s impossible.
The Big Bang Theory is not a scientific fact. It is a theory. It states that our whole universe exploded out of a singularity almost infinitely dense and almost infinitely small. But how can we believe, based on observation (i.e. scientifically), that our whole universe with it’s mind-boggling mass and size can fit into a point smaller than an electron? Common sense and experiential evidence tells us this is ridiculous, but expert testimony and high science support it as true. Counter arguments are generally dismissed by the scientific community and rarely make it to major media. Granted, physical and theoretical experiments have been carried out by “experts” to corroborate this majority opinion, but these experiments cannot prove The Big Bang Theory true in a way that is scientifically valid. The progress of this theory reminds me of the Vatican’s discussions about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. At best The Big Bang Theory is a good speculation which can help further exploration.
Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, and other pop scientists in contemporary physics seem to agree, though they might differ on the finer points of the theory. While selling this line on a television program, Hawking went so far as to declare that there is no God, but offered up a cosmology just as miraculous – that the Big Bang just happened. They seem to miss the point that the role of a scientist is to observe and to postulate, not to declare completely unprovable opinions. There is no such thing as holy fiat in science, and it seems to me that these declarations hurt future science because they narrow the aperture with which coming generations will view the universe.
Of course we need scientists to operate at all levels of intelligence, and the smartest will likely be unintelligible to the majority of the world. Specialized science pushes the boundaries of knowledge omni-directionally, expanding our understanding at increasing rates. But because the average person cannot understand quantum physics or super string theory, scientists are forced to dumb down their message, forcing people to accept certain assumptions without question, and this leads away from the spirit of science.
Initiates into scientific mysteries speak their own language, a jargon developed throughout history. The Vatican is likewise initiated into its own specialized explanations of mysteries. The cosmological explanations of the Dark Ages made some sort of sense to people of the time, even if they sound absurd from a secular, contemporary point-of-view. But look past the God question and ask if there are things in religion that improve humanity. Cultivation of morality, relief from personal suffering, and religious experiences are real effects that can be explained with the models put forth by the church. To that end, debating the fate of souls has some relevance, even if is clothed in bizarre cultural symbols. We should assume current theories will seem equally absurd in the future.
It is not my intent to say whether The Big Bang Theory is true or false. Obviously I don’t know. My complaint is the dogmatic approach modern popular science takes. Dogma caused the Dark Ages. If the theory explains the universe in a way you find personally useful, then by all means use the theory. But if you have a hard time believing that the whole universe can be contained in a space of virtually zero volume, then you shouldn’t just accept the theory because specialists in scientific jargon say it’s true.
In the novel The Shining by Stephen King, a hotel caretaker is haunted by ghosts. These ghosts, who inhabit The Overlook Hotel, possess Jack Torrence, driving him to murder his child Danny. These ghosts have many magical capabilities, including the animation of lions made of shrubbery. Fortunately, Danny has a magical friend Tony to look out for him and keep him safe. The novel left me unsatisfied, and part of this is because I can’t comprehend the scope of the forces at work. There is so much magic happening that as a reader I’m forced to suspend my disbelief throughout. Even if I stay with the story to the end, I understand that nothing real is at stake.
But most people would agree there are no such things as ghosts, no such thing as magical fairies from the future who can tell you where to hide, and no such things as hedges that can bite your face off. Most people today are much too rational for beliefs like this. And this is why the film adaptation of The Shining by Stanley Kubrick is a far superior work of art.
In the film, the antagonism is believable. People understand that the mind is a fragile thing. It is able to bend and warp into psychosis and we understand this because we see it every day in the news. People do go on murderous rampages. Bushes do not attack people. Kubrick eliminated the hedge lions completely and focused the malevolent forces within the psychology of Jack Torrence. Instead of suspending disbelief, the audience is able to fully engage with the descent into madness of an alcoholic with cabin fever and the sympathetic intuitions of his young son.
The film version of The Shining is simply more honest. For most of us, possession by ghosts sounds impossible unless it is explained by way of psychology. The film trumps the novel every time because a) it is perfectly executed, and b) it is based on something society can observe and understand, as opposed to the Big Bang.
Art is about showing truth. Science is about finding truth. Speculation is a good starting point for both, but only as a spring-board to truth. In the end, truth should trump speculation every time. Therefore the winner in this week’s Battle Of Unrelated Things is Kubrick’s The Shining.