I still do get lots of letters from creationists. Their general tone is usually one of smugness: they’ve got a “gotcha” question they can’t wait to unload on an evilutionist.
dear prof pz myers
can an explosion(big bang)+time= a car?
Why do you ask a yes/no question about something as complex as the origin of the universe? I can tell from how you chose to ask this question that you aren’t actually interested in the answer, but only want a binary response in which you can either get a “no,” in which case you’ll preen and claim you’ve got me to agree that natural causes are impossible, or you’ll get a “yes,” in which case you’ll fall back on your ignorant intuition and tell me that that is impossible. You aren’t sincere, and you aren’t curious, and you are not an honest seeker after the truth.
Your question is also badly formed; I can’t answer yes or no because it’s phrased in such a way as to reveal your false assumptions. You are equating your colloquial understanding of an explosion to a cosmological event, the Big Bang, and also making an implied demand for a complete causal chain covering a period of 13.8 billion years. A bit presumptuous, don’t you think, that you feel you can dash off a thoughtless question and expect a persuasive answer on a difficult topic?
It’s a commonplace cliche that a teacher will tell a class that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. The teacher is lying. I’ve run across many stupid questions, and you, sir, have written one. It’s not even amazingly stupid or creatively stupid or newly stupid; it’s mundanely stupid. It’s the stupidity of a parrot squawking what, to it, are nonsense syllables, and expecting a cracker for its effort. Further, it’s not a parrot repeating fragments of the speech of great philosophers or scientists, but a parrot fed on nothing but an aural diet of the mumblings of benighted fools.
So, I’m sorry, but I’m unimpressed. Try harder. Try thinking for a change.
As for the meat of your question, the cosmological expansion of the universe in the first instant of its beginning was something a little more profound and substantial than an “explosion”. The phrase “Big Bang” is shorthand, a metaphor, for a process that is seen in a rich data set of observations and that can be encapsulated in the language of physics and math. You’re clearly a religious person: ask your rabbi about “metaphors”. They’re used even in your holy books, and you’ll find yourself led to even more ridiculous conclusions about the nature of the universe if you follow every one of them strictly literally.
But if we generalize your question and ask whether explosions can lead to greater complexity and even greater organization, the answer is yes. A better example of such a phenomenon that better fits your casual understanding of the meaning of the word “explosion” is the aftermath of supernovae. The reactions that occur in the hearts of stars are part of a process called nucleosynthesis, in which smaller atoms are fused (it’s why these are called fusion reactions) to produce larger atoms; from a starting point of hydrogen stars build up larger atoms, like carbon and iron. And then at the end of their lifetime, the stars literally explode, dispersing those large elements in vast clouds that condense under the influence of gravity to form new stars and planets.
So yes, the iron in your car was forged in a star and scattered to our planet in an explosion. The carbon of which automotive engineers and factory workers are made was also assembled in a star that exploded.
The second term in your equation, time, is also an attempt to trivialize a phenomenon. Yes, “time” built us. But by time, of course, more sensible people mean a complex set of historical interactions and natural processes that were necessary for change to occur. Why do you regard it as something insignificant? We could say that you were the product of a messy eruption of fluids and cells from your mother and father plus “time”…but do you consider your embryonic development, your growth as a child and adolescent, your education (which, I’m sorry to say, was actually where you were shortchanged), your experiences and years of thoughts (shallow as they were), are simply reducible to a four-letter word?
Only in the most trivial and unhelpful sense. Just like your question.