Big bang cosmology and using the old archives

One commenter to my previous post wondered if I could write about the Big Bang model, dark matter, dark energy, and so on in a manner accessible to the lay reader. This raises an interesting issue of what to do about the posts that I wrote before I moved here and which are currently archived on my old site. Those archives are in the process of being moved over here but I am not sure when that transfer will be completed.

People are welcome to browse the old category archives where they will find that I have written on a fairly wide variety of topics. If readers would like me to address a specific topic, I may be able to point them to one already written.

New readers at FtB may not be aware that on occasion I make people suffer through a multi-part series of posts on topics that I think require careful explanation. In this particular case, I wrote a 16-part series on the topic Big Bang for beginners that addressed the topic that was requested. Posts 8 and 9 in the series dealt with the role of dark matter and dark energy.

So please keep those requests and suggestions coming.


  1. says

    Congratulations, Mano! It’s G!

    I’m an older reader of Mano’s and I definitely recommend everyone check out the archives. Lots of great stuff in there. I love the why religion is losing series.

  2. abb3w says

    So followup question on #s 13 and 14 in that series….

    In #13, you note that the total mass-energy before and after the Big Bang is zero.

    Under statistical mechanics, entropy is proportional to the log number of microstate arrangements. When you have Nothing, there is only arrangement for it; ergo, entropy is zero. When you have a Universe, you have more than one way to arrange the zero energy; entropy is higher.

    Additionally, the Nothing condition would also appear to involve having no Time as well to (as Einstein put it) keep everything from happening At Once.

    So, not only is the local accumulation of order in stars/planets apparently allowable, but it would seem the First and Second Law implies that the thermodynamic tendency is for Nothing to At Once explode into a Universe. Correct?

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    … I wrote a 16-part series …

    Oh my.

    The follow-up question(s), if any, may take a while arriving.

  4. Mano Singham says

    The transition from “before” our universe existed to “after” our universe existed is a tricky business since it is model-dependent. If our universe came into being from a bubble in the foam of the vacuum of another universe, then it is not obvious that the entropy of that bubble need be zero. Because that initial transition point is unknown as yet, all we can say is that the entropy of the early universe is small.

    At this point, I would suggest that you look at something on the entropy and the universe written by a real cosmologist like Sean Carroll, unlike me! Just google his name and entropy and you’ll find a lot of stuff

  5. abb3w says

    The intent of my question was more on the validity of implications from the particular zero-entropy assumption, rather than whether the assumption corresponded to our universe; but “go bug this higher caliber expert who has a more precise focus” at least seems to indicate the notion isn’t blatantly stupid, and seems a thoroughly satisfactory response. =)

  6. says

    askdfja;k Thank you for that series! I was taught creationism at school, and I’ve always wondered how the Big Bang model works. Thank you!

  7. F says

    Holy smokes. I didn’t know that there was anything to find, let alone read, at a Case website. I’ve tried occasionally, over the years, but without a direct link the sites are a mysterious maze of dead-end passages. Which is too bad, really, whether this is a feature of my brain function or of the domains, and assuming one or the other doesn’t time-out on a page load.

    So thanks for blogging at FTB, and pointing the way to your archives.

  8. abb3w says

    It’s fun, but I don’t think the sociology has enough empirical validation. In particular, contrary to conjecture, in the General Social Survey Biblical Inerrancy against Cohort seems to hit a plateau, but the logistic transition to reduced strength of religiosity doesn’t.

  9. Besomyka says

    Just finished reading all 16(but not all the comments). No questions just yet, but I did want to chime in and offer my welcome to FTB. I’m quite interested in physics and cosmology, so discovering your writings has been a pleasant surprise! I look forward to more.

  10. Brad says

    I was struck by the claim I found in your article “Why atheism is winning-2: Religion’s Achilles heel”:

    A better way to counter religious extremism is to strike at its very core and point out that the very basis of their religious beliefs, the texts themselves, are basically ideological tracts written by people at particular times in history to serve particular ends. They are little more than works of fiction using the occasional bit of actual history to create a fanciful narrative. They bear even less of a relationship to actual history than the highly tenuous ones that the film Birth of a Nation and the book Gone With the Wind do to the history of the Civil War and the period of the Reconstruction.

    It is easy to make this case objectively and conclusively because the evidence is already at hand and the scholarly work has been done, is well established and this knowledge is widely known within the scholarly community that studies religious texts. For example, using all the tools at their disposal, such as archeological findings, modern scientific tools, and textual analysis, the evidence is overwhelming that almost everything in the Old Testament of the Bible is unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. All the major characters and events (Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, the captivity of Jews in Egypt, the exodus, Moses, David, Solomon, etc.) are fictional. The story that the books of the Old Testament tells is interesting and complex and full of charismatic figures and magical events but so is the Harry Potter series but we do not believe it to be true for that reason.

    Wow, I’ve got a bible degree (from a conservative Evangelical school, I’ll admit), and this is the first I’ve heard of this, despite it being “well established” and “widely known”. If true, this really does undermine the entire foundation of Christianity.

    Is your 2006 “Bible as history” series the best place to find out more about this idea? Any new developments in the last 5 years?

    Maybe a new updated summary of this evidence might be appropriate for your new FreethoughtBlogs home. Thanks!

  11. Mano Singham says

    Yes, that series is probably the best place to read about it. There have been some new developments since then but not major ones and I may revisit the question soon.

    The evidence against the historicity of the Bible is quite clear and incontrovertible but not widely known. I am trying to change that!

  12. Konradius says

    I would suggest Bart Ehrman, Richard Carrier and Robert Price as entry points for a scholarly review of biblical texts. Just start with the video’s, podcasts etc, the books will be referenced there.
    And Richard of course is a fellow blogger at FTB.

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